Australia is currently in the midst of a row about the legalisation of same sex marriage. The ruling Liberal-National coalition government has a very small majority in the House of Representatives and no majority at all in the Senate. The coalition has a number of MPs and Senators who are vehemently opposed to same sex marriage. The opposition Labor (yes, I know) party are strongly in favour of legalising same sex marriage and are using this issue to cause splits in the government. Same sex marriage has dominated the news and political debate for what seems like months. And my considered opinion on this issue is, who gives a damn?Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to same sex marriage. I simply don’t believe it is the most vital issue facing Australia in 2017. And I certainly don’t think it is an issue that is worth the federal government spending $122million on a voluntary and non-binding plebiscite. In almost all elections in Australia – federal, state and local – voting is compulsory. But because the government cannot get legislation passed for a mandatory and binding vote they have come up with this wheeze that they think will appease both opponents and supporters of same sex marriage. Of course it hasn’t and some supporters of same sex marriage have even called for a boycott of the plebiscite.
Marriage is not part of the Australia Constitution and does not need to be changed by a referendum. Changing the Constitution in Australia is very difficult as it requires a “double majority” – not only do a majority of voters have to agree to a change but a majority of voters in a majority of states have to agree. But marriage is not defined by the Constitution but by the Family Law Act 1975 which defines marriage as “the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others voluntarily entered into for life.” All that is necessary is to substitute the words “two people” for “a man and a woman.” If it wasn’t for the small number of people in the Liberal and National parties bitterly opposed to same sex marriage this change could be made tomorrow. And the Prime Minister will not face up to this small groups of antis on his own benches because he has such a small majority in the House of Representatives.
I don’t understand the position of the people who are so strongly opposed to same sex marriage. Why is it your business who someone else marries? If you are a man who doesn’t want to be married to another man, don’t marry one. Ditto if you are a woman. As far as I am concerned you can marry whomsoever you please; marry a television set for all I care. At the same time, I don’t understand some of the advocates of same sex marriage who expect their choices to be celebrated. I am not going to “celebrate” anyone’s sex life. I don’t go into work wearing a t-shirt saying (excuse the vulgarity) “I like tits.” Some gay advocates have extremely binary (snigger) views about issues that affect their “community” – unless you are fully onboard with and “celebrate’ all things LGBTXYZetc then you are a vicious homophobe. Sorry, no. This may come as shatteringly disillusioning to some gay folks but I simply don’t care about you and your sex life. Just as I simply don’t care about the gender of feminists or the imaginary friends of religious people.
I demand what I would call “negative rights” in relation to issues such as same sex marriage. Whilst I would never advocate for discrimination of any kind – let me say once again that I am in favour of allowing people to marry whomsoever they please – I reserve the right not to care one iota about issues that other care deeply about. And my rights are exactly equal to yours – not better but certainly not worse. You demand the right to marry someone of the same gender? Fine, but I don’t care and that doesn’t make me a homophobe. You want to agitate about the wages of multimillionaire actresses and whine about a nonexistent wage gap? Fine, but I don’t care and that doesn’t make me misogynist. You want to waste your time in stultifying dull church services or banging your head on the floor of a mosque five times a day? Fine, but I don’t have to and that doesn’t make me an “Islamophobe.”
Sorry you aren’t special and you aren’t that interesting. May I suggest 90%+ of people of this planet are deeply ordinary? Your sex life doesn’t make you interesting or special, nor does the colour of your skin or the genitals in your underwear. Your imaginary friend certainly doesn’t make you special. You may care passionately about these issues but I don’t and no amount of childish name-calling or invented thoughtcrimes can make me care.