One of the issues I feel very very strongly about is the issue of same-sex marriage. I approve of it. Indeed, I want it. Not for myself – as I'm married very happily to huntingospray, it's pretty irrelevant to me. But it's not at all irrelevant to many many other people – I don't know exactly how many, but let's just say “millions”, which I don't think would be at all inaccurate.
It's an issue I find myself debating quite frequently on an internet Christian forum, and the tone of the debates sometimes gets more than a little unpleasant. Earlier this week, I found myself very badly upset by the repeated implication by one person that because I supported the right of same-sex couples to get married, I was somehow less of a Christian than him. Implication? No, let's be honest, he pretty much came out and said it.
I mean, yes, I know that if you look really carefully at the Bible, there are a half a dozen passages (or isolated verses) that are trotted out regularly as proof that “homosexuality” is some terrible sin. (What you actually find if you read them – with at least some understanding of the meaning of the underlying Greek words in the New Testament, and the full context, is that if anything they're more about same-gender sexual activity, and even that's a bit of a stretch (Genesis 19 is about the attempted gang rape of Lot's two angel visitors, and Romans 1 appears to be describing some kind of orgy; neither situations have anything to do with the lives of any same-sex couples I know). But on the other hand, you're not going to find anything anywhere in the Bible saying the same-sex couples shouldn't get married. It's all very well arguing that we should defend traditional marriage, but many of the marriages described in the Bible involve one man and multiple wives, whilst only one verse in the Bible explicitly limits a man to having only one wife, and that's if the man's a deacon in the church. Yet I don't see the more conservative Christians arguing in favour of polygamous or polyamorous marriage (normally it tends to be the opposite).
Yesterday, I was at the wedding of two very good friends of mine. As we sat in the registry office waiting for the wedding to start, I saw the sign on the wall, laying out the UK law's definition of marriage – that it's between one man and one woman, freely and publicly entered into...and some other stuff that I don't entirely remember, but...I didn't want to get all Ranty McRant at the wedding of two of my friends, because it wouldn't really have been appropriate, but I mentioned that sign to a couple of other people who were there, and both agreed with me – that really, it's not going to take a massive amount of work to change the wording to “between two adults”, is it?
(To be honest, I've no real problems with the notion of polyamorous marriages either, but one thing at a time...)
Because really, and contrary to what some people want us to believe, letting two people of the same sex get married isn't going to hurt anybody. Some people (including my aforementioned debate opponents) seem to think it will, or that it will destroy religious freedom, but no meaningful freedom seems to be destroyed by introducing legislation for same-sex marriage, whilst a very meaningful freedom is destroyed by disallowing same-sex marriage – specifically the freedom of two people who are in love with each other and just happen to be of the same sex as each other to make a lifelong commitment to each other in the eyes of the law, and in the eyes of any god(s) in whom they happen to believe – the same as Sarah and I have done, the same as my friends did yesterday, the same as William and Kate will later this year...
If same-sex marriage is legalised in the UK, nobody's right to object to that is compromised. If you don't want to get married to someone of the same sex, then don't. If you don't want to be part of a church or religious organisation that celebrates same-sex marriage, then don't – there are bound to be many that don't, even though there will, I've no doubt, be many that do. If the law should in any way start forcing religious bodies to celebrated same-sex marriages against their wishes, I'll be very firmly opposed to that. But is that really likely? At the moment, there is talk of proposed legislation to enable churches and other religious organisations to celebrate same-sex civil partnerships if they want to. But only if they want to.
If same-sex marriage is legalised? Strike that. When it's legalised. I very much hope that, in the not-too-distant-future, this half-way house compromise marriage-in-almost-all-but-name “civil partnership” is done away with completely, and any two adults who wish to freely and publicly enter into a marriage can do so. I honestly think that will happen sooner or later. Give it five years at the most. And I honestly don't think that we'll see marriage itself suffer as a result. Statistically, maybe 5% of people are homosexual, 95% heterosexual. Apparently. I don't know for definite, nor do I know how bisexuality fits into that (I guess we're invisible. Mmph), but I'm kind of guessing that roughly 5% of couples will be same-sex couples, whilst 95% of couples will be opposite-sex couples. Ish, sort of, probably. If all, or a significant proportion, of those couples, want to get married, 95% of marriages will be “traditional”; and unless the fundamental desire to pair off with that one person who is Mr or Miss Right for the rest of ones natural life suddenly disappears from the human psyche, marriage will continue to exist for, well, ever.
And if you think wanting same-sex marriage makes me less of a Christian, then, *meh*. I'll just disagree with you. Sorry.