Over the weekend Opposition Leader Bill Shorten expressed his support for marriage equality at the Australian Christian Lobby conference.
“When I see people hiding behind the bible to insult and demonise people on the basis of who they love, I cannot stay silent, I do not agree,” he said. “Whatever our religious views about marriage, and whatever our social views about how best to raise and educate children, we have to change this law which discriminates against adult couples on the basis of who they love.”
The debate on marriage equality in Australia – and worldwide – is a divisive one and one that is too often tinged with religiosity. If we are going to see change, it will take more strong speeches, more support and greater political pressure.
Meet Dan Savage.
He is an American author, sex-advice columnist, podcaster and fierce advocate for same-sex marriage who has been giving love advice for more than two decades in his column “Savage Love” and more recently his podcast, Savage Lovecast.
In the latest episode Dan speaks up about gay marriage and the intersection of rights and religion. It makes a great listen, or you can read an edited version of the transcript below.
Karen Bailey and Nelda Majors have been together for 57 years, they live in Arizona which is where they met. They met in college. They have a home in Scottsdale, where they live. Fifty seven years together. They were the first same-sex couple to marry in Arizona, and so I just want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Karen and Nelda on the occasion of your marriage. And I would encourage you, if you didn’t see the picture that went out of Karen and Nelda at their wedding, to go find it.
Both women are wearing lovely red blazers and black slacks, and they look like the two sweetest grandmas you could ever hope to have, if your grandmas were dykes. They are darling, and they are about as threatening to the institution of marriage as, I don’t know, as like throwing a cupcake at it might be.
Karen and Nelda of course were just one of the same-sex couples to get married in the last few weeks after a tsunami of states were forced to recognise the constitutionality and legality of same-sex marriage in the wake of a Supreme Court non-decision where the Supreme Court refused to take up a challenge to other, lower court marriage equality decisions and let them all stand, all these appellate courts, and that has legalised marriage in Kansas and Idaho and Oklahoma and Arizona and Nevada and now, thirty plus states.
A majority of states, and a majority of Americans now, now live in marriage equality states. It’s not quite a done deal, but we’re getting close to a done deal. If there’s no conflict in any other appellate court rulings, if all the other circuit courts rule in favour of marriage equality and the Supreme Court again refuses to take it up, it’s over. Marriage equality came to Alaska last week. Sarah Palin can see gay people getting married from her house. Vladmir Putin can see gay marriage from his house too. It was a terrific month, last few weeks – a terrific month for equality, for progress.