Upon hearing the news, I turned to Mrs Sane and said “Well, that’s that then. Do you feel it? Do you feel the undermining of our marriage?” We got married in October 2008 and have since had two children. “Things were going so well. But now, now, well…. it all seems so hollow, so cheapened doesn’t it?”
For last night, the House of Commons approved same-sex marriage in England and Wales by passing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill with a majority of 225 votes (400 to 175).
“Of course not, you idiot” said Mrs Sane. “How could the private concerns of other couples possibly have any bearing on our own relationship?”
Of course! What a fool I was being, worried that my own, unique relationship with my wife could in any way be affected by other people – gays! – also entering into their own private, personal marriages. I heaved a sigh of relief and went back to staring blankly at the television.
A little over forty five years since homosexuality was legalised (in England and Wales, that is – incredibly, it remained illegal in Scotland until 1981 and Northern Ireland until 1982) this landmark legislation will ensure that marriage is no longer exclusive to heterosexual couples. It feels like progress to me and a step forward for equality generally, so of course I welcome it. Inevitably, however, not everyone does. Indeed, it has split the Conservative Party in half. Full credit to David Cameron for backing this legislation all the way: he recognises that this is essential to modernising his party and it’s reminiscent of Tony Blair tackling the dinosaurs of the Labour Party in the 1990s. Heartening to see for a liberal centrist such as myself, although the size of the opposition within the Conservative Party (139 Tory MPs voted against, 132 for) shows how much work is still to be done there. It also served as a nice reminder that, however disillusioned I might be with the current crop of political parties, the Tories are still toxic to me on issues such as this.
Opponents of the bill brought up predictable arguments:
- “Gay marriage will erode religious freedom.” But the bill allows religious organisations to opt out, indeed the Church of England is entirely exempt.
- “Marriage can only mean the union of a man and a woman, with the stated purpose of procreation.” Which is terrible news for those unable to conceive, or anyone who gets married in their advanced years or couples who decide that they don’t want to have children at all.
- “Gay marriage will dilute the institution.” I’ve never understood this one: how can more people getting married make marriage weaker? Marriage isn’t being redefined, it’s being extended to those who were previously excluded.
- “Marriage is ordained by God.” Well, mine isn’t – we were married in a registry office and had a Humanist ceremony afterwards. God wasn’t invited. The same is true for millions of other people. The objection on religious grounds really boils down to: “I oppose gay marriage because a wizard told me it was bad.”
I have yet to see an argument against gay marriage that doesn’t ultimately stem from prejudice of some description: at best, its opponents consider gay couples to be of less importance than heterosexual couples; at worst they think homosexuality is a filthy deviance or a “sin”. Of course very few would proclaim this outright. All kinds of intellectual arguments are offered to justify their position but they only mask what really lies beneath: naked prejudice.
It is a tenet of a modern liberal society that all citizens be treated equally. By removing the barrier to full equality of marriage we have just taken another important step towards that goal.
A bit mean not to invite God though!
We invited him to the evening do. He ate all the sausage rolls then went home.
Good piece. For the life of me I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Mind you I have two failed marriages behind me. Both registry office efforts.
Thanks Frank. Appreciated.
I have great empathy for homosexual people, as their lifestyle choice is deadly. Look up the statistics of gay men on the Centre for Disease Control website (US). Also being a monogamous gay man is an oxymoron–look up the statistics for that too. There is no way that people’s butts were designed to have something repeatedly shoved up it. Imagine what that must do to the body. All these ‘facts’ no one wants to admit–people would rather live in movie land, instead of have their eyes opened to the truth.
Came across your discussion with Peter Hitchens and then read this. Why I oppose Gay marriage is that it has a negative effect on society. You say, “It is a tenet of a modern liberal society that all citizens be treated equally.” I sure hope not! A person who is totally committed to say murder or Jihad is not going to be allowed to practice what he believe. Being an American If you start walking down the street shooting people dead the police will show up and take you down. FYI Don’t make this about gun’s please you can substitute a knife and same result. With Christian Law “Thou shall not murder” you have no moral reason not to kill as Peter and other used on Christopher Hitchens. Islam Sharia has something akin to the same thing In the same way society must be protected from rape, petiphile etc. I don’t know if you have kids but as the saying goes you were one once. When playing with Lego bock the fundamental requirement is a ‘male’ and on the back ‘female’ part so you can connect the pieces. I had a friend make some male/male lego parts (3d printer) and you know what there not much fun to play with. You can’t build anything with them! People have character weakness and whether it’s homosexuality, alcoholic or pornography all have a negative effect on society! Peter is correct in his not use of addiction. Lack of control is normally not a good thing. If you don’t like lego lets try this one. You Brits drive on the wrong side of the road. When I come to the UK I’m forced to do it too. If I decide to ignore it (I have accidentally done that, lucky for me no accident) it will never end well. The body was not designed for gay sex (I agree with comment from hope above). Your last point you butcher badly Marriage is ordained by God just because you didn’t do it in a church you still following the process. No wizard told me it was bad at all I seen it first hand. Admittedly I don’t have lots of gay friend because most gay people I meet are fascist in there believe (They only allow one point of view) but the few I do have our always in crisis. I know there our examples of ‘successful gay relationships’ but they are really rare.