I have resisted in my various online personas to get too much into the discussion on marriage equality because there are many voices out there saying all the things that I think and believe but I think it is time to put my thoughts and feelings on this forward too.
As someone who has been in a same sex relationship for over 31 years I understand the desire to formalise and get proper recognition of that relationship. After all this time neither my partner or I would probably want to walk down the aisle and have a wedding but I will always be an advocate of marriage equality! Why you ask? Well to start with I think for me it does come down to equality and that our relationships should all be given the same recognition in Australia and that if we chose to then we should be able to have that recognition in the eyes of the government, the law and our friends and family.
Unlike those in power in Canberra at the moment I think that their narrow mindedness is based on a fear that this would be an unpopular move, or a delusion that the rest of the country is just as conservative as they are…but if you look at any of the opinion polls on same sex marriage you will see that over 60% of people are in support of it. What does that say? It certainly doesn’t back the notion that the majority think that marriage should remain as something that is just between a man and a woman but something that should be open to all people who want to celebrate and have recognised a union of 2 people who love and care for each other!
We are constantly barraged with a range of ‘Christian’ views on marriage and these are rolled out by a range of people across the country, but I have a number of friends who consider themselves practicing Christians who support same sex marriage. They do not see any conflict with their beliefs and support the right of 2 committed people who want to get married to get married. It always surprises me that in a country like Australia, that I always think of as being quite progressive and forward thinking that we have to be so far behind so many other countries that have a more radical stauncher right wing element attached to it. The United States is a perfect example, where the President has come out in support of marriage equality and a number of states have legalised same sex marriage and yet here in Australia we have the ACT passing laws for same sex marriage only to once again have them challenged in the High Court by the Federal Government…
Then there are the other states who would also like to push forward with same sex marriage but now are waiting to see what happens with this High Court challenge. I also think that whilst we have our parliament both federally and state dominated by men who are all over 55 or 60 then they will continue to bring with them their out dated notions of what marriage actually is without really listening to what those of the younger generation want and what other people think about it.
I find it amazing that our current Prime Minister, who has a lesbian sister who wants to wed her partner, would stay so vehemently apposed to same sex marriage when it is right in front of him. But then I suppose his conservatism has always been at the fore and it should not really surprise me, but I would hope that if and when it is once again introduced into Federal Parliament (if they let it be introduced and do not change the rules on private members bills) that he allows those in Government to have a conscience vote this time.
It is obviously not an issue that is central to everyone’s thoughts on what is important to them (think climate change, the soaring cost of utilities here in Australia and the cost of living). I suspect if marriage equality did occur in Australia, that the world would not end (like some would have us believe will happen) and that it would very quickly just become one of those things that happens out their in the community for people that want it. It will be 2 men or 2 women that we occasionally see on the weekend in the local park having photos taken as they celebrate their love for each other or a reception at a hotel or restaurant celebrating with family and friends a ceremony that recognises and highlights the love and commitment of 2 people.
Same sex couples will continue to be part of our society, whether there is marriage equality or not; they will live next door to you, will have their children attend the same schools as your children and will continue to be productive members of the community. This is just the final step in recognition that our relationships are just as valid and valued as those of our heterosexual brothers and sisters.
Surely the time has come for us to move on this issue and allow people who are in loving, committed relationships to have the right to marry?