It’s day 24 of #DearPM, and last night I received messages/emails/DMs from six people asking if I’d received a response. Although there has been no response from our Prime Minister, I remain hopeful that these letter might have some impact.
Today’s letter is from my husband, Jacob Holman. When I asked Jacob to contribute to the project, he made it clear that this would not be a positive letter, full of hope for the future. This is a letter laden years of frustration and anger at the needless delays that continue to be lumped on our community.
I think Jacob’s attitude at this point, is that there is no more space for excuses. The time is over for debating the merits of passing equality in our marriage act. The argument has been fought and won.
It’s time for marriage equality, and a free vote is the way to get it done!
The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600
8 December 2016
#DearPM: Marriage Equality (24 of 30)
To the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP,
For day 24, my husband Jacob Holman provides his perspective on why we should have a free vote on marriage equality.
A bit of background: on 14 September 2015 Jacob and I joined two friends, another couple married overseas, to watch you successfully challenge for the leadership of our country. There was a buzzing in the room. With an issue so close to all of us being delayed by an unusual disregard for parliamentary tradition, we felt like your leadership meant something for us. There was so much excitement in the room, so much expectation, so much hope. And you didn’t deliver.
Jacob has an important perspective for you to read.
“Allies aren’t allies if they only support you as long as it’s convenient for them.”
Dear Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
I am writing to you to encourage you to grant your members a free vote on marriage equality in the hope that there can be a swift conclusion to this matter on the floor of the Commonwealth Parliament.
After so much time spent thinking and writing and talking about this issue, I decided that I’m finished arguing about gay marriage. It’s boring and I’m sick and tired. I’m not going to lay out the arguments anymore. It’s been done over and over and over again literally for over a decade now, and the debate has been won. We are right and the opponents of civil equality for gay people are wrong. It’s as simple as that.
When I got married last year in Scotland, I firmly believed that Australia was just weeks away from finally resolving the issue. I had no idea that a month later the stupid six hour meeting of the Liberal and National parties would take place and the even stupider plebiscite would be thrown up as a delaying tactic. Yet another nasty and pointless obstacle thrown in the way of reform, another shifting of the goalposts, another spectacular display of the party’s deep and ingrained contempt and disrespect for people like me.
At the time I remember there being a lot of discussion about whether the Labor Party was being too provocative by openly discussing whether the matter should be binding on party members. How can the Labor Party be taken seriously in its calls for the Coalition to have a conscience vote when its own members will be bound? Now apparently it’s the Labor Party’s fault that gay marriage isn’t a reality because they wouldn’t support the offensive notion of a national vote on the rights of a historically marginalised minority group.
All of that is now boring and meaningless. It’s so very clear that the Coalition was never going to offer a conscience vote, and nothing the Labor Party did or didn’t do would have changed that. And if the Labor Party supported the plebiscite, what other fanciful garbage would the hard right of the Coalition have dreamed up to further stall marriage equality in Australia? My pessimism when it comes to the Liberal and National Parties is limitless, and I’ve been proved right time and time again. Do we have to literally jump through hoops first? How low and for how long would we have to bow and scrape and beg?
Show some leadership, Prime Minister. You know very well it is the right thing to do, and the failure to get it done is on you. Allies aren’t allies if they only support you as long as it’s convenient for them. Being Prime Minister and jettisoning all your values along the way might have been worth it for you, but it hasn’t been worth it for any of the rest of us.
Jacob Holman, Victoria
Rather than a question about ministerial advice, today I want to know one very important thing:
- How many, and which LGBTI organisations and individuals did you personally consult on the best path forward for achieving marriage equality after you became Prime Minister?
This is my twenty-fourth 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.