As a supporter of marriage equality, I’ve decided to publish an open letter in support of Australian Marriage Equality, a full copy of which I have submitted to the campaign for change. I will never understand those who seek to deny one section of our population the opportunity to formally pledge their love for one another in the company of their friends and family, or the opportunity to enjoy the same legal rights in their relationship as the rest of us.

I believe that the right of marriage should be available to all couples, be they man and woman, man and man, woman and woman or any combination, variation or permutation thereof.

So here’s my letter. I encourage you to pledge your support too.

 

Monday 29th February 2016

I, Joanna Kate Bowden, Portrait & Wedding Photographer, Joanna Kate Photography, write to express my support for Marriage Equality.

I’m privileged to share and document one of life’s most heartfelt moments – the wedding day between two consenting adults.  A declaration of love and a celebration of commitment to a life-long relationship.

In contemporary Australia, however, some couples are denied the opportunity to share the joy of this moment. As marriage equality is not recognised, couples in same-sex relationships do not enjoy the same rights and are not treated with the same dignity as other Australians.

As a wedding photographer, I believe I have an important role to play in promoting inclusion and tolerance. I support diversity in society and recognise the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Australians to marry.

I believe the rights and liberties of all individuals are sacrosanct. They are essential in the creation of a healthy, harmonious and open society. An equitable society, free of discrimination, allows all members to function at their best.

Legalised discrimination in one area allows discrimination to flourish in all areas.

Australia is a robust democracy with a proud history of social reform. This should continue, with all citizens being treated equally, including those who are currently excluded from the institution of marriage.

Australians are increasingly supportive of marriage equality, with a recent Crosby Textor survey showing seventy-two percent of Australians are in favour of same sex couples marrying. This overwhelming level of support should be reflected with legal change.

Globally, over twenty countries have passed laws to allow same sex marriage, including countries that are culturally similar to ours like New Zealand, the United States of America, Canada, and Great Britain. These countries did so with lower support for marriage equality than Australia is seeing right now.

On May 22nd, the Republic of Ireland held a referendum to sanction same sex marriage. A Yes vote was supported by the Government, all major political parties and the voters themselves.

On June 26th, the U.S. Supreme court returned a judgement in favour of legalising same sex marriage across all 50 states.

These two events see Australia isolated amongst countries with English as a first language.

Marriage is a celebration that joins people together and denying same-sex couples this opportunity limits us as a society. Equal Marriage is the only truly fair.  It will create a climate where the bonds of love and commitment are recognised equally and celebrated widely.

The ability to make equal commitments is fair and just. Discrimination is not.

In the words of Colin Farrell:

 “No one love is greater than another by virtue of tradition.  We have a chance to simply tip our hats to love in all its kaleidoscopic and majestic forms.”

 

Yours faithfully,

Joanna Kate Bowden of Joanna Kate Photography