Before I start, I should make one thing clear. I would rather be run over by a bus — a bus that was on fire — than marry my boyfriend.
Don’t get me wrong: Scott and I been together for a decade (longer than any heterosexual couple our age, not that we’re counting or anything) and I clearly adore the bastard. Hell, when he doesn’t shave for a week and serves me breakfast in bed half-naked, I’d even go so far as to say that I love him.
Still, the prospect of a wedding — the stress, the cost, being photographed a million times and making out in front of relatives — really doesn’t appeal to either of us.
The average Australian wedding costs $50,000 and if I had that kind of money, I’d rather buy, say, a round-the-world plane ticket. In fact, doing the maths, I could buy more than 20 tickets.
We’d bring our friends! And maybe buy drugs!
Still, none of this makes me anti-wedding though. Because hot damn, I love me a good hitchin’. And it isn’t just about the free alcohol. (It’s mainly about the free alcohol.)
I genuinely love the pageantry of the whole thing — dressing up in suits and gowns, adjusting my boyfriend’s tie before we arrive and seeing my friends at their most beautiful. Weddings makes me feel grown up.
I am humbled by my friends’ public declaration of love, weep openly during their vows, and when I see the bride and groom’s families do the same thing, it triggers even more snot-nosed heaving. It is a glamorous thing. You should see me in action.
Still, when the celebrant has to do the whole “man and woman, to the exclusion of all others” spiel, I start gagging a little. Marriage celebrants are good people, who’ve sought out a vocation where they officiate and write into law the binding love between people. And maybe it’s my imagination, but I can tell they’re pretty grossed out by the current state of the Marriage Act too.
God knows, if there’s any one segment of society who knows how to throw a shit-hot party, it’s the homos. And yet, we’re excluded from all this for reasons that — in Australia, especially — are entirely baffling.
It’s a tired argument, but LGBT Australians pay our taxes like everyone else. Since Rudd’s reforms in 2009, same-sex partners have been considered the same as opposite-sex partners with taxes and finances, and our partners’ incomes have been taken into account to calculate Centrelink benefits, sometimes to our financial detriment.
Equality, of course, always comes at a price. But it seems unfair to pay that price without actually achieving total equality.
Things are changing though. In Australia, same-sex marriage is inevitable: 80 percent of young Australians between 18 and 24 want to see it happen.
And it shouldn’t be a religious issue when 53 percent of Australian Christians support the move too. (Note to the mainstream media: the ACL doesn’t represent the majority of Australian Christians. Here’s another idea: speak to some LGBT Christians once in a while.)
With those figures, what shits me most about the “gay marriage debate” is that a debate even exists. To the naysayers, I say hold off on your faux concern for the children. If it’s kids you really care about, you’ll have read the American studies published in Time that suggest kids raised by lesbians are actually more well-adjusted than their peers.
Worried that same-sex marriage will affect straight marriage? Unless your marriage daughters are secretly hungry for tang, you don’t have anything to worry about! (Yes, I’m talking to you, Barnaby and Tony.)
Let’s make this happen, because — at the very least — LGBT Australians are kind of exhausted. A lot of us are tired of marching. We’re tired of writing stories like this. We don’t want to protest any more, because no protest should exist when we’ve got the majority of Australians backing us on this. We don’t want to sign any more petitions, because they’ve been signed already.
We’d rather spend our weekends at the markets, or at the movies, or having robust sessions of homosexual intercourse. This debate is getting in the way of us pursuing those far more interesting activities. Let’s pass this motherfucker and move on.
For me, marriage is less about a celebration of love than a celebration of monogamy, and that is absolutely fine. It’s not for me, but when my friends — straight or queer — want to get married, I want them to get married too. If the children of gay and lesbian parents want their parents to get married, I want those parents to have the option.
It’s not the only fight LGBT Australians should be fighting, but it’s an important one.
One day, I might want to live overseas. Perhaps it’ll be easier for my boyfriend to get a visa, or the other way around.
If marriage would allow us the same immigration rights as any other married couple, we might consider getting married too. Right now, it isn’t an option.
None of this debate is purely symbolic. A lot of it is practical. And apart from being fabulous, our community has always been a practical bunch.
By BENJAMIN LAW
INFO: Memoirist Benjamin Law, author of the 2010 book The Family Law, will appear at the Why Get Married When You Could Be Happy? forum on same-sex marriage, Saturday, May 19, 6pm at Sydney Town Hall for the Sydney Writers’ Festival. A shorter version of this story originally appeared in Frankie magazine.
Photo: Tammy Law