Gay Marriage…oops !

For one of the funniest exercises in “something that people can’t be bothered with” was an Editorial in the Independent the other day on gay marriages along the lines of “…repealing an injustice…” Frankly only some dullard from the ‘Indy’ could write such tripe, check it out for yourself: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-gay-marriage-will-lift-the-last-barrier-to-equality-7237440.html

What was laughable about it all was the complete lack of response from the readership on the subject. Whilst the ‘Indy’ never gets the volume of responses that the Telegraph does, at least on the various ‘religious topics’ that have been going the rounds recently, even the Indy managed 500 responses, on this, less than 40 so, not a burning issue then ?

Some Background

The picture I’ve used for this article is me and the only other two straight guys who worked at a London Gay Bar back in the late 80s, early 90′s, I was a doorman. Not coming from a computer literate generation, I took 3 years out to find out about computing and supported myself by working 6 nights a week as a doorman in the West End of London. Having had gay friends all my life, the “gay thing” wasn’t an issue for me although obviously, dealing with it ‘en-mass’ was different, however the experience did give me some insights that as a straight man, I would not have been aware of otherwise.

An example concerned the “age of consent”, at the time it was still age 21 and had not automatically been lowered when the ‘age of majority’ had been reduced to 18, this was obviously unfair and there was a big campaign that was successful in the end, to overturn this. But I can remember a conversation with Peter Thatchell at the time when he asked the question: “Why not 16 ?” Initially, I was opposed to this idea but experience of doing my job taught me that what a gay friend of mine had said on the topic “…it should be the same as the age for heterosexual consent…” was absolutely right.

There are two reasons for this: Consensual sex in private between two males was decriminalised on the back of the Wolfendon Report into mainly prostitution and had set that age as “the age of majority” which was then 21. Fair enough as a first step but looked at objectively, it still offers a very ‘judgemental view’ of homosexuality. But stepping aside from the theory, one of the problems I always had was with preventing ‘bad behaviour’ in our toilets and invariably, it was young gay lads who had probably only recently come out who called me to sort out the 40 year old ‘willy wobblers’ staring at their dick when they were having a pee. Young women of a similar age do not like being ‘perused’ by ‘old gits’ either.

I do not know whether people are “born gay” or “made gay”, I suspect that for all of us, our degree of sexual drive/attraction is variable in the sense that we are born into some kind of ‘spectrum’ where environment can encourage a trend that is already present. In this sense and especially with men, sexual orientation is not a choice any more than the colour of your eyes and who your parents were, people should not be ‘punished’ for things outside of their personal choice.

On Gay Marriage

Frankly, I don’t give a fig whether there is “gay marriage” or not but the whole idea is little short of silly at most levels. I would question whether gay people really want such a thing and if they do, what are they thinking of to want such a thing ? Civil partnerships made a lot of sense for gay couples because it gave a legal basis for inheritance/next of kin and all the other important civil rights that reflected the status of a valid and on-going personal relationship. For gay couples, marriage does what further ? In practical terms nothing and in truth it is a total nonsense.

I saw a number of instances where one person had gone from HIV to full blown AIDS and had a long term partner who they wanted to be able to inherit their joint property. It is not uncommon for young gay men to ‘leave home’ to live their own lives without ever “coming out” to their own family. Come a serious situation and although it is likely that their sexuality has been ‘tacitly known’ within the family, confronting the reality can be fraught. It is in these circumstances where the legal civil rights inherent in “Civil Partnerships” are most useful.

Leaving aside any religious or moral judgements on the matter, the reason “marriage” has existed throughout history has been as creating a social and material framework for bringing up children and creating an ordered structure for the continuation of society. Sure, there are many straight couples that may never have a family for one reason or another but that doesn’t change by one iota what marriage is essentially for.

The truth is that being gay is strictly a minority issue that covers less than 2% of the population and no, people should not be discriminated against because they are gay. However, is this frankly little better than a ‘dressing up game’ for children, marriage in what it means is irrelevant in a gay context. If you are a young man who in his teens realises he is attracted to his own sex, it must be difficult coming to terms with that and finally “coming out” but that is a right of passage that expresses your ‘difference’ and your courage in dealing with that.

At a time when for the straight community marriage seems less and less popular, for gays to want to ‘conform’ is such a way is rather sad, a bit like a Christian non conformist wanting to bow down to the Pope. Totally daft at every level.

A Footnote

I can remember a mate of mine who is very successful in the City and happens to be gay and also has a wonderful sense of humour. On Civil Partnerships passing into Law, he said it was a dreadful idea, his take was: “Now every relationship I have that lasts more than a month will say: “If you really love me…” Botox, I’m in it for the sex ! What is the point of being gay anymore ?”

Of course he was joking, to a point and set against a background of him being young and “In the London Gay Scene” but also as he pointed out, that one Act of Parliament had put him in a similar position to some of his straight colleagues with their “Trophy Wives”. That aside, we had both seen situations with friends and acquaintances where a legally binding “Civil Partnership would have eased all sorts of difficult situations following a death.

On the whole idea of “Gay Marriages”, it seems to me that this is one for the foolish only who are tilting at windmills no less than Don Quixote. I am sure the truly stupid can concoct some argument based upon “fairness” or the lack thereof but I would suggest that it is an irrelevant argument in the same way that an “Hereditary Monarchy” is “unfair”. In the latter case, it is not because what it has done is to divide the role of Head of State from being the Leader of the Executive in a very British way, the daily grind of politics is separate from “The Nation”.

However you argue the finer points of the case, “Marriage” both in civil, cultural and religious terms is an idea/institution concerned with the continence of society and is inappropriate in a gay sense, if all you want to do is conform to society, being gay is not the way to do it. If the majority of society were gay, humankind would have ceased to exist long since and that is not being ‘homophobic’, whatever that stupid phrase means, it is common sense, no gay person should be so weak in their personal identity as to want such a ‘conformist validation’ of themselves, the phrase is “Proud to be Gay”. If you are gay but not “Proud”, take up knitting !

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