For months now, it seems that every second news report has something in it, about the ongoing campaign for gay marriage. But like the abortion debate this one just seems to keep on rolling, with absolutely no visible end in sight. Now I’m not going to go on here about how both sides of the debate have valid points. Sometimes that sort of diplomacy is more of a hinderance than anything else. Instead I have a thought about another route.
Modern society always seems to be about making everyone equally happy. Okay sure, that’s an option. But with a topic this divisive, especially in a nation where the Catholic Church only recently had its power broken, is always going to be a tough sell on the “pro” side. Equally, the in-built unfairness of a nation whose constitution, enshrines one faith and one form of relationship above all others, will always be a bone of contention with anyone living there who isn’t of that faith and that relationship type.
So maybe the way to go is by saying “Screw happiness, let’s make everyone equally unhappy!” How about we have a constitutional referendum. That referendum to cover two issues.
1: Stripping all mention of specific faiths from the document. Instead putting in a carefully thought out and worded protection of everyone’s right to worship in whatever way they deem correct, so long as it does no physical, emotional or psychological harm to another human being.
So no human sacrifice, but no special status and thus protections for certain corrupt religious organisations we could all mention.
2: Strip marriage out of the legalities of Irish society completely. That’s right, everyone has civil unions. Everyone has precisely the same rights and responsibilities within those unions. Oh and make it plain that those rights include all the necessary points to allow for free and fair adoption rights, parental rights, next of kin rights, etc. This would mean that everyone is in precisely the same boat and probably just as unhappy with the result.
By the way if anyone REALLY wants to say that they’re married, there’ll be nothing to stop them going to another country to get hitched. But within the Irish state they would be seen as being in a civil union, no matter what.
Marriage has been used for centuries as the ultimate signature on a contract.
“You marry my daughter and I won’t raise your kingdom to the ground.”
It’s also, until recently, been used as a shackle around the ankle of women. Or have we forgotten the, not so long ago struck down, women’s status as “goods and chattel” of first their fathers and then their husbands? These days it’s mostly a way for one segment of society to show how they’re more “normal” or “right” than other segments.
So considering the fact that it is an institution that fosters an unjust and unequal nation, let’s just call the whole thing off and get a civil union instead?