Wednesday 30 November 2016 will be my 20th anniversary.
30 November 1996 – 30 November 2016 is 7,306 days my partner and I have been together, and if that’s not enough reasons for you to believe in and endorse marriage equality, then I’ll humbly suggest to you that you’re a bigot.
Oh, you might dislike being called a bigot. You may think I’m being harsh, that it’s unfair to call someone a bigot just because they’re more conservative in their beliefs, or think there’s a religious reason for their bigotry.
You may even think it’s just not nice to be called a bigot. I’d further suggest that if you’re upset about being called a single word, imagine what it would be like being gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or any other minority sexuality and endure the ongoing enmity of groups who use words far worse and far more psychologically damaging than bigot.
But we’re speaking the truth here, and if the shoe fits, one should wear it.
“But marriage is about procreation!” the bigot cries, while endorsing heterosexual couples past child bearing age, people uninterested in having children, and sterile couples getting married.
“But, the sanctity of marriage!” the bigot cries, while watching a TV show where one man dates 16 hitherto unknown women for 15 weeks until he picks one to marry.
“But marriage is about the bible!”, the bigot cries, while denouncing slavery and happily wearing artificial fabrics – perhaps even while allowing women to talk in church.
There are even those on the extreme left who decry marriage equality on the basis that they perceive marriage to be some abhorrent, outdated institution that should be abandoned. Yet, invariably, they seem far more inclined to argue against marriage equality being achieved than arguing with a similar passion for all existing marriages to be terminated. Their attitudes smack of some form of pseudo-Marxist utilitarianism of universally averaged (un)happiness, and thus are just as bigoted as the extreme right they would normally rail against.
The simple truth is that at this point there is no legitimate reason to argue against marriage equality. The sky does not fall in when people of the same gender get married, children are not a necessary outcome of marriage (and same-sex parents are just as capable of raising balanced, loved and well functioning children as anyone else), and for every one verse you’ll find in some holy book saying why people should get married, a casual observer will be able to point out a dozen verses of dubious morality in your holy book that that are being conveniently ignored.
What we have left in Australia now is the last gasp of the bigots frantically trying to slam the door of equality shut in the faces of a fair percentage of the population. And it’s more than just the LGTBI people affected – it’s also their family, their friends, and yes, the economy too.
A plebiscite for marriage equality is not needed. It is not wanted. Look at those who advocate a plebiscite: the bigots and the people who pander to the bigots, or whose political future is beholden to the bigots. They know the plebiscite will give them free reign to spout their nonsense again – and be non-binding, and thus pointless to those who need the change of law. The clamour of denunciations for a plebiscite is overwhelming – and significantly originating from the LGBTI community, who, strangely enough, should be seen and recognised as having the most to say in the matter. Most of us would rather wait a few more years if necessary than see a destructive and vindictive plebiscite going ahead.
If you want to know how vindictive it will be, just look at the evidence already that the nay side of the plebiscite want hate-speech laws temporarily suspended so they can argue their ‘case’. This leads to a simple observation: if your reasons require the suspension of hate-speech laws to be made, you have no good reasons.
I, on the other hand, have 7,306 good reasons why marriage equality should pass as an act of parliament, without a plebiscite and through a simple majority parliamentary vote. Like how John Howard, his Liberal/National cronies and most of the rest of the Australian Parliament (I’m looking at you, too, Labor) shamefully blocked marriage equality in 2004.
They didn’t even have a single good reason to do it then, just shameful bigoted attitudes. And since that time my reasons have continued to build towards 7,306 good ones.
Nigh on twenty years into my relationship and I still have to choose between referring to the most significant person in my life as my partner or my boyfriend. Language helps to define thought, and neither of those words are acceptable. Partner can be a cold, sterile word that can be easily misinterpreted towards a business colleague or other financial relationship. Boyfriend has more warmth, but it can equally imply a transient relationship. We can fix so much of how LGTBI people are treated as a generational fix by fixing the language. Sure, after marriage equality is (eventually) achieved, some people will choose not to get married; some will be happy to continue to refer to partners and boyfriends, or partners and girlfriends. But the option will be there and that will affect the attitude.
This parliament appears doomed. Turnbull is beholden to and so dominated by the extreme right he may as well rock up to parliament in a gimp suit on all fours being led on a chain by the right of the party. At some point or another they will knife him and either reinstall Abbott or install someone with equally loathsome conservative ‘values’. The majority Turnbull has so roundly extolled as having was shown to be a farce in the first week of sitting, and if we are lucky, this means the plebiscite is also doomed. The chances of me being able to marry on my 20th anniversary are slim to non-existent, but I’ll settle for a longer wait rather than having to beg for the crumbs of society’s largesse, particularly when the plebiscite would be a destructive and expensive waste of time anyway.
I dare anyone to come up with one valid reason, let alone 7,306 good reasons why marriage equality should not happen.