This is the third time I have attempted to write this post.
Twice before I have banged out the words in support of my position, only to get to the end and realise my argument makes no sense.
Now, thanks primarily to Joe Hockey, I have begun to wonder if perhaps the issue is not so much with my writing skills – but the argument itself.
What I hear when I watch a very uncomfortable looking Hockey is that same-sex marriage is wrong, because every child deserves to have both a mother and a father.
The implication being that a heterosexual family is automatically going to be a better model of parenting than a gay couple. And judging by her composed but sad response, that is what Penny Wong heard as well.
There is where I really start to feel confused.
Does this mean my friend, universally decreed a “good mother” when she was part of married hetero couple, would now become a “bad”mother if she shacks up with a girlfriend?
And what of all the heterosexual couples I have come across who fall well short of deserving the ‘good parent’ mantle?
I practised family law for five years (BC, around the time the Blues last won a premiership), some of which was spent working for Legal Aid and a Women’s Legal Centre.
I helped many a victim of domestic violence attempting to remove herself and her children from the cycle of abuse.
And the private firm in Burnie, NW Tassie for which I worked, acted for the local Child Protection agency.
What I remember from those years are horrific, nauseating examples of parenting.
Statements from social workers conjuring visions you could not even begin to believe were true.
Plus there were the times when I helped adults make ‘Criminal injuries compensation claims’ against their parents for sexual abuse they had suffered as children.
Heterosexual families? Tick. Good models of parenting? Big red cross.
Ever the politician, I imagine (hope?) Joe Hockey made his statement not so much because it is what he actually believes, but because he believes it is what voters want to hear.
Well I have some news that might surprise him – even the future voters seem to disagree with him, if my 12-year-old daughter is any kind of barometer.
Last term for an English project, the girls were asked to prepare a speech arguing their position on an issue of their choice.
Of her own volition, Chloe chose to agitate positively for same-sex marriage.
“If two men or two women choose to marry why is that a problem? How would you feel if you loved someone but you weren’t allowed to share that love by getting married because of which gender you had feelings for?”
Chloe presented her arguments in the same room at her Catholic school that weeks early had witnessed Tony Abbott talk on the subject (and occasion) of International Women’s Day.
What a wonderful collision of irony and coincidence.
Another argument politicians seem to favour as to why we cannot have SSM revolves around the Marriage Act.
Politicians like to remind us the act states marriage is between a man and a woman, not a “man and a man” or “woman and woman”.
News flash. Here is something I suspect not only lawyers are aware of – laws can be changed. And frequently are. Laws like say, ones that prohibited women from voting.
Or, as Chloe would say,
Not letting anyone have the right to marry whoever they choose is unfair and plain silly.
My hope is that long before Chloe is old enough to vote, this debate will have become a non-issue. That Australian politicians and laws will have caught up with what it seems an increasing number of Australians believe in, which in Chloe’s words is that
“Love is a special and lovely part of life and people should respect other’s decisions on whom they choose to marry”.
Makes sense to me.
Unlike much of the rhetoric in the current debate.
Cheers till next time,