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November 09th 2017 print

Christopher Akehurst

Nuptial Compliance

To the Offender. It has been reported to the Commissioner that you recently failed to respond to a Matrimonial Invitation validly issued by two persons under the Legalisation of Same-Sex Unions (Amended Marriages Act) and in so doing  have committed an Offensive and Hurtful Discriminatory Action'

gay eyeAct I: A comfortable home in a desirable suburb, six months from now.

“Smell this lovely scented envelope in today’s post, darling. Mmm, lily of the valley. I wonder who it’s from.”

“As long as it’s not from AGL while I’m still trying to save up to pay their last bill without dipping into capital. Bloody nerve they’ve got when half the time we’re paying for blackouts.”

“Ooh, it’s a wedding invitation, how exciting. It’s from your cousins in Bellevue Hill requesting ‘the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their only son Benjamin’—what good news, little Benjie, we’d been worrying about him. He’s always seemed so shy, and now he’s finally found the right girl—“to Trent, eldest son of …”—don’t they mean daughter? Oh, I see.”

“Come to think of it, Bruce did say something about that, something about Benjamin and a row of tents—sorry, dear, you know how he talks, he is a property developer after all. He took me aside after grandma’s send-off and was crying into his whisky about Benjamin hanging around with some airline steward he’d met on a dating app. Said he didn’t know where he got it from, certainly not from his genes—and Janice wants grandchildren.”

“Why, it’s obviously a same-sex marriage. How sweet, and so soon after the new law. I can’t wait to tell the girls at the book club. I’m glad I followed the advice in that article by Father Frank Brennan—he’s always so intelligent—and voted ‘Yes’.  I feel I’ve done something to make the world a happier place. I wonder what—what’s her name, I mean his name?—Trent, I wonder what Trent will wear.”

“When is it? It doesn’t clash with our vineyards weekend, does it? Let me see the date. Hang on, we’ve missed it.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean it’s been and gone. It was last Saturday. It says here that ‘Benjamin and Trent will pledge their love at Auntie’s Mia-Mia Eco-Spiritual Indulgence Resort, Stan Grant Drive, Botany Bay. An Indigenous Tourism Initiative Managed by the Tomandjerri People.’ This invitation is three weeks out of date. What did they expect, sending it with Australia Post’s From Me 2 U Instant Sure-Fahour Delivery Service?”

“How embarrassing. And we didn’t even know in time to RSVP. They’ll think we were snubbing them. We’d better call and explain, and get a present.”

“What’s in that other envelope? Is that the rates?”

Australian Human Rights Commission, it says. Office of the LGBTQIXYZ Discrimination Commissioner. Why would they be writing to us? You read it.”

Contrary to the Provisions of the Regulations for the Prevention of Homophobia in Thought or Speech (2018).

Be advised that you are required to present yourself in person at the next scheduled sitting of the National Enquiry into Personal and Institutional Vilification of Members of the LGBTQIXYZ Community to explain your action, under pain of forfeiture of goods and/or a custodial sentence, depending on the Commissioner’s assessment of the gravity of your offence.”

“Oh dear, that would be the commissioner they appointed to oversee reaction to the new law, to make sure no one got away with pretending same-sex marriages weren’t real marriages.”

“And stop people making fun of them, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, so that gay couples wouldn’t feel threatened. I think it was Penny Wong’s idea. Well, I don’t know about gay couples but with this hanging over our heads I feel threatened. Where are my Valiums?”

“Don’t start getting all upset now. I’m sure it can be easily sorted out. We don’t live in a police state.”

 

Act II

A rented flat in a less desirable suburb, a few months later.

“They can say what they like about the advantages of downsizing but not when you have to take the cheapest you can get. This ‘luxury apartment’ is like a shoebox.”

“The kitchen’s too cramped to do any of these recipes in Gourmet Traveller. You need bench space for Chicken Feng Shui. I still don’t understand why the fine was so heavy.”

“You know perfectly well. They wouldn’t believe that the post was late and they said not replying was just the kind of hate-behaviour the authorities expected once same-sex marriage became law and that the haters had to be made an example of. And that lawyer woman we had to get—Gail what’s her name?—her fees would bankrupt a Packer. Losing the house was bad enough, it’s being put on that list that’s so unfair. ‘Homophobic offenders register’, I ask you. And us Friends of the ABC.”

“I don’t dare show my face at the book group again, and we’re only halfway through The Pleasures of Leisure. They’d say we’re the kind of people who vote for Pauline Hanson. But I ran into Benjie’s uni friend Roz at Woolies’ and she was quite friendly and showed me some pictures of the ceremony on her I-phone. Benjie and Trent posing on the beach with a caption, ‘Hi guys, welcome to our big fat gay wedding. If you didn’t make it you’ll sure wish you had.’ Did we get an acknowledgment for the tea towels we sent?”

