As a warning, I’m a bit (lot) angry today, so this may well read more as a rant, than reasoned discussion…
Late last month, Louisa Wall’s private member bill, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, was introduced for discussion into New Zealand Parliament. I realise that the idea of equitable access to marriage for everyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, can be challenging for some people. It’s a concept that can cut through to strong moral beliefs, and cause a reaction. I realise that I could well be setting myself up for attacks, and misunderstandings because of writing about this… but, I’m a little stunned at some of the extreme reactions that I’ve seen… and amazed at the misinformation being disseminated.
If I was in a better head space, I’d do some research to counter that misinformation… but I’m not; so instead, I’ll tell you a little about my experiences with “traditional” marriage…
I grew up in a middle class, predominantly European neighbourhood. My father and mother both worked; and to all outward appearances, we were the “ideal” family. However, we were far from an “ideal family”, with psychological, physical, and sexual abuse being the norm.
Then, there was my marriage… again, a traditional arrangement between a man and woman… again, psychological, physical, and sexual abuse was the norm.
It would be really easy for me to say that “traditional marriage” is the problem within society, as my experience is that marriage between a man and woman is 100% abusive. Thankfully, I’m a little more open-minded than that… I know that it’s not the gender or sexual identity of the person within the marriage that is the problem; but rather their empathy, relational skills, and so many other things that make a person who they are. This is why statements such as Colin Craig’s (Conservative Party leader) concern me…
Mr Craig rubbishes the argument that parenting is about loving the child rather than the sexuality of their parents.
“I disagree with that point of view. Love is not all that matters [emphasis added]”.
“Love is not all that matters”? Really? I grew up in a household where healthy love was scarce, so I respectfully disagree with Colin Craig. If I had the choice between being raised within my abusive heterosexual led family; or one headed by a parent who showed me healthy, appropriate love… I’d pick the latter, every time.
The thing is, I also agree that love is not all that matters… people should choose to have children based on their ability to provide for that child. I’ve seen heterosexual couples who would make great parents, struggle to conceive; and I’ve seen couples who aren’t able to care for themselves, let alone a child; have children on a yearly cycle. So no, love isn’t all that matters… But, when you’re using that argument as a reason to stop marriage equality; I have a problem with it.
Marriage is about more than bringing children into this world… isn’t it? It’s also more than the sexual orientation and identity of the people involved… isn’t it? I’d like to think so… not because I want to marry; but, because marriage symbolises hope… hope that people can love, commit, and want the best for another person. I know that marriage doesn’t always work out, and that people change, or don’t change, over time… but, it’s an important aspect of our culture, and to exclude people from that is wrong.
Note: I’m not including any illegal activities when considering sexual identity or orientation.