go to content

A Senator Has Spoken Passionately About Being Married To Her Transgender Wife

~the debate continues~

Posted on

Marriage equality debate has continued in the senate this week... but nothing has *actually* happened.


You can read about the hijinks earlier in the week here, but basically Labor and the Greens have tried to wedge each other this week on the issue of same-sex marriage for reasons related to a totally different bill on senate voting reform.

On Thursday, there were two more votes on whether or not to move to a vote on marriage – one supported by Labor, and the other supported by the Greens. (Both were opposed by the Coalition, so they both failed.)

But there's been plenty of politicians standing up and having a red hot go on marriage anyway.

Family First senator Bob Day argued against extending marriage to same-sex couples, saying they are not monogamous anyway.

"In places where gay people, typically men, have been able to form recognised unions, they don't necessarily equate their commitment to monogamy. The term "monogam-ish" has been coined, a sort of "open marriage", a tautology if ever I heard one in this brave new world," Day said.

Day described gay men as feeling like a restriction to one partner is "unrealistic and unnatural" and quoted statistics saying same-sex partners were more likely to be unfaithful.

"This monogamish compromise is nothing short of surrender," he said. "As usual, all the guarantees about marriage staying the same have come to naught."

Day also connected same-sex marriage to polyamory – talking about "the throuple concept" and parenting.

"Why would redefining marriage stop at same-sex relationships? The bill talks about two people, but why not three?" he asked.

"Already birth certificates around the country are being written to say parent one and parent two," he said. "There is no such thing as parenting. There is only mothering and fathering."

In Australia, same-sex parenting rights are covered under various state laws regarding adoption, artificial reproductive technologies such as IVF, and surrogacy.

Meanwhile, Greens senator Janet Rice spoke about what it's like to be part of a legally married same-sex couple in Australia.

Rice's wife Penny, who is transgender, transitioned in 2003.

"Suddenly our life changed, we went from being a normal heterosexual couple to a same-sex couple," Rice said. "And then in 2004, the changes to the Marriage Act introduced by John Howard, meant that our marriage was no longer a legal marriage in Australia."

The pair are able to remain legally married as long as Penny does not alter the sex marker on her birth certificate to female.

"We entered this netherworld of discrimination," Rice said. "Penny absolutely wanted to change the gender on her birth certificate, but absolutely we didn't want to get divorced."

The Senate will sit late into tonight debating marriage equality, voting reform, and apparently anything else that takes their fancy.

Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at lane.sainty@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.