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REASONS FOR SLOW MARRIAGE EQUALITY PROGRESS IN AUSTRALIA

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Reasons for Slow Marriage Equality Progress in Australia

Introduction

Australia has been lagging behind in the progress of the marriage equality. Notably, many western countries have already legalized same-sex marriage with Ireland being the recent country to legalize gay marriages. As such, Australia seems to have been left out when compared to the countries which speak English. Remarkably, like other countries where the parliament members are the ones who have participated in the legalization of gay marriages, the Australian Federal Parliament has the power to introduce same-sex marriage legalization. As such, there is a great concern on the delay of the implementation of the equality in marriage in Australia as it only takes the parliament to decide.

The Exploitations of the Same-marriage Topic by the Australian Electoral Parties

The Australian Federal Legislation did not provide a definition of marriage, which was particularly on the sexes which should marry before the Howard era in Australia. When John Howard became the prime minister, he banned the gay marriages in the country. However, the ban of the same sex marriages in Australia was based on the personal opinion of the then prime minister, John Howard.  However, he also hoped to use the abolishment of the gay marriages for his campaign. Notably, Howard expected to attract the votes from the religious voters who are social conservatives due to the values he protected by banning the same-sex marriages in the country. The public case for the gay marriages was being made by the minor parties in Australia including the Greens and the Democrats. Moreover, lack of the bill of rights in Australia made it hard for the people supporting the same-sex marriage to challenge the Howard Era legislation. After the Howard era was Tony Abbott, who also used the excuse of values based on the religion and the social conservativeness to ban the gay marriages. However, in 2007, the election was held in Australia, was Kevin Rudd won. Rudd supported the recognition of the relationships of people of the same sex to be equivalent to the heterosexual relationship recognition. However, as other leaders who were before Rudd, he used is opposition to the same-sex marriage to assure the religious voters who had a characteristic of social conservativeness. As such, the party platform has been the main cause of delay in the adoption of the same-sex marriages in Australia (Johnson, 2015).

The Conflict between Religion and Same-Sex Marriage in Australia

Notably, the church in Australia has not been in support of gay marriages. As such, legalization of the gay marriage would have created a direct conflict between the church and the state. However, the labor activists in Australia suggested the defense of their aim to legalize gay marriages. Notably, according to the Labor activists, the suggested changes in the Marriage Act in the legislation of Australia will not obligate the ministry of religion in the country to solemnize the marriage of any kind. However, the Labor activists were only giving the excuse as a pivot towards the achievement of the gay marriages in Australia. Moreover, the Labor activists suggested with the aim of promoting the freedom of religion in Australia.

However, the churches in Australia were aware of the penetration of the Labor activists’ suggestion to the freedom of the religion. The changes in the marriage act by the government would eventually demand the churches to solemnize the marriages of same sex. As such, the trap that was set for the churches by the labor activists would work if the churches agreed to collaborate. More so, the legalization of the gay marriages in Australia would have put religion at stake as it would be blamed for going against the rights of the same-sex relationships. The conflict was clear and as such, no religion accepted the request of the Labor activists (Kelly, 2011).

Equality vs. Freedom

The conflict between equality in the marriage act and the freedom of the religion has been a reason why Australia has lagged behind for a long time in the implementation of legislation which allows gay marriages. Competing rights equilibrium arrives at when the anti-discrimination legislation is effective in a country. More so, the anti-discriminatory legislation leads to the achievement of the equality between two conflicting parties. Notably, the people who are vulnerable, such as the gays and the lesbians are at greater vulnerability were equality not based upon in the legislation. The role of the legislation while trying to reach equality and religious freedom is to create exceptionally were there is the likelihood of discrimination (Humphery-Jenner, 2017). The dispute between equality and freedom was another version of the conflict between the political leaders who were in support of same-sex marriages and the church which resisted. The disagreement delayed the legalization process.

Biblical Scholarship on Gay Marriage

Notably, the religious leaders and particularly the Christian leaders were against the gay marriages in Australia.  The biblical backup has been used as a tool towards resistance to the gay marriages. Remarkably, biblical scholarship is composed of different disciplines including; archeology, the literary criticism, history, social sciences, and philology. All the disciplines are relevant to the biblical interpretations of the same-sex marriages as they offer a great back round of the Bible. More so, the inclusion of the discipline while ruling out the gay marriage in Australia was a great strategy to eliminate the personal opinion about the issue from various leaders.

The Australian leaders are among the religious leaders with great knowledge about the Biblical interpretation of the gay marriages. One of the most celebrated religious scholars in Australia is William Loader who is specifically the leader of the Anglican. According to the Bible, there are relevant verses which are against homosexuality the act is hence referred to as sinful and unacceptable. For instance, Genesis chapter 19 and Leviticus are some of the books in the Bible, which quote the homosexuality as a sin. In Genesis, his story of Sodom and Gomorrah is much focused on paying attention to the origin of the word Sodom. Notably, Sodom is derived from sodomy were the sodomites existed. The word is highly associated with the condemning of the male sex amongst themselves. The story in the Bible indicates that the Sodomites sought to rape two visitors to their land. The visitors were, however, angels. However, Lot who was the host of the two visitors protected them from the gang rape. Instead, Lot offers the two men his daughters to be raped in their place. The complex Biblical story causes the whole people, to be destroyed by God through Sulfur fire. The religious perceive the destruction of the people of Sodom as a punishment for the sin of homosexuality. However, the holy book is also complicated as, despite the derivation of the word Sodom from Sodomy, the Bible in Genesis 19 does not indicate anything wrong about homosexuality. As such, the verse seems inadequate to negotiate about banning gay marriages in Australia.

