A gender neutral marriage law was recently affirmed in the Finnish parliament. This aroused some attention and controversy. There were arguments for and against it being presented. They were much the same as in this issue around the globe where ever it has become into focus. I do not even try to repeat them all here. There are a couple of concerns I would like to address about this discussion.

“Born this way.” The question wether, or not, homosexuality is a trait a person has from birth is not and should not be brought up in the entire discussion about marriage. It is totally irrelevant. Even the question, if someone chooses, or not, to be a homosexual is irrelevant to the question of marriage. We do not really know, if people are genetically caused to be homosexuals or wether it is a trait that developes onto the person. We do know that a lot of homosexuals would choose not to be homosexuals, if they possibly could. The reason to that is, that the society around them has trouble accepting them as they are and in respect to that some of them even learn to have similar cultural reasons of having trouble of accepting themselves as they are.

The real question is not what causes homosexuality, but wether we have any actually rational and sane reasons to think it is wrong on any level. We do not. The “reasons” presented to make the claim, that there is something wrong about homosexuality are presented as follows and often the path from one claim to a nother are presented on this line of thought:

Is it a sin? Now, sin is something determined to be some sort of violation of the will of some particular gods. Freedom of religion however dictates necessarily for a peacefull and mutually respectfull society to exist, that the beliefs about the divinities, or the supernatural in general, may not decide legal processes, or be used to step on the rights of a nother individual. Not even within a religious group that has accepted one doctrine or a nother. That is, even if the Catholic church and all the victims of rape by Catholic priests thought it was not really a crime, by the secular mutual standards of the modern soceity, they still are and should be treated as such. Therefore even if the majority of religions in any given country thought, that eating shellfish or being homosexual was a sin, they could not ethically make it illegal based on that imaginary guess on what their god supposedly thought was a sin.

Because the entire issue of marriage equality has been raised mostly in secular countries (and not in the Vatican or Iran), the question wether it is a sin is irrelevant. In modern democracies religions are a private matter and sin is something you discuss privately with your particular god, if you wish, who then redeems you from it, or judges you from it. Or you do not bring this or any other subjects to your god, if you even have one in the first place. This is why the people whose dislike of something like homosexuality often is derived from religious prejudices, often move to the camp of inventing seemingly secular “reasons” to justify their feelings about the issue.

Is it unnatural? There are people who try to frame sexuality into this tight box of reproduction. They have the right to do so in the privacy of their own homes, but not force the idea on others. No doubt that this line of argumentation appeals to all sorts of simpletons, as it seems simple. However, human sexuality is far from simple. I could discuss how a lot of animal species have homosexual behaviour, but from experience I know that this tends to lead down the rabbit hole of humans not being animals. Wich strangely often leads us back to the idea of sin. No, humans are not the same animals as those other animals that also engage in homosexual behaviour. That is there just to show you, that it is natural in the sense that it happens in the nature. But wether or not any animals engaged in homosexual behaviour does not in any way address wether it is right or wrong. Animals do not drive cars, but we do not try to ban driving a car because we see it as unnatural. Sex is as much just a form of reproduction and should be as much limited to that, as human transportation is all about walking and should be limited to walking. If you do not want to run or ride a bike, fine then don’t. But do not try to make running illegal. OK?

Gods are by definition unnatural. They are not part of nature, if they even exist beyond our natural brains. Should we ban gods because they are unnatural? Everything that happens in nature is natural. Salt is natural. Polio is natural. Homosexuality is natural. The only relevant question about homosexuality regarding laws is wether it is harmfull or not and if then to what extent. The entire question wether it is unnatural is ridiculous.

Is it harmfull? People see a lot of harm done to the homosexuals by people who feel justified in disliking, or even hating them for the “reasons” they give, that I listed abowe. There are also people who have been harmed by homosexuals. This works much the same way as with racism. When people are harmed by the representative of this, or that group of people, they make the connection between the group and the deed. Despite wether or not the group identity, or what ever makes the purpetrator of the harm part of that group – even skin colour, or sexual orientation –  was actually the motive for the deed. If a homosexual rapes a child, it is not the homosexuality that caused the deed. Any more than, if a white man shoots a black man, him being white was his motive for the act. The rape of a child is the result of the rapist being a) rapist and b) pedophile not being homosexual. If the rapist was not a homosexual, he would simply have chosen his target differently. The white man shooting the black man may have been motivated by any number of reasons from theft to racism. But even if it was racism, the motive was not him being white.

