Archive for November, 2009

Same-Sex Marriage – The Debate

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment
In the attempt at quashing the discrimination evident in even the most modern of societies, it is an inevitable discussion – Same-sex marriage. As I am writing from Australia, I feel it is only applicable to write about this issue in the context of our Australian political spectrum. That being said, recently (November 2009) legislation was passed within the Australian Capital Territory allowing civil partnerships, with the inclusion of the choice of an additional ceremony. Across Australia civil unions are legally recognised within three states and territories. These changes offer a glimmer of hope to the GLBTI community. However this is technically not an institution that can be defined as marriage. The Rudd Government supports the notion that marriage is an institution that exclusively exists between a man and a woman. This ideology has won the support of numerous religious groups across the nation and indeed peace of mind in the confidence of the status quo.The entire notion of same-sex marriage has been opposed by the Australian Government since its creation, yet with the emergence of civil unions society has been lead to believe that these partnerships are the most apt solution to the unrest present in the community. Yet the question still remains – Why cannot two consenting, taxpaying adults marry, regardless of their gender? Political groups respond with the finesse in rhetoric, stating that there should not be a redefinition of marriage for the mere minority. But the issue has far more depth than the generalisation stated above. The entire notion of separate but equal, equal yet blatantly not, is one that makes no logical sense whatsoever. If this is the case, then why implement an institution (an institution for a major event in the lives of humanity) that embodies this notion? Discrimination is the element that provokes this lack of equality across the board for single sex relationships, not to mention the ordeal undergone by inter-sex or transgender peoples in the recognition of their relationships.



Youthful Discrimination

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment
According to statistics founded by Latrobe University, figures suggest that school is one of the most dangerous places to be same-sex attracted. Due to the amount of verbal and indeed physical abuse evident in this spectrum. This also provokes thought regarding the nature of Australian relationships and their portrayal within the wider society. Regardless of the inclusion of civil partnerships, Australian society and in particular family life is used to great effect in shaping these homophobic attitudes amongst the youth. The elements of bullying that occur to students that follow the majority is ridiculous, add the topic of sexuality to the cauldron and there are serious ramifications for homosexual or transgender youth.

This is where issue of marriage is particularly crucial. In effect, whilst civil partnerships, unions are a step in the right direction (to borrow form the phrase pool of Rudd) they are not equal to marriage. Civil unions are legally recognised for residents within the three states and territories present within Australia. In addition these unions also vary from state to state in the level of protection offered by the Government, some may receive adoption rights, whilst in another state couples may only receive property rights. Civil union may not even be portable, two may be considered ‘life partners’ in one state, and nothing legally binding in another. Marriage offers an entirety of protection, it establishes a spouse as the next-of-kin, substitute blood relatives in the eyes of the law. This title is essential for loving couples, as it provides peace of mind, knowing that your partner may have an official say in medical, property or funeral matters. Marriage is also legally recognised by all Governments across the globe (currently between a man and a woman, but this stresses the importance of the global community to expand the notion of marriage), and it can be performed anywhere and still be recognised, which is more than what can be said for civil – unions. Theoretically these unions were designed to provide protection and equality for single sex relationships, whilst remaining separate from marriage. Why? To keep the sanctity of marriage in tact, to not redefine the notion of marriage, to keep the status quo. On those points I feel it is essential to meticulously dissect each argument for the purpose of revealing the sheer paradoxical and illogical beliefs behind this lack of equality.


The Sanctity of Marriage?

