Gay Marriage

 | 2 min

I am ultimately in favour of allowing gay people to marry. I can't see any reason to prohibit marriage to a group of people based on the shape of their partner's genitals. It seems as arbitrary to me as banning mixed-race marriage. I just think gay activists should focus on civil union first, then gay marriage after. It's a difference of opinion on tactics, not goals.

I see strong parallels between the process of racial equality and gay rights in the US.

Race Sexual orientation
Black people were slaves. Sodomy was illegal.
Black people were given some legal rights but were discriminated against. Gay people weren't prosecuted for sodomy but were discriminated against.
Black people were given the same legal rights but separate institutions: "separate but equal". Gay people are allowed civil unions but not marriage.
All people have the same rights and institutions regardless of colour. All people will be allowed to marry, regardless of gender.

I think civil unions are an important step along the way to equal-access marriages. Even though the ultimate goal is full equality, I think the gay activists should focus on civil unions first.

You have to remember that many people today grew up in a time where marriage was a breadwinning husband and a housewife. Homosexuality was not only condemned by the clergy, it was considered a mental illness and was actually illegal. Many, probably most, people brought up in that era will never get past their built-in bias against homosexuality and will strongly resist the redefinition of marriage to include it. However, they are likely to be less opposed to a newfangled civil union including gay people. They will probably still oppose it, but not with the vehemence they will oppose a redefinition of marriage.

Social change doesn't happen because individuals change their minds. It happens because the people with the old ideas die, and the younger generation that replaces it has more modern ideas.

Further down the track, once civil unions are firmly established it will be much easier to have marriage opened up to everybody.