This week as Ireland begins offering same-sex marriage licenses for the first time, this story appeared today in the Irish Daily Mail, written by gay man Richard Waghorne. Arguing against the right of folks like Barry Dignam and Hugh Walsh to solidify their legal status? This should be fun!
I double-checked the date. Waghorne’s op-ed was not published April 1.
I have watched with growing irritation as principled opponents of gay marriage have put up with a stream of abuse for explaining their position. Public figures who try to do so routinely have to contend with the charge that they are bigoted or homophobic. When Fine Gael’s Lucinda Creighton confirmed her opposition to same-sex marriage during the general election campaign, there were calls for Enda Kenny to sack her. David Quinn of the pro-marriage Iona Institute is regularly abused in sometimes extraordinary terms for making similar arguments. They’re not the only ones. The reflex response from many gay marriage advocates is to paint all dissent as prejudice, as if the only reason for defending marriage as it has existed to date is some variety of bigotry or psychological imbalance.
Actually, gay people should defend the traditional understanding of marriage as strongly as everyone else. Given that it is being undermined in the name of gay people, with consequences for future generations, it is all the more important that gay people who are opposed to gay marriage speak up.
[…] I am conscious of this when considering my own circle of friends, quite a few of whom have recently married or will soon do so in the future. Many, if not most or all of them, will raise children. If, however, I or gay friends form civil partnerships, those are much more unlikely to involve raising children. So the question that matters is this: Why should a gay relationship be treated the same way as a marriage, despite this fundamental difference?
Now all of this may sound quite shocking, until you realize who Richard Waghorne actually is. The Irish native now lives in London and has been described as a “neocon iteration of an Irish commentator. He often fires for effect and then battens down his blog by offering no easy way for readers to comment. His zeal detracts from meaningful online conversation. His goal appears to gain the spotlight by playing to an audience that appears to be more American than Irish.”
Which explains his closing thought:
Although gay people and gay relationships have been rapidly becoming more visible, I would not be surprised if the case for gay marriage actually weakens in the future. Much of the support for gay marriage that exists today is instinctive, stemming from the fact that people do not want to be thought of as anti-gay. But that impulse itself only exists because we are still living in the shadow of the recent past. In the already foreseeable future, anti-gay attitudes as such will be all but unthinkable, in the way that actual homophobia already has a scarcely-threatening, almost antique quality to it.