Barnaby Joyce was on Radio National this morning talking about various things, including the same sex marriage survey thingee. I actually share his view: I am not convinced that politicians participating in the debate is actually all that helpful to whichever side they are arguing for. Joyce has a pragmatic view that its a social issue on which not that many people are open to changing their minds, and the very nature of the issue makes it more likely that people can be easily put off by the tone of those who are trying to convince them.
Barnaby sounds like me - finding both sides on this pretty irritating: the "yes" side with its attitude that they are so obviously right they can't comprehend why anyone reasonable would disagree, a view which is as ahistorical as it is possible to be; the "no" side too easily wants to portray the nuclear heterosexual family in some sort of Norman Rockwell glow which is not very realistic in its own way, as well as often displaying a lack of appreciation about how bad things used to be homosexuals. (There are other aspects of how both sides argue that get up my nose, but I won't bother running through them now.)
Joyce just quietly says he will vote no, because he just thinks that the way things are has served society well, and I actually agree that this is about just as much as the "no" voting politician need say. Similarly, a modest acknowledgement of the "yes" vote that marriage is something that some gay relationships want to participate in, and not encouraging a victimhood mentality if they don't get it, would be appreciated.
But I would not be surprised if the perverse outcome of more debate about it is less participation, not more.