Right, this will be said once. Damn those who fail to hear it.
Marriage equality as a topic of debate has risen rather quickly following the tabling of Labour MP Louisa Wall’s push for the acknowledgement of some basic principles of humanity and solidarity.
While I defended Labour MP Su'a William Sio for insisting the bill could wait while we fix the economy, there is a more basic argument that must be addressed – and I’m angry that it even needs to be dealt with at all.
There exists a culture in our country, just as any other nation might experience, of bigotry, ignorance, misinformed disgust, and (sometimes) fully-formed hatred.
For the most part, it is older, white New Zealanders who, given a moment’s notice, begin to rail against that Great Social Evil – political correctness. But in the process, and often unwittingly, they will exhibit racist, sexist, and homophobic behaviours and defend the rights of their community to spread hatred and mistrust.
These fanatics and close-minded philistines insist that if gays be allowed to marry then what’s to stop a man marrying a goat? Or a bucket of shark’s piss?
Gays, homosexuals, lesbians, queers – take whatever term you fancy – are human beings, just like you and I.
The reason why a man may be not be able to marry a mallard duck is because a mallard duck is not human. The duck cannot reciprocate nor articulate the love he may feel for the human, and he sure can’t sign a marriage license as a consenting adult.
Which leads me on to this consideration: that marriage is somehow protected by God.
Whose God should we refer to, then?
A Jewish marriage carries different rights and rituals to an Islamic marriage, just as a Catholic marriage differs entirely from a Mormon one.
The only way to get around this is to define marriage under the law as entirely secular: the State issues two consenting adults (who can both sign the form) with a license to marry, and then a marriage certificate. Between those two points, once is free to do whatever they like. Have a Scientology wedding, have a Star Wars-themed wedding: it’s entirely up to you.
If you are religious, and believe that marriage is ordained by God for the purpose of procreation and the building of a family unit, and you believe this will lead to the creation of a strong society, that should be your right.
If you are gay man and wish to be married as a rightful representation of the love, devotion, commitment, and honesty that you experience between yourself and your partner, then that should be your right. And if you wish to either use IVF or adoption as a means to provide a caring, nurturing and safe environment for your own children that has been proven to be no different from the a traditional family in terms of intelligence and emotional wellbeing, then that should be your right.
Fear is often a product of ignorance. It’s an essential evolutionary question: trusting something one knows little about could be hazardous to one’s survival. And so it is with that reserved, though sometimes outspoken, portion of our society who insist on spreading their fear. Further, they never step forward to take responsibility for condemning gays as somehow retaining a ‘choice’.
Perhaps crucially, marriage as a social or legal contract pre-dates any form of Judeo-Christian ritual and cannot be claimed as theirs to oversee and officiate over.
Let’s not forget that just over 50 years ago – within our own lifetimes – it was often a crime for someone of colour to marry a white person. That person of colour, in some parts of the world, was not even allowed to eat or defecate next to a white person.
There’s a distinct tie to be made between those who consider the above attitudes to be reasonable, and those who consider homosexuals to be lesser people.
To anyone who clutches these flagrant, immoral, nauseating, and depraved arguments: one day you will look back on your arcane beliefs and hang your head shame at the happiness you wished to deprive your fellow human beings of.
I expect an apology, and I expect it now.
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