Letters to the editor - July 21

Right to marriage equality opinions

It feels like the world is seething with hate right now. Dozens of splintering factions in the middle-east: polarised, abusive political discourses everywhere; and an America that is more divided than it has ever been since the Civil War. If the world is brimming over with hate, why on earth do we want to stop people expressing love?

And why is it anybody’s right to do so anyway? What two consenting adults wish to do with their lives is their own sovereign business. To say that the recognition of families, of lifelong partnerships, is the privilege of one sector of society and not another is flat-out arrogance, and it’s based in a belief that one sector is superior to the other, morally or in some other way. ‘You can’t do it your way because my way is the right way.’ Around one in three “conventional” marriages in Australia will end in divorce, so do we really want to maintain that straight people are experts at this?

The “right way/wrong way” dichotomy is the same logical underpinning that was used to deny women and aborigines the vote. “Step aside ladies, only white men in hats know how to elect a government.” It was used to keep non-white immigrants out of Australia. It’s the same thinking that is still used to keep women out of the priesthood.

When you deliberately exclude others from your cherished institution, you only wind up weakening the institution.  

There is no evidence to say same-sex parenting is any better or worse for children. There is no evidence to say that homosexual unions are any more or less durable than heterosexual ones. And yet these old canards persist. It’s lazy, outmoded thinking and we can do better.

Plenty of “conventional” marriages have ended up in trauma and dysfunction and damaged children. It’s not the gender of the parents that matters – it’s the quality of the relationship. Why should a local council have a position about this matter? Because our federal parliamentarians have turned marriage equality into a game. Despite the absolute assurance that same-sex marriage is a historical certainty, self-interested politicians have used it as a way of obstructing each other’s agendas. Playing with human lives as a political blocking manoeuver. It’s disgraceful. The leadership in this issue has to grow from the community outwards, and there is no level of government closer to the community than a local council.

Cr Jordan Lockett, Moyne Shire, Port Fairy

Show more respect for elderly community

How could any editor allow such an openly offensive, derogatory piece of writing into a daily newspaper as was put before all and sundry readers on Saturday July 15, by Danny Katz. Speaking like this about senior citizens, still called elders in some societies, is now apparently an accepted Australian value new arrivals to Australia need to take on to “fit in”, replacing the nurturing of every citizens’ dignity. Which group in the community will the pearls of his wisdom and so-called wit focus on next.

Shirley Duffield, Naringal East

Support those living with chronic pain

Chronic pain is a disabling and debilitating condition that can impact every aspect of a person’s existence - from their ability to work to their overall enjoyment of life. On top of the physical burden of living with constant pain, people with chronic pain also face significant financial and emotional burdens, and are particularly susceptible to mental health issues, like anxiety and depression. We know that many people with chronic pain believe that the existing system is woefully inadequate when it comes to treating their pain, so we want to hear from your readers – what’s working, what isn’t working, and what do you think would be a better way to manage chronic pain in Australia? National Pain Week (July 24 to July 30) aims to destigmatise the experiences of people living with chronic pain, to reduce the isolation many feel, and to raise awareness within the wider community. As a community, we need to manage pain together and I strongly encourage your readers to share their stories, experiences and ideas on the www.nationalpainweek.org.au website, or on social media, using the hashtag #NPW2017. On behalf of the one in five Australians living with chronic pain, thank you for your support.

Dr Coralie Wales, president, Chronic Pain Australia