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Why The Gay Couple On Married At First Sight Set Back The Equality Cause

Let's celebrate gay marriage not on reality TV, but when our government has the balls to make it legal.

09/09/2016 12:30 PM AEST | Updated September 9, 2016 12:32
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Airing the "marriage" of a same-sex couple on prime time TV is not progress.

At best, it's a shameless grab for ratings by a reality TV show. At worst, it's thrown the marriage equality movement firmly into reverse.

And anyone who thinks it is a giant step forward for inclusion and acceptance to have a gay wedding on Married at First Sight is kidding themselves.

Granted, including a gay couple such as Craig and Andy on a TV show looks a lot like progress, especially in light of recent stats that show only 5 percent of characters identify as GLBTIQ.

But staging a gay wedding on a show like this does nothing to advance the argument toward same-sex marriage and equality in any way.

And with the current Federal Government's antiquated position and the debate over a ridiculously expensive and pointless plebiscite, this is arguably the last thing the marriage equality movement needs.

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Married At First Sight season 3 contestants, Andy and Craig. Spoiler alert -- they break up.

This show demeans the institution of marriage -- at least the westernised, non-arranged view of it -- in every way.

Couples are chosen by strangers, TV producers whose primary goal is to make great TV. Sure, true love is a great yarn, but bickering, conflict and dramatic breakups make even better ones.

Craig and Andy may have, by their own admission, gone on the show to have a personal "experience" with this "experiment" but what they have so successfully achieved by participating is making queer couples look just as ridiculous as the other misguided -- straight -- contestants.

It's at complete odds with what the marriage equality movement is all about.

Gay couples just want to be equal in the eyes of the law. We want the chance to pick flowers, the tune for the bridal waltz and to argue over the reception table settings. We want a priest, chaplain, JP or celebrant to marry us wholly and to not have to hear the currently legally required ceremonial words: "Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life."

Above all, we want people to recognise that our love is valid. Just because our partners are the same gender should not mean we are lesser people or that our relationships are not as important or legitimate. Like everyone else, we have long-term relationships and short term-flings. We have children and we raise families. We feel just as deeply as you do.

As a queer woman, I came late to revolution. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin until my late 20s, and it wasn't until my early 30s that I became political and began to advocate for change and equality -- including marriage.

It can be a tough path. It's hard not to feel a pang of jealousy when you see your heterosexual friends and family get hitched -- and sometimes unhitched and then hitched again -- knowing that your government considers you less of a person, not entitled to make the same life choices or worthy of the same life legal rights.

And truth be told, I don't know if I would get married if I had the choice. But I'd like it just the same. And so would all my friends who have been "married", yet not really married.

Channel 9
Because attempting true love on a reality TV show is a respectful way to show you appreciate and value the institution of marriage. No, wait...

The main reason those who oppose gay marriage in Australia do so because of the argument that it will devalue the institution of marriage.

By participating in this awful sham of a show (even though ceremonies aren't legally binding -- just like same-sex marriage, and ain't that a laugh) the gay boys who get 'hitched' moan on the show about how they hate people telling them their love isn't real because they are gay. But then they go ahead and marry a stranger on TV -- they're making an absolute mockery of the valiant efforts of equality campaigners across the country.

It's a terrible way to repay the work of tireless activists, politicians, straight allies and supporters who have fought for GLBTIQ rights that straight people take for granted -- the right to marry, the right to adopt children, the right to our partner's superannuation when they pass away, the right to visit them on their deathbed in hospital.

Craig recently told the Sydney Morning Herald he thought the criticism from the gay community was a bit OTT and that we should all really be thankful for what they have done.

"It's a gay wedding on Australian television – they should be rejoicing, not hating on us for doing it," he said.

I promise to rejoice with fervour, excitement and bags of confetti any day, as long as it's that day when I can celebrate the beautiful love of two connected and committed people who can marry with the same rights as everyone else.

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