I had a friend post this article on Facebook recently with the comment: “Exactly” and then this quote (I think) also in inverted commas “The call to allow same-sex marriage is legitimately seen as not a claim against discrimination, but a claim to change the nature of marriage.” I loathe to include it in here and give it more air time but it’s only fair if I’m going to trash it. It killed me not to comment on this at the time but I wanted time to collect my thoughts and clearly argue my point (which I’m attempting to do here but not sure if I succeed). I went back to the Facebook page in question but I can’t find the link there anymore so who knows what happened to it. Instead I’m getting it all out of my system in a blog post!
So, the article is having a bit of a whine because mainstream media barely murmured when a judge ruled that the states’ refusal to allow registration of same sex marriages was not sexual discrimination. It wasn’t covered extensively by the media as it is a non event and has no bearing on whether or not same sex marriage should be legalised. This case was simply a situation where an attempt was made to use a point of law, in this case the Sex Discrimination Act, to allow the registration of same sex marriages. As it happens, I agree with the outcome of this case even though I am pro same sex marriage. We aren’t in a situation where we allow men to marry men but not women to marry women. That would be sexual discrimination. This issue isn’t discrimination based on gender but discrimination based on sexual orientation. Interestingly a bill was introduced later that month to amend the Sex Discrimination Act to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation so I wonder if they’d have more success in court now? That’s an aside really so I’ll leave that thought there. Besides, do we really want the legalisation of such an important issue to come about because of a loophole in the law? No, I don’t think we do. It’s like getting your first female Prime Minister by default. It doesn’t hold quite the same poignancy as a female winning the role through the democratic election process.
Which brings me to this whole thing about the nature of marriage. The article claims that by recognising same sex marriages we are changing the very nature of marriage. I’m not sure how the nature of marriage has anything to do with it being between a “man” and a “woman”. I saw another page on Facebook recently that asked readers to list what marriage means to them (can’t remember the page – WISH I could). At the time I had a look to see what people were commenting and Not. One. Person. wrote anything about it being between a man and woman. And there were about 50 comments on there when I checked. And that’s because it has nothing to do with it being between a man and a woman and everything to do with the commitment that two people are making to each other. Marriage will be no more changed in nature by allowing people of the same sex to register their unions than voting was changed in nature when we allowed women and Aboriginals the vote. The process of voting and what it was all about remained the same, we simply widened the pool. That is all we are doing by legalising same sex marriage; widening the pool.
And this is about equality despite what that ridiculous article states. We have thankfully progressed from a time where same sex relationships were illegal (interestingly Lesbanism was never illegal here but sodomy was). So given that they are LEGAL then why are their unions unable to be recognised in the same way as unions between people of the same sex? I’m not sure I understand the thought process here. It’s like we are partially recognising something. Interestingly enough the government will recognise your same sex relationship in a situation where it benefits them such as considering the combined income of a household. Funny that isn’t it? I say if we are going to recognise such unions when it benefits the government then we need to go all the way and recognise these unions in every circumstance.
I have no idea why I am so fired up about this topic. I’m as straight as they come (have never even kissed a girl!) and I don’t even have any really close friends or family who are gay. I just find the current legal situation hypocritical and discriminatory so it really grates on my nerves.
What are your thoughts? What do you think is the nature of marriage?