c) Activism and social change
This article was published in MCV and SX News on 8.8.11
The debate on marriage equality is almost as important as the reform itself.
Voices too rarely heard are speaking truths Australia too rarely considers.
During a recent round of meetings in Canberra, psychologist, Paul Martin, explained to leading law-makers how LGBTI people internalise the hatred directed at us, how that diminishes our lives and relationships and how legal equality helps repair the damage.
This was a revelation even to some of our most supportive MPs. They will bring these insights to every LGBTI issue they now confront.
Two weeks ago in Brisbane elderly parents from across Queensland had lunch with Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, to put the case for marriage equality.
The parents talked about the bullying their children faced at school, the real lives and loves their children have now, and how some of their children have been driven overseas.
Despite his effort securing the financial rights for same-sex couples (and denying our right to marry) I doubt Mr McClelland had ever seen so clearly the people the behind these rights. Certainly, I have never seen a politician so humbled or chastened.
At a recent forum in Launceston, Tasmanian novelist, Danielle Wood, talked about her childrens’ carer who is in a same-sex relationship, the talent that carer has for bringing out the best in children, and what a tragedy it was that some people still think to be gay is anti-family.
Wood’s story allowed audience members to say what they really feel about discrimination and had an obvious impact on those who were conflicted about LGBTI equality.
Finally, at a recent forum in Sydney the son of one of the partners who will attend the marriage equality dinner with Julia Gillard spoke about how important it is for his mums to have the right to marry because “when my mums are happy, I’m happy”.
In that single sentence he undercut the whole foolish anti-equality argument that marriage is about the needs of children, not adults, and reminded us that any kind of discrimination against same-sex parents is also discrimination against their children.
By framing thousands of moments of truth and enlightenment like these, the marriage equality debate is laying the foundation for a more accepting Australia long after the Marriage Act is reformed.
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