I don’t often get political. I have what has been called a dangerous apathy about the state of the world. Which is to say, I mostly think we’re all fucked, and it makes me too angry and frustrated to pay too much attention to current events. However, there are certain things that I can not, and will not remain silent about. Things such as marriage equality.
If you’re Australian, or happen to pay attention in any way to what goes in in the world, you will be aware of the current battle to win marriage equality for same sex couples. It’s been a bitter fight so far, with some of the ugliest reasons for voting against an issue that I’ve ever seen. The very idea that government can deny anyone the right to marry legally (who is of legal age to consent) makes me angry.
In 2004, former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, amended the Marriage Act. It currently reads;
“A union solemnised in a foreign country between: a man and another man; or a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.”
With that change, Australia took away the right to allow same sex couples to marry. Without any reason. And, perhaps more importantly, without any difficulty. Now that the shoe is on the other foot however, things are considerably different. It’s not a matter of simply changing the wording, as Howard did thirteen years ago. No, this time the weak government, too scared of potentially upsetting the bigoted jerks in the world, have decided on a plebiscite to determine how many Australians are in favour of same sex marriage. Let me reiterate; this is a non-binding, non-compulsory postal vote. Which, by the way, they’re spending $122 million dollars on. I don’t know about you, but I think there are plenty of better things to spend money on.
The thing is, it makes no sense to deny marriage to same sex couples. There’s no reason to it, aside from homophobia and misguided religious belief, and that’s not a good enough reason. There’s no reason to have a debate about it, no reason to even have to call it “same sex marriage”. It’s fucking marriage, and it should be legal.
Oh, the opposing side has tried everything to make themselves heard. We’ve heard the cries of “think of the children” as if allowing same sex marriage is going to destroy the lives of the younger generations (it’s really not). Offensive posters were seen in Melbourne claiming that children of same sex families are considerably worse off than those of same sex couples, and Malcolm Turnbull brushed it off like it was nothing. The religious ones who like to pick and choose which parts of the bible they adhere to are claiming that it goes against “God” and that it’s unnatural and wrong. But that’s homophobic bigots for you. Though there are some who will vote yes, regardless.
Now, me? I don’t want to get married. To a man, or a woman. It’s not for me, at least not at this particular juncture of my life. But I have friends who do want to get married, and I stand in solidarity with them. I fight for, and with them. My friend Monika posted something on Facebook the other day, and she summed up so much about why she, an openly gay and amazing young woman, wants the right to marry her Ally. She called for people to make sure they were enrolled correctly, to vote in this plebiscite and make the most of the only option we’ve been given.
“I implore you to vote “yes” if and when the time comes. Do it for me. Your friend, sister, daughter. Because I want to add the word “wife” to that list of descriptors. I don’t just want to have marriage equality because I want to have a wedding (but let’s be real, it’ll be fabulous, darling). I want marriage equality because I am not recognised as being the most important person in Alex’s life. Because if she is sick, I am not allowed to make medical decisions on her behalf even though I am the person who knows her the best and knows what she wants. Because if she dies, I am not entitled to make decisions on the funeral or bereavement process. I will not have access to our JOINT bank accounts because I do not have a marriage certificate to prove that we were together. I will not have access to her superannuation or life insurance. And it’s BULLSHIT because de facto heterosexual couples have those rights. But as gay people, we do not.
So I beg you. As your friend, sister, niece, cousin, daughter…please vote yes. Vote yes because you care about me. Because you love me. Let’s make sure that love wins. #loveislove”
Now tell me; how can you, in good conscience, argue with that? If you’re reading this, and you’re an Australian citizen, the cut off to make sure you’re enrolled correctly is in two days. You have two more days to make sure that your voice is heard with mine, with Monika’s, with everyone else who is going to do what they know is the right thing, and vote yes. We need to do all that we can to make sure that marriage equality becomes a reality. You can check your details or enrol to vote here: http://www.aec.gov.au/enrol/. Let’s do this. Let’s make it count.