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Marriage Equality – It’s The Kids That We Need To Think About!

Sitting in the cafe, I get a text message. My interview subject is running five minutes late. I’m tempted to suggest that this is because he was raised by two women, but then I remember that in these politically correct times such a thing may be considered sexist, so I’ll take a leaf out of Andrew Bolt’s book and be intimidated into saying nothing. He arrives. We sit down and order.

“I’m going to refer to you as ‘Trevor’ in the article to protect your identity,” I tell him.
“You can use my real name,” he tells me. “There’s no reason to hide who I am.”

Mm, he doesn’t see anything to be ashamed of. Clear evidence his mother has indoctrinated him into a particular world view.

“So,” I begin. “Tell me about your childhood.”
“Which bit?” “The bit about being raised by a same sex couple. You know, what was it like at primary school? Were you aware that your home situation was different? That sort of thing.”

“Well, of course. Most of the kids and parents were cool about it. One boy wasn’t allowed set foot in our house, but that was about it.”
“But what about the stigma, the strangeness of it all? Surely you must have been victimised and picked on. After all, this is a Christian country. Weren’t there people trying to run you out of town?”
“Nah, it all seemed pretty normal to me. I mean, I knew our family was different. But it was more different like the Brady Bunch, as in, there were kids from each family belonging to each of the two parents.”

I realise that young children can be pretty unaware, so I move on to high school. I ask “Trevor” how it was. Surely there was less tolerance there.

“Sometimes kids would say things. I remember one saying, ‘You’re gay ‘coz your mum’s gay’, to which I replied, ‘I like women ‘coz my mum likes women; what does your mum like?’ That shut him up. And when kids said things like, ‘I was with your mum last night’, I’d just say, ‘That’s impossible because she was with your mum’. But doesn’t everybody get a hard time in high school? Anyway, I moved to a senior secondary school where being different was the norm…”

“So what about now? What’s your life like? Are you homeless? How has your upbringing caused you to be on the fringes of society? Do you have a job?”
“Well, I don’t have a ‘job’ as such.”
“I see, and do you think that your upbringing…”
“I have a film and event production business.”
“A business?”
“Yes, what’s the matter with that?”

“Well, according to Corey Bernardi, your life should be a mess. Surely your business doesn’t make enough to support you…”
“Actually, I employ several people and just the other day…”
“Let’s not get bogged down talking about your business. Have you ever been involved in dangerous or risk-taking behaviour?”
“Um, I guess so… Let’s think. I suppose being on The Sea Shepherd chasing down Japanese whalers could be considered risky.”
“You were on The Sea Shepherd! Did your mother put you up to such a left-wing, radical thing as trying to save whales?”
“Actually it was a paid gig. I was involved in making a documentary about it.”
“I see.”

Well, I can see that I’m going to have to go for some really hard-hitting questions if I’m going to show how poor “Trevor’s” life has been ruined by not growing up in the same sort of family as I did: mother, father, church on Sunday, and breakfast is the only meal where meat is optional.

“I’m going to take a photo of your lower torso just to show that you exist and that I’m not making you up. Don’t worry, I won’t show your face!”
“I don’t mind. Like I said, I’m not telling you anything that’s a secret.”

img_1990 I take the photo. Mm, I think, clearly he’s grown up in a different sort of household. Tea with no milk, strange vegetables that weren’t even invented when I was a lad…
“Ok,” I say, “are you in favour of same sex marriage?”
“Marriage equality!”
“Well, saying I’m in favour of same sex marriage makes it sound like I want it to be compulsory.”
“Whatever! Are you in favour?”
“Yes, I’m in favour of marriage equality.”

Armed with this clear evidence of the way in which “Trevor” has been brainwashed, I continue: “Doesn’t it concern you that this could lead to all sorts of things? For example, have you ever considered marrying your dog?”
He pauses, then smiles: “I love my dogs. But they’re crap at massage.”

