Same-sex marriage debate – live and let love

Because I am a) not gay, and b) not interested in getting married, it would be easy to assume the same-sex marriage debate doesn’t interest or affect me.

But that would be wrong.

Apart from having gay friends – many of whom would love to be able to marry their partners – I quite like the idea of equality when it comes to choices.

Notice how I didn’t say rights?

I don’t believe marriage is a “right”, as such.

I think it is a choice that some people have and others, by virtue of their sexuality, do not.

I also think it’s very easy for arguments on both the YES and NO sides to be muddied with references to centuries-old Biblical texts and misguided theories from otherwise well-meaning civil libertarians.

I’ve spoken to plenty of people about the issue over the past few weeks. Some are for the change to legislation, while others oppose it.

For me, it’s a simple decision.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not open to hearing arguments opposing my point of view.

We need clear and respectful channels for discussions to take place. We need to accept not everyone shares our own views.

I had a phone call earlier this week from a woman who wanted to have her say on the issue.

Born in 1941, Sue told me she was in favour of gay people being allowed to marry.

She started her first job when she was 14, and her first bosses were lesbians.

Laughing, she said she had no idea what a lesbian was at the time; she thought it may have been a religion.

“It was hidden away in those days,” she said.

“There was talk around the town, but not from me.

“My parents taught me better than that.”

I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting Sue to be in favour of same-sex marriage. And shame on me for assuming her opinion based on her age.

The truth is, there is no hard and fast proof of how any demographic will vote in the coming survey.

Binding or not, don’t you want your voice heard?

Make sure your enrolment is up to date. Today is your last day to do this.

Go to aec.gov.au/enrol.

- Kate Hedley