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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Johnny and Mark want to get married. Should they be allowed?

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Johnny Dawson and Mark Bailey are hoping one day to get married after being together for ten years. (supplied)
Johnny Dawson and Mark Bailey are hoping one day to get married after being together for ten years. (supplied)

By Darren Coyne

Johnny Dawson and Mark Bailey of Lismore have been together for ten years and hope that one day they can celebrate their union by marrying.

But with Federal politicians stalling on the issue, they fear their dream could be a long way away.

In an effort to speed up the process, the Lismore City Council is being asked to reaffirm its commitment to marriage equality.

Cr Darlene Cook has lodged a notice of motion for the next council meeting asking fellow councillors to ‘publicly support marriage equality for all persons irrespective of sex, gender identity or sex characteristics’.

She also wants the council to write to all Federal members of Parliament and the Commonwealth Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission advising them of the council’s ongoing commitment and support for marriage equality.

She wants a genuine conscience vote on the issue, and for the council to fly a rainbow flag or banner in a prominent place over the city until marriage equality is achieved.

Mr Bailey and Mr Dawson are fully supportive of the motion.

‘We support Cr Cook’s motion because this region is renowned for diversity and tolerance which is what attracted us to the area in the first place,’ Mr Bailey said.

‘We hope all politicians of all political persuasions get on board and support this motion.’

Cr Cook pointed out that communities across the northern rivers region are overwhelmingly in favour of changes to the Marriage Act to enable marriage equality.

‘The Lismore LGA contains, per capita, the highest population of LGBTI persons outside of the capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne,’ she said.

‘The contribution of LGBTI community to the LGA cannot be measured just in dollar terms; we are your neighbours, teachers, doctors, accountants, lawyers, builders – we are the people next door.

‘Why should our relationships be treated differently from opposite sex attracted persons’ relationships, under the law? ‘

Just days ago, Australian film icon Paul Hogan, who once lived in the area, also spoke out in favour of marriage equality.

Hogan was speaking at an event in Sydney on Saturday when he said it was “stupid” that same-sex marriage was not recognised in Australia.

‘There is an opinion that Australians are more tolerant and more open, but you don’t have gay marriage here yet, do you? Why not? Isn’t that stupid?” Hogan told his audience.

The Crocodile Dundee star rejected the government’s proposal to hold a national plebiscite on the issue.

‘If gay people want to get married, we shouldn’t vote on it,’ he said.

‘Just let them get married, for Christ’s sake.’

Cr Cook’s motion will be debated at next Tuesday’s council meeting.

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  1. Johnny Dawson and Mark Bailey of Lismore have been together for ten years and hope that one day they can celebrate their union by marrying who?
    Is this union ratified by the ACTU?

    Johnny Dawson and Mark Bailey, both of Lismore have been in an intimate relationship for ten years and they hope that one day they can celebrate that relationship with marriage.

  2. Johnny Dawson and Mark Bailey of Lismore have been in an intimate relationship for 10 years and hope that one day soon they can celebrate their marriage in a world of equality.

  3. Marriage cannot be done by same sex couples because they lack the biology to do it – all they are wanting is a superficial “label” given by the government to make their homosexuality look acceptable.

    A change in law always has consequences. Overseas so called religious exemptions were guaranteed but subsequently removed very quickly (less than one year in England). It’s a nice ideal to not allow one “right” to trump other rights. That simply hasn’t happened in the western world in countries that failed to defend and preserve marriage. Instead surrogacy laws are changed placing adult desires to parent above children’s rights to their mother and father, parental rights to oversee their children’s education (specifically sex ed) are undermined. Unbelievably some US States such as Oregon not only allow gender reassignment surgery for minors but parental consent is NOT required nor is parental knowledge required… AND the government pays for it! The sexual rights and gender identity movement is spiralling out of control. Marriage is the trump card. If the enemies of marriage and family can undermine marriage then it becomes much easier to negatively manipulate parental rights, children’s rights to their parents, freedom of speech, freedom of religion etc etc etc. So many bad consequences. Much better to preserve marriage for the good of all.

