The Plight of Same Sex Marriage

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On Monday the 20th of May the House of Parliament will debate the issue of same-sex marriage. Is there really much left to debate? Is this really a matter of Religion? Or is it just an issue of Equality? Will the world end? Will your God turn his back on our little planet if same-sex partners are granted the right of marriage that is so coveted?

The answer is simple. NO. The debate is archaic in nature, it is not a matter of morals or ethics but an adverse reaction to progress, change and acceptance. The more potent question is what impact will same-sex marriage have on our day-to-day lives? Again there is a simple answer to this question. NONE. If two men, or women, are wed, it will not effect your life in any manner, you likely will never hear about these marriages, you will never meet these people, it poses no threat to your way of life.

Around the world same-sex marriage has found its way, rightfully I might add, into legislation. The Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal and most recently France, to name a few, have openly legislated in favor of equality and against unnecessary discrimination. This flurry of fourteen countries have championed the common cause of civil rights and human liberties since 2001 highlighting the global change in attitudes towards homosexuality. It is almost incomprehensible that in this day and age same-sex partners must still suffer such unwarranted  prejudice.

The political institutions of the United Kingdom, in this debate, are presenting themselves as a backward and inflexible. It presents itself and an unequal illiberal democracy out of touch with the beliefs and perceptions of its citizens. If the proposed bill does not pass into law, I will have lost my already shaken faith in this British government.

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Obama or Romney

Its a simple decision, Romney is wrong for the world.

There is no sitting on the fence on this matter, despite claims from Romney that there is no difference between the candidates besides competence, in reality there is a vast difference between their policies and a vast difference in the futures they envisage for the USA.

Romney is aggressively pursuing a course that would set the States back years. In terms of Human Rights, he plans to ban abortion, even in cases of incest or rape. He plans to relax environmental constraints on businesses exacerbating climate change and global warming. Moreover Romney believes in order to keep the USA in competition with China employment laws would also need to be ‘relaxed’, casting, as some analyst have stated, the United States back to the nineteenth century.

Romney is also set on a plan to cut Government expenditure, packages such as the $787 billion relief fund pushed through Congress by Obama to tackle the United States struggling economy would be a thing of the past. It is packages like these that have led to the stable growth of the US economy over the past thirteen quarters, not exactly the failure the Republicans crow that it is.

But it only gets worse, another two huge issues arise with Romney’s policy direction. He wants to immediately repeal Obama’s Health Care bill, possibly the most valuable domestic achievement of his term in office. This turn would leave countless US citizens without any health care support. What is more, is that this will be coupled with a sizeable reduction in welfare provision if the Republican takes the Presidency. Whilst those on the right may be crying it is up to the individual to support themselves, get a job so that they can afford medical insurance, this is not possible if the Government of the country does not provide an environment in which the economy and job opportunities can grow. By cutting Government expenditure, which increasingly runs the risk of sending the US into a double dip recession, Romney will not just remove this environment, but hold the US citizenry to account for a situation far beyond their control.

Social inequality is a bugbear of liberal democratic institutions and feeds the apathy that many democratic countries face. Romney’s budgetary plans are aimed at redistributing wealth back to the rich, depriving the poor to an even greater extent. If the ascribed budget gets the go ahead those earning over $1 million will receive a thirty-seven percent tax cut, at the other end of the scale benefits to the poor would be cut up to a staggering sixty-seven percent. In a time of economic uncertainty this is a potential recipe for social unrest on a massive scale.

Secondly Romney wishes to pursue a more active form of Foreign Policy. What this means in reality is Romney will spend the promised $2 trillion on defence – this money will have to come from somewhere. There is a growing certainty war with Iran will ensue, a war the United States cannot afford, especially as it is still enthralled in other messy middle eastern conflicts.

Apathy with Obama’s term has arisen due to the restraints under which the President has had to act under. Obama has been attacked constantly over the previous four years by Republicans in Congress and the Senate. He has managed to stabilise the States creating and saving nearly three million jobs, increasing health provisions and providing the support that is expected from modern democratic institutions.

Political Identity

Political Identity is a concept that shapes our interactions with the political world, and is something that cannot be avoided. It harbours our political leanings, whether it be Party Allegiances, or whether we choose to ascribe to a political or ideological framework, such as Marxism or Liberalism.

It is often defined as “the general ‘pattern of orientations’ to political objects such as parties, government and the constitution, expressed in beliefs, symbols and values.” – Andrew Heywood.

It is formed relatively early, but Is susceptible to change as different circumstances and environments develop around us. Our political identities are shaped initially by Primary Agents (Overt forces of persuasion, such as, but not limited to, your parents) and then by Secondary Agents (More subliminal influences such as peer groups).

Primary Agents suggest that the political world cannot be separated from our personal spheres, the best example of this being a Primary Agent, known as a ‘locating agent’ – the Family. It is, at least to begin with, your family that teaches you who to obey, who and what to value, as well as the area of your life you draw your religious, class (potentially) and gender position in society. It is here that your political identity begins to spread its roots.

But how far do our families’ impact our view of political discourse? Personally it seems that my family life had little to do with it, I cannot say I even know the parties my parents support, for example. For others though, they may be raised in a very party focused family, similar to the way someone may have been brought up in a family savagely proud of a premiership side. These foundations are of course very important, but it is in the structure, the skyscraper of opinions you construct as you grow as a person that  nforms you of who you are politically.

Secondary Agents, your friends and colleagues, your peer groups and partners. This is where your views are challenged, changed and refined. It is only after you are asked,

“So why do you think that?”

“Why do you believe that?”

“Where do you ideas come from?”

Those questions that force you to stop and think, really think about why you believe so strongly in Liberal Democracy, or in the necessity of State intervention, that you can clearly define yourself as a political entity. Debate, being able to defend and convince others of your view point is an essential element in the development of an individual, a political group and ultimately a political identity.

So ask yourself , What defines you? What do you believe? But most importantly Why?