More and more I find myself disgusted by the right-on straight males of this world who seem to delight in demagoguing what is actually a debate about whether governments should issue bits of paper with certain words on them to certain people. And then they call people who disagree “bigots”. Bullshit. I have not a bigoted bone in my body. And here’s an analogy for you: I feel the same way about teh gays as I feel about Jews. (bear with me on this one)
I don’t have a problem with Jews. I’m not a Jew myself, but Judaism in itself is not particularly offensive to me. I think they are wrong about the whole Messiah thing (he’s been and gone), but I don’t judge them and I don’t treat them differently from any other people. I tolerate them and support their right to do what they do.
Currently the government sanctions a public holiday for Christmas. It does not sanction a public holiday for Hannukah. Maybe the government shouldn’t be legislating public holidays for religious festivals at all. But it does. It’s not ideologically pure, but I don’t have a problem with that. Christianity is the dominant religion in New Zealand (and the United States). Judaism is a small minority.
To some, this may be terrible. Not having Hannukah as a public holiday makes Jews second class citizens! they would cry. It violates their human rights! they whine. Jews ought to be treated as equals! they would postulate. We must have Holiday Equality!
Well, no, we mustn’t. Where would it stop? Kwanzaa?! Nobody is telling you you can’t celebrate Hannukah. Do as you please. But to equate it with Christmas is not accurate. It is not the same thing, or of the same importance in the society.
Now imagine if Jews started demagoguing us for holding this view in the same way that Marriage Redefinition activists have. They would tell us they have a right to celebrate Hannukah, and how dare we deny them the right to celebrate it! They would call us bigots. And they would frame the debate in terms of themselves versus a bunch of anti-Semites who were determined to deny them the ability to practice their religion. They might even bring up the holocaust and the Nazis for good measure. And reasonable, on-the-fence folk would be polled and asked if Jews should be able to celebrate Hannukah, and would respond – why, yes… yes they should. They would think it unfair that we were depriving Jews of their rights. And legislators would happily sign into law public holiday provisions for Hannukah.
I suspect that if this happened, the Cameron Slaters of this world would be pretty staunch in telling Jews where they could stick their public holiday plans. And yet, this has not happened with teh gays, even though marriage certificates are an even more frivolous concept than that of a public holiday. For some reason, Marriage Redefinition activists can get away with using these same stupid distractions and straw-men, which would not work with any other minority. How come?
The government should not be labelling things marriage that don’t fall under that definition. That has nothing to do with whether same sex couples can formalise their relationship, or use their free speech rights to call that marriage. I have no problem with them having those rights, and government should protect those rights. But a marriage certificate is a privilege, not a right, and it is no more reasonable to change that definition for a small minority than it is to equalise holidays with various minorities, as I have illustrated.