Author Archives: Mark Jepson
According to Richard Waghorne, an openly gay journalist for the Irish Daily Mail, no, it should not. Below is what he had to say in his column.
I am not a big believer in people making arguments on the back of who or what they happen to be. When I last made the case in these pages against gay marriage, about a year ago, I didn’t feel the need to mention that I am gay myself. Arguments stand on their own two feet, or don’t, but not on the strength of who happens to be making them. Nor, I don’t mind adding, did I particularly want to drag my own life into what is often a bad-tempered debate. But I am concerned enough about the way things are going to make an exception.
Explaining that you oppose gay marriage as a gay man tends to get a baffled response at first. This is understandable given how quickly the debate on gay marriage can collapse into allegations of homophobia. The message, explicit or implicit, is often that being anti-gay marriage means being in some way anti-gay.
I have watched with growing irritation as principled opponents of gay marriage have put up with a stream of abuse for explaining their position. Public figures who try to do so routinely have to contend with the charge that they are bigoted or homophobic. When Fine Gael’s Lucinda Creighton confirmed her opposition to same-sex marriage during the general election campaign, there were calls for Enda Kenny to sack her. David Quinn of the pro-marriage Iona Institute is regularly abused in sometimes extraordinary terms for making similar arguments. They’re not the only ones. The reflex response from many gay marriage advocates is to paint all dissent as prejudice, as if the only reason for defending marriage as it has existed to date is some variety of bigotry or psychological imbalance.
Actually, gay people should defend the traditional understanding of marriage as strongly as everyone else. Given that it is being undermined in the name of gay people, with consequences for future generations, it is all the more important that gay people who are opposed to gay marriage speak up.
This week sees the first civil partnerships between same-sex couples becoming official under legislation passed last year. That provides gay couples with nearly all necessary legal provisions. Many of us know people who are benefitting from this, or may well in the future. To borrow a cliché, this would be a good time to declare victory and go home.
Instead, the demand now is for gay marriage on top of this, which the Programme for Government commits to exploring. This is not only unnecessary, but verges on selfishness.
The support and status that marriage entails is not a societal bonus for falling in love and agreeing to make a relationship lasting. That is not, of course, to say that love and romance are not an important part of marriage. But they are not the reason it has special status. If romance were the reason for supporting marriage, there would be no grounds for differentiating which relationships should be included and which should not. But that is not and never has been the nature of marriage.
Marriage is vital as a framework within which children can be brought up by a man and woman. Not all marriages, of course, involve child-raising. And there are also, for that matter, same-sex couples already raising children. But the reality is that marriages tend towards child-raising and same-sex partnerships do not.
I am conscious of this when considering my own circle of friends, quite a few of whom have recently married or will soon do so in the future. Many, if not most or all of them, will raise children. If, however, I or gay friends form civil partnerships, those are much more unlikely to involve raising children. So the question that matters is this: Why should a gay relationship be treated the same way as a marriage, despite this fundamental difference?
A wealth of research demonstrates the marriage of a man and a woman provides children with the best life outcomes, that children raised in marriages that stay together do best across a whole range of measures. This is certainly not to cast aspersions on other families, but it does underscore the importance of marriage as an institution.
This is why the demand for gay marriage goes doubly wrong. It is not a demand for marriage to be extended to gay people – it is a demand for marriage to be redefined. The understanding of marriage as an institution that exists and is supported for the sake of strong families changes to an understanding of marriage as merely the end-point of romance. If gay couples are considered equally eligible for marriage, even though gay relationships do not tend towards child-raising and cannot by definition give a child a mother and a father, the crucial understanding of what marriage is actually mainly for has been discarded.
What that amounts to is the kind of marriage that puts adults before children. That, in my opinion, is ultimately selfish, and far too high a price to pay simply for the token gesture of treating opposite-sex relationships and same-sex relationships identically. And it is a token gesture. Isn’t it common sense, after all, to treat different situations differently? To put it personally, I do not feel in the least bit discriminated against by the fact that I cannot marry someone of the same-sex. I understand and accept that there are good reasons for this.
Although gay people and gay relationships have been rapidly becoming more visible, I would not be surprised if the case for gay marriage actually weakens in the future. Much of the support for gay marriage that exists today is instinctive, stemming from the fact that people do not want to be thought of as anti-gay. But that impulse itself only exists because we are still living in the shadow of the recent past. In the already foreseeable future, anti-gay attitudes as such will be all but unthinkable, in the way that actual homophobia already has a scarcely-threatening, almost antique quality to it.
Surely it’s time to have a proper conversation about gay marriage, a conversation where people are no longer made to feel that if they do not offer knee-jerk support to it, they will be branded anti-gay. Only then will the essence and the real reason for supporting traditional marriage be allowed to come to the fore again. The best interests of the children of the nation must always come first.
Be sure to keep a close eye out for future work by Richard.
- Victoria Labor Leader Backs Gay Marriage (therainbowpost.com)
All being well, we will be conducting an interview with Professor Sue Golding from the University of Greenwich tomorrow or Tuesday to get an insight into how same-sex marriages are approached (and how they’re generally received by the public) in the UK and the US. Sue is originally from New York but has lived in London since 1997 so we’re hopeful that we can tap into her vast knowledge and experience on the subject.
We also hope to complete some other interviews with academics as well as gathering a general consensus from the people of London on the issue of same-sex marriages. Live in South-east London? You might see us around some time.