“What about polygamy?”
“Well, I do have one woman that I’m intending to marry. But I’m certainly not going to bring up polygamy in the first three years..”
“You’re going to marry a woman? Is your mother disappointed that you didn’t turn out gay?”
“No. She’s made it clear that she wants grandkids.”
“So your mother approves of your decision to marry a woman. You don’t think that she may have influenced you in choosing a woman.”
“You know, you been indoctrinated to be interested in women because your mother was attracted to women.”
“But didn’t you just suggest that my mother would have wanted me to be gay?”
“Look, I’m just asking questions. I’m just trying to give readers the chance to see what it’ll be like for the children if we allow…” I decide to be politically correct. “Marriage equality. I don’t have an agenda here.”
“Mm,” he says, “except that my upbringing has nothing to do with marriage equality. I mean, my mother and her partner weren’t married, were they? All the current situation does is prevent certain people from having the same rights to marry as others. I got to attend their commitment ceremony, sure, but why did anyone have the right to tell them that they weren’t legally entitled to marry?”

“Well,” I say. “That’s all the questions I have, so unless you’d like to add anything…”
“Gay people can already have children. And what’s more when they go to the trouble of having a child, at least it’s wanted and not the result of some accident. Marriage equality has nothing to do with it!”

I nod. Not because I’m saying yes, but because I don’t have any more questions.
We settle up the bill and say good-bye. As he walks away, I say a quiet prayer, thanking God for the presence of people like Cory Bernardi. Without the Bernardis of this world, people like “Trevor” may not even notice how terrible it is not to grow up in a family exactly like mine.

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  1. helvityni

    When our kids were at primary school age, we lived in a trendy inner-city Sydney suburb. Just about all their friends’ parents had divorced, so they all had two homes, dad’s and mum’s.

    We were practically the only couple still together, the only ‘odd’ couple in the village. One of the kids found that boring ‘can’t you two divorce?’.’ Why? We are getting on very well.’

    ‘Coz the divorced dads let you eat nice food like take-away and they take you to different places in the weekends, and let you buy lollies and stuff…’

  2. Florence nee Fedup

    Can and do already have children. Some they bring with them from marriages that failed because they are gay.

    Already live together in permanent stable defector relationships.

    Large number kids live in heterosexual defacto families where parents never bothered with marriage. Where they did, unlikely to be in a church.

    I recall a time when mixed race marriage was frowned on, many churches refusing point blank to marry.

    A time when marriages between different sects was not on.

    A time when defacto marriages where seen as living in sin, children being labeled bastards.

    A time if mother unmarried or separated was force to give up children. With luck they were adopted.

    A crime so bad, that single mothers were kept hidden from society,

    A time when divorce was near impossible. Women expect to stay within a marriage, no matter how violent. What’s more mum was suppose to ensure what happened in the family stayed in the family.

  3. Rob Holmes

    In contrast – when I was a kid in the 50s i was only one of two kids in my junior school class of 34 that had divorced parents. The kids didn’t make anything of it but one teacher did – using it as a way to single me out as different and humiliate me – a tactic to garner approval from the class – but they took no notice. There will always be kids who are different for some reason, even if you have red hair – as long as you are self assured, you wont get picked on.

  4. Glenn K

    children have an amazing capacity to accept diversity in love. it is all about what we teach. our two children have a special sister who they see a fews times per year. she is their sister and she is special because she has a different mommy and daddy. how is this so? one of our children is IVF and we did not want more than two children, so a year after our 2nd was born we donated the spare embryo to another couple, who we now call friends. all 3 children accept they are siblings and accept they have different parents. and it makes them feel special – which all 3 of them are. it is a beautiful thing and all 3 are deeply loved. it is also normal to them – special, yes – abnormal, no. Why is this so? because all four parents have taught them they are loved and something special and beautiful exists in their lives.
    as parents and adults we could all learn from the innocence of babes. love is love

  5. Steve Laing -

    Bravo Glenn K! That’s wonderful!

    And bravo Rossleigh – this one had me weeping with laughter! It must just be so exhausting to be a marriage equality naysayer. Continually having to tie yourself in knots to pretend that you have logical arguments when in fact your are just a homophobe. Or a member of a political party that has a position that you have to desperately pretend you support. Denying your own values is unfortunately a quick way to an early grave – that shit just eats you up from the inside out.

  6. helvityni

    Florence, what I find almost unbelievable that babies of unmarried mothers were taken away and given for adoption, and Australia was doing this cruel practice as late as the Seventies. Why was this done, didn’t the unmarried mum have any family, parents or siblings to give a helping hand, how heart-breaking it must have been for the mum, and later on for the child..

  7. Florence nee Fedup

    helvityni, main reason was shame. One became outcasts in society. In the 1960’s there were so called orphanages such as St Anthony’s full of babies.

    Married woman also found they couldn’t hold onto the kids. Courts favoured fathers but lack ability to earn income was bigger bar.

