Gay Marriage: a Secular, Libertarian Take
With the old news that one of UKIP’s leadership candidates subscribes to the belief that, in some cases, homosexuality is a product of child abuse and others having already made their views on gay marriage very clear (John Rees-Evans & Peter Whittle) I feel it only right to put forward my argument and vision for where UKIP should stand on this issue.
It should be made clear at this point that I am an atheist and I advocate a completely secular state. I am of the view that the Church and State should be kept as far from each other as possible. Bishops should be removed from the House of Lords and the monarch should not be heads of both State and the Church of England. I am also a libertarian, and I would fight tooth and nail for an individual’s freedom of religion.
The most common argument against gay marriage is the moral and ethical one – and is also, conveniently, a religious one. ‘Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’ springs to mind. Marriage is argued to be a holy institution between a man and a woman, and it is. Factually and historically this statement is entirely correct and non-negotiable. When the Church took over the institution of matrimony it only intended it to be between a male and a female. So why is the state so keen on forcing the Church to adapt what is in no way a State-made institution? Marriage was not created by the State, and therefore they must have no control over who the Church chooses to wed.
This is where I think that rather than forcing the Church into submission by legalising gay marriage, the State should have addressed the inconsistencies between marriage and civil partnerships (CP). There are numerous legal differences between a married couple and a couple in a CP, with the married couple being favoured in the eyes of the law. By opening up what is the State-made institution of CPs to heterosexual couples and providing equal rights and protections to those in a CP as to those who are married the State could have found a perfect balance.
Through this, the right to freedom of conscience of the Church and the advancement of the UK as a secular state would have both been promoted. It is important to allow non-theists to be able to live in a society where their laws and decisions are not influenced by religion that is completely unwanted by them. If theists wish to live in such a society, then they can do so freely through voluntary actions.
Finally, let me make this clear; I am pro-gay marriage. I believe that through two men or two women marrying and being happy no detriment comes to others in society. However, it is the means I disagree with. If the Church want to open up their institution to homosexual couples then that is their decision, and I really hope they do, as love and acceptance is only amplified when done through free will rather than under duress.