Friday, May 22, 2015

Yes: The Marriage Referendum and the importance of family

Today I went to the voting booth today with my mother, and we had our obligatory conversation about how my grandmother was born into a world which would have denied all three of us the vote because of our gender. We say this every time we vote. It's a tradition. Every family has those things - conversations and topics you return to, like the chorus of a song.

I was privileged today to vote with my family of origin. This is a privilege that not everyone enjoys. There are people voting with heavy hearts today, knowing that their family of origin has voted against their future and their right to equality.

And that's why I voted for the right of everyone to create their own family.

There is a perception that a family necessarily consists of mammy, daddy and suitably adorable little ones, that marriage and kids automatically makes a family. As someone without kids, but to whom family is enormously important, this bugs me.

Because family is not something that happens. It's something that is made. My family was made from long talks over cups of tea with friends, giggling fits, from hearing the urban legends of my family of origin, from connecting with my husband's family, from hard times and easy ones, and - yes - from standing in front of a smiling state registrar who said "I now pronounce you husband and wife."

My mother was there that day. So were my brothers and my sister, my nieces and nephew. So were my husband's family, and the friends we had chosen to be our family. How lucky were we, to enjoy that? Not everyone does.

I didn't just create a family by getting married, although that was certainly a big part of it - I created family with my friends too. Just think how much more important the right to create a family is for people who face hostility from the family where they started out.

And today, I voted with, and for, my chosen sisters and my chosen brothers. Today I voted with the family I chose, so they could all have the right to choose their own families too.

To say nothing of the legal equality that a Yes result will bring, everyone must have the right to create a life filled with acceptance and love.

I believe in family, and so there was only one way to vote. And I'm proud to be a part of the nationwide family who voted Yes.


  1. Well said. Hopefully the yes side wins. It is simply a matter of civil and human rights, and it is the right thing to do.


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