Since when is it wrong to be merry and gay?

Election campaigns can be a frivolous thing. We all get so caught up in a whirlwind of ads, and debates, and staged news pieces, where leaders hug children, and wear hardhats, that we do not really have the time to process everything that is going on. Just as we start to comprehend the meaning of one thing, another comes flying at us from a whole new direction.

During this election, there were a number of social issues which were brought to the forefront of debate, and which have since died down in public conversation, alongside the subsiding election fever, some of which mark important changes to the status quo.

We are just shy of a month, since Labor leader Kevin Rudd, stood before the country on Q&A, and vocalised his passionate defence on the importance legalising of gay marriage. A month ago this nation stood divided, as this debate became one the most polarising conversations across the country.

The legalisation of gay marriage has been a hot topic in Australia for a while now. With a number of countries reforming their national laws to allow for the marriage of same sex couples, there has been great speculation, as to why Australia, a nation which prides itself on showcasing its gay community globally, is so far behind on this issue.

It seems that religion is the main driving force, preventing these changes from occurring, as the church does not condone gay marriage. Well my response, as a religious christian female – so what?

So what if the church does not want same-gendered individuals marrying at the alter? So what if it goes against the teachings of the bible, or the Qur’an, or  the Torah?

Why should religion dictate politics, when politics does not dictate religion?

There does not have to be a law which forces religious institutions to change their practice and tradition. Churches, mosques, and temples do not have to be forced to allow homosexual people to marry under the likes of their religion.

So many people misunderstand what gay marriage will mean for this country and for their religious traditions, so maybe a little anecdote will help these people understand. Take for example marriage in a Christian church – whether Catholic or Orthodox (I use this example because it is familiar to me). At this point in time, an individual is not recognised as being married in accordance with the church, unless it is done under the guidelines of the churches religious ceremony. Therefore, being married by a registrar is not considered a sacramental marriage.

So I ask a question, to all religious individuals, who want to prevent gay people from being married:

Why does it matter, if two people who love each other, want a piece of paper and a ceremony which showcases and celebrates their love, when it is not even recognised by your religion to begin with? How will it impinge on your beliefs and traditions, if two homosexuals have a marriage certificate issued by the state?

Wake up Australia, and stop being selfish. For the most part, religion is about preaching love, and acceptance, but what I am seeing is discrimination, and dictatorial behaviour. Why should you and your religion dictate the rights of other individuals?

The majority of this country back gay marriage, but it is a select few, which are preventing Australia from being the liberal, democratic nation that it supposedly is. We cannot preach equality, until we all have truly equal rights to express our love.

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