Time is right to legalise same-sex marriage

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Opinion by Troy Dodds

The time for debating same-sex marriage is over.

It’s going to happen, and it would seem that before the next Federal Election, Australia will join other forward-thinking countries and push the go button on this important issue.

The time for change has come.

Some will argue the time for change came long ago but it’s easy to have such a view when you’re on one specific side of the argument.

This is not necessarily a black and white issue for everyone involved and there at least needs to be respect for the opinions of those who sit on the ‘no’ side of this issue.

However, those opinions are becoming more and more irrelevant as most of us realise that when it all comes down to it, what’s the harm?

Are we really going to try and defend the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman when divorce has commonplace in today’s society, domestic violence is such a growing and pertinent problem and we have dating services and websites that actually specialise in matching people who want to have an affair?

Are we really going to try and use the Bible as a defence, and pretend that we were never meant to progress and change as a society?

I don’t buy the “needing a mum and a dad” theory either. Every family and child has different circumstances no matter what the sexuality of their parents.

Up until about 12 years ago, I rarely gave same-sex marriage a thought. Growing up in the western suburbs, it’s generally not one of the topics that get a run in the playground.

But in 2003 I started dabbling in the theatre industry, not as an actor (trust me, you wouldn’t want to see that) but as a reviewer and producer.

In many cases the theatrical stereotype rings true and there’s a high percentage of people in the industry who are gay. For the first time in my life, my eyes were opened to a community full of wonderful people who were open-minded, honest and exceptionally talented at their chosen professions. For most, being gay isn’t about parading down Oxford Street once a year or rocking out to Kylie Minogue – that’s a stereotype that most of us choose to believe and that is often thrust upon us by mainstream society.

In reality, their sexuality does not define them. Like you and I, what defines them is the quality of person they are and the respect they have for themselves and others.

If I learned anything during that time, it was that for me, a person’s sexuality means as much to me as their political preference, which footy team they support and what they choose to eat – we’re all different, and that should be embraced.

Others find this concept too difficult to accept and will forever be against same-sex marriage even though they’re unlikely to ever be affected by it. Their day to day lives will not change just because two men or two women are allowed to be legally married.

Some will, of course, see the light.

Many of those will be in Canberra and ultimately, the politicians representing us today have an opportunity to drive an important and justified social revolution.

I don’t expect Prime Minister Tony Abbott to ever change his personal view on same-sex marriage and in fact, I respect him for that.

I disagree with him, but I respect his view.

It would seem, however, that the Prime Minister will ultimately not stand in the way of this major change happening in the near future.

Politics of the past few weeks aside, there will ultimately be unity in the parliament.

In November, I’ll be getting married. The lead-up to it all is a fantastic time and the day itself will be a mixture of nerves, fun and excitement.

I honestly can’t see any legitimate reason why two people of the same sex who love each other shouldn’t be able to enjoy the same privilege that I’ll enjoy in just a few short months.

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