What to do with the same-sex marriage bill – oppose it or support it? After typing the topic into Google, I was hit with a myriad of pages which outline arguments against it. What about the arguments in favour of the bill? Where are they? Certainly not on the first pages of Google’s results.
Perhaps it is so universally obvious in the eyes of the majority passing the bill was the right thing to do that it doesn’t even need arguments in favour. Or, alternatively, there’s another explanation. In the weeks and months building up to the reading in the House of Commons, as well as after its approval in Parliament, arguments for and against the bill were spread across the news sphere. What I find interesting isn’t the arguments per se, rather the general fields of science and knowledge they come from.
Arguments in favour stem from human rights, marriage law and equality. They come from the humanistic and legal sectors of our society. They stem from what is humane in the eyes of humanity. I think the opponents of the bill, however, have had an unfair hearing in this trial. Their arguments aren’t born out of equality, international law and human rights. There hasn’t been a meeting of equal eyes in this debate.
Just in the same way that issues in economics cannot be argued with pros from economic theory and contras from theological theory, as they aren’t in the same field, the marriage bill must be argued from within the same realms. Some of the most prolific and most-quoted arguments from the contras have been the proposition that the same-sex marriage is in fact not marriage, it defies natural law, and it denies a child either a mother or a father.
Of course, all of these arguments are correctly observed, provided you view them from the field of Abrahmic religions. Christianity, Islam and Judaism all define ‘marriage’ as a communion between a man and a woman. The Law of the Land, set up by man and validated by society, does not define marriage in the same way.
Natural Law is a theological concept, developed, discussed and monitored by the wisdom of God via his voices on Earth – the believers and the Church. If you follow this law, then yes you are right to judge same-sex marriages are a violation of this law. However, this law falls only in the realm of theology. Its extension to what Richard Dawkins calls the religious ‘magisterium’ is non-existent, unless you believe it should be.
Children are denied a mother and a father every day thanks to religion. Religious extremists in the USA arrange situations so that a child of parents who are unable to look after their child financially is removed and placed in care, resulting in neither natural mother nor father.
In protest against abortion, women who are followers of the Abrahamic religions forgo abortions after being raped, resulting in a child without a father.
It seems to me that the one thing same-sex marriage does indeed do is provide children with both a father and a mother. Childbirth is impossible without the involvement of a woman. With no initial rights to a child, two gay fathers must cooperate with a woman so that they can raise a child. The mother is clearly involved in the child’s life before, during and after birth. The opposite goes for lesbian couples, who require the involvement of a male.
I think the opponents of the bill need a second chance. Let them come go back to the drawing board and find or develop arguments which stand on a par with those from the pro side of the debate. That is, if they can find any arguments at all.