Saturday, 25 February 2012

Defining Marriage.

The issue of gay marriage is big in the news these days, and so I feel I should comment on it. Right then, here’s my view of the matter.

It seems to me that there are three broad positions being taken. First, we have the posturing of the liberal alter-establishment. The issue of gay rights is one of their most prized shibboleths, and any questioning of any aspect of that issue has them branding you a right wing bigot. Second, we have the posturing of the diehard conservatives, to whom the issue of gay rights is a major factor in the disintegration of a proper society. Any disagreement with their view has you branded a subversive or even ‘a bit of a leftie.’ Third we have those who regard themselves as followers of the Judaic religious tradition – principally the Jews, Christians and Muslims. They must obviously object to gay rights since, according to their holy book, their God specifically forbids homosexuality.

I don’t subscribe to any of those groups, since subscribing to groups tends to smother freedom of thought and expression. My position in general terms is that I want those who are born homosexual to go through life free of attack, harassment or discrimination. But I don’t see the issue of marriage as being about discrimination. To me, it’s a matter of logic and comes down to a single question: What is marriage?

I regard marriage first and foremost as the social and legal endorsement of an individual masculine:feminine connection. It also has a traditional role in the basic structure of society and the predominance of the family unit, but that’s of less importance since social structures are – and need to be – inherently mutable. The important factor is the masculine:feminine connection, since such a connection is about completion. Given that definition of marriage, therefore, the concept of making it legally available to gay couples is simply illogical.

I accept, of course, that others might entertain a different definition of marriage, and so here’s my point. Before we can agree on whether or not to legalise gay marriage, don’t we first have to agree on what marriage is?


Nutjrin said...

In my opinion, what comes first in my mind about gay marriage is inheritance.

In my country, the first person who has the instant right to own at least half of someone's property if that person dies with no written will is spouse, which is now only men and women can be legalized as spouse. Some people have same sex partners who they love and take responsibilities by the same level but their same sex partners have no such right. They may need to go to court for claiming, need to fight against their passed away partner's siblings for it. It sounds unfair to me.

JJ Beazley said...

I understand what you're saying, Mei-shan, but I think that things like inheritance and tax breaks are practical side issues which vary according to individual coutries' laws. What I'm suggesting is that we need to be clear about the underlying reason for having the state of matrimony in the first place.