In case you think the U.S. is the only place where some people are losing their minds over marriage equality, I have some bad news for you: the insanity also exists in Australia.
On June 10, a letter from an Australian man appeared in Canberra City News saying that if gays are allowed to marry in that country he and his wife may just have to get a divorce.
According to Nick Jensen, marriage is something that is a “fundamental order of creation.” He says that if the state chooses to alter “the timeless and organic definition of marriage” by permitting same sex couples to marry, then he and his wife will no longer recognize the state’s right to regulate it.
The letter produced a big backlash, with some calling it a publicity stunt and others saying that the paper’s decision to publish it was a mistake. Still others accused the paper of endorsing homophobia. But, out of all of the responses, probably the best, on point commentary comes from Mia Freedman.
Freedman runs a website/blog aimed at Australian women, Mamamia. In a June 11 post titled, “Dear Bigoted Couple Who Want To Divorce To Protest Gay Marriage…” she takes Nick Jensen and his argument about gay marriage apart, piece by piece.
Freedman tells Jensen that she thinks his idea is a great one. So great, in fact, that she says he and his wife, Sarah, shouldn’t wait until same sex marriages are legalized. They should go ahead and divorce now. She says,
At first, your kids will be upset. They won’t understand why their parents – who love each other and them so much, aren’t married.
Isn’t that what couples do when they love each other? Get married if they want to? Pledge their love in front of their family and friends and, sometimes, their children?
But not to worry. I’m sure you and Sarah will sit your kids down and explain to them that Mummy and Daddy still love each other and wish with all their hearts they could be married but sadly, cannot.
This, Freedman points out, is exactly what same sex couples have to tell their kids now. The difference between those couples, and the Jensens, Freedman says, is that Nick and Sarah have the choice of whether to be married. Same sex couples do not have that choice.
She continues by saying that the Jensens can explain to their children that they have chosen to no longer be married because they feel “so perversely threatened” by people they don’t know getting married and having “the same legal rights and freedoms as heterosexual people.”
Freedman then refers to this portion of Jensen’s letter:
By changing the definition of marriage, ‘marriage’ will, in years to come, have an altogether different sense and purpose. It will not be about the mystery of difference in sexual unity, as children come from gendered dissimilarity. It will not be about building and securing communities into the future.
“Patent bollocks” is what Freedman calls that. She asks Jensen what right he has to decide what a family should look like and says that he insults all single parents, as well as same-sex parents, with that statement.
Freedman is right, of course. Jensen’s claim that allowing same sex couples to wed somehow adversely affects his own relationship with his wife is complete nonsense. In Australia, as in the United States and most other countries, there are two aspects to marriage. The first is a mandatory legal contract between two parties. The second is an optional, spiritual contract sanctioned by a religious organization.
Jensen’s argument that by changing who is permitted to enter into the state-sanctioned contract, the state is somehow demeaning the spiritual contract, is complete nonsense. And Mia Freedman brilliantly tells him just how full of BS he is.
Featured image via Facebook/Mamamia