Monday, 11 June 2012

My Facebook Newsfeed

I am a Facebook addict. Once, I tried to quit Facebook for a week. I only lasted 47 hours without my precious Facebook, during which time my best friend teamed up with my husband to try and make my life a living hell. They got my friends to post on my timeline so I'd have a bunch of notifications when I got back. My best friend told me it was a gift, like giving a drug addict a kilo of cocaine as a reward for completing rehab. When I returned to Facebook I was happy again. I'd been having withdrawals, and had started begging my husband, "Please, just tell me what's happening. I just want to know what I'm missing! Please!" before I finally succumbed to Facebook's sweet, sweet addiction again.

Now, I'm almost beginning to wish I'd just stayed away. Instead of my friend's typical witty status updates and tales of their current dramas and woes, my Newsfeed is full of pictures that people have liked. Some, like memes, are entertaining but on the whole it's just annoying. 

I'm sick of people liking pictures of people with cancer, kids who are starving, relationship quotes, or those "like for a like" pages. How many of the world's problems are being solved by some idiot liking another idiots Facebook post? 

You want to change the world? Well quit complaining about how bad it is and instead get off your arse and try to change it. Donate to a charity, volunteer for an organisation - I don't care. Just stop liking Facebook posts and feeling like you're making a difference in the world, douchebags!

Funnily enough while writing this post I realised that my best friend has actually deleted his Facebook account. I texted him and found out that apparently he did it yesterday. Maybe I should join him?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Same sex marriage essay

Welcome to my first blog post. 


To celebrate my friend getting engaged I've decided to start this blog by posting a recent essay that I submitted for a TAFE assessment. For the assessment we had to write an argumentative academic essay on the subject of our choosing, and I chose same sex marriage. My thesis statement is, "The legal definition of marriage in Australia should exclude any gender specification."


When I first mentioned my essay on Facebook a month ago I had a few people mention that they'd like to read it when I was done, so that's why I'm posting it here.


The legal definition of marriage in Australia should exclude gender specification

Written by Danielle Logue. Submitted 6/6/2012




The legal definition of marriage in Australia should exclude any gender specification. The Australian Law should no longer define marriage as being “the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life” (Parliament of Australia, 2011) but instead should define it as the union between two consenting persons with the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. Gender specification in Australian marriage law violates basic human rights. Gender specification in the Marriage Act has dehumanised same sex couples and members of the transgender community. Including gender specification in the Marriage Act has made those laws contradictory to other laws pertaining to relationships.

Gender specification in Australian marriage law violates basic human rights. Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.” (United Nations, 1948). It makes no specification that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, only states that men and women should all be free to marry.

In 2011, Australia and a number of other countries joined together in the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn violence and discrimination against persons because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. By doing this Australia recognized that discrimination against homosexuals because of their sexual orientation is a human rights issue (Raj, 2012). However, just twelve months prior the Australian Senate rejected the Same Sex Marriage Bill. The Bill was put to vote in the Senate on 26th February, 2010 with a staggering forty five votes against compared to the five in favour of the Bill. Almost a third of the Senators did not show up on the day of the vote, many abstaining due to their conscientious objection of their own party’s preference (Schubert, 2010).

Gender specification in the Marriage Act has dehumanised same sex couples and members of the transgender community. Defining marriage as only being between a man and a woman is isolating people of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community (LGBTI). In addition, it is making a distinction that one kind of love is somehow more acceptable to society and that if people do not conform to this standard they are abnormal and should be treated as second-class citizens (Australian Marriage Equality).

The inclusion of gender specification in the legal definition of marriage stating that marriage should only be between a man and a woman unwittingly reinforces the negative stereotypes that same sex relationships are fleeting, fickle or unstable (Croome, 2012). The exclusion of same sex couples has the potential to change marriage from a symbol of love to an exclusive club that breeds prejudice and discrimination (Croome, 2012).

Including gender specification in the Marriage Act has made those laws contradictory to other laws pertaining to relationships. In 2008, the Australian Federal Government amended 85 different laws with regards to the recognition of same sex couples. For the most part, they updated laws and added the term “de facto partner” which is now inclusive of same sex couples, as opposed to the opposite sex couple terminology such as “spouse”, “wife”, “husband” or “de facto spouse”. As a result of this they had to define what a de facto relationship is, and how they will recognise de facto partnerships (National LGBTI Health Alliance, 2010). A de facto relationship is defined as two people residing together who are not related, not married to each other and who are living together as a couple. It is possible to be considered in a de facto relationship despite one partner already being married or in a de facto or registered relationship with someone else (Family Court of Australia).

Same sex couples have the same legal rights and entitlements as opposite sex couples when it comes to being in a cohabiting relationship, yet opposite sex couples are the only relationship that can be made legitimate by Australian Federal law. Registering relationships and being in a de facto partnership does not guarantee the same kinship that marriage does. That is, a married couple is automatically seen as being each other’s next of kin in the event of death or disability. This is not the case for de facto relationships (National LGBTI Health Alliance, 2010).

De facto couples, depending on the states individual laws, may have to prove their relationship and that they should have preference to any surviving blood relatives such as children, parents or siblings of their partner (National LGBTI Health Alliance, 2010). For example, in Western Australia if one partner dies the matter is settled in Family Court where they have to prove the existence of the relationship (Department of Justice, Western Australia, 2002) while in Victoria same sex couples who are in a registered relationship do not need to provide any further evidence of their relationship at Family Court (Victoria Legal Aid, 2012).
Australia must keep up with the times and update its laws accordingly. The institution of marriage has changed over time. Before they amended it in the 1950s, there was an Australian law that stated an Indigenous man could not marry a white woman (AAP, 2012). A century ago it was not uncommon for women and men to be forced into marriages by family pressure, another practice that was amended by the Marriage Act in 1961 which stated that marriage must be voluntarily entered by both parties. (Parliament of Australia, 2011)

There are many reasons to change the legal definition of Marriage in Australia to exclude any gender specification. Not allowing same sex marriage is discriminatory and violates basic Human Rights. It alienates an entire group of Australians and makes them into second-class citizens in the eyes of the law. The Marriage Act also conflicts with other existing laws and regulations that regard same sex and opposite sex couples to be equal. Australia needs to keep up with the rest of the world, and update laws accordingly to not seem out of touch or old fashioned. Same sex couples should all be free and equal to marry under Australian law.



Bibliography


AAP. (2012, June 1). Upper house lends weight to push for gay marriage. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/upper-house-lends-weight-to-push-for-gay-marriage-20120531-1zkuf.html

Australian Marriage Equality. (n.d.). Australian Marriage Equality. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from Australian Marriage Equality: http://www.australianmarriageequality.com/faqs.htm

Croome, R. (2012, May 4). Marriage equality: a symbol of love. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from Australian Marriage Equality: http://www.australianmarriageequality.com/wp/2012/05/04/a-symbol-of-love/
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Parliament of Australia. (2011, April 19). Marriage Act 1961. Retrieved June 6, 2012, from Australian Government ComLaw: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2011C00192/Html/Text#_Toc290889515

Raj, S. (2012, May 10). Marriage equality: it’s about human rights. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from Amnesty International: http://www.amnesty.org.au/features/comments/28608/

Schubert, M. (2010, February 26). Senate rejects gay marriage bill. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/national/senate-rejects-gay-marriage-bill-20100225-p5zv.html

United Nations. (1948, December 10). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from Universal Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml

Victoria Legal Aid. (2012, January 5). De facto and same sex relationships. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from Victoria Legal Aid: http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/defacto.htm