With the marriage equality debate coming back from the dead à la Lazarus, there’s been a lot of speculation around how and when equality is going to happen. If it happens.

There’s talk that some Liberal MPs are now pushing for a free vote on same-sex marriage, leaving the charred remains of the plebiscite firmly in the past. 

 

There is ample evidence that most Australians support same-sex marriage. That has only made the politics even more frustrating. Equality seems inevitable, or eventual, but it also appears at risk of being shut down a few thousand more times before it happens for real. 

 

I have a hard time understanding how people let their personal beliefs dictate the rights of others, especially in the light of cold hard logic. My personal belief is not concordant with marriage equality. I don’t feel that I need marriage, but that doesn’t mean I think other people don’t. I’m not about to disqualify the needs, rights and desires of other people simply because I refuse to empathise with them to preserve the integrity of my own world view. That’s utter stupidity, and so is this entire ‘debate’.

 

Canberra is busily stonewalling itself while the politicians cloistered within Parliament’s rotting bowels are pointing fingers at each other and having pissing contests – and queer people are suffering in droves. Marriage is by no means a panacea for all that ails the queer community, but it will be a massive step – no, leap – towards it. 

 

If anything, this free vote could happen as soon as the end of March. I suppose we’ll all just wait and see. In the meantime, a new marriage equality campaign is being launched. The new campaign will be far-reaching, with a television spot and billboards as well as digital advertising. It’ll be comprehensive and calculated to take advantage of the current political climate. It’s got every chance at succeeding in perhaps not changing minds, but at least forcing people to consider the issue more deeply. 

 

I’ve made it known in the past that I find campaigns like this excruciatingly pathetic – not because of their content per se, but because they need to exist in the first place. Here we are again, doing the same thing – trying to convince people we are human beings. We’re just more sophisticated about it now. Instead of appealing to people’s emotion and humanity (we’re just like you, we feel love, we bleed when we’re stabbed by homophobes in the park, we’ve got jobs, we feel pain), we’re trying to appeal to their reason too (I serve my country as a soldier and protect its citizens and liberties, surely I deserve the right to marry my partner). 

 

The campaign features people like soldiers, nurses, doctors, lifesavers and firefighters. It attempts to highlight the value these people contribute to society, their expertise, sacrifice and dedication – and asks why they aren’t allowed to marry their partners. 

 

Yes, of course somebody who serves their country is simply entitled to ask how their country serves them and their human rights. But queers have now elevated themselves to superhuman status out of some unbelievably sad necessity. To achieve any equality, we must be flawless public servants and exceptional in our patriotism. Globalisation has begun chafing the political world at large, so this campaign is both timely and depressing. 

 

I hope it works. 

 

This Week…

 

On Saturday February 18, head over to The Shift Club for the glorious return of Red Heaven and its Fifty Shades Of Grey-inspired party, Fifty Shades Of Red. Provocative dress is encouraged, and you’ll be able wear a wristband indicating your level of participation in the party. Expect candles and sensual performances to set the mood. The DJs are DJ Issy, Murray Hood and Brett Austin, and tickets are available now. 

 

Also, Wednesday February 15 sees the start of this year’s Mardi Gras Film Festival. Get over to Event Cinemas on George Street this week for these standouts:

 

Below Her Mouth. [pictued above] Billing itself as the “sexiest film of the year”, expect a lot of, well, sex. Shot with an all-female crew, and starring Erika Linder and Natalie Krill, it’s a rare film that explores the female gaze.

 

Don’t Call Me Son. Pierre is like any rebellious 17-year-old: he’s in a band, sleeps around and parties with friends. He also secretly wears women’s clothing. This is a must-see.

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