A politician in Scotland refuses to vote for marriage equality but claims not to be homophobic.
Labour MSP Elaine Smith spoke at an anti-gay event, Scotland for Marriage, an organization which defends marriage between a man and a woman. Their website states, “Supporting the current definition of marriage, which has served Scotland well for centuries.”
“As a legislator, I intend to vote against this bill and I believe that I am in tune with the wishes of the majority of my constituents,” Smith said, according to Pink News.
She continued, “I certainly don’t believe that I’m homophobic. However, I have no doubt that I will be made to suffer for my views on this issue and by voting against I will undoubtedly be labeled homophobic.”
Does being against marriage equality equate homophobia? Let’s play devil’s advocate for a second here. If you were to strip down the linguistics of the word “homophobia” it literally means “fear” and “hatred” towards same-sex intimacy. So under this context, being against marriage equality doesn’t necessarily mean that you “hate” or “fear” gay couples. However, by “defending” traditional marriage you are discriminating against same-sex couples, inadvertently or not.
The silver lining here is that no, maybe Smith doesn’t “fear” homosexuals, but discrimination doesn’t come out of thin air… it is rooted in hate.
“I predicted that in speaking or voting against these proposals, I would undoubtedly be verbally attacked and labeled homophobic. That prediction seems to be coming depressingly true,” Smith said, as reported by Pink News.
However, one Twitter post by Ross Harrison says it best: “If Elaine Smith can’t hack being told she is a homophobe, then she shouldn’t tell gay couples that they aren’t equal.”
And to that, I say, touché.
The Scottish Health Minister, Alex Neil, told Parliament that if same-sex marriage is approved, marriages could take place as early as September 2014. However, it is unclear which direction Scotland will go.
“A large majority of Scots, and an overwhelming majority of LGBT people, supports same-sex marriage. Those who want a same-sex marriage will be able to marry; those who don’t won’t have to, and no church will be required to do them. It’s about freedom of choice for all,” Equality Network director, Tim Hopkins said, according to Pink News.