Deeply personal stories emerged in the Australian debate over same-sex marriage this week. One of the most interesting involves West Australian Senator Louise Pratt, an author of one of the bills which failed. Her partner, Aram Hosie, is a transsexual who identifies as a man. “This is a bill that personally affects me, because marriage discrimination affects same-sex couples and also affects people with intersex and transgender partners,” she told the Senate on Monday.

A report in The Australian brought to light a speech made by Aram Hosie in 2010 at a gay festival in Western Australia. Ms Hosie opposed gay marriage because it was a patronising concession to an already rotten institution. It is hard to know whether the speech was made tongue-in-cheek or seriously. She told The Australian that she believed in gay marriage then and that she does now. Nonetheless, the arguments resonated with her audience, judging from the crowd’s reaction on this YouTube video.

“I don’t know see why we want to hang onto this antiquated relic that still reeks of misogyny and bigotry…

“At the crux of it marriage is about recognising some relationships as legitimate, and others as less so. On one side of that debate is the nuclear family, we got two monogamous people, children, maybe a dog, a white picket fence if you’re an over-achiever and on the other side is everyone doing everything else. Marriage is this massive apparatus set up to coerce and cajole and fool us all into thinking that the nuclear family is the natural and preferred state of being…

“I am concerned that the only thing gay marriage will do is create a bunch of queers who are a little more acceptable than all the other queers by virtue of their relationship choices or their sexual habits.

“If we are holding up shiny happy wholesome gay marriage as the final proof that we have made it and we are acceptable, where does that leave all the other queers who aren’t married, where does that leave the single queers, where does that leave the queers who engage in sex work or those who engage in open or poly relationships. I struggle to see how segmenting a group of queers as being more acceptable furthers the course of equality.”

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.