Home > Uncategorized > Senate Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009

Senate Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009

How To Make a Submission – Visit Australian Marriage Equality.

Below is the text of a letter I wrote to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young regarding a Bill to amend the federal Marriage Act so that same-sex partners are able to marry in Australia, and to recognise same-sex marriages legally entered into overseas.

The inquiry will be conducted by the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. No date has yet been set for a close of submissions, so we suggest you make your submission as soon as possible. The inquiry is due to report by 26 November 2009.

My partner and I have been together for 9 years.  We also have a young son, Ethan, who is now 2 and half years old. He is the light of our lives. Like all parents, straight or gay, single or coupled, our son is a blessing and a joy, and most importantly he is part of our family.

My partner and I have been to many weddings in our lives. They have been wonderful celebrations of life and love between two people. The commitment that they share through a civil marriage is powerful and important, particularly when children are involved or planned. Marriage is not for everyone, straight or gay. Some see it as having too much baggage. We do not. We want to be able to celebrate our relationship and our commitment with our friends and family. We want to be able to ensure that our son will have a safe, secure, stable and loving family unit. For us, that means marriage.

It worries us that in a few years when Ethan is old enough to understand, he will ask "why aren’t you married?" What can we say to that? We can’t say that it is because we don’t want to, because that simply is not true. How do you tell a young child that the reason you can’t marry is because the government thinks that your family is not equal, not deserving of equal respect with that of your friends at school. How devastating will that be for a young child.

We will marry; that we are certain of. Unfortunately, it won’t be in Australia. Unfortunately, it wont be recognised by our Government. Unfortunately, our family and friends will not be able to be a part of our celebration of commitment and family. This is a painful thing for us to accept. That in strengthening our family (through marriage) we will need to travel overseas to do so. In doing that, we will deny our family and friends the opportunity to join us in the celebration.

Ethan comes first. We will travel to marry, even if our own country doesn’t recognise it. We see that things are changing around the world and we ache that they are not changing here.

I look at my local federal MP, Lindsay Tanner. He has married not once, but twice! He claims that he believes in equality. But he has actively denied many of his constituents equality. He has taken the view and actions that say to me – "I am more equal than you, I deserve more rights than you". He says by his inaction and failure to support marriage equality that "I am better than you".

Marriage equality is needed in Australia to meet the obligation that all members of parliament have, that is, to treat us all equally.

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