Why All the Semantics?

I just read a post about the SCOTUS ruling and the “love wins” mantra. The blogger, who is of the LDS faith (Mormon), argues that the mantra should be “tolerance wins’, arguing that not all opponents against same – sex marriage are haters.

Last Sunday on “The Bolt Report”, columnist Miranda Devine and Andrew Bolt were talking about the term “marriage equality” instead of “same – sex marriage” being used in the media. Devine even went as far as saying that you’d think marriage equality meant the equality between a heterosexual couple.

Are we seriously going to resort to wordplay in the same – sex marriage/ marriage equality debate? Is that what the argument is going to be about for the next two years or so? I really want to put a perspective on both of these with respect to those who disagree.

Firstly, marriage equality versus same – sex marriage: for those who read this blog, you’ll have noticed that I use the term “same – sex marriage” as opposed to “marriage equality” or “gay marriage”. The reason for the first one is probably habit. The second reason is because when addressing the issue, I’m usually talking about more than just gays and lesbians. I’m usually talking about others who are, or who are likely to be in same – sex relationships: homoromantic asexuals, bi – romantic asexuals, pan – romantic asexuals, pansexuals, etc. There are arguments that “gay marriage” is exclusionary and erases the people I just mentioned. So they’re my reasons.

Secondly, the “love wins”. It was a popular mantra both at rallies and on social media when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), ruled in favour of legalising same – sex marriage across all 50 states on June 26, 2015. The reason? I think it was because now under US law, same – sex relationships were legally treated the same as any heterosexual/ opposite – sex relationship. Love won because they were now considered equal under the law. Keep in mind that in America, the states that didn’t legalise same – sex marriage, or prohibited it, legally, same – sex couples were denied numerous rights often attributed to opposite – sex married couples.

The Obgerfell vs. Hodges case was about Jim Obgerfell, from Ohio, who, when his partner, John Arthur died in 2013, Obgerfell was not legally recognised as his spouse and therefore, he wasn’t afforded widower rights after Arthur died. In the US, stories surrounding medical decisions came with the same sort of result. Same – sex partners were not given the right to have a say about what happened to their own partner medically because they weren’t deemed family under the law. The rights went to the blood relatives of the person in hospital, leaving the partner out.

Under American law, same – sex couples were refused over a thousand rights given to opposite sex married couples. These included social security, illness (as described above), death, etc. They literally weren’t treated equally under the law in many ways, particularly in states that had the “Defence of the Marriage Act” (DOMA) status. This was also condemned as unconstitutional about two yeas ago (can’t remember exactly when, but I do remember hearing about it).

Under Australian law, if same – sex marriage is legalised, the changes won’t be so dramatic, at least in a legal sense. The Gillard Government amended Centrelink and other laws to assure that same – sex couples are attributed the same legal and financial rights as both married and  opposite sex de – facto couples. The big talking point about the legalisation of same – sex marriage in Australia is the issues of adoption, IVF and surrogacy. The laws in each state is different. To my knowledge, New South Wales permits IVF to lesbian couples as well as single women, although, in South Australia, such fertility treatment is only afforded to medically infertile married opposite – sex couples. Not sure about the other states and frankly, too slack at the moment to look them up. Before the last state election in Victoria, Daniel Andrews reportedly did talk about extending IVF to lesbians and single women, but I’m not sure if that’s gone through or what.

So, back to the terms. Does it matter? Like I indicated at the start of the post, I think it’s just semantics. But what do you think?

Also, feel free to add your knowledge about current Australian laws surrounding IVF, surrogacy and adoption that you know and feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken.

No, Gays Aren’t Equal Because They Can Marry The Opposite Sex

This post isn’t an argument for or against same – sex marriage, but rather about, what I think, is a fallacious argument against it. Many same – sex marriage proponents (mostly straight, mind you), use the argument “Gays can already marry…. a person of the opposite sex”. While, yes, that’s true technically speaking, it’s flawed. Very flawed.

Think about this: why do most people in the West get married? Children are often a factor, yes, but according to Relationships Australia, the number one reason why most people get married is… love. And, for most people, this “love” wouldn’t be platonic, but sexual and/ or romantic in nature. Let’s be honest here! Most people don’t get married to people they are not attracted to! Most people don’t have to either! Most people can take this for granted. Most heterosexual people don’t have to think twice about who their attracted to, how they’ll be perceived in public, who they can take to the Débutante, the Year 12 Formal, who to take home to their parents, etc. But same – sex attracted people* often do, often with elements of fear of rejection and retaliation. For too many LGBT+ youth, these fears are confirmed.

