As I see it: Equality 151



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George Aiken once said “If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and colour, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon”.

Once again, I have been reading, talking and listening to a variety of comments on a number of topics involving equality.

Somewhere on this Mortal Coil, we seem to have gotten out of tilt. At the fore is the debate once again around same sex marriage, or civil union. So, as I see it, it’s this simple: what you do behind closed doors is your business, no one else’s.

I remember growing up in a rural community, amidst a hardened bunch of farmers and railway workers – tough men – but here’s the thing: they were big softies and cared about their community and the folk in it.

Amongst them were a couple of blokes, ordinary blokes, going about their daily business. One a successful international dress designer, the other a store manager. 

Many a time, my mother would send me to this store to get this and that and I was always impressed with the neatness and well organised layout of the shop. Nothing out of place and its manager immaculately dressed. Polite to everyone that came and went.

On cold wet miserable days during winter, he would provide a “cuppa” for those that came to town once a month to buy their supplies, sometimes covered in mud, wet and cold, still in their bush clothes. That cup of tea and a freshly made scone provided a welcome relief. Nothing was a bother and everyone was welcome. You see, in his eyes everybody was equal. He would fuss over the wives and show them the latest catalogues and dote over the children, while the men would go about their business heading off to the sale-yards or to the local pub. Good business you might say, as he sold a lot of product.

The other bloke was a successful dress designer, had won numerous international awards, but choose to live in this small rural community. He travelled the world, mixing on the international stage and was the envy of many, but proud of his community. 

Many a time I would pop into his store and we would talk of people he had dined with: musicians, royalty, millionaires and the stars. He would produce photo albums and point out his favourites –Hepburn, Bacall, Andrews, Bergman, Loren …the list was endless.

I would listen for hours to the stories and he would transport me to another world, another time. We would listen to his prized Jazz recordings, given to him personally by some of the greats – George Shearing, Ella Fitzgerald, the “Count” Armstrong… He introduced me to this wonderful world of Jazz and used to say.

”When they play their music, they stand as equal”

You see, I have never forgotten this and my love of Jazz continues to this day. 

I was young and impressionable at this time. I met many of his friends over the years, amongst them that infamous Drag Queen Carmen, many many stars and entertainers, all simple friends!

It was for me a special time in my life, but here’s the thing: these two blokes were gay! That’s right… gay! They had formed a friendship back in 1952 and had remained together till their dying day. Together, living, loving and sharing their whole lives all these years, in this hardened rural community.

Oh, many suspected they were a little different, but no one really cared. Many a time, I would hear the odd comment about these two blokes.

At first, I said nothing, but one incident led me to speak out. I did and to this day, I have no regrets. I continue to speak out.

There are still are people living in this town and many others just like it, that remain ‘homophobic’. That’s their choice. They too, have the right to speak out, but they do not, in my opinion have the right to condemn others for their choices.

‘That’s their business’.

But let me just say this: I have never seen a more loving, devoted and caring couple as these two.  

When one of these men fell ill, the other nursed him until he breathed his last breath. Sadly, he died of a broken heart just days later.

Both their funerals were held on the same day. The church overflowing with people, spilling out on to the streets; the hardened farmers; retired bush and railway workers, their children, families and friends. All their in their finest Sunday best, all there to pay their final respects to two beautiful men.

Both these two men were loved and respected. Not one person cared about their sexual preference. They were there to pay their respect to two gentlemen that cared unconditionally for their community.

Sadly, this world has changed.

In a very short space of time, we have become so caught up in all of its political correctness, that we have, in many ways, forgotten about the old fashioned values that we were instilled with. 

We just don’t want to be seen to be stepping outside of the box and speaking out.

President Obama along with others, has done that.

Perhaps you might just say it is nothing more that political, you are entitled to that.

The church has its view and tries to persuade us, telling us what they want us to hear. Perhaps we should just look at the time of the Borgias!

Politicians influence us, as do many other social factors today but when I had the privilege of seeing a relationship built on love and trust (in the middle of the challenging & changing times through the 60’s)  last into this century, I have to start to wonder.

You see, they got something right.

But….sadly, as George Aiken said:

“If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and colour, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon”.

My dear friends didn’t care how society saw them.

To each other and all those who had the pleasure of knowing these two gentle men, they were simply “EQUAL” in every way.

Tell us: where do you stand on same sex marriage?

