The problem with Bob
Australia’s renegade QLD MP Bob Katter appeared on morning television today and was taken aback when asked a question about gay constituents and the issue of same sex marriage.
The interview showed the passion that Mr Katter has for rural Australians - particularly those who suffer from mental health issues. There’s one thing that we should all agree on and that’s that too many Australians are lost to suicide. All Australians should be able to participate in an environment where they feel able to grow, learn and actively contribute to and feel included in the community.
Bob’s passion for the many farmers who take their own lives is admirable. You can tell he cares deeply about this issue.
What is disappointing is that he can’t see the parallels that queer Australians feel about their peers - particularly young ones - who also feel disconnected from the community.
Marriage equality is a huge part of this disconnection. It’s one of the major social, cultural and legal barriers that tells queer Australians that they are lesser people. This, I believe has major implications for the health of queer Australians.
I don’t care if I get ever get married. What I do care about is that the next generation of young Australians can feel that they are a valued part of the community regardless of their race, cultural background, geographic location, socio economic background or of course - sexuality.
Specifically defining marriage as a heterosexual union has mental health implications. It’s a value judgement on love - a dangerous one that makes a significant section of the population continue to feel judged, disconnected and devalued. It’s not so much about the institution - it’s about the message it sends.
Bob Katter wants to send a message to farmers and rural Australians that they are valued and that they are an important part of our diverse community. He sends a mixed and dangerous message when he applies different standards to queer Australians.
All Australians deserve to feel a part of our community. That’s why marriage equality is important.
Mental health affects Australians across many diverse parts of the community. As a parliamentary representative he should advocate for ALL of those groups in his electorate and across the country who want to be part of the community because they all deserve a happy, healthy and positive future.