On Marriage

The last three weddings I attended were heterosexual. At each hopes for marriage equality were expressed and the audience applauded.

In Australia pro marriage equality sentiments are polling at more than 60%. In the USA it’s now over 50%. It’s all happening much faster than I thought it would and I’m glad. There are many places in the world where same-sex marriage is legal. I truly did not think I would see that in my lifetime.

I want everyone to be able to marry if they want to. And just as importantly if they think marriage is an antiquated institution of social control then they should be able to say, “Hell, no! I don’t need no stinking government or church to control my love life!” Without anyone rolling their eyes and saying, “Whatever. You’re not even allowed to get married.”

Everyone, gay, lesbian or straight should be free to marry and also free to defy the pressure to get married, have kids, and all that jazz.

Me, I love being married. But I never wanted to be married. I just happened to fall for a foreigner and it was the only way we could be together.

The amount of privilege marriage affords you is ridiculous. I had no idea. I have seen newly weds taken more seriously than a defacto couple who have been together for more than twenty years and have children. What now?

As a married woman I am treated as more of a grown up than I ever was before. Sadly, I don’t think being married has made me any more mature. Fart jokes remain very, very funny.

What marriage does is smooth our path. No one ever questions me and my husband being together in almost any situation. Just saying the words “my husband” can get things happening in ways that “my boyfriend” or “I” never did. Oh, sexist world. *sigh*

Being married makes life easier.

So, yes, I believe in marriage equality. But I also believe civil unions should carry the same weight as marriage and have the same privileges. I would love it if we had a system where best friends or siblings who live together could also be legally recognised when it comes to all the major decisions that are covered by marriage.

For many of us our most enduring important bonds are not romantic ones. I’d love for the law and society to recognise that too.

I’d love it if we had rituals and ceremonies to recognise BFFs as well as couples. I love weddings. But I bet I would love a BFFs twentieth anniversary ceremony too.

Every time I’m at a wedding I’m sad about the lack of ceremony in our lives. Let’s make more of them!


  1. Raewyn on #

    This is beautiful. You don’t think about it but marriage is such a privilege and everyone should have the right. Every girl at least is brought up to expect marriage. I can’t wait until marriage is equal everywhere, especially here in Aus.

    Also celebrations for every important thing should happen more.

  2. Beth on #

    ‘For many of us our most enduring important bonds are not romantic ones.’ YES. This.
    As a society we place WAY too much emphasis on romantic relationships.

  3. Justine on #

    Raewyn: Thank you!

    Yeah, that’s what’s so wonderful about weddings they’re such exuberant celebrations. But there are so many other things we should be celebrating on the same scale.

    Beth: As a society we place WAY too much emphasis on romantic relationships.

    Yup. But I have no idea what to do about it. I feel like romantic love has eaten almost every other concept of love.

    I have single friends who have gazillions of friends, wonderful careers, fabulous lives who think they’re failures because they don’t have a romantic partner. It makes me want to scream. Otoh, I know people who stay in awful relationships because they too afraid of being single. Ack!

  4. Rebecca Leach on #

    “For many of us our most enduring important bonds are not romantic ones. I’d love for the law and society to recognise that too.” <– I am going to frame that and hang it on a wall.

    And yeah, that whole thing about how people take you less seriously because you're not married. And if you're married to someone of the same sex but living in a state that doesn't legally recognize it, people still take you less seriously. And when you're married to someone of the same sex in a state that does recognize it, some people STILL don't take it seriously b/c your SO is the same sex as you and so it's not "the same." And when you're thinking about getting married, your ceremony doesn't mean the same thing, and some people even FORGET that it's an actual marriage. GRRRRRRRRRR.

    SOOOO, thanks for posting this. : P

  5. Justine on #

    Rebecca Leach: Yes, it’s depressingly true that changing the law and allowing same-sex marriages is just the first step. I have friends in mixed race marriages who still have people giving them grief in an implied “yours is not a real marriage” kind of way. There are still churches preaching against mixed marriages.

    The good news is that the majority of people—at least in Australia and the USA—think that’s nuts.

    Progress is slow. REALLY SLOW. But it is happening.

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