BEING GAY AND NOT FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY
“The gay marriage issue captures brilliantly how degraded the notion of equality has become. If you listen to government ministers and gay-rights campaigners, you will believe that gay marriage is all about equality, all about equal rights. It is referred to as “equal marriage”, to drum the point home. And of course, this means that anyone who criticizes gay marriage can be written off as a friend of inequality, and no one wants to be thought of in that way………Writing in the 1950s, the great liberal thinker Hannah Arendt said: “[The] right to free association, and therefore to discrimination, has greater validity than the principle of equality.” What she meant is that if freedom and equality were put to battle, we should cheer freedom rather than equality”. (Journalist Brendan O’Neill in talk to the British House of Lords in 2013)
THE EQUALITY AND RIGHTS LESS NEEDED
When Ireland went to referendum on same sex marriage in 2015, a leader of the No movement was a gay activist, Keith Mills. Like many people including even gays, he didn’t believe it is the function of same sex partners to be parents. It is actually possible to be gay and to hesitate, however reluctantly, in the face of what some gay activists are claiming and promoting and just how as in Australia.
I happened to be in Ireland at the time of the referendum campaign and what I saw on TV gave me a few misgivings I didn’t expect to have. It was too apparent the campaign was overly sentimental, blithely ignorant of a century or so of theory about who, what and why gays are who they are, and the laws were being chiefly treated as what atheist journalist Brendan O’Neill would call “therapy” (making gays feel good about themselves, healing wounds, preventing suicides) which it is not really the function of the laws to do. Something of the same is occurring here in Australia with activist actor Magda Szubanski getting emotional about love and toleration as though only tears could and should have authority in what is a complex, sensitive issue which will never just by itself heal wounds. Another similarity is the influence of big money and corporations like Qantas behind Yes
As an expert on aspects of the gay question (my doctorate on gay spiritualities published in UK as A Special Illumination was a world first from any religious studies dept and an associate of the Archbishop of Canterbury said it included probably the best survey of gay theology to date ( https://goo.gl/1Pr94i), I suggested an article or interview with The Irish Times on the gay and other issues. I was told it would be considered but I was never as promised got back to despite a polite reminder. Though I believe the religion writer I had dealt with was just inconsiderate and indifferent, undeniably there have been complaints Irish media was strangely hostile to anyone questioning the marriage equality movement. Supporters of No felt intimidated under the force of the massive publicity given to Yes which it was said had been flooded with funds from American multimillionaire gay activist, Tim Gill.
BE CAREFUL, YOU MIGHT GET BITTEN BY “LOVE IS LOVE”
The intimidation of No voters like the poor or irrelevant arguments proceeding from the Yes party should be noted. Too many gays are still victims, (sometimes even thrown out of their homes} but other gays, and they seem over represented in advocacy groups, can be little dictators, intent on having their way, refusing to be crossed or criticized. Two years on from Ireland and here in Australia even solicitors are claiming to feel intimidated if they express anything contrary to the ideal of marriage equality (“Solicitors afraid to speak out” The Australian 30.9.17), while a leading gay activist, Michael Barnett, is intemperately describing Australian Christian Lobby opponents as “murderers of children” and a church to which the member of a No campaign TV ad belongs has been threatened with violence. Such gays are a type that thinks of their community as so righteous and wronged none among them ever exploited inexperienced, sometimes homeless adolescents seeking affirmation and guidance, and never got them entangled in drugs and prostitution rather than love. Persons of that kind hide behind superficial individuals inside and outside their community who keep everything to sound bytes and chant mantras like “Love is Love”.
But since we do all want rights, could there really be any reason for a gay person to be against voting for marriage equality today? Actually there is; and no matter how much one might disagree with groups like The Coalition for Marriage about homosexuality per se, given the tide of events and the tenor of values in society there is some substance to No party claims about the dangers to freedom of speech, a parent’s right to choose, freedom of religion etc.
There is some drive at work that potentially undermines democracy in or through gay issues of which marriage equality is only the latest and perhaps strongest example. Politicians like Labour leader Bill Shorten have no right to say, and it’s even highly insulting, that what is being claimed on the No side is everything from “rubbish” to “cruelty”. That’s lies, ignorance or political opportunism speaking. It involves confusion about different types of rights as they apply to public and private spheres, and it involves what Brendan O’ Neill would call “phoney equality”, the type which allows no proper “discrimination” like the right of an institution or club to debar the plainly unqualified. (Gays demanding religious organizations must employ them regardless of their beliefs is rather like persons demanding on the basis of “equality” they must be entered to a music academy though they can’t and don’t wish to read music).
DIFFERENT OR SAME?
