"The idea that you can treat a gay relationship in precisely the same way as you do a marriage as we understand it is not a view that I support and I certainly would not be initiating any moves to change the law to that effect."
The problem with this argument is that he may not want to treat a gay relationship in the same way as a marriage but others do. There are same-sex couples all over the country living in marriage-like situations. The key thing here is that Howard doesn't expand on "why?". Why can't they be treated the same? He then tries this extraordinarily daft statement:
"You're talking here about the survival of the species."
The implication is pretty clear: if the law recognises same-sex "marriages", there is a chance the human species won't survive. Messing with the legal definition of marriage could have a catastrophic affect on all of us. That's clearly laughable.
Peter Costello decided he'd have a go with this:
"Obviously I understand and accept that there are many people of the same sex who have a relationship and a partnership and sometimes long term partnership, I understand that, I respect that."
I don't understand how he can say "I understand that, I respect that". If you understood and respected the view of same sex couples wanting their unions legally recognised as a marriage, I don't think you'd be agreeing with John. I doubt any gay rights groups will come out and stand by Peter saying "Peter's okay, he understands and respects the way we live".
Howard also said this:
"And I think if the same status is given in our society to gay unions as are given to traditional marriage we will weaken that bedrock institution [of marriage]."
The question that this raises is simple: how? How exactly do you "weaken" a tradition? And if it did, what effect would that have on our wider society? What are you talking about John?
The implication of this whole argument is that gay couples are inherently inferior to heterosexual couples. Obviously, there are certain biological issues there that complicate having children but you can't make a generalisation about it being inferior. Sure, a same sex relationship could be a bad place to raise children but then so can heterosexual relationships. But Howard doesn't lay down facts does he? He doesn't cite research which states that one is better than the other. He doesn't offer proof to support his "view". He's uncomfortable with the idea on a personal level and he's letting that get in the way of his judgement of an issue which matters a great deal to certain members of our society. Formulating policy which affects the private lives of your citizens in that way seems plain wrong to me.
The question here: John, would you allow your party to take a conscience vote in the Parliament on this issue? I'd be interested to see what would come of that.
Webb continues British Open love affair
What's sexist about that? Well, let's devise a fictional headline:
Tiger Woods continues British Open love affair
Somehow I doubt you'd ever see the latter.