Recently, two of my friends got married. It was a joyous occasion. A real celebration of their spirit, dedication and love. Or so I’m told. Sadly, I wasn’t there. I was invited of course. But the wedding was held overseas. It had to be. In this country, my two friends can not legally be married. That is because they’re both men.
Married… or not?
My friends are unsurprisingly delighted to be wed.
The sense of belonging is the best thing so far, they tell me.
Our marriage feels like the love we have for each other is valid, real and worthy beyond our home. But is it?
Same-sex marriages are legal in many countries including New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, France and Iceland. They are in parts of the USA too. But not in Australia. The only state to even recognise same-sex marriages performed overseas is Tasmania. Effectively, my friends’ marriage doesn’t exist here.
It’s hard that our society, where we live, and where one of us was born, doesn’t accept our relationship in the way we want it to be accepted, my friends say.
The inequality in Australia is absurd and discriminatory.
Different views, strong opinions
This is an issue that provokes strong emotion. In my writing for DiVine, as in my life, I like to look at a range of views. I consider different opinions even if I don’t agree with them, and I try to present a balanced perspective. But this time I can’t.
I understand there are people whose beliefs differ from mine. I’m well aware that various religions teach that homosexuality is wrong. But I’m sorry. I just don’t get it. And for once, I don’t want to.
I simply can not see the problem with two people in love getting married. It causes no damage to anyone. Nor in my eyes does it challenge the idea of marriage. Rather, I think it enriches it.
Why marriage equality matters
Some people suggest same-sex couples could just have civil unions. Marriage would be for opposite-sex couples only. But marriage offers certain legal entitlements that civil unions do not. More importantly, marriage equality acknowledges that homosexual and heterosexual relationships are of equal value. It’s pretty easy really. If it’s not marriage, it’s not equality. And most people living with disability know how inequality feels.
It’s about love
My friends reflect on this situation.
Our love causes nobody any grief or harm. In fact we believe it would strengthen society if same-sex couples were recognised equally under the law. This would reduce homophobia and create greater acceptance.
With characteristic wit they tell me their favourite thing about being husband and husband.
We can simultaneously annoy each other more and love each other more!
Their words remind me of what really matters in this debate. The current situation in Australia regarding same-sex marriage is unreasonable and unacceptable. But that’s not what marriage is about. It’s about love, plain and simple.
My friends, these two beautiful men, prove that.