An Old Man Wins Me Over On Same Sex Marriage

A sort-of historic day! (Partial) victory! A great moment for trying to have a bet each way...well it is the Labor party we're talking about here, who have today agreed at their national conference to change their official party policy to support of same sex marriage, and to allow a conscience vote in Parliament on the issue. The ALP doesn't normally allow independent voting - MPs must stick to the party line even, as John Faulkner pointed out, on votes to go to war - so for them to not require a vote on party lines here is very disappointing. In order for the issue to pass, it will require the Liberal party to allow a conscience vote, and then for enough Coalition MPs to vote in favour of the amendment to the Marriage Act. It could go either way. It's sobering to remember that due to John Howard's mean-spirited amendments to the Marriage Act, same sex marriage is not just not legal in Australia, it is expressly outlawed. Icky, isn't it? Some are calling for a referendum on same sex marriage. I don't agree. I just don't see why it should be up to anyone else to decide whom an adult acting of free will can marry. We cannot possibly claim we have equality of the sexes in Australia as long as your sex determines your choice of marriage partner. This is a fundamental human rights issue. Just get on with it.
Well, so I thought. But then I saw this letter, from Norm of Forestville, in today's Sydney Morning Herald:

Marriage has been convened over the centuries of civilisation to legally formalise the union between male and female, and provide protection of the rights of any off-spring that result from the union. I don't have a problem with gay people that want some legal recognition of their relationship. I would have thought a civil union contract would suffice, and I cannot see why they are insisting on the right to marry. Maybe I'm just getting old.

And I got to thinking. Norm is right. Marriage is designed to set out the roles and relationships between the sexes. It is designed to elevate the children of the marriage relationship. It is traditional. It's time we abolished it immediately.

If marriage hasn't evolved past the traditional roles of men and women, if we haven't evolved past the notion of legitimate and illegitimate children, then it hasn't evolved fast enough to keep up with society; it's a useless pretence we must be rid of. Traditional marriage - a man and a woman who is his legal property? The abhorrent notion that children are somehow more worthy dependent on the marital status of their parents? We don't need that. I'm going to ask DH for a divorce. Yes I still love him and hope and believe we will be together for the rest of our lives. But we should have followed the lead of some friends who are refusing to get married as long as same sex marriage remains illegal. Which - now that we are abolishing the outdated institution of marriage - means neither they, nor anyone else, can ever get married at all.

You've completely won me over, Norm. Cheers.

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