Opinion

Why it’s OK to vote ‘No’

by
September 23, 2017

Sir,

I’ll be voting ‘No’ in the same sex marriage plebiscite primarily because the main issue, as I see it, is about the rights of children rather than adults.

While the ideal of marriage is not always maintained, at its heart marriage is a relationship that is geared towards children. Kids are the natural and normal outcome of marriage.

If we change the definition of marriage, then kids are no longer the normal progression of marriage. Moreover, as marriage would then no longer necessarily need women (or men), we would in effect be saying the same of parenting.

A family can then choose to exclude women (or men) altogether and claim to be no worse off. But are we prepared to say that a family that lacks a mother (or a father) really lacks nothing?

My beliefs about the benefits of kids having both a mum and a dad are strengthened when I look at my own grandchildren. They have the privilege of living with both biological parents, and I would desire this for all children.

However, I am heartened that there is also social research that backs up this position.

A ‘No’ vote does not challenge the right of same sex couples to live together in a loving, committed relationship. As adults, they have the legal right to do so — and this right is not under threat.

In fact, in 2008, the Australian Government amended 84 laws which had discriminated against same-sex couples in a wide range of areas.

However, marriage is the covenant relationship between a man and a woman, and it alone provides children with appropriate access to their mum and dad. Giving any other relationship this legal status moves us away from this ideal, which is not in the best interest of those most vulnerable in our community — our children.

Another reason I am voting ‘No’ is that a ‘Yes’ vote means that we will change the law but there is no accompanying legislation protecting the rights of people who will then have alternative views.

Legalising same sex marriage will require most people, irrespective of their moral, social or spiritual beliefs, to actively support this law.

For example, in the USA, an elderly florist was prosecuted because she chose not to supply flowers for a gay marriage — she was not harsh, rude or unkind, and willingly engaged with gay people. However, she had a moral concern with same sex marriage and was prosecuted for it.

There are many such examples in the USA, Canada and Ireland and it is naive to think it won’t happen here particularly as there is no accompanying legislation allowing the freedom of alternative viewpoints for all Australians.

Changing the law on marriage has reduced the rights of parents to control what their children are taught on the subject in other countries.

One Canadian father took the matter all the way to their High Court, but could not prevent the school from teaching his children something that he as a father did not want his children exposed to. Again, there is no legislation proposed in Australia to maintain parents’ rights in this matter.

A ‘No’ vote does not reduce the rights of LGBTQIA community in any way, whereas a ‘Yes’ vote has the potential to adversely affect many Australian families. That’s why I’m voting ‘No’ and believe it’s OK to do so.

Yours etc.

John Fowler

Deniliquin

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