Thursday, 20 September 2012

Equality for all

Ok it's time for me to jump on my soapbox yet again, as I find one thing after another that bugs the hell out of me. And today I'm getting political too, which is something I normally try to avoid doing. So strap yourselves in dear reader as we talk about marriage equality.

So by now you should all be aware that my little brother Ben is gay. My family has known he was gay since he was very young, and we love him not despite this fact, but because he is a wonderful, loving and caring person. His sexual preferences are just a small part of what makes him Ben. His partner Tristan is also a wonderful person, with an absolutely filthy sense of humour, making him one of only a few people in this world who can out-gross me. (No small accomplishment let me tell you) Now Ben and Tristan have been together for a while now, and recently they got engaged. This would be a happy announcement for them if it wasn't for the fact that gay marriage is not recognised or legal in Australia.

There was a vote yesterday in Australian parliament in an effort to finally recognise gay people's rights to marry, unfortunately it was unsuccessful, with a 98 - 42 vote against the bill. There are a lot of angry people in Australia right now, and a lot of them aren't even gay. This affects a lot of people that I love and care about, not just my little brother. I have other family members that are gay, friends that I have known since primary school, people I have worked with over the years, and none of them can get married because the government thinks it is icky.

Now I don't ever want to get married. I get bored way too easily with relationships, and the thought of being tied to a man for the rest of my life makes me feel queasy. But that is just my opinion, and doesn't stop millions of other people wanting their union to be recognised in the eyes of the law. Given that the government will recognise your same sex relationship if it means that they can pay you less money in pensions, refusing to allow same sex couples the right to marry and make their relationship completely binding just seems hypocritical.

I know that there are a lot of arguments against same sex marriage, a lot of which stem back to religion. I am not even going to get started on the religious side of this, mainly because I am still trying to find proper information that hasn't been skewed to fit the argument a person is trying to make. But I will say this, it is getting to the point where even the religious people are starting to say enough is enough, and support same sex marriage. There will always be the die hard zealots who refuse to accept that marriage should be for everyone, but as we raise more and more generations that are less and less religious, how long before this argument dies out completely? I also feel that the only people who should be allowed to play the religion card are the people who live all of the rules in the bible, not just the ones that they pick and choose at random.

At the end of the day, I feel it is important to realise that homosexuality is not a choice, these people did not decide to be gay, they were all born this way, the same as I did not choose to be straight. Refusing them the same rights that straight people get simply because they are genetically different is discrimination. We stopped refusing to allow multi-racial couples to marry decades ago, how long do we have to wait until homosexuals are treated as equals too?

Maybe it's time this decision was taken out of the hands of the politicians, who are too scared of offending the Christian right wings and into the hands of the people who it truly affects. The people whose taxes pay their salaries, whose votes ensure their jobs and whose support can be moved quite easily to someone else who is willing to do something about this. Maybe it's time the rest of the country got to say who they are allowed to marry.

Ok rant over for now. If for any reason my opinions offend you, I refuse to apologise, as I am not ashamed that I feel this way. If however you agree with me, good for you, but don't keep it to yourself. Let the world know that you support gay marriage too, and maybe the people making these rules can finally see that this isn't just some small problem that will go away if they ignore it for long enough. 

As always I welcome any feedback you guys may have, but given the way this argument tends to bring out the angry in people I will ask anyone who wants to leave a comment to try to leave the name calling out. I'm happy to have a grown up conversation with you guys, but I am not afraid to call you a big meanie if I have to.

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