The simple answer – because it is deserved and it is necessary.
(Note – the following clip comes with a “full box of tissues” warning)
It was reported in the Sunday Star Times today that Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesperson, Garth McVicar has submitted to Parliament that a change in the law allowing same sex marriage will “ultimately have detremental (sic) effect on crime at all levels“.
I really had thought I had seen all the stupid arguments against same sex marriage, but this one is new, and has me completely flummoxed.
How could allowing same sex marriage affect crime?
I can’t think of any rational answer to this claim.
Or is it that Mr McVicar, like many other opponents of same sex marriage, realises that there is no rational reason to oppose same sex marriage so is just muddying the water with this unsubstantiated (and quite absurd) claim?
Here is an article on Mr McVicar’s comments in the Otago Daily Times. The tweets at the end of the article are quite amusing.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has distanced itself from “Doctors for the Family”, a group of around 150 doctors who have written to the Australian Senate Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 claiming that same sex marriage is a health risk and that children of same sex couples were disadvantaged (go here for an ABC report on this topic).
The AMA, which represents around 27000 doctors in Australia, has moved to counter these claims, describing them as unscientific. According to AMA president, Steve Hambleton “There is a growing body of evidence that says there’s no difference in their (children of same sex couples)psychological development, their general health, their sexual orientation.”
It is good to see the AMA has move quickly to counter the bigoted and unscientific claims of this small minority of doctors in Australia. The opinions of doctors can hold quite a bit of weight for the general public, no matter how absurd or ridiculous they might be (just look the small number who support alternative therapies) so to have a national organisation publically challenge these claims is encouraging.
One only has to look at the arguments put forward by this group to see how irrational they are. Their senate submission contains no reliable evidence to back up their claims. Their concept of “evidence” is reminiscent of that supplied by supporters of alternative medicine - largely quotes from newspaper articles and books. Any quotes of a scientific nature appear to be either irrelevant or cherry picked.
Furthermore, this group seems to conflate marriage equality with child rearing.
Same sex couples who want children, probably already have them, irrespective, of whether they are married or not. And just because some same sex couples want to get married does not automatically mean they will want to have children.
The bigotry of this submission to the Senate comes across loud and clear in statements such as
“We further submit that legalisation of same sex marriage will have significant ramifications that have been confirmed by research and events here and elsewhere.
At this point they quote HIV infection rates from the USA, as evidence of the consequence of “homosexual behaviour” overlooking:
a) that surely same sex marriage would support monogamous relationships, reducing the risk of HIV infection
b) that this must make lesbian couples perfect candidates for raising children, given their extremely low risk of HIV infection
Of course, expecting rational arguments from those expressing such bigoted opinions, is probably too much to ask. Indeed, it is what makes it so easy to spot their bigotry.
While a number of countries around the world allow same-sex marriages, there are many others where gay and lesbian couples are fighting for the right to have their relationships recognised in the same way as heterosexual couples. Opposing this, are many right wing and/or religious groups who repeatedly make some of the most absurd arguments against gay marriage including:
1) Homosexuality is ‘unnatural’
Would that be ‘unnatural’ as in not occurring in the natural world? If so, then at least 1500 species of animals didn’t read the memo. Many animals, including those of high intelligence such as dolphins and primates engage in a range of sexual activities, including homosexuality.
Of course, intelligent human beings do not base their behaviour on the animal world which makes this objection irrelevant anyway. As a species, we have pushed beyond our natural limits to explore space and the deepest oceans, we have created incredible organisations such as the United Nations in order to work towards peace and prosperity. We have different populations which engage in sexual behaviours that differ from the supposed norm of monogamous heterosexual unions, including polygamy, homosexual unions and celibacy (which, ironically, is of course a requirement of clergy of the Catholic Church, one of the biggest opponents of same-sex marriage).
2) Marriage must involve at least the possibility of procreation.
The inconsistency of this argument is glaring. If procreation is a requirement of marriage then shouldn’t those who are infertile or too old to reproduce also be declined the opportunity to marry?
3) Same sex marriage destroys the institution of marriage
Marriage is a public demonstration of a commitment between two individuals. In the USA where many of the arguments around gay marriage are occurring, the estimated probability of divorce for heterosexual marriages is between 40 to 50%. This would suggest to me that the biggest threat to the institution of marriage is not from same-sex marriages, but from the failure of existing heterosexual marriages.
Furthermore, religious opponents of homosexuality have often claimed that it involves a promiscuous ‘lifestyle’, yet in the same breath, they want to prevent access to the institution that most strongly celebrates a monogamous union. But then who said religion had to be consistent, anyway?
4) Gay marriage threatens ‘the family’
I’ve never quite managed to work this one out. Would posses of gay man roam suburbia, breaking into houses to bake quiches and redecorate living rooms while singing the theme songs from Hollywood musicals? (Sorry, had to throw in the stupid stereotypes at some stage).
Or perhaps opponents are scared that they will no longer be able to voice their bigoted views, and that their children will see same-sex relationships as equal and healthy, and part of normal life. Heaven forbid one of their children might pursue such a relationship. After all it would be much better for a gay/lesbian child to kill themselves or live a life of undeserved shame and guilt, wouldn’t it?
5) Gay marriages will be the end of Humanity
Yes, that’s right, some opponents believe that if same sex marriage is allowed, then everyone will want to do it. Seriously, I think this speaks more about the repressed sexual tendencies of those making these arguments, than it does about the reality of same-sex marriages.
6) The Bible says it is wrong
You mean that this book of unverifiable historical accuracy which has be rewritten and re-interpreted across time says homosexuality is wrong? You mean the same book that also tells us we should stone disobedient children, adulterers and not eat pork or wear garments of mixed fibres?
Come on, if you are going to treat your religious document like a supermarket pick and mix, I can’t take you seriously.
7) Homosexual sex is icky
This is really what I suspect it boils down to for most people, the idea that certain sexual acts are ‘icky’.
Of course this argument fails on several levels. First it reduces a loving relationship to nothing but sexual acts. This is both insulting and ignorant. Secondly it presumes that heterosexual and homosexual couples do not engage in similar sexual acts. This is incorrect.
Sexual acts are a very small part of most relationships. To reject same-sex marriage on the basis of someone’s imagined vision of a sexual act seems quite absurd.
It seems to me that those opposing same-sex marriage have no rational arguments. Instead, they resort to misinformation, absurd fear mongering and tiresome hyperbole. If the people of the Netherlands, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Iceland, Norway Portugal, Sweden and South Africa can recognise the value of having same-sex marriages, surely other countries like New Zealand, Australia and the USA can too?