Equal Marriage – leading the way to a more tolerant, diverse and happier future, or the end of civilisation? The shocking truth some homophobes can not seem to grasp is queer people are driven by the urge to love, not simply the need to fornicate. The marriage bill is a sign that some of society has accepted that, and welcome it. The marriage bill is also flushing the vestiges of homophobia into the open, but seeing the line up of nice looking grey haired ladies outside parliament last week with their ‘marriage = man + woman’ banners was very sad. Gay boys and girls go and talk to your grandparents!
Equalities minister Maria Miller was the voice of reason and freedom on BBC Radio 4’s Question Time programme yesterday. Sun editor Trevor Kavanagh received grateful applause from the Surrey audience for stating his belief that marriage is a heterosexual relationship that should be left in the jurisdiction of the churches not politicians. Ruffles and shouts were heard as Maria Miller as then described the equal marriage bill as being about fairness, about society being more tolerant. Host Jonathan Dimbleby asked for a show of hands from the audience to say if they were glad the marriage bill is going through. A ‘large majority’ were not glad.
The programme was recorded in a church in West Byfleet, and we can probably assume that many of this Surrey set base their objection to gay relationships on biblical grounds. CHRISTIANS taking this stance are simply hurrying along the collapse of their own religion, which has been far too powerful and influential for far too long anyway. Reasonable, rational people can see the hypocrisy going on here. ‘Love each other’ was the direction Jesus gave, and despite the fact that over the centuries many of the strictures and attitudes offered to us in the Bible have been dropped as society developed (eg we no longer stone adulterers, we no longer keep slaves), some Christians insist on hanging on to this phobic and hateful view of same sex love. They are revealed through this to be narrow minded, prejudiced, fearful and pretty stupid. They simply need to follow the logic of the only commandment Jesus left us, find the place of love in their hearts and allow us queers the right to love too. Recent opinion polls showing massive growth in acceptance of the idea of same sex marriage over past few years suggests that many have already made that step into freer and fairer thinking.
The book of Leviticus, on which the non-acceptance of same sex relationships is based, does not mention love. The Ten Commandments do not mention love. They were written at a time of fear, when patriarchal authority was establishing itself. The stricture that ‘a man not lie with another man as with a woman’ has nothing to do with love – the rule comes from a time when reproduction was crucially important for the survival of the tribe, and when the hetero family model was being formed. Love came later it seems, Jesus brought in that message. The debate around same sex marriage is challenging Christians to look in their hearts, and to think for themselves – to ask ‘what would Jesus do?’ As with equality for women, or attitudes to people of different races, reason and love need to teach these people about the meaning of their own faith.
Once gay people are accepted more in society, we will start to contribute more to it – we will be empowered to bring out our gifts to society, which are gifts of love, compassion, tolerance, peace, healing, play and revelation. While so much of society stands firm in its fear, rejection of or outright hostility to us, our light will always be partially in the shadow, with all the traumas of addiction, disease etc that the shadow brings continuing to ravage our queer universe.