Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A Speech too Dangerous

Earlier this year I went to The Fine Gael Ard Fheis to attend the debate about Same Sex Marriage. Incredibly the motion to to prioritise the consideration of allowing same-sex marriage at the forthcoming constitutional convention was not debated: only speakers IN FAVOUR of the motion were allowed contribute by the session chairperson Marcella Corcoran Kennedy.

 I am a secular blasphemist, opposing SSM, my sin made worse by my being a gay man. That day blasphemy was not allowed rear its ugly head!

If being silenced was not galling enough Catherine Byrne TD added insult to injury by praising the motions proposer for his "courage". My response to that piece of outrageous nonsense is below  here but this is the speech I would have given had I not been silenced.

"Chair person,

I am the third generation of my family to campaign for this great party but as the last gay man arrested under the vile 1861 law, a 21 year old entrapped & terrorised by an under-employed member of the Vice Squad, I had to wait over twenty years to shake Alan Shatter’s hand & thank him for his role in preventing a division & frustrating Fine Gael attempts to vote against the 1993 Norris Act.
Now, this time in public at an FG Ard Fheis, thank you Mr Shatter.
My sexuality should be irrelevant in a debate on same sex marriage but we are NOT having a debate and this motion is part of that forbidding, excluding & silencing.
Instead of open discussion we have the equivalent of the fascist thuggery we saw outside this convention centre today, where to express any doubt at our headlong rush to redefine marriage is to become a target for vicious, vile abuse as Lucinda Creighton discovered last year.
If this is such a small change why enforce it with such jack boot tactics? If Same Sex Marriage is such a good idea why can we not all debate it within Fine Gael instead of sending it to this elitist “Constitutional Convention”?
I’m a gay man committing secular blasphemy: I oppose gay marriage & I oppose this motion because it removes the debate from this democratic party.
Yes individuals enter into marriage for various reasons but at the heart of this debate, if we are allowed to have one, are not individual choices but the meaning of the institution of marriage itself.
Marriage is centrally neither about love nor about adults. Marriage is protected & privileged because it is in families that children are born, raised & socialised. The proposal of Same Sex Marriage aims to put adult’s needs & gratification & the heart of marriage & bases marriage on some notion of romantic love. That is bad enough but in order to give Same Sex Marriage the force & power it is claimed it must have, the state necessarily reaches its sinister tentacles into the legal basis of all marriages, all families & all relationships.
In British law there will be neither husbands nor wives & if that piece of marvellous linguistic engineering does not chill consider the fact that to empower Same Sex Marriage Canadian family law has been thoroughly revised to remove that offensive term……… “parent”. Only guardians are permitted, family ties exist purely at the behest & grace of the state.
Guardian for father/mother, partner for wife/husband are not just different words for old identities but an effort to erode & eradicate deep seated symbolic & actual meanings, to profoundly change how we regard ourselves & our family relationships. Terms that mean everything to everyone inevitably mean nothing to anyone. We should demand that campaigners for Same Sex Marriage are honest & upfront about this profound re-definition of marriage & family.
Try as I might I will never get my boyfriend pregnant.
Children are a born of two opposite sex parents. Reducing a man to a sperm donor/sperm inserter & a woman to convenient tank incubator is disrespectful of their humanity, distorts the law & can only be disastrous for society. Yet at its heart that is what Same Sex Marriage will & must do.
It should be neither controversial nor odd to restate the truth that children do best raised in a stable union with a mother & father but sadly in this insane culture-war that truth is a red rag to the fantasy land bulls.
Mothers & fathers men & women, are gendered, those real, basic gender differences matter in the rearing of a child. Can gay people be good parents, off course we can and are. Do heterosexuals sometimes make bad parents? Is Enda Kenny a card carrying Fine Gael member!
That should not change our social & legal preference for children to have a father and mother raise them, as is their birth right. 

Pretending that gender is merely a construct or that outcomes for children are irrelevant may work in a Gender Studies MA thesis but this is the real world with real children & need real Mammies & Daddies. Great claims require great evidence but no one whit of real evidence has been advanced to prove that gender neutral rearing benefits children. A mish-mash of adolescent complaints & appeals to the great God equity do not amount to evidence.

Same Sex Marriage is presented, like many bad ideas, as both progressive & caring.

Pretending that Same Sex Marriage is part of some historical progress is just deluded: history has no narrative, no storyline, just the actions of people. We should rigorously interrogate parties or people that describe themselves as “progressive” on exactly what progress, what narrative, which road. From Marx to Pol Pot narrative pre-ordained history has justified to much misery to be tolerated as an argument.
It is not uncaring to reject damaging ideas, nor is it bigoted to see gender as mattering or to want the best for the nation’s children.
Fianna Fail has voted for same sex marriage. Fianna Fail are in opposition & if there is justice in the world & a smidgen if self-preservation in the electorate they will remain in opposition until they rot.

They know that promissory notes given at their Ard Fheis will never have to be paid, unlike the ones they so liberally disbursed while in government.
We on the other hand are the largest party in government & the ties we bind, bind ministers, bind government, and ultimately bind Ireland. Our promises should not be given lightly & not without thorough debate

I lived through an era of shocking legalised persecution, real discrimination & it makes my blood boil in this free Ireland to have the word discrimination tossed about thoughtlessly with no understanding of its meaning. That real discrimination I faced in the 80s made me learn courage, I’m asking you to have the courage today to reject this motion & let us really debate Same Sex Marriage in this party."

Follow me on Twitter