“Funny you should ask that, there’s an e-mail here from Bruce. He says he’s not sorry to have to tell everyone that it’s all over red rover as far as Benjamin and Trent are concerned.”

“Aren’t they still overseas on honeymoon?”

“Apparently Trent shot through. No sooner were they back from the Maldives than he took up with some big noise at Qantas. Bruce says it’s ‘bloody irresponsible’. He says Benjamin and ‘that little number’ had been secretly arranging to adopt a Somali orphan and they’d just collected it. ‘Now the kid’s been dumped on Janice and I,’ he says.”

“That’s sad, and after Mr Turnbull saying we needed marriage equality to strengthen families …”

“And Shorten spruiking it as good for raising children. Oh well, life goes on, I suppose. Have you given any thought to how you’ll vote in the Aboriginal Republic Referendum?”

Christopher Akehurst, a regular contributor, lives in Melbourne.

 

Comments [10]

  1. Bill Martin says:

    Act III Back in the comfortable home in the desirable suburb, a further 6 months in the future.

    “Say what they may, the Australian Human Rights Commission is a wonderful institution. They might have been somewhat hasty when enforcing the Regulations for the Prevention of Homophobia in Thought or Speech (2018) against us for failing to responding to that gay wedding invitation but they richly made up for that mistake this time. They not only enabled us to buy back our lovely home – so lucky that it was still on the market – but also managed to cripple that far-right, hateful, homophobic rag, the Quadrant, with that massive compensation it had to pay us for parodying our trials and tribulations in this unfortunate incident. All is well when it end well.

    “You are absolutely correct in every account. Isn’t it great to know that you are on the right side of history?”

  2. ron.house says:

    ‘Now the kid’s been dumped on Janice and I,’

    “Janice and ME!” ME. C’mon Quadrant, good ol’ style correct grammar please.

  3. Keith Kennelly says:

    Yep
    How to know.

    Now the kids been dumped on I.
    Now the kids been dumped on me.

    Obvious eh?

  4. Keith Kennelly says:

    Along with their two French poodles, two Siamese cats and …their third world lgbti boarder

  5. Doubting Thomas says:

    In the spirit of pedantic nitpickery, ‘…make sure you do better than I with your payments…’. Sheesh, kidz these daze! :-)

    • LBLoveday says:

      A 3rd party’s “expert” opinion:

      “Than” is both a subordinating conjunction, as in “She is wiser than I am”, and a preposition, as in “She is wiser than me”. As the subject of the clause introduced by the conjunction “than”, the pronoun must be nominative, and as object of the preposition “than”, the following pronoun must be in the objective case. Since the following verb “am” is often dropped or “understood”, we regularly hear “than I” and “than me”. Some commentators believe that the conjunction is currently more frequently used than the preposition, but both are unquestionably Standard.

      From a few masters of English literature:

      Dickens: “She is such a dear girl … a little older than me, but the dearest girl!” Shakespeare: “Is she as tall as me?” (“as me” is here grammatically coordinate with “than me”; the objection would be that it should be “Is she as tall as I [am]?,” yet Shakespeare seemed unperturbed by that.) Hemingway: “I am only better than him through trickery.”

      I’d rather be with Dickens et alia than a self-proclaimed pedantic nitpicker!

  6. Doc S says:

    You’re clearly oppressed Jody. ;-) Thanks for the link to the brilliant Jordan Peterson – made my day – hope you have a better one!

  7. MOAB says:

    Jody, I don’t think you need to worry, the link you requested to delete takes YOU (and only you) to your email, because your browser is logged in with YOUR gmail account. I can’t get to it, and I don’t think anyone else can. PS. I don’t work for Quadrant, so any proper support questions should still be directed to them.

  8. LBLoveday says:

    Quadrant is suffering acute financial problems – as Mr Franklin recently wrote in Quadrant Online:

    “As Quadrant no longer receives even the former pittance once awarded by the Australia Council, those sales are vital”.

    When I wrote that I’d found I’d not paid a subscription for 2 years (I’d assumed it was auto-renew as most are these days and I’m a slack CC checker) and suggested better management of subscribers would be a good starting point for increasing income, Mr Windschuttle replied:

    “Thanks for your subscription and your suggestions for things to fix. We know the subscription system has problems and are trying to find someone competent enough to refurbish the whole system”.

    So Jodie, yes, the lack of a delete function is a problem (you don’t need an edit feature if you can block, copy, delete, paste and amend), but rather than go what about asking around for someone with the expertise and free time to help out, and make sure you do better than me with your payments – every subscriber helps.

  9. LBLoveday says:

    Yes, it’s of no more use to anyone else than simply knowing Jody has a gmail account – if someone knows your email (and everyone whom you email has that) and password, they can login.