Switch on the TV, flick from station to station on your radio, scroll through your social media platforms and what trend do you see? Marriage Equality. As Australia faces a postal survey on same-sex marriage, the media is swamped with the ongoing marriage equality conversation (or should I say, debate?). I’m not a happy-clapper that is about to knock on your door and give you unsolicited advice but I have a voice and I’m going to use it to make you think.
“Love is love”, “Marriage Equality”, “Say “I do” to same-sex marriage”, “equality for all”, “say YES to equality”. These are just some hash tags and headlines that are trending with my personal favourite “Love is gender-blind”.
“The 2016 Census counted 46,800 same-sex couples across Australia. This was an increase of 39% since the 2011 Census, which counted 33,700 same-sex couples. Female same-sex couples made up just under half (49%) of same-sex couples, however they were more likely to have children than male same-sex couples. While one-quarter (25%) of female same-sex couples had children, 4.5% of male same-sex couples had children.”
While federally, the Australian government has removed the majority of legal distinctions between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, recognising their relationships in matters such as superannuation, taxation, social security, inheritance, and support for veterans, we still lack their identity as being ‘equal’. Same-sex couples represent about 1% of all couples in Australia, which yes, does make them a minority group. BUT, should minority mean or lead to inferiority? When discussing minority groups, we can also discuss high-profile specialists in the world but does this then make them inferior simply because as a number, they represent a small percentage of the population? Personally, I can hold them in a much higher regard than myself in regards to their intellectual level and I say that with the utmost respect and admiration.
Now here is what I find most infuriating, a person identifying as LGBT can be seen as an “equal” human being in a physical sense but anything beyond that then shifts the perspective and identity of that person. For those people arguing against marriage equality, they then view this ‘human’ as somewhat different, imbalanced/unequal and inferior to make the same choices as the ‘rest of us’.
I’m a Millennial and I admit that sometimes us ‘Millennials’ are either uninformed about politics or do lack some interest compared to previous generations. I’m one of the nerdy ones (if you like to call it that). I can’t help but show interest in the circus of political Australia and rightly so, I’m a tax-paying Australian citizen. I grew up in a household where politics, human rights and justice would at times be topics of discussion; my sister and I were educated on these important topics that effect all of us, here in Australia and globally. Fast-forward to here and now when I am thirty and my father is eighty still having the same conversations at times. They say the older you are, the wiser you are and in terms of human rights and politics, my dad is quite wise and I love having a good banter with him. There is a difference between my father and I though, he is religious and I am not. I have strong beliefs and values but they aren’t in the name of faith.
With my father being ‘religious’ and with myself identifying as an atheist, we still have the same beliefs in regards to human rights, justice and same-sex marriage. This is where I can’t help but emphasise LOVE IS LOVE as BLOOD IS BLOOD. We all have basic human rights.
What do I mean by blood is blood being compared to love is love? Take these scenarios:
- In a time of poor health where one may need a blood transfusion; on your deathbed do you ask what race, gender, sexual orientation that blood was withdrawn from or is the transfusion given to you without consent just to save your life? In a moment of consciousness, do you deny the transfusion and medical intervention because the blood could possibly belong to someone of another gender, race, religious belief? On the other hand, are you considered greedy to use the blood of someone else to save your life when you don’t “approve” of his or her sexual orientation?
- For those in the Australian Defence Force, do you treat someone differently because they fit into the LGBT community? When on operation, is it expected you are all equal and fight equally or do you place someone as inferior based on their sexuality? If you are standing beside someone who is ‘gay’ and have the responsibility of fulfilling your role of duty, do you question let that responsibility go? Do you turn and look at that person as less than you?
- At a time where your child or family member may need a donor in terms of physical body parts to save their life or enhance their quality of life, do you accept the ‘part’ that will help you? Do you question who that person was and what their beliefs were or do you ever so gratefully celebrate that you have the possibility of a second-chance at life?
- As a medical professional, you may be in a situation where another human being will need your service. Is it a question of their religion, race, gender, sexuality or political beliefs whether to assist them or not? Or do you revert back to the values and morals you have that are based on simply helping others?
- For those of you who are religious and define your choice based on ‘religion’, I ask you this, did the leader that you worship in your faith indicate that we are all the same? Did he/she only suggest that there is ONE gender, ONE colour, ONE sexual orientation on the planet? Or is it really all about interpretation? Christians look to the bible to relate to their religious leader. I ask this, if equality should be questioned and one race/gender/sexual orientation be superior, why did he ‘create’ so many differences amongst us? Just for the pure reason to create war? Because that would be ludicrous considering ‘he’ doesn’t support war right?
As Magda Szubanksi mentioned on The Project, marriage equality is much more than simply being able to marry the one you love. It is the laws associated with the term ‘marriage’. She shares an experience of her friend who had a long-term partner who was dying of cancer. As she lay on her deathbed, medical staff told the partner she was not allowed in the room. It was the ‘next of kin only’; siblings, parents, family. As this woman dying an uncomfortable death due to cancer, she screamed in pain. Her partner who wasn’t allowed in the room to console her had to listen and because of the ‘law’ could not be there for the person she loved.
It’s simply too good to be true to live in a world where we are born equal. I for one fear the world in which my children and then grandchildren will be exposed to if we are spending a ridiculous amount of money to decide whether Australia should recognise same-sex marriage. Tonight, on the 24th August, it is the last day to enrol to vote ‘YES’ to same-sex marriage in Australia. Following today, September will be your time to truly shine. Do the right thing by those who deserve to have someone by their side for the rest of their life no matter what their sexual orientation may be. You have a voice and together our voice becomes louder. As the majority that can vote, let’s band together to give the ‘minority’ the power of choice they deserve.