    • Neil You are choosing to suggest your definition on marriage – a biological union – is the only one. The English words parent, mother and father are commonly thought to mean those biologically responsible for producing a child, but we extend the meaning in law and day-to-day parlance to those who have adopted children. In doing so we do not deny children of any right or undermine the family, and there has been no spiraling out of control of human relationships. We as a community are able to decide what we mean by marriage, and we can decide that it includes a union between same sex couples – the same way the word is now used in Ireland, NZ and other enlightened English speaking jurisdictions. In doing so we don’t just preserve marriage we extend it to all including to LGBTI people, and in doing so we enable those who are religious the benefit of being having their union blessed by their church or other place of worship in a true marriage ceremony.

      • Words convey a meaning of reality and if you change the definition of a word, then you change the reality in which it is describing. To redefine the word “marriage” to include same sex couples, then it no longer means he same as it has in the past for millennia and is being used (abused?) solely as a perception stunt to make homosexuality look acceptable. The “marriage” proposed by pro-SSM has nothing to do with millennia-old biological parenthood and is turned into a trashy, superficial and meaningless word that tries to make homosexuality look acceptable and thus, renders the word useless. Thankfully, most Australians are not fooled by the propaganda slogans used by pro-SSM proponents who are trying to emotionally blackmail us all into destroying a bedrock of our society. We value the word marriage to reflect it’s true purpose and not trash it for political perception stunts.

        • You are correct – the meaning is changed because as a society we have changed. We no longer widely accept that homosexuality is a perversion; increasingly we accept that it is a biological inclination. Homosexuality does not need to look accepted – it is widely accepted in most western countries, particularly among younger people. As each family confronts the family member who in our more accepting era now feels comfortable with coming out, more and more people abandon long held prejudices and misunderstandings. . Marriage is associated with biological parenthood; it also provides the basis for adoptive parenthood, and we changed the meaning of “parent”, both in law and day-to-day usage to reflect that changed understanding. As gay people now want to adopt or otherwise have children we want them to to be able to provide the stability that comes form what we recognize is a union intended for life. Rather than destroying the bedrock we acknowledge its importance by allowing all partners and potentially parents to enjoy it. Again I note that for gay people who are Christian it also provides an opportunity for acceptance by fellow Christians who do not believe there is a need to be bound by literal interpretations of the sexual precepts of middle eastern pastoral societies, but do believe that there is a need to seek God’s blessing of such a profound union as a marriage..

  4. Why not just “live together”

    If you are so keen – then time will tell.

    Many marriages end in divorce.

    Do we all need extra court battles?

    There’s enough sh… going on with divorce, children, custody, money etc etc.

    I don’t think this society needs more drama.

  5. I am so sick of people (in this case Cr Cook) making statements that people are “overwhelmingly in favour of ‘marriage equality” – what rubbish! Unless the community is permitted to express its opinion through a vote such a statement is obviously more what the speaker would wish than reality. I think it is reasonable to suggest that if the outcome was so definite there would have been no blocking of the recently proposed plebiscite on this subject – and I certainly do not authorise my federal representative to vote on my behalf on such a matter.

    • This whole question is simply about a perception of equality. It has nothing to do with children being adopted or otherwise parenting. Those laws are already in place in NSW. Young gay people are among the highest rate of suicide in the country because they feel rejected. Religious intolerance is a personal matter and has nothing to do with basic human rights. Australia is the only western country left in the world which does not have marriage equality. I.am very proud that out Federal member was indeed one of the first members of the Nats to declare his support already in parliament. …well done Kevin.

    • Denise We live in a democracy and have representatives who, in order to be re-elected, need to gauge the opinion of their electorates on a wide range of issues, not just this one. If you do not agree with this tell them, and of it will be the one thing that would change your vote tell them that to (no fibbing). Then let our representatives follow a free vote that will represent the changing views of Australia.

  6. How crazy that there is an question: OF COURSE they ought to be allowed to marry, and show their devotion in the same way that hetrosexual people do.

  7. Just go and have a ceremony, do it and stop making excuses, you only need to be witnessed by god for it to be real. Stop wasting everbodies time over the issue and either do it or get over it. Whingers.


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