Same-Sex Marriage Is Good for Everyone
Australia at its Wit's End
"Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"
The same-sex marriage debate has already begun, and the arguments from both sides of the campaign are fierce. The 'no' campaign has only been able to rely on false and misleading information and fear-mongering; the 'YES' campaign relies on facts, and disputes anything the 'no' campaign throws in the public's face. It is sad to see how this simple, small and (what should have been) irrelevant question has turned Australia into a nation divided.
Recently, a man headbutted former Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The perpetrator happened to be wearing a Vote Yes badge when he attacked Tony Abbott. Mr Abbott claimed it was an attack on him because of his differing view on marriage equality. The attacker, however, came forward to state that this was not the case, and he attacked Mr Abbott because of a personal hatred against him. This attack has been used by the no campaign to try and prove that the 'love is love' slogan used by the YES campaign is a lie. However, there have also been attacks on marriage equality supporters; for example, former Prime Minister Keven Rudd's grandson was bashed in Brisbane for supporting marriage equality. These are only two incidents that show Australia is not mature enough to be respectful and dignified regarding marriage equality, despite the huge support for legalizing same-sex marriage prior to the postal vote.
This moment in Australian history is a test of our maturity. So far, however, it seems we are failing. For some opponents, what God wants is what God should have. Others like to think that the welfare of children is at risk. For the supporters, same-sex marriage is nothing less than a basic human right (or as we will call it in the future, 'marriage'). It will also be important for the well-being of young LGBT Australians. Unfortunately, once the votes have been counted and the results released, neither 'YES' or 'no' campaign is going to back down straight away. We will be living together for a very long time and there will need to be mutual respect from both sides of the disagreement.
Let's be Real for a Minute
The fight in Australia to legislate same-sex marriage has already been won and it is only a matter of time. The Labour Party has already made it party policy to make same-sex marriage a reality. If the 'YES' vote wins and the parliamentary vote takes place, we should see marriage equality. If the 'no' vote wins, the next time Labour achieve government, we should also see marriage equality. Either way, the 'YES' campaign will be victorious.
Reasons Why Same-Sex Marriage is Good for Everyone
1. Economic stimulus
The marriage and wedding industry will face a boom with more couples being allowed to marry, providing businesses in this industry with entirely new markets to cater to. In New York City alone, the year following the legalization of same-sex marriage led to nearly $260 million being injected into its economy (this was before the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal everywhere in the US). LGBT couples will no longer have to fly overseas to get married. All that money that would have gone to a foreign country's economy will be put into Australia's economy. What if Australia's LGBT celebrities could get married in Australia - the cost of the wedding and the celebrity magazine stories? Just imagine it!
2. A healthier, happier and stable society
Studies have shown that marriage leads to improved health, both physically and mentally. Same-sex couples could also go out into public, married, and feel more accepted and legitimized by their families and communities. The act of discrimination and inequality is a destructive societal behaviour, bringing negative consequences to both the oppressors and the oppressed.
3. Refocus of other important issues
The battle between the Liberal and Conservative government parties regarding the politicization of LGBT rights has become a game that has plagued our government for years. There are many arguments surrounding same-sex marriage, but this is not the only important issue we should be focused on. When marriage equality is achieved, Australia can focus on other significant issues such as the environment, taxes and social inequality. All members in government will have the freedom to focus on their own policies they wish to achieve. But this cannot happen until the manufactured culture war on LGBT rights has ended.
4. Promotes equality
The LGBT community contributes culturally, socially, financially, politically, vocationally and spiritually to society. Marriage equality will make the LGBT community feel valued and that we are deserving of equal rights. The promotion of equality and non-discrimination will play a role in reducing homophobia. Legalizing same-sex marriage will tell the LGBT community that they are worthy and respected. LGBT children who feel like they don't belong will begin to understand that everything they feel is natural, normal and accepted in Australia.
5. Fosters well-being amongst LGBT people
Discrimination and inequality negatively impacts LGBT people in a variety of ways. Psychological distress, social conflict, mental and physical ill-health are a handful of such impact. De facto couples experience more hardship when stress and trauma arise, especailly when one partner is ill. Married same-sex couples will be allowed to visit their sick partners in hospital without hassle, for example. The rights associated with marriage assists LGBT people by eliminating relationship discrimination and promoting psychological and physical well-being. The LGBT community should not be wasting their precious time and resources battling for basic equality.
