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Time for compromise on same-sex marriage

By John de Meyrick - posted Thursday, 22 June 2017

The lull in the debate over recognition of same-sex marriage due to the political stalemate reached on whether to hold a national plebiscite or to determine the matter on a conscience vote in Parliament, provides a valuable opportunity to consider the ‘end game’ to this long-running controversy.

It is also an opportunity for each side of the debate to pause and re-assess their positions balanced against the real and meaningful concerns of the other side. For there are valid issues and objections to be considered in respect of both.

It must also be realised that there can be no real winner if the outcome for one side is a begrudged victory and for the other a sore defeat, particularly if the margin of determination is closer than is presently assumed. Surely a measure of détente and compromise must be the more desirable outcome for all concerned.


There is a way to sensible agreement and compromise if the principle advocates on each side are willing to shift from their entrenched positions.

But first let me put as impartially as I can the salient factors which weigh in the debate and which each side should seriously and respectfully consider in the light of their own position.

In doing so I refrain from arguing either case (for all that has already been done to excess) but rather my purpose is to merely state what must be regarded as practical and undeniable considerations on both sides of the argument.

                                       For same-sex marriage

Those who are against same-sex marriage should consider the following to be cogent factors in the case for its recognition:



·        Adults of the same sex live together for whatever reason or circumstance whether or not the relationship is sexual or platonic. That has been the situation for many centuries. But whatever the relationship is it is really no one else’s business but those involved. In any case such relationships are now protected by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).


·        Some such relationships are based on genuine love and affection and it is understandable and not unreasonable for those who have committed themselves to an enduring domestic life together to wish to have their unions recognised, if for no other reason than to establish their social and lawful existence.

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About the Author

John de Meyrick is a barrister (ret’d), lecturer and writer on legal affairs.

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