    With months of Whitlam bringing in single mothers allowances, those institutions emptied quickly.

    That and no fault divorce.

    I don’t believe young women today have any idea of how much they owe Whitlam.

    Equal pay and access to the pill among many.

    Yes they had families but protecting family name was more important. The stigma was real.

  8. Carol Taylor

    Listening to primary school children talk, one asked the other, “How many brothers and sisters have you got?”. The child replied, “One sister and two brothers”. The response, “All the same father?”. The ultra-conservatives are talking about ‘traditional families’ which haven’t existed for a long time, and sorry, there’s no going back to ‘The Golden Age’ of Howard, or of Menzies.

  9. Florence nee Fedup

    Carol, Howard’s golden age never existed. The wicked stepmother more likely reality for many for generations. Mothers had habit dying young.

  10. Carol Taylor

    Helvityni, to add, often it was the girl’s family who arranged to have the baby taken away, such was the stigma against unmarried mothers. Often girls would be sent interstate to an Unmarried Mothers Home and then return home and ‘the neighbors’ would be none the wiser. A story I was told (whispered by the ladies around kitchen table) was about a young girl in my neighborhood whose mother wouldn’t let her out of the house until after dark, then only wearing an overcoat to conceal the pregnancy. This girl was assured that she could keep the baby but her mother took him from her after the birth and gave him to the nurses.

  11. Carol Taylor

    Florence, neither did Menzies’. 😉

  12. Florence nee Fedup

    I don’t think Menzies ever cared about anyone.

  13. Michael Taylor

    Florence, he cared about the queen. No one else that I know of.

  14. helvityni

    Overheard: two four year old grandsons discussing love and life. (they are cousins, not twin brothers)

    Peter: I’m gail (gay), when I grow up, I’ll marry you, Paul.
    Paul : No, You can’t, coz I’m gonna marry a girl.

    Amazing that they are so well informed at such an early age, yet they talk about getting married…Family has gone full circle.

  15. Kaye Lee

    It was also difficult for people of different religions to marry. The Catholics wouldn’t marry us unless I went to lessons – just me, not together.

    As Rossleigh so rightly points out, children have absolutely nothing to do with marriage equality, and the idea that the majority get to decide if they “allow” a minority the same rights as they enjoy is obscene.

  16. townsvilleblog

    Glenn KSeptember 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm, mate in Australia we don’t have mommy and daddy, we have mummy and daddy, apart from that I enjoyed your post and that of Steve’s that followed.

  17. helvityni

    Who worries about churches; he was a lapsed Catholic, I was baptised in a Lutheran church, but had no interest in churchy things…
    Churches said one of you have to take lessons.

    I said: ‘ No can do ‘, dyed my short white ‘wedding’ dress blue, and headed straight to a registry office.

    ‘Sorry about the church wedding, Mum’. ‘No worries’, was her reply, she was a believer, but she did not push her beliefs on others.

  18. townsvilleblog

    Yes Kaye, My Mum was a Methodist and my Dad a Catholic, apparently when two Catholics are married they used to turn “the eye of God” on which I think was some type of red light behind the priest. When my parents were married, because Mum was not of their ilk, they refused to turn the light on. Weird idiosyncrasies that regions and religious cults have. In my humble opinion I doubt if the preachers even believe in the product that they are selling.

  19. Kaye Lee


    I agreed for the sake of my inlaws whom I love and respect. The really offensive part of it was that I had voluntarily been actively involved in my church from a very young age – Sunday school, bible studies, bell ringing, choosing to get confirmed when about 15, visits to aged care and disabled children’s homes etc – and knew far more about religion and the bible than my husband did.

    The priest started the first lesson with “In the Catholic Church, we believe in the Holy Trinity” to which I immediately responded “Father, Son and Holy Spirit who was, until recently, known as the Holy Ghost.”

    He turned a few pages and said “In the Catholic Church we believe in two types of sin” to which I immediately said “venal sin and mortal sin”…more page turning.

    The lesson continued in the same way until he eventually asked if I had any questions.

    “Yes. Why did you dump St Christopher and St Anthony. They were two of the more useful saints.”

