Monday, November 08, 2004

It's Not About Freedom

Another side-effect of Dubya's win was a sighting of a favourite Liberal bogeyman, the alleged antipathy of the religious right in America to homosexuals, now supposedly reified in the form of opposition to gay 'marriage'. After all, say the L3, these naughty Christians want to deprive gay people of their right to marry.

We'll leave aside the question of how you can be deprived of a right you don't have in the first place, and 'move on' - as the L3 would no doubt say - to consider the question of what rights it is that gays are being deprived of. After all, a marriage is a complex thing so it's worth setting out exactly what is required. First of all, there's a need for a Priest. Fortunately, there are a fair number of Liberal (in every sense) Christian denominations which support gay 'marriage'. Also, you need to book somewhere for a reception. Again, there are many of these available. Flowers are always useful, and here many gays are particularly well served, quite possibly with the chance to get them at trade prices. Then there is the question of the honeymoon which…..

Wait, you mean that wasn't what you were talking about ? The Christians aren't actually firebombing shops which sell wedding rings to gay couples ? You mean what they want isn't the marriage per se, it's….

What it is that gay rights activists want is not the right to hold a wedding reception without crazed theocrats storming the place, no - it's the legal right to coerce the aforementioned Christians (and everyone else) to recognise them as married. You may think this is all perfectly reasonable - but it's not an argument based on freedom. On the contrary, the end result is to use the power of the state to force people to acknowledge gay couples as 'married' even if they themselves think the whole thing is ludicrous.

Again, you may think there are legitimate grievances, as far as issues such as taxation and the like go. This may be true, but that is not the argument these people have chosen to have. On the contrary, a movement designed to oppose iniquities in (eg) inheritance tax would have forged an alliance with carers while gay rights activists have very definitely chosen to not to address any individual anomalies - no, when they say gay marriage, they mean just that: the ability to coerce third parties into supporting their lifestyle. This debate is just further proof of what has been blindingly obvious since the 1990s. The gay rights movement is no longer concerned with protecting the rights of its members to follow their own lifestyle as it is with curtailing the rights of those whose lifestyles gays do not approve of.

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