I don’t usually get philosophical/political/on my high horse here, except when going on about free range chickens. But something happened on the weekend and I felt the need to say something about it. I will try and keep it pretty short.
Albury Wodonga had its first ever equal marriage rally on the weekend. Although I consider myself pretty well versed and understanding (as much as I can) of the situation of people in same sex relationships, I did learn a few things that I had never thought about. Did you know that if someone gets married, and then discovers they have a gender disparity issue and they follow through on a sex change operation, they must divorce their spouse to be officially recognised as their new gender? Even if the spouse is committed and wants to remain in that relationship? I had never thought about it and that blew my mind a little.
My first thought when I started speaking to people was that I shouldn’t be here. Nobody should, because the rally should not have to happen. To me, the issue of marriage equality shouldn’t even be an issue.
Here’s the thing. I am in a committed heterosexual relationship, and I fully support the push for marriage equality. In essence, it comes down to this: What right do I have, to argue that two loving, consensual adults in a relationship matching my own in everything but biological sex, cannot have the same rights, privileges, and obligations that are handed freely to myself and Gary, should we chose to marry?
I have friends who are gay, and it saddens me every time I go to a wedding and realise that they aren’t able to have the joy, the celebration, the joining of families that I can. To me, people are people, be they straight, gay, lesbian, trans, intersex, black, white, chinese, or muslim. Whatever they (or society) label themselves as, they are still people who should be afforded the same rights, opportunities, and obligations as everyone else.
I have found no argument that ever makes sense to me as to why those two loving, consensual and committed adults should not have their relationship and their connection officially, and legally recognised as the same as my own with my partner.
I understand that other people think differently to me, and that some of my friends will not agree with me. However, my firm belief is that it has nothing to do with anyone other than the couple themselves. I ask all the people opposed to equal marriage push to ask themselves how they will be affected if a gay couple were allowed to marry. It’s been done to death, so I won’t methodically refute every argument I’ve ever heard against it. Suffice to say that I have never found one single argument that answers one question in a satisfactory manner. That one question is simple: “What’s it to you?”
The argument could be phrased as such:
There are people in the world who are catholic. I don’t fully understand Catholicism, and what I do understand does not make sense to me. I am not catholic and I do not want to be catholic. I am actually a little concerned about it as it doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t understand how people could be interested in it, and some of the rituals that go along with it seem to be ridiculous. I may not believe that Catholicism has any real benefit to any individual. However, I have no right to push for legislation that takes away anybody else’s right to be catholic for the simple reason that their Catholicism has no effect on me. They are not affecting my rights, or my personal safety. I have no right to discriminate against them based on my fear of their lifestyle (which is based off my lack of understanding).
Apologies to anyone who is catholic, it was the first thing that popped into my mind. You could replace it with any lifestyle/religion etc and my point would be the same.
Now change the words a little and read it again:
There are people in the world who are gay. I don’t fully understand same sex relationships, and what I do understand does not make sense to me. I am not gay and I do not want to be married to someone of the same sex. I am actually a little concerned about it as it doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t understand how people could be interested in it, and some of the rituals or behaviours that go along with it seem to be ridiculous. I may not believe that same sex relationships have any real benefit to any individual. However, I have no right to push to keep legislation that takes away anybody else’s right to be in a same sex marriage for the simple reason that their gayness has no effect on me. They are not affecting my rights, or my personal safety. I have no right to discriminate against them based on my fear of their sexual orientation (which is based off my lack of understanding).
I am trying to say with this analagy that I believe that it’s pretty simple to change a few words and allow all citizens equal rights, and that it’s not hard to make our country just a little more accepting of the diversity of it’s people. This shouldn’t even be an issue because the people who believe that same sex marriages should not occur do not have to condone them, they do not have to support them. Nobody is forcing anyone to perform the ceremony to marry same sex couples, and nobody is forcing anyone to attend a same sex wedding (although if you are against it, you probably aren’t going to be invited.)
The world will not explode if same sex marriages are allowed. Heterosexual marriages will not crumble (no more than they already do). Children will not go without loving parents (no more than they already do). My relationship with my partner will still be as special, as loving, and as committed as it already it. Churches will not fall, society will not descend into anarchy. The only effect it will have on me if my gay friends are allowed to marry will be that I get more wedding invites and I will get to kick back at some awesome receptions.
please keep in mind that these are my views, and if you disagree with me, feel free to say so. But please do it in a respectful manner.