As for the marriage equality, there have been a number of more, or less comic attempts to stop the change, that has now finally taken place. There is this notion, that a family unit ideally consists of a father, a mother and some children. The idea has been, that the reason why the society recognizes a marriage as a special status between two people is because they are able to reproduce and should be given social support to be better able to do this. It is a ridiculous notion, in that even if that could be proven to be some form of ideal family unit, it does not mean all families need to reach such an ideal. Especially not those families who do not find the arrangement ideal in any way. By the same token, people who can not have children should not be allowed to get married and old people whose children have grown to adulthood should divorce.

There is this claim, that there is some sort of harm done to adopted children in same sex marriages. This claim has not been confirmed in any scientific arena. But even if it could ever be proven that the children have it better in a heterosexual family than in a same sex family, that would be a moot point. It is like saying that since the rich families can better nourish the needs of their kids, than the poor ones we should ban the poor people from getting married, and/or from having children.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle aito avioliitto mielenosoitus

The picture abowe is from a “Genuine Marriage” demonstration at 24. september 2016 , that gathered almost a hundred demonstrators (wich is pretty few even in Finnish terms) in Helsinki to protest against the gender neutral marriage law. It seems they had more balloons than demonstrators.

Last but not least the most stupid argument against the gender neutral marriage must be the slippery slope argument. Wich is that if this is allowed, what next? Shall we allow polygamy, marriages with children and marriages with house pets? It shows the level of stupid from the political side that opposed the gender neutral marriage, that they themselves did not laugh at the representative who presented this ridiculous argument. Was it not the same as arguing that if we allow people to drive cars, we may have to allow people to drive tanks next? If you do not understand the difference between two consenting adults havign sex and sex with a child or an animal, never get any children or pets. As for the polygamy, where in any holy books ever does it even hint that, that was a sin? It is a separate discussion we may have in the future, but it has absolutely nothing at all to do with the gender neutral marriage law.

Not long ago the Finnish parliament voted about a proposal for marriage equality. It went through, though just barely. Both socialist parties and the Green party were all for it. The ruling conservative party was divided in the middle, the protest party of “True” Finns and the minute Christian Democratic party were totally against.

The arguments for and against in the parliament echoed the arguments presented in the wider social discussion about the issue. The pro marriage equality arguments claimed that this is a human rights issue and a question about fairness. The arguments against were about how a god might get upset at Finns and how unnatural gay sex is and of course how children deserve a mommy and a daddy. The law proposal, naturally, incorporated a legalization of adoption by homosexual couples.

There was a big cry out about Russia no longer giving children to be adopted to Finland at all, as they have banned adoption to Sweden because of marriage equality laws over there.

Soon after the vote there was a compromize proposal by the Finnish president Sauli Niinistö of the “Kansallinen Kokoomus” the ruling conservative party, wich by the way sports very liberal economic values and is not so conservative about the preservation of the Finnish society in regards to government owning in big business, or the wellfare state for that matter. Sauli proposed, that only people who were wed in a church could be henceforth be called married and that everybody else should be called living in a “pair relationship” or a “couple relationship”. This idea, or more like a brainfart, lost me all of the respect I ever had for him. If his childish proposal would step into action, my parents marriage of nearly sixty years (before the passing of my dad) and my very own marriage to my wife would be rendered into “pair relationships.

Now, of course, if me and my wife would get the same legal benefits as the married in church couples, the only negative side to this would be the social value of my marriage being obviously degrated by a made up terminology, that would at the same time set the unions of the homosexuals at not much better place than they were before the vote (exept for the adoption rights). Not so serious defeat to me. But unfair none the less. I can not help, but to wonder, how Sauli was unable to realize how stupid and not a compromise his idea was. I have been together with my wife through ups and downs for over twenty years. Who has the right to rename our union from the outside? It is as if Sauli did not realize that the very point of equality laws in general is to lessen the evil of segragation within a society.

