17/12

Gay Marriage Laws

By Geisha Bar

I was pretty excited when it was announced that same-sex marriage would be allowed in ACT. In hindsight though, I think that ACT kind of did a morally ambiguous thing in allowing same-sex marriage to go ahead when they knew it was a federally controlled decision and would probably be revoked, which seems somewhat unfair.

The ACT laws were trying to challenge the fact that marriage has been a matter for the federal parliament since 1961, and only pertains to a man and a woman, and of course challenging this was a righteous thing to do. (For those who argue that it isn’t  discriminatory to deny marriage to gay couples, because they can instead get civil partnerships, that is akin to saying that segregation in the USA was non-discriminatory because they had restaurants and water fountains set aside for both white people and coloured people.)

However in a positive light (because sometimes you just have to look for the only sunny side of a situation) ……  In having these marriages declared invalid almost immediately, it has thrown the matter into the spotlight in such a way that places far more pressure on the federal government to actually make the proper call and legalise same-sex marriages in full across the nation. Now that people have been actually burned by this controversy in the public eye, and it is in the spotlight as a human rights issue, surely it will mean that gay marriage will be passed at the federal level sooner, rather than later.

Legalising same-sex marriage in Australia is inevitable and I believe that the federal parliament should be the ones to legislate for it, to ensure that gay relationships are treated equally across the country. This decision to revoke same-sex marriages in ACT doesn’t prevent the federal Parliament from one day amending the Marriage Act to include same-sex marriage, in fact it seems like the only thing left for them to do is expedite that process. Malcolm Turnbull believes that there will be a conscience vote agreed to by the Coalition party room, and that a private members bill will soon be introduced proposing a change to the law which only allows marriage between a man and a woman.

It is time for people to understand that this is an EQUALITY battle, it’s not about whether a bunch of old white religious dudes think it’s right or wrong for gay people to marry, it is about whether we as a country are prepared to be those jerks that support the blatant inequality of human beings. We’ve never seen the problem in letting gay people have equality when it comes to voting, going to war, being taxed and obeying the law, so it’s time to give them the equality where it counts.