Over at 2 Blog or not 2 Blog, Mick’s written recently about the proposed legislation to allow homosexual ‘civil unions’. And he wrote this the same day I had an extensive debate on email with Sioneld about this proposal. THEN, I watched the latest episode of The West Wing that I’d downloaded (S02, Ep07 The Portland Trip) which covered the topic of gay marriage as well. So it’s been everywhere in my world in the last few days.
Despite being a card-carrying member of the party that has introduced this change, I remain unconvinced. Not because I’m anti the idea. But I’ve been asking those I’ve discussed it with whether the change should be supported. Up to now, I’m yet to get a decent explanation why.
In discussion with Sioneld, the topic became about whether gay couples are discriminated against. And since the legislative changes are giving them a status that is similar, but not the same as, the straight community then the law fails. After all, if you’re stopping discrimination by discriminating, that’s just hypocritical (not to mention silly).
Sioneld then justified this discrimination on the basis that the wider community wouldn’t accept the non-discriminating position (gay marriage). But if the community wouldn’t accept it, then the reformers should be setting about changing the public’s position, rather than replacing one grade of discrimination for another. Introducing a law that isn’t supported by the community is bad public policy. One should win the hearts and minds campaign first.
I also think that introducing a law in one small part of the country that will not be recognised in the other 99.5% of the country is not only silly, but it’s bad law.
I put the challenge out to those who say this change is a good thing – show me why it’s good. Show me a need. Show me how this legislation will fix the need. If your argument comes down to “the need is obvious” you’ve lost the debate. If “the need is obvious”, then I wouldn’t be asking the question. If “the need is obvious”, it’ll be a piece of piss for you to demonstrate it. So go on.