Mum was married in 1947, and despite the difficulties brought about by Dad’s PTSD (un-diagnosed – he was a WW2 soldier) and his resultant struggle with alcohol, she loved him, stayed with him and bore two children to him. He died long before she did at the relatively young age of 67. So she was a widow for 20 years. Although Mum grew up in an era when marriage was the tradition, she accepted the varied love lives of both her children, and was unfazed by short-term liaisons, informal arrangements and marriage equality. We talked about it a bit in the last year or so, and she was pretty adamant that if people loved each other, regardless of their sexual orientation, then they should be free to marry, if that is what they wanted.
So tonight when I took down the light box which had been on our kitchen counter for nearly 12 months and removed the words “I Love You Mum” I’m pretty confident she would have approved. I’d bought that lightbox cheaply in K Mart during one of our shopping expeditions, thinking that I could use it to provide timely reminders to her whenever she walked past. But once the message was in place I had no desire to change it and it was left there for the duration.
Fast forward to September this year and the whole Marriage Equality issue which has been ignored, dismissed or put off by our conservative or weak kneed politicians, has erupted in the Australian social and political arena. Rather than just legislate our government has decided to offer a plebiscite – with all the potential for apathy, bigotry, shaming and indeed violence such a course of action may bring. Despite a high court challenge to this process, we the voters are now set to give an opinion. This hopefully will take this country a step closer to Marriage Equality changes within the legislation. Because there is no ready certainty of success, like minded Australians are busy generating words and deeds in support of change and of our broader LBGTIQ family. There are some great examples of this support on the Internet, Media and both National and grass roots campaigns in our local communities.
When Mum was alive I was uncomfortable with overtly declaring my Green credentials during elections lest it attracted undesirable attention – my worst nightmare was of someone confronting my frail confused 91 year old. While there is undoubtedly scope for confrontation in making my own stance known in this issue, if I don’t make a stand now I know I’ll feel ashamed.
So tonight I took a trip to the local stationary supplier to collect some rainbow coloured plastic folders, which were easily cut into strips to fit in Mum’s lightbox, now stripped of its individual message. I’ve also bought some fairy lights to hang in the tree out the front, but that will have to wait till day time now.
The light box is only small but it shines out nicely in the dark. We all need hope, support and love in our lives right now, these are difficult times in a whole lot of ways. I’m pleased to make a start on my contribution to Marriage Equality in Australia, and I reckon Mum would have been too.