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(A tamer, less tangential version of this letter is published here on Convicts.)


I trust this letter will find its way to you in hell; judging by your enthusiastic Twitter presence, the wifi is good.

Joking! Of course I’m joking.

Hell isn’t real (obviously!); but if I’ve learned anything about ~journalism~ from you, it’s to always open with a low shot, and that the truth needn’t get in the way of a good story.

You probably won’t read this. Between vilifying anyone who isn’t a white straight middle-class conservative Christian Australian, and feeling vilified for being a white straight middle-class conservative Christian Australian, it's clear that being unhinged is a full time gig.  You write a lot of articles about things you hate. My favourites are when you find punchy new ways to tie Labor initiatives with public fear, per: City Share Bikes are a Terrorist’s Best Friend.

This kind of stuff - however bereft of integrity —  is easy enough to ignore; too divorced from reality to entertain seriously, and testament to your seemingly boundless capacity for self-delusion. It's also an unlikely source of hope; if I were to ever birth a child that wasn't particularly clever, it's nice to know that she or he could still reasonably aspire to write for a national publication. 

What’s not easy to ignore is your reporting on the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

An issue which —  at odds with your zest for coupling abstract ideas, but unsurprising given your trademark bigotry — you loudly oppose.  You claim recently in The Daily Telegraph (lol), that “rainbow fascists” are vilifying Christians, a statement which - like much of what you say - is pointedly untrue.  

You see, it's one thing to lie about bicycles, but quite another to do so about people. At this point it typically stops being journalism, and starts being hate-speech.

To clarify: the left is not vilifying Christianity. This is, and always has been, a human rights issue.

You're right - there has been backlash. Venues have declined to host anti-SSM (Same Sex Marriage) events. Churches have been vandalized. Not ideal, but you fail to mention that it’s been grisly on both sides, and in light of Australia’s shameful cultural legacy of reflexive homophobia — where in the 1980’s “poofter-bashing” was more or less an organized sport —  and The Australian Christian Lobby’s recent suggestion that the children of gay couples are a ‘stolen generation’, your vilification claims aren’t quite holding up.

It's also worth noting that if religious vilification was an Olympic sport, you’d be a handsomely decorated athlete; the speed in which you defile the Islamic Faith is astonishing, and you're particularly keen to conflate it with sexual-misconduct. (It's ironic, given your noted support of pedophile Cardinal George Pell; who abused his position in the church to systematically molest children; who you claim was a victim of Catholic witch-hunting; and whose trial you compare, in one of your most cooked articles to date, to the persecution of Christian saints.) It’s also worth remembering that the Catholic Church, the strain of Christianity of which you are fondest, is not a vilified minority group so much as it is a billion-dollar corporation; whose GoFundMe campaign consisted largely of swindling the poor and the lame into buying tickets to heaven, but I digress.

My point is that it’s time to drop the vilification card; not for obvious pot-kettle-black reasons, but because religion has no place in the SSM debate.

Marriage is not a political device. It must not be used as a tool by white straight middle-class conservative Christian Australians to engineer their societal ideal, as it has been in the past.

We are a secular nation. Our country is young, and our population diverse. Our rich cultural tapestry -  which is varied in ethnicity and sexual orientation, and bequeaths us national treasures like steamed Dim Sims and Magda Szubanski - must be considered, and incorporated into our policymaking. We must develop laws which recognise  - and celebrate! - plurality within our communities. We must adapt the policies we have to accommodate our nuanced demography. We must separate church and state.

While the church does offer a valuable template for how we should conduct ourselves, principles such as “do unto others” and “don’t be a dick”, are in fact not exclusive to the bible, but embraced by much of the rational community; who do so not for the dangly carrot that is eternal life in heaven with our Lord Savior Jesus Christ, but because it is the right thing to do. My goal here is not to dethrone God, but to remind you that he doesn’t hold a seat in parliament.

Human beings - less feeble and wretched and socially adrift than the bible would have us believe - are more than capable of aligning our moral compasses without Christian interjection. We don’t need religion to be good people and, as you demonstrate with alarming regularity, being religious does not guarantee you'll be a good person either.

You do however, talk about protecting kids a lot. It’s noble enough, though being concerned about children is pretty easy common ground. When ideological waters cloud, protecting the young is an uncomplicated north star. We all want to keep children safe, we just disagree on what counts as a reasonable threat.

I would argue that the greatest danger to the next generation is closed-mindedness. It's bigotry. It's people like you.

People like you, who are using marriage legislation as a means of engineering your white straight middle-class conservative Christians Australian societal ideal. People like you, who by voting no, and encouraging others to do the same, are all but sanctioning homophobia.

The threat is the exciting new generation of social conservatives you speak of, who, roofied by your lunacy, will become bullies in the playground, homophobes in the street, and eventually, a new generation of socially conservative parents, to whom gay children will be afraid to come out. (It may surprise you to learn that most gay people are in fact raised by straight people.)

The threat to children, is closed-mindedness; which could ensure the cycle of social isolation, depression and suicide continues for LGBTI youth, when it doesn’t have to.

Being gay isn’t a choice, despite your baffling suggestion on the contraryand while homosexuality cannot be taught, open-mindedness can.

We have a duty of care inoculate future LGBTI youth against the shameful legacy of reflexive homophobia which runs deep through the veins of our country, and that marred the lives of so many before them.

We have a duty of care to pursue a new societal ideal, one which welcomes nuance in sexuality and gender, and which champions thought that is rational, civilized, and inclusive.

We have a duty of care to grant same-sex families the very rights that you enjoy.

Marriage isn’t about politics. Marriage isn’t about religion.

Marriage is about love.

And love is such an unusual thing to hate.


Samantha Hillman