The Right to be Human

I am writing today as a human being, born with the same rights as every other human being in this country. Born to believe in whatever spiritually makes sense to me; born to follow whatever dream I may have for my life; born to live freely in a Western country that embraces every human as an equal inhabitant. Equal, that is, as long as I’m straight.

Australia is supposed to be a free country. We arrogantly call ourselves part of the first world, an appellation we give to this country due to industry, opportunity, freedom of expression, and human rights. But that’s bullshit, because in Australia, gay people are not equal. Gay people do not have the same rights as every other citizen. A gay person is not allowed to marry their partner.

Now, I’ve heard every argument under the sun: the mother of my ex-girlfriend (yes, a woman with a gay child) questions the validity of the government putting energy into marriage equality as “there are so many more important things to consider, like our economy!” The ex-boyfriend’s mother said it was not a governmental issue because “marriage is a religious concern.” Julia Gillard, our Prime Minister, says she doesn’t believe in marriage equality because “it goes against my upbringing”. And spare me the religious diatribe that states that “homosexuals are an abomination against God”, ’cause I don’t believe in your God, and the Universe I am connected to doesn’t give a fuck who I share my bed with.

What this whole thing boils down to for me is that it’s about basic, fundamental human rights. These human rights are being violated, which makes it an extremely important governmental issue. Marriage ceased to be solely a religious convention decades ago – thousands of heterosexuals have non-religious marriage services conducted by civil marriage celebrants. It is definitely a legal issue. There is no demand for marriage between gay people to be recognised by the Church anyway, so the point is moot. And if you, like Julia, were brought up to be a bigoted, prejudicial idiot? Well, change. You’re an adult, aren’t you? You have the capacity for independent thought, yes? If that’s troubling for you, try this on: imagine you love someone so much you want to marry them, but you can’t because your government says you’re not allowed to. Imagine that the very act of loving that person was considered a crime in some Western countries a few short years ago. Imagine that holding your lover’s hand in public (or even behind closed doors) could get you hanged, shot or bashed. Now what do you think?

Photo by Christopher Bryant

Photo by Christopher Bryant

Look, not every gay person wants to get married, just as not every straight person does. The point is, the marriage equality fight is for the right to choose, just like straight people have the right to choose. And what will happen if gay people are allowed to marry? Well – hold on to your hats, people – some gay people will get married. That’s it. So, what’s the big deal?

This effects all of us. We all have a connection, however tenuous, to someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and is therefore being discriminated against by our government. All I am asking you to do, is open your mind and your heart. Change is coming.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, my sexual orientation is irrelevant. I’m writing as a human being, with the same rights as every other human being in this country. That is all.

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