This is an opinion piece by Adam Lemmey.
Clear the cobwebs and overhanging vines from your letterbox, because any moment now we’re all expecting some seriously important mail. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ same-sex marriage survey will be arriving to you post-haste.
Australians, let’s think this through, clearly, and do the right thing.
People within loving, respectful relationships aren’t being given the same rights and choices that other people in loving, respectful relationships are. This, honestly, is not ok. We’ve been put in a situation where millions of strangers are being asked how others should lives their lives. The least we can do is vote Yes.
By now, we’ve all seen and heard it all from the debate across social media and news networks. I’ve always felt that this is not a debate that any of us have the right to have. You know who should get to decide whether two loving, respectful people should marry? Those two people. That’s it. Sure, those two people may seek out advice and guidance from people they respect, but it’s up to them if they take on that advice and guidance, and they certainly don’t need the whole of Australia weighing in on the relationship.
I can’t make sense of the No side and I’m worried that many people on it are unfortunately living lives of fear, prejudice, resentment and hate. A fascinating flip has recently occurred where the conservative mass claims that they are the underdog, and reassure each other that it’s “ok to vote no.” When finding themselves challenged, the No side strikes back, because they’re being bullied or harassed.
I'm fed up with hearing uncaring people complaining that they're being bullied or persecuted for their opinions. Just imagine having a bunch of strangers debating how you should live your life. You are entitled to your own opinion; you're just not entitled to think that your opinion should dictate the lives of others.
Think about it. Voting No does mean that you disrespect the LGBTIQ community. Because by voting No you're saying that you're more able to decide how others should live their lives then they are. Voting No is homophobic and voting No is a slander on not only the gay community, but on all people that want to build a just, loving, and inclusive world. So if you’re called out for disrespect, homophobia, slander, or bigotry, you’re going to have to live with that. My own, sincere hope is that people take the time to examine their views, their concerns, their beliefs, and really think this through. What would you really lose by voting Yes?
If you don’t want to see a gay couple getting married, just don’t go to the wedding.
I’ve heard it said that people want to protect the sanctity and meaning of marriage. Marriage should really only mean whatever the people in that marriage want it to mean. Marriage can be a religious thing. Marriage doesn't have to be a religious thing.
Here's a case study for you. I have two brothers. Both entered serious relationships quite young and both got married in their early twenties. Both now have homes and children (I have like a billion nephews) and wives (excellent people). We all grew up fairly conservatively secular in the Adelaide hills. One of my brothers lives a secular life and the other a religious life. Is one marriage and partnership more legit then the other? NO. Both get to choose what marriage means to them and live their life accordingly. Giving everyone this choice is what we’re fighting for.
Some people see marriage as a stepping-stone toward having children. Fine. Others will get married and decide to not have children. Also fine. Others will have children before getting married, or may never marry. Good for them. The fact is, children have nothing to do with marriage and everything to do with deciding to have children.
The call from the No campaign is that children should have the right to a father and a mother. There are so many different types of families out in the world. A child could have a mother and a father, or two fathers, two mothers, two mothers and two fathers, a mother, a father, adoptive parents, grandparents, step-dad and a mother, an Aunt May and Uncle Ben, the list goes on. Whatever works. We all know what children need though, right? The answer is love, guidance, patience, acceptance, stability, reassurance, Saturday morning cartoons, fresh air, sunshine, rain, a ton of good books, a bicycle, perseverance, and so on and so on.
You have nothing to lose by voting Yes. You can continue having your opinions. You can keep your lifestyle, your choices, your beliefs, it will all continue. But by voting Yes you'll be giving others their own choices too.
Please think this through.