I accidentally watched a bit of a current affair programme last night and they were discussing same sex marriage. It made a change from carnivores fretting about eating horse meat.
There was a woman, she might have been a conservative MP given her vehement opposition to the idea and the string of pearls round her neck, and a man who may have been gay, I can’t remember, but anyway, he was also an MP (I think) and he was definitely in favour of same sex marriage. I was reading a book at the time so wasn’t giving my full attention. Bizarrely enough, I was reading Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, make of that what you will.
It was very entertaining watching the woman attempting to rationalise her opposition. She talked about breakdowns in communication and trust arising from broken promises not to allow same sex marriages in church when the decisions had been made to allow civil partnerships and she spoke of religious freedom and what she clearly perceived to be a threat to it. (What it’s threatened by I’m not sure but I’m reckon the threat which cannot be named might enjoy dressing up as Sally Bowles at the weekend and listening to Village People. Just a hunch mind, nothing more…)
What she didn’t say was that she didn’t like gay people, or that they were sinners who should be boiled in oil for an eternity and then stood on their heads in a bucket of shit on Bank Holidays. In fact, she went to great lengths not to come anywhere close to expressing any prejudice towards gays or lesbians which I thought was a bit of a shame given that she obviously didn’t want them getting married in church. Politicians should have some balls, have the courage to stand up and say what they believe, which in the case of rabid opposition to same sex marriage is that somewhere in a damp, erotic basement, those bloody gays have got together to launch an organised attack on the sanctity of the Church!
Despite concessions allowing them to get shacked up in a registry office like ordinary people do before they get pissed to blot out the trauma and start a fight in the pub car park, those well-groomed couples have been plotting like Guy and Guy Fawkes! And they promised they bloody wouldn’t. There were assurances no legal challenges would be mounted. They might not be sashaying up to the doors of the European Courts of Human Rights just yet, but they will. Oh, those devious and unholy bastards! They will. It’s only a matter of time. Before you know it, there’ll be throngs of oily boys wriggling around in Strasbourg wearing Kylie’s hot pants and demanding their fundamental human right to walk down the aisle in a wedding gown that looks like a meringue, just like any other blushing bride. And you know what’ll happen don’t you? Europe will cave in like it always does because it hates Britain and wants the £ for itself and they’ll grant them equality and the Church will be swarming with people who love each other AND believe in a God who is going to wreak his bloody vengeance upon them, those defilers, those usurpers…those….those….those bloody poofs!
Maybe I imagined the last bit being spoken by Warren Mitchell. Maybe I exaggerated it a bit, I dunno, it’s hard to tell because a politician once told me they weren’t interested in Iraq’s oil and that the countless deaths resulting from ‘allied intervention’ are all part of a humanitarian effort. But, I digress.
What was so thoroughly entertaining as the pearl-choked harridan squirmed around the subject like Madonna after a noseful of poppers, was her passionate defence of the same institution that recently said; No, fuck off, we’re not having women bishops. It’s bad enough we had to allow women clergy without having women mauling all the bloody choirboys as well. Fucking women. Fucking queers. Fucking Hell. Is nothing sacred?
For the committed Christians among you, I’ll admit I made the last bit up; the Church didn’t really say that. The truth is it didn’t need to. It spoke through its actions rather than its words. It acted to preserve one of the last phallocentric organs of control on the planet as a bastion of patriarchal inequality. But have no fear, Mister God says it’s okay.
The truth is I’m not married. I’m not in a civil partnership either. I just sort of live with this woman whom I love and our three children, every one a bastard son no doubt destined for life of suffrage because the sins of their father will be visited and revisited upon them by a God who frequently demands bloodshed to show you’re serious and not just messing about at the weekend. Hang on, I’ll just tie myself to a chair, break my own legs with a hammer and set fire to myself as punishment. I know it sounds a bit over the top, but it’s precisely what the Catholic Church did to the Protestant Anne Askew when she exercised her right to religious freedom in 1546.
But what I cannot for the life of me figure out is why people don’t just come out and say it; Fuck equality, we’re Christians and it’s not fucking happening. Over our collective and revered dead body, which isn’t actually dead, but resting. Like a Norwegian Blue. At least everybody would know where they stand. But they daren’t, they’re scared they’ll end up tied to burning chairs with mangled legs and their tongues blackened by tabloid newsprint.
Just for the record.
- Individual faith is one thing, organised religion is quite another.
- If same sex couples can ‘marry’ in a registry office, they can ‘marry’ in a church. (Why they’d want marry in a registry office or a church in the first place is quite beyond me, but, each to their own.)
- To deny them is to maintain inequality.
- To deny women the right to become Bishops is also to maintain inequality.
I think that’s wrong, but I’m relatively simple, cheap and easy to feed. And although my tongue has been firmly in my cheek throughout rather than currying favour with the hacks, I make no apologies because freedom of expression is at far greater risk in this ‘democratic’ country than the religious freedoms of a flock of bigots hell bent on maintaining inequality in the eyes of God.