Monday 29 August 2016

Denying gay people right to marry is the scandal of our times

Published 24/02/2014 | 02:30

THIS constant controversy over gay marriage is really stressing out gay people who just want to get on with their lives and to be accepted for what they are in a nice quiet way. Sometimes we look for the big dramatic story when the real heroism comes in unnoticed little increments of domestic and work-place glories. The right to marriage and to have children will be won by ordinary everyday gay heroes, who are different, but the same.

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In years to come the objections to gay marriage might well be seen as bizarre. There is a slavery of the body and there is a slavery of the mind. The enslavement of our thinking occurs where we are branded ideologically by the times we are brought up in and our exposure to a rigid, formal concept of family. Funny isn't when you look back at those cracked ideas like the world is flat but when scientists tried to prove we live on a revolving ball, they were jailed as heretics.

Gay sex was a crime just a few decades back. The poor men who partook were put in jail. So it will come to pass that the objections to same-sex marriage will be looked back on with a similar perplexed amusement. And all the while Irish men and women are denied the basic human right of marriage. The fact that the gay Irish are denied the right to marry is a scandal of our times and we as a generation will be judged by our response to our countrymen and countrywomen's desire to be treated as equals.

No man has the right to fetter the wedding march of two consenting adults who truly love each other. I feel for the quiet ones. The ordinary men and women who wake up next to each other in the morning and go to bed with each other every night, safe in their love. But that safe place is becoming more and more threatened by the intensity of the debate. Those who agitate might serve the case for gay marriage better if they eased up a bit. I agree with most of what has been said in favour of gay marriage but maybe some of the heat should be taken out of the debate this far out from an election day.

This peculiarly Irish quiet revolution is going on very nicely thank you. There is an acceptance now. So who are these unsung heroes and what of their lives? What if some mad prophet announced all those who assume the missionary position were unclean and those who did it standing up were grand entirely, aside from the odd cartilage and cruciate injury.

So they like sex with someone of their own gender. So what?

So now we go to personality types. There are camp gays, conservative gays, good gays, bad gays, gays with funny walks, manly gays who sidle like John Wayne and gays who play football and gays who like ice cream and gays who don't. No different to the rest of us who are not gay. So if we are all the same, then what is the difference between gays marrying and straights marrying. None in my opinion. And what about gay people giving birth to and adopting kids? Surely the gay Irish couldn't make as big a mess out of rearing kids as hundreds of thousands of heterosexual parents.

Some were good parents and some were bad parents. There will be good gay parents and there will be bad gay parents.

MY guess though is the gay parents will try much harder as they will see themselves as the pioneers for a generation of Irishmen and women who dared to be the same. The only problem that will arise will be when the bigots transfer their prejudices to the little babies whose mammies and daddies happen to be gay. Those against gay marriage should declare the children of gay parents should not be victimised. Maybe I missed it but I have not read or heard any such declaration from those who oppose same-sex marriage on the grounds gay people are not fit parents. I just cannot comprehend how fellow human beings can be seen as unfit to look after kids. Are our gay brothers and sisters regarded as some sort of sub-species by those who set themselves up as the guardians of the moral good?

The times are changing though. Just today we bought a wedding card for a gay couple in the local supermarket. The righteous would have picketed that shop a few years back. Now no one takes any notice.

We will finish up with a story about the happy family from long, long ago. The mammy had a baby for another man. Depending on the different versions, it would seem she was some kind of surrogate mum in that she doesn't seem to have had sex with the father. Her husband, who was not the biological dad, stood by her and they loved their little boy. Their little home fitted into the then definition of a family but the boy was well reared, well minded and much loved. He grew up to be big and strong , but he was killed by those who didn't really get his message of love. Jesus of Nazareth and his mammy and daddy were different, but the same.

Irish Independent

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