It’s early days still for Donna and I as we explore what it is to become a blended family, a rainbow family…to experience all the excitement, wonder and joy of falling in love with each other, and what that might mean for our kids.
Being inner city Melbournians, the kids are surrounded by diversity – ethnic, cultural, gender, sexual – so the fact that my partner is a woman doesn’t faze them. Similarly families in our community are varied – blended families, single parents, same sex parents, children raised by aunties, grandparents etc….the concept of a ‘traditional’ family doesn’t have the same currency as when I was a child. Today’s generation embraces that diversity – there’s not the fixed 1950’s idea of what a family looks like. The anti gay marriage rhetoric privileges historical concepts of marriage and family that don’t hold true anymore for most Australians.
I’m a proud feminist and always been opposed to traditional marriage, the history of which sat in my consciousness as inextricably linked to the subjugation of women (and children). Needless to say, like many women of my generation, I never married the father of my kids. So these feelings coloured my opinions on gay marriage.I questioned the time and efforts the LGBTIQ community focused on what I saw as a heteronormative issue, and it wasn’t something I personally embraced.
But language is powerful. When discussing the politics of marriage equality with my eldest child, the institution, as I understood it, faded into insignificance and it became all about justice.Through her eyes I saw the inexplicable discrimination that sees people denied a fundamental right – to legally marry their partners. In following the debate here and internationally I understood the importance of accessing the rights, privileges and responsibilities the state grants to marriage, not only for individuals but for their families too.
When the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality earlier this year these words of Justice Anthony Kennedy brought tears to my eyes and really influenced my thinking: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family… two people become something greater than once they were…..marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death….They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”
And when the New Zealand parliament became the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalise same-sex marriage and erupted in song, then the Ireland vote and the recent US Supreme court ruling, the joy and emotion was overwhelming.So I find myself now transformed in politics and attitude as well as in my personal life, emotionally and intellectually embracing marriage equality, and hoping one day I might be able to stand before friends and family, my kids, to marry my lover – receiving “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”
October 10, 2015