Couple Vows to Divorce If Australia Approves Same Sex Marriage
Advocates for marriage equality have spent a long time trying to explain that gay marriage poses no threat to any straight marriages, but unfortunately I will have to amend that statement slightly. It seems same sex marriage threatens exactly one straight marriage, namely that of the couple in Australia who say they'll divorce if gay marriage become legal. But given that they're the ones who came up with this plan, I think the biggest threat to their marriage is really themselves.
In a piece for the lifestyle magazine Canberra CityNews, Nick Jensen explains that he and his wife Sarah, despite being happily married for 10 years, might be divorcing soon — but only if Australia makes it legal for people of the same sex to legally wed. "My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognise the government’s regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnisation of same sex couples," he writes.
Their opinion of same sex marriage seem to be pretty standard among the anti-marriage equality crowd. Jensen writes that marriage is "the union of a man and a woman before a community in the sight of God," and as such, the government doesn't have the right to expand the institution beyond the bounds set by "tradition" — which as usual is only meant to refer to the traditions of white Christian people from the past few hundred years.
But the Jensens are prepared to make their opposition personal. If the government expands its definition marriage, they will opt out of the government's institution altogether and legally divorce. However, Nick Jensen makes clear, "We’ll continue to live together, hopefully for another 50 years. And, God willing, we’ll have more children. We’ll also continue to refer to each other as 'husband' and 'wife' and consider ourselves married by the Church and before God."
So... basically this is like when a little kid is super into playing a game until they're told they have to play with these other children, too, and they stomp their feet and say, "If they're playing I'm not playing!" And much like the way to deal with the kid is to ignore them and go on playing anyway, I'm going to go ahead and say the proper course of action here is for Australia to continue on the path to instituting marriage equality and let these two get a divorce if they're really that committed.
After all, countless same sex couples currently live their lives in similar arrangements because they don't have the option of having the legal rights a government-recognized marriage brings. And while having a legal marriage is something that should be available to everyone, if these people want to dissolve theirs by choice, that's their business. I'm not going to stop them.
However, it is worth noting that despite marriage equality gaining ground around the world, this is the first case of same-sex marriage threatening any straight marriage that I've ever heard of — and since the idea to get this divorce was entirely conceived and resolved upon by two straight people, I'm going to say that the real threat to straight marriage is, in fact, straight married people.