First, let me make it clear that I have no issues with what is a natural occurrence, i.e. that there may be duality of gender but there is certainly a plurality of sexualities. I will not, therefore, single out one or more of those sexualities as
I will not, therefore, consider it logical or valid to single out one or more of those sexualities as being in some way “inappropriate” or in some mysterious way, less valid than another. Neither will I tolerate abuse of any sort being justified on such grounds.
Difference is not deficit and should not be treated as such, though that is too often the case in our world.
Marriage is a religious institution or “rite”. It is a ritual carried out under the auspices of a particular religion for the purpose of conveying the blessing of that religion’s god upon the people marrying. What “rights” this ritual confers differ according to the religion under which it is carried out.
Issues of “rights” as opposed to rites come about where religion has, to one exent or another, allied itself with the State, by fair means or foul, and caused religious perspectives to be incorporated within social norms backed by the apparatus of State government and the laws it determines for its citizens.
As a result of being founded by a Christian nation, indeed one in which the Sovereign is also the Head of the Church, the Australian States which came togetherd to produce modern Australia did so within a Christian ethos that was as much assumed as declared. That Australia has been seen as a Christian nation is easily evidenced by the rituals relating to parliamentary procedure, the swearing of oaths on a Christian Bible, and in a wide variety of other rituals and ceremonies.
There are many problems with this situation, some of which have been recognised and received some alleviation and others that remain. Foremost among changes has been that most marriages, for some time, have been conducted under the legal provisions for “marriage” ceremonies to be undertaken at Registry Offices or by officially sanctioned Marriage Celebrants. These marriages are as valid as those undertaken by a priest in a church, as far as civil “rights” are concerned but may couple those whom a church, for one reason or another, would refuse to marry.
The same-sex marriage debate is thus inflated and contentious without reason.
Leaving aside bigotry, hypocrisy and prejudice, the reality is that we have laws that confer precisely the same legal status and associated rights on those who “marry” outside the church as those who marry within it.
We also have laws which confer the freedom of religion on our citizens, regardless of whether that religion is Christian or not.
The essence of this issue and key to resolving it thus lies in the conflation of church and state, or religious and non-religious views of “marriage.”
The problem can be solved simply:
- Make *Civil Union* conducted by officers of the State or those endorsed for such purpose by the State, as the institution that confers civil and legal rights to those in what are currently termed “marriages”
- Cease to use the term “marriage” for other than those who have entered into *Civil Union* but also wish to have their commitment to one another made under their god and blessed according to the rites and rituals of their particular church.
In this way, there is no impediment or forced accommodation placed on any church to marry those who do not subscribe to its doctrine. There is also no restriction on those who want the sanctity of their relationship to be endorsed by their church and god.
Equally, there is no impediment to equal recognition and legality of partnership and commitment for those who are not religious or who are denied religious sanction.
Already, approximately three quarters of marriages take place outside of a religious ritual. Already we have a system of Registry Offices and Marriage Celebrants endored by law to confer the rights and status of “marriage” on those who want it.
So the means and organisation are already in place for such a change. The inflammatory arguments that have been made on relgious and other grounds against same-sex “marriage”, become irrelevant and redundant. The religious, civil and legal rights of all are respected. Such a change should thus satisfy all, as well as the concepts of religious freedom and social equity that are meant to underpin our democracy.