Friday, July 2, 2010

I do

In 2010 the world has grown exceptionally from the closed off, ignorant views prevalent 500 years ago, hell, 50 years ago. Segregation, for the most, no longer exists, (although racism is still prevalent across the globe) women are no longer chained to the kitchen counter and are outstripping men in terms of graduation and career statistics and caring for the environment is no longer restricted to long haired hippies. We are by no means perfect, but we are taking steps in the right direction. However, it seems that no sooner do we take one step forwards than take two giant steps back.

What caused the latest backward movement? Australia's brand spanking new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has publically announced her disagreement with same-sex marriages. This is an issue that riles me up immensely, not because I am in a same-sex relationship myself, but because I don't understand how this is anyone else's business bar those involved in the relationship. When two people decide to cement their relationship and prove their love by exchanging vows, no one should stand against that, regardless of the genders of those partaking in the ceremony, especially not those in a political position.

Gillard's announcement infuriated me much in the way Tony Abbott's stance on abortion did. These are personal issues, not ploys to be bandied around in the political playground to grab voters. Your stance in these issues is your opinion, for every pro-lifer there is someone who believes in being pro-choice, and neither opinion is more valid than another. However that being said, the fact that people are anti-something should not allow politicians to write up legislation that restrains one side. You may not agree with abortion, but no woman should be forced to keep a baby she is not prepared for/doesn't want/can't take care of. It is necessary for people to be allowed to make choices for themselves; this doesn't mean that you have to agree with their choices, but that you respect them enough to make the decision themselves.

From the articles I’ve read on the issue and the comments from the general public one of the main forces working against people's acceptance of gay marriage is that it is in opposition to the church decrees. Their argument is that marriage is a rite of the Judea / Christian church and must be respected as such. If we were to follow their logic, I should not get married because I am agnostic and have never been to church in my life, my grandparents should have avoided committing to one another for 50+ years because they didn't kneel in a pew every Sunday and holiday and no one of Muslim, Hindu or scientology faiths should ever stand before their friends and families and pledge their love.

Yes, marriage was once "owned" by the church, but today marriage is a simply a symbol of commitment and love, personal vows are exchanged rather than the traditional church vows, and weddings in fancy hotels and on beaches at sunset are much more popular than traditional weddings. If I choose to marry my atheist boyfriend, and have the right to do so and am not seen as disgracing the sanctity of marriage, then how is a man marrying the love of his life (who just happens to be of the same sex) any different?

I suppose part of my anger stems from the fact that all of these people who kick and scream against gay marriage and denounce it as "anti-Christian" have never attended church themselves, nor are moved in their daily lives to be "good Christians". They simply need something to hide their discrimination behind, and they choose the fall back that has been used for 2000 years.

We, as a society, have convinced ourselves so thoroughly that marriage has reverted back to its Christian roots that even those in loving, committed same-sex relationships don't believe they have that right. According to an article on only 80% of gay couples believe they should marry.

If this rant comes off anti-religion I apologise, it was not my intention at all; all I wanted to do was highlight the inequality that is still so prevalent today. A Politician’s opinion on gay marriage should not make the news, nor should the legalisation of gay-marriage in states and countries. It should be a basic right that we can all marry who we want, regardless of sex, race, religion or any other trivial factor, and should not need to venture over to Norway or Canada in order to realise that right.


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