Columnoscopy One

- “Call it Magic. Call it True. Call it Magic. When I’m with you.”

    -  Magic, Coldplay, Ghost Stories (2014)

“I would now like to call on the bride and groom to share their first dance together as husband and wife”.

An electronic drum kit, layered guitar and bass riff can be heard through the speakers of a crowded reception venue in the beautiful Sydney suburb of Mosman. A twenty something man and a slightly younger woman meet on the dance floor, the literal and metaphorical spotlight was on only them. They embrace on the dance floor and their beaming smiles mirror each other. I’m perfectly positioned purely by chance, my fate sealed by a selective seating plan. I don’t need to be a fly on the wall for this moment, for I am the smiling spectator. They begin to sway from side to side for what they call the bridal waltz, but it honestly just resembles a couple of kids at a high school dance. I feel like I was instantly transported back to their early days as young sweethearts, when it was them against the world. They look absolutely stunning. The Bride wearing white of course, in the form of a shoestring strap silky white gown, looking every part of the cliched blushing bride. Simply beautiful. The Groom was looking very dapper in his black three piece suit, but if you knew this bloke, you would know he looks pretty bloody dapper all the time. It was like an episode of Dancing with the Stars before they flogged the dead horse. Nah that’s rubbish, but it was like we were witness to a beautiful performance, a small snapshot into their love. There were two hundred and fifty guests in this Mosman reception centre, but it was only the two of them in this moment. And the two hundred and fifty pairs of prying eyes. Yes I do indeed apologise. I certainly can be a cheesy bastard when I want to be, I hear that quite enough from my Girlfriend.

“Call it Magic. Call it True. Call it Magic. When I’m with you.” The Groom singing the words to his perfect partner, the words bookmarked by easily the biggest beaming smile I have seen on anyone. EVER. Most people state that their wedding day is the happiest day of their entire life, This groom seemed more genuine about it than anyone I had ever seen or will see. The guy was just so damn happy. Definitely not like insert band name here who says every city is their favourite city or every gig is the best they’ve ever done. This is as genuine as can be. “And I don't, and I don't, and I don't, and I don’t, No, I don't, It's true, I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't, no, I don't want anybody else but you,” Again continuing to sing to his bride, who I might add is singing it back to him with that mirrored smile of her very own. Man their pearly whites could have blinded a few people if the light had hit their teeth any better. They were two lovers, who had grown up together, their love growing stronger by the day, having to sneak around from time to time due to over protective parents, having fights over stupid shit, Cuddling up on the couch to binge watch their favourite television programs, seeing the world together and even dealing with the heartache of job loss, loss of loved ones and everything in between, just enjoying their day. The day they have spent well over a solid twelve months organising and preparing for, but perhaps most of their lifetime waiting for. It was beautiful and you would definitely call it magic. So great song choice for your first dance and cheers to Coldplay! I am listening to your song on loop while writing this, so could be a blessing or a curse depending on how long it takes to write this column and how long it takes to edit.

It wasn’t just magic for them though, it was magic for every one of us who were there to witness it. I felt like it was a real honour; a real privilege to share that moment with them. So thank you so much to the two of them, their gorgeous friends and family members for that. It was nothing short of moving. The song ‘Magic’ by Coldplay was stuck in my head for weeks following the event, and I couldn’t help but play out that first dance in my head as well. It was like a movie scene. The groom’s dance moves improved as the nerves slowly evaporated into the air around him, the alcohol consumed giving him a bit more of that infamous courage from the Netherlands. It really left a mark on me and will continue to. It would have to be one of the great Weddings I have been to I think, I mean I am writing about it!

But something else is playing on my mind even today, months after that wonderful event. It’s a feeling of pure disappointment.  A disappointment that for people who love someone just as much, but who are not able to share in that same magic. That particular weekend’s ceremony was in a Greek Orthodox Church, a religious house, but I was at one wedding only a month before with no religious undertone whatsoever. It was done by a celebrant in parklands around Sydney. Again a beautiful ceremony with two people madly in love, but when it came time for the celebrant to give us the definition of marriage by law in this country, it left me wanting more. It always leaves me wanting more. I almost want to boo and hiss like I’m hearing a promo being cut by a heel professional wrestler every single time the words are read:

“Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

Yeah I know that is certainly not the way to behave at a wedding that you plan on staying at, but it fucking horrifies me. We have a law written that excludes others. No, actually we have fucking amended a law to exclude others. Those that choose to go overseas to marry are also held back: 

"Certain unions are not marriages. A union solemnised in a foreign country between: (a) a man and another man; or (b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia." 

