Why Are We Still Arguing About Marriage Equality?

Equal Marriage rally in Sydney 2011
Equal Marriage rally in Sydney 2011

Over the weekend, the US achieved marriage equality, making it the 21st country to recognise same-sex marriage nation wide (source). And yet Australia still lags behind.

Why are we still arguing about the right for homosexual couples to be married? Why are we still focusing on that issue, discussing it, arguing it, when there are far more important issues affecting our society to debate?

Not so long ago I saw a statement shared on facebook that riled me up over this, once again.

Children have a natural right to a mother and a father. While we cannot always guarantee that right in a world where tragedy and heartache occur, we should craft public policy around the imperative to protect and advance that right as best we can.Redefining marriage to include same-sex couple does precisely the opposite. It uses the law to create a new social norm built on the desires of adults, rather than the needs of children. If successful, it will inevitably result in more Australian children living in homes without a father or without a mother.Who among us would give up having our dad around? Who of us would sacrifice our mother? And yet we have adults who are happy to sacrifice the love of a mother or a father on the alter of political popularity.It is true that children can't vote. And so it is easy for Parliament to deny their natural rights. But it is also cowardly and deeply destructive to the long term health of our society.I am writing to ask you to be a bold advocate for our children, to protect their natural rights, and to stand for the future of Australia. Redefining marriage is a step backwards for our children. Let's stand boldly against it.

I disagree with the idea that the sex of a parent in any way affects their ability to raise a child. The ability to be a good parent has absolutely nothing to do with a person's genitals.

Yes, I will be a bold advocate for children. I will protect their natural rights, and stand for the future of Australia.

It is the right of a child to have a carer who will shelter them, provide for them, look after them, nurture them and yes, love them.

It is the right of a child to live without fear of persecution, abuse, harm of any kind.

It is the right of a child to have food, shelter, clean water, medical aid and education.

Providing two consenting adults with the ability to make a legal commitment to each other in no way jeopardizes those rights.

Too much time has been wasted discussing marriage equality when those rights are being disgustingly jeopardized by our government in detention centres, are being jeopardized by poverty, are being jeopardized by a legal system that makes far too few convictions on sexual crime or domestic violence, by a system that is woefully under-resourced for dealing with the mounting number of cases of children in homes where those needs are not being met.

If you wish to be a bold advocate for children's rights, and you should be, focus your attention on the real atrocities being done to children, not the possibility of them being put in a home with two parents who happen to have the same genitals as each other.

When there are truly important things to worry about, when people are really being hurt and injured, why are we still wasting breath arguing over something that harms no one and the majority of Australians are in favour of. Surely it's time we put this issue to bed?


  • Jen

    I don’t think this discussion will ever end because there are two sides who both equally believe they are right. I strongly agree with you that much more airtime needs to be given to the issues you raised. I think the media loves this topic for some reason and they are the ones who benefit from making the discussion out to be an argument.

    I also disagree that the sex of a parent in any way affects their ability to raise a child. However I do agree with the quote that children deserve the influence in their lives of both a male and female parent

    In addition I believe that current law already allows ”two consenting adults with the ability to make a legal commitment to each other” through civil unions.

    Having stated that we have different opinions and are likely never to agree, yes lets move on and work together on how we can help bring children in detention more air time and more importantly make a real change to their situation

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      How can you disagree that the sex of a parent in any way affects their ability to raise a child and yet insist that the sex of the parents is relevant to whether or not they should have children?

      Additionally the current law does allow civil unions, but it does not allow marriage and in the eyes of the law, in the eyes of society, these are not the same things. A gay partner can be prohibited from attending the death bed of their “spouse” because their spouse is not legally their spouse. I don’t see how anyone can argue that that is fair, equal or equitable.

      We probably aren’t likely to ever agree, you’re right. But I do see where you’re coming from – I used to think calling it something different to marriage was enough. But then I had it explained to me that the implications are for an inequal society based on sexuality. And that’s something I just can’t be in favour of.

      • Jen

        Sorry for delay in response sadly didn’t get a notification

        I guess I need to change my statement – I disagree that the
        sex of a parent in anyway affects their ability to raise a healthy happy child.
        I do believe that the sex of a parent affects the way they parent. It is not a
        strict male parents do this and female parents do that, it is very fluid but I
        believe both sexes bring different and important skill sets to raising a child
        and that ideally all children should grow up with both of these influences.
        However we don’t live in an ideal world and many single and widowed parents are raising their children fantastically. Likewise I believe same sex couples can raise happy health children I just don’t believe it is the ideal we should
        strive for.

        The information I have read (admittedly not extensively researched) is that civil unions give all the same legal rights as a marriage. I 100% agree that the scenario you presented is not fair equal or equitable and I will happily fight to ensure civil unions allow this, if that is needed.

        I do not believe having two different names for something create an unequal society. I believe civil unions and marriages are different but they do not have to be in equal. For example in the same way that IVF and natural conceptions are different but the birth/love of the child is equal.

  • Cherie

    Yet the family court insists that a child has a right to time with both of it’s natural parents. How will this impact on children of same set marriages?