Federal politicians in Australia have been asked by Parliament to poll their electorates to find out the current opinion on same sex marriage. As you can imagine, I have an opinion on this, and here’s what I wrote to my local minister, Deborah O’Neill:
I have been in a same-sex relationship for over 14 years, and I believe it’s well and truly time that the Australian government acted to close down the last of the discrimination between same sex couples and heterosexual couples. I am bitterly disappointed that Julia Gillard believes in maintaining a two tier society in Australia, where people such as myself are treated as second class citizens on the basis of who we fall in love with. The government may wish to claim that this isn’t their intent, but that’s the end result: my relationship is not, nor shall it ever be recognised as valid and equal to a heterosexual relationship until such time as it is named the same way as a heterosexual relationship.
After 14 years, I’m tired of saying that I have a “partner” (which results in people thinking I’m cold, or talking about a business associate), or my “boyfriend” (which results in people thinking I’m talking about someone I’ve known for 3 weeks). It’s a sad reflection on Australian society that we don’t recognise that love is love, regardless of the gender of the people involved in the relationship.
I’m not interested in forcing churches into allowing me to be married in their halls or by their representatives. As a committed atheist, it would be arch hypocrisy for me to want to tie the knot in a church. I want a civil ceremony, but I don’t want it to be called a civil union, or a de facto relationship, or any other weasel term to get around the real word: marriage.
Failing to treat same-sex relationships and name same-sex relationships using the same terms as heterosexual relationships kowtows to entrenched bigotry from a small portion of society, and encourages people to dismiss same-sex relationships as somehow less than the heterosexual versions. This happens not only at a personal level, but at all levels of our interaction in society. (It has only been in the last couple of years after all that Medicare law has been adjusted to recognise same sex relationships.) Companies use this entrenched bigotry to belittle same sex relationships in comparison to heterosexual relationships. Case in point: earlier this year a person I know applied for life insurance with CommInsure, and had been in a same-sex relationship for over 20 years. Their response? A vile, mean spirited blood test for HIV, and a survey to make sure that he hadn’t, for instance, had unprotected sex with prostitutes, been sharing needles with prostitutes, etc. This was disgusting in the extreme, and something that the insurance company would not have subjected a heterosexual couple to, even if they had been married for just a single day. (For photographic evidence of the despicable questions posed by CommInsure, refer to http://unsane.info/wordpress/?p=405).
The Central Coast has a religious fundamentalist presence, but I do not believe they actually represent a majority of opinion, just simply a vocal minority. I am certain they will indeed be very vocal in petitioning you to report that the Central Coast is adamantly opposed to such “immorality” as same sex relationships. I suggest however you listen to the quiet majority, those who believe that the real immorality occurring in Australia at the moment is a government sponsored two-tier society.
I am tired of living in a country where I’m treated as a second class citizen, denied equal rights and offered up to the bogans and the bigots as a sacrificial offering in terms of prejudice just to win a few marginal electorates. It’s time the politicians in Australia actually led, rather than pandering to vocal minorities who are lacking moral direction.
Preston de Guise.