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DA in Action: Justifying Discrimination

To demonstrate these four core principles in discursive research, let’s examine an interaction between a member of the public who is asking a prominent politician to justify his opposition to same-sex marriage. Unlike other liberal democracies such as the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and Ireland, Australia has yet to legalize same-sex marriage. Within the same-sex marriage debate both in Australia and overseas, pro-gay supporters have frequently attacked the opponents of gay marriage as practising discrimination, in which equal rights are being withheld on the basis of sexual orientation (Harding & Peel, 2006). Opponents of same-sex marriage are thus frequently faced with the delicate task of justifying their position against same-sex marriage, while simultaneously maintaining egalitarian values and principles, which, after all, form the foundational basis of liberal democratic societies. As we will see in the extract below, opposition to same-sex marriage is typically associated with denials of prejudice and discrimination by constructing opposition to same- sex marriage as outside the boundaries of discrimination (see Matthews & Augoustinos, 2012).

The extract below is taken from the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s (ABC) Q & A programme, on 16 August 2010, just days before the Australian federal election, in which Mr Abbott, the then Liberal Opposition Leader, was running for Prime Minister. Here, Mr Abbott is addressed by Mr Thomas, the father of a gay son who questions Mr Abbott’s views against same-sex marriage.

 
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