I wrote a submission to the Australian Senate on marriage equality (see below). You too can comment here or follow the steps on this website here.
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.
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