Monday, August 17, 2015

Keep marriage equality and poker machines apart

Let me be very clear.

I'm a survivor of poker machine addiction. I've lost tens of thousands of dollars, harmed a lot of people, betrayed the trust of family and friends. I know about depression and futility; I know how tempting the numbness is, that machines can offer when you hit the zone. I know how the industry feeds off the addicted, targeting them as the living money pit that just keeps giving, long after there's nothing left.

And I believe in marriage equality. I was raised Catholic, but it was the Church's position on homosexuality that finally drove me away when I was in my twenties. I can't condone or excuse the school of thought that says that men and women can't marry their partners if they're not of the opposite gender. I have a rainbow heart tattooed on my back as a sign and reminder of how much this issue means to me.

I want action on poker machine reform, and I want action on marriage equality. But I do NOT want the two issues linked. And I was saddened to see that there has recently been a call for just such a link to be made.

Both should have their day to stand alone and stand tall. But they are not related, and they should not be conflated.