There is great disparity between the arguments for what makes someone gay, as well as whether or not they should be allowed the same marital rights as straights. Some say homosexuality is genetic, others believe it is environmentally influenced. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church maintains the sacrament of marriage is strictly between a man and a woman. It is an ongoing use of binaries to determine an identity and its place in the global community.
Gays are like that because, in the words of Lady Gaga, they were born that way. Or, as Freud would have it, they are reacting to the rejection of a parent, most notably that of the same sex. Genetics, predisposition, or outright experience – who can say? The argument for genetics brings with it the possibility of biological engineering to eradicate the “gay gene”. To say it is based solely on negative experiences undermines gay identity altogether.
Fundamentalist Christians typically oppose gay marriage because it poses a threat to “traditional values”. It is even argued that the union of same-sex couples could lead to a decline in the human population. Yet, the flipside to that is the suggestion homosexuality is an “abnormality” found in less than ten per cent of the population. How then, could such a small community have such a profound impact on the size of the world?
Those in favour of same-sax marriage, not just civil partnership, say it gives gays the exact equality afforded to heterosexuals, to which they are entitled. Not only would it make their taxes fairer, give them the right to see their hospitalised loved one, but it would bring with it the same symbolic meaning of marriage. That actually, it is lasting love.
Pink News reported that a district council in Kent voted in favour of marriage equality by a majority of two-thirds. Still, the motive behind this support seemed to be weakened by councillor Ian Driver’s point that it would bolster business in the area.
He was quoted as saying: “If equal marriage becomes law I estimate that there will [be] 20 to 30 same sex marriages in Thanet every year.
“The average couple spends £15,000 on their wedding so that’s £450,000 being spent every year which will be a massive boost to local business and jobs.”
Not, one would imagine, the argument yes campaigners were looking for.
Boris Johnson also came under fire recently when London Bus was criticised for carrying a Christian campaign parodying the Stonewall “Some people are gay, get over it” slogan. The opposing slogan read: “Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!”
Debating the origin of homosexuality is akin to questioning why people are heterosexual. But people rarely put the question that way. Why doesn’t someone ask if a person is attracted to the opposite sex because they are seeking the acceptance of a parent that rejected them?
If we can come to understand that there is no more reason behind homosexuality than there is behind heterosexuality, perhaps we can close the marriage gap. The effects of love are the same in either relationships (there goes another binary). It is vulnerable, unconditional, unrelenting, etc. It is perhaps the biggest commonality among gays, straights, queers, transgenders, bisexuals and all other spectrums of identities and sexualities.
I used to see this every time I showered as a teenager (it may have been used to cover a crack in the wall):
1 Corinthians 13: 7-8: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Lover never fails.”
Surely that’s a biblical message that applies to anyone who can feel? Or perhaps the argument posed by the Thanet councillor would be more effective in a fiscally-obsessed globe.