A call for discussion on what marriage is and why

In the middle of this year, there was an event organised by the Pink Dot movement which was held at Hong Lim Park under the same slogan “Supporting Freedom to Love”. About a year back, I posted my thoughts on this slogan and shared why I considered it to be very misleading. Over the past year, as I read articles and watched videos on this heated topic, I noticed that one of the central arguments of the lgbtq community revolved around having the right to get married. Personally I do think this is an important issue and that if one party is indeed deprived of the right to get married, then it is the duty of both sides (traditional or not) to ensure that equality is extended to both parties.

That being said, I find it strange how this argument on having the right to get married is being brought up without any discussion on what marriage is. For example, in an episode with Piers Morgan, the host (Piers himself) repeatedly asserts the right for homosexuals to get married. But this literally begs the question as to what marriage is in the first place. If marriage is defined as the legal recognition and union of two consenting adults, then it is indeed discriminatory to say that homosexuals cannot get married to their homosexual partner. However, if the definition of marriage (as it appears to be in Singapore) is the legal recognition and union of a man and a woman, then this right to get married applies to all citizens provided that they abide by the  definition of marriage. In the event that a group chooses not to abide to this definition, it can no longer be considered discriminatory. Rather it is a redefinition of marriage that is sought after.

In that sense, it is misleading to say that homosexuals do not have the right to get married. Under this definition of marriage, both groups have the right to marry. The hetrosexual as well as the homosexual cannot marry anybody they want to because that is not what marriage is defined to be. Both are held to the same definition of marriage. What they both can do, is to marry someone of the opposite sex as defined by what marriage is. To illustrate, it is not considered discriminatory if I as a bachelor am refused the title of “husband” while remaining single. It is not that I am being robbed of my right to be a husband. Rather it is that I do not qualify to be a husband because a husband by definition refers to a male who is married. Similarly, the right to get married is extended to both the homosexual and hetrosexual. The refusal to accept this definition and yet claim a right does not leave any group discriminated against but is instead a special pleading of which even the hetrosexuals do not have.

Ultimately I believe that this issue goes down to what marriage is and why it should be defined the way it is defined. Both sides should have a civil dialogue on this topic. As of now, I don’t see much of this being addressed and I hope that dialogues can be more focused on this rather than simply asserting the right to marry whoever you want/love as it may assume a false definition of what marriage is. It is also not helpful to discredit an argument because of someone’s religious belief. To me a religious person is as biased as a humanist. It would be more constructive if the points presented could be addressed instead of rubbishing an argument because of a person’s religious belief. Perhaps this is something that both sides should consider working on.

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