An individual’s religious beliefs on the morality of a particular practice should in no way prevent someone else from undertaking that practice. As a pluralistic society we accept differences of belief and activity. We understand that some people enjoy soccer and others enjoy AFL. We understand that some religions have dietary restrictions and others don’t. We understand that some people dress in ways they believe are compatible with their religion, and others dress in ways that they feel comfortable in doing.
In none of these activities does one religion hold sway over other people’s actions and choices, except where it comes to equal marriage. For some reason, some religious people (thankfully a minority), believe that the strictures in their holy book apply to everyone, regardless of whether or not they are followers of that religion or that particular understanding of that religion.
An individual’s personal beliefs on what is right and wrong should not impact on the full recognition of human rights for others. A long time ago anyone who was not white was deemed to be sub-human – those views changed, despite some people protesting that it was against their understanding of their religious text. A long time ago women could not vote, and if working earned less than their male counterparts in many cases. Those views changed despite some people protesting that it was against their understanding of their religious text.
The world changes and moves, gradually everyone who is missing out on fundamental human rights will either have them granted to them by law, or by societal recognition.
In the end, to refuse a group the right to marriage because it is against some religious texts is not the fairness I expect living in Australia. If there are no non-religous reasons to allow equal marriage in Australia, we should allow it. Just as we have allowed changes in the past to things considered “traditional” (equality of women, humanity of non-white people), we can change “traditional” understandings of things now.
We haven’t let the bigots of the past hold back the future, it’s time to recognise that granting equal marriage to those in committed relationships who happen to be same sex is a step forward. In no country where this has happened has the world ended. We know it will be only good for equality here.
Stuff I’ve been reading about the place:
Stephanie Bolt’s (Andrew Bolt’s sister)’s piece: I want marriage equality for all
Some gays and lesbians view their relationships as equal to those of straight people. But I know of others who would admit to feeling “lesser” or, even if they don’t, are fed up with receiving negative physical, verbal or other signals from the world around them.
Burt Humburg’s journey to outing himself as gay: ‘There’s only one Burt’
“(Suppressing the desires) worked for a while. … but I started to become quietly insane,” Humburg said. “My craziness was getting worse and worse and worse. I was a jerk.”
He said he briefly considered suicide.
“Within 10 seconds I concluded that was not the answer,” Humburg said. “I just thought, ‘You’re a straight-A student headed (into) medicine at some point. What are you gonna do – throw that all away just because of some Bronze Age understandings of the Bible and human sexuality?’ Let’s just take this slow and see how it goes.
“So I stopped fighting it. And as soon as I allowed (homosexuality) to be a consideration – bam. I knew.”
A fascinating article on the Christian basis of the understanding of marriage in Australia: Should Marriage Be A Life Sentence?
In order to preclude the legal recognition of same-sex marriages, the 2004 Bill proposed to incorporate the common law definition of marriage set out by Lord Penzance in the case of Hyde noted above, which involved the status of Mormon polygamous unions made in America. Lord Penzance noted: “marriage, as understood in Christendom, may for this purpose be defined as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”. The words, “as understood in Christendom”, do not appear in section 46 of the Marriage Act nor in section 43 of the Family Law Act. The Hyde definition is otherwise intact in those sections.
Sady Doyle’s article: The Girl’s Guide to Staying Safe Online
For years, it’s been an open secret that having a visibly female online identity – especially if one writes about sexism – is a personal security risk. Highly visible bloggers such as Jessica Valenti report receiving hate mail every day. Some have been subject to campaigns aimed at getting them fired. This doesn’t only happen to high-profile feminists, or women; some people, including men, have been harassed at work simply for commenting on the wrong blog. But it is a gendered phenomenon: W.H.O.A. reports that, in 2010, 73% of cyberstalking victims were female.
A great article on body image and how large women with breasts can been seen as problematic in the office: It Happened to Me: I Got in Trouble for Bringing My Boobs to the Office
At one point in the “conversation,” I’d tried to point out that my dress wasn’t any different from what the other women in the department wore. In fact, it was pretty common knowledge one of the other women had a certain outfit she wore when she wanted something from her boss. I, uh, did not mention that to the department head. That was when my department head told me, in uncomfortable and tentative wording, that the issue was really my large boobs.