Firstly, I may be a man of little importance, I do not occupy a grand position of power, nor do I hold any sway in the halls of government. I am simply a British citizen, who likes to air his opinions in the public sphere of the internet. Now, I would like to give my opinion as to why allowing gay marriage is the right thing to do.
With gay marriage becoming such a contentious issue in Britain today, I have looked at great length into both arguments of for and against, coming to the conclusion that to be for gay marriage is the most rational and most compassionate thing to be.
I have never been a person who believed true love between two people of the same sex impossible; I only needed to look through history, across the global and cultural divides to find a wealth of art, literature and poetry dedicated to same-sex love. However, when it came to the subject of marriage, I had always thought the only rightful marriage was that between a man and a woman. It was not that I viewed gay relationships as inferior nor possessed a particularly orthodox religious view, but the institution of marriage was so old and seemed so steadfast, that I simply could not envisage how on earth that could be changed.
This view shifted dramatically, after reading many of the arguments put forward by a diverse range of philosophers, politicians, religious figures and ordinary people who supported the idea. Within their words I saw something so intelligent and so compassionate, particularly those of the Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson who, speaking for the Out 4 Marriage Campaign, said "over 33 years of ordained Ministry, it's been a great joy to celebrate peoples marriages, not a piece of paper but a way of life. Marriage enriches society and strengthens community; it makes God's love visible in a broken world and is good news for everybody. I don't think the Church has anything to fear from formally recognising love like that from what it is. Since saying so, earlier this year, I have heard from gay people up and down the country, who are living in relationships just like that." He continued "It all comes down to how we see gay people and how we see God, we don't actually believe gay people are sick, or stunted or a criminal, we don't believe God is an angry old man, out to get us, so let's stop behaving as if we did. Recognising gay people as equal, means we won't dilute or spoil marriage, but enrich it."
Don't deny love a place at the table...
Further to this, I noticed I was becoming an increasingly marginalised voice, in a growing ocean of out-right hatred and archaic dogmatism, where people started to negate intellectual debate, in favour of bizarre conspiracy theories, uneducated statements about morality and unashamed homophobia. Any credibility the naysayers for gay marriage had is fast becoming irretrievably lost. Having now expunged themselves of all reason and rationality, they tip precariously on the edge of intellectual redundancy, offering us no concrete reasons as to why two grown adults who love each other, should be denied the same fundamental rights as the rest of society. Instead of laying out a clarified, intellectually engaging argument, they at best, say gay marriage will destroy an already fragile society, with the institution of traditional marriage being one of the foundation stones that holds Western society together, and at worse, they say the issue of gay marriage is a tool for which a mysterious cabal of perverts and degenerates can further an agenda of moral decay. Some recent examples of this can be seen across the country.
In March of this year, the senior Catholic Bishop, Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, said that gay marriage is "madness and grotesque": "Their attempt to redefine reality is given a polite hearing, their madness is indulged. Their proposal represents a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right."
Just last week, the Conservative MP for Harrow East Bob Blackmore, said that Prime Minister David Cameron "should be reintroducing Section 28 (the law which prohibited teachers in schools to even discuss the subject of homosexuality) not letting gays marry." Such a lack of intelligence and compassion was frightening, and it is more than likely a string of similar diatribes will proceed from the mouths of the foolish.
The general foundation of the naysayer's argument is that the fundamental principle of marriage is love, and gay people are incapable of real love. It is this in particularly that shows a complete lack of logic and common sense, denying science and history. To put it simply, in the words of the late novelist Christopher Isherwood - "It seems to me that the real clue to your sexual orientation lies in your romantic feelings rather than your sexual feelings. If you are really gay, you are able to fall in love with a man, not just enjoy sex with him."
Homecoming by Mike Buonaiuto
I am very well aware that there are still a small, yet significant, number of individuals who possess a modicum of intelligence, and can construct a civil argument against gay marriage, but the fact of the matter is they are very few and far between. This being the case, I agree with what David Cameron is prescribing, that the British government should allow gay marriage and allow ceremonies to take place in churches, temples etc, yet they will be given some degree of autonomy, to either agree or refuse to perform such ceremonies. This type of compromise has already been effective in many countries.
Fundamentally speaking, to support gay marriage is to support love and happiness, it is a validation that you are a thoughtful, intelligent and rational individual, who truly cares about the lives of others and wants to do better for them. In the words of one of the 20th century's greatest minds, Albert Einstein - "Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."