I'm a big follower of George Takei (Sulu from Star Trek: The Original Series for those who aren't Trekkies) on Facebook as he, or at least his team of internet elves, post some very interesting and funny things. The posts range from hilarious puns to lovely pictures of kittens doing cute stuff.
Yet he's not always spouting out jokes or gags - there is a serious side to him. For those who don't know, Takei is gay and he's been in a relationship with another man for many years. He's been a big proponent of gay marriage and regularly posts news when an US state or country legalizes gay marriage. Recently my beloved home country Great Britain (or at least England and Wales) have become the latest country to legalise same sex marriage.
I'm not as enthusiastic as Takei on gay marriage but I'm firmly on his side of the fence. The only criteria I can only see in marriage is that they are adults and they are consenting. The two people should know what marriage entails, the highs and lows, the risks and the benefits, and if they should decide to choose this path nobody should get in their way.
Yet there are other people who want to stop gay marriage from being legalised. They have their counter arguments on why marriage should stay as it is. Yet it is really hard, even impossible, to buy into any of their arguments against gay marriage.
"Marriage is between a man and a woman."
Where does it state that? In the Bible, which is a Christian book. What most gays and lesbians want is that their marriage be recognized by the law and not by any higher religious power. The anti gay marriage establishment can keep their religious marriage definition. Religions shouldn't be imposing their definition of marriage or any other of their beliefs on non-followers. If any religion doesn't want gays to be married in their churches, mosques, synagogues or places of worship, that's fine. Marriage can be held in other places, such as a registry office where a lot of straight people have tied the knot.
(On another note, there are many lines from the Bible that Christians don't adhere to, such as not to eat shellfish or not to touch pigskins (i.e. American footballs). You can't just pick and choose which rules to follow and which statements to ignore. You either follow it or not, just like the law.)
What gays and lesbians want is that they have the same opportunity and same rights as straight people when they get married. The benefits vary from tax breaks for married couples to allowing your partner to inherit your possessions via a will. Gays and lesbians don't have the privilege and they shouldn't be denied that just because they are in love with somebody who is the same sex as them.
"Homosexuality is not natural."
If you define anything natural as occurring in nature, then the argument falls down pretty quickly. Marriage is not natural since we don't see animals walking down the aisle or swapping rings. Homosexuality is natural since scientists (the main antagonists of religion) have document a wide variety of species exhibiting homosexual behaviour and activity.
And while we are at the "it's not natural" argument, anybody who uses that phrase "homosexuality is not natural" should be barred from using any type of technology whatsoever since modern science isn't "natural". If they want to be natural, they should make their own shelters and hunt for their own food.
"It will lead to the breakdown of the family unit."
I don't know if the anti gay marriage establishment have noticed but the breakdown of families has been happening ever since families have been forming. You can take your pick of the number of problems occurring in families: husband and wife arguing, job stress and pressure, extra-marital affairs, financial constraints and I haven't even introduced any children into the mix yet. These issues occur in any family, whether they are religious or not, they have one parent or two, or if they have gay/straight parents. Introducing gay marriage will not make the problem worse or better, it is just the same and society should be correcting the aforementioned established problems as ways to correct family life.
On the flip side, there have been many single parent and gay parent families who have done well in life. There are just as many parents who have divorced and remarried, going on to raised good children. The best examples I could find are Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, whose mothers got divorced and then remarried. It was much more difficult to find famous people with gay parents, as homosexuals only comprise a small percentage of the population and in that era before the 1980s very few people were openly homosexual.
There is still some way to go globally in terms of sexual equality. Russia and Uganda have laws effectively curbing homosexuals and my current place of residence Hong Kong still has laws banning gay marriage. Hopefully the countries who have allowed same sex marriage will set an example of how the rest of the world should follow suit.