This Time we Agree with Dr Kerryn Phelps

It's your average Tuesday night; you're tired after a long day at work and kids are in bed, so you flick on the TV and find yourself confronted with two choices: Married at First Sight or Seven Year Switch.

For many of us, the choice is simple - turn off the TV and listen to music, or enjoy a good conversation with your loved ones.

The response from Dr Kerryn Phelps summed up the thoughts of many Australians perfectly: “ is one surreality television series showing just how ridiculously easy it is for two strangers to attain legal married status in Australia...and another showing couples in long term relationships ‘doing a switch’ for the cameras.” For once, this is something on which we can all agree.

But her further statement - “What a disgusting affront to our children who are told by elected senators and right-wing buffoons that our families are not ‘worthy’ of legal equality” - is just plain wrong. Same-sex couples enjoy  the same full relationship equality as heterosexual couples. To say otherwise is simply not true.

And her claim-  "Not a peep from Bernardi, Abetz, Christensen et al. Seems all you need to qualify for marriage in their books is an anatomically different set of genitals" is also not true. We're guessing Dr Phelps isn't a regular visitor to Australian Christian Lobby’s website so here's a link to its post: We can do better than Seven Year Switch. And federal MP George Christensen tweeted about Married at First Sight: “it rots both ur brain & the institution of marriage.”

Ironically, Mamamia, which published an article about Dr Phelps' Facebook post and shared in her outrage, is also your go-to destination for updates, in-depth episode recaps and 'goss' on both these shows.

Dr Phelps is right: both shows are an insult to marriage. As is the “faux marriage” of gay and lesbian comedians, Zoe Coombs and Rhys Nicholson at the Comedy Festival Club. There was no outrage expressed by Dr Kerryn Phelps at this wedding that poked fun at the institution of marriage, because “if we can't have it, then we'll trash it!” That's only fair, right?

Marriage has devolved into a fanciful expression of “feelings.” And when those “feels” are gone... so is that marriage. What is the point of marriage if it can so easily be entered into, poked fun at and ended on a whim?

No wonder SSM advocates “feel” they have a case. If it's all about “the feels”, then that's that.

But what if marriage is so much more than that? Rather than celebrating “feelings” and then shrugging it off when those feelings fade.

The Australian Human Rights Commission grants us the right to marry and found a family.

The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized.

No marriage shall be entered into without the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

States Parties to the present Covenant shall take appropriate steps to ensure equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. In the case of dissolution, provision shall be made for the necessary protection of any children.

Something that's been forgotten but needs to be understood before entering into marriage is that it's not about you.

It's about the family you will create with your partner.

Not every couple has a child. But every child has a mum and a dad.

Marriage creates a bastion for children. It's meant to be an impenetrable fortress of protection and care.

The sad truth is that not every marriage lasts. Death and desertion are a tragedy and a reality, and some parents simply aren't that great. These tragic situations are often used as weapons by SSM advocates to justify their agenda. Marriage is already broken, so what's one more nail in the coffin, right? Does highlighting the worst case scenario really justify their cause?

And yes, same-sex and de-facto heterosexual couples are already obtaining children through surrogacy and sperm donors.

A lot of things happen outside of marriage, but the question is: what do we choose to enshrine in marriage law?

Australian Marriage Forum will always advocate for the rights of the child. The right to know and be raised by their biological parents, wherever possible; to have a direct connection to their heritage and identity and the opportunity to have a relationship with their biological siblings.

Same-sex couples are welcome to celebrate their feelings for each other - that is their right. But the rights of adults must end where the best interests of a child begin. Marriage isn't (just) for you, it's also for them.

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