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Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Would you Adam & Steve it!
It may be that I’m only writing this so I can use the headline but it looks likethe British Government is planning to allow gay partnerships to have a religious element and be conducted in churches. There won’t be any requirement for churches to allow this but it seems a step in the right direction and these events will be more like a traditional wedding service.
This will be all to the good if this happens across the board and even better if the churches are not allowed to discriminate against same sex couples using their services. It will be one more chip away from religious bigotry and privilege. But it will be a very brave Muslim couple and cleric that manages to have a service to some Islamic standard.
I realise that gay people are no different in wanting a religious or spiritual dimension to their lives but it would seem natural to me that they gravitate to religions that accept homosexuality or simply atheism rather than go through the hassle and prejudice of fighting homophobic faiths for the same rights as all – though I respect the courage of those that do and support them.
This does remind me of the gay character in the TV show Glee, Kurt, who is a non believer and cites religious prejudice as a reason for his atheism. Glee is one of my guilty pleasures. I watch it with my young daughter and as well as being a musical and a comedy it has some great moral stories and dilemmas.
Kurt is not the typical token gay character that seems to appear in TV shows for the sake of political correctness, nor is the school a perfect example accepting diversity. Kurt’s storylines are an important part of the whole and include examples of homophobia, stereotyping and loneliness due to the lack of partner choice. I can’t imagine this show being embraced as suitable viewing for young people by the more fundamental religions because of some of its themes. But it is produced by Fox.
All this makes me think how I would react if I was to find out that any of my own children were gay. I admit I feel rather smug about how far I have come from my Christian days where ‘Hate the sin, not the sinner’ was the mantra. That expression, one I used to accept as reasonable and justified in saying, I now view as horribly condescending and insulting.
If my children ‘came out’ to me, I would be very glad that my son, or daughter, could come and have such a frank discussion. If they felt sexually attracted to the same sex I would encourage them to develop a relationship before 'trying' anything. This is the advice I would give to kids straight or gay.
To try and alter their view to believing they are abnormal, which is a common suggestion from homophobes, would be an unacceptable and shameful thing to do. Relationships are not black and white or 'Adam and Eve'. I hope to encourage my children and will any grand children to aspire to be all they can be regardless of their sexual preferences.