We are on a long, winding, damaging path to marriage equality but I know we are going to get there in the end. So we are taking stock of where we are at, we are moving forward and we accept that this bill is going to make some improvements on what would be an even more damaging process.
The issue of marriage equality is a personal issue for me as, well as a political one. My relationship with my wife, Penny, is one shared by not very many couples in Australia and it is an interesting, if not unique, perspective.
When my wife, Penny, and I were married 31 years ago, she was a bloke. So we fitted the stereotype of being the perfect couple. We married in a church, bought a house, we had two kids and fitted, hand in the glove, to being mainstream Australia.
Then, of course, some 17 years later, she transitioned. And became the woman she truly was. And we went from being the perfect couple, the ordinary couple, the mainstream Australian couple, to being weird. To being discriminated against.
Because suddenly we were weird. We were not normal. And suddenly, if Penny wanted to complete her affirmation as a woman by changing her gender on her birth certificate, we would have to divorce. Of course we didn’t want to get divorced. We were still a happily married couple. We had two wonderful children. But that is what our law said we had to do.
So, of course, Penny’s birth certificate has sat in her drawer since then.