Title: (Not) Walking Away? Credit: Craig Young Comment Saturday 12th March 2016 - 4:14pm1457752440 Article: 18052 Rights
Why is it that the global Christian Right is so incapable of conceding that the days of anti-LGBT activism are numbered? Take two examples, from Australia and the United States. Recently, I reported on the move against transgender rights in the United States. Over the course of a mere month, out of those forty-one anti-transgender state government bills, nineteen have failed. Moreover, they failed completely in Washington state, Wyoming...Virginia and Mississippi, two Southern US states. This isn't the 'new' 'marriage equality', given the successes that the US Christian Right temporarily had over pre-emptive bans until the tide turned. In the case of the victimisation of transgender children, which most of this anti-transgender legislation consists of, the backlash has occurred faster and even within traditional religious conservative Southern US states. Their failure appears to have impacted on some of their overseas satellites. In New Zealand, at one time, Bob McCoskrie of Family First couldn't shut up about anti-transgender "bathroom bill" attacks on transgender child protection and safety. Well, now, given their accelerating failure within the United States, it looks like such anti-transgender legislative proposals are liabilities when it comes to public support and woe betide the unthinking populist or opportunist politician or activist who supports them. When I last looked at Family First's website, it seemed to be focused more intensively on anti-cannabis, anti-porn and banning Wicked camper vans, gangs and stopping liberalisation of Easter trading (which, as a Labour Party supporter, I also support in the latter case). Family First and other US Christian Right satellites tend to be overly dependent on that source for propaganda, tactics and strategy, but if a given tactic or strategy doesn't work, they often walk seem to walk away from the issue and hope no-one else notices. Interestingly enough, what happens when such satellites don't do so is evidenced by the faltering Australian Christian Right tactics against the LGBTI anti-bullying Safe Schools programme. When it comes to Family First, I couldn't help but notice only a single reprint. Possibly, that may be because the Australian Christian Lobby, the chief propagandist against Safe Schools, is regarded as an extremist and loose cannon pressure group amongst more pragmatic religious social conservatives on this side of the Tasman, and its current campaign is viewed as highly reckless. It didn't take Australian LGBTI organisations (or me) long to track down the Australian Christian Lobby's core role in this mischief making agitation and to mobilise accordingly. There are now 70,000 signatures on a petition to maintain the Safe Schools programme against only 10,000 against it. Nor has the narrow range of opponents impressed onlookers, or their harrassment and intimidation tactics against SSC workers, according to the latter's Australian Service Union representatives. It seems to predominantly be the Australian Christian Lobby, religious social conservative MHRs and Senators like Cory Bernardi and George Christensen, the Western Australian State Education Minister Peter Collier, religious social conservative Victorian MLC Bernie Finn and one Cella White, an allegedly 'non-religious' parent opposed to the programme (who was nevertheless covered on the Bible Society of Australia website and popped up on an ABCQ  
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