Monday, July 27, 2009

Our big fat gay wedding

Marriage is a wonderful thing - if you happen to be straight, that is. If not, well, you're simply "not allowed". I don't understand why straight people hold the monopoly on marriage, given that 1 in 3 of our nuptials end in divorce. So I was pleased to hear that Sydney's gay community is gearing up for a mass illegal gay wedding on 1st August to protest these laws.

Making a stand against injustice is what people of conviction have been doing for centuries, and what gives me hope is that, slowly but surely, they have been successful in changing public opinion and government policy. In the 1700s slavery was taken for granted, but following the persistent advocacy of John Woolman and others, a bill was pass in England in 1807 abolishing the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

In the 1800s women advocated for the vote, and in 1902 most of them in Australia got it. Aboriginal women (and Aboriginal men) waited a further 65 years until they were recognised as citizens in Australia. Now we all accept that women have a right to vote, and are ashamed that Aboriginal people were so recently categorised as "flora and fauna".

Yet, here we are in 2009, and gay couples are not treated as equals. Haven't we learnt that freeing slaves didn't collapse the economy, giving women the vote didn't send democracy into mayhem and giving gay people the right to marry won't make a mockery of the sanctity of marriage? I hope that August's big fat gay wedding leads to a change of opinion and policy that lasts longer than the average straight marriage. ;)

Photo is with kind permission from Lydia Marcus

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