If you think every same-sex-attracted individual wants gay marriage, you’re wrong.
A woman recently engaged in a public social media war with a stranger over gay marriage. She is pro-gay marriage, while her rival is against it. “I am defending my gay friend so he can get married,” she said. However, her argument fell flat when her gay friend, whom she was busy defending, privately messaged her and said, “That’s nice but I don’t want to get married.”
Whether or not homosexuals should be allowed to get married is heavily debated, and it is usually assumed that people who are same sex attracted want the opportunity to get married. But for some, this is false.
Rebecca Syed, a 22-year-old from Macquarie Fields, told The Newsroom that as a lesbian she is not concerned about marriage and in fact wonders if she’s even “built for it”.
“I feel like if I am in love with someone and we’re going steady, enjoying our life and we’re both comfortable knowing that we’re always going to be together, that’s hard to find and I don’t want to disturb the peace,” she said. “I don’t think it would be necessary to legally declare us a couple forever.”
Miss Syed said that while she has no compunction right now to wed, if she were to ever change her mind, the option to get married would be nice to have.
“It will happen,” she said, regarding gay marriage being legalised. “It’s a human right. I’m shocked it hasn’t already happened. A human loving another human, that’s all it is. Their gender is irrelevant.”
Similarly, 26-year-old Alec Rigney from Lilyfield supports the idea of gay marriage but doesn’t necessarily want it as a gay man.
“I have always thought to myself marriage is not what I need to be happy,” he told The Newsroom. “I’ll always support marriage equality, [I] just wouldn’t get married if [it was] made legal.”
In 2012, a study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that there were 49,917 divorces granted in Australia, which was up by 2 per cent in 2011. The median duration of marriage to divorce in 2012 was 12.2 years. New South Wales was the state that recorded the most divorces with a total of 14,607.
Ben*, from Western Sydney, told The Newsroom one of the reasons he doesn’t want to get married is because he feels the concept of a wedding and marriage is conforming to social standards.
“I just feel if I were to marry my partner, it’d be as if I was trying to be like heterosexual people who get married,” he said. “I think gay marriage is a subtle way for gays to be more like straights, and I’m not okay with that.”
Matt Akersten, the national editor of Same Same, thinks that some of the LGBTI community may think this way because marriage and having kids can be considered “heteronormative”.
“We have our own culture and some won’t want to mimic anyone else’s,” he told The Newsroom.
“The important thing is that all gays and lesbians aren’t actually being urged to get married, but the option is there if they like. When marriage equality happens, we hope people won’t pressure others into picking someone to marry and settling down, which many straight people feel pressured into doing now.
Before we can even really begin the debate of whether or not gay marriage is a hidden way of being heterosexual or a type of conformity, same sex marriage should be made legal in Australia first. Same sex couples in all states are prevented from getting married within the federal Marriage Act (1961) which was amended in 2004 by the Howard Government. Gay marriage is currently legal in 16 countries, some of which includes Canada, France, South Africa and New Zealand.
“Not every gay man or lesbian woman will want to get married, but many do, and they should have the same option as anyone else,” said Mr Akersten.
“If you don’t want to get married yourself, no one’s saying you have to. We’d still like your support as an ally to change Australia’s Marriage Act so that those who do seek to get married can do so if they like.” – Noah La’ulu
*Name has been changed to protect identity.
Top photo by Noah La’ulu.