The Definition of Marriage

I don’t want to get married.

I don’t want a boyfriend.

If I’m really honest with you, I can live without sex.

As long my future holds a cup of tea (ok, glass of wine) and a decent program on the TV then I’ll be happy.

But I can get married. I’m really lucky living in the UK where a gay man can marry another gay man. I could even do something as ridiculous as marry a woman, if I wanted.

That was a right granted to me by this country’s government. Other people aren’t so lucky, and they’re not as far away as you might think.

Just across the river in the Republic of Ireland, the residents are gearing up for a historic event. The world’s first public vote to determine – in short – whether one group of people are equal to another group.

It might seem obvious or inevitable that same-sex marriage – that equality –

should be allowed in most countries that are claiming to be a civilised part of the modern world, but perhaps not surprisingly, there are some people who object to same-sex marriage.

What is surprising, though, is that some of them claim not to be homophobic.

I can’t see it. My own – perhaps limited – view of the world can see no reason to object to one man marrying another man or one woman marrying another woman apart from that gay sex is icky. Sex in general is a bit icky as far as I’m concerned, but that doesn’t mean I object to people getting married.

I can’t understand for one second why ANYONE would want to shackle themselves to another person for the rest of their life, but that doesn’t mean I would object to it.

So, if they’re not homophobic, why else would someone object? I googled “Marriage referendum, no arguments” – here’s what I found.

Won’t somebody think of the children?!

If I can’t understand why someone would want to get married, then I sure as hell can’t understand why they’d want kids, but, marriage – apparently – is the process by which one procreates. Therefore gay men and women don’t need marriage, as they can’t have children.

Well, that’s just silly. Even I know that sex is how you get kids. AND I know that many people get married and don’t have kids. Does that mean they’re any less married? No.

Those that do have children, does their marriage lapse once the children have moved out? No.

On the flip side, if a child doesn’t have two parents, because they’ve been adopted or orphaned… does that make them any less of a human being? No.

Marriage is not about children. So let’s stop talking about them.

That’s mean(ing)

The No side seem to be under the impression that allowing homosexual people to get married is akin to allowing footballers to suddenly pick the ball and run with it in their hands. It just wouldn’t be football any more.

My understanding is that it’s not about changing the game, it’s just about allowing more people to play.

Manchester United and Manchester City can play in the same City without it making Manchester City’s game any less significant (I’d be tempted to make a football joke here, but I’m foraying into a territory I know nothing about).

Adultery

This is my favourite one. Marriages can be dissolved at the moment citing adultery as a cause. Adultery is defined as extra marital sex between a man and a woman – while two members of the same sex is just unreasonable behaviour.

Equal marriage would require the definition of adultery to be updated.

I’m not sure what the objection is here.

Are they worried about having to re-write all the dictionaries?

Are they worried that same sex marriage would ruin the sanctity of straight divorce? Hmm.

Jesus said…

 

Yeah well, Harry Potter told me I could unlock doors with my magic wand. He was wrong and JK Rowling lied.

Jog on.

Defining Marriage

Marriage is a contract between a man and a woman. That’s the definition.

Ok, that’s a fair point.

What actually changes if we change the definition to ‘marriage is a contract between two people’?

For homosexual people:

  • Recognition of their love
  • The same legal rights as straight couples
  • Offspring of a gay couple growing up in a family that is the same as everyone else’s
  • Equality

For heterosexual people:

The way I see it, the people of Ireland have three choices come May 22nd:

  • Don’t vote. Stand by and do nothing while other people are discriminated against.
  • Vote yes. Allow a free society where love is love and children are taught that everyone is equal.
  • Vote no. Because you’re a cock.

Don’t be a cock. Vote yes on May 22nd.

What Have You Done Today To Make You Feel Proud?

I spent ages trying to come up with the perfect pride/shame pun for the title of this blog post and I failed myself, so in the end I settled for quoting Heather Small, because when all else fail, there’s M People.

Why was I trying to convolute a pun about pride and shame? Because last week I watched Pride – the film about Gays and Lesbians of 1980’s London supporting striking miner’s in a small Welsh village.

The shame bit comes from the fact that I didn’t realise it was real. Or at least based on a true story. Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to the pre-release publicity, but what bothered me more is that I should have known about it long before the film.

The LGSM were a real-life group set up by Mark Ashton and Mike Jackson (played brilliantly by Ben Schnetzer and Joe Gilgun) – part of their group was Jonathan Blake and they, along with many others, raised money for the miners, one of whom was married to the now Labour MP, Sian James.

Jonathan Blake’s story is actually pretty secondary to the story of Pride, but there he is, an important part of our history. In the film he – as played by Dominic West – declares that he is patient Number 2. The second person to be diagnosed with HIV – he’s still alive, and nobody knows why.

To this day, after all the death that has surrounded – and still does – HIV for the last thirty odd years, he’s still alive.

For a community that is so intrinsically associated with the disease, his name is one we should all know. Not only did I not know his name, the man doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. His story should be known by us all, but when you search for him, he only comes up in association with the film.

The other names we should know are those of Mark, Mike and Sian. Together they made LGSM into a successful integration of two communities – one that reached its peak in 1985 when the group led the pride March in London.

In short, following the Pride march in 1985 – where the film ended – the Labour party put gay rights onto its agenda. It had been proposed previously, but had been defeated. This time, with the support of the miner’s, it passed.

And so, amidst 1980’s Conservatism, there was suddenly a political party that was concerned with gay rights – and the reason they were concerned with it is because their core voters, a group of miner’s, were concerned with it. This was a group of people from outside the traditional gay community.

Where we are today is not solely down to what happened between those two communities during the Miner’s strike, but it is an important part of our history and it’s something we should know.

Imagine not knowing about Emmeline Pankhurst, never having heard that name before. It’s hard for me as a 27 year old man to imagine a Great Britain where women aren’t allowed to vote.

In 2015, looking back, it may have seemed inevitable that women would be given the vote but it didn’t seem inevitable to Pankhurst, it seemed to be a massive injustice that she had to fight for.

She wasn’t the only one, and if she didn’t exist, then women would probably still have got the vote. But they might not have done.

Maybe if LGSM had never come about, gay rights would have marched on inevitably towards where we are today. But they might not have done.

It’s a crime that it took me to 2015 to learn the names Mike Jackson, Mark Ashton and Jonathan Blake. They are an integral part of this country’s modern history, and it’s one that should be taught about in schools.

We need to know where we came from and how we got where we are, but during my schooldays, History lessons started at the Egyptians and ended in 1945. I know next to nothing about the 1950’s onwards… and that’s really embarrassing.

Like many minority groups, there is still a lot of progress that needs to be made – the upcoming Marriage vote in Ireland in May proves that much – but what we can learn from ‘Pride’ and LGSM is that we can all make a difference, even with just small actions, just by showing some compassion and taking a stand for injustice.

What have you done today to make you feel proud?