We ambitiously contacted Peter Tatchell to see whether we could interview him, but, unfortunately (and perhaps as to be expected), we have not heard back yet. Let’s hope he’ll be getting back to us soon!
Stay tuned for some pictures and ‘behind the scenes’ footage of us conducting the interviews. They’ll be appearing on the site soon.
Until next time…
Changes in UK law will see same-sex couples given the right have their civil ceremonies in religious buildings.
The change only requires the law to be altered to ensure that it complies with section 202 of the Equality Act and churches cannot be forced to comply.
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell spoke of his delight at the change.
“Allowing civil partnership ceremonies to have a religious content and to be held in places of worship is a significant advance for gay and religious freedom,” he said.
“It was petty and authoritarian to ban faith organisations like the Quakers from holding civil partnership ceremonies, when they clearly expressed a wish to do so.
“The old restrictions forced religious bodies to discriminate against same-sex couples, even when they didn’t want to.”
Peter Broadbent, the bishop who branded Prince William and fiancée Kate Middleton “shallow celebrities”, has been suspended by the Church of England. Broadbent also went on to suggest that the marriage would last just seven years.
The bishop posted the comments on his Facebook page which were subsequently picked up by the press.
The self-professed republican wrote, “I don’t care about the Royals,” before adding that there was “more broken marriages and philanderers among these people than not.”
“They cost us an arm and a leg. As with most shallow celebrities they will be set up to fail by the gutter press … I give the marriage seven years.”
No royal was safe from Broadbent’s attack and he ended the ill-fated rant by referring to Prince William’s parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, as “Big Ears and the Porcelain Doll.”
Broadbent has apologised for the comments.
This is an article I stumbled across on http://www.politics.co.uk and it is very relevant to us a group. The headline is ‘Lesbians go for first gay marriage’. As you can see by the title, it is relevant to us because of our upcoming documentary but also because it could see a change in law that allows homosexual couples to marry and heterosexual couples to enter a civil partnership. These are some of the issues we aim to tackle in our documentary. Another reason it is of importance to us is because the case in question involves a couple who are attempting to apply for a marriage license at Greenwich registry office. Here we have a relevant news story right on our doorstep.
We will keep you posted on any developments on this story.
A source of inspiration to us.
- Slate’s Culture Gabfest on the documentary Inside Job, the FX show Terriers, and the reported demise of the hipster. (slate.com)
(click ‘like’ and then once more on the next page. That’s it! You’re all done).
Good news! The feedback we received for our proposal was great. We’re most certainly on the right track.
The official ‘deadline’ to submit the final proposal is 03/11/2010 so, all being well (*crosses fingers*), we’ll be able to make a start on actually filming parts of the documentary. We’ll be sure to keep you posted.
(click ‘like’ and then once more on the next page. That’s it! You’re all done).
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=london&iid=285687″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/285687/sign-london/sign-london.jpg?size=500&imageId=285687″ width=”234″ height=”237″ /] We aim to explore the traditions within weddings and rituals of different cultures. We will be focusing our attentions on the people of London as it is one of the most diverse cities in the world in terms of culture. “London is the most linguistically diverse city on Earth” (The Times, 22nd January, 2000, p.8). There is evidence to suggest that some 307 languages were spoken by London schoolchildren in 2008. We want to know what marriage means and represents for you.
Same-sex marriage, civil partnerships.
The rituals in some weddings differ to those in others. Offering of a gift in some cultures; receiving gifts in others. Dowry* or pre-nuptual agreements.
Proposing: in certain cultures you are marrying the individual and in others you are marrying the whole family.
Ceremonies: some last one day whereas others can go on for several weeks.
Wedding garments: from traditional suits and white dresses (signifying purity/chastity) ranging from white to red etc…
Weddings differ depending on social surroundings, religions and cultures.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=wedding&iid=7277289″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/7277289/portrait-newlywed-couple/portrait-newlywed-couple.jpg?size=500&imageId=7277289″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /] “In Asia, red symbolizes luck, prosperity, and happiness. In European traditions, the color red may also be a symbol for love, lust, passion, and power.
* Property or payment given by a wife or her family to a husband at the time of marriage. (In some cultures, it is the husband who pays the dowry to the wife’s family).
[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=wedding&iid=7277188″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/7277188/family-standing-the-garden/family-standing-the-garden.jpg?size=500&imageId=7277188″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]
[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=wedding&iid=264208″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/264208/groom-signing-marriage/groom-signing-marriage.jpg?size=500&imageId=264208″ width=”234″ height=”353″ /]
How Will We Shoot the Documentary?
Our initial idea was to create a documentary that focused on three different weddings from three different religions that were all based in one city (London). Our idea progressed over time and we decided to explore the possibility of shooting our documentary in a ‘vox pop’ style. The vox pop style of film making aims to capture and ‘provide a snapshot of public opinion’. We will ask simple, open-ended questions such as ‘what does marriage mean to you’, ‘what would the bride and groom traditionally wear’ and so on.
- “Tying the Knot” (weddingbee.com)
Okay, so this isn’t us on set. One day, maybe? You just never know. [picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=film+crew&iid=6184172″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/6184172/film-crew-taking-break/film-crew-taking-break.jpg?size=500&imageId=6184172″ width=”408″ height=”419″ /]