Marriage Equality – Sticks & Stones Mothership

Marriage Equality

Why we want what we can't have

by: Ainsley Hutchence

8 Photos
Words: Samuel Leighton-Dore / Model: Samuel Leighton-Dore / Model: Bradley Tennant / Photographer: Marisa Taschke / Art director: Ainsley Hutchence S&S

Marriage Equality

I’m at home, a little run down from a huge week, sitting behind my laptop wishing I was out at the Madi Gras celebrations happening around Australia rn instead. I figure I could at least pay homage to all of my incredible gay friends, & in particular, one of the most amazing couples I have ever met – Sam & Brad, who still can’t legally wed in their home country of Australia, & who’s fight for equality continues. While this makes my blood boil, I can only imagine how it must make them feel – to not be given the same choice as couples who pack one dick & one vagina between them. This is literally the only difference right?

I asked Sam to share his thoughts on the matter…

Piercing blue eyes. A thick head of Harry Styles hair. Channing Tatum abs. A six-foot yacht anchored off the French Riviera. Hell, even just a little green plus sign before my bank account balance. These are all things I desperately want, but for an apparent number of reasons, can’t seem to have.

And yeah, it sucks.

It’s rooted deep in the chronic dissatisfaction of our human condition — our natural wanting for that which we can’t have. Whether it stems from our respective economic positions, genetics, or relationship status, it remains true that we’re generally discontent with whichever cards we’re dealt.

Now look, I’m a pretty reasonable guy. I can deal with my off-brown/hazel eyes. My hereditarily thin, mousy-blonde hair. My perpetually fluctuating “almost there” physique. I can even deal (albeit begrudgingly) with my negative account balance. There’s only one thing I can’t bring myself to accept with such grace: being told (in no uncertain terms) that I’m unable to get married.

Nope. Nada. Cannot. Deal.

It’s almost like the notion of marriage is my sister’s rainbow paddle-pop, back when we were kids & I’d already spent my five dollars pocket-money on a crappy CD single or magazine. I’d watch intently as she masterfully navigated her sticky multi-coloured mess. The way it dripped down her chin & landed so precariously on her fastened seatbelt.

I wanted it. Of course I wanted it. I wanted it because it wasn’t mine, because she wouldn’t share it — I wanted it because it was unattainable. Now, 18 years later, the idea of marriage grips me with the same elusiveness. It’s a problem — because my concerns on marriage shouldn’t be marred by social jealousy or political agenda.

From an objective standpoint, there’s absolutely no way I’m ready to get married. I’m only in my early 20s, neither me or my partner are financially stable, we’re living in a rented studio apartment, & we’ve only been together for a few years. We’re still travelling the world together, & we’ve yet to face any significant adversity as a couple. But the thing is, I do want to get married — or at least I want the choice to.

Historically, marriages were often community-recognised unions orchestrated by parents or older relatives with the intention of maintaining economic stability & strengthening political alliances. Love wasn’t a factor — & in some cultures, it still isn’t. But here, in Australia, one should hope it’s the only conscionable factor.

It’s time we face the ugly truth: marriage has lost its mojo. The median length of marriage in Australia currently stands dismally around 12 & a half years. Unless our collective life expectancy has taken an unreported tumble, it would appear that the once-biblical promise of “till death do us part” is null & void. As is sexual abstinence. & the condemnation of interracial couples. There’s no denying it — marriage has lost the majority of its traditional connotations. & for good reason.

But what’s left of it?

I think both the church & government need to realise that the only way of retaining the withering credibility & relevance of marriage is to move forward with the times & establish an inclusive state of normalcy. Our fight for equality has become like an ugly battle between siblings over their family’s estate. Someone needs to stand up & mediate, or else we risk becoming the ever-laughable Rhineharts of romance.

At least then the heterosexual community could be assured that we’re all getting married for the right reasons. Not just because we can’t.

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