I had one of those moments this weekend – you know, where you see a cute guy walking down the street and all these images start racing through your mind – the wedding, the marriage, how our future kids will look like. Or thinking about my past relationships and how I’d fantasise about my future – married, raising beautiful brown children in a beautiful house in suburban Sydney. It has dawned on me that it is such a privilege to be in this position as a straight Australian woman, that I have the opportunity to have my (future) marriage legally recognized and socially accepted.
Unfortunately many friends, loved ones and thousands of other Australians are denied this right. For those outside of Australia – we are now subject to a nationwide debate on whether or not marriage between two people of the same sex should be recognized by law. The Australian government will be spending $122 million on a non-binding survey (i.e. even with a resounding YES outcome, changing the definition of legal marriage may still not be passed through parliament). We have the loud and proud YES voters, and an equally visible group of NO voters. What I am afraid of is this silent majority. We saw it with the election of Donald Trump and Brexit – and I am afraid that we will bear the same fate.
What does make me faithful is that I just came home from the biggest Marriage Equality Rally in Australia to date – with sources stating that up to 40,000 people marching in solidarity with our LGBT brothers and sisters (and our other gender fluid friends), rallying for everyone to VOTE YES. I encourage everyone to participate in this survey (and vote yes) – and if you are on the fence or have decided that you don’t want to vote… or even if you are a no voter – I’d be more than happy for you to send me a message so we can have a chat.
As a summary – here’s why I’ll be voting YES in the upcoming Marriage Equality survey and some of the counter arguments of the ‘no’ campaign:
Separation of Church and State
Firstly, I think people need to understand that we are rallying to have same-sex marriage to be recognized in a legal sense. There is a clear difference between a religious marriage and civil marriage. As a secular country, we must understand this clear definition.
What would Jesus do…
I’ve been hearing a lot of Bible quoting, and disclaimer here – I am not well versed on the Bible or theology nor am I a particularly religious person. But what I do remember being raised in a Catholic home is that Jesus was cool af and he loved everyone, regardless! What happened to loving thy neighbor and not judging others? And all of the anti-gay rhetoric – doesn’t that all come from the Old Testament where they advocate for things like slavery and beating your wife if she disobeys you? (I apologise for not having quoted sources here – I would, but I don’t have enough time to trawl through Google)
**edit to above: should read that parts of the Old Testament have been used to justify actions such as wife-beating and slavery.
What is ‘traditional marriage’ anyway?
The concept of marriage is not owned by any religion. Marriage predates most major religions anyway! ‘Traditionally’ marriage was an economic exchange between families – where daughters were essentially being ‘sold’ to other families. Back in the day the age of consent for a woman to get married was 12 years old. And what about interracial marriage? That was ‘traditionally’ unacceptable and deemed unnatural. It was only in 1967 where interracial marriage was legalised in the United States. My point is – as a society, we have evolved our ideas on love, relationships and marriage have progressed and our laws should reflect this change.
Someone think of the children!
Sorry to break it to you – but regardless of the outcome of this survey. Gays and lesbians will still be having children. But what legalizing SSM does is redefine, accept and embrace what family means in the 21st Century. People argue that the family unit should have a mother and father to “raise children right”. Personally, coming from a family with divorced parents and witnessing friends coming from single parent homes, and considering that one-third of marriages in Australia will end in divorce anyway – I think it’s safe to say that allowing gay people to have families will not in any way have any negative affect on the children.
But the gays get to have their relationships recognized as defacto in Australia…
True, there is some legal recognition of same sex relationships. However there are some key legal differences between a defacto relationship and marriage in Australia. This involves children, property, barriers to access of government benefits in the instance of one partner passing away and partners being refused to see their partners in hospital, as they are not considered immediate family. (Trying to find a great source to link here – someone please send along!)
Next thing you know – we’ll be rallying to allow paedophilia and beastiality.
This one is a real facepalmer. HUGE difference between homosexuality, paedophilia and beastiality is that basic concept of ‘consent’. What you have in a same-sex relationship is two consenting adults agreeing to be a part of this relationship. I don’t think this question should further be dignified with an answer because equating homosexuality with paedophilia and beastiality makes me ill…
But I don’t believe in gay marriage?
Easy – don’t have a gay marriage. But why should your beliefs infringe on the rights of others who all they want to do is have their relationship recognized by the state?
What about this respectful debate?
What respectful debate can you have when it comes to human rights? What is happening is that allowing this survey is permitting hateful and judgmental rhetoric against our LGBT brothers and sisters. It’s like asking to have a respectful debate against allowing interracial couples to marry. We should not be ‘debating’ this issue, it is something that our government, democratically elected leaders of this country should have a free vote and pass through parliament.
How does this affect me?
For many people – this survey doesn’t affect you at all. But chances are, you know someone who identifies as bi or homosexual (and if you don’t they are staying in the closet in fear) – please do the right thing and stand up and VOTE YES. At the end of the day, it is a human rights issue – where people should be able to legally have their relationships recognized regardless of whether their partner is a man or a woman.