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This pollie got it right


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We need to stay out of people's lives when their behaviour affects no one else.

Tim Kaine, Hilary Clinton’s running mate, made three statements in the US vice-presidential debate that, when considered together, are telling. They were:

Whether abortion or same-sex marriage, governments must let people make their own choice.

Whether abortion or same-sex marriage, governments must let people make their own choice. Pic: iStock

  • I am a devout catholic
  • I do not believe in abortion
  • Each woman must make her own decision
  • Kaine is dead against abortion and even campaigned successfully against government-funded abortions. But he is also of the view that while he will never condone it, it is a woman’s right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy or not.

    He noted that each individual has to take responsibility for their ethical decisions. In my view, this is hard to argue with.

    My father has always encouraged me to believe that the choices we make should be free if those choices have no direct impact on others.

    I absolutely agree, and to a very large extent, this is what Tim Kaine was saying.

    To my mind, this rule certainly applies in the case of gay marriage.

    I struggle to see how two blokes marrying has any effect on me, or anyone other than themselves. The same is surely true of two women.

    Further to this, what two people do in their bedroom has no effect on anyone but them, so why should any of us - or government - be involved in controlling it.

    Conservatives talk a great deal about our nanny state and the over-regulation of business and society in general. But they still want to regulate what people do, when it has no impact on anyone else.

    A woman should have the right to an abortion and the ethical issues should be hers to wrestle with.

    Personally, I am not at all comfortable with abortion, but I have no right to reflect that view on others.

    Two people who want to marry should be able to marry, regardless of their gender.

    I think marriage is an absurd concept with little merit, but I have no right to inflict that view on others – regardless of their gender.

    Why do we try and control the behaviour of people when that behaviour affects no one else?

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