Aunty Tom

Sue Ann Post writes in the King’s Tribune that she’s a lesbian who is not interested in being monogamous, and is not interested in getting married. Which is her own business, and none of mine.

What IS my business, and that of any person opposed to pointless discrimination against people based on their gender, is that Sue uses her personal choice (well, not choice, since it’s presently made by the state for her) to justify advocating that the law continue to discriminate against other lesbians and gay people:

Let me say up front that as someone who has been ‘out’ as a lesbian for 27 years, I just don’t get this push for gay marriage. I don’t understand why it has become a headline issue in the push for equal human rights, especially when our rights in other areas are being slowly eroded by some state governments. In the ‘80s we fought for the right to be different. Now it seems that we’re fighting for the right to be the same. I don’t get it.

Having our relationships recognised as valid and legal is one thing, but why on earth go as far as wanting to get married? I’m not the only one who thinks this way. One of the saddest things I’ve seen at a Pride March was two years ago where a lone, brave man carried a sign saying, ‘I don’t want to get married. Do I still belong?’

Of course you bloody belong. The point is that the government shouldn’t be denying you that choice. And Sue-Ann, fighting for equality is fighting for the right to be TREATED equally even though we’re all different.

It infuriates me when someone from a discriminated-against group decides they’re not interested in the thing denied them – as is of course their right – but then takes the absurd leap to asserting that it doesn’t matter if it’s denied to other discriminated-against people who do want to partake in the thing denied them.

It’s incredibly selfish and arrogant – why should her sexuality give her the right to take rights from others? If she supports the state blocking someone from marrying their partner because of their gender, what does it matter that she also partners with people of the same gender?

It also completely misses the point. The people advocating for marriage equality aren’t campaigning to force Sue-Ann to get married: even when they succeed, she’ll retain – actually, gain – the choice not to marry. But she is advocating that lesbians and gay people who do want to marry continue to be prevented from making that choice.

In any case, Sue Ann, the fight for marriage equality is only partly about the specific gay people who want to marry. More importantly, it is about gay people not being treated as second-class citizens by the law; about gay people having the same rights as straight people. Whether you want to marry or not, whether being treated fairly appeals to you or not, supporting legislative discrimination against gay people is a dick move.

Even if you’re a lesbian.

12 responses to “Aunty Tom

  1. I totally agree! It frustrates me to no-end when I am told that there are gay people not interested in getting married – no one is forcing anyone to do anything – gay or straight. Marriage equality is about making the choice not to marry an actual choice, and not just a happy coincidence for those who are gay and anti-matrimony.


  2. I whole-heartedly agree!

  3. Another agree here. Pretty much the same as Gillard saying that she’s happily unmarried therefore no gay marriage for the rest of us. What a joke. It’s like saying “I’m happy wearing boxers, so we should ban briefs”. Just because something works for you personally doesn’t mean we all have to live that way.

    In fact, what makes me angry is that these people have spent their lives fighting to be accepted for being different, but then they pull out the same old canard on us, the younger generation, as they’ve been fighting against. Yes, we’re all different. That means there are those of us that want to get married, and it’s not for anybody, least of all you, to tell us we shouldn’t.

    This isn’t about forcing anybody to do anything. It’s about choice, and I just don’t get why libertarians of any variety (liberal or conservative) are so against that.

  4. I’m gay and have no interested in getting married to another man, but I’m attending all the rallies, joining all the pro-marriage Facebook groups etc. simply because gays and lesbians should have the choice to marry someone they love.

  5. This is yet another one of the many yawn-worthy “I’m okay, therefore EVERYONE should be okay!” arguments made in support of every form of discrimination there is.

    You’d think being in a minority group who experiences frequent discrimination would give them some empathy, but apparently not!

  6. Didn’t Sue Ann spend her childhood growing up in a Mormon family?

    I think it might have skewed her perception of institutions such as marriage and religion!

  7. There are good arguments against DECIDING to get married on a personal level… there AREN’T good arguments about PREVENTING a group of people from getting married on a mass level…

  8. “It also completely misses the point.”

    Perhaps but you’ve missed quite a few of her points. She’s not advocating that the state remove the rights of those in same sex relationships. She appears to believe that the ‘civil union’ compromise gift those rights. I won’t enter into that argument save to acknowledge that one exists.

