I’m not for same-sex marriage, nor am I against it; I merely feel a reality check is needed – on both sides of the issue – John Moneir
It is with a certain amount of trepidation that I begin to write about a subject that instigates the passion of many people. When you state that you do not support same sex marriage, you are often greeted with a narrow-eyed glare of suspicion at best, or at worst, a torrent of predictable adjectives like “bigot”, “regressive” etc. Nevertheless, I don’t care and I certainly don’t care for the dogmatic furiousness that people on both sides of the debate bring. I am content not to have a particular view on this matter, I simply do not care if same sex marriage is legalised or not.
Thus, when the plebiscite for this issue arrives I will wave at it, take a sip of my medium sized latte and walk away knowing that either result will not destroy our society.
From the outset, let us acknowledge that same sex marriage will affect an extraordinarily low number of people, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics stating that in 2011 there were 33,700 same sex couples or 1 percent of all couples in Australia. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean we ought to trivialise the issue or ignore it, but acting as if our ethos as a society rests upon this issue is rather startling.
If this is true, then proponents of same sex marriage ought to calm down a bit. Comparisons with the feminist movement or Martin Luther King may be a bit misleading as this doesn’t affect half our population. There is also another problem that supporters need to confront if their wishes are to be finally realised. I am aware of the slippery slope fallacy and so I won’t suggest something ridiculous such as legalising same sex marriage on Wednesday will result in the legalisation of bestiality and incest on Thursday. I am not, however, aware of any fallacy scrutinising a set of principles and bringing them to their natural conclusion.
Suppose I take up the definition of marriage that supporters project; that marriage is simply the free consent between people in love and as long as it harms no one else, it is nobody’s business. If this is true, I see no good reason in policy to deny the legalisation of polygamy. Why do I care if a group of people want to live this particular lifestyle and how is it any of my business? If Jeremy lives together with Beth and Jane in their household, how does it affect me? What harm does it bring? When same sex marriage advocates begin to scrutinise their own convictions and believe in equality for everyone, I may take them seriously. If you want same sex marriage legalised, but squirm at the idea of polygamy you may just be a social justice warrior without any convictions. I would like to know why same sex marriage deserves primacy over polygamy.
On the other hand, the staunch opponents of same sex marriage also arouse my bewilderment. Religious groups are entitled to their views of marriage, but what is this nonsense that homosexuals will somehow bring about a destruction of traditional marriage? Since the introduction of no fault divorce, the very nature of marriage has been radically altered. Religious marriages – ’til death do us part – have been operating concurrently with civil marriages – irreconcilable differences and 12 months’ separation – for decades.
Families all over Australia have been broken apart, idiotic heterosexuals like Kim Kardashian are married for a minute and yet apparently, if we allow Tom and Jerry to marry, the entire fabric of our society will be destroyed. Why is one concerned about the marriages of 1 percent of the couple population, from which religious groups will likely be exempt, whilst somehow glossing over the disaster that is civil heterosexual marriage? Conservative thought has always maintained the importance of the family and yet, how many of them are addressing this issue of broken families? Why should there be a religious imposition on a largely irreligious population if the opposite would be unfair? Out of all the moral issues we face, I am simply unable to fathom why this deserves a great deal of attention.
I know that my views on this issue make it hard for me to make any friends, but I maintain that I remain entirely unconvinced by the arguments from both sides. I would simply ask us all to question our own views and understand the flaws in own positions instead of lashing out at opponents and portraying them as enemies of morality.