    After two lessons the priest cancelled the remaining four. As a woman, I was used to having to prove myself and I kinda felt like the winner on the day 😉

  20. helvityni

    The battles continue, our JR, who came to our household at a tender age of six weeks, demands to be accompanied by TWO ‘parents’ when going for a walk…

  21. Kyran

    Dear Rossleigh, Esquire.
    Thank you so much for this well informed and reasoned article, detailing the harrowing life of “Trevor”. Clearly, he is a troubled individual, with ‘women’ issues. Whilst he makes ‘mum jokes’, he belittles the role of the mum. For those of us respectful of that most important of roles, it is far more appropriate to refer to them as MILF’s.

    With regard to his dog, you could well have rested your case there. If he doesn’t respect his dog due to its inability to ‘massage’, why is he keeping it? Ulterior motives, perchance?

    As to his business acumen, the fact that he is not a homeless, unemployed fringe dweller, must surely qualify him as the exception that proves the rule.

    Pardon me not introducing myself. I am the chair of the ‘Committee Representing All Puritans’ (C.R.A.P.). It is merely coincidental that our committee is all male, all white and that there are no agenda items stored in closets. We have endeavoured to establish sub committee’s, and, therefore, seek your assistance. As an equally enlightened individual, you may wish to promote our sub committees.

    ‘Ideologically Driven Individuals Observing Traditional Standards’ is chaired by me, Corgi.

    ‘Greatly Intolerant Towards Samesexers’ is chaired by Erica (sadly, a male).

    ‘Freely Observing Overtly Limited Speech’ is chaired by Georgie (possibly a male).

    Don’t get me wrong. We aren’t limited to moral bastions, We have a legal bastion, so capable, so profound, he has denied all other government lawyers, ministers, employees from seeking independent legal advice, cause he knows best.
    He is the chair of the ‘Deniers Of Personal Equality through Subterfuge’ sub committee. There is nothing like a brandy, at the end of a very long day.

    Some ‘people’ have been critical of the role of the ACL. When the ACL is damaged, they say, you cannot kneel. What would they know about ACL damage? We had better fund that substantially, to make it better.

    It is our sincere hope that when the ‘C.R.A.P.’ gets out there, ‘I.D.I.O.T.S’, ‘G.I.T.S’, ‘F.O.O.L.S’ and ‘D.O.P.E.S’ will feel empowered.
    We are hopeful we’ll get a woman on board. This chick from Queensland. She has a web site that says, on this issue;
    “If a referendum is not held to clearly define the word marriage and change the Australian Constitution, then a plebiscite, that is a vote on an important public question making no change to our Constitution, should be held. The result would reflect on the majority vote in each state and territory, and then the majority of states, in unison, to deliver an outcome either for or against, as is the same case if a referendum were held.

    If we allow the politicians to cast their vote on the floor of Parliament, then they have allowed the meaning of the word marriage to also incorporate same sex couples. If this is to occur, we must have the foresight to ask, “will it end there and what guarantee do we have, that in time, multiple marriages or marriage to children as young as 9 years of age, as is the customs and religious beliefs of Islam, be implemented”? Our Parliament is only as good as the people sitting on the benches. People power is harder to buy, control or intimidate. This is another reason why we should consider having the word ‘marriage’ defined in our Constitution and a referendum held.”

    She’s as smart as brandy, after a lot of brandy.
    OK, we haven’t got quite enough people in our sub committee’s to form a quorum. Hence, we kneed your help.
    How do we make the most insane of propositions palatable?
    On behalf of ‘C.R.A.P.’, we hope you made him settle the bill. That’s why we need a plebiscite. Everyone can settle the bill, if it goes our way.
    May your dog go with you.
    Take care, Rossleigh, Esquire

  22. king1394

    Kaye reminds me that my father never ceased to resent that, as a non Catholic marrying a Catholic, their wedding ceremony was held in the Sacristy and not in the church. It’s not that long ago that Catholics were not supposed to enter a Church of another denomination, even for a Wedding or Funeral.
    What has this to do with marriage equality? Only that the Catholic Church used to have rigid rules about who could marry ‘in the Church’ but most of those rules have now been allowed to disappear. No doubt in a few years time, people will find it strange that marriage could be limited according to the gender of the people involved. After all marriage has always been more about controlling sexuality, giving men a degree of certainty that they had fathered children produced by their wife. Helping decide who got your money when you died was a close second reason for marriage.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Marx and Engels make interesting reading about the link between capitalism, the development of private property, the nuclear family and monogamy.

    There is an interesting story about Jesuit missionaries who recorded their observations of the Native American cultures they encountered.

