Marriage Equality | Guest post from The Legacy of Leo

The marriage equality debate has been heating up here in Australia. As someone who is not as personally affected by this debate as some others are, I thought it would be a good idea to get the perspective of someone who’s life was changed by marriage equality laws. So I asked Jess from The Legacy of Leo to write a few words about how marriage equality has changed her life and why we should legalise it here. Australians, remember to mail your ‘yes’ vote back by October 27 to make sure your vote counts!

For some reason, I’ve really struggled to write what I want to write about equal marriage. It’s a topic so close to my heart and home, yet I’m lost for words. I guess, trying to ‘defend’ or ‘explain’ something that is just a part of you and who you are, and what your family is, is a difficult thing to do.

Watching Australia become one of the latest countries to debate equality in marriage, and asking the public to cast a vote on it – a vote that doesn’t even change the law – affects us all, globally. Many people in the UK may think that the equality campaigning is done now that we have marriage, yet there is such wide variation across the world. Not just in marriage, but in all forms of LGBT rights and legalisation. And in an increasingly global community, what one country does, affects us all. Its heard, its seen, its read, it echoes into the thoughts and minds of people across the world, and all sides of the campaign.

Equal marriage came into the UK several years after Civil Partnerships. Me and my now wife, became civil partners in 2011, and converted that partnership to marriage as soon as the law allowed, in 2014. Whats the difference? For me, the difference between a Partnership and a Marriage is language. My access to things hasn’t changed, yet I now get to tick the same box on forms as all my other straight married counterparts. I get to call my wife, my wife – legally, and with right. The difference may sound small to some, not worth the political hassle of countless debates and upheaval of historical meaning, but the difference really is huge to those whom it affects. It’s more than a word. No longer does our language or description of our relationship separate us. And that’s an important thing for me.

I remember all the debates. In Parliament, on television and in the paper. The slippery slopes, and cries of the children, the needs for fathers, and the fear that people will be marrying their brothers and sisters for tax breaks, the insistence that homosexuality is linked to beastiality and paedophilia, the reminders that we create all of the world’s storms, and that children will be taught how to be gay. All of that, just because I wanted to say ‘I do’. Doesn’t that all sound a little far fetched?

From what I can see, in my almost six year marriage, the main overarching impact of being able to get married, is that I got married. Full stop. I got married. Isn’t that something that most children grow up thinking they will do one day? What most people start to visualise in their late teens, and start questioning whether they are ‘the one’ soon after, until they find the actual one? Isn’t that all quite… normal and expected? Yet, for a huge proportion of people, they are denied the fairytale told to them when they are young.. based purely on who they want to marry.

I guess my point can be better explained in an exercise of empathy. If you’d just like to imagine the scenario from the other side of the fence? If you are straight and questioning the purpose of equal marriage, just visualise your loved one, your spouse, your wife, or husband, boyfriend, or girlfriend, real, current, past or imaginary. What does the future look like with you and them? Will there be a wedding? A honeymoon, marriage, gifts, the long haul of relationships, the middle aged you, the pensioner you, your retirement, your forever home, your pets, your potential children. Visualise it all. Feel it all – the rush of love, the excitement, the wedding day jitters, the perfect dress, the new home purchase, the arguments, the petty disagreements, the seven year itch, the love and the loss of a marriage. The fairytale you’d heard about as a child. Then imagine being denied it based purely on the gender of the person that you love.

Then imagine the decision of whether you can marry that person being up to every single other person in the country of which you live. People you’ve never met, and will never meet. Most likely if you are straight and you wish to marry someone, the only two people involved in that decision, are you and the person you wish to marry. Not the entire country, debating it for years, taking a poll, and then maybe, just maybe, considering changing the law.

I guess what I wish the world to know about the other side of introducing equal marriage is that by doing so, you allow people to fulfil that fairytale. That is all. That is the disastrous consequence of equal marriage – the thing really to be feared. Is that people, normal everyday people, living normal everyday lives, will be able to fulfil the fairytale childhood dream of marrying the person that they love. What’s fearful about that? This debate doesn’t need to go wider than that. A marriage doesn’t have many other consequences really on other people. But the consequences are huge for that couple, that family, those very real, very normal people. Legislation doesn’t stop people being in long term, committed relationships, having children and being gay – but legislation preventing equal rights has far wider, greater negative repercussions on society and the next generation.

“But think of the children?” is often what gets thrown around as the main reason to prevent marriage, and a lot of rights progression. My answer – Exactly! Think of the children. Legalisation changes don’t make more people gay. It just affords equality. Or at least progress towards equality. I’d absolutely want people to think of the children. The children that have to listen to the abuse that their parents are receiving, being told that the family is not equal or worthy. Or the children having to listen to the misguided debates about sexuality, just as they are starting to figure out their own.

