Christine Forster met her partner Virginia Edwards 13 years ago when they had sons at the same school. Coming out and becoming a couple was a huge decision for both women, who were both married when they met.
Forster is former PM Tony Abbott’s sister and Liberal Party Councillor in the City of Sydney. She disagrees completely with her brother that gay marriage will “erode” conventional marriage and strongly believes everyone has the right to create their own family – whatever that family may look like.
Christine writes exclusively for Mamamia on the issue that has divided them…
Last week my older brother, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, gave a speech in the US which he titled the “defence of families.”
He and I have a well-documented difference of opinion on whether or not Australian legislation should be changed to enable two men or two women to marry.
Tony has again clearly put his view that the “essence of marriage” is “one man and one woman open to children.” In contrast, it’s my firmly held belief that the legal right to marry one other person, as it is defined by government legislation, should be extended to all men and women, irrespective of the gender of their chosen partner.
Like Tony, I believe that marriage is a special relationship. That’s why it forms the bedrock of our society and why governments have enshrined rules around marriage into legislation.
I also wholeheartedly agree with my brother when he says that marriage is “the heart of family.” Where we differ fundamentally is that I regard marriage as being first and foremost about two people becoming family to each other.
It’s my view that people, both heterosexual and homosexual, primarily want to be married because they share a bond that is “family” by definition.
Listen to Christine tell the Just Between Us podcast about coming out later in life. Contrary to popular perceptions, her brother Tony Abbott was the most supportive of all: (post continues after audio)
As Tony described it in the US last week: “With family, we don’t just return phone calls, try to remember birthdays and arrange to meet when we haven’t caught up for a while. Family are the people whose lawn we will mow, or whose dishes we will wash, or whose debts we will forgive, or whose death bed we will attend – not because we necessarily feel like it or because it might do us good – but because they have a claim on us: of blood or of deep, long-term connectedness.”