From the Marriage Equality website.
Only 22 years ago, homosexuality was illegal in Ireland. Today, it's looking highly likely that Ireland will join just 18 other countries in the world, by legalising same-sex marriage. It's a massive step to have taken and one that has been welcomed by campaigners not only in Ireland, but all over the world. Rightly so, not only because a decision to give equal marriage rights to all, regardless of sexuality should be welcomed, but because this decision was taken by popular vote. And the outcome of that vote is rumoured on some websites to be a whopping 70%+ majority in favour of same-sex marriage. The people have well and truly spoken.
Anyone who knows me, will know that I have passionate views on the subject of equal rights. Were I able to have voted on this, it would have been with a resounding yes.
There seem to be three main arguments against same-sex marriage and all of them - literally all of them - are ludicrous.
1. "It's a SIN."
Firstly, congratulations on your use of my favourite Pet Shop Boys song as an argument.
Secondly, at the risk of offending any of the religious friends I have... Faith is a personal belief. Sure, I'm being simplistic, but at its very heart, it's true to say that if you believe in God and you want to follow His way, that is a personal choice. Personally, I'm agnostic - I don't think there's enough "evidence" to either prove or disprove the existence of a higher power or an afterlife - but I don't feel any need to inflict my agnosticism on anyone else. I certainly wouldn't want laws put in place that only protect my beliefs, without protecting those who don't share them. I would be absolutely, categorically against anyone being persecuted or denied basic rights, simply because they choose to think differently to me. I have never - and will never - understood the stance that some religious people take, whereby they hold their beliefs (and let's remember, as powerful as faith can be, that's all it is - a belief) so tightly that they are willing to sacrifice the basic human rights of others, by denying them things we take for granted. And that judgement (because "judge not, lest ye be judged" doesn't count when you're talking about those filthy gays, apparently) is based upon words in a book, written down thousands of years ago. We live in a completely different world, yet we're supposed to cling to the laws laid down in an era so utterly alien to ours that almost none of us would last a week in it.
And don't get me started on the "pick and choose" nature of using religion as an argument against same-sex marriage. Okay, so you're taking it from the bible that it's a sin to be gay. I hope you're following everything else in that book, too. So, no pork or shellfish. No uncovering your head, altering your clothes in any way (LEST YE DIE) or wearing any "garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together" (so guys, everything in my wardrobe is sending me to HELL). No more than one flower or plant in your garden, what with the fact that sewing "mixed seed" in your field is a sin. On the same subject, no owning a cross-breed dog, because mixing breeds is not okay. No protesting against slavery, because the bible is totally down with that, as long as "your male and female slaves (come) from the nation around you." No trimming your beard, or cutting your hair ("ye shall not round off the side-growth of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard"). If you're female, no braiding your hair or wearing jewellery of any kind. No gossipping. No eating "neither fat nor blood." So, no burgers and no black pudding.
Basically, if you're not following literally everything on this list, then don't come at me with the "but God says being gay is bad" argument. God apparently said a lot of stuff you're happy to ignore. Don't pick and choose, then expect to be able to defend your ludicrous standpoint. All or nothing.
2. "But marriage has always been between a man and a woman!"
Once upon a time, we didn't allow black people to sit at the front of a bus, either. You fancy taking a trip down Memory Lane back to those days, too?
Seriously, the "but it never used to be like that" argument is just an argument against humanitarian progress. We got rid of slavery. We got rid of segregation. We started treating people like... You know, people. And that's a good thing. Any law that passes, which enables people to be given the same basic human rights that you or I take for granted is a good thing.
Look, I get that change can be scary. I'm a Whovian, for goodness sake. But same-sex marriage is a change for the better. Or do you really want to be that person who sits in the corner, crying because someone was allowed to do something that you've been able to do your whole life and you just can't get your head around it?
There are people who'll tell you that equality for gay couples somehow undermines the sanctity of marriage. Does it? Does it really? Those straight people who get married, then cheat on their partners, are they really upholding the sanctity of marriage? People who hold sham weddings so that they can get a visa, are they upholding the sanctity of marriage?! Sometimes marriage features abuse - is that okay, just as long as the person committing it is straight?!
The only way the "sanctity of marriage" is upheld is when two people genuinely love one another and want to spend the rest of their lives together, treating each other with respect. And frankly, those people could be a man and woman, two men or two women. Love is what makes marriage precious, not genitals.
And as for the whole "but the purpose of marriage is to have children" section of this argument... Ever heard of infertility? Ever heard of making the choice not to have children? Or are you seriously suggesting we ban the infertile and those who don't want kids from getting married, too? God forbid the sanctity of marriage is broken, after all.
They had better be male and female dogs.
3. "It's gross."
Ah, shit. I forgot that legal loophole, which states that if we allow same-sex marriage, you have to go to a wedding and watch the two grooms go at it right there in the aisle. Bugger. Literally.
Except... No. Listen, I think mushrooms are disgusting. I find them to be slimy and foul. But I don't stop other people from eating them. Why? Because I don't feel the need to force my views on other people (well, I have a blog, but you know...). I also can't stand Katie Price (sorry, not sorry), but I get that some people want to read about her or watch her on telly. I simply choose not to. I loathe Katie Hopkins, but I recognise that I have the ability to ignore her (as best as I can) and not allow her repulsive hate-mongering to affect my life. That's the thing - you can dislike something, without it taking over your existence. I might think you're a raging homophobe if you really do dislike the idea of people being gay, but if I can find some way to be polite to you and treat you as I would any other, then you can find a way to not make a big deal out of two people with the same genitals being attracted to one another. Attraction is, after all, entirely subjective. Would you also judge someone for being attracted to people with blue eyes? No. Not unless you're absolutely bat-shit insane.
Two guys - or two girls - getting married is going to make no difference to your life. And if you're seriously spending what little time we have on Earth, mentally picturing gay people and getting all grossed out by it, then I would suggest that you have quite a deep need to reassess your priorities.
Here's the thing: Gay people exist. They're out there, living their lives already. All that "gross" stuff you don't want to think about is already happening. And it hasn't harmed you in any way, shape or form. Letting people marry someone of the same sex won't destroy the world as we know it. Your life will continue tomorrow, just the same as it did yesterday.
There really isn't an argument out there, that could possibly convince me that allowing two people who love one another enough to commit their whole lives to each other - regardless of sexuality - is wrong in any way. We're all human and we're all just trying to live our lives the best way we know how. It would be wonderful if we all took a cue from Ireland and recognised that this persecution of others, based on something as subjective as sexual preference, is utterly ridiculous.