Monday June 29, 2015
To homosexuals everywhere in support of same sex marriage,
Do you believe that changing Australia’s Marriage Act will be the panacea you need? I’m genuinely interested.
You have suffered severely as a minority group; shunned, bullied, locked up, medicated and even murdered for your sexual attraction. The treatment you have endured – and indeed, continue to endure in some pockets of society – is unacceptable. You, like anyone else, have the right to respect, love, acceptance and a life unhindered by prejudice.
Like victims of any traumatic injustice, I understand your desire to seek acknowledgement and affirmation of your value and identity. My question is, will changing the traditional definition of marriage do that?
We look to Ireland where law has changed to allow same sex marriage as a result of last month’s referendum. Have you noticed the vernacular of the gay lobby in the proceeding celebrations? The change has been lauded as “recognition” of gay people, “validation” of lifestyle, “acceptance” in communities and so on. Very little has been said about marriage itself. Could it be that marriage was used as a vehicle for healing deep wounds of rejection? And if so, will it be enough?
University of Western Australia associate professor Rob Cover answered this question in his 2012 research text titled Queer Youth Suicide, Culture and Identity: Unliveable Lives?
“There is no clear indication that same-sex marriage will legitimise queer people in the minds of others,” he said.
“There is greater danger in hoping that it will be a cure-all, and directing resources to this one form of legitimation falls far short of what is needed, when there are other policy and service areas that require resources.”
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny famously said gay couples’ “fragile and deeply personal hopes” had been realised and that they could now “live in our shelter and not in our shadow.”
Don’t you find that patronising?
Would you like our own PM Tony Abbott to say the same, essentially implying that you need the state to sanction your identity, to make you feel better about yourself (because let’s face it, this is about much more than your ability to tie the knot)?
In his debrief on the Irish SSM referendum, writer, columnist and blogger Brendan O’Neill said this:
“The rise of gay marriage over the past 10 years speaks, profoundly, to the diminution of the culture of autonomy, and its replacement by a far more nervous, insecure cultural outlook that continually requires lifestyle validation from external bodies. And the state is only too happy to play this authoritative role of approver of lifestyles…”
Do you want that?
Meanwhile, have you noticed what this social tampering is doing to your ‘opposition’. I put the word in inverted commas so you know that I don’t oppose you as a person, but rather any alteration to the traditional definition of marriage. The debate has cast us as a new minority (or silent majority), where anyone expressing opposition to same sex marriage is often shunned, bullied and hated – words I used at the beginning of this letter, you will recall.
Seems we have some similarities, you and I.
But amidst your rally for justice, your cause for equality, I hope you will consider the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves. They should be our highest concern.
A new Galaxy poll released last week revealed that a majority of Australians think it is more important for a child to have the love of both mother and father, than for two men or two women to have the right to marry and create a family.
Take a deeper look at what is being touted as a clean-cut issue of equality. Don’t inflict the injustice you have experienced on the voiceless and vulnerable participants in this equation. Rally for love and tolerance but for the sake of children, choose methods other than marriage to express them.
Know that I am not a hater. Jesus’ example allows me no room for hate – he is the personified union of love and truth. To express one without the other would be a solemn disservice to you and to my faith.
One woman who believes it is possible to love gay people and oppose changes to the Marriage Act all at once.
First published in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday June 29, 2015.