#Human Rights

Should same-sex marriage be legalised in Australia?

One of the government’s roles is to ensure that all Australian citizens have access to fairness, justice and equality. The government is reinforcing prejudice by not allowing equality and the same rights to all citizens. Discrimination comes in many forms and singling out people because of their sexual orientation, and prohibiting them from being legally joined in marriage is just another type.

At the start of 2006, a week before Mardi Gras, Treasurer Peter Costello told the Sydney Institute gathering that marriage rightly applied only to man and woman.

He pointed to changes in 2004 to the Marriage Act allowing homosexuals access to their partner’s superannuation as an example of how the government had recognised gay rights.

However it was a comment about how the government does not outlaw gay sex that angered Ms Stricker and Professor Phelps, a former president of the Australian Medical Association, working GP and a media commentator.

Mr. Costello said: “I think we do recognise the rights of gay and lesbian people in Australia. We do not criminalise conduct or behaviour.”

Professor Phelps, offended by the comment, said it would be like saying to Mr. Costello at the Mardi Gras: “You are really lucky that we don’t lock you up because you are heterosexual.”

Sydney has one of the highest gay, lesbian and bisexual populations in the world, all of whom should have the same rights as the rest of society. Same-sex marriage will provide access to social benefits—from inheritance, to pensions, to longer hospital visitation rights. Why are Australians saying that it’s alright to be homosexual, promoting clubs and bars and even celebrating a mass parade (Mardi Gras) every year, however drawing a line at same-sex marriages?

Some people believe that same-sex marriage will be a threat to the institution of marriage. Homosexuality is recognised in our society and broadly accepted. It is nothing new, so why would allowing same-sex marriages affect Australian society and life?
Marriage simply allows people to be legally bonded in a social and economic contract.

Marriage is not solely about procreation. If that were the case, people who were unable to have children would be refused marriage licenses, as would the couples solely focused on a working life. People marry for many other reasons such as love, companionship and commitment. Legislating for gay marriage merely recognises the status quo. There are already a lot of same-sex couples in Australia involved in a committed relationship, and positively contributing to Australian society.

Those who argue against same-sex marriage and for marriage inequality are denying children the legal protection and economic safety that comes from marriage. All children should be able to enjoy the tangible and intangible benefits that marriage - hetero or homosexual - can bring. A lot of same-sex parents want what heterosexual parents want—the freedom to marry, so as to provide a stable and committed environment for themselves and their family.

Marriage is a legal, economic, social and family contract that has evolved over time. It has an ever-changing face. It can adapt. There is nothing in the ‘contract’ that prohibits same-sex couples from enjoying the same benefits. These were just prejudices in the past. Let’s evolve with the times.

We, the people of Australia, urge the government to allow same-sex marriage. Marriage - It's about love, not gender.

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The Support same-sex marriage petition to Government was written by Haylee Mittermair and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.