Last Friday proved a more eventful one than usual in New Zealand: on top of the usual weekend hustle, the Kiwi nation hosted the wedding of one Travis McIntosh to his partner, Matt McCormick. As it took place at the hallowed rugby venue of Eden Park, the union attracted a fair bit of attention from the national press, as well as the customary curiosity of queer advocates.
Sounds like your modern run-of-the mill gay wedding ceremony if one subtracts the disproportionate fanfare, right?
You’d be forgiven for thinking so at first glance.
Apart from, and above, the matter of the venerated venue, another aspect of the event distinguished it from others of its ilk: whilst Messrs. McIntosh and McCormick do indeed share similar genitalia, the only balls they express any interest in are those scrummed over by the athletes frequenting their selected spot. With a professed preference for females rather than fellas, the best-friend duo tied the knot as part of a radio competition for tickets to next year’s Rugby World Cup, here in Blighty.
In short, this union reads like a case of all rugger, no bugger: a factor which had the aforementioned queer advocacy groups flinging condemnations, instead of confetti, at the pair. In a frankly amusing backlash, various LGBT larynxes let forth their lamentations, castigating the couple for sticking rings on each other’s fingers without wanting to stick fingers in each other’s rings. MP Louisa Wall—a prominent name in Kiwi “marriage equality” circles—labeled this rather heterodox example of homogamy “a mockery of the institution of marriage,” going on to call it a “foolish” and “disrespectful” diminishment of “the status marriage has in our society.” Her ire found echo in the words of another marriage-equality bigwig, Aussie MP Alex Greenwich:
Gay and lesbian people are fighting for the right to marry in Australia and have been fighting for the right in New Zealand, and it’s because they take marriage extremely seriously, and the commitments and responsibilities that come with that. Here are two straight guys making a joke of that, and that’s deeply concerning.
Not wanting to miss out on the blanket party, Joseph Habgood—Aotearoa Wellington’s cochairman for Legalise Love—cited the event as a setback in the same-sex struggle:
Maybe on the day that statistics around mental health for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people are better, when high schools are safe places for LGBTI youth, we can look back on all this and laugh. But competitions like this don’t bring that day any closer.
But my hands-down favorite response has to be that of Shelley Argent, spokeswoman for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, who, in a clear spirit of tolerance and goodwill, purred forth this catty little number:
This is two straight men who have done a wonderful job of trivialising marriage on their own. I hope it takes them quite a while to get the marriage annulled.
The spectacle of these same-sex marriage advocates throwing tantrums over the supposed sanctity of marriage leaves me with a sense of déjà vu: from whom have I heard such bleating before? Perhaps Bob McCoskrie, president of Kiwi socon group Family First, can clarify matters:
This competition makes a mockery of marriage, but so did the redefining of marriage.
The ironic part is that supporters of redefining marriage argued for so-called equality and argued that everyone should have the right to marry whoever they wanted. What they didn’t understand is that when you redefine and move marriage away from its proper intent and purpose, these types of stunts will become more and more common.
Whoomp! There it is. Seems that the rhetoric of the self-appointed tolerance tsars doesn’t differ all that much from that of their ostensible opposition; not content with securing the right to marry for their interest group, these LGBT activists also wish to arrogate the moralistic myopia needed to “define” the union for all who would participate. No doubt the New Zealand “family values” flock employed similar assertions a year ago, in their efforts to keep those darned queerosexuals from defiling their “sacred institution.”
Seeing the two sides united in matrimonial myopia proves quite the spectacle: I’d call for a toast, were I of similar viewpoint. As it stands, however, all this noise about the inherent meaning of marriage strikes me as nowt more than petulant special pleading. And whilst holy rollers correctly call out homophiles for their short-sighted sanctimony, they, too, peer at history through something of an Overton window in order to defend their definitions: how many of today’s marriage “traditionalists” prop up polygamy or laud levirate unions, to name but two examples?
Rejecting such intrinsic-ism leads me to take a rather dim view of folk who would force their values down the throats of the unwilling, whether they be Prop 8 supporters in California, or homophiles calling for coercion against churches and confectionaries unyielding to their wants. Ideally, the definition of marriage would be as unique as each coupling (and congregation) that chooses to contract it, with no legal requirement for any other parties to approve of a given definition: in short, freedom of contract and conscience. Alas, too many ideologues in both camps glance askance at such a prospect, mired in a mindset both presentist and totalistic.
If McCoskrie and his socon brethren removed their blinkers, they’d see that breeders hardly need benders to “move marriage away from its proper intent and purpose”: the prevalence of Vegas weddings, mercenary marriages, and “green card” nuptials bears testament to that. Just this week I read of plans to put together a televised “social experiment” (or “reality show”) involving the pairing of complete strangers—such reverence! This myriad of marital motivations has helped keep The Edge—the station behind the rugby-related wedding—on the airwaves, what with their penchant for capitalizing on said scenarios.
Taking all that into account, doesn’t McIntosh and McCormick’s marriage of convenience stand as a symbol of the homophilic victory: a perverse acceptance into the wider marital melange? Instead of taking exception, the missionaries of monogendered matrimony would do well to take heart. This is the “marriage equality” you fought for, ladies and gents—enjoy it!