The other day, a friend of mine was asked “Why do you even want to marry anyway?” by a member of the ACL. It’s a question that comes up from time to time, and one I think we all need to have thought out for when we’re caught short in debate. I know why I want it, but knowing and being able to articulate it are two very different things…
So my friend has got a Facebook note with his reasons for wanting to marry. I think it’s a really good idea, so here are my reasons. But first a quick history:
I was in Tasmania when the Relationships Act 2005. came into effect. My partner and I registered our relationship and had a religious ceremony in January 2006. Our relationship ended in June 2011, and we had been a couple for just over 7 years. My views on marriage equality are probably stronger now than they were then because for most of my relationship, I was as protected as I could be by the state I lived in. I am currently single, so this list is about the reasons I want to be able to marry when I do find my soulmate.
LoveLove is honest. Love is simple. Love transcends gender and ignores genitalia. Where love exists between two people, exclusively, it should be celebrated! When I find that special man, the one I want to share my all with, and who shares his all with me, we’re getting married, no ifs, no buts. Law or no law. Let us do it legally. Just like a man and a woman can.
Stability“Marriage is the bedrock of our society.” I hear that all the time, usually from the right-wing fundamentalists who seek to bar my access to it. It’s for that very reason that I want it! It’s not something entered into or walked away from lightly. It is something to be approached solemnly, with care and consideration. Marriage is and should be a covenant entered into on the expectation that it is for life. Marriage is the best foundation on which to build a life together. Just like it is for a man and his wife.
Marriage is publically recognised as the “best” relationship. When I find the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, I want to shout that to the world, show my family and friends the commitment that I am making to him. To be faithful and true through good times and bad, to be his comfort and he mine. I want that commitment to be publically recognised.
I want to be able to say “I’m his husband” in the terrible time when the ambulance comes, and have the ambo accept that. Just like they do for a wife and her husband.
Consistent treatmentMarriage provides consistent treatment between states. With Registered Relationships, the amount of recognition you get depends on the state you’re in. When I moved to Queensland, my then-partner and I had to get enduring powers of attorney to create a facsimile of what we had under Tasmanian Law. It wasn’t portable. Even state recognition leading to de facto recognition is different state by state, and as evidenced by Queensland, laws can be made to target same-sex de facto couples where they could not were it marriage.By contrast, a married heterosexual couple go wherever they wish in our amazing country, and know that their protections do not vary, they do not waver and they do not change when they cross a state border.
Political StatementI want to be able to marry because politically, that says that my relationship is the same as everyone else’s. That’s not important to me, per se; I know the value of my family. But it is important to Jack who’s struggling with feeling different, and to Ambrosia who’s slowly figuring out she’s a lesbian. It sends a message to these at-risk people that they are normal and healthy and that they are valued by this country. That is the legacy we ask of Julia Gillard’s government. That is the amazing thing about marriage. It sends a clear, resounding message that the government values us and considers us valid and equal citizens of this great nation. Just like a man and his wife.
That is why I want to marry