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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Life, meaning and marriage.

I sometimes like to imagine humans are like little sparks flying across a night’s sky, bumping, twisting, sizzling and finally fading away, each life might be only a blink away from dissolving. On its path through space and time each spark traces a pattern through hope and despair. We are fragile in ways we do not even understand, and powerful beyond our comprehension. Our lives are brief, and not one of us is a stranger to pain.

And in this confusing, glorious, pain and joy ridden world we struggle to make meanings, to find things that matter to us and to others. Very often we find love, almost always by accident. We do not choose to fall in love or whom to fall in love with, but in love we do fall.

And sometimes when we fall in love we think it is right to marry each other. In a world welling up with pain and doubt to shield each other against; and joy and lightness to share, its understandable why anyone would choose to share their life with someone else. To prevent two people from union in this way is to take away some of the brightness and meaning from their lives in a world where those things are often scarce.

And why should anyone have to choose, between forgoing such a union, or conducting such a union in a way marked out as inferior? To marry, but not be recognised as doing so by the state, or to be granted a “civil union” as a concession, is to take something beautiful and add to it a watermark declaring it shoddy and substandard. It is a hurtful insult against one of the most important events in the lives of the betrothed.

This is not a small issue and we should not be patient. Every day two people who might have gained a little happiness lose that chance because one dies. To deny someone’s right to marry, even if they do not want to exercise that right now or forever, is to isolate that person and to indirectly give weapons to tormentors and abusers. Worse, it is to say, from the seat of government, to every single same sex attracted person, that one of the most important parts of who they are, the capacity to love romantically, is not worth as much as other's. It hurts a lot of us, and none more so than those already vulnerable, the young, the bullied, and the mentally ill. It’s a deeply unethical thing to do. Less than twenty years from now I believe we’ll look back at it with shame. Let's end this iniquity now.

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Timothy Scriven