First, a little preface to this mini-rant. A friend is engaged to his boyfriend, and is living in Queensland. For those who do not know Queensland over-turned a rather progressive ruling for Australia when it decided to not allow same-sex couples a civil union (not quite a marriage, but close) but, rather, allow them to register their relationship, and then endangered their right to surrogate assistance. Now, all I have been seeing amid all of this, is the very loud religious overtones shining through. However, I am able to cut through this and see the issue for what it is. I think parties on both sides of the fight need to see this for what it is: A fight for civil rights, not religious ones. I hold my own belief system and sexuality. I do not understand why I should be forced to adhere to another person’s belief teachings or have one relationship model elevated to a higher status than mine simply because it is their model of choice. As a friend commented once:
‘…if you dont [sic] want to love Jesus, then don’t. If you don’t want to marry a man, then don’t! But how can you tell someone else they can’t because you think so?
‘It’s basically like me going up to you and saying “I don’t think it’s right to cross your legs when you sit down, because of the personal beliefs I hold. Therefore, you are not allowed to do it!”‘
I know this is a rather hot topic for some, but please if you comment bear in mind the feelings of others.
Marriage equality is NOT a religious issue. I’m sorry, but it really isn’t. We had an institute of marriage well before the Church came along. Various cultures had their own ideas on what constituted marriage, and allowed people to freely enter into what would have been recognised as a marriage in this day and age. There was little stigma regarding differing approaches to marriage as well, with one type of marriage only being observed for thirteen moons, with the particulars being revisited and discussed amongst the married parties at that point to see if they wanted to continue or dissolve the union.
Going even further back, the ancient Egyptians had secular and sacred marriages, both of which were held in the same level of respect as one another. The secular marriage had a few more legal assurances to both parties (in particular, that the female was assured of leaving the union upon dissolution with exactly what she entered it, plus half of whatever the pair accrued).
The native Americans had their own traditions, different for each tribe.
I could go on to describe each tradition across the world. In all of these cases, though it may have been something of an anomaly, same sex couples were recognised. They held the same level of respected union as opposite-sex couples, were afforded the same level of legal or community assistance, and were not necessarily barred from the union of marriage unless there were other circumstances in the way (children from a previous union, disputes of property ownership, etc).
What we see now is a world-wide community wherein a religious order has become so heavily integrated into the political system that people find it hard to separate one from the other. Our societal compass has become so heavily directed by the moral teachings of one group of people that there is no room in some people’s minds to any other kind of system.
For those who say marriage is a sacred institute, I could not agree more. Marriage is, indeed, a sacred thing. Love is the highest sacred calling we humans have.
Jesus preached love for our fellow man. Not love until it makes us feel strange, not conditional love, but love across the board, without borders and selfless.
In all of native, or nature-worshipping traditions, love for the world and one another was the over-riding premise to morality.
In Islam, love of Allah and one another is what drives morality.
How then, can we see not allowing two people, regardless of their sexuality or displayed gender (because don’t get me started on non-binary gender in this issue), share and commit to love as following our moral compass?
Want to know more about this issue? These are some links for the Marriage Equality argument in Australia. Not in Australia? Please feel free to post your own links in the comments below. On the other side of the argument, please feel free to discuss this issue as well. A well-rounded discussion involves two sides, and I would appreciate your side of the discussion. Do keep things civil though, please.
Parliament Information on the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012