Dear Australia- Hindsight and Vegemite

G’Day Party People!

When traveling I can appreciate scenery as much as anyone else, but my love for a place is defined by the people and Australians, you are My People.

Call it coincidence, if you choose, but when we laid plans for my visit Down Under, no one knew that it would coincide with one of the most explosive weeks in the Australian marriage debate.

I spent the first leg of my journey as wing-woman to Millie Fontana. Millie is a donor-conceived atheist with “two mums” from Melbourne who spoke with MPs about the insatiable “father hunger” that permeated her childhood. Unlike my childhood where my mom and dad worked hard to make sure that I remained connected to the other parent, Millie was told that she shouldn’t want a father because she had another mum. As a result, she spent her adolescence believing she was wrong to desire a connection with her father. She recalls being the girl who would “over-stay her welcome” at friend’s houses in order to soak up father/daughter dynamics.  For Millie, any foray into a family photo album was a desperate search for some physical likeness to a father type. Her distress made the household “no longer functional” so when she was 11, her mums had no choice but to allow her to meet the family friend/sperm-donor/father.  Millie reports that “it was the first time in my life that I felt complete.”

During my time in Canberra, I rested my weary head at the House of Prayer, which was also hosting members of one of the largest groups of tribal elders to ever visit Parliament.  They had come to the capital to present the Uluru Bark Petition to MPs urging them to uphold traditional marriage and you should Check. It. Out.  Apparently aboriginal Australians take marriage very seriously.

Like I said, you Aussies are My People.

My next big event was my appearance on Lateline with Tony Jones.

Honestly? It was a miracle that I was even conscious during that interview because by 6:30 that evening I was completely distracted by jet-lagged thoughts of my pillow. But to my great surprise, when I opened my mouth on camera, the words actually made sense.  When I met Tony Jones in person the next week, he told me that the interview became the most-viewed video that they’d ever shared from Lateline.  I told him that clearly it was not because I am the most eloquent spokesman, but because Australians are just as hungry as Americans to hear our positions respectfully represented in the media.

Then I hopped a plane to visit beautiful Adelaide.  I got to chat with about 100 people at an event with Family Voice Australia.  Aussies, you have some good people and organizations working hard on this issue.  They need your support.

Next up was Q & A, an event I refer to as My Biggest Missed Opportunity Of All, or maybe I-WISH-I-WOULD-HAVE-SAID would be more appropriate because what I didn’t say has kept me up at night.

  • I should have said that historically, marriage has been the most child-beneficial institution that the world has ever known; that it is so foundational to the human experience that nearly every religion (despite disagreement on the nature of God, man, reality, and the afterlife) has something that resembles man-woman marriage.
  • I should have said that marriage brings man and woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children they produce; that marriage is the institution that best supports child rights.
  • I should have said that thanks to the US Supreme Court, there is no longer any political or legal institution in my country that upholds the principle that every child has a right to a mother and father and they have usurped power from the marital institution, which used to be our society’s least restrictive means of ensuring a child’s well-being.
  • I should have said that while all options should be on the table for social workers placing children in need, some adoption agencies have closed their doors because they want to place children with married heterosexual couples so that those orphans can have a mother AND a father, and that went against state guidelines. So there are now hundreds of orphans who will not be served by excellent agencies because of same-sex marriage laws. The guiding principle here: adoption is about finding the right parents for a child in need, not providing children to adults who want them.

Regret tastes almost as horrible as, forgive me, Vegemite.

What I got right is pointing out that Di Natale was wrong.  Family structure does matter to children and I have provided evidence in links sent to Q&A’s FactCheck backed up by an article by Paul Sullins. (Interestingly, FactCheck didn’t appear to ask Di Natale for proof of his statement that family structure makes no difference to kids.)

My whirlwind tour was intense but I learned a few things:

  • You are correct, coffee IS better when sipped through a tim tam.
  • Americans pay ridiculous amounts of money to purchase your pesky cockatoos at pet stores and we deserve scorn for it.11892272_10204356567770451_3848125024979727499_n
  • The City of Churches history captivated me.
  • The Bush. Even thinking about it soothes me.
  • I am a “Cheeky Monkey” and my friends are going to grow quite tired of my favorite new phrase.
  • The opera house really is All That.
  • I realized how rusty my Chinese is, Down Under no less.
  • Kangaroo’s are real. I touched them.

My hope is that traditional marriage supporters learned a few things from my visit too. Here is a synopsis if you missed them.

  • The belief that there is no reason to support traditional marriage other than “discrimination” is deeply engrained, as evidenced by Di Natale’s statement.  That’s partly the fault of identity politics gone wild and powerful propaganda, but also the fault of marriage supporters who have not been able to make their case effectively.  If you want to become a more capable defender of our cause I suggest that you get the book “Truth Overruled” by Ryan T. Anderson.  He talks about how we find ourselves in the strange place right now of having to explain something that most people throughout history have taken for granted, to effectively define what marriage is and why it exists.  He lays out the case for why marriage is more than a contract between two individuals, it’s a force for social good.
  • Leaders in your own government think that you are hateful for your views.  Of course Sam Dastyari doesn’t represent everyone, but you win political points if you can stand up to bigots these days and he took the chance to do so on national TV.  I want to encourage you to prove him wrong.  Be the most loving, merciful, forgiving and sacrificial person that your gay family and friends will ever meet.  And, if you are a Christian, then it is actually your duty to do so. You will be called a bigot if you defend marriage but when you do, all your gay friends should laugh at the claim.
  • The fact that I was even invited to be on Q&A tells says that you can make a difference. I’m not a politician, lawyer, or professional. I’m simply a woman who believes that there is something irreplaceable about a duel sex union as it pertains to children, who knows that two men could not replace my mother no more than two loving women could replace my father, who had an irreplaceable impact on my life and development even to this day.  My unbelievable adventure began as a simple conviction and the more I was challenged, the more I learned.  The more I learned the more comfortable I felt talking and writing about marriage and family. Mates, if I can do this, you can do this.

Several Australians told me that they want to do something for the cause of marriage but they don’t know where to start.  Trust me, you are in the same boat as us Americans. No one in media, Hollywood, or academia is going to speak for you.  Your only hope is a grass-roots movement with YOU at the helm.  You have to become an expert on this subject so that you can speak effectively to your family and friends. Period.

Start here: CanaVox.  CanaVox will equip you to lead discussion groups on various topics which are impacting the health of the family. (Spoiler: redefining marriage is not the main threat on that front.) You don’t have to reinvent anything, the work has been done for you.  Just add your passion to the materials and BAM- you become the great X factor in the Australian marriage movement.

Cheers, Aussie friends!  I hope we meet again.

*Note: To ensure that this is “a place where ideas, not people, are under attack” I am halting comments for a while.  Unfortunately I don’t have time to devote to moderation right now.  Maybe we’ll try it again sometime soon.