LOVE IS LOVE
British actor Joshua Sasse has vowed not to marry his fiancée, Australian pop queen Kylie Minogue, until same-sex marriage is legalised in Australia. Here he explains why he started the Say ‘I Do’ Down Under campaign.
British actor Joshua Sasse has vowed not to marry his fiancée, Australian pop queen Kylie Minogue, until same-sex marriage is legalised in Australia.
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1, Scene 1
When we speak of love – of love lost, love gained, love endured and love that remains – we don’t speak of an emotion we could call capricious, do we? We speak, I think, of a universal bond; of a beautiful warmth that binds us, heals us and carries a torch for us across the chasm of mortality. Love is the colour of life! And it’s everywhere, isn’t it? It’s not always groundbreaking or necessarily worthy of remark, but it’s all around us. In the meal lovingly cooked, hugs saying hello, kisses saying goodbye, parents gazing in sumptuous wonder at the child carefully cradled or the glint in a grandparent’s eye.
We cannot quantify this emotion. We cannot comprehend its depth nor question its origin; it is, and has been, at the heart of who and what we are since the dawn of time. When we see the care an animal has for its cub, its calf or its pup, we recognise there that same sensitivity we all possess, us creatures of this Earth; fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers, sisters, old friends, new friends: each and every one of us shares that predisposition to love. We all bear that capacity, that potential for the most wonderful and beautiful expression, something inexplicable, some eternal magic that boils up from our very core that fills and fuels us day by day. Not something we were taught, or something one can teach, but something ever present nonetheless and something that can never, ever, be taken away. Though God only knows, some people are trying. You see, I think in this modern age, where every city has become a cosmopolitan cornucopia, we all share a vision of a world run by conscientious, morally driven individuals, a world without war, a world whose oceans aren’t dying and whose sky doesn’t choke; a world where freedom, peace and equality are the foundations on which our society is built. Naturally, as with all good things, it’ll take time, but every journey has a beginning and they all start at home.
I started the Say ‘I Do’ Down Under campaign in reaction to learning that Australia has not legalised same-sex marriage. It’s not a groundbreaking campaign, it’s not a radical movement; it’s just a plea for love to conquer all. William Shakespeare, TS Eliot, John Lennon … they’ve all said it. I’m not the first to put my head above the parapet, and I doubt I shall be the last.
It’s not a question of morality, it’s a question of equality, and therefore legality and what is so wonderful about the law is that it judges all of us equally: equality in law is the foundation of democracy.
So how do we find ourselves in a society where it is illegal for two people who love each other to consummate their love in matrimony? The law is set down to protect us; it should in theory,
HOW IS IT THAT MORE THAN 150 YEARS AFTER THE ABOLITION OF THE SLAVE TRADE WE ARE STILL VOTING ON THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS?
serve us. Violence: illegal; speeding: illegal; robbery, rape and murder: illegal; marriage … I mean sure, why not sling gay marriage in there, too?
Because a woman loves another woman, she is prohibited by law from being betrothed to her. It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it, laughable; the sort of argument a child would scoff at, and yet we have people and politicians across the world opposing it with the most ardent fervour. Homosexuality is illegal in 72 countries across the world, 13 of which carry the death penalty. Suddenly it’s not so laughable. Now it’s just appalling, and it’s our shame to bear. I read a bumper sticker while stuck on a freeway recently that stated: “You’re not in traffic, you are traffic”, which, of course, only infuriated me further, but that’s it, isn’t it? We are society, we are the people; we vote for our elected officials and they are our voice. If we want equality, it’s up to us to instigate it.
The thing with inequality is, where does it stop? Telling a lady to vacate her seat on a bus because of the colour of her skin? Denying someone medical care because of their creed? Banning women from driving vehicles, like in Saudi Arabia? Denying women equal pay?
Our laws are not there for us to cherry-pick, they are there as an answer to the years of unsettlement our forefathers encountered. Our job is to update those laws to reflect the time in which we live, so they serve the people for the greater good and we’re not still going around burning witches at the stake or crucifying heretics. How is it that more than 150 years after the abolition of the slave trade we are still voting on the rights of others?
There is a beautifully simple and fitting hashtag that has been attached to a lot of the LGBT movements across the world, including Say ‘I Do’ Down Under, that encapsulates, I believe, the beating heart of this whole issue: #loveislove. It’s universal, it’s equal and it’s unbiased.
How arrogant would I be to imagine that the love I’ve been so fortunate in my life to feel was somehow greater or more important than that of any of the billions who have walked this Earth? Love isn’t more natural for straight couples, it’s no purer for Jewish partners than it is for Muslim or Christian couples and it’s no more exciting for the young than the mature.
Because I’m straight am I to be afforded privileges than my LGBTQ neighbours are denied? How is it possible that in this enlightened age we find ourselves locked in the same sort of moral debate at which we will one day look back in shame? Must we forever see only in retrospect how crazy they were: slavery, child labour, racial segregation, gender inequality, voting inequality?
We must never forget that history is watching, our children are watching and they are learning. Aren’t the lessons we want to teach our future generations those of tolerance, of acceptance, of love?
What I have come to understand and accept in this life is its transience. I will come and I will go. Perhaps my memory will linger, thanks to my photograph sitting on a mantle, or a few tales will last long enough on the lips of loved ones that my grandchildren may hear me spoken of with fondness, and maybe I will be remembered. But the Earth in all her beauty will continue to turn, and the stars in the infinite heavens shall continue to shine. What then, I ask myself, is it all about?
There is, of course, one very simple, obvious answer. You only have to look around you. For more information, go to www.sayidodownunder.com.
Kylie Minogue Chris Martin Rose Byrne
Rafael Bonachela and the Sydney Dance Company. Natalie Imbruglia Simon Baker and Rebecca Rigg. Jai Courtney