This has been a long time coming. I’ve thought about it and talked it over and discussed it oft frequently with my partner of two years and it’s time I made the call. I will not get married unless and until marriage equality is legislated for and legally recognised in Australia. And don’t for a second think I never really wanted to get married, because I do, I don’t travel this course lightly. Three of my four brothers are married and marriage has strong merit to me as a representation of the pinnacle of societal recognition for a union between two people, the grandest expression of love, devotion, willpower and commitment to another person and to yourself. I’ve talked to my partner about wanting to marry her nearly once on any given day of the week, and to have children together and commit to spending our lives protecting, providing, nurturing and learning from one another and growing our family in a creative and loving environment. But why should we have the legal right to be married if not everyone else? Don’t jump on the bandwagon with outlandish and farfetched exaggerations of eighty-year-old men marrying nine-year-old girls or people marrying pillows with anime characters printed on the pillowcase. I am plainly referring to two consenting adults having the right to be united in a legal capacity to the same extent heterosexual couples are in our community as a point of legal equality and recognition.
I just finished reading an article titled ‘gay law change may force us to divorce’, where a Canberra couple, Nick and Sarah Jensen, are threatening to divorce if marriage equality legislation is passed, in order to protest gay marriage in Australia. After reading it, I found it hard not to want to pick it apart and hope to God it was a satirical piece. And in deconstructing the article, I noticed this. First, there was no mention of Nick’s affiliation with the Australian Christian Lobby Group, of which he is presumably a member if his facebook page history was anything to go on…
“Just launched last week. It’s held at my farm, but I may be having a baby right when the course is on…. (you know what I mean)” – Nick Jensen.
Cheap shot and dodgy journalism in failing to disclose this aside (luckily other articles managed to disclose that Nick is the director for the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, which partners with the Australian Christian Lobby group), I wanted to go deeper than that. The article talks about Nick’s love for his partner and how their relationship blossomed from a young high school sweetheart love affair. Nick then continues to state that his partner of ten years is the only person he has ever loved, and that they are parents and consider themselves to be a ‘perfect match’. Arguably, these are intrinsic human artefacts that make up a partnership fit for a marriage. And believe it or not, they are shared by religious and non-religious couples alike, no matter their pre-inclined sexual orientation.
I then go on to find the situation quite ironic that the couple is okay with seeing through their proclamation in the guise of what is considered a non-traditional divorce in order to enforce the notion of a traditional marriage.
In all practicality, what they are effectively trying to do is reduce themselves to the current plight of same-sex lovers in Australia, placing themselves in a state of cryopreservation, where they will be continuously asked by friends, family, government officials and statutory declarations “what is your relationship status?“
“It will certainly complicate our lives as we try to explain our marital status on the sidelines during Saturday sport.”
Instead of having an easily socially defined and identifiable legitimate term to refer to, they would be stuck spluttering out a prolonged justification of who and what they are to one another in the form of some sort of ill-defined relationship heavily based in religious ideals but of no real legal merit. That is where the pain lies for same-sex couples. Luckily for the legal institution of marriage, the Family Law Act doesn’t so readily allow people to make a mockery of this legal relationship, in that it requires that the parties are to be separated for a period of twelve months and the court must be satisfied that there is no likelihood of cohabitation after separation and that there has been an irreparable breakdown. Marriage in Australia is a legal right, not a Christian one. The Christian God’s intimate story for human history must secure itself in the walls of the church rather than in the words of parliament in a secular society. It is time Christian lobby groups stop having such a stronghold on the progression of this issue: http://http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2015/03/16/4196300.htm.
For me, this is a matter of conscience. I don’t refuse to recognise the government’s regulation of marriage if its definition does not include the solemnisation of same-sex couples. That would mean I refuse to recognise my parents marriage for over twenty-five years, my brothers’ marriages to their wonderful partners and to my friends and family that hope to get married in the future. I just refuse to get on the see-saw if everyone isn’t allowed to play.