For over a century the first gay liberationists protested the rights of gays on the basis of their perceived difference from the norm but a difference that society needed and gays should work with. While plainly not all gays are Leonardo da Vinci or Alan Turing, there are qualities that sets them apart and which they and society are bound to recognize. Any equality should be about equality in difference. Gays, or at least their leaders, want to have their cake and eat it. They are happy to be seen as different, special and cutting edge and almost outside or above common laws and custom, yet they also demand to be seen and treated as completely same.
For a long time gay difference was called Uranian (including because German astrologers found Uranus strong in the birth patterns of gays). But it was generally accepted same sex orientation was somehow innate. It is conservative Christians and against Christ’s own teaching that some people are born different – the eunuch word could cover the nearest thing to gay in Jesus’ times – who like Queer theorists assume that orientation and gender are malleable. Queer theory is about identity without essence.
The Christians want the gays made straight, the Queer theorists, rather as in the Safe Schools programme, want the toleration and teaching of an endless chosen diversity and it is the Safe Schools programme that will almost certainly be imposed if the Yes campaign succeeds. And let no one mistake the fact the proposed change in the laws is “therapeutic” and an open sesame to many things beyond the immediate gay rights pretext. The Australian Psychology Society makes it clear enough that the marriage equality debate “is an opportunity” to discuss the varieties of sexual difference with children https://goo.gl/LBGtDt Of course, there should be some kind of basic awareness among the young, but how much and at what age?
I agree with anti-feminist feminist Camille Paglia in regretting how much the silly convolutions of French Queer theory with its false glamour has conquered academe. From there It has become the highly political advocate of gay causes and much else. It does so under a rainbow “diversity” and “inclusion” umbrella which is as undermining of all values as liberating and at times can be as totalitarian as the cultural Marxism to which it is linked and which positively relishes the upheaval and chaos of culture wars. You don’t easily oppose these dangerous and hypocritical people. Very recently in America a popular blogger mother who criticized Teen Vogue magazine for its bizarre advice to girls on being sodomized by boyfriends was banned from the same Twitter that lets through videos of child abuse.
UNIONS MIGHT BE BETTER
In a sense, vocally conservative Christians by never originally giving gay identity or rights an inch and remaining unrepentant of all the bullying and discrimination they had turned a blind eye to, have brought the extremer, more wide-ranging, secular, political and amoral Queer policies to the forefront. Between Christians insisting upon conversion cures and secularist Queers pushing the “choices” and “inclusions” conservatives are sure anyone can and should make, one can finish between the devil and the deep blue sea where rights and sensible attitudes are concerned. And both parties again seem blind to the extent at least some of the newer trans issue they are divided over is likely a culturally influenced one.
American culture especially has long held such rigid stereotyped gender divisions of a “me Tarzan, you Jane” type that if they diverge from them individuals cannot accept themselves as they are but believe they must be of the opposite sex. In California, of course and inevitably, there is already a trans kindergarten but even in Australia children under ten are receiving therapy and treatments for conditions that adolescence and more flexible cultural attitudes might alter with time.
For long centuries especially the eastern churches had ceremonies for the union of brethren which looks as though this at least sometimes covered for gay unions. (Ironically England first invaded Ireland to help stamp out the supposed evil of such unions!). There should have been and long ago a legal form of union for the same sex orientated but not called “marriage” which is to upset mainstream sensibilities and traditions unnecessarily while it is to accord gays a social sameness they don’t quite have, and perhaps don’t quite want and perhaps today won’t in many instances quite practice once the knot is tied. Civil unions do of course already exist which gays in Australia can have recourse to, but whether from the religious or secular standpoint this is not a particularly distinctive, gay specific arrangement and attitudes towards unions among gays seems wrong. One Irish Yes voter said on TV about Australian issues that unions left him feeling only 80% equal. Which is ridiculous. What is needed is some rite that lets him feel 100% involved in society as gay and responsible as such.
Indeed, author Douglas Murray, himself gay, has pertinently hoped that gays who married would observe the laws and have understanding as regards the meaning of adultery. Clearly he doubts too many fellow gays won’t have it. Homosexuality has only just emerged culturally from a twilight zone of often necessarily fleeting encounters which hasn’t been any preparation for more solid relating. When I think of the lifestyles of the more partying kind of gays (the only type conservative Christians seem to see), I can’t imagine how they would make responsible parents even though I do seriously believe many gays can make better parents than many straights today – too many seem to have lost the plot where children are concerned. But over the years I have observed part of being gay is usually a desire to be independent and not have offspring.
