Jeff Poole: Love & Bigotry
Jeff Poole thinks we should take a long, hard look at what marriage stands for.
Recently in Brisbane about 2,000 people rallied in favour of discrimination under the cruelly ironic banner of ‘Equal Love’.
Until a year ago I would probably have been with them. My attitude then was simple: I don’t approve of ‘marriage’, but everyone should have an equal right to fuck up their own lives in their own way.
But it is precisely my commitment to equality that means I cannot – and will not – support the shallow and wrong-headed campaign for queers to become part of the irredeemably bigoted institution of ‘marriage’.
‘Marriage’ was originally the legal transfer of the ownership of a woman from father to husband. The ownership aspect was partly removed in the 1880s. It took a century for ‘married’ women to finally regain control of their own bodies when the practice of rape in ‘marriage’ was finally outlawed in Queensland in 1989.
This is the truth of the ‘traditional institution of marriage’ that the religious talk about when they oppose gay ‘marriage’ – and they’re welcome to it.
The supporters of ‘marriage’ equality ignore that history. They prefer to concentrate on wedding celebrations.
They choose to ignore recent history, too. Gay couples have had equal rights under federal law, except for the Marriage Act itself, since 2008. They prefer to trot out tired nonsense about ‘marriage’ being a public declaration of love that deserves to be recognised...
What rubbish! You can publicly declare your love anytime you want. Brisbane’s biggest society wedding of the year took place a month ago without any legal ‘marriage’ at all. Alan and Anthony bore witness to their commitment in front of hundreds of well-wishers and family, who can all now legally testify to their relationship. I wish Alan and Anthony every happiness!
No, ‘marriage’ is a legal contract that has nothing to do with love – this is the law, not Mills & Boon. 'Marriage' is all about ownership and responsibility. It is the legal recognition of spouses as next-of-kin in property and health matters – a spouse makes your medical decisions for you when you cannot.
And that’s where the unthinking me-tooism of the push for ‘marriage’ equality sticks in my throat. After decades of campaigning for the right to live free from discrimination I cannot believe we’re on the streets telling the world that only couples are worthy of legal recognition. Only couples are good enough to choose their next-of-kin. Only couples should be celebrated.
That’s not equality, that’s bigotry.
I refuse to discriminate against sexual minorities within our community, or outside it.
I refuse to bow to bigotry against multi-partner relationships, non-standard families and the celibate.
I refuse to restrict a simple human right: the right for you to choose your next-of-kin, the person, or people, you choose to take responsibility for you when you are at your most vulnerable.
I refuse to support ‘marriage equality’.