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.

VOGUE Australia - - Content -

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

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