Last night twitter was abuzz with Same Sex Marriage debate - or as I like to call it "Equality" - with the introduction of a ‘Multi-party same-sex marriage bill to be introduced in August’. If you only watch and read certain news you would think it is just the Liberals & ALP doing this, though for the record (as far as we know) the cross-party bill is being co-sponsored by : Liberals, Warren Entsch & Teresa Gambaro; Labors Terri Butler & Laurie Ferguson; AND Independents; Cathy McGown & Andrew Wilkie; Plus Greens Adam Bandt.
Obviously as soon as it was announced those doyens of all that is ‘Christian’ the ACL (Australian Christian Lobby) were out of the blocks and fighting back. Rather ironic that they were ready to go, as their preparedness shows that even they can feel the momentum for change building in society. What frustrates me is the twisting of facts propagated by groups like the ACL.
Note, I don’t mean to be picking on the ACL, they just seem to be shouting the loudest, hence attracting the most attention. A quick glance at their Managing Directors twitter timeline gives you an idea as to their fighting strategy. As soon as news broke about the cross-party bill we got this:
A bill to abolish husband & wife in the Marriage Act will be introduced to Parlt on Aug 11. Time to let MPs know kids need their mum & dad.— Lyle Shelton (@LyleShelton) July 1, 2015
fast on the heels of this tweet came the below - and of course my response ;-)
Then of course promotion of the ACL Press Release 'Coalition urged not to walk away from marriage' which again, from dot, asks us to consider the plight of the children.
“Same-sex marriage redefines family and requires children to miss out on one of their parents.”
So there you have it people, it would appear that Marriage Equality will harm the kiddies.
Naysayers have all sorts of reasons for being against Marriage Equality, may favourites are:
FFS! #TerrorFret, Budget Emergency, more important things for us to worry about
I won’t even start on the hyped up Terror Threat, we are more in danger of Family Violence in this country than what our PM’s Ten flag pressers have been sprouting and “Budget Emergency”, yeah, funny how that has gone by the wayside in recent times, what did happen to that Mr Hockey? Hmmm. Equality is important, it is always important, regardless of who we are at war with or where our economy stands and if our MP’s can’t think about more than one issue at a time, well, they shouldn’t have the job in the first place.
OMG! Slippery Slope
Often when we change laws I do worry about this aspect, I worry as to how a law can be used in future in a manner it was never intended to when originally drafted, what I call the “Joh rule”, as in how could this law be used, extended, abused, corrupted etc. by the likes of a "Joh" Bjelke-Petersen. Marriage Equality is really very simple and the likes of Cory Bernadi and his “There are even some creepy people out there … who say that it's OK to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals. Will that be a future step?” are not even worth addressing as it is such a ridiculous proposition. There could be a future government that will allow say the likes of 'polygamy' I guess, though dog knows what sort of circumstance would ever allow that in a nation like Australia, and I guess it would have to be a majority of citizens wanting it for that idea to even be entertained, so would still be democracy ;-)
But it's Tradition!
Historically tradition has changed often over the years, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Slavery used to be a ‘tradition’, Priests not facing the congregation & women wearing hats in church, hell, women not being able to vote used to be a ‘tradition’. In fact when it comes to Marriage, women were a chattel and it was just a contract, so again, this excuse does not hold water. Many traditions have changed over the years, they are never set in concrete. With Marriage changing over the generations there is a valid argument to say that there is no tradition left, some ritual yes, but tradition not so much. In fact, "voluntarily entered-into union of a man and a woman to exclusion of all others" as wording was introduced into the Marriage Act by John Howards Government in 2004, so not as that 'definition' in our Marriage Act is not exactly an ancient one ;-)
Respect my Religious belief
To me this smacks of Cartman and his “Respect My Authoritah!”. As a secular nation, with yes, a predominately Christian background, we do respect religious beliefs – that comply with the law of the land. Quite frankly we don’t respect ALL religious beliefs in this nation as there are too many religions with varying beliefs that conflict with each other and it is just not possible. So these groups are really saying, respect my privileged religious belief as being more important than the human right of equality. Sorry, that does not fly with me it smacks of “religious privilege”. In a modern secular nation a religious ‘belief’ should never have precedence over law and human rights. In fact in a civilised society respect for Religious belief should always be tempered with respect for others who don't have your same religious belief.
It makes me “uncomfortable”
This one I sort of get, it can be hard if you have been raised in a particular manner to accept and feel comfortable with concepts or a way of life that seems foreign to you. Though having said that, we are confronted by uncomfortable stuff all our lives and in all forms and that is pretty much just ‘life’. The Burqa, Niqab and Hijab make me uncomfortable. The old nuns with the massive habits & little face showing used to terrify me as a kid. Hell, the teenage girls with the muffin tops & boys with their pants around their knees with their undies showing make me uncomfortable. I can’t explain my irrational discomforts, it is just something I have to live with and quite frankly as my daughter would say, “Stop being such a snowflake & get over it”, as my being uncomfortable is my problem, and my problem alone to come to terms with.
The kiddies, think about the kiddies...
This, as we have seen from the ACL seems to be the stance they will use to protect the monopoly they have on the Marriage Act. This is also the point I find the most insulting, they seem to be inferring that children will suffer if they don’t have the stock standard 'christian' married mum & dad? Obviously the – claimed – 30,000 members of the ACL feel that the 780,000 single mother families (as at June 2012 according to the ABS are putting their children in peril? Let me repeat that:
780,000 single mother families
If we add single father or single grandparent families to this number, well, you get the idea... How dare this group, that seem to wield so much power with the Conservative Political Parties, as the title calling on the “Coalition” – not all MP’s mind you, just the Coalition – infers they have with that subtle demand, that all those single mother families are harming their children just because they are not in a perfect version of what the ACL thinks a family should be?
Obviously there are all sorts of others reasons also raised by various groups, not just the ACL, as to why Marriage Equality will result in the end of society as we know it, demons flying through the rift to corrupt the world as soon as the ink on the Marriage Act change is dried, but to bring it back to a very basic level and mangle the words of Paul Keating:
It’s about the Equality Stupid ;-)
Quite a few gay people I know are not even interested in getting married to their partners and this is where I think the crux of this issue is. The equal right, just like millions of heterosexual couples to ‘choose’ to marry or not to marry, that choice and the ability to enact that choice is what makes us all equal. At the moment, one half of that ‘choice’ equation is just not legally accessible by certain citizens of our nation and that is not right in my opinion.
In the interests of being up front:
Contrary to the popular belief of many who chat to me on Twitter, I am not actually anti-Religion, in fact I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools. I also have relatives who are ‘true Christians’ who I respect greatly for their faith. To set the record straight, if you see me say “CHRISTIAN” in a tweet, I mean the real ones, the ones who honestly believe that God loves ALL his children and would assist their fellow man with compassion, regardless of religion. When I say “GOD SQUAD”, I am referring to those so-called Christians who feel that their religion gives them the right to feel privileged and bigoted in the name of religion. I am also not Gay, in fact will mark 21 years of marriage with my husband next month. I don’t actually have skin in this game as they say, though I respect the right of ALL Australian Citizens to have EQUAL rights in the eyes of the law.