Can mixed – orientation marriages, as in gay/ straight relationships, work? Well, yes, but if your open and read the link, the success rate isn’t high, at least in the US and very often leads to heartbreak.Straight/ straight, (and I’m making a generalisation here), don’t have to go through that. Mutual attraction, usually sexual and romantic, is just there. The same can’t (at least mostly) be said for same – sex attracted people in opposite – sex relationships. Trust me, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to try and force yourself to date someone who your not attracted to. It’s, figuratively speaking, is like hitting your head against a brick wall, as if trying to break it down, obviously without success. Other asexual people can attest the same (Julie Sondra Decker aka Swanky Ivy talks about it in her book Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality).

People are against same – sex marriage. I get it, and, actually, I can understand some of the reasons why. But this argument that “gays already have marriage equality” is, in my honest opinion, ridiculous.

Thoughts about Same – Sex Marriage and the Christian Gay Debate from An Asexual Perspective

NOTE: Just want to give credit to blogger Paul J Bern and thank him for allowing me to critique his post.

 

Now, just so we’re clear, I want to point out what this post ISN’T:

Same – sex marriage has been hot topic that people have been talking about since the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) officially legalised same – sex marriage across all fifty states on the 26 June this year.

Christian blogger, Paul J Bern wrote about the ruling in the US, which you can read here. Very well written post. There was one thing that struck me, though, and what my post is based on:

I don’t usually associate with gay people. I don’t know any, and I personally don’t approve of their “lifestyle”.

I’ll say from the outset, I think Bern’s heart is in the right place. And if you read the post in full, he is actually warning against spewing hatred toward LGBT people in light of the SCOTUS ruling. There is a small problem I have with it. I think he’s focus (at least in the quote) is the exact thing that is wrong with the whole gay debate among Christians and the LGBT community, as well as the driving force behind LGBT+ discrimination in general.

Now, I get that Christians are divided on same – sex “acts, but I want to be clear. This isn’t just what this arguments about. For one thing, legally in the US, it’s about non – heterosexual couples having the same legal protections as opposite – sex couples. Now, notice I did say “heterosexual” but deliberately said “non – heterosexual couples”? Reason? Because this ruling affects more than just the gay and lesbian community for starters. I haven’t heard that the couple have to have sex to be protected, which brings me to my second point.

I think we need to start looking at LGBT+ people more holistically. I get that some people morally oppose same – sex acts, I get that. However, being gay, straight, bi or asexual or whatnot is more than just about acts. It’s about attraction, for the most part physical and emotional. The whole term “lifestyle” in regard to the LGBT community, I believe overly simplifies the experiences of the LGBT community and has been the reason, quite frankly, why the LGBT have been mistreated for so long. It’s why the “ex gay” industry, most notoriously, Exodus International was able to operate for over thirty years, leaving lives damaged along the way. Why? Because they focused on the “acts”.

But what about homoromantic asexuals who want to get married? What about the legal protections of same – sex celibate relationships? Yes, they do exist. A brilliant blog, A Queer Calling is written by a Christian lesbian couple Lindsey and Sarah that do that. They also talk about the SCOTUS ruling and how the marriage restrictions have affected them legally, even though they are not  married themselves.

 

On a more personal level, somewhat, this equating sexual orientation and sex has also negatively affected the asexual community. From the ridicule in the media to discrimination and even sexual violence, I believe that these have occurred because the sexual minorities as a whole are only labeled in terms of their supposed “lifestyle” or “acts” (or, in the case of asexuality, a lack of).

 

Sexuality is so, so much more complicated than that. Even scientists can pinpoint what causes someone to be of a paritcular orientation, but the mainstream experts now agree that, for the most part, sexual orientation can’t be chosen, nor altered through will. Needless to say, that, despite this, yes, a person can remain celibate, but that does not make them a different orientation.

 

So, can we please be a little more mature about this? Can we look at people as whole beings rather than such a narrow lens? This does affect people’s lives. And it’s time it stops being so negative.

More Steps Toward Equality and Acceptance for LGBTQ+

People were buzzed and excited with the SCOTUS decision to legalise same – sex marriage across the US on 22 June 2015. Symbolic celebration took over Facebook. But what now? This ruling won’t eliminate homophobia. Things like LGBT suicide, bullying and the like will need to be addressed. And what about everyone else LGBT/ non – cis – gender/ heterosexual?