Show the children tolerance, kindness, compassion and love. Show the children that their families are just as important and valued as any other. Show the children that they live in a progressive country that values its individuals. Show the children that they are allowed the freedom to be whoever they are. Yes, absolutely, when you debate marriage, love and sexuality – think of the children.

*Featured image courtesy of The Legacy of Leo, also special thanks for writing this guest post! 

Baby Number 3, Babyloss, Life, parenting

Recap: April

I haven’t felt the urge to write much lately. I usually use writing as a bit of an outlet during bad times, so basically life has been treating me well recently. I’ve been feeling really good. Not a lot of down days – although even on a good day I still believe life is unfair – and lots to keep me busy.

Here’s a quick recap of my last 2 weeks:

  • My cuddle cot fundraiser has been featured in the newspaper, on the radio and on TV – The local news really jumped on it, and the response has been fantastic. Charlie, my boys & I featured front page on our local newspaper Tuesday morning and as a result we received a message from ABC Radio wanting an interview, our local Prime7 News followed not long after. I was pretty nervous about being interviewed, but I think I did okay. Check out the article here: ‘Gift offers time with lost babies’, or watch my nerve-wracking TV appearance: ‘Mum on a mission’.
  • My fundraiser is now at over $1,100 – As a result of the recent media coverage, we’ve now raised enough for 1/6th of a cuddle cot in only a month of fundraising. Which also translates to 22 Bears of Hope packages in honour of my boys (if enough money for a cuddle cot isn’t raised).
  • I got chickens – probably not an important point but I find it exciting. Six 6-week-old Isa Browns. Seriously looking forward to not having to buy eggs in the near future. Charlie also absolutely adores them, which is a nice little bonus. We spend probably half an hour with them every morning playing outside and it definitely makes the day seem shorter having so much fun.
  • I spent some time with my beautiful sister, and my brother also visited from Melbourne – Family is important. Mine may not be very functional at the best of times, but I love them all the same and Charlie spending time with my family is also very important to me. My sister’s visit meant non-stop giggles from Charlie, we’ve missed her while she’s been away at university.
  • We got out personalised child loss book in the mail yesterday – From the author of Sam and Finn, these books are ‘a story of hope created especially for you’. It’s going to be beautiful reading it to Charlie as she gets older – a special little story about her big brothers. We already have Someone Came Before You, and it’s lovely, but this book actually has Andrew & Eric’s name in it! You can buy your own here: Personalised Child Loss Book.

That’s pretty much it. Condensed into a list, none of that seems as big of a deal as it actually was – I feel like there’s been so much excitement here lately!

My laptop is officially up and running again by the way, so look forward to more frequent blog posts. Unfortunately there’s been a hiccup with our new internet installation, but hopefully that’ll be working soon too.

How have you all been while I’ve been gone?

Babyloss, Life, parenting

Quick Update

Haven’t written much in a little while. I’ve been really busy, but also my laptop is out of action (updating to Windows 10: worst mistake I’ve ever made) and I much prefer typing on my laptop. We’re also getting new internet installed soon and in the interim only have mobile wifi.

Anyway, my fundraiser is now just over $250! Thank you so much to everyone who’s donated so far. I’ve also spoken to the local newspaper and they’re doing a small article on it. Super pumped. You can donate here: Cuddle Cots for Andrew & Eric.

I’ll aim to write a proper post within the next few days. Stay tuned.

Babyloss, Friends, Life

A Different Kind of Birthday.

Last Saturday should have been my boys’ 2nd birthday. It was a very peaceful day. We went to the national park we visited on their first birthday last year, which we also visited when I was heavily pregnant with them.  

It was very different to their first birthday. There weren’t as many tears, for one. Charlie was there, also, instead of in my belly making me anxious (for those not in the know, on our sons’ first birthday I was also 36+4 weeks pregnant with Charlie, the exact gestation we found our boys’ hearts had stopped beating). 

I still find it unbelievable that I didn’t shed a tear at the national park, and I felt kind of guilty for it on the drive home. When we got home, though, my phone came to life with messages from my family and friends. And those messages got the tears flowing. 

The following Monday I checked the mail to find my boys’ had even received birthday cards and one of my friends had named a star after them. I feel so blessed to have friends who honour my boys like that and help me keep their memory alive. Sometimes it feels like a pretty tough job, especially being that I’m surrounded by a select few (ie: my partner’s family) who won’t even say my boys’ names, let alone celebrate their birthday. Thank you to everybody that reminded me it’s a job I’m not doing alone. 

Thank you for remembering my boys.