You know I find it sort of sad that in this day and age we are still going over this subject. As I write this, same sex marriage is not permitted by Australian law. To most of us marriage is a demonstration of our love for one another.
A demonstration of our commitment. But no matter how deep the love and no matter how desperately same sex couples need the privileges and protections associated with marriage, two people that love each other are denied the honour of marriage.
Love, to most of us, is what keeps us going. It’s what makes us smile even when everything else is falling apart. I was 16 when I succumbed to it. I will never forget the moment I realised I was in love, it felt like nothing else. It was a completion of my heart. He was/is the other half of me.
Nine years later he asked me to marry him and I couldn’t begin to imagine how I would have felt if someone tried to tell me that I couldn’t marry the man I loved.
I know it may sound cliché but marrying my husband was truly one of the best days of my life. It was a public declaration of our love for one another. I loved the moment they introduced us as “Mr and Mrs Vallely”. Taking Ben’s name, becoming his wife, changed us, it cemented our love.
Some say “Marriage is a religious Institution”, when in fact it is a civil institution. It is a legal process commonly explained by the phrase “Separation of Church and State”. Hence the reason why the government is involved and there is a document to sign and witness. If it was a religious institution atheists would not be able to marry.
Another “Anti – argument”: “It will be detrimental to kids to grow up with same-sex parents”
Many kids grow up in many dysfunctional families. This saddens me deeply. I have seen enough dysfunction in heterosexual marriages that I don’t accept this argument. I am sure there will be many loving, caring, same-sex families, and also many dysfunctional same-sex families.
A couple of facts I found on www.australianmarriageequality.com: (fantastic website)
“As many as 25% of same-sex couples are raising children. By allowing parents in these families the right to marry we are providing their children with the same rights, respects as their peers”.
“The Australian Psychological Society has found that children raised by same-sex couples are just as well adjusted, psychologically, sexually, intellectually and socially as their peers”.
Look, don’t get me wrong I am happy that we are slowly moving towards changes within our laws although it is important to recognise that civil unions and Marriages are in fact different. Civil unions give the couple access to most relationship entitlements. Civil unions do not deliver the same social recognition or legal security as marriage. Yes it is similar, but different. It’s segregation based on your sexual orientation. What sort of message does that portray?
Are heterosexual couples somehow more important that same sex couples? Denying anyone the right to marriage based on gender or sexuality is immoral and unfair.
“Marriage equality is primarily about ending social exclusion and giving all Australians the same basic rights. Lack of equality has strong links to mental health issues among same sex attracted young people. We want to see an end to the unnecessary stigma and isolation another generation of young Australians could face because of this inequality.” – Headspace, Australia’s Youth mental health foundation.
Social inclusion is critical. All Australians should have the same basic rights and marriage is one of them. It really saddened me to read the results of the Private Lives Survey. They reported some experience of depression in the past, with 49% of men and 44% having a major depressive episode.
In addition 16% of all respondents indicated suicidal ideation (thoughts) in the two weeks prior to completing the survey. High rates of self-harm and suicidal thoughts have been demonstrated as linked to ongoing harassment and violence in same-sex attracted young people.
Why? Why in this day and age are people experiencing such awful depression and anxiety I believe that social exclusion could be one of the many reasons. I find it just so sad that people are experiencing this. Shouldn’t falling in love and marriage be a beautiful time?
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY?
Please send a letter to your local MP saying you support marriage equality. Include your personal story about why marriage equality is important to you. Make it clear to your local MP that civil unions are not a substitute for marriage equality. Go to Australian Marriage Equality’s webpage to send a letter to your local MP: www.australianmarriageequality.com