A letter to Anna Burke about Marriage Equality

Get Up told me Anna Burke, my local member in the federal seat of Chisholm, wanted to hear from me.

From: GetUp <info@getup.org.au>
Date: 3 April 2011 10:36
Subject: Ms Anna Burke wants to hear from you
To: Michael Barnett

Dear Michael

Your MP, Ms Anna Burke, is conducting a survey in your electorate, Chisholm, to determine community support for marriage equality. Can you participate? Click here to share your views with Ms Anna Burke.

Last spring GetUp members sent over 10,000 emails in support of a Parliamentary motion that encouraged Members of Parliament to gauge their constituents’ views on marriage equality. Now, many MPs, including yours – Ms Anna Burke – have started consulting their electorates.

Under current laws, same-sex couples cannot get married and are denied the same rights and recognition other married couples enjoy. But now, as MPs consult their electorates, you have a unique chance to help form their opinion and inform their vote. Click here to have your say.

Thanks for making your voice heard,

The GetUp Team

I wrote this email in response:

From: Michael Barnett
Date: 3 April 2011 18:07
Subject: My views on marriage equality
To: Anna Burke <anna.burke.mp@aph.gov.au>
Cc: Gregory Storer

Dear Ms Burke,

My partner Gregory Storer and I have been in a committed relationship since November 2008.  We love each other deeply and would like the right to be able to marry each other.

There is no justifiable reason for preventing us from getting married.  We are identical in every way to any heterosexual couple, except that one of us is not female.

Some people will claim that we can’t conceive a child between us and other people will say that any children we raise will suffer from not having a parent of either gender.

My response is that there are plenty of heterosexual people who cannot or choose not to have children.  There are also plenty of single mothers and fathers who ably raise their own children.

As it happens, my partner Gregory Storer has two teenage children that he raised single-handedly and so he is not looking to have any more children.  I am not looking to have any children either.

We would like the right to get married though, as we currently feel we are treated as second-class citizens by our government and we believe we are entitled to the same rights and privileges as all other Australians.

We pay the same taxes as all other Australians and we contribute to society the same as all other Australians.  Yet we are treated differently to all heterosexual Australians simply because one of us is not female.  Do you think that is fair to discriminate against us because one of us is not female?

I encourage to you to understand that it is harmful to the mental health and self-esteem of all people who are treated less than anyone else simply because of their gender or their sexual orientation.  You would understand that, being female.

If you have any doubts or questions about what I am saying, I would encourage you to listen to this presentation by Rodney Croome, delivered at the Wheeler Centre in 2010.  It’s worth every minute of time it takes to watch.

http://wheelercentre.com/videos/video/rodney-croome-the-case-for-gay-marriage/

Sincerely,
Michael Barnett.
Ashwood, VIC
0417-595-541

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