Speech for Real Marriage – Tory Party Conference debate with Policy Exchange

Dermot O'CallaghanBy Dermot O’Callaghan, Jury’s Hotel, Birmingham 9 Oct 2012

Dangers of heterocentrism

My son has just moved house, and I dug up a favourite small tree that he wanted to bring with him.  (I must admit that I chopped off too much of the root ball; also the new garden is not ready for it yet.)  It is in transit now, but it is wilting and I have a feeling that it will die.  So I shall make sure that somebody else replants it, so that they can take the blame!

This cautionary tale has warnings for the gay marriage debate as well as for gardeners.  Gay scholars warn us not to assume that if you transplant something from a heterosexual context it will work in the same way in a homosexual context.  That is the error of heterocentrism – what I call the heterocentrist leap of faith.

And MARRIAGE is a case in point.

The heterocentrist error lies at the heart of the Policy Exchange document (like the letters running through a piece of seaside rock).   What’s in a name? claims to be evidence-based but it makes repeated leaps of faith that are not supported by any evidence.

I want to look at three of their arguments (I’ll leave it to you to look for more).

First, the premise (p23) that marriage pacifies young men.  But then the heterocentrist leap – therefore it is likely to pacify gay men.

But the Policy Exchange document doesn’t understand how marriage works.  I don’t believe it’s marriage that pacifies a man – it is … a woman!  And the one thing that a gay marriage will lack is the very thing that it needs!   A woman lion tamer can tame a lion, but two lions can’t tame each other.  The heterocentrist leap won’t work. Read the rest of this entry »

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