Equality and Marriage

I’ve never been told that there is something wrong with me because I love my husband.  When we got engaged, everyone was excited for us.

I’ve never had to pretend to colleagues that my husband was just my flatmate.  I have his photo as my screensaver.

I’ve never had to think about whether it’s safe to hold my husband’s hand in public. Sometimes, we even skip down the path near our house. It’s obnoxiously cute.

I’ve never had researchers study people like me in order to be sure that we aren’t somehow harming our children.  Though I do get asked pretty often if we are going to have kids soon.

I’ve never had to be afraid that if I were sick, my husband would not be allowed to visit me in hospital. He can even pick up prescriptions for me.

I’ve never had to worry that if I died, my family might contest my will and my husband could be left with nothing.  Even if I don’t write my will, the government knows he is my next of kin.

I’ve never been madly in love and simultaneously desperate to tell my friends about my new relationship – and terrified that if I do, they will no longer be my friends.  Even though my taste in men has been questionable at times.

I’ve never had people ask me personal questions about exactly what I do with my husband and how it ‘works’.  Most people over the age of five know that this is intrusive, and also none of their business.

I’ve never had anyone tell me that they can ‘cure’ my love for my husband.

I’ve never had an elected politician tell me that wanting to marry my husband is the same as wanting to have sex with a dog.

I’ve never been told that I need to repent of loving my husband, or that God hates me, or that bushfires are God’s punishment for tolerating people like me.

I’ve never had to ask the entire population of Australia if I could get married to the person I loved.

I’ve never been told that if I am depressed and anxious about all this, it’s because I’m disordered, rather than because it is utterly stressful and dehumanising to be treated this way.

*****

The Marriage Equality plebiscite is expensive. It’s cruel and degrading.  It’s going to hurt LGBTQI people and their families.  And it’s not even binding, which means that in addition to being unkind and costly, it is also pointless.

It’s also un-Christian – we are called to love one another, not judge those who simply want to have their loving, consensual relationships recognised by the state.

Marriage equality is not a threat to my marriage.  It’s not a threat to my religion.  It’s not going to harm children.

It’s just going to make life a little bit safer, a little bit easier, a little bit happier for the 5% (give or take) of Australians who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender, genderqueer, or intersex.

Which is what equality is about.

I’ve baked a lot of wedding cakes for my straight friends over the last ten years.  I hope that in the next ten, I’ll get to bake just as many wedding cakes for my gay friends.  I’d rather be baking for my friends than writing letters to politicians on their behalf.

But the time for baking isn’t here yet.  No, right now we are decidedly in the season of letter writing.  The Greens have promised to block the plebiscite (and all idealism aside, they have nothing to lose by doing so); Labor have said they will do so, but are a bit more vulnerable to polls.  And the Liberal party has its supporters of Marriage Equality too.  I’ll try to draft some letters in the next day or so and put them here, in case anyone wants to borrow them.  If you’ve already written, and want to share what you wrote, please feel free to do so in the comments – I think a lot of people find it easier to get started when they can see what arguments other people have made.

May we reach the baking season soon!

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