Almost equal is almost bullshit: almost all of my submission

Amazing signs

So here’s the thing. My actual submission was more than 1600 words long. I don’t think you want to read all of that. Most of it, however, is below.

To the Government Administration Committee,

My name is Sarah-Rose Burke, I am 28 years old and I have been happily married to my husband for six years. I am also bisexual.

This submission is in support of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill.

It is by luck or by chance that the person I love is a man. That my relationship could be so wholly different under the law based on the gender of the person to whom I am attracted is something which I find baffling.

My sexuality is as much a choice as my height. At 5’1”, I have often been asked, “Isn’t it strange being so short?” I have no way to answer that. I have never been anything other than short.
Being short is like being regular height, only people laugh when you can’t reach things. Being bisexual or homosexual is like being heterosexual, only you don’t have the same basic rights under the law as heterosexuals. That is no laughing matter.

However it is not my bisexuality that validates my support of marriage equality. My being a rational human being does that.
My heterosexual husband and I both support marriage equality.

For the past 8 years in New Zealand the Civil Union Act 2004 has allowed same-sex couples to legally recognise their unions. Unions which have the same qualities as marriage but are intrinsically not marriage. Our legal system allows same-sex couples to get ever so close to marriage equality yet still denies it. The Civil Union Act was fine, as a first step. After eight years the next step is overdue.

I have heard the argument that allowing same-sex marriage will allow for polygamy, or for people to marry their pets. That it is a slippery slope. The same arguments were made 120 years ago in New Zealand: that if the government allowed women to vote, soon children would be voting, or cats would be allowed a vote. This has not happened. The slope is not that slippery.

I have heard arguments that this bill should not be passed because “a mum and a mum is different to a mum and a dad.” While the semantics of this statement may be true, the overwhelming evidence has shown, and continues to show, that it is family processes (such as the quality of parenting, the psychosocial well-being of parents, the quality of and satisfaction with relationships within the family, and the level of co-operation and harmony between parents) that contribute most to the wellbeing of children.

Marriage is, under New Zealand law, not couched in terms relating to procreation. If this were the case sterile men and women would not be able to marry. Couples, who discover after marriage that they are infertile, should be compelled to divorce. My husband and I have been married for 6 years without producing a child – at what point does our marriage become invalidated? What if we choose to never have children?
Marriage is not about procreation. Marriage is about commitment.

In New Zealand there are only around 100 adoptions per year. Given that a single homosexual person can already adopt a child; there is no evidence to suspect a greater uptake in adoption applications from homosexual couples.

What has been shown is that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths have a far greater risk of suicide and self-harming behaviours. These behaviours, including unsafe sexual behaviour, are very strongly associated with low self-esteem and feelings of isolation and marginalisation. These in turn are closely linked to prejudice and discrimination.

Recent reports show that 1 in 5 LGBT youths in New Zealand have harmed themselves and around half have attempted suicide. In a country with already astoundingly high rates of suicide, the fact that LGBT youths have a suicide rate 8 times that of their peers is shameful. It is something that needs to be urgently addressed; New Zealand is failing LGBT youths and this must be recognised.

The marginalisation you experience when you are different to your friends is not always overt. I don’t remember exactly when I got the message that I was to hide that side of myself. Simply by not being recognised as equal the message sent to young people who aren’t heterosexual is “you are different. You are wrong. You are not like the rest of us.” It’s a lonely, painful place to be.

The law recognises couples in same-sex relationships as “other.” There is a law for the general population and a law for the gay population. I feel like my marriage is weakened by the fact that those I love who are in same-sex relationships cannot share in this institution. Marriage will be made stronger by making it free.

We live in a more liberal time. Polls consistently show that most people under the age of 35 support marriage equality.
The time to make this law has come.

Thank you.



Heading round to Eastbourne. Again

It has just turned Sunday morning. Craig is just about sleeping but I? I am sitting in our giant brown chair (far too giant for our miniature wondapartment) sipping water and listening to the city outside.

It is full of heels on pavement, this Sunday morning, the drunken bawl of men & keen of women. The low thrum of the traffic. The far off bass of a covers band. Laughter and broken glass. In a few hours the streets will smell foetid & worn.

The city is making the most of tonight.

So am I.
Sitting cool & quiet. Sipping water, bare legged, I am content.

(I could be out there. Often I am. But not tonight.)

Snippet #2

They were lying at odd angles on the bed. Simon lay supine gazing over at the curve of Claire’s hip as she twisted so only the soles of her feet pressed hot into the hard curl of his knee.
She had stepped from the shower steaming & fell onto the sheets which had spent the day sucking the heat from the room. Her skin & hair twitched as it dried around her.
She was listening to the rain again Simon discovered when he came and curled himself around her.
At nearly a foot taller he almost appeared to subsume her.
She’d answered in the dreaming, distracted voice which meant she was thinking far too much so he just lay, content to be near her as she twisted away from him.
“It’s just too hot.” she said, marvelling at the summer storm.
It was true, even with two windows open & the rain beating dust out of the air beyond, the heat of the day and of her shower stood sentinel in the room.
Claire was also twisted away because she wasn’t certain yet if she was mad at him. The trouble with spending so much time & energy with one person, a truly best friend, meant that even if they made you stiffen all over with anger, there was nobody else you’d rather talk to about it.
Claire rolled the thought lazily around. Her soles didn’t feel stiff so maybe she wasn’t angry after all. She turned over and smiled “hi.”.
“Hi.” Simon replied as he reached out for her.

Someone found this website by searching google japan for "inside sarah rose"

Last night I rushed into the bedroom and slammed on the light. Craig turned to look at me (blearily, he had been asleep) and I, sodden & dripping, could only press a finger to my lips and turn away, repeating lines in my head.

They really should invent waterproof dictaphones:

‘Don’t you see?’ she wanted to say as his madeline fingers twitched away form her mouth. ‘Don’t you see that choosing to kiss this, the whorls near the tip of your middle finger, is how much I love you? I love each square inch enough to kiss’ but his eyes just looked at hers. His, her ghostly reflection, pale & open. Why then was she the one who felt so translucent?
Simon watched her moth-eyes flicker as she chewed her lip & stared at him, at the wall, the ceiling and back, focussing, on him.
“Claire? Claire please?” It had been three days since her last sentence, at least two since her last word. Simon sighed. She could see it in the cold, pale shafts of moonlight, she saw it settle, grey & potent, on their bed, their photos on their dresser, the clothes she never put away. She felt as though they would be buried, by her silence and his sighs.
A twitch of her head and a curtain of hair fell between them.
She felt Simon turn away and lie back down. ‘Maybe tomorrow’ she thought as she stretched her mouth curiously and breathed into the grey black night.