If you are still thinking that somehow you can reverse the tide and that ‘marriage’ will go back to being to something that you’re happy to define as between a man and a woman, you’re wrong. You’re out of time. The argument is over. What’s happening now is just the cleaning up. Marriage is for all, and the only future is to watch that freedom to marry spread throughout the free world.
Of course, you might want to cling to your theology – your unchangeable holy books that state that homosexuality is a sin – but you’re wrong there too. Eventually, your religion will catch up, or it will be sidelined.
You see, it’s already happened. Things change, laws and countries move on, and mainstream religion follows.
Decriminalization is now much more widespread than ever,, as is the recognition of civil unions and married rights equivalency laws, so it’s just a matter of time before permission to marry is given.
So much has changed, is changing, and will continue to change. This issue is not going away, and it’s certainly not going to be shouted down by the forces of conservatism or the religious.
Slavery still exists today (actually, some sources say there are more slaves now than at any time in history) but that doesn’t mean that the argument over whether it’s right or wrong isn’t over, and every country now outlaws it. It took hundreds of years for slavery to become completely outlawed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abolition_of_slavery_timeline). While it was still legal, it was justified by the major religions as being acceptable.
For Christians, the Apostle Paul refers some of his comments to slaves e.g. 1Ephesians 6:5, Timothy 6:1-2 and Jesus clearly acknowledges slavery (and doesn’t reject it as wrong).
Also for Christians, and for Jews, the ‘Old’ Testament / Torah is full of references to slaves e.g. Leviticus 25:44-46, or this nice one covering the rules for a man selling his daughter as a slave: Exodus 21:7-11
For Muslims, Islamic scripture (both the Koran and the hadiths) is actually very good to slaves, treating them equally as regards to religious freedom, but still recognizing that slavery is acceptable, while encouraging the praiseworthy act of manumission.
However, Islamic states were some of the last to finally outlaw slavery, with Saudi Arabia (1962), Yemen (1962), UAE (1963), Oman (1970) and Mauritania (1981) being the last five countries in the world to allow slavery.
The point of all this is that, eventually, the religious arguments follow the law of the lands. It is unlikely you will find a modern, mainstream Christian leader in America or Europe who would advocate the return of slavery.
You’ll still find pockets of extremism, but then, you still find people who protest abortion clinics…and that too shall pass.
So it will be with the issue of allowing homosexuals to marry. It may take many years, but the argument is already lost, and eventually, your future co-religionists will simply ignore these parts of your holy books, as they do so many other parts today.
There are more and more countries allowing the free right to marry to all citizens, and while there are some bumps in the road (e.g. California flip-flopping on the issue), the tide cannot be turned back. Eventually, all countries will allow it, and then, so will all the major religions. (Of course, some religions already do!).
Conservatives and liberals will move on to arguing about new things (when was the last time you had an argument about slavery?), and everyone else will be able to get on with marrying who they like. The truly anachronistic ideas about homosexual marriage are just like the ideas people used to hold about slavery.
There’s a lot of work still to do, but the main war is over…and to finish the paraphrase of Leonard Cohen in my title …”It’s over, it ain’t going any further, I’ve seen the future, baby, it is marriage.”
Today 16th of January is, in the USA, Martin Luther King day. This incredible speech is a reminder of how that great man inspired change that brought freedom and civil rights to African Americans, who although they had been freed from slavery, still lived under segregation and institutional racism. I share his dream of the day when we are all truly free from injustice, discrimination and the hatred of bigots.
Great post, Andi!
It’s barely more than ten years since gay marriage was introduced in the Netherlands and the only debate that’s going is some orthodox protestants demanding civil servants to be given the right to refrain from having to marry same-sex couples.
Recently, the first gay PM of an EU country was installed, and no one cared about his sexuality.
Progress is a good thing.
There are some complaints in the UK along those lines too (though some religious organizations are asking to be allowed to perform marriage ceremonies), although we don’t have full marriage equality there yet (govt promises it by 2015). To me it boils down this, you can’t hang a sign on your door that says “Whites Only” (unless it’s your washing machine door and it’s talking about cricket kit), so you shouldn’t be able to hang a sign on the door of any place that offers marriage and say “Straights only”. But yes, progress is a good thing, and it’s inevitable, even if there are sometimes backward steps. The interesting thing is how popular sentiment has moved against those who hold more traditionally conservative views. Politicians recognize this – so they have become more friendly to the LGBT community.
I have a gay blog and ofter homophobic people leave some nasty comments in which they express themselves in a way I can’t reproduce. Ignorance and bigotry, mainly found in religious communities, further promotes the idea of homosexuality as a disorder. Many churches may see homosexuality as an act of the devil’s influence or even a demonic possession. However these sects of people are shrinking. Fortunately.
It seems to be that on any issue like this the more extreme views hold out the longest.
Humanity is often at its worst when in danger of losing grip of fundamental (or fundamentalist) belief, and people are capable of the most breathtaking cruelty. It’s beyond me why people can’t see that we are all humans, there is no one else here that is going to help us improve the lives of others or our own. However, on this issue I do feel the tide has turned, that of course makes it no easier for those who face daily persecution – especially from those that should love them. It is my dream that there would never be another suicide driven by non-acceptance of sexuality – but sadly, it is a dream, but I pursue it none the less. The more minds we can change and influence for the better, the sooner the dream will be realized.
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