Fun fact: EG Dad and I were never originally sold on the idea of marriage. To be perfectly honest, the biggest selling point was the party.
We spent months planning “The Reception” (almost as much time as we spent planning the honeymoon). We were going to have a marquee with a string trio playing variations of modern classics; fire-dancers would entertain outside; offerings would be given to the trees in the park; guests would arrive by ferry across the river. All four pagan elements would be invited for what would have been a night of absolute celebration. We had the venue (park) picked out, the savings plan underway, the entertainment was booked. The celebrant wasn’t organised yet, because … well, we weren’t really thinking about the legalities.
We kind of took it for granted our de facto relationship had the same legal rights as married couples. We had been living together for around five years…
Then I fell pregnant with Sinister. And being the good little legal professional I was back then, I learnt how wrong we were.
In fact, this is when we learnt that de facto relationships (and especially same-sex relationships) do NOT have equal rights to married couples. For example: When travelling overseas (eg. for a honeymoon), we would need to take the extra paperwork to prove both of us are parents. In most countries (including Australia) married couples travelling together with kids are automatically assumed to be the parents.
The thing is, the legal rights of our de facto relationship were always a little more vulnerable than a married couple. We just didn’t realise it until we factored in children.
Same-sex couples? They realise it from DAY 1.
They have added issues of proving their relationship when one of them is in the hospital. They have added issues of proving legal parent status. And I have heard from one family, passports to travel overseas are a paperwork nightmare.
Now, there is NOTHING in my sexuality or EG Dad’s sexuality that makes us better parents than those in same-sex relationships. So why should same-sex relationships be denied the same legal rights and simplification?
Equal marriage rights will NOT change any existing married couple. Hell, they won’t even change the marriage rites except for one small statement: instead of being between ‘man and woman’, it will be between ‘two people who love each other, to the exclusion of all others’. Isn’t’ that essentially what it is supposed to be anyway?
This will not change YOUR existing marriage. This will not devalue or demean ANY existing marriage. If you’re already married, then here’s a tip: This has NOTHING to do with you.
But it does change the rights of same-sex couples. It is about equal recognition and equal rights. It is about validating their relationship in the eyes of their loved ones AND most importantly, in the eyes of The Law.
And this should NOT be settled by a plebiscite or postal vote. It should be done by the politicians in the parliament where they are supposed to be doing their job. You know, like so many other nations have done already.
But here we are. And now we have an obligation… nay, a duty to equal the legal rights. If you still want to vote no, then recognise you do not believe in equal rights. Own it. Be honest with yourself and others. Because once you tick that box, it is a slippery slope trying to differentiate between which human rights you think are acceptable and which are not.
If you vote yes, then you are a part of protecting ALL rights. Because we cannot ask for rights to protect us if we do not offer the same protection to all.
Equal Marriage Rights will mean Equal Marriage Rites. That’s all any of us want.
That and the huge fabulous party I will be invited to the next day.