With the first gay marriage to take place last year, I did struggle to understand the widespread opposition to this historic event.

Time after time I would listen to the familiar arguments put forward by prominent members of the clergy and theologians, that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and basing this belief on the Bible as their default position. Now recently Ashers Bakery in County Antrim, Ireland have refused to bake a cake with a message supporting gay marriage, and its Christian owners could face prosecution by the North’s Equality Commission, for being in breach of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations Northern Ireland which deals with the provision of goods and services.

I would challenge their stance on gay marriage with the following explanations of why I believe this notion is completely irrational, and dare I say it, even juvenile.

Firstly, not to denounce the Bible in any way, but the fact remains that the Christian Bible was written well over 2000 years ago, by a series of men, and was subsequently edited, updated and added to through the ages, and was not created by some act of ‘divine intervention’.

Aside from fundamental Christians, I think most right minded people would at least acknowledge that on balance the Bible was not meant to be taken literally, and rather was intended as a guide first and foremost.

In the wake of the Civil rights Act of 1964, interracial marriage in the United States was still illegal up until 1967. It was only then that a decision by the Supreme Court, which deemed this anti-miscegenation and therefore unconstitutional, were these marriages legally permitted to happen.

Traditionalists at the time viewed interracial marriage a ‘taboo’ and socially unacceptable to have a couple of a different race joined in holy matrimony. I have heard arguments too that it is wrong to make this comparison as they are completely different, one being about race and the other sexual orientation. However, it seems undeniable that there are clear parallels, those being both are forms of discrimination that are embedded in the social zeitgeist of the time.

Such views on interracial marriage would be condemned today, at least few would be brave enough to utter them in public at the risk of being the recipient of much indignation as a response.

The point being is what is deemed socially acceptable is continually evolving, and to base objections to gay marriage on a book created so long ago seems bizarre.

The Bibles views on women are a case in point, with the following excerpt just one of many examples:

1 Corinthians 14:34-6

‘Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in church’.

Can anyone honestly say there is anything socially acceptable about this paragraph in 2014?

I’m sure those very same clergymen and theologians would agree these statements are no longer relevant in today’s society, yet will take other sections of the bible to reinforce their objections when it suits their own narrative.

The church itself is continually evolving and updating their teachings. In the 2010 book ‘Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Sign of the Times’, Pope Benedict XVI was forced to amend the catholic churches’ views on contraception due to growing pressure about preventing the spread of AIDS. Now stating it was acceptable in certain circumstances to use a condom. So you see, right there, the church had to update its views to keep in line with current events to remain relevant. Valid reasons of course, but nonetheless, a change of direction that the current climate demanded.

Not to mention the child sex abuse scandals that have plagued the Catholic Church since the late 1980’s, with the subsequent cover-ups, allowing the perpetrators to keep their positions, moving them to other parishes, and therefore leaving them free to continue their abuses. I would say they really need to put their own house in order before casting judgment on others.

No matter how much they theorise and intellectualise on gay marriage it amounts to the same thing in my view, ‘discrimination’ when it should be about ‘love and free-will’.

On that basis people are also free to follow any religion as long as it does not infringe on the freedoms of others, as I believe this is an abuse of their faith, and I cannot believe this is how it was intended to be.

One final point. To those who are concerned about where all this new found freedom will lead, I would bring them back to my earlier comment of what we should really be concerned with, ‘love and free-will’. Providing this does not harm anyone else, it should be all that matters. Besides, at the end of the day, if things do change then maybe we will all be more enlightened and better for it.

Author's Bio: 

I have worked in psychiatry for 20 years and now write in my spare time. You can view my work by visiting my website called Critical Eye, which deals with many societal issues and provides other articles of general interest. Critical Eye is intended to be a useful and entertaining resource for visitors, that will hopefully encourage readers to gain a new perspective on certain issues affecting society today. http://www.crteye.com