A Letter to Marriage Equality

| October 4, 2017

Dear Marriage Equality,

Firstly, thank you for existing. Since 2001, in 23 countries around the world, millions of people have stood proudly to fight for you, and in these progressive nations, love has won [1].

Over the past 50 years here in Australia, we too have experienced dramatic social change. We have seen homosexuality decriminalised, trans* rights recognised, and LGBTQI+ families raising children just as successfully as any “traditional” family. We have begun to build a society in which we celebrate difference and diversity in every shade of the rainbow.

We are now on the verge of another life-changing moment in Australian history. But whose lives are truly at stake? Whose lives will be impacted if we say a resounding “YES” to Marriage Equality?

In a groundbreaking move in 2015, Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote [2]. A week ago, I watched an episode of Dateline which explored the lessons Australia can learn from Ireland’s Marriage Equality campaign (you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcnLj7cpF08).

In the episode, the Dateline interviewer speaks to a Christian counsellor in Northern Ireland called Mike Davidson, who runs a controversial charity that “treats” homosexuality.

The interviewer asks Mike the following question:

“What impact do you feel same-sex marriage has upon your marriage with your wife?”

Mike is unable to answer, so the interviewer asks again.

“How does it change your marriage if same-sex people are allowed to marry?”

This time, Mike manages to respond.

“It undervalues the achievement of two people who are so different, who are opposite, have succeeded in building, in bringing children up in that context of a different…”

At this point, Mike trails off, unsure of the crux of his argument.

What Mike means is a different biological sex. This is the same deeply harmful agenda pushing the “No” campaign here in Australia. It’s the age-old myth that only two people of different biological sexes are capable of making a lasting commitment to one another and raising children in a safe, happy and loving home. It’s the same archaic notion that heterosexual marriages are the only kind of “moral” or “right” context in which to bring up children.

We have recently had the misfortunate of seeing the ‘No’ ad air here in Australia, which doesn’t actually address the issue of Marriage Equality at all. Instead, it distracts us with a fear-inducing myth that allowing same-sex couples to marry will corrupt the minds and lives of children.

Let me make this very clear. Whether they are married or not, research has shown that same-sex parents are often the most dedicated and nurturing parents you could imagine [3]. They also tend to raise children who are more socially progressive, open-minded and accepting of diversity and gender fluidity.

How could anyone argue that those qualities are negative? In a world that’s becoming ever more diverse and multicultural, why on earth are we suggesting that we don’t want to educate our children to be open-minded and accepting of people’s differences, whatever they may be?

So a young boy is told he can wear a dress to school (in the ad). Again, that has absolutely nothing to do with Marriage Equality. Also, nobody is going to force him to wear a dress to school if he doesn’t want to.

Just say there’s another young boy in the class who wants to try wearing a dress. He might decide it isn’t for him. He might jump for joy and feel like he’s finally free to express himself by wearing a dress. Either way, nobody is harmed.

The point here is that the child is given the choice to express himself freely and equally. He’s not told that because he isn’t biologically female, he can’t wear a dress. He won’t fear being bullied or harassed because every other child will be given the same opportunity. It will be normal to be different. And the world will not only keep on turning, it will be a better place for our children to grow up in.

The fair and equal opportunity to express who are you is not a Utopian concept. This is a reality. We have the power to ensure that LGBTQI+ people have the same legal right to freely be themselves and marry the person they love.

Take away the “LGBTQI+” from that sentence. It then reads as follows:

“People have the same legal right to freely be themselves and marry the person they love.”

We are all people. We are all equal. We should all have the equal right to marry the person we love.

Marriage Equality does not pose a threat to heterosexual couples. It does not harm children. The only people who are severely at risk in this debate are my LGBTQI+ friends, family and community, whose lives and relationships are being scrutinised and (literally) torn apart in a public forum.

That’s why I’m writing this letter to Marriage Equality, with love and in hope. My hope is that Australians will tick that “YES” box and stand together as equals. Equal love, equal rights.



  1. neil mckenzie

    October 5, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    I’m fairly confident we will have marriage equality soon Sarah (from a proud father)

    • admin


      October 6, 2017 at 9:42 am

      We at Open Forum certainly hope so too Neil.