Human rights

Bernard Gaynor has been kicked out of the army. Good.

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(image courtesy ABC TV News)

Following Major Bernard Gaynor's sacking from the Australian Army for his relentless homophobic and anti-Islamic crusade, unrepentant, he continues unabated on social media. Timothy Cootes comments.

“And when we are in God’s army, victory is assured.”

Who is speaking here? A crackpot jihadist of the Islamic State of Iraq? A theocrat from an earlier century?

A reasonable assumption, but wrong. Except for the crackpot part.

These are the words of now ex-Major Bernard Gaynor, veteran of Iraq, brief Senate candidate, proudly Catholic homophobe, and scourge of modern Australia.

Gaynor came to public attention in the 2013 election campaign, when he fearlessly asserted his opposition to having his children taught by gay teachers. Gaynor was found to have breached even Katter’s Australian Party’s rather lax standards on looniness and dense remarks, and he was subsequently dumped.

Gaynor’s political campaign ended, but others were in the works: the relentless bullying of transgender army speechwriter, Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor; the ongoing vilification of Muslims; and the interrogation of the place of women and homosexuals in the military.

Homosexuals are a sticking point.

The army, to its credit, is engaged in a process of cultural transformation following the scandals of the last few years. Part of this is creating an atmosphere of greater acceptance of homosexuality in the army ranks, which led to Defence participation in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Gaynor took more than minor issue with this, which was an all too predictable reaction, given that he once told Out in Perth magazine that homosexuality should be criminalised. Gaynor took to his blog and other media outlets to lambast the military higher-ups, the gays and just about everyone else.

Gaynor’s scabrous polemics have found a niche conservative audience and he has had some supportive nuzzling from Paul Sheehan at the Sydney Morning Herald.

But his actions and words became too much for his bosses to bear. The army allows its officers to engage in political and religious activity. This isn’t an issue of free speech. But there are pretty reasonable limitations on being a public asshole, which Bernard Gaynor was clearly found to be.

Here is former Defence Force Chief General David Hurley putting it mildly:

“Your public comments demonstrate attitudes that are demeaning and demonstrate intolerance of homosexual persons, transgender persons and women and are contrary to the . . . cultural change currently being undertaken within the Army.”

And so, on July 11, Defence terminated Major Gaynor’s commission, and this is a decision to be welcomed.

Spend time on Gaynor’s blog (not too much time, though, as it becomes depressing) and you see not just one man’s opposition to society’s accommodation of homosexuality, but a losing confrontation with the values of modern Australia.

Last month, a Crosby-Textor poll found that 72 per cent of Australians think that gay marriage should be legalised. A collective yawn greeted Ian Thorpe’s coming out. MPs and the public are pushing a conscience vote on the issue and a bill that would recognise gay marriages performed overseas.

Bernard Gaynor is loathsome indeed, but also lonely.

I feel a bit sorry for him. So Bernie (may I call you Bernie?), I’m here to help.

Give it up. You put up a good fight. I know you just lost your job. You’ve got time on your hands. But there isn’t enough time in the day to dispense all the hate you have for the gays, the feminists, atheists, the gays, environmentalists, Muslims, the Greens and the gays. How terribly burdensome this must be!

I thought you were indefatigable, but your most recent tirades lack energy.

You recently tweeted your top 10 reasons why gay marriage isn’t real marriage, and number 1 was:

Oh, Bernie. This is unimprovably stupid.

You have my sympathy, Bernie, but also my gratitude. When a history of the struggle for marriage equality in Australia is written, Bernard Gaynor deserves at least a paragraph of acknowledgement. He has worked harder than anyone else and insulted everyone along the way. In doing so, he has made the opposition argument look so ridiculous, I am convinced that he has actually advanced the marriage equality cause.

Come out of that dark, suffocating closet, Bernie. Join the winning side. We have light. And parades. And an impending victory.

And of that, Bernie, you can be assured.

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Bernard Gaynor has been kicked out of the army. Good.

Following Major Bernard Gaynor's sacking from the Australian Army for his relent ...  
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