I believe that some people who have concerns about marriage equality are not homophobic. Whilst it is hard for those of us who are personally affected by their opposition to accept this, I think it is something we should remember. Know thy enemy after all!
But when it comes to opposition from the upper echelon of the Catholic Church's command structure, I feel that the "We aren't homophobic!" line is completely without merit. Today, in Scotland, they have declared it to be National Marriage Sunday and propose to form a new group against marriage equality known as the National Commission for Marriage and the Family. Yet we know just how their arguments will go...
Item: People 'should not act on homosexual feelings', says Catholic spokesman
Their insistence that they are just concerned about their religious freedom and protecting "true marriage" is shown clearly to be a lie. Their campaign against marriage equality is rooted in personal and religious distaste for LGBT people.
But it's not like they are trying to hide that...
Item: Scottish Catholics: Homosexuality cuts lifespan by up to 20 years
They are often reluctant to share the sources of these figures but the 20 years figure is a dead give away. That suggests they are using this 2005 study which is based, and this is excellent stuff, on a study of obituaries. Even a younger version of me worked out how that might be an incredibly flawed way of working.
And of course whether our "lifestyle" leads to a shorter lifespan is rather irrelevant to this debate. We do not decide who gets to marry based on how long they have to live, would the church ban a woman from marrying a man with HIV/AIDS?
Item: In reversal, Catholic Church backs ‘Kill the Gays’ bill
After previously opposing the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a Catholic Archbishop and other Christian leaders have called for it to be put back on to the Parliamentary agenda. Although this may be because the death penalty part is now being downplayed, the bill remains repugnant.
Lest you think I have some hatred towards the Catholic church and Catholics in general, I don't. I have a problem with the leadership. I'm picking on them today as they are the ones who will be spreading a message of hate in their church services today disguised as "concern". There are individuals within the church who support marriage equality and some polls show a majority of Catholics (in Scotland) support it too! We must reach out to those people and ask them to reach out to their leadership and point them in the right direction.
But be under no doubt... the Catholic church leadership do not oppose marriage equality out of some high-minded matter of principle. They do so because they despise LGBT people and our relationships. I wish I could make our opponents imagine how they would feel if not only were they told their relationship with their loved one was sick but that people ACTIVELY tried to destroy that relationship and make them live a life of celibacy. Unfortunately, because many in the Catholic hierarchy do live a life of celibacy, this may be too great a leap of imagination and empathy.
I'll leave you with this.... when the representative of the Catholic church spends almost a whole debate on the matter of whether teachers will be sacked because of their views on marriage equality (as in the first link above), you know they are losing the argument. They are desperate and I'm concerned this will lead to further hateful remarks as they try to scaremonger.
Religious freedom must be protected, and if only the Catholic church and other religious opponents would work with the Scottish Government and marriage equality campaigners there might be a good chance it actually will be!
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