    The Jesuits mostly were appalled by the level of equality they found–including the sexual freedom and equality between women and men. One Jesuit, when he encountered the Montagnais-Naskapi of Eastern Canada, reported, “I told him that it was not honorable for a woman to love anyone else except her husband, and that, this evil being among them, he himself was not sure that his son, who was there present, was his son.” But the Naskapi were equally appalled by the Jesuits. The man replied, “Thou hast no sense. You French people love only your own children; but we love all the children of our tribe.”

    The Jesuits recorded their disbelief at the fact that the Indians neither had, nor apparently desired, any kind of social hierarchy. This comment from Father Paul Le Jeune, writing in 1634, again describing the Naskapi, is typical: They “cannot endure in the least those who seem desirous of assuming superiority over the others; they place all virtue in a certain gentleness or apathy.”

    This article is a very interesting read about the origins of the oppression of women

  24. Kaye Lee

    “While One Nation says on its website that its number one priority is to “bring about the necessary changes for fair and equal treatment of all Australians”, Senator Hanson made it clear that didn’t extend to marriage equality.

    “I agree that everyone has the right to peace and harmony, but the gays and lesbians are now wanting to change my way of thinking, who I am,” she said.

    “I come from a time when there was no discussion about gay marriage. That’s my background, that’s what I’ve grown up with.

    “You want to take something away from the majority of society that we’ve grown up with. Why do you want to take the word marriage?”

    Senator Hanson said she “associated with the gays and I’ve even worked with gays” but not all of them wanted to get married. She believes the gay and lesbian community should be content with civil ceremonies.

    She said she didn’t care that other Western countries were allowing same-sex marriage, but also suggested that could be a way for Australian gay and lesbian people to get what they want.

    “If you feel so strongly about it, I’m sure you can move to that country and then you can have that marriage,” she said.”

    Pauline wants us all to live based on the values from decades ago of her family in Ipswich. Her mum said on video “I was always taught the yellow race will rule the world and if we don’t do something now…I’m afraid, yes, the yellow race WILL rule the world.”–her-mum-norah/news-story/3df08e1ed74f43a45d866c1338cb38d0

  25. helvityni

    “You want to take something away from the majority of society that we’ve grown up with. Why do you want to take the word marriage?”

    Dear me, no one is going take anything away from you, Pauline,certainly not your values, who’d want them. And words are not for anyone to own, they belong to all of us.

  26. Kyran

    It seems only right, Ms Lee, to quote this bloke, Desmond Tutu. He’s not white, so he’s probably not right.

    “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”

    Will there ever be the possibility we keep our eyes open? Will there ever be the possibility that a holey, wholly, holy book (whether it be a Quran, a Torah, a Bible), will teach us how to stop repeating the errors of their teachings?
    Since the suffragettes movement, we no longer suppress (or oppress) women. We can now offer them platitudes. You are equal, as long as you don’t require equality.
    The very best of wishes, ‘Trevor’. Take care

  27. Kaye Lee

    Just like Muslims are welcome if they stop being Muslims.

    Pauline has married and divorced twice. I am not sure how any of us can spoil it for her any more. And besides, the marriage act says it is a union “to the exclusion of all others”. There are a hell of a lot of people already breaking the rules of the marriage act

  28. Deanna Jones

    The high rates of marital homicide in this country as well as last year’s Ashley Madison debacle show us that the straights aren’t terribly invested in the ‘sanctity of marriage’ anyway, making this argument fundamentally flawed.

    In this land we have such a dark history when it comes to child welfare, beginning with Stolen Generations then later on Forgotten Australians; Child Migrants; Forced Adoptions and now the abuse of children in statutory care systems and children in detention, not to mention the long history of clergy-perpetrated child abuse, using child welfare as an argument against marriage equality, is laughable! Systemic and institutional abuse of children is a shameful fact of the history of white australia, but it’s marriage equality that is going to really mess kids up? Please.

  29. helvityni

    Good post, Dianna, what about our foster care system, it’s hardly working, is it.

  30. Deanna Jones

    Helvi, yes and you’ve probably heard me bang on about foster care before, but that is what I meant by statutory care. I have come across many foster carers inflicting further abuse on already traumatised children. I’m so tired of the anti marriage equality crowd using children to push their agenda because when you really examine our history and current practices it becomes clear that overall we as a society don’t really give a shit about them.

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