ON CIVIL RIGHTS

An invitation to a conversation for those who are considering voting ‘no’ in the same sex marriage plebiscite in Australia

In Australia there is a burning civil rights issue at play. Actually there are a few, but there is one in particular on my mind. The non-binding plebiscite vote which would be a vote of confidence to expand the definition of marriage to include same sex couples in Australia. Currently this issue is dividing Australia. In the community that I live in and the circles of friends I keep, it is unfathomable that we would deny people a basic human right such as this. And yet. In the broader Australian community this (very) heated discussion is sending a message to this section of our community that they are lower, or lesser than heterosexual couples, by the very act of denying their equal right to choose to marry the person they love. This is not true.

Despite the bubble of pro-equal rights community that I live in, I have actively sought others points of view. If I have learnt anything from the Clinton/Trump election campaign it is that surrounding yourself with people who are the same as, or similar to you, results in us forgetting to be inclusive of others, who hold different points of view.

So far, there is no argument that I have come across in my reading or discussions, that makes rational sense to me to deny a member of the Australian community the right to marry someone they love, regardless of their gender. It seems to me that all that is stopping us from ticking the ‘Yes’ box, is fear.

We are worried about change and what impact this will have on us. The impact to us, of course, is almost none. In fact my favourite response to this question is that we might, if we are lucky, get invited to more weddings. And who doesn’t love, love?

I would like to issue an open invitation to all that are considering voting ‘No’, or avoiding voting altogether for this plebiscite. Please reach out and contact me. If it is fear, uncertainty or you just don’t feel well informed enough to tick the ‘Yes’ box, let’s talk. Let’s have a conversation. Let’s unpack what is stopping you from supporting those who have a different life to you. One that doesn’t harm you or your community. It’s different, yes, and perhaps that is what makes it so concerning to you. The thing about difference though, is that it exists within a ocean of sameness. We can lose perspective on an issue like including same sex couples in the legal definition of marriage, when we focus in on small differences that separate us, rather than all the things we share, like being human. We all love people, we all eat, work, contribute and enjoy netflix. Let us remember that whilst there is one difference, we are still all the same. Please be open to equality, where who you love doesn’t define whether you can be married to that person.

Vote yes. Or contact me to talk.

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