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How to achieve same sex marriage rights without resorting to emotion
My parents have been married a long time. Nearly 26 years. I hope one day to be able to join them in this endeavour and be married to my partner for that long.
But I can’t.
Because I’m gay and gays in Australia can’t get married.
Actually amend that, same sex couples in Australia can’t get married. Opposite sex couples who aren’t grandparent/child, parent/child, brother/sister and who are over the age of 16 can legally get married in Australia. Two bisexual people as long as they are of the opposite sex can get married.
So by current law I can marry my uncle but I can’t marry the person that I’m in love with.
People get married for many reasons. There are marriages of convenience, green card marriages or marriages to obtain citizenships easier, there are arranged marriages and there are marriages because people want to. When two people get marred, the government is saying to them “We recognised your relationship as worthy of being entitled to the rights and protections that the legal marriage certificate gives to the individuals who have entered into the marriage contract, you can be legally bound to each other”.
Why can’t I be afforded to same rights and protections? If Britney Spears could have them for 55 hours and it Liza Minnelli could get married 4 times, why can’t I? If a hypothetical relationship between my uncle and I is worthy of marriage, why isn’t my same sex one?
My reasons for wanting to get married are made out of love. I would love to marry my partner and have protections under the law such as superannuation access, life insurance access, hospital access, tax benefits, immigration protection, employer benefits, medical benefits, disability benefits, housing benefits and legal protections and many more. I love my partner and want her to have access to all those things and she wants the same for me. All those rights and protections are nice but marriage also gives you legal recognition under the law. Being able to obtain that piece of paper says “We recognise your relationships as worthy of being afforded these rights and protections” which it seems many opposite sex heteroseual couples take for granted.
Many heterosexual people continue to say “Why do they need to get married?”
“Well why did you need to get married?”
Because you wanted to.
Those against same sex marriage tend to hold opposite sex marriage up as the pinnacle of what a marriage should be. Same sex couples can’t get married because they can’t procreate (well neither can sterile opposite sex or elderly opposite sex couples), same sex couples can’t get married because they can’t raise children (many same sex couples have children and families, many children in foster care come from opposite sex parents), same sex couples can’t get married because some bigot views being same sex attracted as a mental illness (well we let mentally ill opposite sex couples marry providing they can provide informed consent). And before anyone starts on the “same sex marriage will lead to pedophillia” bullshit, we already have legal protections in place for protecting minors against arseholes. No person under the age of 16 can marry under Australian law, not to someone of the same age nor to someone who is over the age of 16.
Do I need to point out that opposite sex marriage isn’t the pinnacle of what marriage should be considering 1 in 3 opposite sex marriages end in divorce? My parents staying together for as long as they have is quite rare.
But you aren’t going to convince policy makers to allow same sex couples to marry by pointing out the obvious flaws in their arguments because they’re generally so blinded by their beliefs that they can’t see reason. You aren’t going to win the fight for marriage equality based on emotional arguments – especially when the opposition is fighting with emotional arguments as well.
Changing policy and law is rarely about the people – it’s about what the change in policy can do for the government. So what can changing the policy on same sex marriage to make it legal do for the Australian government? What can the “for” side for same sex marriage bring to the table that the “against” side cannot?
Research released in 2012 (Lee Badgett and Smith, 2012) shows a conservative estimate is $161 million could be brought into the country by legalising same sex marriage. The estimates only include spending on weddings alone, with another $7m in license revenue that States would collect. This estimate not including money spent by overseas travels means the potential benefits for the economy and the tourism industry will increase. The method of calculation is explained the referenced research study. The research has also been found to be consistent with a recent US study showing same sex weddings injected $111m over five years into the Massachusetts economy and the benefits to the Mexico City Tourism authority of over $100,000 per month from allowing same sex marriages.
Forgetting any arguments for or against same sex marriage based on emotional reasons, does the Australian government really want to be the government to deny our country the boom to tourism, influx in economic resources and money to the country? Especially since all we’ve been hearing over the last many years is about how much debt we’ve been in? If you’re going to use Federal debt as a scare tactic to get votes – you should stop ignoring the answer to all you troubles staring you right in the face.
Lee Badgett, M & Smith, J. (2012). The Economic Impact of Extending Marriage to Same Sex Couples in Australia. Retrieved on April 30, 2012, from http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Badgett-Smith-Econ-Impact-Marriage-Feb-2012.pdf.