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Being the Odd One Out: Time for Marriage Equality in AU

gay marriage

Imagine for a minute you’re a 13 year old boy.

You’ve begun to experience significant changes in your physical appearance.

You have hormones surging through your body – creating feelings and emotions you’ve not experienced before.

You begin to start viewing the world through your own eyes, as a separate being, rather than that as a child of your parents. You’re beginning to form your own sense of self. With this come the inevitable thoughts about what sort of person you are and will become.

You have an urge to start to test your independence from your parents, but equally you are looking to them and other significant persons in your life as role models and mentors.

Being “different” has no currency just yet – that doesn’t come until much later! Fitting in, and being just like every other 13 year old boy, takes priority.

Most of your friends and school mates are starting to feel sexual attraction to girls and woman – and normalise this by sharing these new feelings with each other. They are also beginning to explore the idea of relationships with girls. How do you interact with them? How does my older brother interact with his girlfriend? How does my Dad interact with my mother? How does my Uncle interact with his wife?

But what if you don’t have these same feelings as your 13 year old mates? What if the attraction you feel, is towards men and boys?

To help you explore the idea of relationships with boys and how to interact with them in relationships, who do you look to?

If you are lucky enough to have a family member or friend of the family who is gay then great, but it must still be confusing. That’s because at present, a gay couple can live together, have a child together, adopt a child together, hold property together, and, in circumstances where their relationship breaks down, have the exactly the same rights and obligations as couples in heterosexual marriages who have separated – BUT they cannot get legally married in Australia. How could someone explain “why” to that 13 year old you in such a way that that would make sense to you??

And, if every single member of the community not only gets to vote on whether you can get married but to voice their opinion on the topic – on talkback radio, TV and social media – would this help that confusion? To date, people opposing same sex marriage have produced such inane, objectionable, offensive and blatantly stupid comments like these:

  1. “Legal recognition of same-sex “marriage” would necessarily obscure certain basic moral values, devalue traditional marriage, and weaken public morality”.
  1. “It Offends God”. Whose god?
  1. “Hurricane Sandy was “divine justice” triggered by the recognition of same-sex marriage in New York”.
  1. “If gays are granted rights, next we’ll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nail biters”
  1. Same-sex marriage will lead to “fathers marrying sons.”
  1. “’Sexual orientation’ does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc., in respect to non-discrimination. Therefore, it is not unjust, for example, to limit the bond of marriage to the union of a woman and a man.”
  1. “It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbour marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right… Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife”.

What effect do you think those voices of opinion would have on you, that 13 year old boy who is gay?

The decision to legalise same sex marriage in Australia is well past its expiration date. The fact that we are still yet to “unamend” Howard’s legislative change to the Marriage Act that made gay marriage “illegal” remains an international embarrassment. Let’s join the following countries, without a plebiscite and without further delay:

  • Argentina – on 22 July 2010.
  • Belgium – on 1 June 2003.
  • Brazil – in May 2011, Brazil’s Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples were legally entitled to legal recognition of cohabitation.
  • Canada – in 2001.
  • Colombia – on 28 April 2016,
  • Denmark – on 7 June 2012,
  • Finland –taking effect on 1 March 2017
  • France – on 12 February 2013.
  • Iceland – on 27 June 2010
  • Ireland – on 29 August 2015
  • Luxembourg – on 1 January 2015.
  • Mexico – in individual cases, same-sex marriage has been granted judicial approved in all states. However, same sex-marriage is officially legal in the following states of Mexico:
    • Campeche
    • Chihuahua
    • Colima
    • Jalisco
    • Michoacan
    • Morelos
    • Nayarit
    • Quintana Roo
  • Netherlands – on 1 April 2001
  • New Zealand –on 19 August 2013.
  • Norway –on 1 January 2009,
  • Portugal – in 2001
  • South Africa – on 30 November 2006.
  • Spain – on 3 July 2005
  • Sweden – on 1 May 2009
  • United Kingdom – on 17 July 2013 in England and Wales.
  • United States – a movement to legalise same-sex marriage in America first began in the 1970s, with opposition winning the fight for an extended period. In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act was passed, attempting to define marriage solely as the union between a man and a woman and granting states the right to refuse the recognition of same-sex marriage. However, on 26 June 2015, a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court rules that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. Prior to this, 37 of the 50 US States legally performed same-sex marriage.
  • Uruguay – on 5 August 2013