Monday, 5 July 2010

Beyond Marriage Equality - The Liberty Agenda

I know, I'm like a broken record. Over and over I go on the topic of marriage equality. No idea why. I was always against the very institution of marriage and heteronormative society. Why I grabbed this issue and ran with it as my personal mission is somewhat of a mystery.

I suppose it started AFTER civil partnerships had been introduced. Before they were I was, quite rightly, annoyed that they were going to be separate and unequal (the idea they are equal to marriage is a fallacy, but I'll go into that another day, the more you look at the legislation the more you see that). But only in a small "I don't really care" sort of way. But when people started referring to them as marriage, when gay people started to act as if the fight for equality was over, and when the right wing religious nutters rubbed their hands with glee at their success, then I had a problem.

See, I've never been one for "gay liberation". I believe firstly in equality before the law. And secondly in liberation FOR ALL.

I started seeing LGBT people saying "We've got all the rights and responsibilities without needing to ape the heterosexual lifestyle". This irked me greatly. Firstly: there's no such thing as a "homosexual lifestyle" nor a "heterosexual lifestyle". Sure there are groups within each that might meet certain people's ideas of both. But to simply say all LGBT people live the same "lifestyle" and that all heterosexuals live a different but equally uniform lifestyle is wrong. Secondly: if they hate the heterosexual "lifestyle" they believe exists so much, why the Hell aren't they standing up for those heterosexuals caught up in it who want something different?? Are they just selfish?

So I set personal liberty FOR ALL, as the thing I wanted to help fight for. And we can't fight for that until everyone is treated equally before the law. When you have a set of unequal partnership laws, that adversely affect the most vulnerable people at their most vulnerable times (such as transgendered people following their transition) how can we have a sensible debate on change.

That's why I want marriage equality. Not as an end in itself. I don't wish to "ape heterosexuals". I want us to be equal. Then we can move on to the bigger goal... marriage reform. Privatising marriage, getting the Government (and the influence of the mainstream religions) out of it's formulation allowing individuals and organisations to set up their own partnership contracts and ceremonies. Why should marriage rights be reserved solely for those in love sexually (as they are right now, consummation is still part of the pertinent Acts)? Then, finally, the chains of marriage can be broken, and everyone will be free to form the partnerships they desire.

It's a long game, not a short one. But to those who don't think LGBT people should engage in propping up a broken institution, I agree with you. However your plan to sit it out isn't very constructive. I say we need to fight for freedom, not get our own little piece of "I can't believe it's not freedom" and let everyone else put up with something that is no longer suited to our modern society.

Whatever you believe, marriage equality is the only way to move forward the debate. Leave your prejudices against the word "marriage" at the door and get stuck in. Otherwise nothing will ever change. Start by signing this:

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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