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May 08, 2008

On marriage

Pop quiz

In which year did the US Supreme Court hold that a law in the state of Virginia (similar to laws in dozens of states) that provided "a penalty of up to five years in prison and a clause: Those who tried to evade the law by marrying out of state, then returning to Virginia, would be treated the same as those who had married in the state."

OK, give the decade a go. How about the century?

It was 1967. I was one year old then. Sadly, the wmen who, with her husband, brought the action to have these barbaric laws overturned, Mildred Loving, passed away this week.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the Federal Government (you know the one that so many of us were relieved got elected after 11 years of the previous nasty inward looking government) has overturned the Australian Capital Territory's law that would provide for a civil union ceremony for same sex couples. Not a "marriage", simply a ceremony and attendant rights recognizing the relationship

First up - to the government. Shame. And gutless. Where's some leadership on this one. You just lost 85% of your brownie points with me, and doubtless a load of folks like me. You recently held a 2020 Summit, to help develop a vision of Australia in that year. Here's one you missed. There will be same sex marriage in australia by then.

Second up, to them and everyone they are pandering to - just get over it folks. Shift happens, societies evolve, change, and on the whole get better, fairer and more decent.
Why anyone is fussed that two people who love one another wish to have that publicly recognized is frankly baffling. And remember, it was mainstream opinion in many parts of the US (and law in a majority of states) that African America and Caucasian people should not be allowed to marry. In fact,were committing a criminal offence for doing so.

To the churches who are driving this kind of crap - why should my taxes go to you (in the form of tax exemptions for religions, and all kinds of support from the public teat) when you foster, promote, and actually implement discriminatory policies?

Farewell to Mrs Loving. She put it best

"I think marrying who you want is a right no man should have anything to do with"


May 8, 2008 | Permalink


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Hey John

Remeber all the me too crap that was being peddled in the last federal election some of it was true.

Kevin Rudd is economically liberal and a social conservative.

The ALP needed to get elected and knew that this was a wedge issue so played a me too card. Unlike other me too cards this was a deeply held value in Rudd ( From his maiden speech)

‘A Christian perspective, informed by a social gospel or Christian socialist tradition, should not be rejected contemptuously by secular politicians as if these views are an unwelcome intrusion into the political sphere. If the churches are barred from participating in the great debates about the values that ultimately underpin our society, our economy and our polity, then we have reached a very strange place indeed.’

Similarly economically he sings from a new labour song sheet (Howards Brutopia the Monthly)

Classical conservatism, both in the UK and Australia, has always expressed reservations about the impact of unrestrained market capitalism. Edmund Burke, the father of modern conservatism, argued that society should be seen as an organic whole, based on reciprocal rights and obligations.’

‘Previous generations of the Australian Right have been variously dominated by old-style conservatives or social liberals: Deakin, Menzies, Fraser, Peacock and others. All supported the welfare state as a form of social insurance and an institutional corrective against market fundamentalism. This partly explains why, in the period of Deakinite Liberalism, it was possible for a number of Right-Left alliances to be formed to secure the passage of what can be described (in the context of the times) as progressive legislation. The Harvester Judgement of 1907, which legislated a minimum wage based on Justice Henry Bourne Higgins' determination of a living wage "for human beings living in a civilised community" - defined not by market forces but rather from an entirely different values-base - is a case in point

Howard has changed the electorate in a fundamentally negative way. In its appeal to social conservatives the ALP is a different animal and is as poll driven as any other party.

You only need to look at the FOI laws and the way they have been applied by labor in power in the same shabby manner that the Howard government used them for years

"plu ca change plus c'est la meme chose"

Posted by: Peter Allsopp | May 8, 2008 12:03:34 PM

Sigh. God it makes me so sad whenever this goes around the traps. I didn't even know it was an issue until I started taking a lot of taxis around and they always listen to AM radio so all the talkback.

I'm still so surprised at the vitriol some heteros feel about it - I really just can't understand where they're coming from. "It devalues marriage and undermines mine blah blah blah".

If your marriage is so shaky that 2 random people getting married can have an effect, maybe your marriage should be devalued...

Posted by: Cheryl | May 8, 2008 12:18:01 PM

When my friends Marge and Wendi (www.flickr.com/photos/auntysaintdeb/252396514/) got married, they had to go to the British Consulate to make it legal (lucky one of them had British citizenship).

I just sent them a 1st Anniversary card and reminded them that: "Divorce is a sacred institution and should be between a man and a woman only" (idea pinched from Jon Stewart).

Posted by: Deb | May 9, 2008 9:48:38 AM

I figure gay marriage was the tradeoff card Rudd played to get all the legal rights changes through. I don't believe it could all have successfully gone through on the heels of an 11-year reign by right-wing posterboy johnnie howard.

I think most aussies want the whole lot changed right away, but sadly there are right-wing fundamentalists with enough power to stop that happening.

"Areas to be changed include tax, superannuation, social security, health, aged care, veterans entitlements, workers compensation and employment entitlements." [http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23621393-2,00.html]

If the symbolic bit had to stay off the table in order for the rest of it to fly, frankly I think it's a tradeoff I'd have made too. The moral highground does not help you get health insurance.

It's harsh but real prioritisation. Being able to say you're married is an important emotional issue, but the legal rights are the part that makes a serious difference in actual daily lives.

Posted by: Ben Buchanan | May 14, 2008 12:34:11 AM

...I guess I should also say that yeah I know I'm assuming the legal changes get through (and that nothing has changed since I last heard about it a few weeks back). I know, it's not reality just yet. I do expect the government to hold firm when push comes to shove, having appeased the fundies by leaving out marriage.

I should also mention that maybe my views on marriage are a little skewed from the average :) I don't especially relate to it myself. I'm hetero, but I'm not christian, and I've been legally de facto and engaged for years now. So the actual marriage bit is way down my list of priorities (somewhere after travel, house, pets; barring winning the lottery in which case we'll do it all next week, it costs a bomb!).

Posted by: Ben Buchanan | May 14, 2008 12:54:45 AM

yea who cares what other people do its like the old saying by Jackie Moon goes "everybody loves everybody!"

Posted by: Tradition | Sep 13, 2008 7:56:39 AM

If two same sex persons want to go ahead and get married...who cares!

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Everyone has the right the decide their own destiney. Homosexuality is a choice of those who engage, some will be in agreement and some wont.

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