THE Greens are fighting fiercely to protect the Tarkine wilderness in Tassie’s North-West. This significant tract of temperate rainforest has been upheld as a sacred place worthy of protection.
People feel strongly about it.
Over the past few years we’ve seen protests from community groups and heartfelt speeches from Greens pollies against changes mooted including the Tarkine tourist road and forestry and mining operations.
The Tarkine is beautiful and effective as it stands, they have cried. The Tarkine is a place with World Heritage values. The Tarkine nurtures life and should not be altered.
Proponents for change reply that opening up the Tarkine would give access to all, enhance economic benefit to the region and show off something the rest of Australia doesn’t have.
Ironically, these are the very arguments that Tasmania’s Labor-Green government is using to rip apart the sacred place that is marriage. We see our premier Lara Giddings revving up the bulldozer and preparing to clear a way for all homosexual couples to know what it is to be married. This government is willing to toss aside the “heritage values” of marriage as it stands, to topple the way things have been for a millennia (like the Tarkine) just so that a minority can have a look in.
Joni Mitchell’s tune Big Yellow Taxi crooned from my car radio the other day:
“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
And as I gripped the steering wheel, blinking into the sun, I wondered if those lines would describe marriage one day.
As a married woman I am uncomfortable with the plan to redefine marriage. Can you even do that – redefine an institution that so many of us have used as the axis of family and life? Redefine a covenant?
Technicalities aside, marriage has served us well.
We have not served it so well as revealed in high divorce rates, but when marriage is respected and its boundaries obeyed, it is the blueprint for family happiness.
Part of the reason is its exclusivity. Marriage is unashamedly exclusive. Not for a man and a bevy of women. Not for a brother and his sister. Not for a person and an animal. Not for a man and a man. It is exclusive to defend those under its protection: children.
I’m sorry – this is not an issue of discrimination. That word has been bandied about to knock fear into anyone voicing opposition, to quash the discussion. This is a matter of homosexuals wanting what heterosexuals have. Political correctness gone awol.
So, you’re gay. You are welcome at my table any time. I can open my heart to you, love you like any great friend, I just can’t agree with your lifestyle and your need for a marriage contract.
In a recent interview, Greens leader Christine Milne commented, “The Tarkine is one of the jewels in the crown in terms of Tasmanian wilderness.”
I would say likewise is marriage to community.
Should we not defend it with the same vigour?
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As printed in The Examiner for Keeping the Faith column, Monday August 27.