The Australian federal parliament will vote on legislation to provide for marriage equality in the upcoming sittings, which start next Tuesday (14 August 2012). My local Member of Parliament, Robert McClelland, has so far not declared which way he will vote on the bill(s), so I have written the following letter to him asking him to ‘do the right thing’. I will post any reply that I receive.
Dear Mr McClelland,
I am writing to you, as one of your constituents, to ask you to vote for marriage equality during the upcoming sittings of parliament.
My partner Steve and I have been together for four years. In fact, today is our fourth anniversary. During that time, we have had a relationship like any other couple. We love each other, we support and care for each other, we have each been embraced by the other’s family, we make plans for our future life together.
One plan which we have been unable to make, however, is that for our wedding day. This is despite the fact we have been engaged to be married for over two and a half years.
We cannot because, at this stage, we would be unable to legally do so in our own country. We do not want to be forced to travel to a foreign country, and get married under their laws, and then return to Australia and not have that marriage recognised by our own government.
Equally, we want to be able to be married in front of as many family members and friends as possible. I suspect that is the desire of most couples for their wedding day. But, unlike most, by forcing same-sex couples to marry overseas, the Australian parliament is effectively limiting the number of people who can be there for that special moment.
Many of our friends would not be able to afford to attend an overseas wedding, or would be unable to take the necessary time off work. Similarly, both Steve and I only have one grandparent left, and each would be unable to attend a wedding elsewhere because of poor health. We would both be incredibly disappointed if they could not be there for our wedding day simply because of a discriminatory piece of legislation.
When the bill which would introduce marriage equality comes before federal parliament, please vote to allow Steve and me, and thousands of other couples just like us, to get married in our own country, in front of as many family members and friends as possible.
This is a historic opportunity for members of parliament to formally recognise the love between all adult couples, irrespective of sexual orientation and gender identity. As such, the passage of this law would be a great achievement for Australia, demonstrating that all of its citizens are equal before the law, whether they are straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex.
I implore you to help make that happen by voting yes on marriage equality.