Friday, November 19, 2004

Rant: Who can be married by the law, and who should be

Copied from another blog I write.

As part of the university community I have recently been to a debate about the upcoming civil unions legislation, and the related legislation which proposes to treat marriage, civil union, and de-facto relationships (where de-facto is defined as who-knows-what) all the same.

This is all well and good, but I actually choose to be in a de-facto relationship without all the strings and hassles of marriage; if I wanted to be married I would get married (or civil-unioned/unified/whatever). I don't want the state to say I can't get married, and I certainly don't want the state to marry me without my consent.

And, of course, at any such discussion, there are religious militants. Who believe that extending the right of a formally registered legal union to gay couples is to fly in the face of god. To devalue marriage. To support the minority to the detriment of the majority. To teach our children that being gay is okay, when in fact it is an insidious and evil lifestyle choice.... And other such arguments.

Now, far be it from me to say all religious or Christian people believe these things; I believe (and fervently hope) that this kind of attitude is a minority of Christians. Certainly in my experience, it is a minority viewpoint.

There are numerous arguments that I have seen against viewpoint, including that the statues against homosexuality are also in a book of the bible that says a person who steals cread should be stoned to death, and that the Christians are trying to enforce their (minority) viewpoint down the throat of an apathetic majority.

I don't believe any of these arguments will be heard, any more than I believe what I am about to say will be heard. But I have an argument that centers on a fundamental of Christianity. That fundamental is free will, God gave us free will to do naughty things. If we do those "naughty" things (leaving aside for the moment whether homosexuality is a sin), and don't repent, and it will make God sad, but that is our choice. Now, I know we have laws against murder, and I know we have laws against other crimes too, but the vast majority of the ones that relate to the bible are crimes that have victims; that in some way take away the right of other people to use their free will. Homosexuality, if it is a sin, hurts only the sinner, and takes away no-one's right to make their own choices.

So, given that the government is bound by a human rights act, and is bound to treat all people equally, and that homosexuality is morality, and that God himself did not legislate our morality, but rather gave us a choice, isn't it only responsible and fair governance to allow people to have a union that does not involve church or tradition, and that allows them to marry the person they love, regardless of that person's gender?