Friday, 13 April 2012

Things You're Not Supposed to Say

For the last few days (I haven't been able to find out exactly how long) the following advert has been showing on buses all over London, sponsored by Stonewallin support of gay marriage:


Yesterday afternoon, the Guardian reported that Christian group the Core Issues Trust (which is against gay marriage), was about to run its own advertising campaign in response, deliberately mimicking the format used by Stonewall:


This advertising campaign had been agreed by Transport for London and passed by the Committee of Advertising Practise, and was about to go ahead when London Mayor Boris Johnson intervened, by ordering transport chiefs to pull the advert.

Not very many years ago, homosexuals were a persecuted minority in this country and I have to hold my hands up and say that sadly, certainly some, and probably quite a lot of the oppression and persecution that homosexuals have experienced has been at the hands of hard-line evangelical "Christians". This was a sorry state of affairs (and still is in many circles) and campaigning groups like Stonewall have done an excellent and effective job of redressing this imbalance. However, they have unfortunately also done a good job of vilifying anyone who disagrees with them, to the extent that the words, "prejudice", "bigotry" and "homophobia" are now automatically bandied about whenever anyone tries to suggest that their preferred solutions might not always be in their own or the rest of society's best interests.

I have what could probably be termed an "evangelical" approach to sex. This doesn't mean - in case you were wondering - that I go around telling everyone how great it is and trying to make people do more of it! (I do think sex is great though and I have been known to say so publicly on occasion!). This does mean that I have a particular perspective on what sex is and what it is for.

To me (and to many others like me), sex and the body are sacred. Sex is an amazing and beautiful process by which two people of opposite and complementing gender are united as one in holy and intimate love. Through this process a new "entity" is formed, which incorporates both (and becomes the potential basis for a new family). This is why evangelical Christians tend to reject most forms of sexual intimacy outside of a committed, life-long, heterosexual relationship.

"Gay marriage" attempts to redefine what this unit can consist of. It is natural and obvious that two people of the same gender who love and are sexually attracted to one another will want to express that attraction and live or even spend their lives together, but this is not the same thing as a "marriage" in the conventional sense. Gay couples cannot biologically have children and do not bring two complementing gender identities to a relationship. As for those who go on to adopt or artificially conceive children - psychologists have long understood that in a heterosexually based family both genders play important roles at different stages in a child's development. This is not something that a gay couple is able to offer. In my opinion then, a committed gay relationship and a heterosexual marriage are not equivalent or equal - however much some might want them to be - and it is unfair of homosexual campaigners to pretend otherwise, or to try to redefine the language that we have been using for hundreds of years in order to push this agenda on the rest of us.

3 comments:

  1. You write :"In my opinion then, a committed gay relationship and a heterosexual marriage are not equivalent or equal - however much some might want them to be - and it is unfair of homosexual campaigners to pretend otherwise, or to try to redefine the language that we have been using for hundreds of years in order to push this agenda on the rest of us."

    I don't have a problem with people having different "opinions" on this matter but I do question your assumption that other people are "pretending" and that their opinion is not as deeply and genuinely held as yours is? I believe that gay relationships are every bit as much "marriages" as straight ones, because I see the quality of the relationship as the key factor, not the ability to procreate. I am not "pretending" about this. Also who is "we" and "the rest of us"? I am sure you are not suggesting that there are two categories - people in favour of the status quo (who are all of course heterosexual..?) and people who want to change the status quo (who are all of course homosexual - not to mention all being "activists" with "an agenda"..?)
    Is it really this simple or are we looking at a much more complex picture with a much more complex and diverse range of opinions on the matter?

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  2. Hi Suem. Thanks for your response. I appreciate you posting on here, all the more so because you disagree with me. I'm sorry if you found any of my comments offensive, but as you can tell it's a subject I feel passionately about, as I'm sure you do! I hope I don't offend you further by what I'm about to say.

    You say that you believe that gay relationships are every bit as much "marriages" as straight ones, because you see the quality of the relationship as the key factor, but that's a different definition of the word, "marriage" from the one that I use. If campaigners get their way, your definition will become the legal one and there will no longer be a widely accepted word left for what I would describe as a "marriage".

    I agree with you that the quality of the relationship is very important (although actually, the quality of heterosexual relationships isn't always great, and I'm sure the same can be said for homosexual ones as well). A marriage isn't just a good quality relationship between two people though, it's much more than that. It isn't just about procreation either, it's also about the union of two different and complementary genders into one new and amazing whole. Gay couples may value their relationships no less, but that still doesn't mean that it's the same thing.

    I know I shouldn't really use the word "pretend" for a genuinely held belief, however much I might consider it to be wrong, and I'm sorry if that was offensive, but it just seems so obvious to me that gay "marriage" and heterosexual marriage are substantially different things - even if they do have significant similarities. They are "equivalent" if you focus on the things they have in common, at the expense of everything else - but I still can't see how that makes them the same?

    In terms of "we" and "the rest of us" - I guess I am making a distinction between those who are campaigning for change and those who are happy with the existing definition. I didn't intend to imply that this was a simple gay/straight split though, as I recognise that both are represented in both groups (also that gay/straight isn't always black and white either). I also acknowledge that there are a range of opinions on the matter and that I was making a generalisation, but I thought it was a relevant and appropriate one given the point I was trying to make?

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  3. Well, thank you for rethinking some of your comments or the way that they were phrased. I take your point that to you marriage is not just about procreation but about complementary genders coming together. I suppose I feel that, because each is an individual, the two bring complementary aspects to a relationship and that any such relationship is wonderful gift and an amazing whole.
    I wasn't "offended" by your views though as differing opinions don't offend me unless they are expressed in ways that are deliberately designed to insult or belittle others, I just thought the comment about "pretending" might have been more carefully thought out.
    Blessings!

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