Why the same sex marriage survey is really about the kids

Kinderling News & Features

Shevonne Hunt hosts Kinderling Conversation every weekday at 12pm.

As we inch closer to the final days of the same sex marriage survey, the debate is heating up.

The ‘no’ campaign is questioning what the outcome of a ‘yes’ vote will mean. Will it mean less religious freedom? Will it mean schools will be teaching about gender fluidity? Confusion over the implications of a majority ‘yes’ vote seem to be swaying people to vote ‘no’.

The premise of this survey is asking whether same sex attracted people have the right to marry. We don’t know what the outcome of the survey will be either way, as our politicians have given us no understanding of proposed legislation.

I’m not part of the gay community, so I can’t speak to how this survey is impacting on them, though I feel sick that it’s come to this.

What I’m worried about is; what will a ‘no’ vote mean to my children? If this survey comes back with a ‘no’ vote, the implication is that we’re entrenching the belief that gay people are not equal to straight people.

My kids are too small now to know whether they will like boys or girls, but one day soon they will be teenagers grappling with their sexuality. How their peers and their society view their choices will have an impact on them.

I don’t want them to have the same struggles that my gay friends had when they came out. I don’t want them to be vilified at school by their peers or teachers, like children were when I was at high school.

I don’t want any child to go through that.

Allowing same sex couples to marry would be a step towards normalising what should, in 2017, already be normal.

And what about the children of same sex parents?

There isn’t one type of family. There are single parents, grandparents acting as parents, transgender parents, same sex attracted parents and parents with different racial, political and religious beliefs. All of these different configurations are able to love and raise their children.

Recently on Kinderling Conversation I interviewed two mums - Natalie and Nicole, about what the survey means to them. Natalie and Nicole have just survived their first year of parenting their one-year-old daughter.

It’s a huge responsibility becoming a parent. We’re entrusted with these vulnerable, fragile little creatures and as they grow - it’s our job to shape and guide them. It’s challenging, frightening and joyful. You need your peeps. You need your community to share the triumphs and the challenges. We hold each other up. Having the support of other parents - even when it’s giving me a nappy because I left the bag at home - has meant everything.

And yet now these two sleep-deprived, loving mums, are under a spotlight. They are being asked to justify their decisions, from being together to raising a family. Nicole said it was like coming out all over again.

Listen to Kinderling Conversation:

Other parents have told me they’ve kept their kids away from the TV, and even the post box. They’re protecting their children from feeling their family is somehow abnormal.

We should be supporting each other, if not from a position of compassion, then at least so that we can be our best selves for our kids.

For this white, hetero, privileged, married female… this survey is about what future we’ll be giving our children.

Let’s make it one where they will be safe, and where we all know and embrace the concept that all love is equal.