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We'll Have A Gay Old Time

22/05/2013 12:51 BST | Updated 21/07/2013 10:12 BST
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They got the weather forecast wrong again. The mongers of doom stated quite clearly that if two men were allowed to take each other up the aisle, so to speak, the clouds would burst alight, hot magma would rain from the heavens and thunderbolts would smash the earth and rent it asunder. I've checked and it seems that after last night's cross party support for the issue, it is, at worst, rather overcast and a bit cold for the time of year.

"Rather overcast and a bit cold" is, coincidentally, the exact phrase that could be utilised to describe the faces on the Conservative back benches. You could also use the description swivelled of eye and loony-like in appearance, but that might get you into trouble with the swivel eyed loonies.

The pinched faced protagonists of the right have been banging on about marriage as though the institution belonged to them. We must save it, they yell. We must protect that uncorrupted, rock solid institution from the hordes of Satan which wish to ruin it, they say. Marriage will never be the same again, is their position.

This can not be the same marriage that results in failure a full fifty per cent of the time. The one that begins "'Till death us do part, or until someone hotter comes along". Not that marriage surely, because to the casual observer it appears as though marriage, as they describe it - unsullied and perfect in every respect - has already been ruined by the people who have tried it. If one in two marriages fail, exactly what are they so keen to maintain? If anything else had a failure rate that high it would get crushed, or shot, or cancelled.

The argument is that the blessed arrangement will never be the same again if those filthy perverts were to be allowed to take part in it. Not that they actually would use a phrase like that, or if they did would quickly follow it up with "of course, some of my best friends are filthy perverts". It is not about discrimination, they are keen to point out, it is about tradition.

The truth is that traditional marriage will remain the same for anyone who takes part in it. For some it will mean love, for others duty, or expedience, or a way to riches, or sex, or a means to get out of the parents' house, or any other of the myriad reasons that two people get hitched. The institution will not collapse, and nor will society, just as the emancipation of women, the freeing of slaves and the existence of Channel Four has not brought forth the ruination of this great nation, despite what the naysayers predicted.

Overwhelmingly, gay marriage is a old issue, by which I mean that old people make up the vast majority of those fulminating against it. The younger the demographic, the less bothered they are. It is quite hard to see what all the fuss is about if you are in your teens or twenties. These are the very people that a political party needs to assimilate into its ranks. It is this knowledge that is driving David Cameron. He knows that if a party does not modernise, it will die out as its ageing adherents expire. It is a political cul-de-sac to only seek to appease those who wish to party like it's 1949. And don't use that phrase "cul-de-sac" to them, as it looks like some nasty foreign French thing and they don't much care for them either.

It is slightly bemusing that Cameron has chosen this issue with which to announce to the nation's youth that the Tories are not the nasty party after all. What is the difference between being civil partnered and being married, except that the latter is easier to say? It is also quite amusing to watch the right tie itself into knots trying to avoid stating the obvious reason that they disagree with gay marriage, which is that they don't like gays, or the concept of being gay or the hijacking of a perfectly good word that used to apply to being Fred Astaire, not being led astray.

Despite their protestations, marriage will survive any expansion of those allowed to take part in it. If gay marriage becomes law, heterosexuals will notice no difference to their experience of it whatsoever. The furious Canutes who wish to stem the tide of time will switch to some other outrage that will exercise them and keep their blood simmering, like sweets not being like they used to be, or people not wearing hats in public or the absence of pocket squares.

When you get down to it, it is the same people of the same anti-gay persuasion as always stick their necks in when any talk of equality is heard. Quite often, it is those that shout the loudest that are subsequently found to be employing rent boys on the quiet, or abusing small boys in their care. I could list the sins of the incandescently anti-gay Catholic Church in that regard but I don't have the time and there's not enough space on the internet.

It looks rather like an objection that two men or two women (not so much the latter) would have sex together. If the intention of the right is to lessen the incidence of gay sex, then you would have thought they would be all for gay union, for there is not much else that crushes the desire to fornicate quite like being married.

In years to come I predict that all these objections will seem quite silly. I predict the mongers of doom to be wrong. I also predict that The Mongers Of Doom would make a brilliant name for a rock band.