April 5, 2011

Letter to Kate Ellis MP - My Views On Marriage Equality


I would like to begin by saying that in my experience, not all heterosexual people who oppose gay marriage do so because of prejudice or discrimination. 

In this day and age, more and more hetrosexual people view marriage as an outdated convention. 

Many straight people struggle to understand why gay men and women would want to partake in an outdated ritual that has its roots firmly planted in the church, especially when the Church has been so openly discriminative toward them. 

Alternatively, some people reject the idea of marriage (gay or straight) because they have lived through a bitter marriage separation or an ugly divorce and cannot see why anyone would want to travel down the same murky legal and emotional course.   

Given the lack of any serious debate, these are valid and acceptable concerns. 

I myself have never been married and so I am not in a position to comment on the pitfalls or the highlights of marriage. That isn't to say that I didn't want to get married. I did.

Sadly however, my fiance died just three months before our wedding day and I have never come close - not before or since - to the same feeling of certainty and knowing. This feeling of certainty that I speak of is rare. 

And yet while I openly admit that marriage has been used and abused in our post-modern culture as a quick fix or a romantic cliche, there are still many for whom the institution of marriage is sacred and absolute.  

What I felt for my partner cannot be explained away in words, except to say that WE loved one another with the deepest and most genuine commitment and we felt certain that we wanted to share and consolidate that commitment in every way possible. 

For us, the option was always available and we embraced it with eyes wide open. 

Neither of us had any concept of what it might have felt like to be told that we were not 'allowed' to make this sacred commitment because we were of the wrong sexual orientation. We were deeply in love and that was all that mattered......It's still all that matters, three years after he has gone. 

People who scoff or criticise the idea of marriage, do so for a variety of reasons but most importantly, they criticise because they are in a position to do so. They have had a lifetime to decide whether marriage is or isn't for them and maybe a large number have worked out that it isn't.  But not one single gay man or woman in this country has ever been afforded that luxury. The option simply hasn't been made available. 

Of course common sense will tell us that not every single gay person wants to rush out and get hitched just because they have been given the green light to do so. 

That is about as absurd an argument as the one Tony Abbott made when he claimed that equal marriage rights would encourage more people to be gay!   

Someone should really explain to Tony Abbott that sexuality is not a bandwagon that you jump on when it passes through town....  

Sexuality is innate and to deny anyone the option of marriage purely because of their sexuality is punitive and cruel.... In fact it is no less cruel or punitive than denying a black person or a woman equal rights - unless of course you think that being black or female is also a choice that can be overcome with the power of your mind.

Irrespective of race, gender, creed or sexuality, the heart wants what the heart wants and it does not discriminate the way politicians and rule makers do. 

Who on earth are we to decide that some hearts are more worthy or deserving than others? 

And why is it that straight people feel they are morally entitled to deny anyone the very thing that has always been made available, the same thing that they have also taken for granted? 

What on earth gives anyone the right?

It's funny, but when we get down to the nuts and bolts of this debate, we are really just talking about affording more people the opportunity to express and consolidate their love. Love!  

We are not denying the request or the right to hate or abuse or cause pain.....
Where is the commandment that says thou shall not love? It most certainly does not exist. 

Marriage equality is an absurd debate in my opinion, especially when we have real things to contend with like climate change, poverty and nuclear disaster. 

The very fact that we are still stuck on this issue just confirms to me that we are a very young and childish country and one that still has an awful lot to learn. 

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