SITTING there was a courageous act.
They were there standing against the tide, trying to stop something that they felt - and know in their own hearts - to be bad for Australia.
They were the few and the brave while others fled like cowards.
One was Queensland's behatted rogue Bob Katter, a man who has repeatedly claimed there to be not a single gay person in his 570,000 sqkm patch of Kennedy. In his seat, 53.3% voted no.
There was Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt who defied voters of his electorate (who voted 50.7% yes) to sit solemnly as winds of change blew through the Parliament on Thursday.
Why Hinkler's Keith Pitt voted 'No' to same-sex marriage yesterday instead of abstaining.— Owen Jacques (@Owenjay) December 8, 2017
"In this place I believe you should always have the courage of your convictions". #marriageequality #politics, pic.twitter.com/a0xLkShJbP
Maranoa MP David Littleproud also represents one of the few Queensland seats not to support same-sex marriage - 56.1% voted no. He stood firm with them.
And finally was Victoria's Russell Broadbent, the MP for McMillan - a seat which overwhelmingly backed same sex marriage. Almost two-thirds of his seat demanded change.
When the final vote was called, almost the entire House of Representatives deserted their seats to stand for marriage equality. They backed the will of the Australian people, some even backing same-sex marriage against the wishes of their constituents.
They stood up and were counted and when the vote passed they were jubilant and celebrated.
The four noes-man faced up to their certain defeat. They watched as the war against same-sex marriage was lost. They watched love win.
History may judge them for their stance, but noone will doubt how they faced it.
Compare that to the cowardice of those who vanished into the ether as history was being made.
The Daily Telegraph reports Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce, Dawson MP George Christensen and others disappeared at the most critical moment of the same-sex marriage discussion. Not strong enough to vote yes or no, they hid and "abstained".
Christensen hours earlier was ferocious in his attacks. He slammed the "politically correct Canberra mob" and cheerleaders in the gallery for celebrating "the erosion of religious liberty".
"There they go, cheering again, cheering again, when I'm specifically saying eroding religious liberty, they support that," he said.
"That is the voice of tolerance today, and I am disgusted. I am absolutely disgusted that we are going down this track".
But that disgust did not translate into action. Christensen could have been with the other four and been among the voices to stand against a law they despise. But no.
Abbott too said the government made a promise to ensure religious freedoms were respected.
"The promise has not adequately been delivered upon," he said, before demanding to know why a bill should be passed into law just because the Senate supported it.
"Why is it that simply because something has been passed in the Senate, these are tablets of stone handed down from the mountain top beyond any question or consideration or delay by this House?"
When it was time to show his mettle, he scuttled away.
Out of respect for the millions of Australians who take religious freedom seriously I moved my amendment; out of respect for the millions who want the SSM bill swiftly passed I chose not to divide on it— Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) December 6, 2017
The four that remained steadfast in their fight against same-sex marriage were left behind by the cowards. They were left to be photographed for the history books as the men who said no until the very end.
And that takes courage.
Whatever your view on same-sex marriage, these men took their stance - right or wrong - and will be judged for it.
The ones who disappeared from view ought to face a much harsher judgement.
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