real life

Australia looks increasingly absurd on same-sex marriage.

Your move, Australia.

During a nightmarish evening of terrorism, with a decapitation in France, a suicide bombing in Kuwait, and a massacre in Tunisia, the storm of hate and brutality was interrupted in a brief reprieve by the appearance of a rainbow.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled, by a majority of 5 – 4 that gay marriage should be legal throughout the country’s 50 states. It doesn’t provide much respite from the maelstrom consuming much of the Middle East, nor explain exactly how and how far that ever widening conflict’s tendrils reach.

But, for American cake decorators, it was a great night.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that gay marriage should be legal throughout the country’s 50 states.

Because make no mistake, last night was an iconic moment in the civil rights movement. Among the most iconic for gay rights. Up until this point gay marriage was legal in 37 of the 50 States.

In ruling that the discrimination against gay people is unconstitutional, the USA has joined 18 other nations, including New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Australia’s ongoing failure to address the issue will seem increasingly absurd – unless gay marriage causes those countries to be hit by a sudden increase in multi-coloured and stylish natural disasters…(And, yes, natural disasters are something that  prominent American politicians continue to connect to ‘the gays’. Here’s Presidential candidate and Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal doing just that).

The case decided last night by the US Supreme Court was called Obergefell v Hodges, and the core issue was an Ohio man’s efforts to get his name listed on his late husbands death certificate. This incidentally, is something that gay couples here in Australia still struggle with: Eminent Australian Professor Dennis Altman has said that when his late-partner passed away he wasn’t acknowledged on the death certificate. I’d challenge you to look him, or any other recently bereaved homosexual in the eyes and declare that this is a purely symbolic issue. It’s a deeply personal right, something that when denied, haunts people for the rest of their lives.

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Given how immature the debate around this issue can often seem, and how deranged much of the opposition is, it’s worth quoting the final paragraph of the Supreme Court judgement written by Justice Anthony Kennedy (on behalf of five Supreme Court Justices) which set out the reasons for upholding the constitutional right to marry:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

America can seem, at times, to be a profoundly unfair and discriminatory place. The mere fact that the courts had to rule on this issue reflected a failure of politicians in more conservative parts of the country to get their act together.

Happily, gay marriage, once passed tends not to ferment controversy. It’s very hard for opponents to make insane arguments suggesting that societal collapse and dog marriage IS happening, as opposed to them possibly happening in some hypothetical future.

Most Australians want same-sex marriage. Our politicians don’t.

The deplorable state of politics in Australia may mean that Aussie gays will have to wait longer for their moment in their sun and there is no possibility of the High Court intervening.

It’s about bloody time Australia got this done. Justice Kennedy said that there was an urgency behind the decision, recognizing the consequences of denying the right to marry gay couples:
“For them and their children, the childhood years will pass all too soon”.

There are gay couples who deserve to marry and would love to marry growing old right now in Australia. It’s time we let #LoveWin.

But for now, it’s a good day to be gay, especially in America. As George W Bush might say:

How long do you think it will take for the Australian Government to step up?

For more on the same-sex marriage debate:

Same-sex marriage: Opposition leader Bill Shorten introduces bill to Federal Parliament urging MPs to ‘step-up.’

Christine Forster, the PM’s sister thinks same-sex marriage will become legal this year.

Anger after ambassador’s same-sex partner told NOT to greet the PM.

Charlie Pickering OBLITERATED Tony Abbott’s position on same-sex marriage.

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