Friday, October 30, 2009

“I Didn’t Understand It – So It Must Be Bigoted”

That seemed to Clameur de Haro to be the thrust of the argument (if one can dignify the content with such a complimentary term) advanced by Ben Queree, the Jersey Evening [sic] Post’s somewhat optimistically-named political correspondent in his column last Monday about the contribution of Senator Ian Le Marquand to the civil partnerships debate.

Mr Queree said this of Senator Le Marquand’s contribution -

His was a strange speech. He said that he could not support the proposals because they were too much like marriage – although he preferred an arrangement extending civil partnerships to straight and gay couples. No, I can’t figure it out either.

The argument was too fragmented, too disjointed. It gave the impression of a fig-leaf – an article held up to protect something that the wearer did not want to be seen.

Senator Le Marquand was not the only Member who struggled with his faith, his public mandate and the proposition – and nothing should be said to minimise that struggle, or to trivialise it.

But what Senator Le Marquand has to accept is that his vote against the proposal was a vote in favour of the discrimination against gay couples.

In this, he was of course doing no more than faithfully following the earlier lead of his editor, about which CdeH blogged last week, especially in his snide little comment about a fig-leaf designed to conceal something the wearer did not want seen.
Well, Clameur de Haro listened to the debate, including Senator Le Marquand’s speech, and unlike our esteemed political correspondent, experienced no problems at all in “figuring it out”. What the Senator appeared to be saying was that, despite the need to eradicate manifestly unfair discrimination as widely as possible – which, Mr Queree, was illustrated in his point about extending full civil partnership status to both homosexual and heterosexual couples – the advantages to society overall of reserving to heterosexual marriage only just a few legal, civil and fiscal privileges available to no other form of union comprised a prevailing counter-argument.
It was a complicated, but thoughtful and nuanced exposition of opinion: but if those qualities were the reason for Mr Queree’s finding some difficulty in understanding it, that does not augur well for political reportage.
With a few moments’ thought, it might occur to Mr Queree that Senator Le Marquand, in his previous role, was probably presented on a fairly regular basis with the results of the cultural left’s 30+ year attack on the institution of marriage and the traditional family – and that it may well have been that experience which informed his view, rather than the religious or homophobic prejudice which Mr Queree clearly assumes, and none-too-subtly implies.
In voting against the full proposal, the Senator was not positively discriminating against homosexual couples – if the JEP supplies you with a Mercedes, Mr Queree, while supplying your editor with an Aston Martin, you are not a victim of discrimination – but seeking to uphold the status of traditional heterosexual marriage as the principal societal unit, and for valid reasons.
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