Fair Marriage

In the 2010 Australian Election, the incumbent government won the two-party preferred vote 50.12% to the Coalition’s 49.88%. The Labor party received 30, 527 more votes than their rivals. Out of 12, 403, 363 counted votes, the margin was smaller than population of Bathurst, Lismore or Warnambool. Indeed, it was only achieved by 107 more than the total number of attendees at today’s little-hyped Western Bulldogs – Fremantle match.

Currently, 42% of Australians approve of Julia Gillard as Australia’s choice Prime Minister. Somehow, 46% believe Tony Abbott to be worthy of leading the country forward.

Earlier in the year, I was lucky enough to marry the person of my dreams.

It was a delightful occasion which was the celebration of our 6 and a half years together and an excited beginning to the rest of our lives together. It was also a civil ceremony, at a winery. Neither my wife, nor myself, are religious. There was no priest, no religious reference. It was an outward expression of the love we share for each other and our desire to join our lives together formally in the eyes and minds of those closest to us (and later, even with people we’ve never met).

We were lucky enough to involve ourselves in the traditional symbol of union. Our wedding took place without the burden of a dowry, the lure of joining two families through a matched marriage or the pressures of a shotgun marriage. These, traditionally, have been at the centre of the need to marry. Instead, our union was forged by the love we had shared for years and, at our wedding, we were able to share in the event with our closest friends and family. We were lucky to have the money to create such an event. Lucky to have the freedom to marry where we chose. Lucky that the rain stayed away.

In the end, however, we were lucky to be of opposing sexes.

In this country, such love can only be celebrated in this way if they are of differing genders.

No doubt, this stems from our nation’s Christian heritage. To the best of my readings, Christian opposition to same-sex marriage relates to obscure passages of the Bible that need to be taken out of context to fit the argument. Regardless, my opposition to the lack of fairness in the current Marriage Act is not even a religious one.

In this day and age, the views of one religious group should not control the lives of the citizens of the nation. Regarding marriage, this is especially pertinent as the Marriage Act of Australia is overseen by the Government of Australia – not the Church of England or Rome.

It is within the government’s responsibility to represent the views of their constituents. Currently, this does not happen. In 2004, an amendment to the Act meant that the line “marriage means the union of a man and a woman” was inserted into each wedding ceremony. Thus same-sex couples were denied the right to marry the one they love.

New York, on July 24 2011 (the day same-sex marriage was legalised), saw hundreds of gay and lesbian couples marry – some of whom had waited for years to be given the right. There were uplifting stories tinged with the undercurrent of discomfort. No – not discomfort that these people could finally enact their dreams, but discomfort that a government can deny such a fundamental right to their citizens for so long (at all).

Our government treats many minorities as second class citizens. The denial of this basic right is the most blatant, open example of this.

Gay teens are 14 times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers. Around 1/3 gay teenagers will attempt suicide at some stage of their growth. Government has a responsibility to protect these youths, to help cultivate a society that accepts and loves rather than discriminates and divides. The denial of the right to marriage is a symbolic act that say to certain members in our society that they should not be allowed to engage in the same rights as others. A fundamental flaw in our current political climate.

Before, I said that government’s have a responsibility to represent the views of their constituents.

Only 50.12% of people voted for this current government. Only 42% believe they should hold their post.

60% of all Australian support same-sex marriage. 60.

More people in Australia believe that same-sex couples should have the right to marry than think the government should hold its position. Even 53% of Christians are open to same-sex marriage.

The time has well and truly come.

There’s no need to allow “gay” marriage. Simply “marriage” will do.

Lay some opinion on me!

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