Sometimes I just can’t help myself. Yesterday I was linked to a particular website by one of my friends, a place which I’ve mentioned in the past and I’ve refrained (and will continue to refrain) from linking to because I don’t think they deserve anymore air time than they’re currently getting. Funnily enough I have quite a history with them, having run up against them several times during my involvement with the No Clean Feed movement and my endless blathering about the R18+ rating in Australia. Still like a driver slowly passing by a crash site I couldn’t help myself when I clicked the link provided to me, seeing a world that I didn’t believe existed.
It seems that the latest thorn in this particular lobby group’s side is the channel 7 program Sunrise. Whilst I have my reservations about that program, mostly because whilst Koch is a great financial commentator his opinion on everything else isn’t so informed and they committed the cardinal sin of making seem like climate change is still in debate, their support of a campaign for marriage equality does net them some brownie points in my eyes. This has, of course, rattled the lobby group’s cage somewhat sending them into a furor that all fundamental groups seem to get in when there’s the threat that them gays might be able to wed each other. Usually I just write it off as people taking the bible a little too seriously and are happy to leave it at that. However this time around I found ignorance on a whole new level, something that I just couldn’t let stand.
Primarily the issue I take is when people use “facts”, things that I can easily find out with 5 minutes of Googling and reference checking, to support their point of view when the reality of the situation is that those “facts” are nothing but pure ignorance and speculation on their part. Take for instance the statistics surrounding support for marriage equality in Australia. There have been a number of opinion polls done over the past 5 years or so and in all of them there has been a majority of support for it by the public. The most recent polls have shown approval for marriage equality up around 68% and a survey conducted by the House of Representatives which received 276,000 responses had an approval rating of 64.3%. Looking at the comments on various articles regarding Sunrise’s support of marriage equality would have you thinking the inverse but the fact of the matter is the majority of Australians support same sex marriage.
The second, and by far more disturbing, trend of thought is that the right to marry is somehow not a human right. Check the United Nations, you know the place with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and have a gander at article 16 where it states in no uncertain terms that the right to marry applies to all humans. Funnily enough the sacrosanct tenant that marriage is solely between a man and a woman doesn’t seem to apply here either, just that they be of age and both consenting to it. Thinking that the right to marry isn’t a human right isn’t just factually wrong its quite abhorrent as you’re classifying the entire LGBTI movement as somehow not human.
I’m a married man myself and personally I have a real hard time understanding why the government’s definition of marriage matters so much to these people. I can understand why they’re outraged, a book told them that those other kinds of people can’t do that, but what the government declares as marriage (did you know being defacto is, in essence, the same as being married in the government’s eyes?) really doesn’t affect that definition at all. At the same time does leveling the marriage playing field affect your current (and future) marriages in any appreciable way? I really struggle to find any and would love to know how it would.
Usually the next argument I see brought forth is “But think of the children!” usually followed by a ream of reasons why children brought up in non-traditional marriage situations are somehow worse off. There have been numerous studies showing that children raised in LGBTI couples are just as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as their counterparts raised in traditional families. Saying anything to the contrary ignores the decades, yes decades, worth of study and research that’s been done into this very question. The truth of the matter is that the gender, co-habitation status, sexuality and number of parents play a small role compared to actual qualities of the parents and their relationship with each other and their children.
I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here as my generation (who seem to make up the majority of my readership) are quite comfortable with the idea of marriage equality. Still even I was taken aback by some of the comments made by the opponents, comments that I would have had no straight answer to had I been asked them in person. So hopefully if you meet someone who opposes marriage equality for the reasons shown above you can hopefully reason with them a little bit. Of course if its a belief derived from religious grounds then you’re on your own with that one, but suffice to say if they try to hit you with any of these “facts” you can at least call them on their bullshit.