We are nearly at the end of the $122,000,000 exercise in political in-fighting called the Non-binding Same Sex Marriage Survey or something like that. I haven’t been able to figure out what it is really called.
What I do know is there is a lot of noise coming from some areas of the churches and some politicians that I find insulting. Not because of my own political or religious views but because of my experience.
Quite honestly I am too old be swayed overly much by words in any sphere but I am persuaded by individual behaviour and patterns of behaviour. Walking the talk.
So when governments and religious institutions wax lyrical about Marriage, (with a capital M because the event itself is so sacred and all) rather than seeing it as a place of sanctuary, kindness and commitment where children can be raised in safety and security by whoever the participants are, I start to twitch.
Here is where my cynicism comes from:
In Sickness and in Health
At their sixtieth wedding anniversary celebration
The local paper applauded their Commitment
Guests spoke in awe of the Sanctity of Marriage
And looked to The Couple for reassurance
That love does triumph and
Morality is alive after all.
As their sixty-third wedding anniversary approaches
I sit with them in their misery
Trying to grapple with the reality of
A society that deifies The Institution of Marriage
Whilst treating those within it
With disdain cruelty and disrespect.
How dare their ageing bodies start to break down!
How dare one of them need a level of care that
Makes us put our money where our mouth is.
They have withstood ALL the pressures.
They have never divorced or even separated
So By God we will do it for them!
The agony in their eyes makes me ashamed
To be the representative of a system
That places one in a nursing home
Whilst leaving the other behind.
Where is our commitment to love?
Where is our commitment to marriage?
Where the hell is our morality?
Even in their pain they are gracious
Serving me afternoon tea
Somehow it makes their simple statement
So much worse.
‘We are frightened Chris
We have never slept apart.’
So until religious institutions and politicians step up and support those within the marriage, no matter who they are, rather than the institution of marriage their words sound hollow and shrill to my ears.
Words are cheap.
The people in the poem were neither hollow nor shrill. They were wonderful people of grace, courage, depth and experience. They were married and they lived together inside that marriage for a very long time. Pity they weren’t valued. Pity their marriage wasn’t valued. Pity their marriage was not seen as worth a teeny bit of the $122,000,000.
It was worth a lot more than that to them.