The “No” camp has done a pretty good job of changing the terms of the debate. From a simple question, to a much wider conversation about freedoms, children, schools and so on. But it doesn’t matter. You want to make it about freedoms? Fine, let’s talk freedom. What are you not free to do? You can marry, right? You can still be wed to your spouse? No one is prohibiting heterosexual marriages. That is still totally and absolutely a thing which definitely exists.
Can you discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation? No, you can’t. That is a freedom which will not be afforded to you I’m afraid. Is that a freedom you’re particularly concerned about? You really want to be able to discriminate?
Now, since we’re talking about freedom: can these two people, in a loving committed relationship, have the freedom for that to be formally recognised, so that all their post death partner rights and everything are the same as they are for heterosexual couples? That’s a pretty big and important freedom, right? Are you honestly saying they should not have the freedom for their relationship to be recognised in the same way?
Obviously you are. And it seems to be because you think that it’s not the same type of relationship. And there is an understandably natural reason for that: It won’t produce children on its own. Their sex is not for the purposes of procreation.
So let’s unpack that. Does the fact that this love won’t directly result in the production of children without outside intervention make it less real, or less deserving of equal legal recognition?
Look at the Royal Family: Should prince Charles have not been free to marry Camilla? They were never going to produce any children. So why did we afford their relationship the same equal status as one which does? After he even left his first marriage?
Our species is doing fine — Population levels are as high as we want them to be. Procreation is no longer the focus like it is for other species. There are countless orphaned babies out there that desperately need loving parents and stable households. The more we have, the better. Gay couples can already raise kids. This question is about whether their parents can get married.
Many studies have shown that healthy, stable, committed relationships, certified by marriage, are the best places for kids. So to vote against everyone being able to do that, feels… spiteful. When childless heterosexual couples can get married, but homosexuals can’t, where is the reason?
So the topic gets changed again, to make it about schools, and what we teach kids. Again, that’s not the question, but if you want to have the debate there, fine. Let’s go. Gay kids get bullied to the point of suicide at a disturbingly regular rate. How should we proceed? By continuing the narrative that homosexuality is an unnatural abomination which is not deserving of equal recognition, or by educating our kids so that they know that different people have different orientations, and that they should not be treated differently because of it?
At the end of the day, it looks like the reason you would go out of your way to vote ‘no’, is that it’s just different. It’s not what you’re used to or familiar with. Because that’s not how electric plugs work. There is a male and a female side. Right? There is a comforting balance in a heterosexual relationship, one we see every day when we do our seatbelt up. And its absence in a homosexual relationship is hard to get our heads around. So we don’t accept it.
But lots of things are hard to get our heads around. Life is not always as simple as we may have imagined. We know that now. We live, we learn. We laugh. We love. The reality is that these people do love each other. For real. Please, can we just let them marry?