The ‘M’ word.

Traditionally one to strike fear into the hearts of the non-committed, the ‘M’ word has become much more casual than the occasion it traditionally stood for. If you’re sitting reading this, scratching your head in a confused sort of what-is-she-on-about kind of way, I’m talking about… marriage.

You don’t need me to tell you that the entire institution has perhaps lost a small chunk of its fairytale history. With rates of divorce in Australia rising, particularly after legalisation (duh) and long periods of marriage (20+ years.. usually only in marriages where children are had), its quite easy to see why many people are abstaining from the entire affair (see here). Marriage between ordinary Every Day Joe’s and Jane’s like you and I aside, the celebrity realm of matrimony is another story altogether. It’s hardly even worth comparing the two. 

That acknowledged…. and dismissed (as who doesn’t indulge in a little celeb-stalk every so often?) lets look at the figures of celebrity marriage ‘fails’; Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi (completely justified – the bloke half-throttled poor Nigella), Billy Ray Cyrus and Tish Cyrus, Kim Kardashian’s marathon 72-day marriage to baseball star Kris Humphries, and Britney Spears’ 55 hour marriage to childhood friend Jason Alexander. These are just a few of the well-remembered records, and its no wonder that so many people have had significantly-declined respect for the institution. Just Google ‘celebrity divorce rates’ and you’ll find couples you didn’t even know existed. Or, that could just be me; I’m often too off with the pixies to zoom in too much on popular culture.

Fortunately, its not all doom-and-gloom for those of us who still fancy getting married someday. Having recently attended the wedding of two people I love very much, it’s easy to see that some magic still remains. We can only hope that our own special day will be similarly special. As I’m sure it will be. I trust all of you to have remarkable taste in lads/ladies, and although we all come across a few toads in our time, our happy ending will eventually work out. So ladies; continue to imagine your frilly white frocks with glee, and gents can happily (or nervously) glance at the prices of diamonds.

In Australia, where same-sex marriage is still not legal, the situation for gay/lesbian individuals is slightly more tricky. Since 2008 there has been legal recognition of same-sex relationships in areas of taxation, social security, immigration and citizenship, yet not in terms of marriage. Kevin Rudd has openly (and quite savvily) expressed support for marriage equality, and as such is the only sitting PM to openly have done so, yet there is minimal representation of gay or lesbian couples in mainstream media. The upcoming election in September will likely determine whether or not it becomes legal, and appears to be KRudd’s attempt to win the hearts of young voters, along with that of the LGBT community. It could work, in theory.

Contrastingly, the Liberal Party seems to be sticking to their guns; restricting their understanding of marriage to be between a man and a woman, some would say this is an outdated opinion, but others would support them. The conservatives in Australia will likely support the Liberal Party’s more traditional stance, coupled with Australia’s “traditional Christian values” (something former (Labour) PM Julia Gillard also prescribed to in her defence for opposing same-sex marriage).

The recent transition of New Zealand into a country in support of marriage equality may influence us. As Australia’s sibling-nation, New Zealand’s population and their support for equality could be what tips the scales in KRudd’s favour…. but will the public forget the Labour Party’s giant (and expensive) mismanagement of funds? Their previous disdain for same-sex marriage..the School Halls program… and who could forget Myki?

As a university student who does not drive, I commute on public transport, quite literally, on a daily basis. The Myki system frustrates me to no end. You try to load your card, but the machine is broken, and so you can’t board the train without fare evading. If you do so (which you are forced to), karma ensures that the ticket inspectors are particularly ferocious that day, and a fine is incurred. Wonderful work, Kevin. Thanks a whole bunch.

At this stage, I’m not even sure who I will vote for. As a passionately disappointed supporter of the Labour party, I am tempted to vote Liberal. That said, I have a number of friends who are gay and would hate anyone who denied them from committing to those they love.

I guess time will tell. Do your reading, kids. Make sure you know who you are voting for, and why. We are the next leaders, and we will inherit a world that is currently being carved by our parents, our political leaders, our idols. Pick them wisely.

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