Why I voted YES in the same-sex marriage postal vote

I try to be fair and to understand other points of view, but to me the YES case in the same-sex marriage postal vote is largely based on love, acceptance and justice, while the NO case is largely based on fear, exclusion and poor logic. I am NOT suggesting or inferring that the people who are voting NO are unloving and have no legitimate concerns, but I am saying they do not have a strong case. Nor am I saying the YES campaign has always been conducted with love and acceptance towards those who are opposed to marriage equality.

There are three main reasons I voted YES.

I believe in equality and social justice.

Imagine being on your honeymoon with your legally married husband or wife, when your partner suddenly dies in an accident. Amidst your overwhelming grief, pain and confusion, you discover that your relationship will not be recognised, so the death certificate says your partner was “never married,” your partner’s father is listed as next of kin and he has to approve all the funeral arrangements. This is what happened to a same-sex couple from the UK while honeymooning in Adelaide in 2016.

While most states (but not all) now allow same-sex couples to register their relationship, they do not have the same social status as marriage, and there are some small but significant differences (e.g., they are less likely to be recognised overseas).

We have learnt a great deal about human sexuality since homosexuality was seen as a disease or immoral, and there is no doubt there are many loving, long-term, stable same-sex relationships. It is not fair or just to say that these relationships are inferior to hetero-sexual relationships and to deny them the opportunity to have their love publically recognised through marriage.

It is a legal question NOT a religious question

The postal vote is a legal question not a religious question. We are not being asked whether the Church should be forced to marry same-sex couples—we are being asked whether the State should recognise same-sex marriage.

Fortunately our laws are not modelled exclusively on the Bible—I do not want someone who curses their mother or father to be put to death or for there to be a ban on eating seafood without fins or scales. There are also some transformational laws in the Bible, but I do not see many of the people who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds calling for the introduction of the Jubilee year where prisoners are freed and debts forgiven every 49 years.

There may be concerns about religious freedom but this is a separate issue that needs to be addressed and should not be used as an excuse to deny other people legal rights.

I believe in love and acceptance

Finally, I believe in love and acceptance. People who believe they can love and accept gay and lesbian couples while denying them the same legal rights as other couples, are kidding themselves. It would be like saying you loved and accepted Aboriginal people but voting NO in the 1967 referendum which asked if Aboriginal people should be counted in the census and if the Commonwealth should be able to create laws for them.

In so many ways, gay and lesbian couples are the same as Cathy and me. After over 30 years of marriage, I still believe there was value in publicly affirming our commitment and intent. I want same-sex couples to have the right to make the same commitment.

As a community we have come a long way and most people now recognise that same-sex attraction is more than simply a choice. Saying YES will show we value and honour same-sex relationships, and help demonstrate acceptance and celebration of diversity. So much harm is caused by stigmatising and vilifying same-sex attraction and, hopefully, extending the same legal recognition of their relationship as hetero-sexual relationships will help reduce some of the pain and grief it causes.

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. In some countries (and USA states) our marriage is illegal
  2. An open letter to students about the postal survey on same-sex marriage
  3. Some good articles/links – same-sex parents
  4. The benefits of marriage – gays need not apply?
  5. Parenting for a better world
  6. My response to the campaign against same-sex marriage

If you find any problems with the blog, (e.g., broken links or typos) I’d love to hear about them. You can either add a comment below or contact me via the Contact page.

 

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), environmentalist, Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace & sustainability.
This entry was posted in Families & parenting, Social change and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Why I voted YES in the same-sex marriage postal vote

  1. goodlivingplaces says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with your approach. This is why.
    About twenty years ago my Mam announced she was going to include Isabella on Aunty Nan’s Christmas Card. She said it was a great pity that Isabella had never been to any weddings, funerals or Christmas parties etc. I was a bit puzzled. They were colleagues who lived together, both nurses in London. Neither had married and they had shared a home for about forty years. They are all gone, now, but I feel proud of Mam because she opened my eyes to the misery of not being accepted as normal. When Nan and Isabella retired they bought a house in Spain and moved out there together. Isabella had dementia and Nan looked after her, then after here death she moved back to be with her English family again. I still don’t know whether or not they were lovers. Does it matter? Is it my, the law or any religious leader’s business? They were obviously devoted in one way or another and had maybe missed out on the approval that brings such strength and happiness to “acceptable” couples who can make babies, or at least appear to be trying. Now my daughter has a girlfriend and they live in London. I made sure she had the same rights of passage as my heterosexual children; she introduced her gf to the family and friends, comes to our family for Christmas and goes to hers for Eid, got engaged and had announcements and rings and presents and will marry in the ancestral home. I adore my future daughter-in-law and thanks to my dear Mother, got over the fear that my child might suffer for her non-standard lifestyle and made sure she was treated the same as the other two.
    Fully support your approach, Graeme. Bravo! Everyone has the right to seek happiness.

    Like

    • Thanks for sharing your story. It was great to read.
      You reminded me that in many of the churches I attended as a child (my father is a minister) there were two elderly women who had never married and who had lived together for many years. I sometimes wondered if they were a same-sex couple or just friends living together. In some ways, as you say, it really didn’t matter and it was none of my business or anybody else’s. They were clearly devoted to each other and had a strong relationship.
      But in some ways I think it does matter. If they were a same-sex couple, then it was a shame that they were unable to express their love for each other openly and publically.
      It would have been wonderful if they could have married.
      I hope that soon, if your daughter lived in Australia, you would be able to celebrate her marriage to her partner here as well.
      Thanks again for you comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • goodlivingplaces says:

        Yes, let’s spread that message of expression of love and maybe my Darlings, in their lifetime shall be able to express their love wherever they go in the world. (Starting with our home in The Lake District, where I am ashamed to say they had abuse, although they laughed and said maybe some of it was racist! Being of different races they stand out a bit)

        Liked by 1 person

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