In the next few months Australians will be put to the sword over an issue that needn’t divide the country but may just do that. Marriage equality should not be an issue, but the media, print, TV, radio and online will all wade into the debate with vigour and with no thought for the damage they will be doing. I have enough gay friends to be able to say that for many of them, being gay has not always been easy. It is certainly not the path of least resistance. I have long-held the view that a persons sexuality is none of my business. Their choice of life partner is none of my business either just as their choice of religion is none of my business.
I can’t see how it can possibly work any other way. No doubt we will hear calls for people to boycott the postal vote which would be an absolute disaster. No doubt we will hear horrible ill-considered rhetoric from all the usual suspects. We will in all likelihood hear from organisations and associations purporting to know things or represent the feelings of their members, but I urge you to look closely at the motivation of these groups, even the makeup of these groups.
Sure there are going to be people and institutions that want to keep control of society just as they did in the sixties and seventies. The world has changed, thank goodness. I hope we have moved, but at the very least we are moving, toward a society that is much more caring and considerate. I hope we are becoming more generous with our words and emotions and much more aware of the personal hurt and damage we can cause to people who don’t deserve to be hurt.
Please consider carefully the postal vote. For older Australians, I urge you to think about your grandchildren, and the world you would like them to flourish in. Surely the churches and religious groups can not be arguing from any position of strength after the findings of the Royal commissions. This vote has nothing to do with political correctness as some people would have you believe either.
There will be people wanting to use this vote to send all kinds of weird and ill-conceived messages. Just ignore them, see them for what they are, an attempt at dividing the vote. Like just about everyone else, I would have liked to see our politicians take a stand and show some real leadership on the matter, but both parties are controlled by older conservatives with strong church links, people purporting to be leaders, that will go to any length and say anything to hold onto power. Many of them will be well spoken. Many of them will see this as an opportunity to stand in the spotlight and spruke their opinions.
I hope I live in an Australia that truly cares about the future and how we are going to flourish as a nation. I hope I live in an Australia that doesn’t feel the need to control or belittle anyone and has a real interest in building a generous and caring society for all of our grandchildren.