I started to write this post over a year ago. We have now been married for 46 years but nothing has changed. I live in hope.
Last Saturday, Grandpa Flea and I celebrated our survival of 45 years of marriage. Not always easy as we traversed the ups and downs of married life, raised three children to adulthood, coped with numerous dogs, goldfish, guinea pigs, a cat, a ratty partially feathered rainbow lorikeet that couldn’t fly, a baby rabbit and a budgerigar along the way. We buried numerous of those pets in our backyard, complete with tears – we even had a funeral and buried “Miss Mousie”, a dead rat that the cat deposited on the front door mat much to the distress of the smallest member of our family – nothing would convince her that it was a RAT, so commonsense prevailed and we did the right thing. We lost and buried my grandmother, our four parents and any number of other relatives and friends in that time. We worked and studied. Did the Brownies, Guides, Ranger Guides, Cubs, Scouts, Venturer and Rover thing with much involvement in all the associated parent activities – to the point that Grandpa Flea was pinned as a “Friend of the Girl Guides”. We did likewise with the preschool and schools – sat on committees, did tuckshops, working bees. Mothers Club and P&Cs, raised funds, accompanied classes on excursions, sat through school plays, swimming and sports carnivals, helped with homework, managed netball teams and aged rapidly during the teenage years. We even transported one daughter to Girls’ Brigade at the local church despite our better judgement. And here we are, 45 years later, with three responsible adult children and five beautiful grandchildren and step grandchildren.
Two of our children are married and the third co-habits with the love of her life, her love’s two children by a long-gone marriage, a horse, two dogs, three cats, a goldfish, two budgerigars and two axolotls (I sense a bit of a theme here …). Like her parents, she has comforted children when numerous and assorted pets have died, sat up in the night when the children were sick, attended all the activities required by the schools and hosted overseas students.
I have never seen her so consistently happy in all her life, yet she can’t marry because her partner is another woman.
What more can I add? Our Prime Minister, in her ignorance or political expediency, has said that she doesn’t support same sex marriage. Many others feel the same way. All I can say and keep saying is that we love our three children and fail to see why one is denied a right that the other two have. Australia has a secular system of government – or should have – and our Government should support the system that is used in many parts of the world – all marriages, regardless of the sexuality of the people involved, must be preceded by a civil ceremony which deems the “legality” of the relationship (I can’t quite find the words to express what I mean). This would entitle all people the same legal rights in this matter.
For many people, regardless of their sexuality, this would be enough. Very many marriages today are conducted by civil celebrants without any reference to God or the Bible, except for the part required by law referring to marriage as a ?sacred union between a man and a woman.
A “marriage ceremony” in a church for those same sex couples who wish to have their union sanctified because of their faith, then becomes a separate battle to be fought within the confines of their religious beliefs. The battles within the churches for the ordination of women show that change can occur – albeit slowly – but change won’t occur unless the existing mores are challenged.
One day, we will look back and realise that denying all people the same legal rights in this matter, is really no different from the shameful period in our history when Aboriginal people were denied the right to vote. Each involves discriminating on the basis of perceived difference.