November 29, 2009 1 comment
Why shouldn’t homosexuals, transgender or intersex people be allowed to enter an institution of marriage together?
The inclusion of the GLBTI community into the institution of marriage will corrupt its sanctity. It is a threat to marriage as a whole.
This is an argument based on religious principles, which would be justifiable if marriage were to be exclusively based upon religion. However with the excruciatingly slow separation of Church and state that has occurred over the development of politics, marriage has lost its link to religion. But if one were to delve into the depths of history it is evident that marriage was not created through the Judeo-Christian faith – Nor through any facet of Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other prominent world religion. The fact of the matter is that the union of two peoples existed thousands of years before ancient philosophers and prophets began making sense of the universe through the context of religion. Marriage began as a diverse and separate institution from religious belief. This would thereby render any link to religion or its right to deny couples to marry (in a non-religious ceremony) illogical. Religious groups would be under no obligation to perform religious ceremonies for same-sex couples, if it did indeed contravene the particular denomination’s beliefs. Single-sex relationships do not call for the right to marry as a manner in which to push their beliefs into a chosen faith, surely the homosexual community understand the importance of respect in regard to the beliefs systems of humanity.
Regarding the notion as a threat to marriage as a whole it could be stated that divorce would be a greater threat to this legally binding partnership. With 50% of marriages ending in divorce why would the Government willingly turn away couples that have the solemn desire to express their love, and receive subsequent protection under the law?


Definition of Marriage

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment
The Government should not redefine the institution of marriage a small minority of the population.
 This statement would be one of the more sound arguments in this debate had it statistical evidence to support the particular notion of minority. Regardless of sexual orientation a Galaxy Poll, which was performed in June 2009 found that 60% of Australian’s support the idea of homosexual marriage (see: Therefore it would simply illogical to state that only a minority desire the expansion of marriage to include diverse sexualities.

 If that were too much for the Government to handle, then it would be wise to provide the same protection with a different name. However this was tried in the introduction of civil unions, and these partnerships did not achieve what they were theoretically designed to do. In this sense, the only manner through which equality may be achieved is through the expansion of marriage. Surely a homosexual couple that ties the knot in Tasmania has no detrimental impact upon a heterosexual couple residing in Western Australia. In much the same way as relationships between people in Queensland have no adverse effect upon myself, who is evidently single.

But without bringing into question the accuracy of these polls, would it matter if less than 60% of the populace support single-sex unions? In this instance, people are being denied the right to express their love in a manner which lawfully protects them. These same people are law abiding tax payers, that provide revenue for the country. One might argue that heterosexual singles also pay tax, but the fact is there is a choice. True, not all couples apt for marriage, yet the choice is still evident. Regarding the GLBTI community, the choice has been made for them and the same people that claim the right to marry, also deny this same right to other human beings – it sounds rather hypocritical. 

 As for this redefinition of marriage it would stimulate the economy, in that homosexual couples would purchase and use all manner of services for their ceremonies. This means more money being placed back into retail, and indeed public function venues and catering services. This ‘minority,’ provides a positive impact upon the economy as whole and the Government has spent enormous amounts in preparation for Global Financial Crisis – Why not allow for this redefinition for a positive impact on the economy? – Not to mention the joy and happiness it brings to couples and communities across the nation.

The Status Quo

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment
The Government must keep the status-quo in order to retain key seats in Parliament. 
This is one of the underlying factors in the heads of Government, regarding its stance on the debate. Again I evidence the idea that 60% of the population in support of gay marriage, with figures even higher in the youth of the nation. This continued stance is an insult to the ideals of democracy as the Australian public. The country is not ruled through communism, nor through any aspect of fascism, yet it would appear that elements are applicable in this case. The fact is, that this Australian Government is deaf to the pleas of the majority of the population, which directly contravenes the right of the tax paying population to be heard by their leaders. We do not live in a fascist country, but in regards to this issue, it appears that there is a sense of democratic dictatorship in the air. This merely evidences the idea that the Government must keep a somewhat conservative stance in order to retain funding from sponsors and large business. Yet whilst the country is based on the notions of capitalism, let it not rule in the political spectrum.
 Those arguments aside, returning to the notion of discrimination and homophobia, the destruction of the model of the nuclear family is essential in the stamping out of discrimination. Society should not cater to the idea of a mother, father and 2.3 children as the set model for family. Through this incremental desensitisation to homosexuals in society, can there finally a deeper level of humanity evident within our society. The first step is basic human rights, the second civil unions, the third, marriage, the fourth, adoption (an issue I will delve into later). But the Australian Government must realise that it is ignoring the ideals evident within the majority of society. As the people of the nation where a “fair go,” is core to our collective psyche, will not stand to be ignored.


