Gay game of hide ‘n’ seek

The Australian gay marriage debate has all but disappeared from mainstream media in the last week or so, in spite of it taking up exorbitant amounts of air time in previous months. I listened to the constant tooing and froing of the debate with increasing consternation. Living in a democratic society is a privilege too many of us take for granted. In Australia each of us are invested with the freedom to express our views and have a say in the governance of our nation. It is an honour and yet we often struggle to do this responsibly and manage to make a complete mess of very simple issues.

I cannot comprehend why we needed to waste so much time nationally arguing about something that has no impact on any of the big ticket issues affecting us all. Gay marriage does not threaten Australia’s security, or economy, or trade, or education outcomes, or health outcomes, or employment or any other relevant issue you care to name. Why are we as a nation even bothering to argue about it? It’s as silly as arguing about whether interracial marriage should be allowed, or whether older people should marry younger people. The proposition that legalising gay marriage requires broad community discussion is comprehensively ridiculous.

And yet, here we are, still without any legal recognition of the thousands of well established, long standing gay relationships in our community. It shouldn’t surprise me. It’s a national game of hide and seek with reality that has been part of our culture for a long time. In spite of evidence to the contrary we like to pretend that things we are not culturally comfortable with simply don’t exist. We go out of our way to invalidate them by dismissing them from view. Just look at our track record on Aboriginal affairs, immigration and gender equality.

I tried (really, I did) to understand the arguments the ‘against gay marriage’ lobby were putting into the public sphere, but the more I read/heard the less fundamental logic or reason I saw. What I did see was a bunch of largely heterosexual men (and some heterosexual women) asserting their personal views and sense of entitlement in telling others in the community how they should live, based on their own blatant, and usually unacknowledged, prejudice.

When the votes for the gay marriage bills were announced I was astonished. Who are these people, in our parliaments and in our community, who think they have the right to dictate, on behalf of all of us, which kind of relationships are recognised as valid and which are not? What saddened me most was that these people were in the majority. Is this the country I live in? Really?

I know how much lobbying went on prior to those parliamentary votes. The homosexual community and their many supporters worked hard to get the support of their various representatives in government. They were let down by the democratic process because the people who have the most say are not gay and cannot understand someone who is. And the saddest thing is, the rest of us were let down too. Our parliamentary process has returned us to a state of wilful blindness, where the only truly valid, culturally accepted relationship is the one that occurs between a man and a woman.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Dina
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 06:06:25

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Brilliant post by Author Kate Rizzetti on Gay marriage in Australia.


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