I apologise about returning to the subject of same-sex marriage so soon, but I came across an example of an argument against same-sex marriage today that is just so, well, bizarre.
It is contained in an opinion piece in the Guardian, penned by one Timothy Radcliffe, who turns out to be, as I subsequently learned, a Roman Catholic priest and a Dominican friar. So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Father Radcliffe starts out well:
It is heartening to see the wave of support for gay marriages. It shows a society that aspires to an open tolerance of all sorts of people, a desire for us to live together in mutual acceptance. It seems obviously fair and right that if straight people can get married, why not gay people?
But then comes:
But we must resist the easy seduction of the obvious. It once seemed obvious that the sun revolved around the Earth, and that women were inferior to men. Society only evolves when we have the mental liberty to challenge what seems to be common sense.
Followed by something that struck me as being simply mind-boggling:
Many Christians oppose gay marriage not because we are homophobic or reject the equal dignity of gay people, but because “gay marriage” ultimately, we believe, demeans gay people by forcing them to conform to the straight world.
As one of the commenters on the piece said, this is rather like saying:
Many Christians oppose the liberation of the slaves not because we are racist or reject the equal dignity of black people but because “freedom” ultimately, we believe, demeans black people by forcing them to conform to the white world.
Many Christians oppose equal rights for Jews not because we are antisemitic or reject the equal dignity of Jewish people but because “equality” ultimately, we believe, demeans Jewish people by forcing them to conform to the gentile world.
I felt neither demeaned nor forced to marry Martin. We got married because it seemed to us a positive step to take, and we didn’t take it lightly.
Here in the Netherlands, every couple who gets married does so in a civil ceremony. The option is then open to them, if they are religious, and if their religion supports it, to follow that up with a religious marriage ceremony. It’s very common here to see a newly-wedded couple emerge from the Town Hall, walk across the market square, and go into the church for their church wedding.