On Twitter yesterday @crikey_news conducted a crash poll on same sex marriage, asking our gay readers if they really wanted to get married anyway. The vast majority answered that to have the choice was the whole point, and an important one at that. Crikey reader John wrote this comment at the bottom of yesterday’s editorial on the website. We thought it worth republishing:
I was very disappointed with the contribution of my MP, Malcolm Turnbull, to last night’s debate on Adam Bandt’s motion relating to same-sex marriage. Seeking reflected glory from his father-in-law’s fine qualities doesn’t cut the mustard with me. Bragging about the Howard government’s tiny contributions towards equality is silly.
Philip Ruddock was an impediment in the process of reform rather than being a facilitator. Malcolm’s fig-leaf, which he held to cover the Liberal Party’s past record of homophobia, was its support for the HREOC reforms when the Liberal Party was in opposition in 2008. However, coming late to the reform agenda is not the same as showing courage when you are in government.
Murray Hill and John Gorton are the Liberal Party’s only heroes from the past for homosexuals. Warren Entsch, Mal Washer and Simon Birmingham are today’s heroes, but sadly, not Malcolm on marriage.
In last night’s debate, Ruddock relied on the sentence that “marriage is a union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others voluntarily entered into for life”.
The phrase “to the exclusion of all others” has been misunderstood and misrepresented. The “for life” part no longer operates.
The part of the wedding vow that states “to the exclusion of all others” is meant to exclude adultery from one’s marriage, not to exclude same-sex unions from the institution of marriage.
While I respect Turnbull’s personal right to hold on to a traditional definition of marriage, he doesn’t represent his constituents’ rights to have change and progress.
We returned him in 2010 because we thought he might again become the leader of his party and because we thought he would be a progressive leader. Unfortunately, neither came to pass. There is still the possibility of his re-claiming the leadership but I think Wentworth may elect a Green MP next time unless Turnbull stands for liberal progress instead of traditional conservatism.
On a very personal note, I have been married to my husband for 35 years.
For the first 25 years, until hormone treatment for prostate cancer rendered him impotent, we fucked like rabbits. That covers “to have and to hold”.
He has had two heart attacks followed by two coronary artery by-pass operations, type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer and dementia, and several other medical misfortunes. I would call that “in sickness and in health”.
We have been financially sound, then vulnerable, then sound again. I would call that “for richer, for poorer”.
My husband is an alcoholic and he lost his job because of that and rampant homophobia. Nevertheless, there have been many good things about him and many good times shared. I think that covers “for better, for worse”.
We are still married but he turned 80 this year. I suspect we will remain married “until death us do part”.
I say that because, unlike those whose marriages are legally recognised, we can’t serve divorce papers on each other, even if we wished. We can only end our marriage by separation and desertion. He lacks legal capacity to do either and I wouldn’t abandon a man with dementia, who is dependent on me financially, physically and emotionally. That would be immoral.
I am no longer my husband’s lover but I am still his carer. That seems to cover “to love and to cherish”.
Some people may think our marriage is immoral. I think we have behaved with the utmost morality.
Come to think of it, I don’t know many straight couples who have demonstrated our level of commitment.