Member for Robertson, Ms Lucy Wicks, was a speaker at the Liberal and Nationals for Marriage national campaign launch on September 16.
Ms Wicks spoke about her views on the current landscape of the same-sex marriage debate, the significance of the current iteration of the Marriage Act, the consequences of a yes vote and why it is okay to vote no.
“I believe in equality regardless of religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, race or country,” Ms Wicks said.
“I also believe in love and commitment in relationships,” she said.
“Same sex couples in Australia should have legal recognition just as married couples do.
“I also believe in marriage, just not as a legal expression of a committed and loving relationship between a man and a woman, but as a social institution that we should stand up for.
“In my electorate and indeed around Australia, I’m asked why?
“Why when other countries have legalised same sex marriage and everybody wants it, are you voting no?
“Why are you standing in the way of love?
“I guess you can’t really blame people for reaching these conclusions because the yes case for same sex marriage is so deceptively simple,” she said.
“But I can’t respond to these people with just a simple two-word slogan and neither should you; and the reason is simple, marriage is not a slogan.
“It’s not just a legal contract between two individuals, it is a social institution and a cornerstone of our society.
“Marriage is a framework, and despite its flaws and failures, it has worked well for centuries.
“And the reason it worked so well is because at the heart of marriage is a commitment that two parents will work together to the best of their ability to raise their kids.
“Marriage also says that gender matters.
“It’s a framework that says that regardless of the love between two people, children still need a mother and a father, or a mother figure and a father figure, to best help them understand and form their identity as they grow.
“And that is what is at stake.
“If we remove this reference in law and say that marriage is no longer between a man and a woman, then we are effectively removing gender from marriage,” Ms Wicks said.
“A wise person once said to me that ideology is a smokescreen for architecture, meaning what is often said is a smokescreen for what is actually built.
“In other words, blow away the smokescreen and broaden the debate around same sex marriage to have a look at some of the consequences, and if what is being built matches what we are being told is being built, then all well and good.
“Unfortunately, this is not the case in this debate, and that is why as a mother, I want to know that my kids, and in future my grandkids, are not subject to this new ideology of gender neutrality dressed up as a Safe Schools anti bullying program.
“I say this tonight as someone who was bullied very badly 20 years ago, and as someone who knows and who still lives with the deep emotional trauma that bullying leaves as an ever present scar upon your soul for decades, if not for life.
“I abhor bullying of all kinds and will always stand up against it, but standing up for marriage, and standing up to say that gender is important to our children is not belittling those who may not agree or those whose relationships or family are not defined by marriage.
“It’s simply saying that marriage, as it exists in Australian Law, also enshrines gender and the role of gender in Australian Law.
“If we change the Marriage Act then gender, as an important social and physical construct, no longer has any protection under the law, and this paves the way for programs like Safe Schools that also remove gender, and as a mother, I am deeply concerned about the impact that this may have.
“After all, we’ve never had a generation of children that have grown up without gender as a reference point in their lives.
“And in saying this I do want to acknowledge and respect the people who do not identify as male or female, and also acknowledge that it is not a black or white issue for some people, and that’s okay, but my question tonight as a mum and as an MP is what removing gender in law will actually mean.
“And if we’re not allowed to ask that, and if we’re not allowed to fully explore the ramifications of what that may mean without being shouted down as bigots, then I have to ask, what are the consequences if we as a society are not thinking through in this debate?” Ms Wicks said.
“As a mum I want to have a say in how our society is shaped for our kids and their kids.
“I don’t want a Safe Schools gender ideology permeating our school playgrounds, without first being asked my view about it, and if I am asked, my question about gender neutral ideology is the same one I’m asking about same sex marriage, what are the consequences?
“Because changing the social institution of marriage and gender is not the simple slogan that we are led to believe, and the ramifications go beyond being told that you are either a believer in same sex marriage or a bigot.
“So if you’re not sure if what you are being told in this debate, or that this debate is about what it will deliver, then you should vote no.
“If you want more say in whether gender neutral ideology should become the norm for our children then you should vote no.
“I can believe in equality of relationships, regardless of gender or sexuality and still vote no, because I believe in equality of people.
“I can believe in and celebrate the diversity of all the different kinds of families that children today grow up in and still vote no.
“I can embrace the concept of gender while acknowledging that it may not be black and white for some and still vote no and so can you,” Ms Wicks concluded.
Speech, Sep 16
Lucy Wicks MP
Dilon Luke, Journalist