Over the past few weeks, the rhetoric surrounding the marriage-equality debate has moved into the territory of “what would the neighbours think?”
Today, our closest neighbour and trade partener has weighed in, with the Indonesia’s foreign ministry saying… we don’t care who marries who; it’s your country.
Spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told the ABC marriage equality was an issue for the Australian Government as it was an issue of Australian law.
“I think that’s an issue that has to be decided by the government or the authority that’s discussing this issue,” he said.
“Because, as I understand it is a national legislation, national rules and legislation … and it has nothing to do with … our national law.
“In the context of [the Australia-Indonesia] relationship, it is always built on a mutually beneficial relationship.”
In Indonesia, where inter-faith marriages are not allowed, same-sex marriage is not even considered an option.
Asia’s response to Australia legalising same-sex marriage has been the major thrust of Senators Eric Abetz’s argument against the move, saying that in the “Asian century”, Australia should not accept same-sex marriage because the rest of Asia did not.
His statements were backed up by Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce who told the ABC’s Insiders program, “Eric is right in saying where we live economically is south-east Asia, that’s where our cattle go.
“When we go there, there are judgments whether you like it or not that are made about us. They see us as decadent.”
An expert has said the other regionally important player, China, is also unconcerned about Australia’s stances on same-sex marriage and that there was popular support for gay marriages, even in the state-owned press.
Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian said while China was still a very traditional society, the taboo of talking about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues was fading.
Meanwhile, The Independent reports today an unprecedented petition from Japan’s gay and lesbian community to legalise unions between gay couples, with 455 members of the LGBT community, including 142 same-sex couples, filed the request with the country’s biggest bar association in an attempt to win the right to marry.
If Asia doesn’t care then who does? What do you think is really holding Australia back on same-sex marriage?