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mX Column: There Is No “Mostly Equal”

NB: This column has been altered slightly from it’s original publication as I have an infinite word count on this blog.

There are many things straight couples take for granted that gay couples have had to fight for.

And on Monday, Eliza Bern’s article in mX sparked even more conversation on the topic.

Bern suggested the way forward was through unconditional acceptance and same-sex marriage. I agree 100 percent.

Equality is not something that can be done in fractions. There can be no “mostly” equal.

This may sound a little free-love of me but I do wish everyone could just get along.

There is No Mostly Equal

So what is stopping this country from joining the likes of Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa and Portugal in legalising same-sex marriage?

There are some very persistent arguments that seem to be trotted out regularly by objectors.

Step forward the most vocal: religious groups.

They have one of the saddest, and at the same time, most laughable arguments.

They say active homosexuality is wrong because it means sex outside of marriage. But they’re against the one thing that would solve the problem – marriage.

I don’t think we’ll ever get the religious institutions to agree. But the church is hardly scandal free and is fast becoming more irrelevant in marriage, even for straight couples, with more people electing a garden wedding or city hall over the constraining and antiquated ways of the church.

We were married in a Catholic Church (we are not religious; but it meant a lot to our family that we have a church wedding) and I struggled to find acceptable church passages, prayers and hymns that wouldn’t insult our guests who are in same-sex relationships, or openly gay.

Most readings from the church preach marriage as the union of a man and a woman (and more still that didn’t position women as subservient – thought that is another matter entirely). Which is a long way from the love, forgiveness and acceptance that God is supposed to be about.

Then there are the people who say legally recognised gay unions would threaten the institution of marriage.

How can allowing more people the opportunity to get married do anything but strengthen the institution?

As a recent Facebook post pointed out, philandering straight guys such as Tiger Woods and Jesse James are surely more of a threat – soiling the reputation of marriage with a blatant disregard for their spouses.

Non-famous heterosexuals are also doing a good hatchet job. A 40 per cent divorce rate? It’s a joke.

But that’s not as bad as the postman in Germany who married his dying asthmatic cat last month.

In the same week, a Korean man married his pillow in front of a priest.

And last year a Japanese video gamer married a video game girlfriend that lives inside his Nintendo DS in a legally binding ceremony in Guam.

Yet in Australia we won’t give two rational, adult humans – who love each other and want to be together – the opportunity to declare that to society in their own marriage, just because they’re of the same sex?

Civil unions or registered partnerships are a step in the right direction, but are still in that grey “mostly equal” zone. It won’t be enough until it’s bonafide, proper, legal marriage.

The gay community could never ruin the sanctity of marriage. If anything, it would revitalise a flagging, boring old institution that is in desperate need of a fresh breath of life.

There’s never been a better time than now. Legalize it so we can stop wasting our breath pushing rational arguments on a government that is clearly too blinded by their own religious prejudices to see clearly.

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Writer, dating columnist, wife, coffee addict, foodie, fashionista... Melburnian through and through. Muser, dancer, blogger, tweeter. Likes to get her head on telly now and again. Sleeper, dreamer, a sucker for romance. And of course... a cheap date.

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