Marriage Equality Has Become A Bore: Discuss

pic by Andrew Reitermeyer

Australian Marriage Equality [AME] is trumpeting the notion that ‘thousands’ of same-sex couples are straining at the leash, ears cocked for the starters pistol, ready to race to Canberra and marry as soon as the ACT makes it legal.

They’ll need to put their best Nike’s forward, because the federal government will ask the High Court to yell “Stop!!” faster than you can say “my lawful wedded spouse”. The signals from the federal government are somewhat mixed: on the one hand the PM has indicated that marriage equality isn’t an issue of any great interest or priority; on the other hand, the Attorney General leaped on the ACT to ask them not to proceed as soon as the territory announced its intentions.

Meanwhile AME are urging us all to hurtle off to the national capital to take advantage of this once in a lifetime offer, and bury Federal Parliament under a mountain of rainbow confetti. Apparently this whole shebang will ‘build pressure’ or ‘maintain momentum’ or get us a spot on the 7.30 Report or something. Or not.

Regular readers will know why I’m not tossing my top hat into this particular ring: click here if you need reminding. And click here for Rodney Croome explaining why I’m wrong.

This two-steps-forward-three-back style of campaigning is all very well for the Americans, who have a squadrillion cases lumbering around their legal system, many of which may or may not end up in the Supreme Court. Click here for a summary.

The Supremes will haul the US over the line eventually. Say, when Justin Antonin Scalia can go ice-skating with his arch enemy Satan (Sshh! Scalia thinks he’s a real person).

The danger of this state-based strategy is that we will end up no better off, and possibly worse, no matter which way the Court rules. It’s also incredibly dull and boring.

If the states and territories can indeed legislate for same sex marriage, lesbians and gays will be superglued to the back of the bus with something that isn’t really marriage and definitely isn’t equality, while trans and intersex won’t even be allowed on it.

If the justices rule, contrariwise, that only feds can wed us, we’re no better off than we are now, and arguably worse. State-based bills will expire in their parliamentary wombs. The Coalition government will declare the issue dead and buried for our lifetimes. And the Christian Lobby will get to dance on our graves, in a loving, caring sort of way.

We could end up in a situation where the only way out will be a Constitutional amendment, and good luck with that anytime in the next century.

Otherwise you can just shred your ACT/NSW/Tasmanian marriage certificates into confetti while you wait for Labor to declare that equality is binding party policy, probably while they’re out on the ice with Satan and Scalia. And tell your grand-kids you were married once. For about a week. Well, sort of. Not really.

This has all become, not simply feeble, but terribly dreary, dull and repetitive. Even the Screaming Socialist Collective Marches have become routine. We need a genuine circuit breaker.

How about having fun with this? Aren’t weddings supposed to be joyous? Aren’t we supposed to be, like, creative?

Let’s stage a travelling wedding carnival, with carousels and dodgem cars, fairy floss and toffee apples, moving around the country rattling the collecting buckets, until it arrives on the lawns of parliament house. Then head in to the great hall of parliament hold a mass gay state-based circus wedding with fire-eaters, jugglers and unicyclists. If we can’t have the real thing, we might as well enjoy ourselves.

I might even wear my top hat for that.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)