November 20th, 2007


(no subject)

One of the most irritating things about waking up to the Today programme - BBC Radio 4 news magazine lasting from 6 to 9 - is that you sometimes find homophobic ranting obtruding into your dreams at just the point where you want to stay asleep and do not need to wake up in a blind adrenalin-fueled WHO IS THIS IDIOT fury. There is a case that one should just forget about it and snuggle back into the pillow and one's sweetie and the hot-water bottle and the plush dinosaurs, but alas! I brood and mutter and don't get back to sleep even if I needed to.

So, today it was the House of Lords debate on IVF for lesbian couples and the thing that really struck me about it was the sheer impotent bilious spite of it all. After all, it is not as if they can stop lesbian couples bringing up children and they have failed to stop lesbian couples adopting children - those ships have sailed and they lost, dammit. So what they are doing is actually picking on lesbian couples who happen to have infertility problems to be spiteful.

You had Lord McKay making laddish jokes about how things may have changed but they still need a man in the mix somewhere - and at right that moment I found myself hoping that the crusty old bigot lives to see lesbians having children through shared genetic material because it might actually cause him pain. You had someone else saying that it should be opposed because men's fragile egos would not cope with the idea of their being unneeded - which is a good example of how victim arguments get abused by the Right. Worst of all, you had the Archbishop of York arguing that this was an example of consumerist culture - he equated the desire of lesbian women for children with wanting to go shopping.

The thing about this is not just that it is demeaning and insulting to people's deepest feelings - it is that he really is a bigot and he really does despise lesbians. Here's why - he claims that the right of a child to a father outweighs the desire of two women to have a child without one. However, he is also saying that the right of a not-yet existent child to a father outweights not only their desire but also the possible right of that non-existent child to exist. Logically, therefore, he is saying that the right of a child to a father outweighs its right to exist at all in any other circumstances where it does not have a father.

I don't think that Archbishop Setantu is arguing for the compulsory abortion of all children of unmarried or lesbian mothers which means that his statements do not mean what he says they do. He is just, as so many religious folk do, making stuff up. He knows, because he is not a stupid man, that the evidence is strong that two or more parents of all genders are a good environment for a child, certainly better than two parents that include a drunken, violent or abusive father or mother. He chooses to fetishize heterosexual arrangements irrespective of the interests of the child, then, in direct contradistinction to what he says he is doing. He is a liar and a bigot who does not have the courage of his bigotry.

I wish these remarks to be taken in evidence next time I criticize other religions.