Originally published in the Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun, 28 September 2017

No one wants to seem harsh towards gay friends and family members which is why most people’s initial inclination was to say “yes” to same sex marriage. But that’s starting to change as more and more of us realise that this issue is being exploited by the left-wing activists who are waging war on our way of life.

The issue is less same sex marriage itself than the consequences for parental choice, freedom of speech and freedom of religion that it will bring in its train. Very few Australians would want a Catholic adoption agency to close down, an orthodox Jewish school to have its funding threatened, or parents to be denied information about sex education classes in their children’s schools but these have all flowed from enshrining same sex marriage in the law of comparable countries.

No one should underestimate the scale of the moral and cultural shifts that have accompanied the left’s “long march through the institutions”. Of course, the placards “vote yes for same sex marriage and for (so-called) safe schools” misrepresent the views of most same sex marriage supporters but social re-engineering is certainly the agenda of the counter-cultural warriors who are driving this campaign. They don’t want to join marriage; they want to change it. The more marriage is broadened out, the less it means; but once it means almost anything, it can end up meaning nothing much at all and a great pillar of society designed originally for the protection of women and the nurturing of children has been kicked away.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, there was no doubt a tough and judgmental aspect to life in Australia where much was improperly denied and where many were wrongly kept in a subordinate place. I rejoice at the freedom, the opportunity, and the acceptance that everyone can now take for granted; but I fear a suffocating new orthodoxy as the social pendulum swings from one extreme to another. For all the narrow-mindedness of the recent past, at least there was a clear understanding that the concept of marriage as the loving union of one man with one women preferably for life and usually dedicated to well-being of their children was an essential part of keeping in check the selfish and exploitative side of humanity.

Everywhere we look, what was self-evident just a generation ago is now under assault; and we’re not just junking old prejudices in favour of sensible things like allowing women to tackle numerous roles once reserved for men. It’s becoming a different world where gender is no longer objectively set but is whatever people choose; where pre-pubescent children are permitted (as far as they can) actually to change their sex; where doctors are expected to assist people to die rather than help them to live; and where school-children can’t give each other Christmas cards lest that seem unfair to non-Christians. These are just some of the bewildering moral transformations that are becoming the new normal in this brave new world.

Same sex marriage is the frontal attack on traditional values that can only take place because of the infiltration and erosion that’s been going on for years. So much social change has happened more-or-less without anyone noticing at the time: IVF for singles; adoption for gays; the evolution of fathers’ day and mothers’ day into “special person’s” days. But thanks to an Abbott government commitment, that the Turnbull government has honoured as best it can with the postal plebiscite, the public are finally being asked what they think. And due to the bullying and intolerance of the “yes” forces – the GetUp! petition to strike off a doctor concerned about family values; the sacking of a young Christian girl who posted “it’s ok the say ‘no’” on social media; the notion that anti-SSM MPs should be “hate-f—ed” out of their alleged homophobia; the hounding of Israel Folau for daring to speak out and much more – the public are beginning to sense that the “love is love” campaign isn’t quite as innocent as it sounds.

Of course, the “yes” case has all the money and all the celebrities on their side. The Abbott family’s ballots arrived in the post along with a glossy brochure from some Liberal leaders urging a “yes” vote. Millions of people’s (silent) mobile phone numbers have been bombarded by “yes” text messages. Dozens of big companies are spending shareholders’ money on one side of this argument. Even sporting codes are trying to frog march their followers into voting just one way. We’ll soon find out how influential the politically correct establishment has been. My instinct is that Australians still might surprise everyone and vote against being lectured what to do.