Tonight, Parliament is debating a motion in favour of marriage equality in Australia. Which means it’s time to write to the politicians again, to make sure they get it right!
As usual, Getup is happy to help you with this
Dear Local MP,
I am writing to urge your support of marriage equality.
Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary in a picnic with the friends and family who attended our wedding six years ago. Our wedding occurred before the changes in legislation that required celebrants to say that marriage was between one man and one woman only, which meant that we were able to state then as we do now that marriage should be for any two people who are willing to do the work of keeping a relationship and their love for each other alive. The ability to have such a relationship is not limited to heterosexual couples, and I can’t imagine any way in which allowing gay people to marry could possibly threaten my marriage or anyone else’s.
It is true that marriage is not simply about two people – it is also about their community. But to me this is an even greater reason why gay people should be able to marry the people they love. A wedding is a big, public binding together of two people – a joyous occasion for their friends and family, something that says to the world as a whole ‘this person belongs with me, forever’. Even if you’ve lived with someone before you marry them, even if you’ve always planned to stay together, getting married does change the feel of a relationship. The act of saying aloud and before witnesses that you are joining your life to someone has a weight to it that a private understanding of the same intention does not (this can be a bad thing as well as a good thing – but it is undeniably a real thing). It changes some part of your identity irrevocably, even if the marriage itself does not last forever.
I will leave it to others to talk about the legal and social annoyances, large and small, that derive from being unable to name one’s partner ‘wife’ or ‘husband’. These could, I imagine, be addressed by other legislation and they are not in any case the central issue.
It is simply not right to exclude a part of the population – however large or small – from the ability to get married. It is not right to define a certain subset of consensual, stable, adult relationships as intrinsically less worthwhile than another subset. While this may not be the government’s intention in stating that marriage must be between one man and one woman, this is the message it sends to the community.
Please, send a better message.