Friday, 6 July 2012

The Opposition to gay marriage - Is it about love?

It was pleasing to hear Malcolm Turnbil come out in the papers and support gay marriage (see The Age 6/7/2012 - Malcom Turnbill calls for gay civil union) and it started a conversation in our household as my wife and I both scratched our heads and tried to make sense of why the opposition to gay marriage.

I understand the church's stance - I do not agree with it, but I expect no less of the church than an old world view - if you are expecting a conservative stance I'd suggest the church would be a good place to start. But why are there so many people against allowing gay couples the right to marry, people from all walks of life, even people, like our Prime Minister who (according to strict interpretations of old church law) are living in sin or in all sorts of unions that the church bans and even condemns, surely that should allow them to see that gay people have the same rights and expectations as anyone.

So why the opposition? And so this is my thought. Are those opposed to gay marriage opposed because they cannot have (in their shrinking universe)  a world where love can be expressed in a gay marriage, can even be legalized as existing? Have they a staunch belief that only heterosexuals can manage love? Do they believe gay relationships are about sex but not love - because, of course, in this world of ours where we sell just about everything through sex - love must be held onto as something of a higher order.

And if gays were to marry are we then acknowledging that they have the same feelings as the rest of us, that gay love is simply love. Is that the crux of the matter? Can some people (a lot who appear to be politicians, unfortunately) not face the propect of a world where people, any two people, can fall in love?

Is it that simple?

Gays can have sex. Gays can have jobs, the vote, the legal right to be gay etc etc, but not love! We demand love be kept out of the gay arena - is that what this is all really about? Because, seriously, I am struggling to believe it's about God. It certainly isn't from our Prime Minister and others. Is it, then, a determination to keep love out of the arms of gay people? They can entwine in the sexual act (we don't really want to accept this but we're told we now must) but afterwards they are not allowed to embrace and whisper their love, they are not allowed to lie close in the shadows of the bedroom and speak about their future, share their dreams, their hopes and fears. They are not allowed to love. Only heterosexuals love damn it!

And how silly does it sound when you put it like that?

Marriage is about love, (except, some people like to whisper, in those cultures who accept arranged marriage, or believe it is the right of the parents rather than the child, or in those people who marry for power,  or to escape... in fact there are as many reasons for marriage as their are fish in the ocean) but let us say - Marriage is an expression of love. If we avow that marriage is about love - surely gay people have the right to express their love in just the same way? Surely all people do? Isn't the capacity to love something that makes us human? Or is this all about that old dark and ugly belief that gay people are somehow less than human - and that is why some people refuse to allow them to marry?

And put like that, can you see why it is so important that we, as a civilized society, understand that marriage is about love between two consenting adults, not about the sex of those two adults and why any two adults should be allowed to choose marriage as an expression of that love.

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