Sometimes, when you are absolutely outraged by something, you have to take a stand. Even when the actual thing you are outraged about has no negative impact on anyone. Even when it doesn’t effect you personally at all. Even when it’s actually a good thing. Because, outrage is fun but misplaced outrage is the best kind.
John is pictured here with his wife, Mary, on their last holiday. They have no children but do have 2 lovely goldfish. He has never had a menstrual period in his life and is even too embarrassed to throw a box of tampons in the trolley for Mary when he does the shopping. Instead, Mary just picks up her supplies from the pharmacy near work. So when John heard that there was a campaign to remove GST from menstrual products, he vowed he’d never buy a packet of tampons in his life if the changes went through and insisted Mary learn how to crochet her own.
This is Carol. Carol owns a nice little house in a good suburb. She has no investment properties and doesn’t want one. Thanks to an inheritance and some regular overtime shifts, she owns her home outright. Carol heard that there might be changes to negative gearing, meaning property investors get less tax breaks. Carol understands that people are after a fairer deal all around. This has literally no effect on Carol personally but she is furious and has promised to abandon her nice house if this happens. Instead, she will opt to live on the footpath in a good quality cardboard box.
Now, next in my catalogue of misplaced outrage and bizarre reactions, I want you to meet Nick and Sarah Jensen.
These two peanuts have announced that the introduction of marriage equality laws will result in them divorcing, because they cannot, in conscience, be bound by the same laws that recognise same-sex marriage. The difference between this couple and the others I have written about here- GST John and Cardboard Box Carol- is that they are real and frankly, just as ridiculous as the people I made up.
I mean, come on, guys- marriage equality is not about you and your legal, heterosexual marriage. If a same sex couple gets married, it will have literally no impact on Nick and Sarah’s relationship and threatening to divorce over a proposed change in legislation is nothing but a big, bigoted tantrum. They may as well lay themselves down in the aisle and kick their feet and squeal while same sex couples from around the country step over them on their path to happily legal marriages, should they choose to do so.
One thing that really stood out to me when I read Nick’s ramble on why they’d be divorcing if the laws changed was this:
“So, the decision to divorce is not one we’ve taken lightly. And certainly, it’s not one that many will readily understand. And that’s because it’s not a traditional divorce.”
It’s interesting to me that this couple are essentially protesting a change to “traditional” marriage by attempting to change”traditional” divorce- divorce being the dissolving of a marriage, the ending of an intimate and legally entwined relationship. Nick’s article details how he and his wife will continue to live together, are hoping to have more kids, will benefit from de-facto recognition laws and so on. If they are allowed to divorce after publicly stating that they will not be separating, there is a clear legal issue here. To divorce in Australia, you need to prove to the courts that you have lived separately for 12 months and that there is no chance of the marriage resuming. As stated, Nick’s spiel makes it obvious that they have no plans to actually separate and, it would seem, no clue of the requirements for divorce. I wonder how their brand of religion would feel about them telling big, fat lies to a federal court just to make a point?
The other issue I have to raise is- why now? Why did they even get married at all? The reason I wonder this is that they are a fairly young couple, married at 21 and celebrating their 10 year anniversary, making them 31 years old. If you made it through all of Nick’s column, you’ll know that he passionately believes that marriage and religion are firmly entwined. He claims his promise to divorce is not motivated by hate and bigotry but you know what? I’m gonna call bullshit there.
If Nick and Sarah Jensen were truly concerned with Australian law defining marriage as sacred institution ordained by God, as he claims, to the point where they will DIVORCE if this changes, they’d never have married in the first place. Why? Because marriage has not required religion in Australia since before they were even born. Civil ceremonies have been legally performed in Australia since the 1970’s. Yep, godless heathens like me have been getting hitched for decades.
There’s actually quite a lot in Nick’s column that I could happily sit down and pick apart, showing evidence to the contrary and so on. But I’m not going to because this whole thing is nothing but a hateful stunt. They aren’t going to get divorced if same sex marriage, considered a fundamental human right, becomes legal because they won’t meet the statutory requirements without lying. If they choose to lie to the courts to gain a divorce and be the biggest homophobes on the block, that’s their problem and may it bring them much joy to know that they’ve gone to such ridiculous and nonsensical lengths to maintain their discriminatory ideas and impacted no one but themselves in the process.
My chosen partner is of the opposite gender to me. That was quite a stroke of luck on my part because there was no barrier to us getting married when we wanted to. However, if he had been a woman and we had wanted to get married, two already-married straight people having a conniption and threatening to legally end their marriage if I was allowed to legalise mine would literally not even factor in to my decision. You know why? Because what they do in their relationship affects mine not at all. Marriage, as we know it, has evolved. It’s no longer about ownership and property. It’s a mutual decision about love and commitment. It’s not a necessity for anything anymore but if it is offered to heterosexual couples, it should be offered as an option for all couples that want to make a formal and legal commitment to each other. It’s that simple. Direct your outrage at an actual problem, why don’t you?
#FYBF @ With Some Grace
#Weekend Rewind @ Maxabella Loves
*Images are stock pictures from MorgueFile and not the ridiculous, made-up people I described. The peanut picture is also a stock image.