Now, of course, what Sauli was doing, was only “making good” to his “promises” during the presidential elections, when he first introduced this idea of his. It was a bit underhanded policy to attack the “weak spot” of his main opponent Pekka Haavisto of the Green Party, who is an openly homosexual man. Niinistö won by a narrow marginal, but in his campaign he used this idea of his about the “pair relationship” to insiniuate, that as a president he would somehow be in a position to stop the marriage equality law from passing, wich is of course false, but no doubt it was meant to and did appeal to the sort of conservative voters, whom one would expect to have voted for him anyway – just to stop a green homosexual from being chosen as the president. As if Sauli had to remind the voters of the sexual orientation of his opponent and like that should have even been an issue in the elections. I thought it was sorry of him then, but somehow now reminding us of his folly of a compromize that would not satisfy anybody (not anyone at the opposite ends of this issue anyway) and that he possibly can not make good for his “promises” because the presidential position is more of a symbolic leader, than actual political power weilding dictator, like in some other countries – best left unnamed here…

 

If someone has a problem of having their marriage being called by the same name as homosexuals, after these have been added to the people who can be married and get the same legal benefits and reverence of any other married people, let those people with the problem then change the name they use for their marriage. The problem is theirs. Inside their heads, so why should anyone else be moved by it? I do not care, if they call it the heterosexual marriage, traditional marriage, church marriage, or what ever. I would rather that people would not build such lines of segragation within any society, but if people want to segragate themselves, then that is their problem not the people who want to be equally included into the society. Right? In Finland we have had civil marriages for our entire indipendend history and they have been called marriages. Nothing else. Would Sauli really want to be remembered as the president who took that right away because religious people got upset about homosexuals being added to the same category as the rest of us in civil marriage? I do not see how the equal marriage issue even has anything to do with the religious lives of others, when we are talking about the civil marriage as accepted by the state – a legal contract between two individuals regardless of their religious affiliations, not marriages set in church by the authority of imaginary entities. The Finnish religious communities still have legally every chance to segragate homosexuals and whom ever they want to frown upon from their services. The civil marriage as set by the state has nothing at all to do with the religious lives of anybody.

I have heard some of moaning about how our society is already equal enough and how it is unfair towards the Christians, that they are not allowed to follow their conscience, that tells them ostracising homosexuals is what their god expects of them. However, I am not at all sorry to say, that it is not at all unfair, to make the society even more equal and that if a person has conscience, religion, or ideology, that tells them to oppress other people by their origin, ethnicity or sexual orientation, it gives them none what so ever ethical justification to do so.

After the descision of the parliament thousands of people have left the Finnish Lutheran church, because archibishop Kari Mäkinen tweeted that he was happy about our society moving in a more equal direction. These religious fundamentalists have done so through an internet service put up by some Finnish atheists. A service, that was highly critiqued by the same Christian conservatives, for making leaving the church too easy, as before it was set up one had to go to the local parish to fill in forms and explain why one no longer wanted to be the member of the church. A degrading process by all means. By leaving the official state Lutheran church, the fundies who have now left the church would have rendered themselves unable to get married and only be able to achieve the same status for their union as the homosexuals and other people married by the state and not the church, if the proposal of the president went through. Ridiculous…

It seems our archibishop is more enlightened and humane, than our president. I am surprised. Now, as a final point to the ridiculous of the religious right anti equality movement, someone has laid a complaint about the archibishop, to the diocese, that he has not presented the faith he is supposed to present. I do not know of whom are they talking about. Their god or the church, but the committee that examines this is led by the archibishop himself and consists of bishops who appointed him in the first place and he does set the policies of the church. I guess he can raise his considerable salary (at least twice as much money as an average parliamentary representative) to examine himself and policies laid out by himself. What a mess.