Much love/ too much/ too many/ they say/ but maybe/ not enough/ rough the edges of your jealously/ with maybes//
Photo supplied by Seb Robertson
My love and I were legally married a year ago. Because we are heterosexual, a man and a woman, we were allowed to have our union legally recognized in Australia.
Because I was born with girl bits and my love was born with boy bits, through no design on our parts.
We talked about not getting married, as a kind of boycott in our way.
But reflecting on the limited influence we have, we felt that the people we were most likely to influence to think kindly of marriage equality were more likely to become defensive about their position (and therefore hold onto it tighter) in response to any boycott on our part and that perhaps instead our wedding could be a moment to share both our commitment to each other and our views and hopefully influence those in our circle against marriage equality with compassion instead.
We opened our ceremony with this:
Marriage has meant lots of different things to different people, places and times.
Historically speaking, there have been as many ways to wed as there are people and societies. Depending on the culture and era, marriage could be between two or more people, might or might not include living together or children, might be between strangers where the family arranges everything, and might well be acknowledged as legal without a vow being said. It might only be valid when dowry or bride-price is paid or be invalidated if monetary consideration is given, it might require consent of every living parent and an entire community to witness or it might require nothing more than a quiet promise said when utterly alone together. The crucial point was the will of those involved to be married and their commitment to stay that way.
For Alysha and Nic their wedding is an opportunity to bring together the people they love – the people who make up their community – all of you, to publicly acknowledge and celebrate their commitment to each other AND their thanks to all of you for being part of the community that helps keep the cogs turning in their lives.
Alysha and Nic would also like to acknowledge the significant social symbolism and recognition of marriage with the following passage:
“Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support.
Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.
It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a “civil right.” Without the right to choose to marry one is excluded from the full range of human experience.”
Today is an opportunity for Nic and Alysha to publicly share the private vows and commitment they have made and to formalize those vows through legal and social recognition – to remind themselves and their community of loved ones how important connection, commitment and care is in our daily lives.
I’d like to invite all of you as Alysha and Nic’s loved ones to give your blessing to this formal union. Do you as the community which supports and loves this couple offer your blessing and support now and in the future?
GUESTS: We do.
We also had this note within our wedding invitation:
*Note – Nic and Alysha fully support and believe in marriage equality under Australian (secular) law and while we feel that boycotting a legal marriage ceremony ourselves would have no impact whatsoever on changing the law, we hope that through celebrating our story and community, you might consider being part of recognizing this important legal change through your future vote.
Maybe our stance, our gentle (not entirely subtle point) had no impact whatsoever and we were just able to benefit from fitting the current laws expectations. But I hope something of it stayed with people. Sank in, just a little.
What does this have to do with Seb’s photo? Nothing and everything. But two things specifically.
One of the common arguments I hear against marriage equality is the ‘slippery slope’ one – this is the ‘if we let gay couples marry each other then * gasp * poly couple or incestuous couples or pedophiles or someone might want to get married’ argument.
There are lots of great breakdowns of why this argument is ridiculous and I won’t rehash them here except to say legally only adult humans can consent to a legally binding contract (marriage) so any comments about pedophilia or bestiality are just plain stupid.
As to the rest, well quite frankly why does where other people put their bits have anything at all to do with you (or anyone else)? If it isn’t harming anyone involved or anyone outside the relationship then actually who cares if it does lead to poly marriages or incest marriages?
I’ve seen no conclusive evidence that poly marriages are harmful to children or families within them (the opposite comes through in most research I’ve read) and in regards to incest, it’s icky because we’re been taught it’s icky because if everyone fucked close relatives that messes with the gene pool and heightens the risk of disabled/unhealthy children (so we’ve all taught one another that it’s icky to avoid that shit). That’s a tricky one because that does have a health impact that others foot the bill for (taxes – public healthcare) but if we follow that logic, anyone with dodgy genes that could result in a sick/disabled child also shouldn’t be able to get married, right?
My point being, I’m not going to do any sexy things with anyone I’m blood related to personally but why is it a problem if someone else does? – again with the proviso that BOTH are consenting adults at the commencement of the relationship?
Whose business is it?
And I don’t buy that’s it because everyone is bothered because of the potential power imbalance or emotional safety that they have a problem with it – BECAUSE if you were, you’d all be making a bigger stink about domestic violence (which is at you know EPIDEMIC proportions).
People need to get out of other people’s bedrooms.
The other thing this has to do with Seb’s photo. Suicide rates are significantly higher among LQBTIQ young people. I’d hazard a pretty strong guess that one of the reasons for that is that we still live in a world, that while more tolerant of diverse sexuality than a generation ago, we still live in a world that at almost every turn diminishes and silences and turns away people of diverse sexuality. Marriage is just a symbol, but it’s a very powerful one, one that is imbedded in our social conscious, in our TV shows and movies and books. And so as a symbol, by remaining only open to heterosexual couples, it’s a symbol that says loud and clear ‘your love means less and is less. You are not welcome here’.
And I’m not okay with that. I’m not okay with that at all.
PS – Look at the expression on Seb’s face! Sex is a natural part of life, something we should be able to laugh at and enjoy – not something that should trap and diminish people because some people disagree with how they do it….
This is probably a post where I’m trying to make too many points and simplifying complex thoughts into only a few words. But hey, so be it.
Seb Robertson. Founder of Batyr – Giving a voice to the elephant in the room. @BatyrAus Social Entrepreneur. Interested in economics, sustainability and renewable energy.
That’s what his twitter profile says anyway.
In my experience Seb is an entirely charming fellow, clean cut, talking and walking the ‘right’ way but still entirely approachable and brimming with compassion. He’s basically too awesome to ever be jealous of. Seb and I met as Australian delegates attending the Commonwealth Youth Forum in 2011, where I was entirely happy to be one of his minions for much of the event because I trusted the vision he was trying to articulate. He’s one to watch ladies and gents.
He was also a 2013 Cleo Bachelor of the Year Nominee, which I hope he never lives down.
When he sent me this photo, he captioned it with “Good luck with this one!!!”