We want to live in a society where all people are valued, accepted and loved.
Freedom of choice, and freedom of expression are things that we hold dear in this nation. We support those freedoms.
The claim that it is discrimination if marriage is not redefined to allow two people of the same sex to marry is worth considering.
Is this a valid claim, or is it preventing an open and honest conversation?
We also want every person in this nation to have a variety of meaningful, loving relationships in their life. These may be with family members, friends, colleagues, and those they share common interests with. Many relationships do not carry a legal status, but are validated through participation.
Removing practical disadvantage
Removing disadvantage against same-sex couples is exactly what Federal parliament achieved in 2008. Over 80 pieces of legislation were amended, with bipartisan support, which removed disadvantage on practical matters like superannuation and next-of-kin status.
Rights to consider
Australian human rights lawyer Frank Brennan AO, former Chairman of the National Human Rights Consultative Committee, is an expert on discrimination. He says: “In considering whether to advocate a change to the definition of marriage, citizens need to consider not only the right of same sex couples to equality but even more so the rights of future children. I think we can ensure non-discrimination against same sex couples while at the same time maintaining a commitment to children of future generations being born of and being reared by a father and a mother. To date, international human rights law has appreciated this rational distinction.”
Redefining marriage to what?
Subsection 5(1) of the Marriage Act 1961 defines marriage as ‘...the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’ This means it is legally available for two adults of the opposite gender.
Those who say that marriage should be allowed between two people of the same gender often claim that those who disagree with them are being discriminatory.
But if marriage is not only between two people of the opposite gender, what is it?
After all, if it is inherently discriminatory to deny marriage to some people, why isn’t it inherently discriminatory to deny marriage to all people? If we redefine marriage to be between two people regardless of gender, why would we not widen the definition even further? What about people who love more than one other person? What about people love each other dearly, but who are related through birth, such as a brother and sister?
It is definition, not discrimination, which means marriage is a voluntarily entered relationship between two adults of the opposite gender.