Today’s Guest Hoyden is PharoahKatt, who blogs on life, culture and social justice from Perth at Something More Than Sides, and who has crossposted this post from new group poliblog Distinctly Disgruntled.
Today I attended a rally for Marriage Equality in my city. There were rallies all across Australia, hosted by Equal Love, the national campaign for same-sex marriage in Australia.
There were about 500 people at the Rally I attended, 2000 in Sydney and 5000 in Melbourne (I don’t know that stats for the other cities). This is actually a fairly small portion of the population, but it is a portion that is growing rapidly.
But that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is to discuss August 13th, what has been declared by The Australian Family Association and The National Marriage Coalition as National Marriage Day. According to the website:
Our nation’s future depends on restoring a strong culture of marriage. It is important therefore that as a nation we encourage couples to embrace the commitment of marriage and to support them throughout their married life. National Marriage Day was inaugurated to throw the spotlight on marriage and spread the news…
marriage is good for you, good for children and good for society.
Those sound like laudable goals, until you realise what exactly the day is celebrating.
August 13 recalls the passing of the Marriage Amendment Act 2004, which defined marriage as;
“a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
The passing of this act was primarily made possible through the efforts of many thousands of Australians being prepared to defend the foundation upon which our nation stands – the family based on marriage.
National Marriage Day Coordinator
Oh, so what they are actually celebrating is the six-year anniversary of the Howard Government’s ban on gay marriage. What they are actually celebrating is legalised bigotry in the form of a law which prohibits marriage on the basis of sexuality. Mary-Louise Fowler, this is not a day of celebration for me, this is a day of sorrow.
Seriously, talk about a slap in the face. Not only has the government denied people the right to marry based on sexuality, but now there is a day celebrate that fact.
But the Australian Marriage Association didn’t stop there. Oh no. Mary-Louise Fowler petitioned the government to financially reward couples who stay married.
Really? Financial incentives to stay married?
What does that say to the person in an abusive relationship, who is already struggling to find a way to leave?
What does that say to the couple who no longer love each other, who have decided to go their separate ways?
What does that say to the family torn apart by hatred, where children go to sleep every night hearing their parents scream?
What does that say to people in love, who want their union (whether a legal ceremony or just a commitment made to each other) to be about that love, not about money?
What does that say to the families deemed less by the government because they haven’t or can’t get married?
I’d like to end this post by telling you one of the most appalling aspects of the same-sex marriage ban. This marriage ban hurts people who are trans* in a horrible way. If you are married and attempting to get the Australian government to recognise your actual gender, you need to get divorced first. Otherwise your marriage would be classed as a same-sex marriage, and the government won’t allow that. It is basically asking you to choose between being recognised as the gender you are, or tearing your family apart. This is a choice that no one should be forced to make.
What can I do?
- Write to your local member. This is not guaranteed to have any effect whatsoever, and local members may be too inundated with correspondence to get to your letter or email. But every email is another show of support.
- Vote. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance of WA has put together a handy how to vote guide, based solely on issues of marriage equality. You can find it here.
- Sign the petition
These are only some of the things you can do. If you have more suggestions, feel free to mention them in the comments.
Categories: culture wars