Recently I have noticed something. A new trend developing. Everyone is getting married. I remember a time when we all went to 18th and then 21st parties but now it seems marriages are the new birthday party. All the cool kids are doing it, and the uncool kids, and the in-betweeners, the hippies and the gold diggers. Everyone. That is of course, except those boys who love boys and the girls who love girls.
There seems to be a lot of uproar about allowing same-sex marriage to occur in Australia without much basis for saying no. You know except for the usual ‘what about the tradition of marriage?’. Even our local member of Parliament, Paul Toole recently said he was unable to support the same-sex legislation because he was ‘old-fashioned’. Surely local members are supposed to support and represent the community’s changing values and views?
As a happy married woman I understand the joy in getting married but the question I find myself asking is whether the feel of marriages in Australia is changing to something that is not quite for ‘ever after’ but rather ‘for now and a bit?’
According to the English Oxford Dictionary marriage is: ‘the formal union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife’. So is that what we need to protect?
Are we protecting the formal union? Are we protecting the idea of monogamy? Or is it just protecting the union of only a man and a woman?
I fail to see the nexus between introducing same-sex marriage and the impact it will have on the traditional marriage. Surely John and Jane’s marriage will still be as sentimental and just as legal? Surely same-sex marriage won’t impact on the validity and value of traditional marriage but only allow more people to participate in marriage, without discrimination.
If anything it is the average man and woman who are destroying the traditional value of marriage themselves. Many couples these days don’t commit for eternity, but rather ‘for as long as our love shall last’. It seems to me that it is the Janes and Johns of the world who are changing the institution of marriage.
According to an article published in the Washington Post by Counsellor Janis Abrahams-Spring, infidelity effects on average 1 in every 2.7 couples. This definitely has to undermine the value of the traditional marriage where you are supposedly signing up for ‘the exclusion of all others’.
Perhaps the existence of pre-nuptial agreements are breaking down the strength of traditional marriage. Is this contractual agreement just a way of preparing yourself for an easy-out clause because we probably won’t work out anyway?
Or are we just getting married to have a big party with our family and friends? According to Bride to Be magazine the average 2010 wedding in Australia cost $29,966.00 for the actual day. Plus, you should add another $7,194.00 for engagement rings and wedding bands and $7,105.00 for the honeymoon. Then throw some more coin in the amount of $4,031.00 for pre-wedding parties and it adds up to a grand total of $48,296.00.
The question I put to you is, ‘should it cost almost $50,000.00 to say “I do”?’ Surely that is setting newlyweds up for richer or for poorer, sooner rather than later.
It could be said that laying out so much money is taking the emphasis off the ‘love you until the end of time’ but mixing in a cup of ‘The dress better be Vera Wang’ with a dash of ‘canapés and cocktails on arrival’ following by ‘I can’t believe John Paul Young will be singing at our reception’.
Then following this, the Australia Bureau of Statistics says that a third of marriages end in divorce. So basically we drop $50,000.00 for a 1 in 3 chance at success.
I find it so intriguing and infuriating that we can kick up a stink because two boys who have been in a committed relationship for years want to formalise their union and get married but we don’t care if the institution of marriage itself is covered with a bucket full of contradiction-filled-confetti by those allowed to actually participate.
Surely the traditional marriage that everyone seems so intent on defending wouldn’t deny two lovers the chance to celebrate their legal union together in front of their family and friends, to show their neighbours, their community, their government that they have chosen each other for life (or ‘for as long as their love shall last’).
Perhaps it is the married people in Australia that are changing the tradition of marriage with their big parties, lower commitment rates and divorces. Surely it is only fair that same-sex couples get a chance to drop $50,000.00 for a party and a 1 in 3 chance of happily ever after?