After officially backing equal marriage rights for gays this week, The Times has published a comment piece today on benefits of such a move, gently cajoling opponents for the quality of their arguments.

Columnist Hugo Rifkind writes: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’ve been trying to find a reason to be against gay marriage. There aren’t any. There’s just God and the “eeeuw” factor.”

Rifkind says while they may be strong arguments for some, they “shouldn’t do it for the country”.

The Times published a strong editorial this week calling for the introduction of equal marriage rights for gay couples.

PinkNews.co.uk has taken the view that it is time for newspapers, politicians and faith leaders to make their views clear.

In his column, Rifkind continues: “There’s just a pro side, which is right, and and an anti side (which some polls suggest may be larger), which is wrong. And, by “wrong”, before you get sniffy, I don’t mean “thinks something with which I disagree”. I mean “thinks something which doesn’t make any sense at all”.”

Rifkind dubs civil partnerships an “act of political genius, possibly Tony Blair’s greatest [...] A couple could say “we’re married!” and bishops could say “no you aren’t!” and neither would be wholly wrong. This was, literally, the third way.”

But the difference between straight and gay couples’ rights when it comes to marriage cannot be supported “without very good reasons, and in the case of gay marriage (unlike, say, sibling marriage) there aren’t any. There aren’t even bad reasons. There are no reasons at all.”

As to being equal but different, Rifkind argues such a difference must be justified.

On the idea that it would undermine marriage, he says: “This is what a philosopher would call circular reasoning. You are arguing from your own conclusions. If same-sex relationships were wrong and perverse, then they would undermine marriage. But if they aren’t, they won’t. Don’t you see? This isn’t a reason, either. It’s a declaration of prejudice, disguised.”

Rifkind says that the argument from “Eeeeuw” is, along with God, “at the root of all anti-gay marriage arguments. Literally, all of them. Those who make them ought to admit this, at least to themselves, and also admit that neither is a basis for policy. The State should not see a difference between a gay union and a straight one. Calm down and think about it. You know I’m right.”