Off the back of an historic referendum result, it was announced this week that gay marriage will be legalised in Ireland. Yay Ireland! This fabulous result has sparked up the debate again across Australia (finally!) with commentary from all sides of government in the past 24hrs following the Leader of the Opposition’s decision to introduce a private members bill to legalise same-sex marriage here. Set to be debated in June with a view to having it passed in November, it’s an exciting time for our country.
As the only country in the western world to still maintain its discriminatory position on marriage equality, it’s been a fabulous progression given last week this issue had been simmering away on the back burner for months with no indication of anything happening soon. I’m quite passionate and outspoken about this topic and my friends, family and colleagues know quite clearly where I stand and whilst the passing of this legislation will ultimately have no impact on me as an individual, I’m brimming with excitement at being on the cusp of historic change.
In my view, creating marriage equality doesn’t just afford couples who are in love the opportunity to get married (which is, without question simply awesome!), it also creates a change in the culture and perceptions that exist in the mainstream. Yes, I understand that people may never come to accept or agree with the idea of gay marriage for reasons such as religion, but much like society was 20 years ago, people didn’t accept or agree with people being publicly gay either and now look how far we’ve come. We have an opportunity to make a change. A change which is inevitable and will occur one day… sooner rather than later I hope.
If you hark back to monumental shifts in societal values and perceptions, you only need to look at western societies and issues such as women’s rights and the right to vote, apartheid and racial segregation to see that the issue of marriage equality will soon become the norm. That’s not to say that there still aren’t issues regarding the above because there certainly are (and there are many other issues that the western world is dragging so very far behind in), but on the whole and compared to where we were 20, 50, 100 years ago, history has shown that once the initial shock has passed, time will normalise things until future generations wonder what the heck the issues were about in the first place. I look back at the issue around women’s rights and simply shake my head that there was actually a time that women were not considered worthy of having their own voice or right to use it and I sometimes wonder how I would have gone living back then! This issue is no different.
Today, in 2015, I’m excited that there is now hope for some of my dear friends to marry and experience the joy and the happiness that being married can bring. I feel lucky to be witnessing momentum that will lead significant change, not just within the community but around the world! When I’m old and grey and my grandchildren ask me to tell them about the olden days, I can’t wait to be able to tell them that I contributed to real and lasting societal change because I voiced my opinions, took the opportunity to formally do so via send letters and petitions and basically took a stand for change to ensure equality for humans, even though some of my friends and family did not agree with me. And I’ll tell them that’s what made it so great! It didn’t matter that we had a different point of view, because we could engage in a respectful debate or a differing of opinion and it wasn’t to the detriment of our relationship! How awesome is that!
So, if you too also want to see change (and you’re in Australia of course), click on the logo below to go to Australian Marriage Equality Inc’s website to enter in your postcode and see whether or not your local member supports marriage equality or not:
In my electorate, my MP doesn’t support marriage equality, which isn’t surprising given the conservative nature of our electorate and party members, both at a Federal and a State level but I sent him an email anyway; not to try and change his mind but to ask him to support the opportunity for all members of parliament to express their views and participate in a conscience vote; a freedom which the current government is not affording its members.
We are so lucky that in this day and age we can vocally and respectfully support what we believe in through very public channels such as the media, social media and of course blogs such as this without fear of persecution or serious ramification. Surely that in itself is a sign of change? I think so!
And finally, because how awesome is this… Gosford Anglican Church in central NSW is renown for its inclusive, accepting and supportive signs on a whole range of hot and political topics (simply google Gosford Anglican Church and go to the images tab to see more!). This one just sums it up perfectly!
Are you excited about being alive during a time of significant change? Do you feel comfortable in offering a public opinion, knowing others might not share your view?