Same-sex marriage: Flying the flag for an ‘impartial’ debate

Comment

With the postal survey due to open in three weeks, same-sex marriage has been at the front of our minds at the Illawarra Mercury in recent weeks.

This week, some council candidates called for Wollongong council to fly the rainbow flag, and reading responses online there was one comment that got me thinking.

“Council needs to be impartial,” it said.

Newspapers are also often asked to be “impartial” about these types of social issues.

But this short little Facebook comment got me thinking about what this actually means with regards to marriage equality.

Is the law now – which was only changed to in 2004 by renowned conservative John Howard – impartial? And if we do nothing to change this law back is that ‘impartial’ too?

Or if we give weight to some religious groups and allow their beliefs to influence the laws that govern all people in our secular society, is that impartial? I don’t think so.

Because impartiality means treating people as equals, being objective, anti-discriminatory, equitable and open-minded.

Right now, by withholding the rights of same-sex couples to marry like straight couples can, our country is discriminating against some Australians and not others.

Changing this law to allow two consenting adults to marry regardless of their sex will not change the marriages of anyone who wants to practice religion within their own marriages.

Because, as it stands, marriage is a legal act and not a religious one anyway.

I think impartiality can only happen if the marriage law is changed, and – thanks to inaction in Federal parliament – this is only going to happen by advocating for equality.

So, Facebook commentator, I agree with you. Councils and government bodies and publicly-funded organisations and newspapers should be “impartial” on the matter of same-sex marriage.

Let’s hope we see rainbow flags flying on every one of them soon.

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