With the gay marriage postal plebiscite already underway, for what it's worth, I wanted to share my views on the issue for those who may still be sitting on the fence.
Firstly, although I am christian, I do not base my view completely from a religious point of view. As a christian, the doctrine is simple, regardless of what the world believes about the religion and its foundations of marriage - God created the world and he created Adam and Eve, man and woman, husband and wife, and He constitutes marriage of father and mother. The simple answer to the issue, even though not everyone will be pleased or agree, is simply "No" as marriage should be and only be husband and wife. However, I recognise that not everyone is religious, nor does everyone live a doctrine to the T. Which is why my view is not simply based on religion, though I will still stand up for religious freedom as it is still a part of society.
It's a very delicate situation because there are two sides, both with strong arguments, both passionate about their views, but nobody looking for the middle-ground. I'm not saying that I have the answer as this is also just another view on the issue, but the legalisation of 'gay marriage' should not come down to a "Yes" and "No".
What we have from the yes campaign, is a desire to obtain recognition of their relationship from the world. To have the rights of those who are married. What we have from the no campaign, is that there has to be another way as legalising marriage for same-sex couples will alter many aspects of society in a negative way. So my question then is;
Can't we give these same-sex couples all the rights of a married couple, whilst giving them an individual term that's equal in status?
Many think that this is a foolish notion, but is it?
To sum up what yes campaigners are saying, here's an image that's been floating around social media
Though true, same-sex relationships are:
- No less real
- No less valuable
- No less important
With regards to rights, in 2008, the Rudd goverment removed all discrimination against same-sex couples, including them with de facto relationships, allowing them full rights as married couples have, rights that the above lists that they don't have.
Now, let's say the above information floating around was correct (except that part that they don't have the same rights), that they have to wait for paperwork compared to those married, then does not the question about simply giving them the full rights without the wait still foolish? However, though the notion makes sense, in truth, this would not be practical, when you consider how many immigrants, citizens, welfares, are abusing and taking advantage of various goverment incentives and support. The delay would be necessary to ensure that the de facto relationship was legitimate. Then again, they should probably introduce this to marriage applicants also seeing as there's so many fake marriages out there also.
Nevertheless, the principle is there, can't we give them absolute full rights then? If it would speed up their process of recognition, something we have to remember is that a marriage is also a 'civil union'. This poses a new question;
Can't we give same-sex couples the ability to sign a contract for their civil union, and if wanted, give it a term, whether it be "same-sex marriage" or some other form?
The basis of this is simple - there are many forms of marriage in various parts of the world that are culturally normal and accepted in those parts, and although we may not agree with all of them, as Australians who pride ourselves in being a multicultural country, where are schooling system constantly teaches about respecting other cultures, if we were truly talking about marriage equality, should not these other forms of marriage also be included? Would not then, "same-sex marriage", separate from marriage, be equal in status and value?
The yes campaigners constantly cry out "Marriage Equality" and "Love is Love", yet, they do not recognise other forms of marriages nor hold and consider de facto relationships of equal value, constantly arguing that "love is love" and it should not matter if same-sex couples were allowed to be married, because they still love each other. What then is the difference in a de facto relationship? A civil union? If love is love, then these are of equal value. But this isn't what the yes campaign is truly fighting for.
There will be many that believe that this is what they're fighting for, but truth be told, when you really think about it, they're fighting to redefine marriage.
Anyone with a different opinion and view to those from the yes campaign are immediately slandered and harrased - called bigots, discriminating, ignorant, arrogrant, homophobes, the list goes on.
Sure, maybe we deserve it - Australia hasn't had a good history of respecting other people, which is why there's so much development in education for young children now to help them be culturally aware and non-discriminating to differences.
So now, it's time to vote, and because there's no middle-ground with only "Yes" and "No", what should you do?
This is my thinking process:
Malcolm Turnbull has stated that sanctions will be placed to protect religious freedoms (and other things also), an example of this is when he defended a Victorian church who rejected marrying a gay couple due to their religious beliefs. This could be a reason why so many religious sects are voting yes, in the belief that their beliefs will be protected.
However, when considering the history of politics, how sure can we be of this? What other sanctions are going to be required to ensure safe school programs are safe? Will religious sects actually be able to still practice their beliefs without people finding loopholes in laws to sue, discriminate, persecute, and harrass? Let's consider some things that are happening in the United States, and in Britain:
Christian bakery sued, deemed as being discriminating
Freedoms lost, constant pressure and name calling
But as stated, it's not just about what's happening to those of religious faiths, but also to children, where Milliee Fontana voices her experience of having two lesbian mothers
It's important to realise that many aspects of life is based around marriage, and redefining marriage will have dire consequences.
In deciding yes or no, to mean, it's a clear no, thus I follow along with other people, It's okay to say "No". Not because of my religious beliefs, but even on the fundamental of equality and fair, all sides should be safe, especially children.
Nevertheless, those from the yes campaign hold onto one more factor, if the results are a resounding "No", then that's the end of the story. If it's a "Yes", amendments will be considered. Here's my 2 cents:
With future elections just over the horizon, politicians will evidently try to fight for their continued positions. If yes wins, and with the current thought process that we either legalise or not legalise, the mostly outcome from all this is legalisation of same-sex marriage, that is, redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. Will sanctions at that point in time actually still be place? Will they actually be enough to protect? There'll still be discrimiation, those against will always be against, only have to grudgingly accept. Those for will continue to belittle those who are against. To the very core, if yes wins, society is impacted.
On the flip side, if no wins, although the Turnbull government has stated that that'll be the end of it, I know this isn't true. The LGBT community will continue to fight for their cause, to redefine marriage, and at election time, you can't ignore the issue if you're trying to get the popular vote. This debate and discussion will continue. Therefore, when the yes campaigners say that yes is the only way for further discussions, it's only a coy to get people to vote yes. Which is why I will vote "No", so that religious freedoms, freedom of speech, safe schools, children's identities, etc, will continue to be protected, whilst we continue to discuss the issue.
So then, what's the next step? Here's my proposal;
Compromise and Maturity
Give the LGBT full rights, just as a married couple does, and a new term, whether it be "Same-Sex Marriage" or whatever, and educate the children and future generations of Australia. If the LGBT community and compromise and settle for a separate equal term for themselves, whilst Australia matures through better education to understand differences and not be discriminating, isn't this a win-win?
If we're talking about equality, equality doesn't mean being the same, it means being viewed the same, even though we're all unique.
If we're talking about love, love isn't just about marriage. Love exists in many forms of marriage, relationships, and facets of life.
In reality, there is not compromise, it really is just maturity in understanding that "Same-Sex Marriage" can have equal value in society, as does "Marriage", whilst Australians mature in their behaviours to others.
A great example to explain my proposal is this;
I have a friend from South Korea, who's currently working a living in Vietnam with his family. whilst talking over dinner, he mentioned how South Korea used to be like Vietnam - unorganised and chaotic infrustructure, corrupt governments, people thinking for themselves and their own gain, deceit, fraud, etc. But through a changing of habits, better education for the growing generations, and patience, it has become the thriving culture and society that it is today. Yes, it took decades, but the results couldn't be better, with Vietnam currently on that journey itself.
Australia must also do the same, that's how we can have true equality.