By now, same-sex marriage feels like old news; a struggle of the past. Yet as Americans we often forget that the world doesn’t simply revolve around the United States and its policies. And although same-sex marriage has made its way to countless countries across the globe, some are still in the midst of reform. The most prominent right now is Australia.
While gay marriage has been a topic of debate in Australia for quite some time, it was on hold in Parliament for almost a year; neither side willing to budge on the issue. But recently, a new proposal has been introduced by liberal politicians that is reviving the discussion. This proposal, a bill completely legalizing same-sex marriage, caters to the conservative side as well. It allows people to choose whether or not they feel comfortable performing or catering to homosexual weddings. This unique addition is a direct response to the major force behind opposition: religious figures and followers. By giving them the option of being involved in same-sex ceremonies, the issue now only directly affects the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.
At first, Australian Parliament ruled that the decision would be made by the general public via a postal vote. However, due to the seriousness of the issue, they have now decided to do a simple parliamentary vote. And while the majority of the population is in favor of the bill – 61 percent according to CNN – its outcome is still uncertain.
But before the decision is made, we need to establish something: same-sex marriage is simply just marriage. To separate the two only furthers the alienation and stigmatization that the queer community faces. Legalizing same-sex marriage not only gives people the opportunity to commit emotionally to one another but it is also a commitment under law. The institution of marriage matters just as much as the promise of it does and being able to express that is something every couple deserves.
Accepting same-sex marriage as a government not only establishes the commitment under law but it opens the doors for it to be accepted in society. With the support of the government, the LGBTQ+ community in Australia could begin to work towards complete normalcy and comfortability. This bill would not only directly influence the community but it would indirectly show them that no matter the opposition, the majority of the world is behind them. It would discourage hatful, bigoted and damaging stereotypes from developing; giving members of the queer community a better chance at feeling safe, confident and welcome.
This is not a debate solely about marriage and how it’s defined. It’s about how Australia sees love and who has the chance to experience it; completely and openly. I truly believe Parliament will vote alongside the rest of the free world and keep passion, equality and commitment available to all who deserve it. The vote will be held late November as Australians and the world alike watch, hopeful and ready for the future.