A letter to Senator Fiona Nash

Senator Fiona Nash is currently undecided or undeclared on her position on marriage equality. I have written a letter asking for her support in this matter.

From: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>
Date: 3 September 2012 23:34
Subject: A matter of importance, for your consideration
To: Senator Fiona Nash <senator.nash@aph.gov.au>

Dear Senator Nash,

Please find attached a letter for your consideration.

I hope you have the time to afford a frank, personal and most importantly considered response.

Michael Barnett.

September 3 2012

Dear Senator Nash,

I understand you have not yet declared support for the issue of “marriage equality” or “same-sex marriage”.

I am writing to ask for your support on this important issue.  I say important, not because it is about the right for those currently denied the right to marriage under the law to be treated equally, but because of the ramifications equal treatment under the law has for the self-esteem and welfare of young people, and most especially those in rural and regional areas.

Please indulge me as I take you back to an afternoon in August 2005, just gone seven years ago, as you delivered your first speech as a Senator, where you said:

I am advocating policies that ensure that there is fair and equitable opportunity for all Australians regardless of where we live. As legislators, we must always be aware of the consequences of our actions, of how the decisions we make affect the 20 million people who live in this nation. As Atticus says in To Kill a Mockingbird:

If you can learn a simple trick Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

We must be able to ‘put ourselves in another man’s skin’ to ensure we make decisions in the best interests of those we represent.

Your words are sage and commendable.  I implore you to reflect on this wisdom and put yourself in the shoes of current and future citizens of Australia who may want the right to get married before the law, but are currently denied this right.

Fair and equitable opportunity for all Australians includes the same rights for all before the law.  I ask you to put yourself in the shoes of every person you represent in country towns like Young and elsewhere throughout NSW, who may be same-sex attracted are told they are not equal to their ‘straight’ friends and family members.  Think about this in conjunction with the higher rate of self-harm and suicide in rural and regional areas and also amongst same-sex attracted people.  Think about how you have the power to make the lives of these people better, simply by voting in favour of equality.

As a married woman, as a wife, you understand what it means to use a word that tells society you have a spouse, a significant and long-term married partner in your life.  Same-sex attracted people currently cannot attain, or aspire to attain this status.  Yet we are no different.  We have families, some with our own children.  We love and we hurt.  We dream and we achieve.  We cry and we bleed.  We live and we die.  We are no different to you and your husband, no better and no worse.

Please think about what you said that afternoon in 2005 and about how you can make Australia a better place for all Australians.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Barnett.

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