And there we have it. Garth McVicar, former head wizard of that Klan-like organisation, the Sensible Sentencing Trust, has once again shown his true colours. His submission on the marriage amendment bill, erroneously linking gay relationships to crime, confirms beyond all doubt what drives the man. Hate. Fear. Ignorance. How proud opponents of gay marriage must be to have him on their side. A little loopy, perhaps, but a man of principle, nonetheless.
People have said we shouldn't give McVicar the coverage; that he doesn't deserve it. Have to disagree. His views are so blatantly toxic, so clearly unfounded and openly bigoted they richly deserve the attention they get. Let him be seen (yet again) for what he is. I mean, most marriage-equality opponents have the naked cunning to disguise their homophobia and intolerance. But not our Garth. He's happy to be the poster-boy for the feeble-minded.
Those who know anything of McVicar will know he's opposed to many things. But what he seems to oppose most is anything that challenges his belief that the corruption-plagued, institutionally-violent and pedophile-ridden world of his (and my parents') generation offered a better life than today. Yes, forget the wife beating, the rape, the child molestation and widespread abuse of (male) authority for a moment. Everything was rosier in Garth's day.
According to McVicar's submission, marriage equality would represent an erosion of what he considered basic values and morals that had "stood the test of time". He despaired for the traditional family. And you can see what he means. What, with the 1986 homosexual reform bill; Norm Kirk's Dependent Person's Benefit, moves that allowed women to leave an abusive husband. Jeepers, they even made rape within marriage illegal in 1985.
It might be that Garth would like to return to a time when domestic abuse was so rife no-one even bothered to report it; when there was no law preventing a husband from raping his wife, and when a woman could hardly get a job, let alone a bank loan. He might want to champion an era when unquestioning respect for elders meant the unwelcome attentions of scoutmasters, priests, nuns, teachers and scores of pseudo uncles and aunts. That's his business.
In doing so, however, he extolls the virtues of an age when the male of the species could slap around his wife, never mind his children, with impunity. An age when a woman's complaint about domestic violence would be laughed out of a police station; when male aggression was king, and when the WAGs knew their place. That was the truth of Garth's good ol' days. Not as much ad-hoc violence, maybe; but plenty of the institutionalised variety.
Happily, more of us seem to be rejecting Garth's deluded version of the past. It's been bad enough reading about his support for re-introducing beatings in the home and at school but his absurd comments about gay marriage and crime should only strengthen support for Louisa Wall's bill. Only the metaphorically blind can fail to see the irony in McVicar's claim; that he somehow represents the forces of good, and marriage equality, the path of all wrong.
And that's why his comments deserve all the exposure they can get. They paint him as a sad old man, chronically opposed to change, who prefers to lean on his most base and hateful instincts rather than accept his involvement in the errors of our past. Just about all of us can see that; his views represent the way backwards. The dark side. Well then, if he wants to be the face of the opposition to marriage equality, we should offer him every assistance.
» Read more of Richard Boock in the Sunday Star Times.
» Follow Richard on Twitter: @richardboock.
- Auckland Now