6. Strengthen international reputation
Australia is a laughing stock of the world because we claim to be one of the leaders in freedom and democracy, yet we can't even allow two people who love each other, who just happen to be of the same sex, to get married. We cannot be the leaders we say we are when we have fallen behind on an issue as simple as marriage equality.
7. Let there be cake!
If you are still unconvinced that you should vote in favour of marriage equality, think about how much more cake you would be able to eat. Everyone knows a LGBT person in their life. Being invited to their wedding would mean you get at least one extra slice of cake in your life... and more if you're lucky! (You could also ask us nicely and we'll slip you that extra piece).
Debunking 'Alternative Facts'
1. The definition of 'marriage' will change
Society changes and therefore social definitions change too. A 'voter' didn't used to include an Indigenous person until 1963, or 18 year old until 1973. Before these, you also needed to be male and own a substantial amount of property. We have obviously moved on from this. On the other hand, the definition of a word like 'triangle', for example, will never change. The definition of 'marriage' changed years ago, and many dictionaries, both online and printed, state that marriage is 'the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship'.
2. Married and de facto couples have the same legal benefits already
This is not true. De facto couples can assert the same rights as married couples; however, they will have to spend significant time and money to do so. Married couples only have to tick a box or show their certificate to prove they are married. De facto couples require significant proof, meaning they need to provide evidence about their living arrangements, sexual relationship, finances, child care arrangements, property ownership and even how they present as a couple in public.
Marriage is immediate and incontrovertible. De facto couples can face trouble when it comes to the burden of proof, homophobia and interpersonal or family conflict. Sadly, a person's 'de facto relationship' can be challenged by their partner's family. Marriage is undeniable.
Many heterosexual couples choose to live in de facto relationships; same-sex couples have no other option. Marriage equality is about giving couples a choice about their relationship.
3. Children need opposite-sex parents to thrive
Children only need parents to thrive. Generally, all children do better when they are living in a place that is more socially progressive and accepting of the LGBT community, regardless of their parents sexuality. It's not as if same-sex parents ban their children from interacting with people of the opposite gender. Children need a good and healthy environment to thrive, and parents (or parent) to look after them, teach them and help them. The fact that I grew up with a mum and dad and turned out good is not evidence that all heterosexual parents are better.
4. Marriage equality affects religious freedom
No, it does not. Drafted marriage equality laws already show that religious celebrants will be exempt from having to officiate same-sex weddings. If they don't want to officiate a same-sex wedding, they won't have to. I highly doubt same-sex couples will be actively looking for a celebrant who won't officiate their wedding because of their religious belief. There will be celebrants that advertise the fact they will officiate any wedding, regardless of sexuality.
5. The Bible says it is bad
Leviticus 18:22 does say that a man lying with another man as they do a woman is an abomination. However, the Bible says many things that contradicts itself. Take, for example, the issue of divorce. Deuteronomy 24:1-5 says that if a man is displeased by his wife, he can draw up divorce papers and send her out of the house. Mark 10:2-12, on the other hand, tells us that Jesus says to the Pharisees that when a man is united with his wife, they become one flesh and what God has joined together must never be separated.
The biggest commandment of all is about love. There are many verses saying that love is the overarching rule of God. Here is a short list of such verses:
- A man saying "I love God" but hating his brother is a liar. One who does not love his brother who he has seen cannot love God who he has not seen (1 John 4:20)
- Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8)
- Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31)
- 'Love thy neighbour as yourself'. There is no commandment greater than these (Mark 12:31).
How can the Bible preach both hatred and love, when God says you cannot love him and hate another? This is because personal beliefs and the rule of God can be easily mixed. Unfortunately, like every religion, extreme Christians like to pick and choose their verses to condemn same-sex marriage and homosexuality, and actively forget the greatest commandment of God: love.
Vote YES! for You
Did countries that legalized same-sex marriage crumble? No. Was there an apocalypse? No.
This postal vote should have been respectful and dignified. Instead, it has shown that Australia is too immature to take such a simple question seriously. This question should never have involved the public. It should never have involved campaigning. The entirety of Australia should not choose to validate two peoples relationship.
I'm voting YES! because I want to get married in the future. I don't want to waste anymore time or resources getting marriage equality achieved. Same-sex marriage should have been made legal yesterday. It has become too much of a political game that the mental and physical health of the LGBT community in Australia is suffering. We have endured enough.
Marriage equality is about two people being able to marry regardless of their gender. It should not involve the opinion of anyone else. Marriage is about love.
© 2017 Tyler James