While it’s possible to make a case against gay marriage that does not rely on fear or loathing of gay people, but Andrew Brown says homophobia has made the current case untenable.
A prime example is the letter from Chris Sugden and Philip Giddings of Anglican Mainstream “correcting” the Prime Minister when he said that the Church is locking out faithful Christians for it’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
When Chris Sugden and Philip Giddings of Anglican Mainstream released their letter to the prime minister last week they cannot have understood just how foul-spirited and pharisaical it makes them appear. They have been taken seriously for so long within the power structures of the Church of England that they have quite lost touch with the sanity of the outside world. They founded their pressure group to oppose the appointment of a celibate gay man as a bishop. Yet they claim in their letter that “those who experience the attraction” – they won’t talk about “love” – “have always been fully welcomed”.
Condescending and pompous to the end – they finish with the assurance to the prime minister of their continued prayers – this letter discredits all opposition to gay marriage. It’s obvious that what they really want is for gay people to feel ashamed and to exist on sufferance. The only thing tending to acquit them of a rather unpleasant prejudice is that their smug condescension isn’t only directed at homosexuals. Evangelicals of that sort want everyone who’s not like them to feel ashamed of their existence. “We are all sinners”, they say, but they think they know they and their friends are saved.
When Catholic bishops claim that allowing gay marriage will violate their religious freedom, they weaken their own argument, Brown says.
[Bishop Philip Tartaglia said,] “I can say with a concerned and fearful realism that the loss of religious freedom is now arguably the most serious threat that the Catholic church and all people of faith in this country are facing,” he had said. “Will the Catholic church – and other religious bodies and groups – have the space to adhere to, express and teach their beliefs in the public square? Or will these basic elements of religious freedom be denied, driving the Church and other religious bodies to the margins of society, if not actually underground?”
What’s crazy about this “concerned and fearful realism” is that he gives every appearance of believing his own propaganda. He confuses losing an argument with losing the right to argue. There are actually genuine issues of religious freedom and toleration raised by some recent administrative decisions against opponents of gay marriage. But they have arisen because the argument about equality is already lost.
The argument about civil partnerships and fairness can’t convincingly be put by people who have been unfair whenever they thought they could get away with it.