Fake News

Last week, I did an interview with Buzzfeed to see if Donald Trump’s assessment was correct. Sadly he was proven right.

Buzzfeed published a sensationalised story, removing all context, claiming I had said same sex marriage would lead to people wanting to marry the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This is false.

The point I have made – and was asked about – was the glibness and meaningless of statements such as ‘love is love’. My response to the questions, published by Buzzfeed, curtails both the questioning and responses to deliver up clickbait.

For completeness, the relevant part of the interview, in full, is as follows:

Workman:           You were talking before just about consequences. I had a read of your Family World News column, which was I think two weeks ago, and it talked about marriage equality and the phrase "Love is love," and you said that if it should be given its genuine meaning then it should be open to all. You said, "If this is the standard, then who is to judge the quality/type/validity of any love -- within families, with more than just one other, or indeed why not the Eiffel Tower?" Are you equating the love between two same-sex people with the love a person could have for the Eiffel Tower in Paris?

Abetz:                   The sad thing is, I'm not doing it. There are people that are actually saying they want to marry the Eiffel Tower. There are people that say we want a threesome marriage, and who are you to judge that marriage should only be between two people? Indeed, that was the, I think, very cogent argument of the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts, in his dissenting judgment where he pointed out that once you remove that vital element of it being a man woman thing, and you just say, "Love is love," et cetera, then basically you open the floodgates to anything. I think our society would not accept people being able to marry the Eiffel Tower, but if you just limit it to people then there are issues in relation to polyamory.

INTERVIEW INTERRUPTED FOR SENATE DIVISION

Workman:           I think when you left the room we were talking about what you wrote in Family World News. I just wanted to get an idea from you if you think it's a reasonable argument to make that, if we change the marriage laws in Australia, that it could lead eventually to people being able to marry objects such as, in your quote you said the Eiffel Tower, but in Australia maybe the Harbour Bridge?

Abetz:                   Why not? Why not? (said jovially) Look, I would like to think that that is taking the argument to the limit, but the issue is, if we are judging this solely on a person's view of what love is to them, and people tell me, how can you judge somebody else's love, then I think you've got to accept that love is love and that's the slogan. Having said that, whilst we very much believe that marriage has something to do with love, the Marriage Act does not require it. All it is is a commitment of a man to a woman and a woman to a man for life to the exclusion of others, and why do we have this marriage institution?

Somebody who is of no Christian faith, like Bertrand Russell, back in 1923, he said the only reason you regulate a relationship like this is because of children. The High Court in the decision of Russell and Russell, Justice Jacobs, he pointed out the fact that marriage is about children. When Prince William got married to Kate, the very first thing that the bishop said in relation to the institution of marriage, it was anthropological, it was not theological. If you go back as to why, indeed in our own Indigenous community there was a form of marriage and it related to the birth of children. If it's about children being given the security of knowing who their biological parents are, and there's a great hunger for that if you talk to adopted children, children want to know who their biological parents are and these days will have huge impacts in relation to health and the capacity to provide treatments in the future, knowing your genetic heritage.

Then of course there's the other side, which is that there is a reason we talk about fatherhood and motherhood. They are different. Men and women are different. Having the ability to provide both a male and female role model for the socialization of the next generation, I think, is ideal. Having said that, of course there are single parents that do a good job, be they widowed or just single, never having been married. I remember way back when I was a lawyer assisting a lesbian couple in relation to the custody of a child from one of them, her former husband. In all the circumstances I have no difficulty in arguing that in all the circumstances that child would be better off with a lesbian couple.

Buzzfeed Published Transcript:

BuzzFeed News: If we change the marriage laws in Australia that it could lead eventually to people being able to marry objects such as…the Harbour Bridge?

Abetz: Why not? Why not.

Look, I would like to think that that is taking the argument to the limit, but the issue is if we are judging this solely on a person’s view of what love is to them, and people [ask] me, 'how can you judge somebody else’s love?', then I think you’ve got to accept that love is love and that’s the slogan.

Having said that, whilst we very much believe that marriage has something to do with love, the marriage act does not require it...

BuzzFeed News: Are you equating the love between two same-sex people with the love a person could have with the Eiffel Tower in Paris?

Abetz: The sad thing is, I’m not doing it. There are people that are actually saying they want to marry the Eiffel Tower. There are people that say we want a threesome marriage, and 'who are you to judge that marriage should only be between two people?'.

And indeed, that was the, I think very cogent argument of the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, chief justice Roberts, in his dissenting judgement where he pointed out that once you remove that vital element of it being a man/woman thing, and you just say love is love etc, then basically you open the floodgates to anything.

I think our society would not accept people being able to marry the Eiffel Tower, but if you just limit it to people then there are issues in relation to polyamory.

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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Contact

136 Davey Street
Hobart  TAS  7001

(03) 6224 3707

Senator.Abetz@aph.gov.au

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