Thursday, September 15, 2016

Marriage Equality. Why Is It Even a Question?

There has been a lot of discussion here about marriage equality and frankly I cannot understand why or how it even needs to be discussed at a political level but obviously there are those who find the whole idea disturbing. I'm not personally affected by this but it seems to me that anyone should be able to form a life partnership with whomever they want and that they should be able to enjoy the same legal rights in such a partnership whether they are a man and a woman, two men or two women. I do understand that this conflicts with the religious beliefs of some and that's fine. As far as I'm concerned you can believe what you want but you have no right to force others to follow the dictates of your belief system.

So what to do? Well, the logical solution it seems to me is that we should make the actual legal part of establishing such a partnership one that is carried out by the authority of a government licensed celebrant and no one else. This could then be easily extended to any couple wanting to commit to a lifetime partnership. By all means let people have their partnerships formalised within their religion if they want and it fits with their beliefs but don't let that have any legal status.

What would that mean practically? Very little. An ever increasing  number of Australians are already opting for a wedding conducted by a civil celebrant. As well the number of people who choose never to marry their life partners is also increasing and we already give these folk all the rights of those who choose to be married. So why not take the next step and introduce civil contracts for all who want them?

I'm yet to hear one sensible reason why our parliamentarians shouldn't legislate to resolve the situation. Instead we have the situation where our federal government thinks we should have a costly plebiscite. This will have no binding authority and will cost $160 million plus the additional funding for those on both sides of the question the government intends to provide. Multiple polls have shown that the vast majority of Australians think there should be marriage equality but we have government MPs openly stating that no matter if a majority of voters in their electorate vote for marriage equality in the plebiscite they intend to vote according to their consciences whether or not this conflicts with the choice of their electors - you know those people they are supposed to represent - so how this expenditure can be justified is beyond me.

So I appeal to our government, please, just legislate for marriage equality, ideally by instituting civil contracts for all marriages (change the terminology if you need to so you placate those who see marriage as having other connotations). There's no constitutional reason why not and changing this won't alter anything for the majority of the Australian community. It'll just make life better for anyone who wants to have a life partnership with someone of the same gender. Is that so bad?


Jo said...

The whole business is ridiculous. If people want to form permanent partnerships, what does it have to do with anyone else.

Helen V. said...

Exactly, Jo.