It’s day 26 of the #DearPM campaign, and yesterday I received my first response from the AG’s office (not the PM). Needless to say, it wasn’t a heartening response. You can read the first response here.
Still, we keep going and make sure our voices are heard. Which brings me to today’s letter.
My great friend Nicholas Bell is today’s contributor. Nicholas outlines the important progress to which marriage equality could lead. The collective change that this could represent for all LGBTI people in Australia is massive.
After reading the response, I felt pretty disappointed:
But it is important to keep making submissions, and not let them get us down. Plus, I have three spots left to fill, so send your submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600
10 December 2016
#DearPM: Marriage Equality (26 of 30)
To the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP,
I’m sure you’ll agree that there has been a pretty consistent key theme throughout this project, the understanding that legalising marriage equality has the potential to influence societal acceptance for LGBTI people within Australia.
That theme is continued by Nicholas Bell, today’s contributor. Nicholas is incredibly motivated, having been involved in some great volunteer work with me over the past few years. He speaks with authority on the topic of marriage equality and has a lot of hope for what it could mean for him and for many other LGBTI people.
Dear Malcolm Turnbull,
I’ve been meaning to write to you for the best part of a month, yet I haven’t. I couldn’t comprehend my writer’s block, and only now I realise it’s because I’m absolutely opposed to the notion that there’s a burden upon me and Australia’s same sex attracted community to protest, plead or write in argument for the right to marry – an apparent privelege many take for granted and even abuse.
I subscribe to Paul Ritchie’s argument in ‘Faith, Love and Australia: The Conservative Case for Same-Sex Marriage’ that marriage is a conservative ideal. That marriage is an affirmation of people, their relationship, their place in society and a celebrated change and joining of families.
My selfish personal hope is to one day marry the man I love, move into some painful cliché of a beautiful home in the suburbs and raise a family. I suppose I’m reiterating the Australian dream.
Even if something so wonderful could be afforded to myself and other same sex couples by our nation’s legislators, I know I wouldn’t have much in the way of family attend my wedding. I’d then find myself living in hope that my children won’t be estranged at school for their parents and that I can afford to have that home I dream of in a suburb where we wouldn’t be poofters, faggots or queers.
My aspiration is that the achievement of marriage rights for same-sex couples will not just provide the liberty to have our relationships recognised and celebrated as part of the institution of marriage, but that this will give rise to a greater societal change for the better. That in several generations homosexuality will no longer be considered an ‘alternate’ or ‘lifestyle’ deviance from the heterosexual – that it’ll be nothing other than normal.
You yourself said in the introduction of the bill for the same-sex marriage plebiscite that “society would be stronger if more people were married” and I have no doubt in my mind that you’ve been an ally in the argument for same-sex marriage and I warmly thank you for that.
So why am I writing to you?
I believe the eyes of history are upon us and I’m sorry that the political circumstance in which your government exists means that you’ll probably be on the wrong side of history. That the conditional support of some backbenchers and crossbenchers means you are a Prime Minister bound to operate within the rules these minority voices define.
We exist in a global political environment where people are deeply disillusioned and skeptical of the institution of government. People are growing wearing of politicians who don’t represent their interests. In an Australia where the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage, it’s frustrating and downright tiresome that this is still an issue.
Australia needs leadership. I challenge you to show conviction. If not for those who are burdened to protest, plead and write; than for those who aren’t invested in any way other than a weariness for the debate taking time in the media and parliament.
In the hope you’ll be remembered for achieving something historic,
Nicholas Bell, Victoria
Nicholas raises an important point, Australians are sick of this debate:
- What advice has the Prime Minister received from each federal sitting member of his government in the lower house and the senate on the attitudes of their constituents about the continuing debate around marriage equality?
- Would the Prime Minister commit to requiring sitting members of his party in the house and the senate to discussing the fatigue of this ongoing debate with their constituents?
This is my twenty-sixth 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.