To be strictly accurate, I don’t want marriage: I want equality under existing marriage law. But what is marriage?
A simple and traditional definition might be: An ongoing sexual relationship between two people, which (regardless of what happens in practice) is intended to be both monogamous and lifelong.
Couples who marry make a public legally binding declaration to that effect and are rewarded with certain rights, privileges and perks. If one party later decides to unilaterally change the terms of the contract, the law regulates the contract termination.
Under equal marriage law, any adult sexual pair bond will be able to make that declaration, and claim those rights, responsibilities, perks and burdens.
Some couples may choose not to be monogamous, but still marry. Some may cheat behind their partner’s back. Nothing new there either. It’s still equality — equality of hypocrisy!
Some couples may prefer to claim recognition as de factos. Yet others may campaign for additional alternative couple recognition schemes. But there is no equality under existing law without marriage.
This has nothing to do with heterosexuals, on whom it has no impact, and nothing to do with religion — the law applies to those of all religions and none.
This is a wholly secular issue between the GLBTIQ community and the federal government.
The Catholic church disagrees, and is using any means to oppose us.
Last week Labor senators and MPs agreed to support a Greens bill to remove federal ministerial powers to veto territory laws — powers used by John Howard to knock back civil unions in the ACT for being too ‘marriage-like’.
Some members then dined with attendees of the Catholics Bishops Conference.
Next thing you know a heavenly choir appears at the Lodge, backed by a chorus of Catholic fifth columnists in The Australian, demanding the PM drop the Greens bill lest she let ‘gay marriage’ in by the back door.
The orchestrated campaign continues as the social inclusion minister declares she, as a Catholic, will oppose marriage equality.
People are entitled to their beliefs. But to whom are these allegedly Labor politicians and ministers in the Australian government answerable — the Australian people who elected them or a European sovereign state called the Vatican?
If ministers were uncovered doing the will of Kim Jong Il or Vladimir Putin, voters (led by The Australian) would clamour for their resignations. But because they are kissing Pope Benedict’s ring, they are somehow immune.
Australian law is theoretically made by democratically elected Australians for Australians in Australia. Not by a medieval theocratic dictator in the Vatican. I want to get married here, not in Rome.