Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Who Am I To Vote?

I registered to vote yesterday. It’s been a long time coming but I have had many doubts. I am an Irish citizen because my mother was born here but I never think I have the right to call myself Irish because I was born in the States and lived there for 37 years. What right do I have to give voice to my values in a place in which I was not born? I live in awe and admiration of the Irish and the culture here. I love it more than anything I have ever loved but I have not felt it appropriate to add my voice to its shape or its colour. I feel like an inferior American, red-headed step child.

I registered to vote because I know my voice is needed to say yes to the marriage referendum – even though my personal convictions don’t entirely agree. I don’t believe in marriage of any kind. I think marriage is a relic and a tool of governments to keep and consolidate wealth among certain bloodlines and for society to impose the absurdity of monogamy. The lunacy of basing societal structures on something as irrational, expirational and absurd as love is beyond me – but the alternative I have in mind isn’t ready for public debate.

One thing I am certain of is that marriage isn’t about the children, children can be a product of marriage, but no one in their right mind would ever tell anyone in this day and age to get married 'for the children,' or to stay in a bad marriage for the sake of the children so the 'it's about children' crap is just that, crap. I'd have given my eye teeth to have been raised within the walls of a loving marriage - I don't care if that marriage was between a baboon and a kitten.

I came from a heterosexual home. It did not improve my circumstances. Thinking that a heterosexual couple is an advantage in child rearing is like thinking that because you’re in a boat on the Atlantic you won’t die of thirst.

If we are really going to bring up child rearing then lets address the real issues about child rearing and put laws and social structures in place that will appropriately address the sexual abuse – by both males and females – in one man one woman families; let’s address physically and mentally abusive parents in one man one woman homes; and let’s take a hard look the dysfunctions of one man one woman households including alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, physical illness and so many other issues plaguing families who were granted marriage licenses solely because they were people of the opposite sex. I am not demonising any parents or any issue in any family. I am merely saying if we’re going to talk about child welfare, let’s really address the issues and look for serious and effective solutions. I’m actually surprised more people aren’t offended that the no side has taken a really important issue, like child welfare, and tivialised it to gain political points without any real or honest intention of following through and doing something about these very real issues.

The passing of the marriage referendum isn’t going to undermine the sanctity of marriage. The sanctity of your marriage is in your hands not someone else’s. If you think another’s marriage imperils your own, it’s already too late. - and I’m one of the people who did it. I am a bi-sexual woman, who has been married twice. There was never a question of whether I could get married because both marriages were to men. There was no question of how those marriages would manifest because as far as the State was concerned, it didn’t matter as long as my partner was of the opposite sex. My second marriage was open and completely out of the closet. So if your marriage withstood my marriage, then it can withstand all marriages. And at the end of the day, allowing all kinds of marriage actually gives your marriage more merit if that is what you value because you chose to conduct your marriage in ways that were morally valuable to you. Having moral value thrust upon your marriage because there is no other choice, makes your marriage nothing more than a union that followed pre-imposed, unbreakable rules.

So let’s address one of the real issues. Marriage gives couples permission to have sex and to have sex in a way that society accepts. If we allow gay marriage than we are agreeing that gay sex is socially acceptable – and since we’re calling a spade a spade – what we’re really talking about is accepting oral and anal sex. Now why conservatives believe that hetero couples aren’t having oral and anal sex is beyond me but they do seem to believe that given the choice heteros only choose vanilla. (They obviously haven’t met any the straight boys I’ve dated who at least want to try chocolate and who expect strawberry on the first date.)

The paradox of anything socially acceptable is that it makes whatever it is nobody’s business – and this is a point I want to get to. We should get to grow up as a culture and a society and be adult about this. What anyone does sexually is none of your business – and prying into what others do to make yourself feel righteous and superior is adolescent at best and dangerous at worst. Shame may have been something imposed on you/us by the Church but it's been far too over and misused. If we could celebrate sex, instead of being ashamed of it, there would be far less abuse and rape in the world (but that's another issue). 

When no one can be systematically, politically or socially discriminated against because of their sexuality with regards to marriage, those who continue to see themselves as more ‘worthy than” will be on their own, unprotected by the law and no longer able to cast aspersions without being personally responsible for what is said and done. (It is very hard to be righteous when superiority is taken away.)

The funny thing is that a yes vote really won’t impact straight people and yet they will be the deciders. It almost seems counter intuitive that the people who will be affected least, if at all, get to have a voice in what will have a huge and lasting impact on most of my friends and the people I consider to be my family. It probably won’t affect me. I’ve never asked for society’s permission to do anything and I won’t start now – and if I’m being honest, that’s what has made me apathetic about voting in the past – and there is a part of me that wants to revolt about having to give my permission on a ballot so one of my best friends can have permission to marry the woman she loves – especially when my friend will honour and value her marriage more than I ever did with either of my husbands (not that my husbands didn’t want me to). 

Who am I to have this power? Who am I to have been granted the right to marry because I chose to marry men? Why is my 2 month marriage to my first husband more acceptable than a commitment between two women or two men? Who am I to get to decide whether someone else can marry at all, when my second open marriage never had to be scrutinized by anyone? 

So I registered to vote and I will vote yes - yes I said yes I will Yes! But I wish I didn’t have to. I wish I weren’t among the privileged that have to give an allowance to those less fortunate – but in this case, far, far more deserving.

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