MARRIAGE can be spoken about in two ways; there is religious marriage and civil marriage and I have had both.
Not that it means I have married twice. I am a Catholic and I married for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, until death do us part. I have been married to my wife Imelda for 44 years.
I have three children and four grandchildren and love them all.
Of course marriage is not always easy and does not always work out for some. We are only human and things do not always work out as planned.
The religious marriage ceremony is an important ceremony which involves a spiritual perspective - that is a God perspective - that recognises marriage is something more than just a civil contract. It is something blessed and when the vows are made, they are made not only between one another but before God.
For some that may be old fashioned, but it is something I believe and something many people still believe.
The problem with the present debate is it is unpopular to hold a religious view, to say you are a Catholic. It is then used as a mode of attack to say you have no right to force your views on others.
Of course that view in reverse is dismissed when I ask why are you trying to force your non-religious views on me.
I am also married under the laws of this country, which involves the Marriage Act.
We are being asked now to say whether we support changes to the Marriage Act that would allow people of the same gender to be married.
Around 2002 I had a conversation with a Liberal member of the South Australian parliament. He was trying to find a way of allowing people to have their same sex relationships recognised by the state if so desired.
He believed if people wanted to live together, that was their business, and the government should be able to ratify that arrangement but not as marriage. I agreed.
There are people, relations, friends, widows, brothers, who live together for company but not in a sexual relationship. This debate is not the exclusive domain of one group.
I believe there should be the ability by the Government to recognise other relationships, but the problem with the plebiscite is that if it only requires a yes/no answer, then I have no ability to put an alternative point of view.
If there was, that is the change I would support.
Why won't I support a change to the definition of marriage?
It is something that has been at the centre of religious belief and cultures, including Aboriginal culture, for thousands of years. It has also allowed the human race to procreate, and that has been the basis of the family, the core foundation of our society, where children can be raised in a loving and safe environment. It is more than just love.
For me, marriage is a male and female thing. A natural and perfect fit, you might say. Because marriage is not perfect it is not a reason for change, it is a reason for improvement.
The colour red is always red. The colour blue is always blue. They are both colours, but red will never be blue and all the noise and media comment will not change that fact.
And so it is the same with marriage. Legislation may say blue is red, but just like marriage; you cannot change something into something that it is not.
That would be a farce. I hope people will not support the change, but I also recognise people who live together should be able to have that relationship recognised if they wish, and if that is an option put in the plebiscite, I would support it.
■ Gerry Wood is the independent MLA for Nelson. He has been in NT Parliament for 16 years.