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Sanctity and Same Sex Marriage

Monday 21st December 2015
Australia finds itself listed among world leaders in many areas; representation of women on banknotes, number of most liveable cities, number of creatures that can kill you, life expectancy, public health care, quality of life, quality of lattes... but for some unfathomable reason we are well behind in one of the most basic yet fundamental areas of them all - equality. By Sophie Beirne.
Posted under: love-stories Tagged: #couples

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Dubliners celebrate the historic vote to legalize same-sex marriage in Ireland. Photo: Reuters

Yes, you can have both.

Same sex marriage was first legalised in the Netherlands in April of 2001, over a decade ago. We are now years behind South Africa, Spain, Brazil, France, New Zealand, Ireland and the United States of America, to name a few. We almost got it right once; In October of 2013, same-sex marriage was legalised in the ACT, but two months later the federal government overruled the law as it was not in keeping with the Australian Marriage Act, an Act which had no definition of marriage at all until 2004, when the following was added:

“Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. Certain unions are not marriages. A union solemnised in a foreign country between: (a) a man and another man; or (b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia”

That’s right, our Aussie pollies added this wording in order to disallow same sex marriage. Granted, in many countries, legislation was written in a way that could be interpreted to prohibit same sex marriages even when this was not the intent, for example, in China the marriage law defines marriage as between “one husband and one wife” in order to outlaw polygamy. But our legislation was consciously amended in order to turn a minority group into second class citizens. Couples who had married in October and November of 2013 were no longer considered married by Christmas. One step forward, two steps back.

“But why do they need marriage? I’m not married and I’m happy.”

Good for you. I’m happy too. But the difference is, if I wanted to get married I could, while my lovely friends Nick and Petro could not. This is about fairness and equality. It’s about being recognised. In some states, same-sex couples can have a civil union. Civil unions are barely recognised across Australia, let alone anywhere else in the world. By contrast, an Australian marriage would be recognised on the moon.

It is embarrassing that this is something we are still talking about in 2015. The arguments for same-sex marriage simply crush those against, with a giant, rainbow mallet. Public opinion is well in favour of allowing same-sex marriage, an amendment to the Marriage Act would help renew Australia’s tarnished reputation, it would boost our economy, and it would give thousands of Australian’s their basic right to equality.

I think we, as a nation, lost the right to play the “sanctity of marriage” card when we allowed a TV show called “Married At First Sight” to become so popular it was renewed for another season. If you don’t like gay marriage, it’s simple, don’t get gay married, and if you, like me, are bored of hearing the same tired and out-dated arguments, go to http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/ways-to-get-involved/ to find out how you can get involved.

Monday 21st December 2015

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