Is Mark Latham talking sense on gay marriage? 269



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Former Labor Leader Mark Latham says his party has an “obsession” with the issue of gay marriage and should be focusing instead on the nation’s “Struggle Streets”. Is he right?

Mr Latham told Melbourne radio station 3AW Bill Shorten’s private members bill to push for changes to the marriage act to allow same-sex couples to tie the knot, to be introduced into parliament on Monday, was nothing more than a symbolic gesture.

He said the biggest social issue facing Austalia was unemployment, drug use and homelessness in suburbs such as Sydney’s Mt Druitt which was the focus of the SBS documentary, Struggle Street.

Mr Latham said “If you are interested in equality and social justice in Australia then what was the really big event in the month of May”.

“We had the Struggle Street documentary which revealed that in the nation’s public housing estate, most notably in Mt Druit people live in conditions that you wouldn’t wish upon your dogs. Absolute chaos, despair and hopelessness in their lives.

“And surely, you would have expected a serious national response from the party of social justice?

“We didn’t hear anything.

“They’re obsessed, instead, by gay marriage”.

Mr Latham said legalising same-sex marriage would not “improve” anyone’s standard of living, nor would it improve their capacity to “function in society”.

“It’s a legal document,” he said. “It’s a piece of symbolism. It might make some people feel better to have a marriage document but it really is a low order priority.

“On the Richter scale of social justice Struggle Street is a 10, gay marriage is a point one.

It’s a very different stance from five years ago when Mark Latham said he regretted not introducing changes to the marriage act to allow for same-sex marriage when he was Labor Leader in 2004. At that time he accused both major parties of being “scared” of the churches.

Does Mark Latham have a point? In its rush to get laws before Parliament next week, is Labor focussing too much on the issue of same-sex marriage at the expense of social justice issues like poverty and housing?

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  1. Mark Latham always makes political & humane sense, even if at times he comes across as brash – but he knows the business at hand – our social disadvantage certainly takes priority

  2. While I agree with Mark the issues in Struggle Street should be addressed and sooner rather than later , so should the issue of gay marriage, just let these people get married and get it over and done with and get on with more serious issues. The World will not end if we allow gay people who are already living together to marry

    2 REPLY
    • I agree completely. It is possible to do more than one thing at a time

    • Thank you , I after 38 years had to be married in Canada last year ( reminder: anniversary coming up ) but even Utah allow equal marriages now . So give us equal rights then we can turn our energies to women( first up get rid of minister of women , from that post anyway ) elderly , some may say this is wrong way around but that is my priority , and as for mark Latham ,,, no comment

  3. I don’t have a problem with gay people marrying just don’t bring children into it

    5 REPLY
    • No, They’ll adopt if they’re guys and they’ll take up places on the IVF program ahead of childless couples if they’re lesbians. If you opt for an alternative lifestyle you should accept the limitations that lifestyle imposes, not lobby the government to legislate that everyone support your choice.
      I don’t necessarily want to go into the hows and whys of gay people’s decisions to go that way, but in many cases it IS a choice.

    • like to be a fly on the wall when it comes to “the talk” how do they explain where babies come from

      1 REPLY
      • Most likely the same way most parents tell their children

    • God created Adam and Eve for a reason. Not Adam and Steve! Otherwise none of us would be here today! I feel for gay people nevertheless. They are born that way. A commitment ceremony is the way to go. They can still Make whatever vows they like. Just please don’t call it a marriage!

      1 REPLY
      • Hmm he if you believe this fable he created Adam and Eve , then he created two men !!!! So who what with whom , all with eve ? Fact is people quote bible all the time when it suits and ignore the no divorce , eating requirements and sleep in a seperate tent when the women are unclean each month, fact is adoption is available and why should a single parent be any more capable than two adults who ever they live with , some comments show how the younger generations are more in contact with the real new world

  4. Surely in a so-called advanced society we should be able to pass a law which is important to many & look after our most disadvantaged, as well.

    2 REPLY
    • We have much more disadvantaged as Latham says who deserve effort first. Time enough for these minority issues later.

    • Rubbish Peter, to bring marriage equality into law would take very little time or expense. Just because people are in a minority either through ethnicity, disability, sexuality or whatever does not make their rights any less important.

  5. I fail to see what one thing has to do with the other.I lived in a housing commission home for 10 years.Nearly everyone was dirt poor but we were all clean,well fed and honest.No excuse for the way some of these people live.We have one of the best social security systems in the world and i don’t believe it is necessary to live like a lot of them do.

  6. What on earth had gay marriage ever have to do with politics it personal not political. We the people should decide. It’s not about winning or losing votes.

    7 REPLY
  7. yes he does make sense. those with social and economic disadvantage have a more urgent need and should be treated with priority especially with the new budget plans that are about to hinder them even more.

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