Now They’re Arguing Equality Is Culturally Dangerous

Posted: March 21, 2012 in gay rights, human rights, religion
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

From the inimitable Cristina Odone in the Telegraph:

Same-Sex Marriage Rally

Same-Sex Marriage Rally (Photo credit: City of West Hollywood)

Marriage may be a force for the good, but for some gay people, it has become a fortress they must storm. They argue that, in its present state, marriage discriminates and excludes. The ancient and much-loved edifice must be broken into – or simply broken.

I’m sorry, theists and bigots, but this is batshit crazy. It’s just plan bonkers. ‘Broken into’? ‘Broken’? There isn’t a single way in which marriage equality damages a single aspect of society – not a single one. My relationship with my male partner is in every way the equal of your marriage, and if equating mine with yours under the law causes antiquated laws you bought into to evolve to cope with it then I’m utterly fine with that. In its present state the institution does discriminate and exclude, and the only reasons I’ve been informed about to justify such run as follows:

  • Gay people have never been able to marry therefore gay people can’t get married now. This unfortunately line essentially victimises the victim of homophobia yet further, and for no reason. Being openly gay has been legal (and indeed socially acceptable) only for the blink of an eye – of course the question of same-sex marriage hasn’t been on the table before – it couldn’t have been!
  • The definition of marriage simply is male/female. This line too ignores the reality that all social constructs evolve alongside social norms – marriage has always done this and indeed always will. The Biblical line of marriage is adhered to only by a very small minority in the West, and indeed it would be a strange thing to compare a Saudi marriage with an average British one. Homophobia is now not a mainstream social norm in the West, and most (by no means all) people don’t comprehend how any two consenting adults who love each other can’t get married.
  • Changing the definition of marriage carries with it all sorts of dangers: what to say to the kids about gay relationships, relationship roles in official documents needing to become gender neutral, the possibility of national leaders and Heads of State being out and gay. As far as I’m concerned these are non-issues, the latter in particular not causing any problems at all in Iceland and Belgium.

Odone however keeps adding ‘reasons’:

The Government claims that its plans to legalise gay marriage will not affect religious institutions, only civil ones. But given that the gay marriage lobby seeks equality in this area, how long would it accept the ban on gays marrying in church or synagogue? It is bound to argue that exclusion from a religious ceremony amounts to discrimination, and will almost certainly campaign to force priests and vicars to celebrate gay marriages even if that goes against their heartfelt beliefs. Freedom of conscience will be sacrificed at the altar of a “right” that the Civil Partnership Act was supposed to have conferred years ago.

We live in a society governed by civil, not religious law. I see no reason why there should be a ban on gay people marrying in churches, synagogues or mosques. Why should a single institution in the country be exempt from equalities legislation? Why shouldn’t gay Muslims be able to marry, gay Jews, gay Christians, in the temples of their choosing? She ends by arguing that theists should have unrestricted ‘freedom of conscience’, but since when did that involve being able to discriminate against gay people for any reason, in a society with laws to protect from such? I don’t believe a majority of Britons feel that equality is culturally dangerous – in presenting such an absurd argument Odone edits out everyone whose views, lives and needs don’t chime with her own, and at the end of the day me marrying my partner would have no impact on anyone else’s life (or marriage, the most ludicrous ‘anti’ reason I’ve yet come across). The Christian (and most recently Muslim) zealot brigade need to reflect on what ‘values’ are fuelling their opposition.

  1. I don’t think we’ll ever understand some people in our society. Luckily, they’re a dying breed (so it seems), so when the last drops off we’ll rejoice.

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