James Parker, a former gay activist, explains why changing the marriage act is actually a big deal.

Are you wondering why same-sex marriage is a big deal?

…what it does is it begins to de-gender our society – what some would call ‘the genderless society’.

Are you afraid to say what you really feel about SSM?

When I was fighting for gay rights, I just assumed that this would be about me and something settled, therefore within myself.

Confused about the key issues in the SSM debate?

Suddenly, saying I still believe marriage is between a man and a woman risks being sent to re-education classes, being fined, being hauled before the courts etcetera.

Are you wondering why same-sex marriage is such a big deal?

Well, you’re not alone. A lot of Australians are not sure why this is such an important issue when there are so many other issues we could be solving.

But it is a big deal. Let me share my story with you.

You know, for many years of my life, I grew up having no idea what it was to be male or really to be female.

You know, as I lived as a gay man part of me at some points was thinking “should I have been born as a woman” but what’s happened in the midst of my journey, I came to a realisation my biology was not lying to me, my biology is not bigoted.

And this isn’t just my story but the story of hundreds of other people were rarely given the opportunity to say what they come to experience.

We’re being told this is it, this is the way it is, it’s all ‘yes, yes, yes’ to this.

But actually, what it does is it begins to de-gender our society – what some would call ‘the genderless society’.

If we begin to move away from the complementarity of male and female, then what happens it’s like we suddenly lose the daytime if we haven’t got the night.

We suddenly lose an understanding of what wet means if we don’t know what dry means.

So if we think this is just about two people in private wanting to make a commitment to each other, it’ so much more than that.

If we suddenly for the first time ever change an understanding of marriage, that will have a massive ripple effect into every single classroom and every single home in this nation.

When I was fighting for gay rights, I just assumed that this would be about me and something settled, therefore within myself.

But what I’ve noticed has happened over the last three decades – and this has happened globally – and in many ways Australia is still catching up – where a certain minority’s found freedom, what’s happened is the freedom of the majority has been squashed.

These are the stories that are coming back from Canada.

These are the stories coming out of America.

These are the stories that are beginning to come out of the UK and Ireland that only in the last couple of years have turned around and said yes to the fact that there’s something called “gay marriage.”

Suddenly having opportunity to say in writing, in conversation, online that really deep down I still believe marriage is between a man and a woman, people are being sent to re-education classes, they’re being fined, they’re being hauled before the courts etcetera.

You know, we’re living in a time in somewhere we’re creating more and more laws to bring about freedom.

In many ways, it actually closes people and it closes people‘s abilities to think what they want to think, to speak what they want to speak, to live with the freedoms that we long to have.

Now if that can happen because of the changing of one particular law which will have a ripple effect on all other laws as well, then what freedoms of speech and thought will ultimately be stolen from you.

This is a big deal.

The many Aussie freedoms that we’ve taken for granted like the freedom to speak, the freedom to think as well as issues like the family, male and female and the values we’ve upheld in Australian society – these will all change.

It’s important that we speak out now, that we challenge politicians and that we actively do whatever we can to uphold Aussie values, freedoms and the family.

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