Monday, November 14, 2011

Marriage for all

I'm a big believer in marriage. I haven't always been, but after growing up an awful lot and realising the true meaning of marriage I became a convert. In August I got married to the most incredible person and it has solidified my belief. Marriage is awesome and it has deepened the commitment that I have for my husband and the family we have created together.

It has not escaped my notice that in some parts of the world, my marriage would have been considered wrong on a few counts. Firstly, I have been married before which in some cultures means I would not be allowed to marry again. Also, my husband is part Indian and there are still places out there that consider a person marrying someone who isn't from the same ethnic group wrong. There are also people out there in the world who believe a Christian marrying a non Christian is wrong. Luckily I live in a country where these things are generally not considered a big deal. Sure, there are pockets of society that believe that my marriage is wrong, but we generally don't experience any of that in our daily lives. It seems crazy to me that people would care who I married. It's none of their business. I am of an age where I am considered an adult, I'm not related to the person and I'm not already married to someone else so what is the big deal. I am grateful I live in a country that allows me to get married with barely any effort or rules at all.

Then I remember my gay friends and family and hang my head in shame.

I live in a society which believes a law forbidding gay people from getting married is justified. I live in a society where we deny a group of people rights which the rest of the population can have without question. And I am guessing you too live in a society just like mine.

What does this teach our children? When we as a society say that gay people getting married is wrong, we are saying that being gay is wrong and thus the person is somehow wrong. I have two children. I want them to know that persecuting someone because of who they are is unacceptable. I want them to grow up in a society where it is okay to be who God made them. I want them to be able to marry whoever they want. I don't want them to feel like less of a person because of who they are. I have spoken with parents who have gay children. They have the same dreams for their children that I have for mine. And yet, their children are persecuted for being who God made them and they can't get married to the loves of their lives. As a parent, this makes me so sad. As a human being, this makes me even sadder.

Why do we allow this to go on in our country? We do allow it, don't be mistaken. We could change it if we wanted to. Think for a moment, those of you who are married, if you woke up tomorrow and you discovered your marriage was no longer valid. That the marriage you had worked on and nurtured and fought for was suddenly taken from you and considered by society to be wrong. Wouldn't it make you mad? Wouldn't you just wonder why? Wouldn't you fight to keep it?

My name is Natasha Sharp and I believe in marriage. It's not about supporting gay marriage, it's about supporting marriage between two people who love each other and want to commit to each other for the rest of their lives, regardless if they are straight or gay. There is an election soon. There are candidates vying for your votes. Your vote can make a difference so think about who you are voting for and what they stand for. If this is an issue for you, then study which parties are prepared to do something about this. If you can't find out, call your electoral offices around the country and ask. We as a society are in charge of what laws we have. That's the whole point of democracy. We as a society have made gay marriage illegal. Only we can change it.