Why “Marriage Equality” Has Become Embarrassing


As a gay man, the "marriage equality" debate—no it isn't "gay marriage"—that inexplicably continues to rage in Australia has become embarrassing.

When the issue inevitably crops up in the news every single morning, I now instinctively tune out, just like I do whenever I hear any reference to Donald Trump. I wonder how many other Australians do the same?

I just don't want to hear about it anymore.

More importantly, I don't want my fellow non-LGBT Australians to have to hear about it anymore. It's nothing to do with them.

They should neither be subjected to the ongoing debate, nor be put in a position of having to vote on whether certain members of society should be entitled to marry.

It's just wrong to put anyone in that position. The population at large wouldn't be asked to vote on what the law should be for any other matter, so why this one?

Obviously, as a member of the LGBT community, I have something of a vested interested in the outcome of this debate. Of course my preference is that the decision would be taken in the most appropriate way, as per any other similar decision.

But right now I'm at the point where I really don't care if an outcome is achieved via a plebiscite, a postal vote, a conscience vote or any other kind of decision-making mechanism. I just want an outcome. I just want the debate to end.

Having said that, I don't really want to feel like a reality TV contestant by having my potential future life either endorsed or dismissed when "Australia votes". I especially don't want that to be the case when the vast majority of Australians probably don't have a strong opinion on the topic one way or the other.

Look at how much respect our political process currently has. Think about how many Australians literally resent having to turn up to vote on election day. Look at how that resentment and widespread apathy has worked out for our federal political system for most of the past decade.

Do we really want to apply that resentment and apathy to this issue as well?

But I don't like inequity either. I don't like the idea that one set of people can be denied the right to do what another set of people can do, just because "that's how it's always been". In these supposedly enlightened times, "that's how it's always been" should never be considered a valid argument against anything.

Women and indigenous Australians have already been through (and, arguably, continue to go through) exactly the same trials and tribulations. Have we learned nothing from the past?

Existing anti-discrimination laws protect the elderly, the young and the disabled. They also outlaw discrimination on the basis of, among other things, sexual preference—clearly, though, the latter protection only extends so far.

Australia is also a secular society. Your religious views are your own and there's always been an acceptance that everyone is entitled to their own position on religion.

But while an individual's religious beliefs might inform their own position on this issue, churches and religious organisations should not become actively embroiled in marriage equality campaigns. That shouldn't be the role of any church or religious group. Share your teachings with those who voluntarily choose to hear them—don't push them on all and sundry.

Ultimately, this whole thing has become a national embarrassment. We have friends and neighbours overseas who are baffled by the inability of such a young country, which has always been broadly perceived as liberal and forward-thinking, to make a decision on this.

I could marry my same-gendered partner in either of our fellow Commonwealth countries New Zealand or Canada. I could marry him in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland. I could marry him in any of the Scandinavian countries. I could marry him in France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, or Portugal. I could even marry him in any one of the 50 states of the USA.

And yet here we are, languishing down here at the ass-end of the world, still waiting for equality, largely thanks to our fucked-up political situation. Coz let's face it, that's pretty much what it all boils down to right now: a Prime Minister who was so desperate for the gig that he made agreements that went against his own clearly stated positions on multiple issues, just to secure the top job.

Apathy and resentment? Pfft! Why would there be any of that here?…

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