I’m in two minds about the forthcoming referendum on same-sex marriage. Obviously, like any decent person, I hope it’ll be passed with a healthy majority, but I never feel very comfortable about being given the chance to decide what rights other people should have. It would be a bit like being given the chance to cast my ballot in the recent Austrian general election… I obviously wouldn’t have been very happy if the so-called “Freedom Party” got into power, but I don’t live there and the result of foreign elections doesn’t affect me. Anyway, when has a far-right Austrian ever done any harm, eh?
Scarcely a week passes without a representative of the Catholic Church, or one of their creepy apologists from the Iona Institute or – worse still – Youth Defence, being invited onto the airwaves to voice their opposition to how other people live their lives. They go to great lengths to pretend that their pathetically shallow arguments about same-sex marriage aren’t based solely upon their religious beliefs, but many of these people are the very same sort of extremists who, just two decades ago, would have protested with the very same level of ferocity against the legalisation of homosexuality itself. And not long before that, they and their ilk devoted much of their energy to protesting against contraception. Put simply, they are obsessed with what other people do with their private lives – especially if it involves their private parts.
The most sickening thing about the Catholic Church, and the various useful idiots who speak on their behalf, is their insistence on framing their opposition to marriage equality around the idea that all children should have both a male and a female parent. This, let’s not forget, is an organisation that presided over the rape and torture of thousands of children, and then spent many subsequent years covering it all up, while continually moving paedophile priests from parish to parish. They don’t give a damn about children, and to see them pretend otherwise is vomit-inducing.
Another well-worn – and well-defeated – argument is that the inability of gay couples to procreate should bar them from marrying. But if marriage is primarily about procreation, shouldn’t those on the religious right also seek to exclude heterosexual couples with fertility problems? Perhaps even put an age-limit on marriage. If a woman passes childbearing age without getting married, then it’s the spinster’s life for her. Far from opposing the redefinition of marriage, these people seem to be advocating it.
When all other arguments fail (and they usually do), you can always rely on a good old “slippery slope” fallacy: Marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman. If you redefine it to include same-sex couples, aren’t you effectively opening the doors to polygamy? Perhaps people should be allowed to marry their pets too? Well, around a century ago, you almost certainly would have heard similarly illogical and idiotic arguments from those opposed to female suffrage: “Well, if you’re going to allow women to vote, aren’t you effectively also extending the franchise to children? Perhaps hamsters should be allowed to vote too.”
It is no coincidence that those who claim to worry about marriage being redefined, or about the importance of children having a male and female parent, are with very few exceptions, the very same people who also just happen to believe that homosexuality is a sin. I’m not suggesting that they aren’t fully entitled to believe that gay people are, in the words of the Westboro Baptist Church, gonna split hell wide open. But their deeply-held religious bigotry should be entirely a matter for themselves and their imaginary god. They need to start being honest (not least because lying is a great big dirty sin). They should stop pretending that their irrational opposition to giving equal rights to gay people is based around anything other than their disapproval of “what they do”. And they really shouldn’t expect any sensible or rational person to have an ounce of respect for their opinions.