Judging by the fervour with which some people deride the prospect of gay marriage you're forgiven for thinking there's a threat it might become compulsory rather than simply an option. The introduction of gay marriage doesn't mean that heterosexual marriage will be abolished. It means that in addition to the classic type of marriage between a man and woman, same-sex couples will also be able to marry. After all, why shouldn't they have the right to be as miserable as the rest of us? Ba-boom!
It's rather irksome to witness heterosexual people speaking out against same-sex marriage. Despite wild claims that it could undermine traditional marriage, surely the issue is essentially a moot point for them. We'd be better off considering the views of the same-sex-couples themselves - you know, the people who are actually affected, those for whom the issue represents a bona fide problem rather than an interesting intellectual dilemma.
And anyway, my suspicious mind goes into overdrive when I see some conservative politician or campaigner railing vigorously against same-sex marriage. Is it possible they protest too much? What are they hiding? Are they worried that if gay marriage is legalised, their secret homosexual desires will be dangerously unleashed? Hey, probably not but it's an amusing exercise.
Have you noticed that, once relevant passages from the Bible have been dissected by the Christians and it's been established that it all started with Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve, debates about gay marriage inevitably descend into arguments about what's "natural" and what's not? It's quite off-putting to witness discussions about whether homosexuality exists in the animal kingdom and what species exhibit this behaviour - not to mention completely off the topic. The issue is one of human rights and human equality; it's not about what monkeys get up to when they think we're not looking.
Obama put it nicely when he endorsed gay marriage last week. "It was a logical extension of what America is supposed to be," he said. He's right. Allowing same-sex marriage is a sign of an open-minded, tolerant and generous society. Conversely, outlawing it makes us seem narrow-minded, prejudiced and mean-spirited.
"What's gay?" asked my daughter as she accompanied me to yet another movie containing themes arguably unsuitable for a nine-year-old. "It's when two men love each other," I whispered. (The plot point in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel revolved around gay men not gay women.)
"Oh, like Cam and Mitchell?" she asked. "Yes, exactly like Cam and Mitchell," I replied, quite pleased that her occasional viewing of the award-winning Modern Family had made such relationships seem commonplace to her - for our real lives are not exactly resplendent with gay people.
Apart from the lesbian mothers from year one at school and the gay men we shared a table with at Grand Harbour's yum cha the other Sunday, we're pretty much surrounded by heterosexual couples. Even so, our daughter has long understood that different types of relationships exist, that some people have two mummies and others have two daddies - even if she didn't know the terminology for such pairings.
And this is the point that should most concern people who are against same-sex marriage. Our younger generations and future generations are increasingly accepting diversity in relationships and lifestyles. There's an emerging sexual-orientation-blindness that can only result eventually in equal rights for all. The stalwart campaigners who are anti-gay-rights are a dying breed fighting a losing battle.
What are your thoughts on same-sex marriage? If you approve of it, on what basis was your rationale formed? If you are against it, can you come up with any reasons that don't involve your religion or accusations of unnaturalness?
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