Byron Bay Wedding Celebrant - Michelle Shannon
AN OPEN LETTER FROM AUSTRALIAN CELEBRANTS
I, Michelle Shannon, the undersigned Australian celebrant, write to express my support for Marriage Equality.
Australian celebrants are privileged to share in a unique celebration of love when couples make formal and legal commitments to each other. We can see that the joy of the moment extends far beyond the couple making the commitment and also includes their families, friends and communities.
In contemporary Australia, however, some couples are denied the opportunity to share the joy of this moment. As marriage equality is not recognised, couples in same-sex relationships do not enjoy the same rights and are not treated with the same dignity as other Australians.
As a celebrant, I believe I have an important role to play in promoting inclusion and tolerance. I support diversity in society and recognise the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Australians to marry. Denying celebrants the ability to marry same-sex couples also impinges on our individual freedom.
I believe the rights and liberties of all individuals are sacrosanct. They are essential in the creation of a healthy, harmonious and open society. An equitable society, free of discrimination, allows all members to function at their best. Legalised discrimination in one area allows discrimination to flourish in all areas.
Australia is a robust democracy with a proud history of social reform. This should continue, with all citizens being treated equally, including those who are currently excluded from the institution of marriage.
Australians are increasingly supportive of marriage equality, with a recent Crosby Textor survey showing seventy-two percent of Australians are in favour of same sex couples marrying. This overwhelming level of support should be reflected with legal change.
Globally, over twenty countries have passed laws to allow same sex marriage, including countries that are culturally similar to ours like New Zealand, the United States of America, Canada, and Great Britain. These countries did so with lower support for marriage equality than Australia is seeing right now.
On 22 May 2015, the Republic of Ireland held a referendum to sanction same sex marriage. A Yes vote was supported by the Government, all major political parties and the voters themselves.
On 26 June 2015, the U.S. Supreme court returned a judgement in favour of legalising same sex marriage
across all 50 states.
These two events see Australia isolated amongst countries with English as a first language.
Marriage is a celebration that joins people together and denying same-sex couples this opportunity limits us as a society.
Equal Marriage is the only truly fair. It will create a climate where the bonds of love and commitment
are recognised equally and celebrated widely.
The ability to make equal commitments is fair and just. Discrimination is not.
Yours faithfully, Michelle Shannon - Civil Marriage Celebrant