In the last couple of months, two cases were brought before the Supreme Court of the United States relating to the legality of same-sex marriage. It has come to be seen as another potential landmark ruling in the Court’s history, similar to Roe vs. Wade on abortion and Brown vs. Board on segregation. As people begin to discuss the gravity of the hearing, both the Christian far-right and the pro- civil rights groups have been present and visible in front of the courthouse.

The issue of gay marriage in the 21st Century is largely used as a distraction from pressing issues, it should be legal and we should focus our efforts on helping society in other obvious ways. In many ways however, gay marriage is an issue like other civil rights causes, with the LGBT community simply asking for equal standing before the law.

How then, would so many people appear to oppose it? The answer, in part, may lie with a small group of political ideologues that have been present in Washington for decades – the Neoconservatives. Based on the ideology of creating a true moral compass for American society, the Neoconservatives despised the moral relativism that comes with liberalism. Before 1980 Pastors and other church officials in America discouraged political engagement. In 1981, the Reagan campaign mobilised the Christian population to swing the vote overwhelmingly in Republican favour, thanks to the ideas of the Neoconservatives. What began as re-establishing a true moral compass turned ugly for the party a decade later at the Republican National Convention where speakers were booed off the stage for espousing true conservative values, such as a woman’s freedom to choose what happens to her own body.

Thus the Christianisation of freedom issues within sections of American society was the work of a small band of political theorists and policy makers. After all one of America’s founding principles was the freedom of religion, not the dictate of a sect of Christian moralists. Arguments relating to the Biblical sense of marriage, with the irksome phrase “marriage is between a man and a woman” bantered around, are often deeply flawed in themselves. Biblical marriage would also allow a man to marry several women, his rape victim, a female prisoner of war and a woman’s property, i.e her slaves. Thus, if considered properly, common law forbids many forms of Biblical marriage. It is simply an attempt to rebuff notions of equality, and a sloppy one at that.

Part of the reason for same-sex marriage becoming an issue is the culture of the 21st Century. The exchange of private information, which many people willingly participate in, has reduced the classic sphere of private liberty. People seem too concerned with the actions of others, and too little concerned with political engagement and their own actions in society. How would two men getting married even affect most people’s lives? It wouldn’t. Chances are if you hate the idea of it you won’t be attending a same sex wedding anyway. Thus it is probably down to the fact that people, millions of people, are willing to involve themselves in the personal lives of others, and then claim a breach of privacy when people examine theirs.

It is perhaps time to move beyond these arguments. Freedoms should be granted quickly so progress can be made in dealing with the massive issues of our day. Before we achieve equality in society as whole, there will be only sluggish attempts at fixing a very sick world.

BY: Sam Wood

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