Text by Cassie Sloan
Pheeweey. Gay Marriage. Something I and I’m sure many of you reading this can attest to having a rather strong stance on either way. Dominating the news right now is the new plebiscite to put to a public vote the right for our LGBTQI+ brothers, sisters or otherwise to get married. Tapping away at this has got me rolling up my sleeves ready to get up in arms about this seemingly obvious no-brainer topic. Although this is apparently not the case and what is, is the unfortunately painful nature of the debate.
Arguments against the movement boast the moral high ground and rave on about compromising “the sanctity of marriage” which seems like a logical approach right?
Lets talk about the Sanctity of Marriage
Until the 1980s the Australian government “sanctioned” marital rape. Yes, friends. By law it was totally cool to rape and beat your wife because after all, she is your property. Don’t you worry, sexual violence wasn’t the only sanctioned marital custom. Lets not forget about the good’ol Dowry and Dower, the restricting of reproductive rights, and more abuse and oppression in all its forms.
Okay, maybe we walk away from the word sanctioned and say that it’s an insult to the institution of marriage. Is a Kardashian divorcing after two months not an insult? Is marrying a dying old man for his money not an insult? Is using the sacred institution as a tool to get a green card not an insult? what about marrying off girls as young as 8 to 40+ year old men for them to do with as they please, just so her family can get by? Are these NOT an insult to this institution? All legal, all happening.
Being it a heteronormative establishment these are all hetero customs. So being this an article about the queer community, I won’t lecture you further about the already problematic history of “traditional” matrimony. While the list of infringements committed predominantly upon women is horrifying, thats a topic for another time and I implore you to do your own research.
The need to protect and place so much value on a proceeding that was literally built on the trading of cows and other valuable assets in exchange for a virgin woman (another object, duh!), seems silly to me. A sentiment mimicked by my dad when I asked him in my formative years what his opinion on the matter was to which he responded “If the gays want to be as miserable as the rest of us, I say let them”. By this time he had been divorced for 10 years. He meant no offence by this statement and I rather took this as a symbol for miserable married couples who are forced to stay together by different circumstances (commonly shared children or financial stability). He has since found another partner who he has comfortably cohabited with for the better part of 14 years with no plans to marry. As an adult straight couple their right to obstain from this establishment is just that: A right. A choice.
After a hilariously unstructured and teeth-grindingly cringe worthy statement from Tony Abbott, he summated by saying its “about having his or her say.”
While he was using this line to reinforce his fear mongering, homophobic and frankly nonsensical argument, in principle I agree.
On the topic of Queer rights, this is about Queer people having a say.
My dad knows a gay friend who has expressed that for the life of her she cannot understand why ANYONE would want to get married. She maintains she’ll never do it herself, and her stance is strongly anti-marriage full stop. However, she will fight tooth and bone for the right for any gay couple to get married because its about peoples right to choose.
Whether or not you agree with marriage in any capacity is invalid in this argument. The fact you have that choice means that this fundamental right has been afforded to you. The LGBTQI+ community has not.
Those who oppose this law and stand on the grounds of “children need a mother AND a father to be brought up right” spit in the faces of single and adopted parents everywhere.
I don’t know about you but I know a lot of people who would have rather been raised by two happy mums or two happy dads than a mother and father who detest each other. Similarly they hold notion that marriage is reserved for those having children and starting a family (because you know, the only reason for sex and purpose for women is for birthing kids…obviously). What does that say to all the couples out there who are incapable of conceiving or simply don’t want children?
While the definition and rules for marriage seem to be pretty convoluted across the board, this debate to me seems pretty cut and dry. For the longest time we didn’t let people of different religions, or races marry. Women couldn’t keep their last names as they became mens property and so forth. Gay marriage is a long over due piece in the puzzle.
Equal marriage rights are the least of anyones problems right now with everything that goes on in the world and the fact it has to be voted on at all is baffling to many. If this law passes it is not going to hurt anyone and in fact I’d voucher it’s going to do the opposite. It’s going to help empower and bring happiness to millions of people. If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t have one.
To summate, its 2017 and the fact of the matter is if you’re not queer you really shouldn’t have a say on queer issues, but because you do, use it for good. Use it selflessly. Use it reasonably. Use it full stop! There are still 274,000 people aged 18-24 not enrolled to vote in Australia. If you’re one of these folks please use your voice for the good of others! A lot of this battle is being fought by progressive, informed and understanding young people like you. Together we can make a difference.
To oppose Mr Abbott:
If you believe in freedom: Vote yes
If you are, or were raised by a single parent: vote yes
If you love love: Vote yes.
Do you believe that love is equal? I do.
Jesus had two dads and he turned out fine