Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Bigotry Of Gay Marriage

I'm lucky enough that despite being an atheist and generally opposed to any religious attempt to control morality, my sexual preference and relationship status is one that the religious can get behind. For people like Adam Ch'ng, I can fit neatly into how he sees marriage without problem - not because I think that's the way marriage ought to be or that it's anything sacred but it just so happens to be compatible with who I am.

I am a Christian and I believe in the sanctity of marriage as cultures throughout history have understood it.
And people wonder why there's a need to be outspoken when it comes to religion. I'm not Christian, and my marriage has nothing to do with any sense of the sacred, but a legal recognition of the coexistence me and my partner share.

And I don't begrudge him his conception of marriage. If he considers marriage to be a covenant before God or some sacred ritual between a man and a woman, then he is free to do so. And no-one in this debate is asking him to give up on that. But by his fighting against the rights of homosexuals to marry, he is pushing those values on others.

For the first time, the gay rights lobby had their lightning rod who would be the public face not of their movement but of 'the other': bigoted and homophobic Christians.
Yet Adam Ch'ng put his bigotry upfront, pushing it as an affirmation of his beliefs. And that's the problem, it's bigoted and homophobic because the outcome of those beliefs does discriminate against homosexuals - and done so in religious language.

As for the content of the article itself, be sure to leave all irony meters switched off and at a safe distance. Anyone using the words "gay rights agenda" and are alluding the gay rights are Machiavellian while talking in such inflated rhetoric loses any right to complain about the charge of being bigoted.

But there's the problem, any attempt to be vocal about the validity of a right can easily be shouted down by those who have the power. Any attempt to speak out can be cast in the nastiest of manners by those wishing to perpetuate that denial of rights. What's Adam Ch'ng got to lose by supporting gay rights? Nothing, I contend. But if supporters of gay rights don't speak up, they continue to be treated as lesser citizens. And Adam Ch'ng is perpetuating that bigotry, whether or not he sees himself as a bigot for doing so.

I am very lucky, because the kind of relationship I want to be in is one that is societally the norm. I don't have to worry about feelings of being broken, of being told I'm a sinner leading a deviant lifestyle, I don't have to worry about being verbally or physically abused because of what comes fairly naturally to me, nor do I ever have to worry about my rights being taken away or to be denied the rights that others have. If the worst that Adam Ch'ng has to go through is that he's called a bigoted homophobic Christian while enshrining and perpetuating discrimination against those who deviate from the norm, then he's very lucky too.

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