There’s lots of arguments for same-sex marriage. Andrew Barr — ACT deputy chief minister, member of Labor’s National Right caucus, a delegate to the forthcoming ALP National Conference and a gay man — makes a pretty compelling case in Crikey today:
“The fact that I am gay has resulted in me being deemed a second-class citizen under Australian law. That is because under Australian law I cannot marry the person I love, the person that I am committed to.”
But this might be the definitive one: allow us to introduce John, who bravely commented on our story yesterday detailing Labor’s internal squabbling over the issue ahead of this weekend’s party conference. He wrote:
My partner and I have been in a same-sex de facto marriage for 36 years. He has cancer, heart disease, diabetes and dementia.
His sister and his nephew interfered in our de facto marriage this year when my de facto husband’s health deteriorated. They failed to respect our registered relationship certificate and my enduring power of attorney and enduring guardianship.
I didn’t interfere when his sister dumped her husband in a nursing home three months after beginning to interfere in my de facto marriage.
The obvious point of difference is that she has a legal marriage where ours is merely de facto. His sister and nephew are obviously still sufficiently homophobic after all these years that they don’t respect our de facto marriage.
The only way to remedy this problem is to legislate for same-s-x marriage.
To the Labor members who blithely claim they have already removed all discrimination from the law books, to those who say gay marriage is nothing but a symbolic gesture and isn’t a public policy priority — try telling that to John.