Another basis of the religious leaders who refutes the legalization of marriage equality is Leviticus. Remarkably, the readings in Leviticus seem pertinent. Sex between two males is termed as an abomination in Leviticus. However, the verse also seems insufficient as it leaves the lesbians out of the picture. Therefore, the Old Testament where some leaders sow interest while protesting against gay marriages is not adequate although it offers some objective information.

The New Testament, on the other hand, is based on the social norms of the Roman Empire. The culture and the attitudes of the Greco-Roman society allowed men to be attracted to other men. Regardless of the marriage status of the man, there was permission for wealthy men to get themselves, male partners. The contradiction again occurs as the same Bible refers to homosexuality as a sin (Whitaker, 2017). The religious leaders used all the means which would amount to the abolishment of the gay marriages. The failure to collaborate with the labor activists and the perception of homosexuality as a sin led to the delayed progress of marriage equality in Australia.

Perception of the Australian about the Children Raised from Gay Marriages and Those Raised from Heterosexual Parents

The Australian who opposes gay marriages does not have strong points to defend themselves as the Australian who advocate for gay marriages. However, although the opponents of same-sex marriages do not have much to say, they claim that children raised by same-sex parents are worse as compared to those raised by heterosexual parents. However, there is a need to identify that the same-sex relationships are not necessarily meant for child bearing. As such, the vote against gay marriage based on the ability to raise a child in good morals is out of the question. More so, the opponents of gay marriages lack the evidence to show that the children from the homes with same-sex parents are worse than those of the heterosexual parents (Evershed, 2017). Notably, such opposition with weak points of arguments which lack evidence were some of the contributing factors for the delay of marriage equality legalization in Australia.

Same-sex Marriage Finally Legalized in Australia

Despite the political hindrances, the religious leader’s basis of the bible and the conflict between equality and freedom, Australia finally legalized the same-sex marriage. Notably, Australia has taken much time realizing the gay marriages despite the power of the parliament to do so as in the other countries such as the United States of America. The legalization of the same-sex marriage took place after 13 years, since the marriage Act was prohibited from allowing the gay marriages. There has been extensive discrimination against the lesbians and the gays in Australia. However, the empathetic decision by the Australian parliament led to the legalization of the gay marriages and hence increasing the freedom of the minority; the gays and lesbians. Legalization led Australia to collaborate with other English-speaking nations who already legalized the same-sex marriages. Notably, marriage equality in Australia was passed after a consensus was created between the house of the representatives and the house of the Senate. The agreement led to the embracing of the marriage equality (Koziol, 2017). 

Conclusion

In brief, there are various reasons which have contributed to Australia to be among the last English-speaking nations to legalize the marriage equality. Notably, the leaders in Australia have been opposing the gay marriages with the aim of acquiring the votes from the socially conservative religious community. As such, the leaders have been aiming their positions through pretense to protect the values of the society by banning the gay marriages. As a result, the gays and the lesbians have been discriminated against as they are the minority. Notably, the Labor activists in Australia tried to convince the religious leaders about legalizing gay marriages, but could not succeed as the leaders protected the religious freedom. Although Australia legalized marriage equality in 2017, 13 years after banning of the same-sex marriages, it had been left out concerning the English-speaking countries.

References

Evershed, N., 2017. Think of the kids: why marriage equality opponents are wrong on parenting. [Online]
Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/australian-news/2017/aug/17/think-of-the-kids-why-marriage-equality-opponents-are-wrong-on-parenting
[Accessed 19 January 2018].

Humphery-Jenner, M., 2017. Why religious exemptions on same-sex marriage are a backward step. [Online]
Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-13/religious-exemptions-on-same-sex-marriage-are-a-backward-step/9145124
[Accessed 19 January 2018].

Johnson, C., 2015. Why Australia is far behind the times on same sex marriage. [Online]
Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/01/opinions/australia-same-sex-marriage/index.html
[Accessed 19 January 2017].

Kelly, P., 2011. Same-sex marriage and religious freedom. [Online]
Available at: http://australianmarriage.org/same-sex-marriage-and-religious-freedom/
[Accessed 19 January 2018].

Koziol, M., 2017. Same-sex marriage passes the Senate 43 to 12 in historic political moment. [Online]
Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/samesex-marriages-passes-the-senate-43-to-12-in-historic-political-moment-20171129-gzuyqx.html
[Accessed 19 January 2018].

Whitaker, R. J., 2017. Same-Sex Marriage: What does the Bible Really have to say?. [Online]
Available at: http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-23/Same-Sex-Marriage-What-does-the-Bible-Really-have-to-say-robyn-witaker/8831826
[Accessed 19 January 2018].

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