Tuesday, December 31, 2013
On being a high-hanging fruit
The High Court decision earlier this month on gay marriage was all that could be expected – a firm and prompt (but not hasty in an unseemly way, mind) “no”, in response to an ACT marriage proposal cooked up more in present desperation than in the hope of a considered long term future together.
Some would say that the High Court could have consented to the engagement, at least, at then let the rest harmlessly unravel in its own way (the Commonwealth can strike down any piece of Territory legislation it so wishes). But this would be against the laws of symbiosis – and the High Court is necessarily ever the forlorn pre-fiancée here. That is, a marriage between parliament and judiciary would be an indecent proposal, so the two must simply live together in messy ambiguity, or “in sin” as they used to say. In any event, the never-to-walk-down-the-aisle High Court, while trying its best not to come across as overtly bitter, is structurally an institution which could not possibly be sympathetic to other forlorn brides, in the literal sense.
That’s my reading of it, anyway. If you prefer to see the High Court as a fallen woman, with the Commonwealth parliament conspicuously chaste in contrast, read Geoffrey Luck’s “Rush to judgment has hidden agenda”, Australian Op Ed 27 December 2013 and
David Flint’s prim letter to the editor, in the following day’s Oz. They both seem to believe that the 2004 Howard amendments to the Marriage Act needed no constitutional basis, and that the High Court is showing temerity, if not minx-hood, in suggesting that they do (see also Nicholas Ferrett’s letter next to David Flint’s). “Can no one rid us of these turbulent judges?” asks Geoffrey Luck, possibly rhetorically, but certainly with his hands flapping oh so dramatically, in our minds’ eyes.
In any event, cheer up, Brides of Canberra (now there’s a horror film title, just ripe for the plucking!). The consolation prize is symbiosis – nature’s grand pairing of the straights and the gays.
I love this time of year, for its abundance of sweet ripe fruit. Or, if this ever crosses your mind, the seeds of a parent tree, lovingly packaged up as to be temptingly both removable and consumable, so that the parent tree can spawn far away from its small fixed orbit of reproduction. Gays, rejoice in being fruit!
We can start with the boast that we’re highly pluckable – some of us, anyway. (I’m a high hanger, or so I like to think. Which leaves my plucking: (i) for the birds, or (ii) for the intrepid). And some fruit – citrus comes to mind – has thorns, but you can always choose scurvy (a straightly-named disease if ever there was) instead.
Not worth dwelling on, perhaps, but still needing to be mentioned, is another sort of pointy end – how the seeds, or the fruit’s payload (from the parent tree’s perspective) get delivered into the soil, so they stand a chance of taking root in a faraway fresh territory.
We fruit must thus usually be (ahem) spat out or shat out. Of course, modern rubbish-collection and sewerage systems rather disrupt such natural payload delivery. Which is possibly why, in a very roundabout way, gay sex came to be viewed as deeply unnatural in Victorian toilet-obsessed times. That is, c .1870 fruit fruit became divorced from its symbiosis of a reproductive inner and attractively packaged outer, while gay “fruits” similarly fell out of symbiosis, and into singularity.
So that’s gay reproduction for you – how in unlikely outer suburbs and country towns, far away from the base of the tree, as it were, a new generation is seeded. Sexuality, if not also marriage, can spring from even “the poorest Methodist chapel”, as Geoffrey Luck so quaintly puts it.