Coopers Brewery have copped a whopping from same – sex marriage supporters after they agreed to have their product featured in Bible Society’s “Keeping it Light”, which was a debate on same – sex marriage. When they withdrew their support and reinstated their support for same – sex marriage, they got a backlash from conservatives. The debate was between Goldstein Liberal MP Tim Wilson and former SAS officer and Liberal MP for Canning, Andrew Hastie.
I saw a segment of the debate on same – sex marriage on YouTube between Hastie, a conservative Christian and Wilson, who is openly gay and who describes himself as agnostic and on a “journey” to find the truth about god. Wilson supports a change in the Marriage Act to allow same – sex couples, while Hastie firmly believes in maintaining the Marriage Act as it is. After a backlash from same – sex marriage supporters, Managing Director Dr. Tim Cooper offered a public apology to same – sex marriage supporters and reinforced the company’s support for same – sex marriage. After their apology, Cooper’s Brewery was slammed by conservatives by backing down.
I saw the debate on YouTube and I think both Wilson and Hastie should be applauded for their conduct. They were both very respectful, while both articulating their views. Neither lead personal attacks and Hastie never demeaned Wilson because of his sexuality and spoke respectfully of his long-term partner. Both sides of the marriage debate could learn from this. For same – sex marriage supporters, not all opponents are the enemy. You can still prefer maintaining the Marriage Act without attacking the LGBTQ+ community. That’s how a debate should be. Two people putting their points across, while no one feels threatened or demeaned.
I get whey people are concerned. I get the pain of having your lives constantly debated, sometimes unfairly. I never once thought that if the plebiscite was going ahead last year that the process would be a walk in the park for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Therefore I think one of the biggest failures of the Coalition government – with not a lot of help from Labor, mind you – was to ensure that supports were in place to help LGBTQ+ community and families in distress when things got too much. I also didn’t like the way that some tried to back pedal anti – discrimination laws while the debate was going on.
On the other hand, I genuinely believed that not having a debate, especially on issues like free speech and the impact on same – sex marriage opponents would only backfire on the LGBTQ+ community in the long term, as it has in Brazil and the U.S. My fears have lessened in the past couple of weeks, especially after “Married at First Sight” controversy which saw two Jehovah Witness parents rejecting their gay son’s wedding. I remember the explosion on Facebook in support for the couple who married in Florida. I thought that was so touching. Some of these comments were made by people I know personally, as well as on news articles. I take this as a good sign – that people are willing to call out homophobia when they see or hear it.
Since the spat over Cooper’s, I’ve also been thinking of whether major companies should be involved in politics. It’s not just Cooper’s that have copped criticism. Alan Joyce from Qantas, a long-time supporter of same – sex marriage, has copped criticism from conservatives for making their support for same – sex marriage known and linking it to their brand.