Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Moving forward to same sex marriage

By Jennifer Wilson - posted Wednesday, 11 August 2010

US federal Judge Vaughan Walker has recently ruled that California’s ban on same sex marriage, known as “Proposition 8,” is discriminatory, and violates the US constitution.

Canada, USA, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

All these countries offer marriage or civil unions for same sex couples.


All these countries identify as Christian countries.

One of Julia Gillard’s first conviction statements was that she did not believe in same sex marriage. Marriage, Gillard stated only hours after assuming the prime ministership, is only for men and women. She must have had an urgent need to set the country straight on these personal beliefs, because at the time it wasn’t a big public issue. It seemed an odd topic for the new PM to choose to put upfront first off.

Perhaps Gillard felt she needed to reassure the electorate that she wasn’t going to have any disturbing and confrontational changes going down on her watch, apart from the completely unanticipated replacement of our PM, of course.

A cynic would claim it was a pre-emptive move to reassure the Australian Christian Lobby that even though Gillard is an atheist, and even if she has personally eschewed some traditional Christian values, she intends to uphold their religious opposition to same sex marriage.

This might be a good moment to remind Ms Gillard that in my lifetime and I think, hers, women who co-habited with men without the benefit of marriage were shunned, and their children regarded as “illegitimate” and “bastards”.

Ms Gillard would not have been allowed to enter politics, let alone become PM, without formalising her relationship with her partner. The idea of a de facto couple “living in sin” in the Lodge was just plain shocking and would never have been countenanced.


And not only that: after Ms Gillard had been forced by public opinion to marry her partner, she would then have been forced by public opinion to produce children, on pain of being ostracised and regarded askance as either barren, poor thing, or selfishly bizarre. Either way, she would have been humiliated and pitied.

Ms Gillard has the choice to live as she currently lives because there have been enough people in Australia to “move forward” from discriminatory practices such as forcing women into marriage as a condition of entering public life, or forcing them to conceal their relationship with their lovers.

Ms Gillard has not achieved this all by herself. The country’s attitudes have shifted and they have shifted because people fought against the conservatism and ignorance that for so long had a stranglehold on so-called “morality”.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

39 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Dr Jennifer Wilson worked with adult survivors of child abuse for 20 years. On leaving clinical practice she returned to academia, where she taught critical theory and creative writing, and pursued her interest in human rights, popular cultural representations of death and dying, and forgiveness. Dr Wilson has presented papers on human rights and other issues at Oxford, Barcelona, and East London Universities, as well as at several international human rights conferences. Her academic work has been published in national and international journals. Her fiction has also appeared in several anthologies. She is currently working on a secular exploration of forgiveness, and a collection of essays. She blogs at

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Jennifer Wilson

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 39 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy