“In Article 16 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, marriage is defined as a relationship between men and women. But when our politicians suggest jettisoning the established understanding of marriage and subverting its meaning they aren’t derided. Instead, their attempt to redefine reality is given a polite hearing, their madness is indulged. Their proposal represents a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right. As an institution, marriage long predates the existence of any state or government. It was not created by governments and should not be changed by them. Instead, recognizing the innumerable benefits which marriage brings to society, they should act to protect and uphold marriage, not attack or dismantle it. This is a point of view that would have been endorsed and accepted only a few years ago, yet today advancing a traditional understanding of marriage risks one being labeled an intolerant bigot.”

The aforementioned is a direct quote from Keith O’Brien’s article for the Sunday Telegraph in which he implied that gay marriage is tantamount to slavery. The following is my retort to his holiness’s slight indiscretion.

First and foremost, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and Britain’s most senior Catholic, Marriage is owned by neither the state nor the Church, as the former Archbishop Lord Carey rightly said. So it is owned by the people, as deduced by Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone.

Secondly, and this is with respect to your stance that governments don’t have the moral authority to define marriage – well, then with all due respect, neither do you. Because human beings have been pairing up long before the existence of his Church and will continue to do so long after he’s gone. The institution of marriage pre-dates Christianity and the definition of marriage in law has mostly been established by civil and not religious authorities. In 2010, in the Cardinal’s own Scotland, the number of humanist marriages exceeded the number of catholic marriages by about a fifth and the overall number of non-religious marriages was more than twice the number of their religious counterparts. Prior to that, in 2009, 67% of the marriages in England and Wales were not religious.

He goes on to perpetuate his ill-concealed homophobia by citing that “In November 2003, after a court decision in Massachusetts to legalize gay marriage, school libraries were required to stock same-sex literature; primary schoolchildren were given homosexual fairy stories such as King & King. Some high school students were even given an explicit manual of homosexual advocacy entitled The Little Black Book: Queer in the 21st Century. Education suddenly had to comply with what was now deemed “normal”.”

So, once again, first and foremost, this isn’t the first instance of education having to keep up with the progress that society has made over the years. Drawing the line at gay marriage would be textbook discrimination, which I’m sure at some point someone must’ve mentioned to you what a grave offense it is for a man in your position. And secondly, children grow up to eventually realize that fairy stories aren’t true. So, it’s really not to their social and educational detriment that a couple of books in the library add a whole new meaning to the word fairytale.

Cardinal O’Brien is Britain’s most senior Catholic. Please excuse my impudence but I can’t help but be a bit cheesed off with someone who has chosen to live a celibate life telling other people who they should and shouldn’t have sex with, and how they should conduct their family.

The Cardinal would be more honest if he just said that he doesn’t like gay marriages because his religion tells him so and he doesn’t think people should be allowed to have them because he doesn’t think people should be allowed to have things his religion doesn’t like. But then I suppose even fewer people would listen to him.

“Civil partnerships have been in place for several years now, allowing same-sex couples to register their relationship and enjoy a variety of legal protections. Those of us who were not in favor of civil partnership, believing that such relationships are harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved, warned that in time marriage would be demanded too. We were accused of scaremongering then, yet exactly such demands are upon us now.”

The soothsayer warned Caesar about the ides of March. But in retrospect, there’s precious little that Julius Caesar could’ve done. There can however be given some thought to what the conspirators could’ve. Because they had a legitimate reason to fear the ides of March. Similarly, in this analogy the so called scaremongers could’ve just thought about it with a little less paranoia and from a little more pragmatic viewpoint keeping the biblical-proportionesque prophesies aside. Have we seen a drastic conversion of friendship to marriage in order to strengthen civil protections? Do I ask my buddy at the bar to marry me before I confide in him just so he can have spousal immunity? No. As a twenty year old straight or as the Cardinal would call me “normal” boy, I’m not the slightest bit tempted to try out gay marriage. That being said, if I were, I still wouldn’t condone slavery. Period.