#DearPM: Marriage Equality (21 of 30)

Good morning,

Day 21 of #DearPM, and today’s submission shares an incredibly important perspective in this debate.

But first, I have no submission for tomorrow. I need nine more submissions to get me to the end of this project. If you have a case to share for marriage equality, please email it to damien@djomeara.com.

21-of-30

Back to today’s submission: Alexis Tindall and Naomi Vaughan are devoted and loving mums to a gorgeous little boy named Felix (great name, I know). Together, these new mums put forward a case for equality that we can all get behind. After a brilliantly positive experience in bringing Felix into the world, Alexis and Naomi want to know that they won’t have to explain the discrimination of the marriage act to their son.

Let’s make that a reality.

Take care,
Damo

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

5 December 2016

#DearPM: Marriage Equality (21 of 30)

To the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP,

On day 21 of the #DearPM project, I’d like to talk about the people actually affected by marriage equality. LGBTI people in Australia a pretty lucky, because despite the myriad challenges we face, Australia is fundamentally a fair nation where we are treated fairly. But having a piece of discrimination in the law, such as our current definition of marriage in the Marriage Act, restricts our sense of belonging and that of our children.

Today’s submission is from Alexis Tindall, Naomi Vaughan, and their son Felix Tindall-Vaughan. This family highlights how good their experience was, and how lucky they feel to be here and to have Felix in their lives. As great as this is, Alexis and Naomi still currently live in a world where they will have to explain the discrimination they face to their son, when he is old enough. Marriage equality would be a first step to shifting that conversation.

To the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister,

We’re writing today to ask you to allow a vote on marriage equality in our parliament. As a happy, stable couple of many years standing, it saddens us that we don’t have the choice to marry as many of our friends and family do.

We recently welcomed our first child, Felix, born at the end of March. He was conceived with the help of a fertility clinic and we were lucky enough to have a smooth and comfortable pregnancy and birth. At eight months old he is a happy, calm and loved child who delights us every day.

We were really pleased that throughout the process of his conception, pregnancy and birth we were never treated any differently from how a heterosexual couple would be. We have a loving circle of friends and family who met the news that Felix was on the way with unreserved joy. Health professionals, including fertility clinic and obstetric staff, sonographers, nurses and receptionists didn’t bat an eyelid. Our employers and Centrelink staff helped make sure we received the leave and support we were entitled to without any comment suggesting that our family might be anything other than normal.

We were pleasantly surprised that administratively and legally we were considered just the same as heterosexual parents. We are both legally recognised as his parents, had no difficulty registering his birth and we are able to access paid parental leave including Dad and Partner Pay.

This experience has really shown us that the community respects our relationship and sees no difference between our family and one which is headed by heterosexual parents. We were really pleased that in our experience so far there has been no legal difference in the way our family is considered. Except when it comes to marriage, which in these days when de facto couple are so thoroughly recognised in law, amounts to a kind of community celebration of one’s relationship.

By continuing to prevent people of the same sex from marrying, yet allowing them so many other rights, you are saying that our relationship is inferior, that it can be tolerated legally, but doesn’t deserve the community’s blessing that is bestowed by marriage.

Felix doesn’t yet understand any of this, and of course, he has little friends in families of all kinds, including married parents and unmarried parents. We hope that by the time he is old enough to understand that his parents don’t have that choice, it is no longer something we need to explain to him.

Our experience bringing our little boy into the world this year has demonstrated so clearly that the broader community is comfortable with our relationship and supports our family. This may be anecdotal, but you also know that polls tell us that the Australian community is ready to embrace marriage equality. It is the right thing to do, and we implore you to make this happen simply and swiftly with a parliamentary vote.

Warm regards,
Alexis Tindall, Naomi Vaughan and Felix Tindall-Vaughan, South Australia

Yesterday’s letter from Aleem Ali asked us to think about the children. Today, Alexis and Naomi give their voices a couple raising a child in this world. They certainly echo Aleem’s concerns.What advice has the Prime Minister received from the Minister for Social Services about the experience of same-sex and gender diverse parents who engage our hospital system during pregnancy, or as parents?

This is my twenty-first letter in a series calling for a free vote on marriage equality in the parliament, and in your current term. A free vote is the correct way to legislate for marriage equality. You could allow this to happen today.

Yours sincerely,

Damien O’Meara

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