The Price Of Freedom And Love And Same Sex Marriage


At any point in the future, people offended by same-sex weddings are welcome to opt out of the industry, writes Mathew Kenneally. #that’sfreedom!

It’s a nightmare scenario. In the future, Christians are compelled to bake wedding cakes for same sex weddings against their will. In the United States the nightmare has arrived, Christian pastry chefs live in constant fear of baking for queers. In Australia George Christensen is concerned for our bakers and photographers.

Luckily, no need to panic. We already have FREEDOM. An individual can refuse to bake a cake for a same sex wedding, or a three-year-old’s birthday party. A private citizen can insist their religion forbids baking an elaborate cake for a three-year-old who has no eye for artistry, an unsophisticated palate, and will forget the cake in a few moments.

However, if you’re a professional pastry chef specializing in high-end wedding cakes, I’m afraid you are going to have to serve all comers: same sex weddings, multi-racial unions, or people who are just not right for each other (she’s an accountant, he’s a street performer – it’s unnatural). It’s the law (or will be by at least the year 2100 if the world hasn’t burnt down), because after a century of debate we decided racism and its cousins are wrong.

If two young men come into your shop tomorrow wanting an all-white, blue-icing laced, six layer wedding cake you are going to have to take their $1,500. I know, it’s a breach of human rights, but at least it’s lucrative, even more lucrative than those 5-star resorts on Nauru. Donate the profits to the Church, that way God wins.

Religious marriage is a sacred sacrament. Which is why anti-discrimination laws do not apply to religious weddings. They are solemn events. Fair enough, I say, that’s FREEDOM.

The modern tradition of secular marriage in Australia is a little different. The new tradition is to marry at a winery rather than a Church. The average wedding cost is $65,000. Secular marriage is an industry.

I recently got married. Like every Australian who has planned a wedding I have had to deal with “vendors” (people who sell the stuff you need for the wedding). And whenever I asked a vendor about a ‘price’ for a service I was me with the same question “what is the event? Oh, it’s a wedding, excuse me I just need to do some multiplication.”

When an engaged friend told me she had met with a cheese man who sells wedding cheese cakes made of wheels of cheese for a few thousand dollars, my first thought was not “I hope these people who assemble piles of cheese for piles of cash never have to compromise their religious principles. It would be terrible to have to choose between being a Christian or your vocation of designer cheese wheels”.

I haven’t spoken to a single married person, who when reflecting on all the extra charges discovered after their event, accepted they were “sacred charges”.

Ever met anyone whose wedding was called off who had to cancel a venue a year out? You get a $10,000 cancellation fee to go with your tears. Couldn’t the venue just book another event for the day? Sure, they can and will, but they can also charge you $10,000. The bible prohibits theft, not windfall profits.

Then of course there are the celebrants, who will be forced to marry ‘the gays’ in this dystopia. The poor celebrants who are members of a Government protected guild whose sole role is to remind us all that John Howard thinks marriage is only and exclusively between a man and woman. Because people would forget that, unless they watch Q&A in which case they are reminded once a week.

I’m fully supportive of celebrants. The Government, by limiting people who can perform civil ceremonies, drives up the price of celebrants. This is important because it gives young Aussies the FREEDOM to spend more on wedding, which makes them happy (I know, this paragraph totally reads like a Trump tweet. Sad. #GreatAgain).

So, Churches have freedom to not officiate gay weddings. Individuals can skip gay friends’ weddings (their loss). And business owners are free to opt out of the whole wedding business.

That’s FREEDOM, but I’m afraid – like everything you buy for a wedding – it comes with a price.

Mathew Kenneally is a stand up comedian who moonlights as a lawyer. He's a regular new Matilda columnist and is the co-author with Toby Halligan of the satirical blog Diary Leaks. He is also the co-founder of the topical comedy room Political Asylum.