Protecting "marriage"

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.

16 thoughts on “Protecting "marriage"

    • Thanks Annelise… some of the views expressed in the media have been downright scary! Some have shown a total lack of understanding about child development…

      Take care,

  1. Full disclosure: I’m heterosexual but don’t want to get married ever, probably.

    I find some of the ways that anti-marriage-equality people talk about heterosexual marriage very upsetting, because the household I grew up in was a traditional middle-class nuclear family and I feel that that was used by other people to assume that nothing untoward was going on. I feel that as long as traditional families are invested with a kind of “respectability” that others lack, abuse will be ignored. I find it difficult to cope with the idea that a heterosexual couple getting married somehow invests their children’s lives with some magical property very difficult to cope with; if that were the case then there would be a lot less abuse. I understand that some people don’t like the idea of gay couples being able to get married, but I wish that they’d argue against it based on their own feelings instead of lying about the experiences of people like me to make their point.

      • Hi Jan,

        I can see what you mean about that veil of respectability… I’m sure that veil is part of the reasoning behind my dissociation – there was such extremes in what was happening in one area of my life; yet, in others, everything appeared “normal”. It’s a very traditional stereotype that can hide, and excuse so much.

        The idea of access to marriage being based on anything other than a human right, means that stereotypes are being reinforced.

        Take care,

  2. Here here (or is it hear hear, I never know).

    I agree with you completely. I read a great article by one of our conservative pollies recently – the article talked about how the anti-equality peeps claim same sex marriage would undo the sanctity of marriage. Like your husband, your parents, my parents, every other abusive parents didn’t undo it already. Let alone people like Brittney and that Kardashian girl, married for ridiculously short periods of time. Those anti equality peeps make me sooooo MAD!!

    • Hi Kerro,

      I agree… the sanctity of marriage is eroded by those who shouldn’t have gone near it to begin with, rather than anything else.

      I hope the Bill is passed into legislation here, but I somehow doubt it will. I’m not sure why… probably the talk about referendum’s, rather than parliamentary vote. As referendum’s aren’t binding, I don’t see the point in this instance, other than as a delay tactic.

      Take care,

  3. Thinking about the time we were young and in total awe of “The Brady Bunch,” we didn’t have the term that came to mind after leaving for college. Basically, the term is dysfunctional family. Our family was dysfunctional, but we were still surviving it and continue to prod on. Yay Us! Yay You! I hold an understand that hetero- or homo-relationships can work. I would hope that something new could be learned to make relationships more beneficial to all family members and that people “in love” and in marriage can earn the trust and devotion of their family members through being “what’s right in this world.” Good luck with the passage of the bill mentioned!

    Our best,

    • Hi Anns,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting…

      Sadly, families don’t come with any guarantees of safety, love, or acceptance. I wish they did…

      We both made it through our dysfunctional pasts, and have the opportunity to make the most of our future… sounds easy, huh? I know it’s not…

      Take care,

      • Nope, nope … never easy, but sometimes fun! We’ve been visiting our Multiple neighbors like you … like we’ve all been dancing to the same tune – and we’re singing from the same street. Just we come with different talents and techniques! Ready, ready … what’s next!? Future ahead!!

        Our best,

  4. I found this article very informative. you are right about the fact that some heterosexual couples cause unspeakable harm behind the “married” label.

  5. Wonderful post. Could say so many things but I can’t order them right now. I will say I agree with you. I am terrible at commenting on your posts I know. I do read and think of you and hope you are okay.

    • Thanks Meredith…

      I never expect you to comment on anything I write, and don’t want to put you in a place where you feel forced to do so. Sorry if I have :-/

      I’m doing ok… Be better when summer arrives!

      Take care of yourself,

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