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It's disgusting that these two men are getting married. But not for the reason you might think.

gay marriage radio competition
“Don’t take a right that you never had to fight for, and use it to win something”: One Mamamia reader has called the competition ‘disgusting’. (Photo: TheEdge.co.nz)

By LOLA JENNINGS-EDQUIST

It was called to my attention that two men got married today. It’s disgusting. It’s a travesty. It completely ruins the whole point of marriage. It’s-

Oh. Wait. I’ve gotten ahead of myself here.

Let me rephrase: It was called to my attention today that two straight men got married. To each other, for a competition. Yep.

In case you’ve missed the news reports, Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick, two straight, ‘rugby-loving’ mates (reporters seem to feel it’s important to point out they love rugby, because apparently that’s a very heterosexual bonding sport) won a competition with New Zealand’s The Edge radio station.

And according to the station, the point of that competition was for ‘two best mates’ to have ‘to marry to win the trip of a lifetime’, in an act of ‘true bro-mmitment’. Right.

I have a little problem with that. Because in the name of ‘true bro-mmitment,’ the competition’s organisers seem happy to willingly slap in the face a decades-long fight for civil rights. It’s as if they sat around thinking: “Hey, you know what will be super fun? Let all those gay people know that no one takes their marriages seriously. Again.”

‘Hey, you know what will be super fun? Let all those gay people know that no one takes their marriages seriously. Again.’

As a young gay woman, I can’t begin to tell you the amount of times I heard that growing up. Not as a direct quote, of course, but I still heard it.

I heard it every time I saw the words ‘sanctity of marriage’, or read a story about a young heterosexual couple eloping and getting divorced 72 hours later, or whenever I was told that “civil unions are just the same!,” or saw same-sex families with three kids still unable to wed because, for some reason, straight people had decided on their behalf that one kind of relationship was more legitimate than another.

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It’s something I still hear today, every day, when someone says something about marriage and I am reminded with startling clarity that, despite all my freedoms in this country, I am still not allowed to marry the person I love. 

When marriage equality became legal in New Zealand, I cried.

I cried watching the moment the bill was passed, and politicians in support stood up and sand the national anthem because they realised what a momentous thing they’d just done. I cried with happiness; because one more country was taking a step forward and realising how important equality is, and I cried with sadness because it wasn’t my country.

And now I’m crying again, but honestly, it’s mostly in rage.

“People are being killed for being gay, all around the world, and you’re up there, using a new law that’s meant to empower gay people, to marry a mate as a ‘hilarious’ joke.”

These two men, these two straight, white men, who literally already have all the rights in the world, are taking something away from me that I don’t even have yet. And not only that: they’re telling me, as the Otago Daily Times reports, “We are not here to insult anyone. We are here to do our own thing and travel our own path.”

You can already do your own thing. Every single thing, in fact.

You have all the possible privileges to be born with, with which to ‘travel your own path’, so, seriously, stay off of mine.

I mean, if you’re going to have a gay marriage, that’s cool. That’s wicked. In fact, that’s an excellent thing to do and something that I hope to do one day. But don’t freaking have one if you don’t need one. Don’t half-arse it, don’t use the label as a cute social experiment or to win a competition.

Don’t take my identity and turn it into a farce.

People are being killed for being gay, all around the world, and you’re up there, using a new law that’s meant to empower gay people, to marry a mate as a ‘hilarious’ joke.

You want to see the rugby world cup one day, boys? Save up some money. Don’t buy wedding suits and plane tickets to events you don’t need to have. Sell some stuff. Sell your damned car.

Don’t take a right that you never had to fight for, and use it to win a stupid competition.

What did you think of the competition?

Lola is an ardent cat lover and feminist in equal measures, who likes attempting to educate children almost as much as she enjoys pretending to be one. In future years she hopes to teach primary students and live in Northcote, Melbourne with ten cats.