An open letter to Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

same sex couples

Dear Mr Abbott.

You have been presented with an opportunity to go down in history as a Prime Minister that Australia will remember.  You have the opportunity to be on the right side of history. You have, Mr Abbott, an opportunity to make the lives of millions of Australians different and I implore you to take this opportunity.

Its time for us to catch up to the rest of the world on marriage equality.  Its time for you to put your personal prejudices aside and realise the will of the Australian people.  I know you personally don’t approve of lesbians and gay men getting married, but you weren’t elected to foist your personal prejudices on the Australian people – you were elected to govern for and on behalf of the people of Australia.

More than 70% of those people from all walks of life – christians, atheists, grand parents and teenagers, new australians and sixth generation Australians, the old and the young, the gay and the straight – approve of our government affording the celebration of a marriage and the life long commitment it entails to all Australians. You have the power Mr Abbott – this decision rests firmly in your hands.

In 2004, at almost 12 midnight, your political hero, then Prime Minister John Howard and his band of merry men, of which you were one, redefined the Marriage Act, with the Marriage Amendment Bill, 2004 firmly stating that marriage is only between one man and one woman, and that same sex marriages solemnised overseas would not be recognised. 11 years on Mr Abbott, the world is a different place that you have the power to change.

When you took your oath of office, you swore the following “…. and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of the Commonwealth of Australia, without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So help me God!”  I fear that you are not standing up to your end of the bargain, Mr Abbott. Your fear of homosexuals is on the record, and your favouring of the Catholic Church, of which you are a staunch believer, is also on the record.  Mr Abbott, you are not abiding by your oath of office as the Prime Minister of Australia.

Its not about the children Tony – you and I both know that, because same sex couples in every corner of this country are raising children – those born to one of the partners of the relationship, those born through IVF and surrogacy and those who don’t quite fit your 1950’s view of family – but we are doing it already Mr Abbott and our kids are fine. They are well functioning humans who know love and compassion and don’t understand bigotry and fear.

Its not about pandering to a christian minority either Mr Abbott. I reckon for every practising (and I mean actual practising) believer in god, allah, jesus and buddha you find, I can show you a homosexual man or woman who is equally contributing to our society.

Our kids ask us, Mr Abbott why we can’t get married?  We are buying our house, we go to work and contribute to the economy, we volunteer with a number of organisations and we go about our lives as all of our friends do.  Tell me Tony, how would you explain to our kids that it is you who are in the way of us getting married. Our 19 year old son, who we raise with Down Syndrome and an acquired brain injury from chemotherapy thanks to leukaemia, watched Modern Family and has seen Cameron and Mitchell get married. He sat in font of the TV and watched that show, and he asked why we can’t get married like Cameron and Mitchell.  How would you answer that question Tony?

You are at a political crossroads – lets face it, your Prime Ministership isn’t going down in history as one we will remember in a positive way – think of the treatment of asylum seekers and the disadvantaged, neither of them your finest hours! Imagine your name in the annals of history one day as the PM who oversaw the introduction of marriage equality in Australia. This has the potential to be the biggest social change in our post war history. What a way to be remembered Tony?

I know that this simple letter wont change your mind. Your moral upright opinions held by you and your morally upright compatriots are hurting people. You have had to do nothing to fight for your rights as a heterosexual white man- by the virtue of a bit of DNA colliding after your parents had a shag, you were born heterosexual, white and middle class – what a magnificent privilege you enjoy. We don’t choose to be gay Mr Abbott, but we bloody well fight for our rights to be who we are. Does it offend you so much that two people who have found love, can be happy?

Marriage is not a christian celebration or sacrament  -it was happening long before your jesus walked this earth. It is a social construct where women were once traded for livestock. Thats what marriage was – it has evolved over centuries to what it is and Ireland has shown us this week that it will continue to evolve.

So Mr Abbott – when it comes time to make the decision on behalf of so many of us, please consider how much we have had to fight to this date, how exhausted we are with fighting for this basic human right and how you hold the power to make the biggest social change in our history. Think long and hard Tony, your very political survival will rely on it.

 

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