Sunday, July 23, 2006

Same-sex marriage in Australia

You know, I think the push for same-sex marriage in Australia might have been premature.

It didn't really evolve out of a societal demand from anyone in the Australian GLBT community personally asking to get married so much as get pushed out by political bodies looking to press what seemed to be an important issue elsewhere. That's my impression, anyway.

In fact the number of same-sex marriage activists who take the view of personally opposing the idea of marriage while supporting the concept of same-sex marriage "for those that want it" seems very high. Queer people should have the opportunity to do what they like, but trying to ape straight people's relationships is an inferior choice, seems to be the message.

I question the idea of one set of mores for opposite-sex relationships and another set of mores for same-sex relationships. I question why emulating opposite-sex relationships ought to be a thing best avoided.

Maybe I don't feel alienated by hetero-dom because I've never actually felt any kind of rejection over my sexuality from heterosexual people who matter to me. I'm pretty sure that some of them wouldn't even have a problem with me kissing a guy in front of them (assuming I currently had a guy to kiss of course, but anyway...), so I feel no real obligation to try and carve out some brand-new social space where I can "be gay" away from accusative heterosexual eyes. My view is that the problem isn't that we're in the wrong for publicly expressing our sexuality, but that the people expressing disgust at doing so are in the wrong for misunderstanding it, and it ought to be up to them, not us, to try and be more accomodating.

And there, I think, is the problem with same-sex marriage in Australia: the overall society here hasn't reached the point where there are that many pockets in which a queer person can "be gay" amongst heterosexuals. Without that ability to visibly be themselves in the heterosexual world, Australian GLBT people have no opportunity to get a personal feel for whether or not certain relationship mores stereotypically practised by opposite-sex couples are to their taste or not (and perhaps might occasionally even get a serious case of sour grapes about them) and see no need to try and fight for legal rights associated with them, and the Australian public at large can blissfully go down the uninformed path of homosexuality=sexual perversion to be tolerated, but not treated as equal to heterosexuality.

Same-sex marriage won't occur in this country until there are more LGBT individuals successfully integrated into and visible to overall Australian society. But do LGBT people in this country even want that?

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