Many of you may not know, but I am not currently going to school and completing my HSC. I am doing the equivalent of it through TAFE.
This essay was one of the first I have ever done in my life and I think I did alright on it.
The essay is about same-sex marriage, it tells you (the reader) what is happening and what has happened and some views on it.
I hope you all enjoy the read and please don’t hesitate to comment. B.T.W don’t worry about the in-text referencing.
Marriage equality is an ongoing debate in the Australia society with no results so far. In the last few decades the big inequality is of same-sex couples not being allowed to marry. The ACT did create a law in December 2013, but the law did not last long. There have been different historical events that have changed and reshaped marriage rights for a lot of communities including: the convicts, aboriginals, women and same-sex couples. The Marriage Act was only introduced in 1961, and then amended by John Howard in 2004 (Australian Human Rights Commission, 26th August 2004). The Act has shaped the legal areas of marriage since. In Australia there are many social groups and events that have impacted marriage views. Rise Up Australia is a social group that are openly against same-sex marriage, but not all social groups are against same-sex marriage. The Greens from the beginning have supported same-sex marriage and continue to fight for equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. A well-known event in Australia is The Sydney Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras Parade, which is also known through the world and is part of Australian culture.
Throughout history the government has changed time and time again to give different people the permission to marry. Even before government time Governor Philip denied people to marry, including the convict’s time in Australia in which unless they showed appropriate traits they were denied permission. Forty years later, Governor Arthur changed it for the convicts and allowed them to marry as long as they conformed. Most notorious infringements were on the Aborigines freedom of marry, beginning from as early as the 1860s. It was most notorious because the authorities were under complete control of who the Aboriginals were allowed to marry (Croome, R 1st July 2011).
In the 20th Century the women of Australia also had to fight for the permission to marry whoever they wanted. Australian servicemen in Japan were restricted of rights to marry Japanese women, if they did so they were not allowed to return to Australia. On August 13th 1959, while in the midst of debating Australia’s first national Marriage Act, The House of Representatives were interrupted to hear that an Aboriginal woman was denied permission to marry her white fiancé. The Menzies government found it unacceptable for the woman not being allowed to marry, so they promised that there would never be that sort of discrimination written into Australian marriage law, yet they still won’t allow same-sex couples to marry and for it to be recognised in Australia (Croome, R 1st July 2011).
In 1961, the Federal Government introduced the Marriage Act; it was ultimately to put regulation in the hands of the Commonwealth. The Act set a lot of things, including legal age to marry, ceremonies, authorisation of marriages and the recognition of foreign marriages for the purpose of Australian domestic law which specifically excluded same-sex marriages conducted overseas from being recognised in Australia (Neilson, M 10th February 2012). In 2004, the Act was amended, the amendment was made to redefine marriage of being between a man and woman to the exclusion of all others, to confirm that unions solemnised overseas between same-sex couples wouldn’t be recognised as being married in Australia. It was also to prevent same-sex couples from inter-country adoptions under multilateral or bilateral agreements. The stated aim was to ‘protect the institution of marriage’ and to put forward the Commonwealths view of same-sex couples adopting as being undesirable (Australian Human Rights Commission, 26th August 2004).
Rise Up Australia is an association that is highly against same-sex marriage, they believe that marriage is only between a man and woman. The government funds many events, programs, courses, curriculums, policies or lobby groups that promote same-sex marriage. This organisation opposes the government for choosing to fund such events as gay and lesbian pride marches, education policies encouraging ‘sexual diversity’ and the Sydney Mardi Gras. In recognising that consenting adults can explore their own sexualities in private, they do argue the promotion of homosexuality in schools and in public life. Rise Up Australia protests against homosexuality but do believe in a free, democratic nation like Australia in which you can disagree with someone’s lifestyle but still treat them with dignity. That is why they oppose ‘hate crimes’ towards members of the (LGBT) community and other communities (Rise Up Australia, 2011).
A promotional event that is known throughout the world is the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which is celebrating its 35th annual parade this year. The Sydney Mardi Gras started out as a march to contribute to the International Gay Solidarity Celebrations, to support San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day, to campaign against California State Senate John Briggs for his attempts in trying to stop gay rights supporters from teaching in schools and it was also intended to oppose the homophobic campaigner for the Festival of Lights, Mary Whitehouse’s visit to Australia. This parade has always stood for so much, summing up ultimately for love and self-expressions of all kinds of people; it is also the biggest event of its type in the whole world. It is a festival of change and is a chance for every one of all communities to come together to celebrate, commemorate and communicate the universal message of diversity, equality and infinite love.
Progress was made by the ACT in late 2013, legalising a same-sex marriage law. The High Court took a week to decide whether to let the law stay or go. During the week, it gave same-sex couples the chance to get married while the Court was deciding. In that short amount of time, 46 couples lodged papers to get married and 31 couples were married. Unfortunately the Court did decide that the ACT law was not consistent with the Federal Marriage Act, therefore the law was unconstitutional. Due to it being ruled unconstitutional, all marriages conducted had to be revoked, leaving many couples upset but still holding out for the day when they will be legalised throughout Australia. The ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher was encouraged by all of the people that did get married while the law was up and said;
“In terms of where we go from here, the world has changed, the landscape has changed. It won’t be when or if same-sex couples can get married, it’s they were married and this momentum will continue to build and I have no doubt it’s changed the debate.” (ABC News, 9th December 2013)
Since Tony Abbott’s (PM) government has taken over in the Australian Government, many believe that there is no chance in the years that he reins that there will be any opportunities for same-sex marriage to be legalised. The Prime Minister (PM) has made his views quite clear that he opposes same-sex marriage, with that he is not willing to commit to a conscience vote for his MP’s and senators if a bill was to come from the Federal Parliament (Hall, B 15th December 2013). It is quite clear to the people of Australia that their Prime Minister is unwilling to accept the possibility of same-sex marriage.
In support of same-sex marriage The Greens are willing to fight for marriage equality. Greens leader, Christine Milne has stated that her party will ensure that same-sex marriage laws are brought in nationwide. She has also said;
“It’s devastating for the people concerned and for their families and friends, but it is also a clarion call for everyone in the country who supports marriage equality to now put pressure on the Federal Government and the Federal Parliament to change it.” (Byrne, E 13th December 2013)
The Greens have always put up a fighting front for marriage equality; in 1997 it was Christine’s bill that decriminalised homosexuality in Tasmania. Since then they have fought for equality, standing up for genuine laws to stop religious schools, hospitals and homeless shelters from preventing LGBT Australians from being welcome and of being fired for their sexuality or gender identity. At the moment under federal law, students can still be expelled from schools for having same-sex parents and transgender people are denied health care (The Greens, n.d.).
Marriage equality is opposed by many and encouraged by others, which is noticeable after looking at the historical events and different social groups. It is notable that change to marriage equality is evident and that there is yet to be more change. The Government at the moment does not seem like it is going to support same-sex marriage like it did not support Aboriginals marrying white people, but later did. Throughout the world different countries are introducing same-sex marriage laws and still Australia opposes.