So the Australian media has decided that there are these perfectly acceptable opinions on the ‘No’ side of the same sex marriage debate. To be clear: there are acceptable opinions on the ‘No’ side, ones which I really disagree with, but ones which, though implausible, are not out to demonise LGBT peoples or create gay conspiracy theories. This is the substance of the Guardian’s stance on the debate, one I personally agree with.
….and yet. There is a tendency to give these opinions the status of Reasonableness because the bar has been set so low that somebody who makes a cogent argument without claiming the sky is falling in is suddenly elevated to the status of Philosopher-general and is regarded as a serious interlocutor despite their flawed reasoning. And the core tenet of freedom of speech is also the freedom to tell somebody that their arguments are bad. When the ‘No’ campaign complaings about how awfully they’ve been silenced (including some awful if anecdotal examples of genuine abuse), they should remember that having a platform does not remove them from the people in the audience, telling them that their opinion is wrong.