Same-sex marriage is about a fair go for ALL Australians. It is 2017 and we should not even be having this discussion about the worth and dignity of our family and friends. Really, why are you doing this when it can be resolved so easily?
The process to achieving marriage equality has been increasingly discussed and argued in the press for weeks. The Liberal Party continues to support a plebiscite despite the Senate having already rejecting it. Five politicians have now courageously stood up for it to be resolved once and for all by a vote in the parliament. Today, the Liberal Party room decided to try for a second time to secure a plebiscite on marriage equality instead of resolving it right away.
With all the noise, it has been forgotten that there are real people, with real love stories, behind their arguments. We need to remember WHO this is about, not WHAT. Marriage equality is about real people, our friends and family, teammates and work colleagues who just want the same dignity as everyone else in their families.
Listen: Mia Freedman talks to Jayson Brunsdon and Aaron Elias, who are allowed to become fathers, but not get married.
My brother Brent told me he was gay when I was 13 years old. He was a gifted and talented sportsman, like our Dad, former Hawthorn player Russell Greene. But Brent stopped playing because of the homophobic environment of the sporting world at the time. That sparked within me an outrageous passion and the drive to fight for anyone who felt discriminated against, purely because of who they are. As I got older, I became increasingly frustrated that I had certain rights and privileges that he didn’t have, purely because I was straight. A type of subtle division that I will never understand.
It really upsets me that I am one of three siblings, and only two of us can get married. To me, marriage is literally one of our most basic human rights and the Australian debate within our government is not only demoralising, outrageous and embarrassing – it is hurtful.
So I made a tiny, and very personal choice that affects no one but myself and my peace of mind. I have been with my boyfriend for four years and I know that I am his love and he is mine. When we’d been together for just a year I told Sam I could not get married knowing that my brother, my two cousins, my godfather and my countless non-hetero and gender diverse friends could not. I could not celebrate my love with all my friends and family, knowing that there were a percentage in the crowd that do not have the same rights. It was probably too soon to bring up marriage, but I needed him to know my values.
Like most young people experience, my friends started getting married in our late twenties. Every wedding I attend, as much as I love and support my friends and family who are tying the knot, there is a part of me that feels so much pain that some of us are excluded from one of the most beautiful moments to celebrate in life.
It is painful when I hear the celebrant state that marriage is between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. It is deeply unfair that our LGBTI loved ones can’t get married but to remind them publicly at the most beautiful moment in a ceremony (in case they forgot!) is truly awful. We are legally forced to hear our country condone laws that highlight how some of our relationships are less valid or worthy than others.
Our family and friends deserve better. This is not about tax reform or childcare rebates or energy policy. Marriage Equality is about the basic right to have the same dignity and respect. Marriage equality takes from no one but will make a profound difference to the lives of those we love that currently denied the right to marry the one they love. No one will be less married or more gay. No church or religion will be affected; this is about civil marriage laws only.
So really, why are you holding our loved ones back? It is time for our politicians to do their job and vote on marriage equality.
Life is short and time is so precious. Let people move on, let people love who they love, let people be free to be exactly who they are.