Brian Portland

Broadcast Journalist.. Australasian Correspondent FSN Washington & London. Speech Writer..Motivational Speaker.. Production Voice Specialist.. Creative Writer.. (Speech, Print, Radio & Television) Double above knee amputee.. Motivational Speaker..(Available for any speaking engagement..)

  1. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Gays already have civil unions with full legal rights.

    11 REPLY
    • Who says marriage is between a man and a women. This is only a man made law. If civil union are fine then lets get rid of the marriage act completely and all human adult union can be civil unions……

    • Ruth Hourigan This has been this way since the beginning of time. Marriage comprising of a man and a woman is the foundation that families are built on. Children need a mother and father. Civil unions give gays full legal rights. Even the famous gays Dolce and Gabbanna recognise this.

    • It is a historical fact that marriage is between a man & a woman except for a few rare extreme circumstances.

    • John Mellor Children actually need parents who love them unconditionally. There are WAY too many cases of neglect by a mother & father. Just because you are heterosexual does not mean you are better at love than a same sex couple. In most cases I can see they actually love the kids more as they know how blessed they are. I think your opinion is flawed.

      What about that mother who put her daughter into a case in Mt Driutt?
      What about that mother/father who starved their child to death in Hawks Nest? We actually inspected the house before we knew the history & couldn’t get out of there fast enough. explained the locks on the doors to the bedroom.
      What about all the children terribly abused by their parents and constantly taken away by Child Services? Seen it time and time again on the news.

      Yes these are not the norm, but do NOT insinuate because you are gay you are not fit to raise children.
      I hate to state the obvious….but….all gays came from a heterosexual couple whether married or not. Has nothing to do with the upbringing at all. They are either gay or they are heterosexual, has nothing to do with upbringing by a married couple FFS.
      BTW I am a heterosexual but all this debate I think that if any of our kids decide they are gay I would want to protect their interests so they have the same rights.

    • Kay Eller I respect your opinion. No scenario is perfect in this world and human flaws are always going to be there but a child deserves a mum & a dad. I have no doubt that gays are capable of sincere love for children & each other but they can never give what a family has been designed to be.

    • no we dont have full rights or equality. put the shoe on the other foot and see how you feel.

    • Matt Wright How warped is that little bit of info! Homosexuality was condemned in the Bible and multiple wives was still a man/ woman situation.

  2. Beautiful story. So glad these gents could enjoy each other and love each other. In my circles, I am hearing more and more about people I know “coming out” and I think that’s great if that’s what they want.

  3. These two guys had a great loving life and didn’t need to get married to show their love for each other. Let’s keep it that way, I don’t support same sex marriage.

    14 REPLY
    • Pamela in what way does it hurt you if two people of the same sex marry? Your life will go on just as it does now. They deserve to be equal with every other human on this earth to have all the same rights. The world won’t stop turning if it does.

    • Because Pamela has a right to feel the way she does. There is too much tearing down of good institutions to make things “equal”. Thanks for having the courage to state your opinion Pamela.

    • Can I ask James & Pamela do you then condone that as they are not recognised as married, that if one of the couple falls gravely ill they have no rights? I have no issues with your opinion that you don’t agree with same sex marriage as that is your choice, BUT a same sex couple should have the same choices, not just swept under the carpet. BTW there is no “institution” any more.

    • Kay, There is always Power of Attorney which covers the rights issue and I agree with pamela.

    • That’s the thing isn’t it Kay. If one dies the other has no rights, and the family can over-ride any will they have. I wonder how many of that same family didn’t want to know them when they were together

    • Kay Eller 100% ! I struggle to understand why some people feel that if everyone is afforded the same rights and opportunities that will make their current advantages somehow “less than”. It’s a bit like blokes saying, if women get the same pay as me then there will be less opportunities for me. So many saying gay couples can do this or that to work around their current disadvantages. Well how about we just remove the disadvantages?

    • Kay Eller , how about sex with pre-teen children and bestiality??? Where do you draw the line???

    • Barb Wright Power of Attorney only gives a person the right to conduct your financial affairs if you become incapable of conducting your own. We are advised that along with making a Will, we all should sign a Power of Attorney agreement whether we are married or not. It as no other legal function. Please get your facts right.

    • Barb Wright glad to see some people agree with me, everyone has their own opinion, so let it be…

    • Bardi Grub be reasonable. We’re talking about a relationship between two consenting adults, not child pornography or beastiality.

    • Bardi Grub well that’s very ignorant, maybe you need to educate yourself on the subject 👎👎

  4. Marriage is a contract between two humans who want to make a legal union to each other regardless of what genitals they have.

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