The Australian Capital Territory had an attempt at trying to get same sex marriage recognised in its territory but was ultimately overturned in the high court of Australia as being unconstitutional, based on a definition placed in the amendment of the marriage act in 2004! Two thousand and fucking four. Where the hell do we even live! The Netherlands had recognised Same Sex Marriage in 2001, three years BEFORE that amendment to our Marriage Act. It is truly disappointing to me that so many cannot be recognised under the current incarnation of the Marriage Act. NO human being should ever be denied equality like this. They love a fellow consenting adult who loves them back and want it to be recognised the same way as every straight heterosexual couple has the right to do. Yes they can be in a De-Facto relationship just like a heterosexual couple can. But this presents challenges when it comes to wills and treatment of Partners or even being recognised as a spouse on a death certificate should the ultimate tragedy come to pass. They have to PROVE their relationship. This can lead to challenges and fracturing of families and relationships. Marriage cannot be denied as you have the papers to prove it; A legal document, confirming the relationship. We are simply talking about equality here; equal standing under the law, as a human being. I hate that I as a straight man, could marry my girlfriend, who I have known for nearly four years and yet a same sex couple who could have been together for even ten times that amount of time, cannot get married. I feel ashamed that I am a citizen of a country that could treat someone like this. 

Same Sex Marriage is a no brainer in my book. People who love someone of the same sex should be able to celebrate that love the same way as I described at the beginning of this article and have it recognised by our government. People can celebrate with their loved ones, have it recognised by law and businesses of the small variety will receive a welcome boost in business! Florists, reception venues, caterers, photographers, DJs, hire car companies, I haven’t organised a wedding but I’m sure the list would go on further and further and further. That’s the vibe I got from a work colleague of mine who got married a couple of years ago anyway. There was always something to arrange in the lead up. You don’t need to be university educated to realise the boost in the economy this would create. This would be due to the fact that as per a study from the University of Queensland, 54% of same sex partners would get married if they had the choice to do so. This doesn’t at all mean that the other 46% would never get married. Some could even possibly change their mind once it is all legal and even have the choice. But to be honest, this is not about money or about business. It’s about love and equality. That is all.

We needed politicians to represent their electorates and vote for what people actually want. Not considering their own interests which may be anchored by such things as religion or other agendas. They needed to recognise what is in the best interests of society and not remain so far out of touch. According to Galaxy polls from 2009 to 2012, 64% of Australians believe Same Sex marriage should be legal and those numbers would have increased steadily between 2012 and 2017, with several campaigns pushing for the reform going public. But instead of a parliamentary vote, what we got is an expensive, non binding postal survey sent out to the enrolled voting public. Asking if we should be more inclusive and allow our fellow consenting adult human beings equality. We have had fear campaigns run by those who wish for you to vote no. Your children will be subject to the Safe Schools program! Oh no! They will learn that we are all human by creating a safe and supportive school environment for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse people? Sounds pretty beneficial to me. Teenagers, who can be fragile enough as it is, actually being comfortable in their learning space and getting through what can be one of the most difficult times of your life. In my opinion, we have had those on the conservative side of the debate attempting to censor free speech, calling for the musician Macklemore to not perform his hit song campaigning for equality “Same Love” at the NRL Grand Final. A certain radio station elected to remove it from their NRL Grand Final coverage, because free speech doesn’t seem to be a part of their values, but censorship may well be. Once again, only my opinion. Apparently people don’t have the ability to make up their own minds. Deconstruct this piece of writing if you wish, call me a leftie, a cuck, a hippie or whatever derogatory term you believe, best suits my left leaning view point on this issue. The reality is that my mind will not change on Same Sex Marriage. Despite the shame and embarrassment I feel in having to indicate a preference for my fellow human beings having equal rights, I have already indicated a preference of yes and I have sent it back to be counted.

I mean honestly take a look where we currently are at. Hurting our own citizens. Our brothers, sisters, our children, parents, grandparents. How long is it really going to take? To grant something that they deserve. EQUALITY! I believe all people should be able to experience that “magic” as described earlier. All people should be able to declare their love for another to all of their family, their friends and celebrate with them. Have those first dances, have those I dos, the cutting of the wedding cake, the rains of rice, bouquet throwing and have those tears of happiness. There are many who are waiting on the law to change and they should have to wait no longer. I want to be able to tell my Grandchildren and even great grandchildren that we were the generations, the society that ended this exclusion and brought everyone that little bit closer together. We need to stop segregating a portion of our society based on arguments enshrined ultimately in an irrational fear. 

If you have not yet indicated your preference, I am asking you, as one human being to another to please vote yes. Vote yes to allow same sex couples to marry and be recognised under law. Vote yes for progress and something that needs to be constantly strived for in our society; Equality. Seriously, who wouldn’t love more beaming smiles all around! Who wouldn’t love a little more magic? We are all bloody miserable enough these days.

I’ll leave you with a couple of lines of the Macklemore song ‘Same Love’:

- “Kids are walking around the hallway, Plagued by pain in their heart, A world so hateful, Some would rather die, Than be who they are, And a certificate on paper, Isn't gonna solve it all, But it's a damn good place to start.”

-Same Love Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist (2013)

Peace, Love and the Considerate Way,

D