AS the postal vote for same sex marriage enters its final weeks and pundits believing the "yes" vote will likely succeed, both sides are pulling out all stops.

Warning us religious freedoms, freedom of speech, parental choices and our children's futures are at stake (all while avoiding the issue of gaybies - children of same-sex partners), as well as the livelihoods of all those bakers, florists and other businesses who want to refuse service to marrying gay couples if the "yes" vote wins, the "no" campaign continues to rely on arousing suspicion and apprehension to persuade.

Even so, it seems their blatant fear-mongering and irrelevant (to the question on the survey) distractions haven't discouraged the majority of Australians from expressing their desire to see a basic human right to love and commit to whom we choose - the thrust of the "yes" vote - extended to all in our society.

The biggest fear is that even the eventual winner will be, in essence, a loser as it won't end the vitriol, or anger/despair its unleashed or guarantee anything in law.

Nonetheless, with five million votes still up for grabs, the focus remains upon gaining numbers.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Perhaps this is why backbencher and staunch "no" advocate, Tony Abbott has made the decision to return to the US at the end of the month and once again address the Christian right-wing organisation, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

The No campaign has tried to link marriage equality with a grab bag of unrelated issues, including Safe Schools and free speech. (Pic: Peter Parks/AFP)
The No campaign has tried to link marriage equality with a grab bag of unrelated issues, including Safe Schools and free speech. (Pic: Peter Parks/AFP)

Defined by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLA) in the US as an anti-LGBTI hate group, the ADF not only supports the recriminalisation of homosexuality - in the US and overseas - but according to the SPLC website, it has also "defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has linked homosexuality to paedophilia and claims that a 'homosexual agenda' will destroy Christianity."

Abbott states he's "honoured" to be invited to speak to this group again.

Really?

Surely, he understands he's not only legitimating the ADF and all they stand for by appearing, but aligning himself with their beliefs and practices as well.

While his first trip to the US to speak to the ADF last year drew raised brows and concerns, this second trip is obviously timed to ensure Abbott will not only have whatever ammunition he needs to water down any consequent legislation arising out of a conscience vote on SSM, but also demonstrate his zealotry towards another cause that, post being PM and regardless of his party's position, he's made his own.

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott leaves the chamber during House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, October 18, 2017.
Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott leaves the chamber during House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, October 18, 2017. AAP Image - Lukas Coch

Even among the "no" voters, there are those finding his blinkered approach to garnering support problematic - much like a great deal of the "evidence" and examples put forward by the "no" campaign overall.

Many commentators have noted that the "no" movement, rather than addressing the question at hand, has relied on a series of negative hypotheticals and furphies to instil fear and anxiety about the future of society in an undecided public.

They've also relied on one or two limited examples (of businesses affected by SSM, of parents' and children's rights being eroded - claims that didn't suffer scrutiny) in populations of millions to carry their case.

Likewise, the Safe Schools program, which is already in place and being taught became, not only a convenient scapegoat, but apparently, the brainchild of SSM. The logic is, well, illogical and, frankly, wrong.

If everyone was really thinking about the children, then surely, it's to create a world of acceptance, tolerance and all sorts of freedoms - not only the religious kind.

It seems the only kind the ADF and Abbott want to defend are those of Christian, straight people.

Last month, Abbott told a Brisbane gathering of "no" voters that not only was the "yes" vote a "Left" strategy (despite evidence it has long transcended any political ideology), but inferred that with this vote, "the sleeping giant of Australian decency, the sleeping giant of people who love our country and want it to be at its best, might just have been awakened".

Drawing a long bow and making false and damaging connections between SSM and Australian society has been the shtick of the "no" campaign, but surely, in staking a claim on morality, decency and love of nation as the sole purview of "no" voters, Abbott went too far.

If so, then what does his being "honoured" to speak a designated hate group signify?

Unable to accept not only his party's stance, but the majority of the public from all sides of politics, ideologies and faiths, Abbott and his ilk are determined to stand against what's been described as an "encroaching secularising liberalism" (like that's a bad thing) and push a specific religious agenda, even if it means colluding with a religiously-aligned, nominated hate group.

If that's the level to which some are prepared to stoop, then God help us all.


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