Archive for February, 2012


Why Every Parent, Aunt, Uncle, Grandparent Should Support Gay Marriage – Straight or Not

February 27, 2012

I always believed gay marriage should be legal, in a passive, what-harm-does-it-do-to-anyone kind of way. I never really saw why people committing to cherish one another aroused such hysteria and the usual protestations of making a mockery of marriage made me smirk. Its not like I, with my record of divorce and single parenthood, am in a position to judge on that score after all. There is, after all, some amusement value in the flawed logic and the fire and brimstone lot do have a certain train-wreck quality when they get going on this topic. Still, it was never really personal until something happened today that got me thinking.

“Mum….sob…Oh Mum.. sob… I’m so sad.”

Pretty typical words from my nearly four year old. At least once a day she is in floods of tears and inconsolable about something. Quite often involving restrictions on chocolate for breakfast. Today, though, was something else.

“Mum, I want to marry you and I won’t ever be allowed and you’re the only person I want to marry ever, I won’t EVER want to marry a boy and I won’t be allowed to marry a girl. I only want to marry a girl.”

Not an early case of protesting an outdated and unfair law but I had one of those moments. One of those big, fat what-ifs that slammed into my consciousness.

What if, in 20 years time, she were crying over the same thing. Not the bit about marrying me of course, laws aside, she’ll have been a teenager by then and learned to hate me enough to go completely off that idea. But what if, some day, she falls in love with someone who happens to be the same gender? Contrary to one of the most hackneyed arguments, being gay is not a lifestyle choice (that one always cracks me up just a bit because it makes it sound like something you buy from Ikea alongside the bookcases and storage units). I have no reason to believe someone can choose to be attracted to the same gender any more than I can choose to be attracted to the opposite sex.

A couple of years ago, I was chatting with a psychologist who worked for the court system. I’d said something about trying to be the best parent I can and she laughed at what I’d said. What a child really needs, more than any amount of effort from her parents, is to know that she is unconditionally loved. That I can do. There may have been moments (many) that I have been driven up the wall by the relentless demands and dramas (the Miss Happy knickers tantrum coming to mind in particular) but I can say without hesitation that, unlike my sense of humour, my love has never wavered.

Unconditional means loving someone for who they are, not for who we want them to be. I want my daughter to know that her mum helped to push for the freedom that, by the time she is old enough, she can enjoy should she wish. That I love her no matter what. And for her to be happy – whoever she chooses that happiness to be with.

Queensland recently passed a law allowing same sex civil unions. One of the two main parties has vowed to repeal this law if at all possible.