Let's stick to the facts
Why a plebiscite which causing so much hate and division? What exactly are we being asked? And what changes to the law and behaviours will result?
From my position I have already expressed my disappointment in the case posed by groups like the Christian lobby, groups that I would expect to side with. There arguments in my view:
- Is not talking about the definition of marriage, nor the legal or moral issues the definition results in. For me this is the only debate we should be entering into.
- For same sex couples this is seen as a human rights issue in the same way the 1978 reformdrium lead to the 'first people becoming Australian citizens. Equality of marriage is for some about the same rights as other marriage couples. Not the ceremony itself. Thus involve 1. a change in the definition of marriage and 2. a change in federal law.
- These two issues have nothing to do with moral behaviour, the moral decline of society, speed of disease, effects on children of same-sex couples. Comments to this effect are offensive; spread fears, and homophic hate. No wonder a NO vote offends so many same-sex couples who feel this is a human rights issue. The current debate is not focused on the true issue.
Are all couples equal under the law? The answer through a two minute google search is NO! So to give equal rights to all couples in Australia requires a change in the marriage law. This is a very different issue to changing the definition of marriage. We should not be even discussing if the act of marriage is right or wrong. But how we ensure the same rights of all couples in Australia
Just as the 'no' vote offends many same-sex couples, the fact that they are public saying, a 'no' vote is offensive deny's my right to say how I feel on the issues. They are telling me its not OK to say 'No' on the grounds of my religion. Blaming 'religion' for preventing basic human rights is equally offensive to me.
Just like our 'no' vote should be base solely on a change in the Marriage Act, so should the 'Yes' vote. The moral debates are base on religious and personal beliefs and while they should be respected by the opposing side, fail to address the issue of equal rights and how we change the Marriage Act to achieve that.
As a Christian I feel we are changing the wrong law. The both the biblical and historical definition of marriage is: the union of a man and a women, in the presence of God and before wittiness.
This definition was pre any legal rights were attached to the 'union of marriage'. So to me it is wrong to change the definition of marriage. It is the civic union laws that need addressing. In terms of the law and human rights in my view all couples should have the same rights. Married, defacto or same-sex civic union. Voting 'no' to same-se marriage is not saying as couple you are NOT equal to me. Saying "NO" could just mean I don't believe that we should change the definition legal of marriage. And that should be OK!
As a Christian I believe all people are equal in the sight of God, and all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Been saved from my sin doesn't make me a better person or a gay person less equal. I do not believe my beliefs alone should offend others but people will always be offended anyway.
Back to the debate of Australian law and the Marriage Act. What does the law say? And what are the difference in rights in terms of Australian law, which in no longer based on the Bible. Interestingly the 1961 Marriage Act did not spell out the two people, had to between a man and a women, this amendment occurred in 2004. This changes the view we are changing the definition of marriage. We did just that in 2004 without a survey, so why ask to change it back?
One difficult is the laws on marriage and civic-union vary from state to state. Civic union relationships are not recognised in every state, so we start to see where inequality appears. Changes to the marriage act would mean the rights of all couples would be applying federally. And for the gay and lesbian community this is at the core of the debate. The same legal rights for all couples.
All unions have the same legal rights in terms of family law and property rights. Commonly an argument of rights for same-sex couple emerges from a decision needed from a 'Next of Kin'. Prior to civic union same sex couples were not seen as legal, a civic union realised this as a legal relationship, the relationships and thus law when tested do not apply in all states and terrorises.
These couples who face discrimination everyday want; what we all want. They want the peace of mind that in medical emergency or the event of death the person who means the most to them has a voice. Instead of the risk decisions maybe tested in the court of law, due to the prejudges of their legal 'next of kin'. A 'NO' vote doesn't provide that protection.
So if the Marriage Act was amended in 2004 to include between a man and a women, where as previously was between two people. The surely injustice has occurred because of conservatives. So the question remains why is the government wasting money? Until equality in marriage is granted the debate will continue. When we are amending the law back to the wording in the 1961 Act one has to ask what on earth the fuss all about?