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Why Using Asia As Point To Argue Against Marriage Equality Is Callous

Many Asian countries are a long way off from accepting LGBTI.

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Marriage equality debate has reached a new low in Australia.

Politicians have used Asia as a yardstick or a moral guidance to argue against marriage equality.

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Senator Eric Abetz says Australia shouldn't legalise gay marriage because no Asian country has done it.

Barnaby Joyce warns #gaymarriage could make us look 'decadent' http://t.co/WhO4aEUnYs

Minister of Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce says gay marriage could make Australia look decadent in the eyes of Asian countries.

One has got to wonder if Mr Abetz and Mr Joyce knew about the struggle of being LGBTI in Asia.

LGBTI in Asia face punishment from the state and religious authorities.

Increasing religious intolerance towards #LGBT Indonesians a narrow interpretation of Islam by religious extremists: https://t.co/GX91AiV31C

Indonesia's most influential body of Islamic clerics, Majlis Ulema Council, has called for caning and even the death penalty for those who engaged in same-sex acts or relations.

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In Brunei, cross-dressing and lesbianism are punishable by fines and imprisonment. Sodomy will soon be punishable by stoning till death.

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In Malaysia, transgender are, and have been, crimininalised by the Islamic law. In 2014, 16 adults were arrested and had their head shaven because they were dressed in women’s clothing. Transwomen have also been sexually assaulted by Religious Department officials.

Malaysia's Prime Minister, Najib Razak, recently said "LGBT activities" were forbidden for all Muslims in Malaysia.

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And because LGBTI acts are seen as sinful, they have been used as a tool to silence political opposition in the country.

There have been reports coming from India and China that homosexuals are getting ‘treatments' to supposedly cure their sexual orientation.

India: Parents use 'corrective rape' to cure their gay children http://t.co/Mp3v1QBpne

In recent years, rape cases in India have been getting worldwide media attention. But not all rape cases. What’s been called ‘corrective rape’ largely remains unnoticed. Indian parents believe it cures homosexuality, and the assailants are usually family members.

In China, social acceptance remains an issue. A 2013 survey shows that 57% of Chinese say that homosexuality should not be accepted by society.

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Not surprisingly, some LGBTI succumb to that notion. Pressured by their family, they seek treatment to correct their sexuality. The treatment includes electroshock therapy.

So, to oppose marriage equality because of reasons associated with Asia is callous especially to those who've been victimised.

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It sends a definitive message to the victims that there are indeed limits to treating LGBTI with the same respect and dignity as everybody else. It is the same message that the abusers have been saying through their actions all along.

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