At this moment in Australia there is a plebiscite (a postal survey to gather opinions) asking Australians if same-sex marriage should be legalised. It is, at its best, ridiculous.
Politicians shirking responsibility of actually having to make a decision on a highly contentious, emotionally charged topic that is in reality a matter of equal rights law, not personal opinion, is not only insidious but truly irresponsible.
For starters the postal vote is optional (in a country where voting is mandatory), doing little more than gauging public feedback on a proposed law change that’s being approached from every angle but rights, and bringing an immense amount of bigotry and hate to the surface. On top of that, the plebiscite is costing tax payers $122 million and — in a ridiculous twist — a Yes vote will send the bill to the floor for the vote that should have just happened in the first place, but a No vote will result in no action for a bill, in effect not giving politicians a chance to actually vote at all and making the opinion poll ‘No’ binding.
What’s worse is that until 2004 same-sex marriage was not actually spelled out as illegal. It was then that an obviously bigoted Prime Minister had a clause added to the marriage act stating that marriage was only for a union of a man and a woman. Yes, 2004.
Now there are plenty of campaigns running to get No voters to vote Yes but I am of the quite sad belief that if someone wants to vote No to giving people who may not be exactly like them the same legal protections in present day society, those people are intolerant racists and nothing will change their mind (nor mine about them). It’s akin to trying to convince a Trump supporter that the big orange man is a raving lunatic — you may as well just bang your head against a wall for all the progress you’ll make.
However there are a whole lot of people out there who either don’t know which way to vote, couldn’t care less, or aren’t really sure why it all matters. Voting Yes to equal legal rights always matters.
But why? Quite simply, because it’s the right thing to do. Because same-sex couples deserve to have their relationship rights protected, to make medical decisions for their partner if, heaven forbid, something happens. To not have to jump through extra, unnecessary, hoops for asset division and custody and recognition.
This is about marriage equality, about giving rights to others, not taking anything away from those who can already get married.
Being hetro doesn’t give you the power to claim marriage only for yourself. There is not a limit to the number of people who can get married in a year, you won’t miss out just because the institution is expanded. Marriage is a constantly changing institution that has been defined and redefined over the years. It is not the sole property of the church — otherwise we wouldn’t be discussing legal laws now would we.
As a matter of fact, according to the ABS – over 70% of marriages in Australia are already performed by celebrants in non-religious civil ceremonies, meaning way more Australians get married outside of the church than in it these days anyway.
It’s already legal to sponsor your same-sex partner for residency, legal to adopt children with them, legal to be recognised in a census as a couple, and illegal to refuse services as a business to someone based on their sexual orientation. It’s utterly ridiculous that applying for a marriage certificate is still not allowed.
And no, these facts do not mean that the LGBTQI should just be happy with the rights they do have and give up on marriage in Australia. Seperate but equal is NOT equal.
While you’re here, this decision of Yes or No, this vote, this bill, has nothing to do with the following:
- It compromises my religion / freedom of religion / religious rights. This is a legal equal rights situation, it has nothing to do with religion. Besides, churches have always been able to decline to marry people who don’t align to their specific demands (sorry, beliefs…), nothing about this law changes that. Churches can still turn people away for all sorts of reasons and less than a quarter of people in Australia are getting married in religious ceremonies anyway. Regardless of how this vote goes churches still won’t have to pay taxes either, but that’s another story for another day. Also, there are plenty of parishes out there supporting the Yes vote because acceptance and love is part of being a good community citizen.
- But the bible says… You can’t cherry pick this one thing from a story written thousands of years ago, then re-written by royalty for political reasons. If you’re wearing mixed materials, eating pretty much anything in modern day society, or ever spoke ill about your parents you’re breaking all sorts of rules. Get off the pulpit, you don’t have a leg to stand on, this is not a vote not about religion and this is not a vote about whether same-sex relationships are legal — they are, it’s already the law — this is about the right to obtain a legal piece of paper for that legal relationship.
- This is a threat to my own sexual orientation. Allowing someone else to get married to a person who is the same sex as them doesn’t mean YOU have to marry someone who is the same sex as you. The same way that the marriage act currently allows Australians to marry their uncle/aunt, cousin, or even niece/nephew (Part III, section 23B (2) if you’re so inclined), provided that the person in question is of legal age (18) and of the opposite sex. Wait, we’re voting on legalising same-sex marriage instead of making ‘keeping it in the family’ illegal? Whatever.
- But the children! Children need a mother and a father and marriage is about bringing children into the world. Blah blah blah. Don’t.even.get.me.started. Under this logic infertile couples or those who choose not to have children shouldn’t be able to marry, couples with children shouldn’t be able to get divorced. This is a personal belief, not a legal argument, ever. Children need loving parents (or even parent), full stop.
- Society will go down hill if we let this happen. Oh like it has in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the USA, and Uruguay where same-sex marriage is already legal? Society is going downhill because of hate, not love. Back in your box.
- They already have legal rights to have a relationship and have kids and not be discriminated against, do they really need this too? Really, are you serious? STFU.
In any case, the postal votes are hitting mailboxes now. If you haven’t voted yet, can’t be bothered because it doesn’t impact you directly, or don’t understand why it’s important, I can only hope that you’ll tick the YES box. If you still insist on voting no take a long hard look at why and keep telling yourself you’re not bigoted and racist — it won’t be true but it may make you sleep better at night.
Australia, will get there. Let’s not just hope it’s sooner than later, let’s take action to make it happen.
Invite a bunch of friends around for lunch.
Arrange a variety of colourful foods in bowls.
Want more? Here’s what Forbes has to say about it all (because America-land has to be glad they’re not the idiots for a hot minute). A few very well spelled out arguments to some of the most inane arguments against it. And finally this, just because.
Oh, and a bit of housekeeping, because trolls… My house, my rules: Nasty comments will be removed, abusive comments will be removed and the IP address will be saved for escalation if necessary. Have a lovely rainbow day.