You know that feeling when a theme occurs to you over and over again? Patiently waiting for you to take notice.
For me, the last fortnight was like I was thrown into a pool of Skittles™, telling me to taste the rainbow. I did and I liked it.
How it all began…
Two weeks ago Sydney-siders stopped what they were doing to enjoy the magic of double rainbows.
Over the last two weeks, southern and central parts of Australia took the light show to another level with Aurora Australis.
With world-traveling friends, I was reminded about the City of Cusco rainbow flag proudly on show on government buildings and featuring heavily in costumes during the Inti Raymi “Festival of the Sun”.
And mostly recently, last Friday’s US Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, delivering marriage equality in all 50 states.
Over the weekend, 26 million people gave their FB profile image a rainbow filter.
Coincidence? Or a combination of nature and social change showing Australia that it’s time for another rainbow to colour our nation?
I’ve enjoyed reading the words of Justice Kennedy on the SCOTUS ruling. I have enjoyed watching friends show their support. I have enjoyed listening to interviews of what this could mean for a bill to be presented to Australian Parliament later this year. I have enjoyed watching the comedic skits and writings about whether it’s okay to turn off your FB rainbow filter.
So why am I not tasting the rainbow now?
Well, as soon as the party started the good vibes were replaced by that knowing feeling you get when someone bottom whistles in an elevator. You know who did it, but what are you going to say? It stinks (figuratively and literally).
It has been disheartening to read the vehemently opposing views for a change in Australia and also the supposed beliefs of what may happen in the US following this decision.
It has been disheartening because whilst Australia still has a way to go (i.e. recognition of the First Peoples in the constitution, a moral policy to process and accommodate legal refugees seeking status in Australia and negative effects of anti-terrorist laws), we have been a country with a good track record in social change across a number of dimensions.
It has been disheartening because social change is a measurable index for progress interlinked with economic growth.
In April of this year the 2015 Social Progress Index placed Australia tenth in the world. The Index recognises “that GDP alone is not an adequate guide for national development strategies” and examines a number of dimensions such as ‘basic human needs’, ‘foundations of wellbeing’ and ‘opportunity’.
Tenth in the world – this is good right?!? Noting where Australia falls significantly is in women’s average years in school, quality of electricity supply, high levels of obesity and suicide and eco-system sustainability.
As disheartening as some of the reaction has been, I feel encouraged by the latest poll by Fairfax/Ipsos showing 68% of Australians support gay marriage. These figures are a significant development on 2004 figures, when Newspoll found that 38% of Australians supported the reform.
The majority of Australians are ready to embrace this next step in social progress.
I’m buoyed by yesterday’s announcement that a cross-party bill on the issue of same sex marriage will be introduced to the Parliament on 11 August and would be discussed in the Liberal party room on 18 August.
So my hope is as long as we keep expressing solidarity for change, whether it be through marches, writing, comedic skits, social media, our government will eventually will do its job and respect and represent our views as a nation and be open to a formal party-room discussion on marriage equality when the party meets next month.
Aptly, today’s writing was inspired by the sounds from Pretty Lights.