Homosexuality and Religion.

November 27, 2009 1 comment

The debate still flares with such passion in a modern context, in regards to homosexuality coinciding with religion. Love being the main underlying factor of both of these attributes of humanity creates a tension between the two.
From a Catholic perspective the church condemns the act of homosexuality, that is the act of sexual relations between a man and another man, or a woman and indeed another woman. The church however does not condemn same-sex attraction or personal desires so long as they are contained to within the person. For most this is completely outrageous, as they should be able to express their sexuality in a way in which they feel comfortable and safe. But before one can place the blame entirely upon the church one must understand that the church also condemns sexual practices for mere pleasure (therefore the banning of contraception). It is stated that every act of sex should be open to the creation of a human being, which is the church’s main defence when dealing with matters of homosexuality.



November 27, 2009 Leave a comment

There is no doubt, in a Catholic belief system homosexuality is intrinsically “wrong.” However, there is a direct lack of evidence why. It is almost as though if questioned, a believer would merely say (in a more eloquent manner) “because God said so.” If as human beings we were to believe and worship everything with more power than ourselves then where would I society be headed? Would there be any scientific development? Would there be any progression of humanity?This other terribly discriminatory ideology that homosexual relationships have the capacity to devalue or in effect hinder a heterosexual relationship is completely illogical. How can a relationship that you have no knowledge of, destroy your relationship? In regards to homosexual marriage, American comedian Wanda Sykes puts it into a humorous colloquialism, “If you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, then don’t marry somebody of the same-sex.” Marriage is another topic that is too lengthy to delve into right now, however, people argue that the sanctity of marriage must be protected at all costs. However, marriage existed before religion, before Christianity, before Islam, before Judaism. In fact many of modern church practices (the use of candles, incense, etc.) were derived from the more ritualistic services of paganism. The Church’s view on homosexuality is clear and concise. Clarity is usually beneficial in most situations. But the passion at which the Church argues that these acts of homosexuality are “wrong” has a direct relationship to the amount of discrimination that exists in the wider society. One might even go so far as to argue that it could be the one of the underlying factors in the higher rate of suicide in gay teens. It an absolutely appalling statistic that approximately 30% of GLBT youths will attempt suicide. The Church is also used as a justification for violent and discriminatory acts. Matthew Shepherd’s death is a tragic example of the extent to which fear and text can motivate someone. Imagine if it were you, tied to a fence post, beaten to a bloody pulp and left to die. Why? Merely because of the colour of your skin, the type of men you found attractive, your religion, your political beliefs, the way in which you desired to express your sexuality and who you were as a person.

This cycle of discrimination has to be stagnated. If not for the safety of the GLBT community, but so that we can function and develop as a species. The Church had made its stance loud and clear, but there must be logical and rational Christians and Catholics that see the flaw and larger consequences that this stance creates, not only for homosexuals, but for the wider human society.“Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice.” –Wrong. Homosexuality is not a choice of lifestyle, but more of a part of a person perceives himself or herself to be. Modern psychology states that homosexuality is at least 30-70% genetic, therefore it can’t simply be argued that a man or woman wakes up one morning and decides that from this point in their lives that they will be homosexual. This is not to be confused with a period of discovery that many homosexuals undertake, but as Erikson defined in his stages of psychological development that all teens undergo this stage when they are attempting to find themselves and who they are as a person. The detrimental influence of society also creates this fear amongst many of today’s youth that instills into them a fear of being themselves. Not only around their peers, but also with family and even by themselves. Hiding from one self may also lead to many psychological problems in latter life.


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