PinkNews.co.uk founder Benjamin Cohen takes a sideways look at the calls by some MPs for a referendum on allowing same-sex couples to marry.
Peter Bone, one of the most vociferous opponents of opening up marriage to same-sex couples has suggested that David Cameron should hold a referendum on changing the law, perhaps at the same time as a public vote on a renegotiated settlement with the European Union.
Mr Bone claims that no party proposed same-sex marriage before the last general election and that therefore it is undemocratic for David Cameron to introduce it now, even though it was promised in the party’s equality manifesto that he stood for Parliament on. Mr Bone says that the only way to rectify the undemocratic nature of such a change in the law is to put it to the people. Presumably because some people would consider the idea of two men marrying, pretty unattractive.
Very few things are ever put to the public to decide, changes to the voting system, devolution and the relationship with Europe the only I can think of. We’re certainly not the United States where in some states, voters really do get to decide on just about any policy.
However say we did, and say we did get to have a public vote on marriage, I wondered what the other questions could be. Some of the people who oppose same-sex marriage aren’t coming at it from a religious perspective, but instead because they find the idea of two men, in particular, having a wedding ceremony unattractive. I guess they also don’t really want to think about what we get up to in bed either.
Like them, there are things that I find unattractive too. Unlike Mr Bone and many of the male MPs that will be voting against same-sex marriage, I have a full head of hair, my boyfriend Anthony does too. We didn’t choose to be blessed with the lack of a receding hairline, just like I’m sure the MPs didn’t either. But I do find bald or balding men unattractive, I can’t help it, it’s just my nature, I have nothing against them personally but my Dad isn’t bald and neither is my Grandad, so it’s not what I’m used to. In fact some of my best friends are bald or have thinning hair, I love them very much but I don’t want to marry them. I suppose that’s a little like MPs who say that some of their best friends are gay but they should only have a civil partnership.
But for me, the idea of a woman remaining attracted to their husband when when he starts to bald is something I just don’t understand – I mean why would she want to wake up next to someone who will have less hair in the morning than he did the night before?
Therefore, I want to suggest a referendum, but it’s only to be voted by gay people because it seems seems apt considering a load of heterosexual men, and it is primarily heterosexual men, are currently deciding what two gay men or gay women can do. The proposed new law will order heterosexual men to divorce their wives as soon as their hair recedes or begins to bald. As a concession to those who wish to remain in some form of stable relationship, I will permit them to convert into a civil partnership. This will allow the woman to somewhat distance herself from her now less attractive spouse by referring to him as a “partner” rather than a “husband”.
I am of course joking, but to suggest such a referendum is in my mind just as logical as one to prevent same-sex couples from marrying. It doesn’t really change the status of anyone else’s marriage and it need not effect them, just like a woman’s husband becoming bald has no real impact on me.
The right place to debate changing the law is exactly where it is being debated, in Parliament. I just hope, and pray that those who are elected to represent the public can make the decision, on the basis of all the evidence, free of prejudice or minded only by what they find attractive.