Independent Australia strongly supports marriage equality - as we support justice, fairness, equity and equality in all things. Contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence explains.
YES. WE DO! Independent Australia supports marriage equality.
How could we not? It would be a travesty of all we stand for. A betrayal of our ethical core.
Since conception, IA has been at times a lonely voice for the voiceless and championed human rights.
We continue to advocate for social justice and facilitate media access to those often locked out of mainstream media, whilst exposing discrimination in all its arrogant ugliness and dangerous prejudice, investigating and exposing corruption and its two-faced sibling - hypocrisy.
IA has also published dozens of articles suporting sexual/gender rights and marriage equality, and the feedback and discussion from our commentators, both from longstanding readers as well as newcomers to our pages, has overwhelmingly been in favour of both.
MARRIAGE EQUALITY ABOUT FAMILY After all, we're talking about members of our family, both in the literal and metaphorical sense.
Our parents, our children, cousins, our aunts and uncles, our nieces and nephews and yes, our grandparents too. We're talking about "us". There is no "them" in this argument.
Freedom of speech, like freedom to marry whom one chooses, comes at a cost, even in Australia, the last of so-called enlightened western democracies to embrace the latter, and whose governments and occasional histrionic politicians are forever trying to extinguish the former.
We have ignored the fact that gender equality is enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Australia is a signatory.
The long trudge we have endured up the boobytrapped aisle to marriage equality is the fault of our politicians - not the people. If we had our druthers, it is clear the issue would have been well sorted by now. And this coming weekend there'd be double the number of weddings and happiness.
It is because of the political cowardice of the Coalition that the nation has been coerced into the needless and endemically flawed Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
There are more than a hundred thousand homeless people in Australia.
Many will not be given the opportunity to participate in the survey, just as there are thousands of non-English speaking indigenous Australians who will be locked out by political design and negligence.
Last night's PM program on ABC Radio confirmed the debacle and false promises we were given about people in remote communities.
Here's the audio for that dispiriting report.
Yesterday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released its weekly tally on the survey forms returned thus far.
After the technical debacle of the Census, the ABS is intent on redeeming its once highly regarded reputation.
So far, about 10 million Australians are estimated to have responded out of the more than 16 million forms sent out.
The ABS stresses the figure is an estimate because it
'... is based on the bulk containers of returned forms and not a count of individual or processed forms. It does not include forms that have been posted but not yet delivered by Australia Post to the ABS.'
There is still much work to be done before the 7 November deadline for returning survey forms and encouraging a Yes vote. Millions of Australians have yet to vote. Nothing can be taken for granted and the nation will be on tenterhooks in anticipation of the results scheduled to be announced on 13 November at 11.30am.
Even then, the results will not be binding to Parliament. Go figure.
WHAT IF ANTI SAME SEX MARRIAGE POLITICIANS HAD GAY CHILDREN? No names or pack drill out of deference to children, but in relation to those politicians who have been particularly vile and cruel about lesbians, gays and all other colours of the sexual rainbow, I am concerned about the impact such vociferous sexual orientation hatespeak in public by parents might have upon their own children if they were gay and/or had gay friends and relatives.
Isn't the role of leadership to support the most vulnerable? @mattjcan @RichardDiNatale and @AmandaRishworth respond QandA pic.twitter.com/L1d7I3mbCW
- ABC QandA (@QandA) October 9, 2017 How could they "come out" to such a parent? How could they even discuss their sexuality, their preferences, any contradict between body and brain? Imagine the horrendous burden this would place on such children. Would the child/young person have anyone they could talk with? What if the child felt isolated and suicidal?
SOME OF OUR POLITICIANS MIGHT BE CLOSET/CABINET GAYS Simply on a statistical basis, this scenario is not only possible but likely. Of course, this applies to other families as well. Just as it applies to various religious and cultural groupings.
I know I'm not alone in such thoughts.
Some will argue it's not our business. But it is. Children are not chattels. It is our collective business because the welfare and well-being of children is our business.
Further, with the imposition of the survey, the nation state has wasted time and money and contrived to make it our business.
It is also likely that some of our politicians remain secreted in the closet, or the cabinet.
SEXUALITY NOT FREUDIAN SLIP, NIP 'N TUCK OR FUCK AND KIP Sexuality is not simply a Freudian slip; nor a Freudian nip and tuck. Nor a fuck and kip.
Nor is it simply a matter of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). XY chromosomes do not always maketh the man, even if it does in a laboratory test tube or in the womb.
Nor XX chromosomes or Adam's rib, maketh the woman.
BLOKES START LIFE IN THE WOMB AS GIRLIES It will shock some of our blokey parliamentarians, especially those who use "girlie" as a perjorative term, to learn that they started life as females. Hear that, Matthias Cormann?
Marriage equality is not a question of competing for higher moral ground. It is a question of validating gender fluency.
The recent political deification of unsame sex marriage was facilitated a mere 13 years ago by Prime Minister John Howard's government and enshrined in the Marriage Amendment Act of 2004.
No plebiscite. No shotgun marriage survey. No out of wedlock, out of deadlock.
It should be remembered that the changes to the Act were endorsed by that serial sexist git Mark Latham and his politically expedient parliamentary party housemates, who led his doomed Labor Opposition with a political gait that was a caricature of ocker-type machismo and swagger.
You've got to hand it to Howard, for the most part a master strategist who had the ability to make his opponents and the House so often bend to his iron will.
HOWARD LURED LATHAM INTO BED AND POLITICAL SPOONING He deftly lured opponents into his political bed and both enjoyed the comforting spooning for as long as it suited.
In the amendment, marriage was redefined thus: marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
Further, the amendment to the original Marriage Act of 1961, also changed Section 88E to specifically exclude from marriage the following: -
88EA Certain unions are not marriages
A union solemnised in a foreign country between:
(a) a man and another man; or
(b) a woman and another woman;
must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.
Equality by, for and of gender is more than an article of faith. Whether physical or mental, assessing gender has always been an inexact science that continues to defy even scientific let alone psychological definition.
It is a sorry fact that once, if a baby was born with both male and female genitalia, the penis would be removed and a vagina fashioned. Why? Because it was deemed much easier to make a "hole" than it was to build a penis. It was, and still is at times, considered to be a matter of great shame to parents if a baby was born of indeterminate gender.
Little thought was given to the consequences such surgery might have on that baby in the future - let alone as an adolescent or adult. Or what might have been the mental gender and disposition of that human being.
This practice is but one reason why more older people are switching genders, physically and outwardly.
I know of one elderly gentleman who has kept all of his late wife's clothes. His daughters think it is through grief. Indeed, partly it is. But he has a shared secret that both he and his beloved wife kept from their children. He is a crossdresser and has always wanted to have a sex change - and still does, although he won't - because of his daughters and because he cannot face what he believes to be the inevitable ridicule, even from his mates.
He tells me what he can't tell them. That he will die never having been his true self. That his whole life has been a sham.
He has prepaid his funeral and no doubt his daughters will dress him in one of his bespoke suits. But he wants to be buried in a dress.
He laughs as he's telling me this, laughing so hard that tears of laughter leak out of the side of his eyes, filling up his wrinkles as if they were rain on dry river creeks.
"If only they knew" he says, using both gnarled hands as fumbling windscreen wipers on his eyes.
I'm laughing too.
But then, his tears turn to sobs. The wrinkle creeks turn into a flash flood of tears.
Now, I'm crying.
He has voted "Yes" in the survey. As have his daughters.
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