I’m going to be upfront here: if you are against same-sex marriage, I think you’re monstrous.
I know everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I realise there’s some irony in me using the old analogy I’m about to use the one that opinions are like arseholes: everyone has one. It’s just that when it come to this issue, I really can’t respect your opinion if you are screaming from the rooftops that people should vote “No”. Or you as a person.
I heard someone on the radio the other day pontificating that one of the worst aspects of the same-sex marriage debate that’s come about as a result of the government’s decision to hold a costly, non-binding postal “survey” on whether or not same-sex couples should be allowed to marry is that it has divided Australia and straining friendships.
Frankly, I’m happy to end a friendship with someone who has exposed themselves to be a hate-filled bigot, so I don’t think that’s the worst aspect at all.
The worst aspect is that this discussion is being “debated” in the first place. That the lives of LGBT people are considered fair game to be offered up for public debate is nothing short of disgraceful.
Our government is too spineless to legislate to change the Marriage Act to give same-sex couples equality, making Australia look backwards. They have legalised same-sex marriage in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, South Africa, the USA, Malta, Germany, France and even Taiwan, among other places. The world hasn’t ended.
Those who are big on the “No” vote claim that all the people should rightly have a say on whether or not same-sex couples can marry. They can’t explain why the people weren’t given a say back in 2004 when the Howard Government changed the Marriage Act to deliberately exclude same-sex couples from marrying.
If you don’t remember why it happened, read this account from Jacqui Tomlins one-half of a lesbian couple who married in Canada in 2003. The Howard Government was so offended that she and her partner Sarah married one another, as did a gay male couple, Jason and Adrian Tuazon McCheyne, they made changes to the law to ensure that their unions would not be recognised in Australia.
One of the nastiest parts of that change, apart from the whole denying human rights to a sector of our society, is a thing called “The Monitum”. This is the statement that HAS to be read out in Australia, by law, no exceptions, at every single marriage ceremony by the authorised celebrant, or the wedding is deemed to be invalid. Perhaps you’ve heard it?
“Before you are married in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
I attend and photograph a lot of weddings somewhere in the order of around 20 per year and this statement never fails to shock me to my core every time I hear it. Our government, without asking us what we think, managed to make it a legal requirement to have these hateful words included in everyone else’s wedding ceremonies. Just so our gay and lesbian relatives and friends in attendance can be reminded that they don’t have the right to marry the person THEY love.
I’ve seen all sorts of arguments from the “No” camp about thinking of the children. There are people banging on about how if same-sex marriage is legalised it’s a gateway to the age of consent being lowered. That paedophilia will become legalised next. That same-sex couples abuse their kids.
This is all outrageous, preposterous scaremongering. What you don’t hear from these people who are so worried about the kids, is the very real problem that discrimination such as this poses to LGBTI youth.
Discrimination is known to fuel distress and is known to elevate mental health issues and suicide.
New research released this week from the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows that teens who reported they are same-sex attracted, bisexual or unsure of their sexuality were at greater risk of self-harm than heterosexual teens. According to Beyond Blue, in a statement it issued this week, one in six LGBTI young people has attempted suicide.
So don’t pretend that this is about “protecting kids” because you’re full of it. By furthering this discrimination, in such a very public, brutal way, you are contributing to this. And this is why you’re monstrous.
It is gut-wrenching and horrifying to think that the children of rainbow families must have their family lives picked over as a result of this debate. Again, tell me how this is in the best interests of children?
And for those who argue that this is an attack on religion you can bang that argument up your bottom. If you’re religious, nobody is asking you to have a gay marriage if you don’t want one. I’m agnostic and I was able to marry without involving Jesus or any other deity in the proceedings. Plenty of people do in our increasingly secular society.
What needs to be legalised is for two consenting adults who love one another to be given the same rights as other consenting adults who love one another.