Richard Barrett is the Founder of the Barrett Values Centre (BVC) and the Founder and Director of the Academy for the Advancement of Human Values.
Like Canada, Australia’s key issue is gender inequality. Australia ranks #41 in the world on this issue, even lower than Canada. Surprisingly, however,
in this somewhat macho-focused Australian environment, same-sex marriage has garnered a lot of support in the past five years. On December 9th,
2017, the Australian Government changed the Marriage Act to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. The passage of this law in the Parliament was
greeted with wild rejoicing. Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia, said, “This is a great moment in our history.”
This result represents a surprising political turnaround. Thirteen years ago, the Howard Government changed the Marriage Act to ensure same-sex marriage
could not be legal. What is going on?
From my perspective, this represents a triumph of love over fear, of hope over desperation, and of freedom over dogma. Love is love. You cannot change
that. Falling in love is one of the most natural things we do. You cannot help, who you fall in love with. Religious clerics may not agree. Spiritual
“clerics” totally agree.
This landmark political decision in Australia represents a major shift in the evolution of cultural consciousness. There is no doubt about it,
consciousness is evolving fast; faster than at any other time in human history. Why? Because of two things: freedom and democracy. The industrial
revolution gave people freedom from economic oppression, and democracy gave them a voice. Democracy operates through values-based decision-making,
religion operates through belief-based decision-making. Values always unite, beliefs always separate.