Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Australian Leadership Can Make a Bold Move for Equality

The people of Australia have made it clear they support the rights of more people to marry. Those of us on the right side of history are happy to see more people around the world being free to have the relationships to which they mutually agree and to live out their gender identity. The leadership of the country can make a bold move for equality and take a leadership position in civil rights by bringing about full marriage equality.

This blog, and the related Facebook page, calls for relationship rights for all adults, including full marriage equality. When we say that an adult should be free to marry any and all consenting adults, we actually mean it. We have not hidden that.

As we see, there is no good argument against full marriage equality. So let's stand up for the rights of ALL adults to have the relationships to which they mutually agree.

Yes, we support the right of a white woman to marry a man of indigenous or African ancestry, or 30-year-old man to marry a 60-year-old woman, or a man to marry a man, or a woman to marry two men, or a woman to marry the half-brother she first met when they were both adults. None of these marriages hurt anyone else. None of these marriages hurt anyone, at least not in and of themselves. There are people who aren't right for each other, there are abusers, but that has to do with the individuals involved, and not the general freedom to marry.

Everyone has their own interests, priorities, likes and dislikes, prejudices, and biases. Some people care only about their needs, not those of anyone else. But we (including many LGBTQ people, and many people who are in or seeking plural marriage, a polygamous marriage, a polyamorous relationship, or a consanguineous relationship) are people who support the rights of all adults. We support full marriage equality, not just a freedom to marry for this group or that group. A decent person does not have to like the idea of every one of these relationships to support the rights of adults to have the relationships they want. A person doesn't have to want something for themselves or a loved one to have compassion for others who do need it.

We've been told that we are asking for too much in asking for full marriage equality, that by insisting that consanguineous or polyamorous lovers have their rights, too, that I was going to hurt the cause and there could be a swing of the proverbial pendulum, essentially back to the hetero-monogamous married only climate of condemning and denying rights to poly people, LGBTQ people, unmarried lovers, etc. But momentum is strong and increasing. We're not going to see a reduction in LGBTQ rights; we're going to see a continuing advance. Including rights for the polyamorous or consanguinamorous will not jeopardize this; rather, standing up for relationship rights for all will strengthen the rights for LGBTQ people. That is true because the people are evolving, for the most part, not because they no longer have their own aversions to relationships different than their own (many of them still do), but because they can think and they have thought through it and realized that consenting adults should be themselves and have their relationships and not be treated as second class citizens for doing so. When someone says we should support rights for consenting adults ...except for polyamorous and consanguinamorous relationships they are actually undermining LGBTQ rights and the related freedoms to marry, because the people to whom they are making their appeal find the appeal insincere.

Almost all who do oppose or have opposed interracial, same-gender, polyamorous, and consanguineous sexuality/relationships/marriage have done so for two primary reasons:

1. personal disgust
2. their religion

Sometimes those two reasons are indistinguishable.

But when people are calmly but firmly asked to think it through, and their concerns are addressed, they realize that there is no good reason to oppose consensual relationships between consenting adults. When someone insists that it is still OK or right to oppose polyamorous or consanguineous relationships, they are almost invariably bringing back an argument that they just dismissed when it comes to other freedoms to marry. To say that it is permissible to deny polyamorous or consanguineous lovers their rights, someone actually undermines the case for their own rights.

Now is the time to push for the rights of ALL adults. The bigots are in retreat. There's no going back. There may be some isolated backlash, but this kind of prejudice is dying out... literally. When we respond to the stubborn bigots by saying yes, discrimination against some adults is OK, the remaining observers, who are the ones who can be persuaded to support rights for LGBTQ people, are going to lose respect for the argument for equality. So the best response to "What's next?" is "Rights for all consenting adults. Why is that a problem?" The bigots won't have a good reason. Put them on the defensive, and they'll lose.

These disputes are nothing new to the civil rights movement. Going all the way back to when African-Americans were still enslaved here in the US, there were disputes about what rights to seek and how to seek them. "Do we fight for desegregation? For interracial marriage?" Those fighting for women's rights have had similar disputes. "Do we fight for lesbians or not?" To this day, there are people who say civil rights are for African-Americans. Not for gays, not for Mexican Americans. Don't play that game. Don't let that happen in Australia. Stand up for the rights of all adults. You don't have to like the idea of interracial relationships, or same-gender relationships, or polyamorous relationships, or consanguineous relationships to realize that people should have their rights.

Standing up for full marriage equality is not only the principled thing to do, it is the practical thing as well. There are people who are suffering right now because their loving, lasing, happy, healthy relationship is denied equality or even criminalized. This is not right, and it needs to end.

What’s the problem with letting consenting adults be together the way they want? Challenge the prejudiced. They won’t have a good answer. They’ll scoff, or jump up and down, or point and say “See!!!” But those aren’t arguments. They don’t explain why we should discriminate against any consensual relationships between adults.

Over and over and over again, this blog has called for solidarity between marginalized communities and their allies so that we stand up for the rights and dignity of all adults to be themselves and have their relationships. Will you do please likewise???

Equality "just for some" is not equality! Full marriage equality will happen sooner or later. We're helping to make it sooner. There's no good reason to deny it. The leadership of Australia can make history and lead the way for the whole world. Change the laws so an adult is free to marry ANY and ALL consenting adults.
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1 comment:

  1. Excellent work, Keith! I wish someone would send it to all our MPs, many of who know that is was allies like us who helped get the SSM this far. It would be nice if those in authority did everyone a favour and legislated for Full Marriage Equality here right now. (The law here apparently already recognizes those polygamous marriages entered into overseas, as it already accepts SSM marriages entered into overseas. We are getting there. The politicians now have some real numbers to consider how conservative or not the public really is.


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