Well, it looks like this ‘respectful debate’ we’re about to have on marriage equality is off to an extraordinarily bad start: an ABC journalist was sent an anonymous postcard threatening his views on marriage equality.

Michael Rowland, who co-presents ABC News Breakfast, posted a pic of the postcard to Twitter this morning.

It says:

“Mick,

So you approve of sodomy. Sodomite in the family? A filthy practice. You don’t really believe the “polls” do you? If they are accurate then why are the homosexual brownshirts so opposed to the plebiscite? It cannot be the money. AIDS costs the country more annually. It’s because they will lose. The sad fact is you are just another media poppet instructed by your degenerate superiors. “Tow the line” or walk. But it is our ABC.”

Unsurprisingly, the postcard didn’t come with a return address.

It comes one day after the Senate voted against restoring the same-sex marriage plebiscite to the agenda, meaning the government is now forging ahead with a postal vote.

As The Monthly pointed out, it took less than a day for Turnbull, who is pro marriage equality but too chicken-shit to actually make it happen, to change his stance on this so-called ‘respectful debate’.

Two days ago, he brushed off concerns, asking if “we think so little of our fellow Australians and our ability to debate important matters of public interest that we say: ‘You’re not able to have a respectful discussion about the definition of marriage’, which is a very significant, important, fundamental element in our law and in our culture?”

One day later, and he’d changed his tune. “In any debate there will be statements made that are offensive, which many will regard as extreme, which many will regard as wrong,” he said. “I can tell you, in this debate, I will be encouraging Australians to vote yes… others will encourage them to vote no. And I urge every participant in the debate to act with responsibility and respect for those on the other side. But how they act is a matter for them … and they will be judged by Australians as will their arguments.”

Nice to see the leader of Australia basically saying that yeah, the queer community will be subject to hate but it’s okay, because other people will call them out on it.

Meanwhile, you have Lyle Shelton calling the kids of same-sex parents a “stolen generation”, Bronwyn Bishop equating marriage equality with polygamy and beastiality, and Tony Abbott using his considerable platform to go full culture wars and argue that voting ‘no’ to marriage quality “will help to stop political correctness in its tracks.”

Respectful debate my ass.

Image: Michael Rowland / Twitter