  • Asexual people ACTUALLY BEING BELIEVED
  • Adexual getting ethical treatment by mental health professionals
  • Bisexual people not being portrayed like a poem fantasy in the media (I think ‘Orange is Tge New Black’ is starting to destigmatise bisexual people)
  • That people across the LGBT+ people will all be protected under anti – discrimination/equal opportunity laws from unfair dismissal
  • That LGBT+ people will no longer experience discrimination as a tenant
  • Asexual and bisexual women in particular will be able to resist sexual advances without bein violated
  • When homophobic bullying is no longer prevalent.
  • That transgender people can be referred to by their preferred gender pronouns and names as a sign of respect.

So, yeah, I think there is still a way to go. We’re making advances, hat’s for sure. Even asexuality is starting to be discussed more, and the majority of coverage  in the mediais quite positive, actually. So, I’m quietly optimistic.

Just a note: as you probably can point out, I didn’t mention pan or poly sexuals. That’s because I don’t know about their experiences. In the comments, feel free to add what you’d like to see happen and your own experiences.

Facebook, Same – Sex Marriage and Coming Out on Social Media

I’ve been more than a bit surprised by how many of my friends have put the rainbow on their profile picture in light of the landmark US Supreme Court decision to make same – sex marriage legal nationwide. I would say that probably about half have changed their photos. Maybe bit less… don’t know. More than what I thought would, anyway. It got me thinking: Will it be easier for LGBT+ people to be open about their identities on social media? Have we come far enough for that to happen?

i won’t talk on behalf of anyone else, I can’t, but speaking for my personal experience, discussing things like your sexuality online can be freaky. When I started this blog, I was encouraged to publish my posts on my Facebook Wall. That genuinely made me a bit anxious. When I revealed who I was to a cousin in a private message, I cried in relief that she was fine with it.

Now, I know that too many LGBT people face much more anxiety and, quite frankly, much more to fear. I’ve got to say, though, that it hasn’t always been easy for me either, even though nothing really bad has happened since I started posting the blog on Facebook.

So, will this SCOTUS decision and the social media response make it easier for LGBT+ people to be honest about who they are without a backlash, either on social media or real life?

Same – Sex Marriage Is Not About Love

Before you cyber – thump me, just hear me out. A few nights ago, on ‘The Project’, there was a story about an elderly Australian female couple who go married in New Zealand. Of course, on the show, ( I watched the segment on FB), and below the link, an inevitable debate erupted. The usual arguments, both for and against were put forward. Then, a couple of hours later, something came to me… The pro same – sex marriage isn’t about love. Not entirely anyway. It’s about gay, lesbian and other same – sex couples (bisexuals in same – sex relationships, asexuals etc), being viewed both equal under the law and socially as being the equivalent to married heterosexual couples. It’s seen as one less form of discrimination that the LGB people have to face, sometimes on a daily basis. I think the reason why so many heterosexual people have jumped on the ‘pro’ side of the same – sex marriage debate so strongly is because most people know or is close to someone in who is LGB and/ or in a same – sex relationship. These people are connected because a loved one of friend is. I can can hear the arguments already… ‘Marriage is about children. Gays can’t reproduce…’ Look, just save it. Frankly, I’m not keen on having the arguments rehashed. I just wanted to put forward another take on the never – ending same – sex marriage debate

Just A Thought…

Roughly 2% of the population are gay; probably another 0.6% are bi. I would say 20 – 25% of asexuals are romantically attracted to members of the same – sex (that’s just my guess). By my calculations, that’s  2.625% of the population (given 1% of people are asexual) will be essentially be able to marry someone of the same – sex if it was legalised. Yet, everyone else says it affects them? Hmmmm…. I say this because I think there has been too much fear in the debate, and I admit, I’ve bought into it. Currently, there is little movement to change the ‘Marriage Act (1961) to accommodate for same – sex couples. However, there have been rifts in the Labor Party after Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek tried to force the rest of the party to make a unanimous vote to change the Act rather than a conscience vote. This has caused outrage by both sides, including Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. But why does the conversation get everyone so heated? It’s like society will collapse if it happens. On the other extreme, same – sex marriage proponents try to damn anyone who even questions the move. Because of all this, I generally don’t like to join this debate. In truth, I’m torn about it. It’s just I’m getting sick of the fierceness and people don’t seem to debate the topic logically. Do you feel like the same – sex marriage debate is becoming to heated? Have you become fatigued over the debate?