Many a parent will recognise the headline as the mantra of bossy toddlers seeking to reinforce the concept of ownership as a new-found device that is useful in exercising authority over their peers. Parents that want the best for their children will tell them to share and not to be silly, but the sad fact is that adults frequently behave like this as well.
The recently enacted Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 has brought about a rash of this sort of behaviour. Those of faith have sought to defend their ‘property’ by claiming that marriage is enshrined in faith as being between a man and a woman and that the state should not attempt to re-write an institution that has existed ‘for thousands of years’. No, really, this is qualitative opinion central to the faith-based argument for marriage, from no lesser a person than Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who observed “For thousands of years, the union of one man and one woman has been the bedrock of societies across cultures, all around the world” and sadly this nonsense doesn’t stop with him. Lyle Shelton, from the Australian Christian Lobby, recently asserted “Our democratic freedoms give us the right to prosecute the case for retaining marriage” though I am unaware that anyone is suggesting anywhere that marriage will not be retained.
The sad fact is that this simple act of bring equality to the civil act of marriage has spawned anti-gay legislation in Uganda, Nigeria, Zambia, Russia and many other states from the developing world. The focus in Africa has been supported by many right-wing, Christian organisations from the United States. In Russia it has been cynically used by President Putin to focus his nation on anything other than the amount of money he has embezzled from the state, or through oligarch’s who seek his continuing support. Whatever, the social hegemony of American born-again churches is crass and will be responsible for much harassment, imprisonment, torture and even deaths. Putin? I have long since referred to him as President Boot-in. Anyone who has worked for his country’s government all his life and is a billionaire is not worth consideration in terms of opinion.
The reality is that those of faith do not own marriage. The separation of church and state in terms of marriage came in 1837 when registry office marriages were introduced by act of parliament. It should be up to the relevant religious bodies as to whether they will conduct same-sex marriages, but the state has every right to legalise the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) bill as it has done. The petulant ‘it’s not yours, I won’t let you’ stance by those of faith does not do their intellect justice.
Me personally? I cannot see why a gay couple would want to do this. Marriage is a failing, outdated institution being increasingly abandoned by the straight community.