22 September 2017

Dear Michael Sukkar

I really need to respond to your appalling behavior on Q&A.

There is this prevailing concern that I have about the no vote playing victim simply because they are held to task about arguments that are not true.

You pointed to the fact that someone at an SSM rally had a safe schools banner.

SSM is about rights.  Safe schools is about harm minimization.  I don’t find it surprising that there are people that support both rights and harm minimization.  But you are a smart man and you know very well that does not mean that there is any link between the two.  There is no more a causal link between SSM and safe schools than there is between a “yes” vote and someone marrying the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which I think we can all agree is ludicrous.

Here’s the central problem with this debate as I see it.

The “yes” vote has:

  • peer reviewed literature on how children with same sex parents are often better off,
  • peer reviewed literature on the effect of denying rights on mental health,
  • the learned experience of most of the western world on what the after effects of marriage equality really are,
  • other examples of the difference between secular law and the church, such as divorce for Catholics, and
  • Personal stories of the effect that not having equality has on real people for things like access to loved ones in hospital.

This is all physical evidence.

I absolutely believe in your right to an opinion – and by that I mean … here is the floor Mr Sukkar.  Take the floor and give us your arguments.  I will hear you out.  But please actual arguments based on real evidence.

You see, so far not one single person on the “no” camp has been able to give me any evidence of any argument against marriage equality at all.  Sure people can voice opinions with no evidence, but when you do that and I say – “that’s crap” (or Penny Wong calls it shameful) – you are not being attacked or shouted down for your opinion.  It’s dismay that people can tell such bold untruths in a debate that effects people’s lives.  If I said vote “yes” because all no voters will grow a second head after the poll, you would no doubt tell me “that’s crap” – because it is!  Not that it would affect your life one little bit.

Now if you say to me… “vote no because I have a deeply held religious belief”, I can’t argue with that.  No one can prove or disprove God or anything that she may or may not have said.  Vote no on faith reasons if you must, even though we are not talking about religious marriage.  That is your right.

But when you start pointing to schools, the children and the harbor bridge – then you need to come armed with evidence, and the “no” vote needs to stop playing victim when they make claims that are shameful.

David Puls, Sydney


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