Today leader of the opposition Bill Shorten will put forward his bill to legalise gay marriage in Australia. This is the beginning of a long process where it will go to a vote (likely not until August or as late as November) and then legislation will be put in place. It’s a fight that so many Australians – irrespective of sexual preference – have been fighting and this bill could mark the start of Australia’s equality for same sex people. However, there’s one question that hasn’t been discussed, that should be. What does marriage mean in 2015? What exactly are we all fighting for?
Right now, couples have just about a 1 in 2.5 chance of getting divorced after marriage. It’s something that has decreased rapidly over the last few decades and something that is very scary. Once upon a time, marriages were a commitment that didn’t have an expiry date, they were something that we entered into knowing it was for life. So if there is such a slim chance of it working out for life – as we intend at the time of marrying, is there a point in fighting to have marriage for all when it so often doesn’t work?
A young radio host on Triple Js breakfast show who was openly gay said, “I don’t really want to get married, however it would be nice to know I’m equal with everyone else to have the option”.
And this is what most people need to understand about this same-sex marriage bill – it’s about equality, about giving every man and every woman equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference.
However, the question of what marriage means in 2015 is an interesting one.
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We can assume that to most people it does mean actually making a commitment to someone else for the rest of your life. And we can assume that it means spending your life with them.
However, when it comes to the concept of living “as a couple” this isn’t something that you need marriage to do. Under Australian law, a couple who has lived together for more than one year is classified as a De facto couple and has almost all of the same legal obligations and restraints as a married couple.
By definition, marriage is the “legally or formally recognised union of a man and woman as partners in a relationship”. So if there’s other ways to do this, that same-sex couples are already doing, why are they fighting for more?
Today let’s explore the concept of marriage and exactly what it is in 2015… It’s changed a lot over the last 60 years as have the roles within a marriage. So how do you see marriage today?
Tell us, what does marriage mean in 2015? Is it still sacred, despite the fact it so often doesn’t work? Is it something worth fighting for? Share your thoughts in the comments below…