This was originally written and posted on a separate blog back in 2011, so (some of) the Australian political references are now a little dated, however with the latest US Supreme Court ruling I figured it was a good time to repost it with a couple of minor edits.
The legalisation of same sex marriages would have no impact on my life. And that is exactly the point that I wish more people would understand. Before I continue, I present you a question, can you give me one good reason why same sex marriage should not be legal? Stop, think very, very carefully. Got your answer? Ok, good.
Right. If your answer had anything to do with fear, ‘wrong’, beliefs, religion etc. then I’m afraid we might have an issue. Your answer doesn’t make you a bad person, but it’s a decent enough indication that you need to get with the times. Yes, you are all entitled to your own views, and you may express them however you like (such as in blog form…). But just because someone else has a different view on life when compared to yourself that doesn’t mean they are wrong - or that you are - just that people have different views. Simple as that. Don’t mistreat people because their views are different to yours.
So, you came up with your reason that you believe is good, but how exactly would the legalisation of same sex marriages have a negative impact on your life? It wouldn’t, it would make absolutely no difference. Claiming same sex marriage is ‘wrong’ is just like saying that black people shouldn’t be allowed to get married, or that disabled people can’t get married, or that you can only get married if you’ve attended church every Sunday morning for your entire life. Yes, I believe it is that stupid. If this argument were over any of those three quick examples then there would be no argument at all (ok, there probably would be, but would it be as big?).
Bigotry disguised as religious/political/ethical/social beliefs is still bigotry.
I think the part that bugs me the most is that this issue is primary being fought over by politicians. Come on. Of all the people who should get to decide this sort of thing, the politicians are the last ones that should get any say - they aren’t exactly ‘in touch’ with the common world. Don’t believe me? Tony Abbott has said on national television that homosexuals ‘scare’ him. And for someone living in a “domestic relationship” with a hairdresser Gillard isn’t a particularly ‘understanding’ person. If anything Gillard should be supporting the issue just to spite Abbott (isn’t that the point of being opposing sides of Government?).
I guess Gillard is scared that if she supports it her popularity will drop. Julia, not sure you could be any less popular at this point, so maybe what you really need is the ‘gay vote’, perhaps supporting them rather than alienating them would be an intelligent move. Tony Abbott’s only problem is, well, Tony Abbott (ed: four years later, this is still his biggest problem, except now he's running the fricken country).
There is a clip of Gillard standing up in parliament saying something along the lines of “marriage is defined as the union between a man and a woman” - in fact that’s most likely exactly what she is saying since that appears to the be exact wording used in the US constitution… but not (as far as I can find) in the Commonwealth Of Australia Constitution Act which in Chapter I, Part V, Point 51 xxi mentions it simply as “marriage”Commonwealth Of Australia Constitution Act, Chapter I - The Parliament, Part V - Powers of the Parliament.
From what I can find (and I’m no expert, and only spent about 15 minutes researching this, so I could’ve missed something) it appears that until 2004 “marriage” wasn’t even fully defined in the actual Marriage Act 1961Marriage Act 1961. It wasn’t until The Marriage Amendment Act 2004Marriage Amendment Act 2004 that a full “definition” for what would be considered as “marriage” was added:
Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
Certain unions are not marriages. A union solemnised in a foreign country between: (a) a man and another man; or (b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.
What I find weird about that is, a) it wasn’t added until 2004, and b) it was added in 2004 with that definition. Maybe if it had been added 20 or 30 years ago it might have been barely reasonable, but in this day and age have we not progressed enough to have a more open mind about (and definition of) such things? I most certainly think it is all to do with those who get to make the decisions on the behalf of everyone else.
Keep in mind the generation of the people that were voting on the amendments, people like Philip Ruddock and others of similar ‘vintage’ - not exactly the kind of people you would say are ‘in touch’ with the current times. This particular amendment passed in the Senate by a vote of 38 to 6. I’d love to see the age and gender breakdown of that vote - if anyone can suggest where I can pilfer that info from (instead of looking for it myself) I’d love to know.
But just because you don’t believe in “gay marriage”, doesn’t mean it should be illegal.
So, yes, same sex marriage may go against the beliefs of a lot of people. But just because you don’t believe in “gay marriage”, doesn’t mean it should be illegal. A large percentage of the population doesn’t “believe” in praying 6 times a day, or attending church every Sunday, but that doesn’t make those activities illegal - that would be ridiculous, right?
I know numerous gay people, I’ve lived with gay people, I've worked with gay people and they are… just people, like everyone else. Shock. They deserve the same rights as everyone else, and yes, they are allowed to do many things. Things like learn to drive, which is more dangerous than marriage. They are allowed to vote, which is more important (to some) than marriage. They can even run as a candidate in an election for government - and for some that’s both more dangerous and more important than marriage. So why is marriage being treated as so damn ‘precious’?
The marriage of same sex couples isn’t going to “de-value marriage”, something I’ve heard numerous people say. No, what “de-values” marriage are the 40%+ of ‘normal’ marriages that end in divorce - particularly those that barely last past the honeymoon (no idea on the accuracy of that factoid, but its one you hear a lot). Basically the “straight population” fuck up marriage far too frequently, and I’m not saying same sex couples won’t, but at least give them the option.
If the government should be preventing anyone from marrying it should be the 17-year-olds who drop out of school and get hitched because someone got knocked-up at some weekend party just to get back at her strict parents who have kicked her out because of her drug habit, a habit she took up because her parents are currently getting divorced… Ok, so maybe that’s a super extreme example, but it makes the prospect of “gay marriage” seem pretty “normal” to me, and at least it would be for the right reasons.
And when common sense prevails and it does get legalised, can we stop referring to it as “gay marriage” and just call it “marriage”.
Stop making it a political issue.
Stop making it a religious/beliefs issue.
Stop making it an issue at all.
Just give them a go.