Sundays are a Day of Rest – by which I mean a Day of talking about the Rest of my life; that is, outside linguistics.
I recently attended a debate on same-sex marriage.
I quickly wish I hadn’t.
The same-sex marriage debate is unlike most others.
Usually, people are given a side to debate on: “This house is in favour of ____”. The team must then research the pros and cons of ____ and use these to argue their point.
Same-sex marriage is different.
The pros and cons are not political, but are ideological.
The debate was titled: This house supports same-sex marriage.
The Proposition was compiled of someone from the Humanist Association of Scotland, a Law graduate and an LGBT & Labour activist.
The Opposition was made up of the Parliamentary Officer for the Scottish Catholic Church, a University Catholic Chaplin, and a Writer & Student.
What happened was this:
The Humanist representative made some very good points, but mostly advertised the Humanist Association as a very good wedding host.
The Parliamentary Officer for the Scottish Catholic Church then said many things which are offensive; linking homosexuality to things such as promiscuity, bestiality, and paedophilia.
The law graduate made some very good points, about the law encouraging inherent homophobia in society, but got a little bit shouty.
The Catholic Chaplin was lovely, and talked about dignity for seven minutes. Except he didn’t once raise the topic of same-sex marriage.
The LGBT and Labour activist then shouted a lot about him not being able to marry his boyfriend.
Finally, the writer and student complained that if the bill went through, teachers who disagreed with it would lose their jobs, and questioned the ability of a child to be raised without a mother and father.
When the debate was opened up to the floor, we had some very emotional people accusing the opposition of doubting their mother and grandmother’s ability to raise them and of calling them emotionally stunted.
Someone raised the point that LGBT people have exactly the same rights: they could marry, as long as it was someone of the opposite sex.
People discussed modern families where there were more than two people raising a child.
And then a Christian apologised for the actions of the Opposition during the debate.
My point is this: the argument over same-sex marriage is so inextricable from personal feelings and beliefs that the shouting, emotional brawl that ensued was inevitable.
The Proposition was compiled of activists, LGBT or otherwise, who obviously had a personal investment in the topic.
The Opposition was made up of bigots and religious people, whose personal beliefs meant they were either offensive, or avoided the subject like the plague, in order to not be offensive.
Regardless of my opinion on the matter, I was disappointed by both sides.
Proposition: where were your thick-skinned, level-headed, logical points?
Opposition: isn’t the primary teaching of Jesus to love thy neighbour? You did yourselves no favours in this debate.
Both arguments were reduced to illogical, inarticulate strops within minutes and it wasn’t an enjoyable debate to attend