With the postal votes coming up, I really want to share my thoughts about true marriage equality, things that I believe the general public have not truly considered.
Thinking religiously, secularly, and logically, my thoughts on why voting “No” is true marriage equality.
Religiously speaking the fundamental belief of marriage is between man and woman. Religious freedom cannot be upheld if gay marriage is legalised.
For those non-religious, what’s the difference between marriage and de facto relationships then? The underlining issue isn’t about marriage equality, but about rights and privileges that a married couple has.
To protect religious freedom, and many other social aspects, the solution is not to vote yes, but to vote “No” with a ‘call to action’ of the government to enable full rights and privileges in the civil union of gay couples.
To throw a curveball into the mess, if we’re talking about “marriage equality”, about “love”, then practices such as polygamy and arranged marriages, etc, much also be legalised, because there are many marriages of these forms around the world that are successful and happy.
If these can’t be legalised, then surely, “marriage equality” isn’t the issue here.
Religiously, the general belief of most religions is that marriage is of man and woman, a husband and wife, father and mother.
To a non-religious person, particularly the LGBT community at this point in time, this may seem unfair. So looking at it in a secular perspective, if religion was true, even though you don't follow or believe it, marriage ultimately, fact of the matter, is between man and woman. Legalising marriage for gay couples is simply wrong. Nevertheless, most don't follow a religion these days.
So secularly speaking, what is marriage? It's a contractual agreement between a man and woman to show their committed relationship of love. Religiously, marriage is more than just a contract, but to the secular world, it's merely a contract. So then, why is it really needed? Why do people get married if de facto relationships are recognised? Maybe for some, it's a tradition, for others, a social thing, and more, a special way of saying "I love you". So in the secular world, for some, marriage still has a deep meaning, even though they may not realise its full extent.
Nevertheless, there are many de facto relationships that are happy, filled with meaning, joy, love, etc.
But what's a de facto relationship? A de facto relationship is defined in Section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975. The law requires that you and your former partner, who may be of the same or opposite sex, had a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis. However, your relationship is not a de facto relationship if you were legally married to one another or if you are related by family.
Therefore, gay couples are technically recognised already, as de facto relationships. Just as a man and woman are recognised as a married relationship.
So what's the real issue at hand?
Going through logically, it's the rights and privileges available to married couples. Because a de facto relationship signs no contract or paper, even though the relationship can be just as binding and committed as a married couple, sometimes even more committed, married couples have certain rights and privileges that other forms of relationships don't.
Many de facto relationships accept this - the LBGT community now believe it's time they deserve these rights also - and it's true, because all should! Love is love, and we all have human rights and agency to live in accordance to our beliefs and circumstances.
So to give the LBGT their rights and privileges, how do we do it? Legalise marriage for them - but that's thinking 'inside the box', very irresponsible, and is NOT the solution, because the core issue isn't about "marriage" but "rights and privileges".
Legalising marriage for gay couples jeopardises religious freedom, because it's against religious beliefs, and that's only the beginning to the issues that will spur out of this legalisation. If we're talking about equality, then this is NOT "equality". Politicians may say that religious freedom will be protected, they are not affected by gay couples in any way, but that's simply false as people can always twist things to have their way. At the very core, legalising marriage for gay couples simply disrespects religions in general and does not uphold the values of religions, thus there is no 'real' "religious freedom".
So the answer is to vote "No" WITH a 'call to action' for the government that they take full responsibility to allow full rights and privileges to all forms of genuine relationships as they deserve, therefore giving gay couples their rights and privileges whilst still protecting religious freedom. If the gay couples still want a contractual signage of sort, give them their civil union, but it shouldn't be "marriage".
But since we're talking about "marriage equality", let's throw in a curveball - if we're going to legalise marriage for gay couples, then we must also legalise polygamy, arranged marriages, etc.
If we're talking about "love" as some radio stations are putting out as a reason to vote "yes", then we need to realise that there are legitimate and very happy, successful, polygamist and arranged marriages out there. Marriage equality? Then all forms of marriages should have their equality. No? Then the issue of "marriage equality" for gay couples is a false notion, and the real issue is "rights and privileges", thus we should NOT be touching the constitution, or any facet, of marriage in its current state.
Therefore, I urge all Australians to vote "No" to pick true marriage equality and make the government accountable to enable full rights and privileges for all, such as the current civil union and de facto relationships of gay couples - that's marriage equality.