Obviously some gays, especially lesbians who perhaps have more difficulty than gay males recognizing or affirming their true orientation, will have had offspring and the laws must cover for this. But whether society should accept gay parentage as so normal as to be irrelevant to or almost encouraged by any reformed marriage laws is questionable. One can encounter the parent of four children who decides they must always have been gay really (though surely they must be bisexual?) to the point of abandoning their family for the same sex partner and there are thrice married persons with children from each marriage who suddenly decide they were always of the opposite sex. It is not unreasonable and should not be deemed semi-criminal under the laws to raise questions about what is getting accepted due to “diversity” and “equality” ideals which brook no hierarchy of values……similarly to “love” if love is never allowed to distinguish between its types of expression, marital, parental, filial etc which may be in contention and require choices if they are not to end up in hopeless subjectivity and selfishness.
HOW MUCH INCLUSIVITY CAN AND SHOULD YOU TAKE?
Many would be shocked if they were aware just how inclusive queer is, including among those who pass for Christian like the late bisexual professor of Contextual Theology at Edinburgh University, Marcella Althaus-Reid, who dismissed the Ten Commandments as elitist and associated religious inspiration with adultery. This author of such books as Indecent Theology and The Queer God, wowed readers and audiences with talk of “Transcendence in Brothels”, “Mary Queer of Heaven and Mother of Faggots”, “French Kissing God”, “The Gospel and Inculturation: God the Sodomite; Leading God by a dog collar; “Find God in Dark Alleys” and much more of the kind.
I cite this profane craziness because it is a warning of how, when queers secular and religious say religion is safe under any changes they promote, it isn’t. It’s not that queer will abolish religion so much as it will offer, allow or encourage its own version of spirituality which can finish almost unrecognizable and unprecedented (unless as the prophet Jezebel of Ephesus in Revelation who teaches believers anything goes!). If there is identity without essence and in the post modern style and everything is anyway just “text”, then almost anything, including morally is admissible.
The corollary of this is that likewise every belief is acceptable, except whatever makes for any exclusive truth claim. What seems like mere paranoia from Christian lobbies is well enough supported by what has happened in England and Europe where diversity has produced a situation in which religious freedom is freedom to worship but not to endorse, promote or discuss one’s particular view without risk of legal intervention.
Jobs have been lost, court hours wasted arguing over whether Christians can wear a cross to work, needn’t bake a gay wedding cake, can offer to say a prayer for a patient, or even offer a non Christian a Christian book without its being “harassment”. And of course, no one is allowed to say they believe homosexuality is wrong. Arrests have pursued street preachers. I realize it could of course be irritating for gays to have whatever precisely St Paul may have meant about “homosexuality” (a word the bible does not contain), thrust at them. Surely it is not more of an inconvenience than living among people telling you you shouldn’t smoke or take too much alcohol? How sensitive are and should gays be, and are not some being spiteful to press charges in which people’s businesses and livelihoods are under threat ? It’s not the same as religion preventing you from getting a job or housing or, as in Russia or some Muslim societies suffering violence for who you are. (But noticeably gays like feminists have been extraordinary politically correct or plain cowardly in not criticizing Muslim societies while bullying the milder Christian ones). In democracies beliefs like opinions vary and must just be tolerated even when they displease. To undermine too freely and easily the freedom of conscience principle is dangerous even if and when you question the convictions involved.
THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE
Plainly Australia will soon go the way of England and much of Europe if it doesn’t put its foot down and perceive the very real secularist and Big Brother threat to religion and freedom of speech more generally occasioned by claims whose ultimate basis is in cultural Marxism and/or the related relativistic Queer theory. Already in recent weeks there has been the scandal of a Queensland Education proposal that children should not mention Jesus in a playground though (kind concession!) a Christmas card is OK, and now the scandal of a Sikh father in Qld bringing a sword to school because it’s his religious duty. That situation is then permitted (despite any weapon being absolutely prohibited in any school area anywhere) because provided it can be concealed beneath clothes it can be respected as a tradition.
In short, if religion poses as colourful tradition, rather in the way that LGBTQI can make inroads as identity politics, that is acceptable; but if it expresses itself as any idea, as doctrine, it risks serious disapproval, even legal action especially if it is Christian and associated with the host people who should always give down to the guest people. The post modern way is to banish all question of truth in favour of the rights of custom.
Though I believe conservative Christians have painted themselves into a corner and their theology is inadequate and not nearly as justified on the subject of difference as they imagine, I am forced to recognize the larger legal and political ramifications that their current position opens upon. Education, charity and adoption organizations all stand to be effected in the long run. Gays already enjoy a reasonably high level of acceptance within society. Unions without the marriage word could and should suffice and even be more meaningful.
Not all that glitters is gold. The equality demands that sound just and dominate the marriage equality push risk eroding truth and transparency in society and I refuse to support what makes for that erosion. Though I believe same sex partnerships should be acknowledged and legally supported in some fashion, I will not vote for gay marriage in its present form and I would warn well-meaning but arguably sentimental Christians and others who think it’s fair and trendy to vote for it: the effects of your action may come back to bite you.