Friday, 22 June 2012

Gay Marriage – You Cannot Straddle The Rainbow.

When people struggle to construct a logical argument to stop something they're against they usually resort to citing imagined outcomes that are either absurd or terrifying - sometimes both.

For instance – “We cannot allow people to marry a partner of their choice or we will be allowing men to marry horses.”

Of course to allow this argument we must also acknowledge shooting a horse would be murder, owning a horse would be slavery and riding a horse would be just a little weird. We would also need to redefine what we consider to be inclusive of the human race. In fact, there is not much of our legal common law system we wouldn’t have to redefine to fear this outcome.

Or, we could send a grade three teacher across the floor of the government assembly to the elected represented who dared to argue gay marriage should be disallowed on the grounds that horses would be choosing bridesmaids and have her rap that idiot over the knuckles with her discipline stick.  

We are talking about the right of people to marry the person of their choice in a binding, moral, spiritual union. If you argue this means we would need to redefine what marriage is, then fine - redefine it. Our legal system has a legislative history and continued existence built on the revision of earlier laws so why suddenly set in stone those aspects that help the prejudicial deny change to those wanting and needing change?

But then there's religion. Christian...


Hindu and Buddhism.

The Dalai Lama's views aside..Traditional Buddhism has for centuries adopted the view of sexuality that is fast becoming the populist accepted view - allowing variation on sexual attraction to be dictated by individuals and not by the few for the masses, as has been the practice of many societies and religions to this point in our history.

Religious freedom is a basic human right and many around the world, within a variety of different religions still live incredibly pious lives and adhere to the teaching and interpretation of their faith and their faith’s leaders.

This cannot simply be dismissed and if it is, then the argument of gay marriage as a fundamental right can only be made at the expense of other people’s fundamental rights. Faith based beliefs have been so strongly held by the human race through out time they have shaped our history and all too often these beliefs have led to the death of individuals who try to enforce change or disrespect another's religion

Marriage, for many, is still the most seriously held religious pledge and blessing made to and given by God. It would be wrong for those who consider marriage as less sacred to force those who are deeply religious and consider marriage a central doctrine within their belief system to treat it the same way.

For both sides, this choice is a human rights issue.

It is a human right for every member of society to be allowed to take a partner of their choice, to create a family and make a commitment pledge that is morally and spiritually binding, in whatever manner those individuals choose.

But human rights go both ways and often, as, I believe, is the case with gay marriage, two groups, with differing human rights, find these rights in conflict with each other.

Is it justified to force a religious body, officials or congregations to accept a religious ceremony that the body, officials or congregation believe denigrates their religion and devalues their faith?

Freedom of faith, and therefore protection of that faith as those people see it, is also a basic human right.

Of course, this still leaves any argument against a state certified non religious form of gay marriage based on antiquated laws as looking ridiculous. Who is state condoned gay marriage hurting in that case? 

But there is still a case to be argued for those citing religion as their primary opposition to gay marriage. 

Personally I believe and hope that religious people and bodies who choose to oppose gay marriage, and, in so doing, deny equal rights to gays, will lessen in number and fade away as their position becomes increasingly untenable to the wider community. If this happens it will be interesting to see if they change their view in order to survive. 

But, regardless of this personal view or hope, I believe the bigger and current issue that needs to be brought front and centre is that those arguing against gay marriage, while claiming a tolerance of gay people, need to be 'outed' as being incredibly two faced and hypocritical.

You cannot be a little sanctimonious about this issue. If you claim a religiously based human rights charter as an argument to deny marriage to same sex couples you must also claim a personally held religious belief that condemns all same sex attraction as something outside your own personal and spiritual beliefs. Not to do so makes no sense and totally undermines your gay marriage argument.

If you argue against gay marriage on the basis of an ever changing man made legislative agenda that has been constantly changed and update throughout time to accommodate change in society, then you are clinging to it for only one possible reason - to hide your homophobia. 

You cannot sit on the fence and claim to love gays, but deny them marriage. Tony Abbott, the Australian opposition leader famously tried to do this by describing same sex couples entering into civil unions as having relationships that were no less loving and worthwhile than any other relationships, but then declared he didn’t believe they had the right to marry, where marriage would allow exactly the same rights and spiritual union to same sex couples as heterosexual couples.

Trying to argue a separation between an anti same sex marriage stance and a subtle or overt homophobia is illogical. To argue against gay marriage is to argue that in some way you see gay unions as less worthy or less valid a partnership option than that of a man and a woman. To do this you must view homosexuality as less worthy or less valid.  

If you are against gay marriage on religious grounds then you are against homosexuality on religious grounds. To date I have not heard anyone argue against gay marriage, and then embrace the gay community and not sound foolish. The only coherent argument is to site a conviction that your God, through your religion, has made it clear homosexuality is not acceptable.

