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"I'm not homophobic but..."

Posted on: Tuesday, 17 April 2012

I've been back in the homeland, a.k.a. the North East.

I went out for some food with some school friends. I say food. Food was consumed. Some wine, too. Well, mainly wine. And so the conversation weaved through its usual course: gossip, gossip, such-and-such from school, ooo-where-did-you-hear-that? Facebook.

Ah yes, good old Facey B. Accomplice in so many tales of social woe.

Alex spoke up: "Did you see that __________ posted a Coalition for Marriage petition on his wall? I've deleted him."

BOOM. That's the sound of my head exploding.

via pinterest

Now, don't go getting any ideas that this is some yob I went to school with and keep on my Friends list so that I have a stash of grammatically dodgy status updates to give students to correct a'la Wayne Rooney's tweets.

This man is intelligent. He's a nice guy, actually. I like him - or should that be liked him? I don't know; I'm confused. I feel like I imagine my dog used to when it saw another animal on the television and tried to go behind it to find its little friend. I just don't get it. No matter how I try to understand it, I can't. It makes my head ache.

Seriously? You think gay people shouldn't be allowed to get married? Really? Actually REALLY?

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I went onto Facebook to find the link. I almost didn't believe it was there. Sure enough, there it was in black and white (or green and white, actually - I'm still trying to figure out the rationale behind that colour combination - 'Nah, red's not good.' I reckon the PR manager said. 'Too many associations with burning in hell. Black? Nah. Makes it totes obvs that we think gays are evil. Green? Green's good. Like environmentalists. Caring. Non-threatening. Not right-wing nutters. Let's go with green.')

I had a look at the Coalition for Marriage website. DON'T PLAY POLITICS WITH MARRIAGE it thunders vociferously. ONE MAN + ONE WOMAN screams the accompanying headline in block capitals.

There are four key columns to the thinly-veiled homophobic outcry 'argument'.

1) Marriage is unique.
2) No need to redefine.
3) Profound consequences.
4) Speak up.

Now, the gist of these four arguments is as follows - I'll save you the neutral rhetoric they employ and cut straight to the chase:

1) Marriage's been around for ages, just like sexism and famine in Africa and the Antiques Roadshow. 
2) Those gays got all their rights when civil partnerships came in. Why redefine? (err, hang on, paging the Logic Police! Can't we just reverse this argument? Why NOT redefine, then?)

3) Straight people will be sidelined. Oh, you might think you're safe, straight boy.But just you wait till gay marriage comes in. They'll be teaching your kids about gayness in schools. They'll take your job and giving it to a gay person who DRESSES BETTER THAN YOU.  

4) Their piece-de-Daily-Mail-resistence is that people should be able to air their (wholly irrational and sinister) views about gay marriage without being constrained by political correctness. Okey-dokey-pig-in-a-pokey. 

Alongside these four cornerstones of logic and reason (!) are some sneery comments about 'politicising marriage'. Yes, politicians probably DO sense a positive PR opportunity in speaking favourably about gay marriage. Yes, they ARE probably attempting to distract us from our crappy economy. And? Is that a good enough reason not to talk about gay marriage? Because there are other things on the political agenda? 

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I could go on (believe me, I could). But Martin Robbins does it rather well here. And a letter from Fiona Apple has summed up her view recently on the lovely Letters of Note blog - 'Love is love, and there will never be too much.'

OK, so I'm Catholic. I've written about that before. And despite my sporadic church attendance, being a Catholic is important to me - even though these days I'd be lying if I didn't say it's as much of a cultural thing as a faith thing. And, of course, I know that Catholicism isn't gay marriage's biggest fan. But - wrongly, I now realise - I'd assumed it was one of those things the Church reconciled itself to just about giving up on, like Absolutely No Sex Before Marriage, Young Lady/Man! and No Birth Control For Me, Thank You! I thought it was just another embarrassing admission they'd swept under the carpet along with paedophilia scandals and harbouring Nazis and not believing in dinosaurs. Hush hush, we've done away with that now.

via pinterest. i needed some light relief by this point. 

But nope. It seems like there are people who still think like this.

And as for the Facey friend? My finger's itching over the delete button, too. But then what does that achieve? I don't know. I feel angry - no, angry's too strong a word; I don't have any fire in me for a huge blazing row. I'm irritated, maybe. Frustrated by people's...narrow-mindedness. Confused. Why do you care what kind of sex other people are having and with whom? Because that's what it essentially boils down to. A man living with another man or a woman living with another woman and doing the gardening and watching X-factor and OH MY GOD THEY'RE GOING TO BED TOGETHER. 

So, yeah. Irritated. Confused. But mainly I think I'm just a little bit sad.



  1. I think in the same way that racism and sexism have also "gone underground", we tend to think (because we socialise mostly with people who are firmly anti all that tosh) that these attitudes don't exist anymore. Or that they exist, but in the brains of people we would NEVER mix with. Undesirables. Whereas actually, most people just don't talk about that stuff very often. And then when they do, and an opinion like that pops out, it is SHOCKING. But the fact is, this stuff still lurks. I think it is kind of good to keep an awareness of the attitude being out there, so we don't get complacent about our progress as a society.


  2. Love love love this post! Go you!

  3. Penny - so true. How often have you ended up being surprised on your nearest and dearest's views on something after a pubby conversation on something you were convinced you'd agree on?

    Jenny - thanks. Haven't done anything about my itchy delete-finger yet, mind...


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