“By virtue of who I am, prejudice and discrimination and things I have first-hand knowledge of,” says Penny Wong, Australia’s lesbian climate change minister and Labor Party member, who’s come out against same-sex marriage rights. Oh great, because this woman is doubely a minority, it’s time to excuse her endorsement of discrimination?
Rattling off a list of past accomplishments, including veterans affairs and health care, on Q&A, ABC Australia’s political chat show, Wong is building a case to defend her party line position on marriage equality. “I accept that you and some other people in the community would like us [the Labor Party] to have a different position in terms of marriage. That isn’t the position of the party. What I would say to you is, Do take a moment to consider what we have tried to do, what we’ve advocated for, and what we’ve delivered for gay and lesbian Australians.”
Adds the blatant quisling: “I have a view that you join a team, you’re part of the team. That’s the way we operate, and people sometimes like that and sometimes they don’t.”
Fires back Christine Miles, of a Green party, “This is a real lack of leadership and another example of the prime minister [Julia Guillard's] lack of leadership.”
It’s likely true: Wong’s membership in the Labor Party has, perhaps, brought many pro-LGBT measures to the forefront. But it’s inexcusable to say “that’s good enough” and to fall back into line with your party’s leadership on an issue that’s so clearly one of equal rights. Penny Wong may have done great things for the gay community, but to say that belonging to an exclusive club means you must sacrifice morality and ethics is a sham argument, and she should be ashamed.
Wong can still belong to Labor while refusing to go along with the charade. She can say she disagrees with PM Guillard’s position, and she’s working to change minds. We’re not so ignorant to disregard that Wong belonging to Guillard’s cabinet means she must stay on message, but no party position that advocates discrimination is one worth standing your ground over.