Same-sex marriage – finally it’s done!

Yesterday was a historic day with the Australian Parliament overwhelmingly voting in favour of same-sex marriage.

Our family watched it live on TV and to see 130-140 Members of Parliament voting YES with four lonely figures voting NO was a wonderful sight. A few Members decided to abstain (including the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and the current Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce) but most listened to the clear message they had been given by the Australian public.

It would be interesting to see how future generations look back on this moment and how the arguments against same-sex marriage stand the test of time.

Imagine anybody supporting these arguments in favour of slave trade from the 1700s:

  • The trade was necessary to the success and wealth of Britain
  • If Britain did not engage in the trade then others would
  • Africa was already involved in slavery
  • Taking Africans from their homeland actually benefited them
  • The enslaved people were unfit for other work
  • The enslaved people were not ill-treated unless rebellious
  • Conditions on the slave ships were acceptable
  • Slavery was accepted in the bible

Or supporting these arguments against suffrage (giving women the vote) from 1894:

  • Because the duties and life of men and women are divinely ordered to be different both in the State and in the home
  • Because the energies of women are engrossed by their present duties and interests from which men cannot relieve them
  • Because political equality will deprive women of special privileges hitherto enjoyed by the sex
  • Because suffrage logically involves the holding of public office, which is inconsistent with the duties of most women

There will now be debate about how far we should go in legislating to allow people to discriminate against same-sex marriage and LGBTQI people. I can accept that there needs to some protections in place, but we have to be very careful about providing legal protection for discrimination.

In terms of schools—yes they should be required to teach that same-sex marriage is legal in this country. Yes they should be required to teach that discrimination against people based on their sexuality is against the law and not OK.

Should they be allowed to teach a narrow understanding of the Bible and argue that same-sex marriage is against the will of god? Probably. It’s a bit like asking if schools should be allowed to teach “intelligent design” or creationism. Probably—but it’s pretty poor education.

It is a debate we need to have but for now, I’m thrilled that Australia has joined the countries recognising same-sex marriage.

It was so moving hearing what the vote meant to some LGBTQI people. Hopefully the passing of the legislation will go some way to healing some of the pain and hate they have experienced during the postal vote.

In July 2015 I made the background to my blog rainbow coloured in support of same-sex marriage and said I would leave it that way until Australia joined other countries who had legalised for marriage equality.  I’m glad I could now change the colour, but for the moment I’ll leave it as it is.

Thank you Australia for taking a small, but important, step toward creating a more inclusive, accepting society.

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

  1. Why I’ve gone rainbow-coloured
  2. In some countries (and USA states) our marriage is illegal
  3. 3 reasons I do not support a postal vote on same-sex marriage
  4. Why I am voting YES in the same-sex marriage postal vote
  5. My response to the campaign against same-sex marriage
  6. Some definitions of family

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), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
This entry was posted in Families & parenting, Social change and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Same-sex marriage – finally it’s done!

  1. This is true. Having said that, you should not need a government document to say that your marital relationship is valid.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I got that part. What I meant by the question was why same-sex marriage (or traditional marriage, for that matter,) even requires government’s stamp of approval.


    • That’s another whole argument! I’d agree that a relationship doesn’t need the government’s stamp of approval, but there is no doubt that many people like the public commitment of a wedding and marriage. While increasingly there isn’t much legal difference between marriage and a de facto relationship, at times there are still differences.
      I think it is good that there are a range of options for people to choose. I’ve been married for over 32 years and have no regrets that we went down that path—but it isn’t the fact that we got married that means we still have a strong relationship. Many other paths to relationships are just as valid and as worthwhile.


      • What are your thoughts regarding people who claim that allowing equality will lead to a “redefining” of marriage, a word that the Dictionary already defined? Redundancies aside, what are your thoughts about same-sex parenting?


  3. Why is same-sex marriage even used as a talking point?


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