You’d all be aware by now today was a very significant day – the results of the government survey on marriage equality were announced and 61.6% of the Australian people voted yes.
The results of this announcement were some colourful and emotional celebrations all across the country, as well as an assurance from our Prime Minister marriage equality will be legal by Christmas.
If 61.6% voted yes, statistically, there’s a fair possibility 38.4% of you reading this might have voted no. Whatever your personal views on marriage equality may be, please allow me to share why I believe this issue is significant and relevant for the community care sector.
First and foremost, community care is about empowering people, and helping them live in their own homes with autonomy, dignity and respect. The central pillar of consumer directed care is people having choice and control over their own lives, with sensitivity to whatever makes that person special and individual, including culture, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
So I believe marriage equality is strongly in alignment with the ethos of consumer directed care.
Secondly, it’s statistically inevitable some of our clients are LGBTQI. Many of our older clients would have grown up experiencing prejudice, discrimination, confusion, shame and even hate crimes.
For all those clients, this must be a hugely important day.
Finally, I understand ECHO likes to benchmark the quality of the care it delivers by asking – ‘would this be good enough for my Mum?’ Well, as it turns out, my Mum has been in a loving, stable relationship with another woman for many years. So, if we’re going to deliver service good enough for MY Mum… Well, it’s a no-brainer, isn’t it.
Back a few years ago, I had the honour of officiating at the marriage of two very good female friends – one of them went to school with my lovely wife, Kim. At that point their union had no legal status, so the fact I wasn’t a legal marriage celebrant didn’t matter.
This December, just before Christmas, Kim and I will be travelling to Sydney to celebrate the wedding of two more female friends. We’re hoping this time their marriage might receive the same legal status as ours.
If you voted no and you’re still reading, please know I respect your views, and thank you for bearing with me. Someone you know, someone in your family or circle of friends, or maybe one of your clients, was celebrating this historic day so, even if you don’t agree, I hope you can feel some happiness for them.