There's a phrase that has become an exasperated mantra among us equal rights fighters - namely in the quest for marriage equality - and that is, “Why are we still debating this in 2011.”
I mean, according to history and almost every single science fiction writer from the past 100 years, we are now living in the future. Okay sure, we haven't got our jet-packs or our personal hover-crafts yet, and we're a long way off from eating people, but really, in terms of technology, social advancement and video game graphics we are practically one microchip away from Skynet.
Why then, in a country so advanced that we can talk face to face from our living rooms with someone in the middle of Africa, or genetically grow meat in a vat, are we so frightened of giving two people in love the basic right of marriage that every straight person has just because they are gay?
We are advanced and intelligent enough to know that homosexuality is not a “choice” or a “lifestyle option”. We know that gay people are not evil, mentally defunct or paedophiles. We know that gay and lesbian parents raise healthy, normal kids like the rest of us, and we also know that it's not a disease or affliction that can be contagious or unhealthy. So what is it?
The bible bashers will tell you it's because God says it's bad and they have to follow His word. However, the thing that bothers me the most about these arguments is their uncanny ability to pick and choose which parts of God's words they will follow and which parts they will not. The Vatican does everything in its power (and they have a lot of it) to protect priests that rape children and squirrel away millions upon millions of dollars that could be used to make the world a better place. They are practically spitting on the surface of the Ten Commandments with the way they lie, cheat, steal and corrupt, and seem to completely ignore the ones that say “Do unto others” and “Love thy neighbour”. And they expect us to believe they are doing things in God's name?
If there's one thing I know about God from all the stuff I've ever heard, is the underlying message that God Is Love. In my understanding of true, pure love, like the one they claim God to have, is that it's supposed to be unconditional. That means no matter what you do I will love you. Pretty simple really. I can't ever remember seeing an asterisk attached to that statement: God's love is unconditional.... Oh, unless you're gay.
Our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, claims her stance against gay marriage has nothing to do with religion. She instead says it is because of the conservative way in which she was raised, and that the Marriage Act holds a special status for men and women. Sorry, Julia but that is the whole fucking point! That description alone pretty much confirms our whole argument! It is exclusive, elitist and discriminatory and basically says that straight couples have more rights than gay couples because they are straight. Now, since we've already established that gay people are born that way and have no choice in the matter, saying they are unable to be given the same status as other people because of something that is completely beyond anyone's control is just plain bigotry. Nothing else.
Her position on the matter really has made me sad that she is our voice to the world. Considering she is someone who, without the amendments of certain laws, would never have been Prime Minister. Hell, she wouldn't have even been able to go to university to study law, buy a house in her own name or live in it unwed with her de-facto lover. Why? Because she is a woman. According to the way it's “always been” throughout the majority of historical record, women can't be trusted with having a job, let alone be in charge of important matters of state. They should be pretty and demure and know how to sew. They should find a husband, settle down and have children and not worry their pretty little heads about things that men do.
I'll bet in her university union days a young Julia would have fought for equal opportunities for women. She would have tut-tutted at the big-wig men making decisions about her body, her future, her life. In fact, it is quite likely the injustices in the world are the very thing that led her to law and unions and politics.
In fact, I honestly think the only positive thing I have to say about her being in charge is that at least she isn't Tony Abbot, and if that's the best thing about her then really, I think it's time for another meeting of the “Faceless Men”.
I honestly don't know what she is worried about? Legalising gay marriage won't cause more global warming, it won't help or hinder the “stop the boats” campaign and it won't stop the mining industry from paying more tax. It won't stop straight marriages from happening or suddenly mean our children are not safe and it most certainly won't (as some of the extreme anti campaigners claim) make us think that we can all now go out and marry donkeys or desk lamps.
In all honesty it won't do anything at all other than one thing. It will show the gay and lesbian community of Australia that their government accepts them absolutely and unconditionally. It will prove once and for all that we are a tolerant nation of loving and respectful people and that their love is as equal and as valid as everyone else's.
It really is time to catch up with the time we are in; the future beyond 2000. It's time to say no to religion being the basis for our laws and yes to equal rights and opportunities for all. Is it really that much of a hard decision?