The debate over same-sex marriage is at its peak. Letterboxes are being flooded (people under 25 learning what the strange box on their lawn actually is) and vitriol from both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ sides have reached fever pitch.
“What of the children?” “Love is love!” And a hundred variations expressed far more crudely on any news comment section – by both camps.
But while Joe Bloggs may upset a few people, celebrities who comment on the subject – and there have been some notable ones on both sides of the campaign – have treaded relatively lightly.
Not so Benjamin Law. Star of the SBS TV show ‘The Family Law’, author, screenwriter, journo, gay and with parents from Hong Kong – he is undeniably a darling of the (queer) left. And he had something to add to the SSM debate.
He sent a tweet on Twitter on September 10, “Sometimes find myself wondering if I’d hate-f*ck [spelled out] all the anti-gay MPs in parliament if it meant they got the homophobia out of their system.”
The tweet escaped a lot of scrutiny – and certainly didn’t do the heavy rounds on social media. The majority in this office unaware of its existence.
When pressed he brushed it off as simply being a “joke”. Not only that, he remains unrepentant on his Twitter account (although the original post was deleted), making references to it in follow up tweets.
For the record, this writer is gay and pro-same-sex marriage but clearly has a different sense of humour to that of Mr. Law.
Can we be f*cking serious here? How would the queer community – and the queer-allied community – react to this situation in reverse? We’d be having f*cking aneurysms. And if the miscreant tried to pass the whole affair off as a 'joke' we’d have his bloody balls on a stick.
To make matters worse, the episode gleefully gives ammunition to some members of the ‘No’ brigade. Not surprisingly Miranda Devine pounced on it in the Daily Telegraph. “Imagine if a straight man said this?”, you can hear them rage. “Imagine the outrage! They’d be sacked, fined and their career would be ruined!” And you know what sucks? They’d be right.
For equal rights, a demonstration of decent morals is probably going to win over people more than such a vile statement on such a public platform. Joking about aggressive – and likely unwanted – sex and then brushing it off as a bit of light-hearted entertainment, isn't.
Outlets like SBS, the ABC, the Guardian et al should call him out too. Just because the more, shall we say, conservative news organisations might report on this does not mean that the LGBTQI+ community and allies should stoop to their level.
Everyone makes mistakes Benjamin. But the mature, dignified response is to acknowledge you were wrong and say that you’re sorry.
You can’t expect equality as a minority if you aren’t subject to the same consequences – and standards you expect – from the majority.