Marriage Equality – It’s time we had a talk about this!

Hello everyone, I’m Tess Crawley, Clinical and Forensic Psychologist and Director of Dr Tess Crawley and Associates Psychology practice in Hobart and Launceston, Tasmania.

Today I’m talking about “Marriage Equality” and to be really frank, I struggled with how to talk about this. It’s an issue that I hold very dear, not just because of my active support for all members of our community regardless of their situation in life but because it’s something that’s really, seriously important.

For those of you who might be seeing this from outside Australia, our community has been asked to participate in a postal vote indicating whether or not we support a change of law to make marriage equal for all people. There’s a lot of politics and a lot of misinformation in the community at the moment. And the sad thing is we’re talking about the love that people have for one another, and yet we’re asking strangers to comment on whether everybody should be able to commit equally to a marriage; if that’s what they wish to do, if they are in love with each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together.

There’s been a lot spoken about the psychological impact of marriage inequality. The psychological impact of the misinformation that has been put about because of this postal survey. The psychology profession has been quite loud and proud about our support for marriage equality. There’s been a lot of discussion around our concerns for young people in our community and the heightened sense of disenfranchisement that young people in our community are at risk of feeling.

I don’t understand why we should care if two people of the same sex love each other. To be honest, I mean why is that our business? Really, I don’t get it.

My concern for those young people who are struggling with their own identity. Forget sexual orientation for a minute, just think about young people and how hard it is to be a teenager, struggling to find your own place in the world, struggling to identify what you want to do with the rest of your life, struggling with thoughts of whether or not you are going to be successful in your life, whether you are going to have a partner in the future, if you’re going to have children, if you’re going to have who knows what.

It’s hard enough as a teenager without institutions telling you that you’re not equal.

We have inequality institutionalized in this country and that’s what the postal vote is about. Marriage equality is about more than whether or not two people are allowed to be married. It’s about standing up as a society and saying “hang on, it’s not right that we institutionalize inequality or that we turn a blind eye when we find inequality in our institutions.” So as a psychologist, but also just as a human being, it’s an emotional issue that I struggle to put into words, so if today’s post is a little bit inarticulate I apologise for that. It shouldn’t be political; I shouldn’t be feeling that I need to choose my words carefully.

For me, growing up I was very blessed to not be taught to have those prejudices. Prejudiced attitudes weren’t something that I was really exposed to, it was something that never came up. I’m very blessed to be well and truly entrenched in friendships and relationships with people of all walks of life, as it should be for everyone. I am a part of a diverse community and I would like to think that my friends, my family, my clients, the people in parliament and all other people in our communities have the same rights as each other. And that shouldn’t just be naivety speaking! We shouldn’t as a society pick and choose who is equal. It’s not that hard when you think about it.

I don’t normally make political statements but I’m going to tell you that I’ll be voting yes for marriage equality, I’ll be loudly voting yes for marriage equality; it is more than a profile picture on our Facebook page. We stand proudly alongside all members of our community and I think that gay and lesbian and trans and bi and inter-sex and queer and whoever you are in this world, you have the same rights as me and if you don’t, then we all need to stand up and make sure that you get them!

Coming from a point of compassion and a point of genuine humanity, my disjointed but heartfelt blog on the topic of marriage equality today, is prompted by the fact that we are in the midst of this postal survey nonsense. It’s hateful that we have to do it but we do have to do it. It’s happening now so we need to do our best to make sure that we get the result that our community deserves to be known for.

We deserve to be known for voting yes!

Now if this issue is something that is causing difficulties and pain in your life and if you need support navigating those feelings at this particular time or any time, of course you can contact my practice and there are a number of us in the practice who are experienced at helping people navigate sexual identity, gender identity, relationships, feelings of inequality, emotional pain, depression and all of those things that are wrapped up in this debate.

I would also say to you, no matter where you are there are amazing people all around the country, all around the world who are skilled and willing and able to assist. And if you don’t want to talk to a professional, look for somebody that you can talk to. Don’t hide it all inside. You don’t have to carry that burden by yourself. We’re all here to support you and back you up.

If you want to contact my practice of course there’s the contact form on the Contact Page or you can call our Hobart office on 03 6223 2122.

And I’d be really proud if you would all make a comment on this particular blog expressing your support for marriage equality, let’s all shoot down the stigma around this issue, let’s all be talking about it, let’s all show our support because it’s too important to hide behind silence.

Best wishes,

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Dr Tess Crawley


Tess has a passion for mentoring new psychologists. She also has a strong interest in supporting executives as they juggle the balance between leadership and new parenthood. You’ll see Tess regularly speaking on our Facebook pages and our YouTube channel. Her mission is to provide as many free resources to the community as she can, so her videos offer tips and strategies that might be helpful to you. Read Tess’s full Bio here.