Equal marriage has become one of the most topical issues facing our country today – and rightly so. Very rarely does another topic touch the very constitutions of our society and its beliefs regarding equality, justice and dignity.
I would be one of the first to readily admit that I await my Mr Darcy to come along and sweep me off my feet right into the nearest chapel. But tight now, such a dream is not available to me. On the current state of the law, some people are denied the opportunity to celebrate their commitment publicly, not for want of love and affection, fidelity and devotion, but because some other people have said that they shall not. It is, in some bitter irony, truly a struggle between pride and prejudice.
The marriage equality movement is important for two reasons. Directly, it is a movement that aims to secure a civil right. Indirectly it engenders in our society a certain type of discourse where justice and equality take the spotlight.
Justice is an idea. An idea, like a seed, can grow into something big, something strong and powerful. As a seed grows into a tree it bears fruit for all enjoy. So too the labours of civil libertarians will benefit society as a whole. But the seed needs fertile soil, it must be watered and tended to. Same then for ideas - they are mute without their advocates. Our liberal democratic society is fertile soil for justice. If we persevere in our cause, justice will yield the fruit of equality.
This is the hope upon which I ride when I support equal marriage. But at the same time, I am conscious not to lose sight of the battles ahead. We should remember the energy that we gave for our cause, because that is the same energy that we should give to any other cause to advance the welfare of our fellow Australians. Remember especially the energy that our friends and our families gave to supporting our cause, because we should fight for their cause with the same dedication of theirs to ours.
We should keep in mind demographics like youth, Indigenous Australians, immigrants, the elderly, and all those who are on the margins of society. Why should they not enjoy the fruits of equality alongside us and all other Australians? Indeed there are not an insignificant number of us in the LGBT community who fall into one or more of those above demographics. If we stand for diversity, then we should embrace its every facet. Prejudice must necessarily be defeated before we can embrace pride in diversity.
To this end we should recognise that equal marriage is only one facet of discrimination in our society. There is an old adage that there is no rest for the wicked. We must be vigilant against mischief and social injustice. Until the last Australian can walk proudly with their head held high and free from prejudice, we too cannot rest.