Why The Fuss Over Gay Marriage?

So one issue that is dominating the headlines at the moment, is that of gay marriage.  It has many definitions and much has been said. Put simply though, it is the right of two gay people to get married and to describe it as such, alongside the legal benefits and entitlements which that brings. The current definition only cites men and women, and does not allow for or adequately represent the broad spectrum that is the LGBT community.

So it must be pretty straightforward right? Update the law and allow the Community to marry, alongside their male and female counterparts? The END. Erm no. Believe me friends, I wish with all my heart and soul and fibre of my being that were the case.

But no. We are where we are, in the midst of a great amount of hoopla, as Ben Summerskill, the Chief Executive of Stonewall put it.

I have to be honest and frank here. In my writing usually, as I guess is good practice, I try to not sit at either end of the see saw, but sit in the middle, weighing up pros and cons, playing a game of lexical argument and generally being impartial.

Today, I am waiving impartiality from this entry and being completely partial. I am firmly on the side of those who support gay marriage. This post will be completely partisan, and if people do not like that, do not read further.

This issue really gained political steam and currency, after the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats lost a lot of seats to Labour in the local elections. Many on the right wing, (i.e extreme) side of the party have sought to conflate the bad local    election results with what they view as a focus on peripheral issues, namely House of Lords reform and gay marriage.

It is an erroneous thing to say and a grave travesty of the truth. Do these traditionalists really expect myself and the wider electorate to believe that they lost votes due to a policy promoting greater harmony and equality of experiences for everyone? With all due respect to readers, I am not that easily fooled.

Votes were lost I feel, based on generalised apathy and disenchantment with the political class. It makes me so sad that the issue of gay marriage has been used as a straw man argument by the Tory right, exhibiting the usual signs of blinkered bunker mentality.

Furthermore, it saddens me greatly that the issue of gay marriage has reared its head in the political arena at all. It is about as far away from politics as one can get. Schools, hospitals, the economy and jobs are all bread and butter issues in the political arena, but gay marriage? No that is very much part of the private sphere.

It is a domestic and private issue, not one to be used as a political football then tossed aside when boredom sets in.

But to her credit, the Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone has come out fighting on this one. She has reassured voters that there will be full marriage equality by 2015, despite certain press reports to the contrary at the weekend.

I feel two words have been missed out of the debate so far. Romance and love. I can well assure my readers that the gay population are just as capable of these as their gay counterparts.

Sharon James, a spokesperson from the Coalition for Marriage and creator of the YouTube campaign @Out4Marriage Mike Buonaiuto participated in a debate on my BBC Local Radio station this morning. Mike gave reasonable answers to questions and was fair minded but to listen to Sharon James, you would think that gay marriage was about to bring on the apocalypse.

She stated repeatedly, as she has done throughout this whole debate that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that gay people are provided for through the civil partnership system. The best scaremongering she could do was to suggest that in Canada, a three way partnership had been legalised.

The thing is, equality of experience in marriage will not prevent straight people from getting married. The heterosexual population will not find their marriages dissolved to nothing. All it will mean is that a patently unfair, and unjust inequality will at last be addressed.

It is senseless to suggest that the integrity of marriage will somehow be undermined by this. Things will remain unchanged. All that will happen is that the system will be rebalanced to make it fairer for those in the LGBTGQ population, who have for too long been denied this option. 

A quick word too about Amendment One, in North Carolina.My deepest sympathies go to the LGBTGQ community there and I stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the their struggle.

In closing, why the fuss? Those who are for gay marriage deem it as their right, something to fight for and rightly so. Those against, well I would guess the fuss relates to prejudice and bigotry and unjust homophobia and fear. The point is though, lots of things cause fear, but an oppressed minority suffer because of that fear.

The thing that galls me about the ‘against’ camp is this. They can hold those views, without consequence. But the LGBTGQ community will suffer for their fears, while they get let off the hook.

If the issue of marriage equality is a political football, so be it. We can’t change that. But what we can do is to put that football firmly on our side of the pitch. Should we? Yes. Must we be? Definitely. I am @outformarriage and I want my LGBTGQ friends to get married.It is no more simple, or more complicated than that.

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