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A fabulous photo that was taken for a story I did recently on Marriage Equality for Community News Group.

As a person who has been in a relationship with my same-sex partner for over 35 years I have from time to time discussed and thought about marriage.  I suppose when I reflect we go against the grain on some levels.  We co-parented 2 children with 2 amazing lesbians many years ago and since that time we have seen our children grow into amazing young adults.  We have walked our daughter down the aisle when she got married and we have welcomed 5 grand children into our lives.

The issue of marriage equality has been front and centre for a number of years now and we have had the issue of getting married raised by our oldest grand child.  It was about  2 years ago that our 11 year old grandson said to me, “Poppy why can’t you and Grandad get married?”

Out of the mouths of children, I thought.  A child that only saw 2 people who love each other and did not understand why those 2 people, if they chose, could not get married.

This bought on a great conversation about marriage and the lay of the land at that time here in Australia.

Now here we sit at the beginning of and the further discussion that has been happening out there for the past few years and finally momentum may be turning the tide to get a positive resolution.

It always astounds me that these sorts of issues and debates bring forth so much negativity and vile words and that we cannot conduct these sorts of discussions in a sane, rational and respectful way.  But I also remember back to the days when we were protesting for equal rights in the country and the negative comments and actions of people who did not understand equality.

Whilst I have a preference for those that we vote in to run our country to be the ones who legislate this change without spending $122 million on a non-binding postal survey, I also understand the reality of our political system currently.  We have a PM who is bound by the right wing of his party and if he allowed a conscience vote then he could be rolled from the top job.

It is really quite funny when you look at the roll call of countries that currently have marriage equality in their countries and you then look at Australia and contemplate  how a country that for many years set much the bar with comprehensive and committed societal change could be so far behind the eight ball.  Are our conservatives just digging their heals in on a matter that really does not affect them at all? Or do they really believe the horrible hate speech and vile words that they constantly spout for a 5 second grab on the nightly news!

I think the right wing politicians are evenly spread on this and if this postal survey goes ahead and the Yes vote wins we will see how many of those politicians actually follow the will of the people.  That will be interesting to see.

Now that over 90,000 new people, most of them under 25 enrolling to vote I would think that some of those conservative politicians will begin to get worried as the next election looms as we all know that many of the younger voters do not tend to vote with the conservative side of politics but it was our right wing pollies who wanted this vote.

The following is from the Equality website and it makes some really strong points when having some of those respectful conversations with those people in your lives who may not have thought about this issue and why it matters to you.

 

Some handy tips to talk to your friends, family and co-workers about why equality matters to you.

 

We are now closer to winning marriage equality than at any point in Australian history. We’ve come too far to stop now!

To achieve equality for all Australians, we will need to talk to more people in more ways than ever before. Research shows real life conversations are incredibly powerful. They’re what change hearts and minds.

Moreover, the people you know — whether friends or family, work mates, people at church, your local sporting club – will be far more influenced by their personal conversation with you than by any advert or message they see from an organisation.

That’s why right now, marriage equality supporters are igniting thousands of conversations all across Australia. Some of the people we talk to will already be on board — that’s fantastic, let’s encourage them to take action! Others won’t have thought about it much yet, or won’t be sure where they stand. 

Research shows only a small group of Australians firmly oppose marriage equality. It’s actually something two-thirds of the population support!

But lots of people who may show ‘soft’ support for marriage equality still have questions. The evidence from overseas tells us that by listening, sharing our experiences, and approaching this as a conversation rather than a furious debate, we have a much better chance of bringing as many people as possible along with us.And with that, convincing our MPs not to delay equality any longer.

Now it is over to you.

It’s time to have a conversation. We have some information below to help you, but it is a suggested guide only. (You can also download this information as a PDF here.)

Personal conversations can sometimes be confronting. But they can also be incredibly respectful, beneficial and even joyful. Creating an open space for people to reflect, ask questions and share their concerns means we’re campaigning in-line with the values we stand for — respect, dignity and love. And it means we’re making this journey more positive and unifying. 

Invite some people around, visit your grandparents, or set-up a meeting with your church or community group and chat with them about why you believe in marriage equality.

Now is the time to bring all those people in our lives who do not necessarily think that this is an issue that relates to them on our journey and to encourage everyone who can to vote YES and support those people in their lives which this vote is an important step in our lives!