What we want for you…
There’s a passage in my daughter’s Baby Book that is headed ‘What we want for you in this world’. It’s still blank because there’s so many things we want for her that I haven’t been able to articulate them.
I want Millie to grow up in a world where she has choices. A world that is free from poverty and disease. A world where she feels she can make a difference. Heady stuff. She’s already got a great start on this. She was lucky enough to be born in Australia, a first world country with many things. Federally funded health care. Work equality. Freedom to speak her mind. The freedom to make choices about birth control. Running water in her house. A non leaky roof over her head. Parents that love her. Freedom to marry whom she chooses, for love is all you need. Wait one minute.
Before I jump on in, let me begin this by telling you that I am married. And when we married last October, the non-removable part of our vows was along the lines of ‘In Australia, The Marriage Act defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman.’ Because right now that is how our country defines marriage.
Now let’s rewind a bit. The big issue when my baby boomer mother was in her formative years was women’s rights and equality. The big issue when I was growing up was homosexuality. In my household it was no big deal. We spoke about it and my parents went to pains to make sure my siblings and I knew it was okay. I vividly recall a conversation between early teenaged me and my father - ‘What do you mean he’s gay?’ ‘Yep. He’s gay.’ ‘Oh. So <insert name here>’s his boyfriend then?’ ‘Yep.’ ‘Huh.’ And that was it.
It wasn’t like that for a lot of people, and when I was growing up to be called homosexual was still an insult. I can’t imagine that in many schools today that it’s still an insult and for this I rejoice.
It never occurred to me until years later that same sex couples were not allowed to marry. I’m proud that Millie will grow up in such a household where homosexuality is not a big deal. We may not speak about it, because it’s not a big deal.
Back to marriage. I cannot buy into the idea that same sex marriage devalues a traditional marriage. I cannot understand it. Why, on some level, are we still comparing ourselves as superior to others? It’s like saying African Americans can’t patronise the same bar as Caucasian people. Or saying Aboriginal Australians can’t vote. Thankfully we don’t advocate these backward ideals anymore.
I’m constantly avoiding arguments about same sex marriage within social & traditional media because I can’t believe it’s an issue. I don’t care if couples of the same sex get married. I simply don’t. I care that they can’t make a choice to, because I love the country that we live in and part of that love of our free country is the choices you can make.
Vegemite or Promite? (As if that’s a question anyway. Vegemite always wins.)
Buy a house or rent?
Have more children or only one?
Go to work or stay at home?
Regular unleaded or premium petrol?
Openly practice a religion or state your atheism?
These are very basic choices. Followed on by a choice that only straight couples can make… to marry or live in a de facto relationship?
I’m baffled by the time and energy expended by both non religious and religious folk in making sure the government decision for same sex couples to marry will be still a ways away yet. I’d like to know why other’s decision to marry offends your sensibilities. How does another’s expression of love change your expression of love? If it helps, my husband and I are not religious. We got married. And I was pregnant when we did. Does that offend your sensibilities? Why? What does it make you feel about yourself?
I hope we live in a time where my daughter grows up and feels confident about stating her sexuality and is able to marry whomever she chooses. And that should she choose to marry, she will not be applauded or made an example of, because I wish for anyone’s decision to marry to be a joyful one that can happen any day, to anybody.
That is what I wish for my daughter. Choice.
(There’s information over here, but the best way you can help is to talk about it. Start conversations and talk away.)