Local gay marriage debate

Date

4BC Drive: Following Obama's win in the US Election, ten states now say yes to gay marriage.

Matt Young from news.com.au has written an open letter to Julia Gillard asking her to get with the times and allow him to marry the man he loves.

Young joins Gary Hardgrave to share his viewpoint.

LISTEN: Matt Young with Gary Hardgrave and caller reactions

Matt Young's Open Letter

Dear Prime Minister,

I write to you as a tax paying citizen, a brother, a son, an uncle and a member of the homosexual community frustrated with our politicians' lacklustre stance on the rights of gay and lesbians in our fair nation. On both sides of the political fence, that is.

News that the US states of Maine, Maryland and Washington state legalised gay marriage on Tuesday cemented the notion that Australia is well and truly behind the eight-ball. Ten states in the US now recognise same-sex marriage.

Globally, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden also recognise our legal right to wed.

How many states in Australia thus far? Zero.

Sadly, I didn't feel much when I watched Big Brother 2012 winner Benjamin Norris propose live on air to his partner last night. It's a nice gesture, but unless they move to Buenos Aires, it's not going to happen.

I know we've come a long way over the years and that the Labor party is partly responsible for the opportunities we are allowed today, like the civil partnership registry in the ACT, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria.

We can jointly adopt children in the ACT, NSW and Western Australia and receive the same tax, health, superannuation, and aged care rights as hetereosexual de facto couples.

But you already know that.

While I'm yet to find the man of my dreams, my hope is that when I do, I'll be given the right to choose whether I would like to seal the deal, so to speak.

I have a number of gay friends who are in happy, monogamous relationships. We're no different to heterosexuals.

Did you see President Barack Obama's response to the ten-year-old girl with two fathers who asked for advice on how to deal with bullies?

Let me refresh your memory.

"Thank you for writing me such a thoughtful letter about your family. Reading it made me proud to be your president," he wrote

"In America, no two families look the same. We celebrate this diversity.

"A good rule is to treat others the way you hope they will treat you."

Powerful words, wouldn't you say? This is what we need in a leader in Australia.

I grew up in a middle-class neighbourhood in the Christian threshold of Sydney's north-west suburbs. When I was in school, I was bullied to the point that I couldn't turn a corner without someone screaming out "faggot" or "poofter". My agriculture teacher used to make a mockery of me in front of the other boys, once telling me that to fit in, I needed to lower my voice.

Life was pretty tough back then. As a 14 year old kid, I was still trying to figure out my own identity and sexuality while dodging sausage rolls that would be thrown at me from the field. I learnt to keep my head down and show no fear in the face of ignorance and hatred.

Now, this is what I ask of you, Prime Minister. Show no fear. Right now, you're our hope, Julia. We need you to stand tall, speak up and make a difference.

An August Galaxy poll showed 64 per cent of Australians believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry - up two percentage points from February.

I'm looking for a leader who isn't afraid to challenge traditional views, who is willing to be the voice of its people and who has the balls to stand up for equality.

The world is changing. Whether the right wing like it or not, gay marriage will happen. But the question is, will you be a sheep or a shepherd?

Heed our call.

Twitter @the_mattyoung

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