Posted by Tim Harrison
Recent press like this article discussing Climate Change Minister Penny Wong’s comments on gay marriage show what she says is a two edged sword.
Perhaps calling her a hypocrite is perhaps inevitable on the surface of things.
But is it possible she’s right to an extent? Is “marriage”, largely recognised as “an institution between a man and a woman” something we should maintain as a heterosexual “institution”? Should the concept of “gay marriage” be simply an extension of the existing form of marriage or is it perhaps a cue to come up with something new?
One thing, however, remains clear. Despite the government’s laudable actions to revise “80 pieces of legislation to make sure we remove discrimination in a range of areas, such as social security”, there are still holes.
Without some form of legal recognition endowed upon their loving relationships, gay and lesbian partners must still do extra to ‘prove’ they are a couple at law. With no equivalent of a marriage certificate, there is an obvious loophole. This, regardless of pomp and ceremony, must be fixed. Now.
So, Penny is right that marriage to most our minds is a ‘man and woman’ thing.
But she is wrong – damn wrong – to sit back and say that the “80 pieces of legislation” are enough.
Penny may be proud (and rightly so) of the “value and importance of same-sex relationships”, but until the right to have any loving relationship legally recognised in this country is in place, toeing the party line is not good enough.
With the election mere weeks away now, the possibility of a political party that will support equality for all has never looked further away.