17 November 2014Photo Gemima Harvey/ Coffs Coast Advocate
17 November 2014Photo Gemima Harvey/ Coffs Coast Advocate

Seeing through distractions in marriage equality debate

WITH voter rolls closing today, expect the intensity, and, sadly, the viciousness of the debate over marriage equality to start ramping up.

However, it's looking like the battle lines are more or less settled, with opponents of same sex marriage pointing largely to parenting and the 'tradition' of marriage and its role in Christian society as their central themes.

So let's bust some myths.

First of all, marriage equality is not about parenting, it's about marriage.

I could go into all the arguments about why same sex couples are just as capable of raising outstanding human beings (as are heterosexual sole parents), but it's a distraction from the issue. The simple fact is same sex couples can and do have children right now. They can and do adopt. A motion in parliament allowing marriage equality will not change that. The absence of a motion in parliament allowing marriage equality will not change that either.

Bottom line, parenting, regardless of what your views are, should not be part of this debate.

Secondly, to the tradition of marriage.

What is being proposed is a change under law. It is not a change under religion.

The separation of church and state is a cornerstone of Australia's constitution and it is within that separation - state sanctioned marriage - that change is proposed.

Allowing same sex marriage will not affect the value of marriage within the church. It will not require the participation of religious celebrants. It will not affect, in any way, the sanctity of a heterosexual marriage carried out within a church.

Inevitably there will be some Christian churches and/or celebrants who do choose to preside over same sex marriages and, presumably, those people will argue, as some are doing now, that nothing in the Bible prohibits marriage equality. That is not the point either. The question being put to you in the postal survey is only about whether Australia should recognise marriage equality under law.

Australia is a land of many cultures and many religions and it is not reasonable that one subset of one religion should dictate the law to the entire nation.

If you have not enrolled to vote or updated your enrolment if you've moved, you now have only hours left to act. Enrol or update your enrolment here. (If your enrolment with the Australian Electoral Commission is already up to date, you don't have to do anything.)

Vote yes.