Sunday, 20 May 2012

John Sentamu Is Woefully Uninformed On Implications of Marriage Equality

John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, has returned to the subject of marriage equality and civil partnerships this week.

I firmly believe that redefining marriage to embrace same-sex relationships would mean diminishing the meaning of marriage for most people, with very little if anything gained for homosexual people. If I am right, in the long term we would all be losers.
He seems not to realise marriage equality isn't just about "homosexual people" and at the same time spreads that common falsehood that civil partnerships and marriage are "equal" and thus nothing further needs to be done.

I understand it's easier to see the world in very simplistic terms. Male and female. Gay and straight. White and black. If the world was that simple, Sentamu's arguments would have far greater weight. But it's not.

Male and female are not, and never have been, absolutely separate biological concepts. The line between genders is blurred in nature and we force those who aren't so easily defined to define themselves one way or another. And there are those who find themselves defined in a way that they don't define themselves. As you can imagine if gender is diverse, then sexuality (and thus romantic love) is even more so. Marriage equality is about taking gender out of marriage and allowing romantic love to be the main factor in deciding who can or who cannot get married.

Does the Archbishop realise the affect this division between marriage and civil partnership has on transgendered individuals and their relationships? No, he doesn't. To him it's all about the gays, sex and babies, not about real people and their relationships.

And worse he fails to acknowledge there are real differences between marriage and civil partnerships, not least of which are based on pensions and international recognition. I've got to the point where I honestly don't think that our opponents, such as Sentamu, are liars. I truly think they just don't listen and learn. They never acknowledge these differences, never mention transgender issues, never even allow themselves to just consider the implications of reserving marriage to one type of couple in a world as diverse as ours. It shows a lack of imagination and intellectual curiosity that makes me worried for the leadership of certain organisations in this country, the Church of England amongst them.

John Sentamu isn't homophobic (not based on this argument anyway), but he is completely and utterly wrong.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist


Anonymous said...

"John Sentamu isn't homophobic"

Hmm. In 1999 he refused to sign up to the following:
"That no homosexual person should ever be deprived of liberty, personal property, or civil rights because of his or her sexual orientation.
That all acts of violence, oppression, and degradation against homosexual persons are wrong and cannot be sanctioned by an appeal to the Christian faith.
That every human being is created equal in the eyes of God and therefore deserves to be treated with dignity and respect."

That leaves me wondering which part he objected to.

Anonymous said...

Actually the basis for marriage (even as currently restricted to heterosexuals)isn't defined merely by romantic love. One hopes that those getting married are 'in love' but what is asked of them is an active commitment 'to love' each other exclusively and for the rest of their lives - the answer to the questions asked in the marriage ceremony is "I Will" not "I Do."

Anonymous said...

"the answer to the questions asked in the marriage ceremony is "I Will" not "I Do.""

Are you sure about that?