I don’t agree with that argument, but I respect it. In fact I would argue against people or groups with these views from being forced to change their charters to accommodate gay marriage. Of course once the majority of people, including a majority within these religions start advocating for change alongside the gay community, what do we do? What's the equation that dictates when a human right should be granted to the many if it involves the loss of a human right for the few? How many are enough and how many are too few?

When no loss of life or injury is involved in the denial of a human right, and the granting of that right conflicts with others, it becomes difficult to decide how to give everyone what they demand. And this is certainly a complicated issue for worthy minds, but, it is also time for those who are against this change on religious grounds, or any other indefensible legal grounds, to be held to account. You cannot have it both ways and we should stop allowing our leaders of both church and state this luxury. 

If you are against a fundamental human right, in this case social equality, being extended to people for any reason, then you are against those people fundamentally for the same reasons.

You may only be mildly against them, you may convey and even publicly advocate social tolerance of them, perhaps to cynically remain 'politically correct', but to be against by any degree still means you're against and regard that group, on some level, as less worthy of the full rights of your society. 

You cannot claim acceptance of gay people and their partnerships and not of gay marriage. If you do the time has come for the rest of us to out you as a hypocrite and certainly label you as no friend of Dorothy's. Even the laws of optics make it clear that no-one can have a foot either side of a rainbow.  

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  1. Scott,
    Great post! Well thought out and very well written. Going to share with my friend who has a blog called "Waking Up Now" that you might be interested in checking out. He too has great posts on the subject.
    Found this post only because I like to see who is using my Rainbow pic from time to time. Your's is the first post that I don't mind it being used.
    You can't "straddle the rainbow" but you can straddle me!
    -Guy at the end of the Rainbow.

  2. Roger! I'm in the company of rainbow royalty!! Thanks so much for your comment and I chose your pic as the perfect end to my thoughts because it looked like the perfect end to me - even if it did have a rainbow coming out of it! ;) I will check out Wake Up and add you both to my blog rolls. Cheers.

  3. And still politicians elected to lead us show they are narrow minded and stupid. How do these people get into office?

    Australia - 19th September 2012
    Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi's remarks that allowing same-sex marriage would lead to demands to legalise bestiality and polygamy have been slammed by gay rights lobby groups and politicians.
    "The next step ... is having three people that love each other should be able to enter into a permanent union endorsed by society, or four people. There are even some creepy people out there, who say that it's OK to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals. Will that be a future step?"

    Read more:

  4. You're forgetting the moral arguments. Everyone forgets the moral arguments. Anyone who attacks anyone who is against gay marriage or judges homosexual behavior to be immoral always points to Leviticus or some other such piece of religious literature as if it were the only reason for opposition (that and along with the tired closeted homosexual homophobe nonsense). But the moral arguments need addressing. For example, there is the argument from teleology, that because male and female are complementary physiologically and psycho-sexually, while homosexual pairs are not, then the only moral, healthy expression of sexuality is between members of the opposite sex. Other arguments from psychology point to psychological disorders which prevent forming proper relationships between men and women (some attribute it to consumptive and thus disordered views of sexuality in the homosexual, often attended by fear of the opposite sex and/or resentment, and narcissism). Homosexuality was once listed as a disorder in the DSM (schools of psychoanalysis held this view as well), which was removed under political NOT scientific pressure. If we are to remove homosexuality from the list of disorders for these reasons, then we are undermining the very idea of disorder. Why should sociopathy be a disorder, for instance? Or narcissism?

    What about the case for pedophilia? If mutual consent is all that is necessary to make sexual activity okay, then if you wish to maintain that pedophilia is immoral (there goes NAMBLA...), you'll have to show that children are unable to offer consent and in a way that is categorically different than non-children. And why not polygamy? All you've done is called people stupid without offering an argument.

    Slippery slope, my rationalizing friend.

  5. Thanks for joining the debate Bob. You make interesting points.

    There are certainly many justifications for and against change. But many people, especially leaders, act as a friend and a supporter of the gay community and then actively campaign against gay marriage.

    The reasons they are against isn't my issue, nor am I trying to change minds on those issues. If someone feels gays should not marry then, just as you have done, they should clearly state why instead of skirting around the issue in an attempt not to offend anyone.

    Leaders need to lead. Too many follow from in front, desperately trying to gauge which way the crowd wants them to go.

  6. just saw some video , not a good reader , can read , however just want to share my thought that same sex male and female must try to support each other to crate bigger devise community. as well first Queers need to learn to do business with each other first to create livelihood for their lesbian and gay community right.