Getting hitched in the old dart sounds like fun to some. To others, they will start rolling their eyes and asking do we need another opinionated homo banging on about marriage equality yet again.
Short answer, yes!
A number of friends are already planning their escape to old Mother England to get themselves wed. I am not sure what sort of legal requirements there will be around colonials from the antipodes schlepping themselves and a few dozen keen friends and loved ones across to London or Somerset to espouse themselves to another. I think you might need to be a first generation Australian or can claim some sort of ties to the old dart. I am English on my Maternal side and therefore I think I would be excluded.
But, given the turning tide around the world and the continuing news of marriage equality in places like the UK, France and elsewhere, should we not be patient and get hitched here when we can.
The legislation from 2004 that the Howard government introduced and passed at midnight on that very dark Friday 13th August states that marriages between same sex couples that are solemnised overseas will not be recognised under Australian law, or something to that effect:
A union solemnised in a foreign country between:
(a) a man and another man; or
(b) a woman and another woman;
must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.
So even if we do pop across to the old dart and extend our betrothals to marriages, there is no form of recognition here. And thats just plain sad.
What to do?
Firstly, we must continue to try and bring Australia in to line with the emerging trend in the developed world. Argentina and Spain, with combined predominantly Catholic population of about 90 million , have equal marriage. Add the 10.5 million Portuguese into that mix and there is 3 nations with about 100 million people where no plague nor pestilence has followed the legalising of Equal Marriage.
I like what the UK has done, and this should appease the crazies out there who think that allowing two consenting adults who love one another to marry will open the doors to people marrying donkeys, dolphins or some other non human species. Their draft law says two people – and I am sure that this does not include livestock, seagoing creatures or in fact, children. The legal age for marriage in the UK is 16, but there must be parental consent until the age of 18. Nor will folk be now willy nilly marrying inanimate objects like a favourite armchair or the fire hydrant out front of their pad in Notting Hill. Their law states that two people can get married… nice.
There is no logical argument as to why two consenting adults, who happen to love one another, should not be able to marry. We are seeing the developed world embrace this idea. France is preparing to see legislation through its parliament, now 10 states of the United mob have legalised equal marriage, some parts of Mexico and Brazil (population collectively of close to 300 Million) have made it legal, and the western European and Scandinavian nations of Norway, Sweden, Iceland, The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and jolly old Canada have all voted in favour of Equal Marriage – and let me bring you in on a little secret – none of those societies have descended in to Sodom and Gomorrah!
I want to get married to my partner – and to let the kids share with us as we commit ourselves to one another as their Mum has done. I want to spend the rest of my life with this one amazing human being for whom I would do anything – without question or reason. But I don’t want to have to sneak off to the other side of the world and do it. I don’t want to have to make an excuse for why I would do it overseas. I think, for me, that would be a cop out.
I have been agitating for equal marriage in Australia since little Johnny with the assistance of Labor I might add, passed that awful piece of legislation – Marriage Amendment Bill, 2004 and I will continue to do so until such time as the people elected to represent all Australians understand that it is now the will of the majority. Latest polling suggest about 64% of Aussies are in favour – most simply want it out of the way so we can focus on some of the bigger issues. And 52% of coalition voters support the idea.
So instead of packing our bags and shuffling off to the old dart to pledge our troth, we should stay and fight the good fight so that we can live in a society where we are no longer second class citizens because of who we love.