Do we get to stop calling Australia’s lesbian Sen. Penny Wrong, the nation’s finance minister, a quisling now that she’s finally come out in support of same-sex marriage? After toeing the line of Australian Labor Party boss Julia Gillard, the prime minister, Wong has finally come out in support of legalizing same-sex marriage and wants her party to change its own policy. Took long enough.
Wong, the nation’s first openly lesbian and Asian-born cabinet minister, has long defended Gillard’s anti-gay stance on marriage in a disgusting betrayal of her own community. She went so far as to claim that “by virtue of who I am, prejudice and discrimination and things I have first-hand knowledge of,” so we should somehow respect her support of marriage discrimination because hey, she’s dealt with discrimination.
It was bullshit. And now she’s all but admitting it, the Australian reports:
Senator Wong today backed a motion passed at the ALP conference in South Australia for a federal policy change in favour of gay marriage. The openly gay senator from South Australia seconded an amended motion by the Florey sub-branch at today’s conference. In doing so, she broke her silence over the national debate on equal marriage rights with a deeply personal speech about the need for the Labor Party to respect the principles of equality. [...]
Senator Wong, a Left factional ally of the Prime Minister, shifted her public position by announcing she would advocate at national conference for a policy change “to support equality including in relation to marriage for same sex couples”.
“Like many in this room, I do know what it is like to be a subject of prejudice,” Senator Wong said, noting she joined the ALP because it stood for equality and had historically worked against discrimination. “There has been some commentary which has confused my position of not commenting publicly on this issue with my position on the actual issue itself. I have been privileged and honoured, not only of being a member of our party, but an elected member of the federal parliament and of the federal Labor cabinet. I have had the opportunity to advocate for equality at the highest levels of our party and within our party processes, as I do today. And I will do so again at the next national conference. Talking about change is not the same as delivering it,” Senator Wong said. This state was the first state in this nation to decriminalise homosexuality, why should we now resile from expressing our views, our support for the principles of equality here today?”
Sound familiar? It should, because Wong used those same lines to once explain why she wouldn’t break with the Labor Party to support her gay peers.
So what changed? Politics, of course. There has been growing pressure from the Greens in particular to vote on gay marriage, an increase in state territories embracing marriage, and support from colleagues like Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek.
And while it’s simply wonderful to see any politician supporting gay marriage, it’s also simply disgusting to see elected officials turn their backs on the rights of their own community “for the good of the party.”