The issue of marriage equality is filling our newspapers, our airwaves and our screens right now. The UK government has put forward a proposal to allow same-sex marriage, so long as it is outside of religious institutions.
I don’t think it goes far enough. We can safeguard the apparent rights of some religions to be homophobic pricks without a blanket ban on religious marriage for two people of the same sex. Quakers, some Anglicans, and many less numerous religions would like the ability to hold religious marriages between same-gendered couples, and a ban does not respect their religious freedom. A voluntary system for religious civil partnerships is proposed, and while I acknowledge the need to take small steps with this fight for equal freedoms, I do not see why this voluntary system should not be extended to religious marriages.
The arguments against same-sex marriage are pretty much exclusively religious; the core idea being that marriage is a global, immutable, “god-given” sacrament that humans should not change. The argument for this can be very briefly dismissed, especially when dealing with Anglicans: the institution of marriage has changed in nature many times in human history, from possession-oriented contract law to romance-centric expression of love. The most recent alteration of the nature of marriage introduced divorce, and founded the Anglican church. It’s a man-made concept, like all other legal arrangements. So religious fucknuts concerned with the “sanctity” of marriage should sit down and shut the fuck up.
It seems that the church is worried that this “life-long” commitment that couple make may be redefined to exclude the necessity of breeding. I hate to break it to them, but modern marriage is neither a life-long affair in the eyes of most of the world, nor does it require children to become a part of it. This idea that marriage is all about reproduction shows an almost greater distance from reality than the Catholic church’s absurd stance on contraception. Maybe they should pay less attention to swelling their ranks with individuals conditioned from birth, and start paying heed to the teachings of the man they claim to follow – who declared that to love one another is the greatest commandment of their god. I see no love in their intolerance of same-sex relationships.
Another argument central to opposition to same-sex marriage seem to be that ever-present cry from the religious right “won’t somebody think of the children?” Leaving aside the problems that the church, particularly the Catholic church has with regards to priests thinking a little too much about the children, I have yet to see any argument supported by any evidence that children raised by same-sex parents are in any way at risk. From anything. Edit– in fact, it’s been drawn to my attention that the opposite is the case: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1994480,00.html
And what on earth is the “it’s not natural” argument still doing in civilised rhetoric? Anyone still employing the naturalistic fallacy in a world that it connected by travel routes taken by flying machines made out of tonnes of metal composites should be kicked repeatedly, then taken to the local philosophy department and educated. On top of that, dear Catholic priests, do you know what I would consider the only really “unnatural” state for a living being to be in? Celibacy.
There seems to be an opinion wider-spread than just religious folks, that same-sex couples don’t need this change because they have similar rights given to them by civil partnerships. Those people are cretins. Would you sit by and allow interracial partnerships to be allowed in this country, but not recognised by other countries that also allowed them, simply.because of a refusal to allow total equality? The analogy is sound; when two people each other and declare that love in a legal commitment, they should not have to tolerate any kind of different treatment based upon any of their attributes. “Equal but different” is not acceptable.
I’ve even heard from liberal people that we should reject it, as it doesn’t go far enough in considering multiple partnerships, or allowing opposite-gender couples to have civil partnerships. I say to them that they are short-sighted and unrealistic. You want to push marriage equality for everyone through at once, including polygamous groups – when polygamy is being used as an argument (ineffective though it may be) against even.this one, comparatively small change? Quiet, imbecile.
This motion is at the very least heading in the right direction, and grants more rights to marry to more individuals than ever before. Just because it does not fulfil full equality for all does not mean we should try to stop it. The long walk to freedom can only be taken step by step.