Friday, 15 January 2010
The Bride Wore a Suit.
Spooky Madcow "Do you, Gorgon, take this man Peter to be your awful dreaded husband?"
Gorgon "Do I?"
The Count "You do."
Gorgon "I do"
Spooky Madcow "And do you, Peter, take this, er, this thing here, in sickness and on the National Health?"
The Count "I suppose so"
Spooky Madcow "Then I now pronounce you man and man-shaped thing. For as long as you both shall spin. You may now do to each other what you do to the country every day- wait until I'm out of the room, please!"
Speaker Bercow is apparently a champion of gay rights. I'm sure everyone out there, gay or straight, realises that the only thing any politician really champions is themselves and standing for causes they know nothing about is always simple vote-grabbing. Call me cynical if you like. I don't mind, because I am.
So, Spooky is to hold a gay wedding (oh, I don't care what the proper PC terminology is and there's no point getting all worked up about it because it changes every five minutes anyway) and he is to hold it in the Spooker's Chamber in Parliament.
I don't care about that. I'm not gay, nor am I religious so it doesn't matter to me who marries who or what they subsequently or previously do to each other in private. As long as they don't want to do it to me, it's no business of mine at all.
What I'm wondering is - are heterosexual marriages allowed in the same place? Would Spooky publicise them with the same fervour if they were? And if not, why should we see this as anything other than simple vote-grabbing?
The thing about such divisive methods of vote-grabbing, of course, is that it only grabs votes from the group being 'championed'. It tends to turn any group that disagrees with the 'championed' group away.
Norman Clegg, last of the sombre whiners, is finding that out too. This leader of the opposition to the opposition, whose arrival into a room always brings a certain absence with it, has declared that religious schools must teach that being gay is a Good Thing.
I've read the Bible. Was forced to as a child. I can still list the Old Testament books in order but I get a bit lost towards the end and have forgotten the names of most of the New Testament ones. However, I can tell you with certainty that if you're gay, God doesn't like you. He said so in his book. If it's any consolation, he doesn't like me much either but for different reasons (I'm scruffy, lippy and disruptive, smoke and drink too much and would, if I could, spend far more time with loose women).
So telling adherents of the Bible and the Torah and the Koran that they must teach that something totally at odds with their belief is a Good Thing, is the same as saying they must hold up their holy book in class and tell the children 'God was wrong'. It's not going to work, is it?
Clegg doesn't see that. I suspect not even Stewart, nor even Archbishop Cranmer have yet made that link. I have no links to Muslim commentators but I suspect they will be similarly incensed. As a vote-grab, it's backfiring faster than a specially designed backfiring clown car run on the wrong sort of fuel with the timing set by an untrained deaf and blind man who's just polished off his second case of Red Stripe and has no fingers.
It is guaranteed to infuriate anyone of any faith (and there are lots) and it annoys faithless, straight old me too. It'll even annoy a lot of gay people. Not because of what he wants to order the schools to teach but because he wants to order the schools to teach any particular worldview at all.
If he had said that faith schools should not teach the kids that gays are evil and should be thrown off mountains, I'd be behind him all the way. If he had stuck with 'stopping homophobic bullying' I'd be okay with that, although I'd rather he said 'stop all bullying' but that's the impossible dream of all who meddle in the education system. Kids will bully each other, always have and always will. It's how they establish pecking order and it's one of the things that drives the less physical into the arms of real learning so they can hire the bullies, years later, and then fire them just after they've signed for a mortgage. Karma can be fun.
Sexuality is an individual thing and at least up to puberty, kids don't know for sure which way their preferences lie. They don't know, and most don't want to know and don't care. Labour has already forced kids to grow up too fast and plan to extend that into the primary schools. Adult life is confusing and complicated. Kids have a short few years of uncomplicated playing around. Leave them alone.
You never know, we might even end up with fewer utter gits leaving those school gates and no need for a school maternity wing.
When I was at school, a serious-faced chemistry teacher taught us about dangerous explosives and said 'Now don't try this at home.' We went straight home after school... past the chemist, the grocer, the ironmonger and the gardening shop and we had our first detonation by 8 pm. The components were easier to get in those days and nobody really minded as long as we didn't blow up anyone else.
If we had had sex education, we might have tried that too.
That's the thing with kids. You tell them how to do something and they want to give it a go. Teach kids about anal sex and imagine what a bully and his gang will do with that information, next time they have a gay kid cornered.
Clegg goes way beyond the buggery lessons he plans though. He wants all of this:
* Change the law to allow gay men and women the same marital rights as straight couples, including the symbolic right to use the word "marriage" rather than civil partnerships.
I don't care what it's called. I don't care if religion decides to rename heterosexual marriage as 'Splink' in retaliation. It's just a label. It shouldn't matter to the two people involved what that label is and if it does, perhaps it's not the partner you want so much as the label.
* Reverse the ban on gay men being allowed to give blood.
There is a reason that gay men can't give blood. It is not based on discrimination. It is not based on a fear that some five-bellied, slope-foreheaded, hairy-armed goon is going to wake from surgery and demand a mochaccino and then criticise the curtains. It is based on the fact - fact, Clegg, you might have heard the term somewhere - that gay men are at a higher risk of being HIV positive, higher risk of hepatitis, and so on. It's biological risk management, not homophobia.
I don't give blood. I'm not gay and have no disease but since the NHS don't want to treat me because I smoke and drink, I consider that they get enough tax out of me without getting blood too. Besides, I'm still using it. In fact, no smoker or drinker should give blood under the current regime in case they contaminate the Puritans.
* Guarantee any refugees genuinely fleeing a country because of persecution over their sexual orientation asylum in the UK.
This one I actually agree with. I recall an Iranian gay man who was to be deported back from the UK to Iran even though he'd have been dangling from a crane within an hour of arrival - for no crime at all other than who he chooses to sleep with. Meanwhile we still have Hooky and others who are safe because they have been convicted of real crimes in their home countries and it's against their inhuman rights to make them face the consequences.
It would have to be applied with caution however. Such a guarantee can be easily abused.
* Review Uganda's membership of the Commonwealth if its government was to bring in the death penalty for practicing gays.
I think Uganda has already backtracked on that one. And again, Cleggy, we do a lot of business with other countries who kill people just for being gay. What about them - or do dollars still speak louder than lives for you?
Clegg comes across as a Lib Dem. Inconsistent, ill-informed and irrelevant.
If you want my vote, Cleggy, you'd better get your brain back from whoever you've loaned it to, and then study the manual carefully before switching it on.
But then, you don't want my vote. None of the three main parties want to be associated with a filthy, drinky-smoker, do they?
Posted by Leg-iron at 00:36