I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the queers want to get married. What essentially means a change of two or three words in one small piece of legislation has created, in the famous words of K-Rudd, a “shit storm”.
This shouldn’t be a big deal. Two people want to get married in a secular environment, why does Old Man Government care? Shouldn’t he care more if some of his people can’t marry? Isn’t discrimination a far more important matter than a bit of that crazy little thing called love?
Currently, the House of Representatives has a survey on their website, acting as a public inquiry into the proposed amendments that will allow ‘Adam and Steve’ to become husband and husband. As of the most recent count, dated 5th April, 57.5% of the 100 000 or so respondents said “yes, Adam and Steve can put a ring on it.”
57.5%. That’s a clear majority. That’s higher than the majority that Liberal has over the ALP in the latest Nielsen and Newspoll polls. So, if you think it’s sure Tony will be PM come 2013, it’s even more sure that Penny and Sophie will be able to tie the knot.
There’s been an awful lot of fuss and fanfare over what is really one of those #firstworldproblems. It seems like everyone has an opinion on marriage equality. Oddly, those people who never intend on marrying a person of the same sex often have the loudest opinions.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s an issue I want to fight for; I want to get married just as much as I don’t want my cereal to go soggy, or to bring my laptop charger to uni, or any of those other #firstworldproblems. I just think that changing those two or three words in the legislation is a simple fix that will make 57.5% of people very happy, 100% of people able to move on with their lives and deal with bigger issues (horrible refugee policies anyone?), and 42.5% momentarily upset before they remember IT’S NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS.
At the parliamentary inquiry into the Amendments on Thursday, there was a lot of time devoted to legal babble around the wordings in the Bills. “Does ‘two people’ then mean two brothers can marry? Where do we draw the line?” How about introducing the word ‘unrelated’ and boom, incest is ruled out. Call me ignorant, but how is this difficult?
There was also a good two and a half hours devoted to religious and family (read: Christian) groups. We live in a democratic society so religious people have every right to give their two cents, but when Church is separate from State, it makes no sense that their reasoning, based on religious teaching, should count for anything. The simple fact is that hetero people get to marry, a privilege that excludes queer people for no other reason than their sexuality. That’s discrimination, not anti-religion. Discrimination is something catered for in our constitution, religious teaching is not – or should not.
The core of the Australian Christian Lobby and FamilyVoice Australia’s argument was that marriage, as defined by Christian values, was for the preservation of the next generation – for the conception and care of children. 50 years ago, maybe two people of the same sex couldn’t start a family, but now, thanks to a little thing called science, it’s possible. It’s also possible for a hetero, infertile couple to have kids – yet they were always able to marry.
MP Adam Bandt, who introduced one of the Amendment Bills, reminded the Christian lobbyists of an important point: “You know, this [same sex marriage] isn’t going to be compulsory. Heterosexual couples will able to continue to marry and procreate… this isn’t going to affect them.”
In the words of the rowdy gentleman who sat behind me: hear, hear. Now, can we all move on?