Well written, well read. That’s the motto of Canberra print title City News. But as Canberrans turned the first page to read this week’s featured article, a turgid diatribe written by Nick Jenson proclaiming that he and his wife may divorce if gay people are allowed to legally marry, the ACT found itself at the centre of a new and bigoted low in the fight for marriage equality.
Jenson, a prominent affiliate of the Australian Christian Lobby, reasons that although he and his wife are deeply in love, they cannot “as a matter of conscience, recognise the government’s regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnisation of same-sex couples.”
The mean-spirited invective in the guise of Christian probity continues as the naive and deluded ideologue declares that “by changing the definition of marriage, ‘marriage’ will, in years to come, have an altogether different sense and purpose. We no longer wish to be associated with this new definition.”
Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.
Until only recently, it seemed that same sex marriage would be unattainable in Australia during Abbott’s reign. But as many countries around the world begin to legislate for marriage equality, it is increasingly more likely that Abbott will succumb to the political opportunism of allowing a free vote within the Federal Parliament. Abbott knows that as objectionable the notion of two loving and consenting adults marrying is to him, it may be politically imperative to secure his survival for a second term.
The opponents to marriage equality have had to rally their troops faster than expected and, as a result, will resort to the desperate tactics that we have seen from Canberra couple Nick and Sarah Jenson.
Of course, the Jensons have to realise that we don’t care if they divorce. The argument for marriage equality is predicated on love and justice.
If the Jensons are prepared to dissolve their marriage because they reject the notion that two consenting and loving adults might marry, it only proves to the rest of Canberra, and Australia, that their marriage is not based on love at all. Their union is based on doctrine and scripture rather than a visceral and heartfelt need to be together.
The cause for marriage equality will be won by demonstrating the best of our humanity. In the face of hatred, rather than become hateful ourselves, we must demonstrate our humanity.
As painful as it may be for our young gay and lesbian children and brothers and sisters, we need to rise above the hatred that is directed towards them. That the opponents to marriage equality have sunk to a new low is simply an opportunity for the rest of Australia to rise above them.
Nick and Sarah Jenson, I forgive you.