    She’s actually questioning marriage in itself. Good friend of mine says the same thing. It’s not that he’s opposed to same-sex marriage, he is practically married and knows it. He personally doesn’t give a rat’s whether the government recognizes it as marriage or not he just wants parental rights.. But he thinks ‘marriage’ is bollocks and he finds the obligation to support the campaign as if compulsory irritating. He thinks it’s actually a campaign to try and win acceptance rather than just tolerance. He says to Hell with acceptance, I don’t care if you like me just stay out of my business; I don’t believe in your ‘marriage’. I think Post is expressing the same sentiment. Sorry but you’ve twisted her a little.

  9. AC – I think you have missed the point.

    It is great that Ann and your good friend don’t care for marriage. Power to them. So why exactly should they be able to impose their choice to diss marriage on everyone else? This is a fight about denial of access to something that one group has for no reason other than sexual preference. There are many people that don’t care for marriage – but it is only heterosexuals that get to make an actual choice. So when a heterosexual (say, our PM) decides to not get married or doesn’t agree with marriage or whatever, they get to make that choice. A homosexual couple, whether they believe in marriage or not, are barred by it for no other reason than their genitals. Even if you hate marriage and want to make a stand against it, you have to be heterosexual to do that. Because you cannot protest against something you can’t have anyway.

    I hope that simplifies it for you. In summary – it is about access and choice, and the complete denial of that access/choice due to sexual discrimination. It is NOT about whether marriage is a good thing or not.

  10. Perhaps we both miss the point. You can protest against something you can’t have; isn’t it mainly conservative men who protest abortion?

    Sue Ann Post is being criticized for a lack of solidarity, yes? She opens up by saying she doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand why this issue has become so important. As a writer she is asserting dissent. Thus she is denounced. Her salient point is:

    We’re all brought up to believe that marriage and monogamy are the natural order of things and that people have been happily married by the Christian Church for many centuries, if not millennia. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    That is she disagrees with the campaign to make same-sex marriage legitimate not for reasons that Gay Tories do but because she believes that marriage is an artificial construct, that is historically concomitant with Agrarian aristocracies and Christianization of the working class.

    She’s questions the very legitimacy of marriage:

    Even with the best of intentions, the framers of marriage could never have expected that a bond of lifelong monogamy could end up lasting for 30, 40 or 50 years. Even they might have baulked at that prospect.

    Indeed, and a recent conservative polemicist on marriage (very much anti-gay marriage; marriage = children etc) advocated reforming the marriage contract from one binding for life to one that lasted 15 years. There is the option to renew of course but, she says, 15 years is enough to raise a child properly.

    I don’t think she misses the point, she’s a dyke she’s heard the point laboured ad nauseam at dinner parties and gigs for years. She’s not ‘opposed to gay marriage’. She just doesn’t feel the same way and decided to have a go. My good friend is married btw. As far as he’s concerned it’s the business of exactly two people. It’s the most functional marriage I’ve ever encountered.

    Jeremy’s point is “that the government shouldn’t be denying you that choice”. I agree. My point is that there’s more to Post’s post than that. And that’s the interesting stuff. When you ignore that stuff, it’s basically doubleplus goodthinkful.

    Denouncing dissent. It’s soooo 20th century.

  11. If Sue Ann Post’s contribution was a dismissal of marriage per se and an explanation of why it wasn’t a choice she’d make, that would be entirely different.

    But she did the “helping anti-equality bigots” thing instead – running the line that gay people shouldn’t mind being discriminated against in the law because marriage is not for them. She’s thereby assisting those who would deny gay people the choice just because she’s not personally interested in it.

    I have no issue with gay or straight people debating the value of marriage. What I do have an issue with is gay or straight people supporting the law discriminating against gay people.

  12. I don’t think she’s ‘helping anti-equality bigots’ except insofar as her stance would take steam out of the marriage equality campaign. If people active in it were to desist en masse because of her views. Her position is against monogamy and it’s hard to envisage such a view being taken up by Tony Abbott. The conservative argument for the legitimization of same-sex marriage is that marriage is about monogamy. It’s not widely shared by the author’s fellow travelers but it is being used by Nicola Roxon as reported in this morning’s Th’age.

    I didn’t think Post was ordering the same-sex marriage campaign to cease and desist, more expressing the view that she doesn’t share their desires. I believe that this is based on the assumption that the civil union compromise does indeed guarantee same-sex couples the same rights. On this I don’t have an opinion merely the skepticism that gifting some particular group with a slightly different right is probably shaky. I support same-sex marriage but her view is valid imho.

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