The fight for gay marriage in Australia

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With the ALP National Conference in town, a key area of debate is on the current marriage laws in Australia, with at least two MPs expected to strongly voice their opinion supporting gay marriage.

Earlier this week, Queensland legalised civil unions, which are already law in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. Civil unions recognise the relationship between heterosexual couples and same-sex couples, providing legal recognition of the relationship. The current problem is that civil unions are NOT implemented Australia-wide and the legal rights of those who enter a civil union are not as strong as marriage.

I am 100 per cent for equal rights for all Australian couples, whether that is a man and a woman, man and a man or a woman and a woman. However, I believe that marriage IS a religious act shared between a man and a woman and that non-religious couples, regardless of sexuality, should undertake a civil union, not a church service. As a heterosexual agnostic male, I never want to get married and will be more than happy to be connected for life to my future partner by a civil union.

To bring the rights of gay Australian couples into line with those of same-sex couples, the civil law act needs to be implemented on a federal level, with full rights for all Australians.

Registered partnership recognition in state and territory governments:

 

Official relationship status

Year of enactment

ACT

Civil Partnership

2008

New South Wales

Domestic Partnership (Registry)

2010

Northern Territory

Defined as ‘De facto’, no registry

Queensland

Civil Partnership

2011

South Australia

Domestic Partnership (Agreement)

2007

Tasmania

Registered Partnership (Registry)

2004

Victoria

Domestic Partnership (Registry)

2008

Western Australia

Defined as ‘De facto’, no registry

Rachel’s opinion
I don’t disagree with Drew’s point that civil unions should afford those involved the same rights as married couples. I think it’s important to offer a legal alternative to marriage. I don’t however, believe that marriage is solely the domain of the church, or that it should only be entered into by a heterosexual couple.

I think that there is something very powerful about the tradition of marriage. We have been pledging our lives to our better halves with the same ritual for hundreds of years, and I just feel as though a civil union is missing some of the history and romance of marriage. I’m not suggesting that the church should be legally obliged to perform same-sex marriages. I think that would be wrong and I don’t think anybody is asking that of this institution.

What I am saying is that to give same-sex couples equal rights we need to offer them the right to follow the age-old tradition of getting married. I’m not coming at this from a practical point of view. Yes, give those in a civil union the same rights as a married couple. But don’t shut same-sex couples out when it comes to getting married – they have the right to choose how and to whom they pledge their life and love.

What is your opinion about same sex marriage? Do you agree with Drew or Rachel, or do you think they are both wrong? Comment below and get your voice heard.

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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).
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94 Comments

Total Comments: 94
  1. 0
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    If love is the only criterion, then I should be able to marry my brother or sister or pet dog. The next move is to legalise incest and polygamy. It seems that there is another agenda in play because legal equalitry is already in place.

  2. 0
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    The Oxford dictionary states quite clearly the the word Marriage refers to a man and a women. Some may disagree with me, but to use the word marriage for two people of the same sex, somehow demeans marriage as we know it. But I very happy that gay people can finally have a legal civil unions and have the same rights as other couples. As far as having children, I’d feel more comfortable if one gay parent is the biological father/mother of any children they might have.

  3. 0
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    We as a Western Society are sliding more and more into abyss. One day there won’t be any Western Society if we continue the way we are. Traditionally marriage is between two people, namely a man and a woman. Some of those unions have children. The children have role models in the two sexes and grow accordingly. Our society has been based on this idea for centuries. Most religions of the world agree. I can agree with a civil union between same sex and all people should have rights as far as inheritance, superannuation, etc but I certainly do not agree with same sex marriage. It flies in the face of everything I believe in. Our traditions are being eaten away – one by one – and we are becoming weaker and weaker because of it.

  4. 0
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    As already commented, both the dictionary and the bible define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. While I am not a religious person, Australia defines itself as a primarily christian society – why therefore would we change such a basic religious law?
    Rachel, your comment that churches should not be forced to conduct marriages means that such marriages would be a civil union – and does this not already exist anyway?
    We must draw a line in the sand – we are constantly changing our laws and practices so as to not offend this group or that group, and to allow everyone to do exactly as they please. What next? As someone said – polygamy? incest? what about paedophilia – I am sure they believe they have rights too.

  5. 0
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    I have a gay son! I know many gay people and I belong to a support group for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and as usual I am horrified by the rediculous comments being made! Gay people and Lesbian people are PEOPLE!!! If a gay or lesbian couple are religious, why can’t they be married in the church of their faith. If they belong to a congregation, why can’t they be married in the church. The Lord God made us all. Including Gays and Lesbians. I have two other sons and it bothers me to think one of my sons will be discriminated against in his own country. He will be denied the rights of his brothers. For God’s sake, realise what you are saying people, have some compassion and put yourselves in someone else’s shoe for five minutes. Gays and Lesbians ARE NOT PAEDOPHILES. They are made differently to many people, saying that we are not all blonde with blue eyes, we are all different. I am sad to say that when the older generation have shuffled off this mortal coil, the next generation may be a little more understanding, and with openness comes understanding. Should we refuse people with blonde hair and blue eyes marriage within out churches because they differ from brunettes with brown eyes…..be very careful……This is how Hitler started!!!!

  6. 0
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    A legal civil union is what is required in this situation. As the above letters state, marriage is traditionally intended join together a man and woman. It has always been that way, and I can’t see the purpose of alteration just because it would suit same-sex couples. Of course civil unions should entail the same rights and responsibilities as marriage, because the same level of committment is (or should) be made on both these styles of union. I don’t see that it is discriminatory to say that it is fairly obvious that there are certain differences in the manner in which the same-sex relationship operates as compared to the heterogenous. That is not intended as a derogatory comment, but a realistic one. No-one could possibly claim that a same-sex union would have as it’s basic core the intention to create a family with offspring of the combined pair. That intent has been the first fundamental principle of marriage through the ages. I know there are many arguments on that score, such as where deliberately childless couples fit into this traditional mould; to me those couples also have no need of marriage – a civil union is more appropriate to them.

  7. 0
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    I did not say that gays and lesbians are paedophiles, I was referring to them as a separate group altogether, merely an example of yet another group of people who also consider their needs and wants are justified.

  8. 0
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    I totally agree that all people male or female should have the rights allocated to all people. Just because their beliefs are different does not make them any less human. We all have different beliefs on many subjects luckily, otherwise this would be a very dull world. So we should we discriminate against people because they don’t believe the same things everyone else does. It is becoming ridiculous. I also wish they would allow euthanasia, as some of us believe we have the right to die when we believe we have suffered enough. No one knows our bodies as we do, and we know when we have come to the end of useful, meaningful and livable life. It is time to put the bible where it belongs, in the church and not in politics.

  9. 0
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    Robynann, are your wants and needs justified as far as a choice of where and how you would like to get married? You have a choice of either a church wedding or a civil ceremony.Two of my sons have that choice, but not my third son. As a citizen of this great, free, lucky county one third of my offspring is being discriminated against. In the 21st Century,no less!

  10. 0
    0

    If a gay couple divorce, could it be on the ground it was never consumated?

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