Thursday, 12 December 2013

Equality and anti-equality

I hear often that allowing equality (especially marriage equality) removes the rights of religious people.

It's as though they think that allowing two people of the same sex to marry somehow puts their own marriage in jeopardy. It won't. might. But if it does, your marriage has issues far more significant than allowing same-sex couples to marry too. 

When Rosa Parks won the right for all people to sit wherever they like on the bus*, that didn't take away the rights of people to sit wherever they like on the bus - it just extended the right to others. 

I know if we allow marriage equality we've then got the issue of the rights of certain institutions to consider. For example the Catholic church is on record as being anti-marriage equality (yes, who else but a religion would be against equality?). If a state or federal jurisdiction passes legislation allowing marriage-equality do we then force all institutions to perform those marriages, regardless of their beliefs? Are we taking away their rights if we tell them they need to perform a marriage which contravenes their teachings? Yes, I think we would be. People do have the right to be against that which ordinary, decent people think is acceptable.

But when it comes down to it these people are wanting to be protected by laws which allow them to treat other people as sub-human. People will try to hide behind what their 'god' wants or their god's will. But let's face it - is there anyone who really wants to be for marriage equality but is only against it because of what they think their god wants? Is there anyone saying 'personally *I* am for marriage equality but...well...the god I believe in isn't, so I have to side with him'? No, of course not. Anyone against marriage equality is against it because *they* don't like the idea of it. Maybe they were influenced by their scripture or an authority figure but it is still their own discrimination and bigotry they're trying to protect. 

I'm generally against forcing people to do things and I think I lean to the side of allowing a church to not perform marriages that go against their beliefs, as ridiculous and invalid as those beliefs may be. I mean we wouldn't expect a Catholic church to perform a Hindu wedding, would we? No, I don't think we would. 

So is this a possible solution? How about we let secular celebrants, and churches that wish not to be lumped in with their homophobic and bigoted counterparts, perform all the same-sex marriages they like and let those churches that wish to remain backwards do so? Then as society progresses and people move away from the backwards and bigoted thinking of the dark ages those churches that don't progress will be shunned and forgotten. 

We then have a society where people who wish to be married to a partner of the same gender can do so and religious institutions that wish to discriminate and be homophobic bigots can do that too. If one's argument against marriage equality is that those in favour of it are 'forcing' it on them, then this should be an acceptable solution. A common reply to the anti-marriage-equality stance is that 'if you don't want to get gay-married, don't get gay married'. It sounds simplistic, but it's also accurate. No one need be forced into a marriage they don't wish to be part of. No one need be forced to perform a marriage they don't wish to perform. 

Religion doesn't own marriage. It is a bond between two people. People who want to declare their love for each other, usually in a ceremony in front of family and friends. And the people getting married want that bond recognised officially by the government. There is no valid reason for a government to not recognise the marriage of same-sex couples. To not extend marriage equality to same-sex couples is discrimination based on sexual orientation - something that is not acceptable in any other part of society.

If couples of the same gender are allowed to marry, no one's life is worse off. 

So here's the deal - allow couples of the same sex to marry and allow those who wish to remain homophobic, bigoted cretins to do so. 

*I know this is a simplistic view of what happened. 


  1. I think there's more to marriage than
    "a bond between two people... who want to declare their love for each other... and want that bond recognised officially by the government."

    Marriage based on this definition would provide for incestuous marriages (of siblings or parents and their children), which would likely be opposed by most supporters of "marriage equality" for gays who love each other.

    Its wrong to use the discrimination argument to support gay marriage as it would be to support incestuous marriage.

    Sexual orientation is a continuum from exclusively gay to straight, with a LOT of variations thrown in as well. The argument that I was born this way, so please don't discriminate against my love is fallacious when viewed this way. A practicing gay person is not the same as someone who was born black, or a woman.

    Please don't insult and abuse me by calling me a homophobic, bigoted cretin. Bullying is rightly outlawed in schoo;s and the workplace. There should be no place for it in public debate when someone has a different opinion!

    This is the first time I have written on a website, and so have cautiously done so anonymously. I'm happy to make contact with people that respond.

    1. A bit late to come across this and I expect it will never be read by anyone, but here goes! In the not to distant past it was deemed to be illegal to marry one of a different ethnicity. No one questioned the wisdom of this restriction as the prohibition seemed obvious! Who, these days, would countenance such a prohibition? The same will probably be said of restrictions placed on gays. Marriage is a human construct anyway, so who can or cannot be married is completely up to the good thinking of the community at the time.
      Having sex with children, close relatives or animals is not advisable and the reasons should be readily apparent. In order to formalise these obvious restrictions, it's wise to have laws against the practice. When thoughtful analysis is applied to the marriage of people of the same gender no such restriction should be necessary.


    2. I think most of us would never think of marrying relatives, children, or animals; it disturbs me that Anonymous would.

    3. To say 'we can't not discriminate against gays because then we have to not discriminate against incest' is a slippery slope fallacy. Fact is it *is* wrong to discriminate against gay people and no business (at least where I live) would be permitted to do so.

      I've no idea what you mean by 'a practising gay person'. People are gay. Whether or not they choose to have sex doesn't impact that.

      "Please don't insult and abuse me by calling me a homophobic, bigoted cretin. Bullying is rightly outlawed in schools and the workplace. There should be no place for it in public debate when someone has a different opinion!" <- Wow. Talk about jumping the gun there sunshine!

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