Here’s the thing: the outcome of Australia’s same-sex marriage postal survey will not impact me greatly.
I do not identify with the individuals who will be negatively affected in a possible majority ‘No’ vote.
I am straight. I am happily married – we said our vows in a church. And I have a child.
However, I do identify with them, as a fellow member of the human race. I am a member, and they are too.
Firstly let me start by showing you how I have voted:
(and you will see that I have taken care not to include the lower barcode in this pic, in fear of the vote being deemed invalid, or risk of it being used by online scammers).
And now, a bit about myself.
I was raised in a fairly traditional European family. I was taught to respect and listen to elders, do as you’re told, and work hard.
We have a large extended family unit, and this only grew as the years passed. Family came to Australia from overseas, and so too the numbers went up up up.
When I was about 16 someone in this family unit came out.
It was my first time, being in the proximity of this knowledge. This ‘kind.’
Maybe I had been sheltered. Maybe it was a different time then. Maybe because it was so close to home…
… But the news really shook me. I felt altered. This person, who I had grown up with, who I had looked up to, who I had made some of the best childhood memories with –
was not the person who I thought they were.
Maybe because I was almost 16, maybe because it was that oh-so-pivotal and dramatic point in my teenage years – but I seriously felt lost. I didn’t know, what and who I knew anymore. The history that I had between myself and this person, didn’t appear to exist anymore.
To quote Gotye, they were “somebody who I used to know.”
Time went on. I still saw this person. They were still a part of my life.
And an important realisation surfaced. Through the continued interactions, continued laughs, continued memory-making…
… nothing had actually changed.
This theme grew stronger and stronger throughout the years, when I entered the workforce, and met more people who were gay and lesbian. And to date, I have lost count of the number of people in my life, both in personal life and at work, who are gay or lesbian.
I learnt a lesson very early on. There was nothing wrong with these people.
And this told me something. The sexual orientation didn’t make the person; the character did.
There were straight people who shit me.
There were straight people who I loved.
There were gay people who shit me.
There were gay people who I loved.
And lately, these gay people that I love (and some straight too) have been getting very vocal online. They’ve been getting vocal, because they want the same rights as every straight couple has, to be able to get married in Australia and have their union recognised legally.
I was sitting quite impassively on the subject for a while. I always knew how I would vote. But like I said, it didn’t concern me.
A quote sparked my interest though, and took me by surprise.
It was questioned, that when our children asked us in the future how we voted at this time, whether we would shy away and feel guilty, or whether we would be proud and say we had made a difference to the way people live their lives.
To the way people are able to live their lives.
That’s what it comes down to. Gay and lesbians do not have a say, nor do they have a right, to make their relationships official in the court of law.
I couldn’t help but think of women’s rights, and how it took so long for women to be able to ‘acceptably’ work… AND to be able to vote.
I work, and I vote. But if I was born before 1902, that wouldn’t have been at all possible for me. People back then made history, allowing me and every other woman in this day and age to do what shouldn’t just be a privilege, but a basic human right.
Think of the Aborigine people. We have come a long way, but in some respects, we still have a LONG way to go.
It has been progressive, has it not? People will argue either way, and yet if we look at the rights that Aborigines receive nowadays, they are vastly improved from how it used to be.
But for gays and lesbians, NO.
I didn’t think I needed to speak up, to give them a voice. It didn’t affect me, you see.
I read another story about a gay man preaching his case. He said under current Australian law, his brother, who he hasn’t spoken to in years, would have rights over his remains and his estate if something happened to him… his brother who he is estranged from. Who he clearly does not have a relationship with. Who he does not want anything to do with.
His brother would have rights, and yet his partner, who he is happily committed in a relationship with, would have none.
I read that, and I thought “that is just not fair.”
And then days earlier, the clincher.
The church where Hubbie and I got married, well they sent me a text. In summary, they were asking everyone to not be pressured and bullied by the same-sex marriage vote, and to vote NO in the plebiscite.
A direct quote:
“vote no to protect the holy sacrament of marriage, the family unit and the future generations.”
I was stunned. Stupefied. I told Hubbie, and we had a good, LONG discussion.
How dare they? What has it got to do with them? Gays and lesbians are not asking to be recognised by the church. The churches can continue to dismiss their relationship and deny their wishes to be married in their ‘sacred’ house… gays and lesbians are wishing for their unions to be respected and recognised legally.
By law. In the courts. Not in the church.
Marriage will still be sacred… because what is sacred, is LOVE. Let’s not pretend us ‘straight’ people are perfect. Divorce, adultery, abuse, both mental and physical… need I go on? Whose to say we are the only ones that can do it better? Straight people have been screwing it up since the beginning of time.
How will the family unit be affected? In what regard? From what I know, I’m fairly certain you don’t really have a choice to be gay or straight. You’re “born this way,” as another artist sings. Whether your parents are straight, or gay, I don’t think none of that will affect the family, or how their children will orient themselves sexually.
Straight couples produce gay children. Case closed.
And, future generations? Don’t we have an overpopulation issue? Like really? Will us ‘straight’ couples not be able to produce enough babies because of all the sudden gay and lesbian couples popping up everywhere?
Give me a break.
If anything, “church.” I am even more pro-God, anti-church establishment, than ever before. The man-made restrictions constantly placed upon the general population by the churches shits me to no end.
This law, isn’t going to make gay and lesbians go away. It isn’t going to make them disappear. And they shouldn’t have to. They are people, they have dreams, hopes and wishes, and theirs is to be respectfully recognised if they choose to marry the person they want to spend the rest of their life with. They have a basic human right, like so many of us.
They have a right to be recognised.
Like Aborigines do.
Like women do.
We all have a right. We have a right to be respected. We have a right to be heard.
We deserve the right of freedom. We deserve the right of public speech.
We deserve the right to marry who we want to.
We deserve the right to not be discriminated against for our race, colour, or gender.
We deserve the right to not be discriminated against for our ethnicity, work place, religion or geography.
We deserve the right to immunise our children, how and when as we wish. We deserve a say in this also, highly debatable topic, and need to be respected and listened to, our concerns understood and discussed, not pushed away in the corner and off to the ‘too-hard, crazy-person’ basket.
We deserve to be recognised by law, when we love someone. Let it not be based on gender, race, geography, or religion. Let it be based, and guided by, only the heart.
And this is how this post came about. I was passive about the topic of same-sex marriage, still voting ‘YES,’ but neither feeling here nor there…
But then I realised, my voice was even more beneficial, because I was part of the middle group. The group that didn’t know how it affected them. The group that lay undisturbed from the decision. The group that would sleep well after the votes were cast, either way.
I am NOT a lesbian gay activist. I am not one way or the other. But I do believe in a person’s right to do as they choose, especially if they are not hurting anyone.
And they are not hurting anybody.
My voice is as important as every other humans out there.
And for the gays and lesbians, their voice is as important as MINE.
Please be a part of the ‘YES’ movement. Make a positive difference to our ongoing history. Be someone your future children will be proud of.
It feels awful to say it. But give the right, of basic human rights.
P.S And oh, just so you know…
WordPress votes ‘YES’ too.