Derrick McClure (Letters, 29 August) writes: “An argument along the lines of ‘in the history of human cultures, the institution of marriage has taken different forms, therefore I can alter it here and now if I feel like doing so’ is not a strong one.”
No serious contributor to the debate is suggesting that a single individual (“I”) should be able to introduce changes into marriage laws, nor are the proponents of same-sex marriage arguing for change just because they “feel like doing so”: arguments grounded in justice and equality should not be misrepresented as a matter of “I just feel like it.”
An argument along the lines of “in the history of human cultures, the institution of marriage has taken different forms, therefore we should not be blinkered by its current or (in our culture) traditional pattern but may look again to see how it may be improved to better serve justice, equality and human wellbeing” is in fact a very strong argument.
As ONE who benefitted hugely from a Catholic education and experienced, with 15 years in Africa, the magnificent work done in education, medical aid and fighting poverty by the Catholic missions, I am distressed to see that institution crashing on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Sexual orientation is not chosen. Consensual and safe sexual activity among knowing adults is about the least damaging activity known to mankind.
For many centuries, however, the broader Western Christian community has propelled itself into nonsensical positions on sexual matters.
The Catholic Church, which has a morally incoherent position on birth control and a self-inflicted cross to bear in clerical celibacy, appears to be determined on a last stand on same-sex marriages. Western Christian tradition produced a confusion between sexuality, legality and morality with which it stumbles along even today.
A church community is entitled to believe certain behaviour to be immoral. But its influence to insist that it is per se illegal was removed a long time ago.
Take adultery, for instance. It may be immoral in the eyes of most people, but it is not illegal (unless you have, in some parts of the world, the misfortune to be an Islamic woman accused of it).
And even then there is a further consideration. It is not the sex that is immoral in adultery – it is the betrayal.
Consensual, safe, adult sexual behaviour is, in my opinion, morally neutral. It is entirely the context that provides any sin there may be in that activity.
This has not been the churches’ position but it is time it was and it is time churches admitted that by the euphemism of “homosexual lifestyle” they mean homosexual sex, of which they disapprove. Such is a matter of conscience, not law.
I wish they disapproved of issues of huge immorality with as much vehemence. In a world of mayhem and murder, starvation, poverty and exploitation, illegal, murderous invasions and theft and dishonesty on a monumental scale, expending precious energy on a futile campaign to block same-sex marriage speaks of a strange set of priorities.
Two people of the same sex committing to each other and to each other’s wellbeing for life is a threat to nobody else. It in no way affects the ability of heterosexual couples to do exactly the same and the church’s energy might be better utilised persuading its flock of the benefits of marriage, a message it does not appear to be getting across very well at the moment .
Dave McEwan Hill
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North east