Same Sex Marriage Now
And if you don’t like it don’t worry, it won’t affect you in any way once it’s through.
I guess I’d call myself somewhat liberal. I don’t care what anyone around me does, so long as it doesn’t disrupt anyone else. Is this wise or naïve? I’m still too young to know. Tradition isn’t sentimental to me, changing things for the better is no problem, and I like the credo of utilitarianism so long as it is served with a stiff shot of nihilism as a chaser. Contradictory? Perhaps, but try to convince me there is an uncomplicated human and I’ll show you a prevaricator. I have zero need to impose a belief system on another: everyone should be able to make their own choices so long as the rest of us remain unaffected. The majority of people in my demographic think the same way: young adults in the 21st century tend to be pretty liberal or not really care. We tend to let others do what they want. We might shout about it on the internet, but we let them do it.
It’s a hard pill for me to swallow when I consider our country’s current stance in recognising same sex marriage. Many western cultures have seen the light - it doesn’t hurt anyone - but every time the amendment hits the house in Australia, it is blocked, stopped, argued, debated, deliberated, dissembled, and then voted down. Canada, USA, most of Mexico, England, New Zealand, France, Ireland (through referendum, mind you), South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Brazil. Why not us? What causes our representatives to have such strong views on something that simply will not affect their lives in any negative way, and if anything will only have a positive impact?
Scared of the Devil? Maybe. But we’re not an overtly religious nation. We’re still not up with our international friends at the big boy table because the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) says boy and girl. It’s the ‘Commonwealth’ after that bit of law which is making this change so difficult. Back in 2013 the ACT attempted to take matters into their own hands, they legalised same sex marriage. What happened? The Federal government challenged the ACT on their ability to update the law in the High Court, and won, because of a few sections in our constitution that grant the Federal government powers far beyond that of any state or territory.
Where does that leave this bleeding wound of an issue? Just waiting for its turn to be bandaged up. Needing to be fixed. Inevitably delayed. This is what puzzles me so much: it is so very clearly going to eventually pass. It is going to get through. It is unstoppable. It is only a matter of time. So what’s the plan?
You could vote Labour at the next election. Labour support same sex marriage through their national channels, and Mr Shorten has pledged to introduce the amendment in the first few months of taking office. All well and good, but what is to stop the change being shot down again, sabotaged by ideology as old as the politicians, selling an outdated view onto an aging population. Preaching to the choir.
Turnbull wants a plebiscite. This could work, but seems unnecessary. A plebiscite is a nationwide vote that doesn’t change the constitution (or else it would be called a referendum). But it’s this dangling carrot of “after the election,” swinging in the hot air coming from Turnbull’s mouth which sours intentions of his plan. Effectively put this plebiscite on the ballot sheet this year. Put it on the election paper. We’re already having to head to the booth at some shitty local underfunded public primary school, two birds with one stone right? Seems like Turnbull’s plebiscite is nothing more than another delay of the inevitable. Nobody wants to deal with anything anymore. Even worse, you've no doubt heard all over the place how holding a separate vote or plebiscite would cost more than half a billion (!) dollars. For what? For something that is eventually going to happen? Why waste this money?
In all honesty I don't care how this bill is amended. I don’t care if a plebiscite is needed (because our representatives can’t stop bickering) since the majority of Australians want this change to happen.
Government has turned into a poorly produced reality TV show. It even has its own channel in ABC 24 News, and they have to fill their airtime with something. Since the political cycle is three years long, as soon as these people get the gig their sights are set on keeping their jobs. Hell, I guess in the same situation I would do the same: if you had to work to death to get a three year contract, with only one way for an extension, would you not do all you can to secure it? This is what is so wrong with the system: if even just half of your time is focused on staying in office, you only have the other half of your time to get anything done. Short projects with quick payoffs become essential. The defence whitepaper met short term Liberal Party goals, without providing much long term relevance. The perception of effort becomes more relevant than actual effort. The quick and easy vote. So necessary. I don’t blame the people involved: everyone has to keep their job, it’s the system in place which is destroying our chances of having any meaningful change.
Why would the current government implement a change that will in the short term hurt us, only to make us stronger in 10 years, when, say, it is possible that their counterparts are at the helm to just take all the credit? Political suicide. Short, sharp, quick, easy policy changes is the path chosen. Keep some of the voters happy. Fob the big issues off for the kids to deal with while the current leaders are in enjoying their twilight years sitting in the clubhouse on a Tuesday afternoon sipping a mint julep.
Same sex marriage is a big issue, especially as it won’t cost very much to implement. If anything it will cause a boost in public spending. More venues booked, more food bought, more money into the economy. Maybe just not so much being spent at Mr Abbott’s beloved Catholic Church. Before you shed a tear for the church, they are fine. It seems to me like a no brainer: approve same sex marriage, make a huge percentage of the population happier, including members of the LGBT community and a huge percentage of young adults like myself that recognise the change doesn’t impact anyone except the people who decide to be impacted. On top of that it will cause a surge in the economy. All lights look green to me. Or is that rainbow?
Fact of the matter although this is a big issue, it isn’t a threating global issue. People aren’t going to die. This isn’t a disease. This isn’t as hard as tackling the energy problems of our country. This isn’t going to harm anyone. This doesn’t concern millions of refugees, isn’t about a possibly nuclear ballistic aimed at Seoul, a wall, or world freshwater levels.
This is just a political dance. Let’s turn the music off and see where they sit.
Pull it together leaders: put an extra yes or no on the ballot paper this year and let’s get this over with. Do this and I assure you all that there will be less unsavoury pictures drawn on your ballot sheets. I’ll see you at the party afterwards with our friends in the LGBT community, celebrating finally stepping towards some true equality in our nation, albeit a step in a direction where a run is needed. And I can guarantee you that party will be a whole lot more fun than sitting at home listening to grandpa talk about "the gays".