Marriage Equality in Australia – Stuart Roberts MP Says No

So last week I decided, like many other Australian citizens, to do the right thing and add my name to the Marriage Equality Petition over at Getup.com. Yes, I’m gay, so no doubt many of you may be thinking, “well of course you’re going to sign it”. You’re probably right, to a fashion, however, if anyone on this earth can convince me of a GOOD reason why everyone shouldn’t be signing this, then bring it on. My partner and I have been together 13 years. We’ve raised two healthy children. We have a loving family, contribute positively to society and yet we are viewed as second class citizens by our Government. Sadly, we’re also viewed as second class citizens by Stuart Roberts, our local Federal MP.

Initial Response from MP Stuart Roberts on Marriage Equality Petition

After signing my name to the petition, I thought nothing of it until I received an email from a representative of Stuart Roberts MP, asking for further details as the petition hadn’t provided them. I thought this was a positive sign. At least someone was actually acknowledging the petition, so I replied with further details, and with the following information:

My partner and I have been together for 13 years, longer than many marriages. We have raised two healthy, intelligent, kind children. Our family have long accepted us as a couple as have our friends and anyone we meet. We are both educated, employed individuals. It pains me deeply that our relationship is seen as not worthy of being recognized in Australia, by anyone other than the tax office. The feeling of not having our relationship recognized is heartbreaking, especially when people who have known each other only a day can go and get married. We simply want the right to be accepted by our country as a legal union. Many other countries in the world recognize same sex unions, it’s time for Australia to do the same.

Thank you and please let me know if you’d like any further comment.

I didn’t expect to hear much back after this, but I did…… sadly it was one of the most pathetic, cut & paste, inconsiderate responses I think I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure when MP’s became so scared. I don’t know whether there was a turning point when elected officials became complete puppets of the electorate, or the imagined electorate that they actually engage with. I understand they need to represent their community, but when that means demeaning residents, treating their lives as secondary to yours, then that isn’t on. Here is the response I received from MP Stuart Roberts:

Hi Tracy

Thank you for your email. The overwhelming response from my electorate is not to support same sex marriage and therefore, I will not vote for any changes to the Marriage Act.

Good to hear from you.

There are so many issues with this email that I don’t even know where to start. Firstly, in one concise sentence, Stuart Roberts MP has managed to completely trivialise my life. He refers to the ‘overwhelming response’ from his electorate, an electorate I’m part of, and yet I have never been asked for my views. My partner hasn’t. My mother hasn’t. None of my friends or neighbours have. So just who is part of this ‘overwhelming response’?

Secondly, I understand that an MP is there to represent his or her electorate, but at certain points, MP’s are there to be bold, to challenge the status quo, to change the future for the better. This response with it’s twee “good to hear from you” dismissal is none of those things. It is a polite mandatory response from someone who doesn’t give a damn. There’s no attempt to even get to know the issues better. No reaching out to try to understand why this is so important in helping make our country a forward thinking, inclusive, healthy country. There’s just nothing. Just a cookie-cutter response that dismisses my situation, my family, my life.

How can we move forward with backward thinking MP’s?

I am so infuriated by the response and the fact that my local MP will be voting no to marriage equality. What are the options we have here? What does your regular joe do in this situation? It is just sickening to me that in this day and age, where so many countries & states have voted yes to marriage equality, Australia, or at least perceived Australia, seems to be backwards. Are we really that closed minded? Are a nation that was build on mateship and a fair-go really so arrogant to withhold the rights of some of their citizens? Have we learnt nothing of the past? A past that is peppered with unfairness, injustice and cruelty to those that the ‘overwhelming majority’ saw as unworthy of the same rights? I urge you to contact your local MP and make your views known. All we want is the same rights as you. Is that so difficult to understand?

Note: If you want to complain to Stuart Roberts MP, you can contact him here: Stuart Roberts MP. Alternatively, sign the petition to have it sent to your local MP and try to make a difference.

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