By The Duchess, 5th May 2016

Marriage and Equality

Does Everyone Have the Right to Love?

Does Everyone Have the Right to Love?

This is a contentious issue and it seems that no matter who you talk to, most are a little nervous about sharing their opinions on the subject. But with the changes in 2015 to the laws in America legalising Gay Marriage, the whole word seems to finally be awash with rainbows.

A recent trip to Jerusalem saw me asking questions about my own faith, religion and beliefs about marriage and equality. I found myself reflecting on the events of the last year and how things have changed.

Who remembers Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky? She ruffled feathers last year when she refused to issue a marriage licence to a gay couple. Despite being ordered to issue the licence by the Supreme Court, Ms Davis stood her ground and ended up behind bars for her subordination.

It never ceases to amaze me that, whilst our world seems to be becoming more and more progressive, there still exist people in this world who stand stubbornly rooted in the past.

I am Catholic. Despite some of my progressive views, I still consider myself Catholic, but I have found comfort in the fact that the head of the church, Pope Francis, is also standing in a more enlightened world with us. His progressive stance on many topics may not always be well received by the entire church community, but his views are just a small indication that the world is finally changing.

During his trip to the States last year, he made real steps towards showing the world that the Catholic Church are trying to move with an ever evolving world. He is the Catholic Church’s first liberal and understanding Pope (at least in my opinion). Pope Francis’ views on abortion may have alarmed many within the Catholic Church, but to the wider world he has become a modern thinker in a once ‘backwards’ religion. Even his views on religion have shown him as one of the most dynamic thinkers in the Catholic faith.

Pope Francis
Now although this is not exactly what Pope Francis said, is was an interpretation of the homily he delivered.

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As I said, I am more than aware that this subject is divisive, but it is a subject that needs to be discussed and as we draw closer to the year anniversary of the United States’ landmark decision on Gay Marriage, have views on these issues strengthened at all?

Your own religious upbringing should not have to dictate your opinions on the matter. In the same way the Pope said that just because you are not Catholic, it does not mean you cannot be religious or spiritual.

Just because you may be heterosexual does not mean you have to believe that Gay Marriage is wrong.

Similarly, being brought up in a certain religion should not dictate whether you believe in Gay Marriage. Religion and Love are two entirely separate entities and should be treated as such!

I was brought up in a strict Roman Catholic home. We went to church each and every Sunday and as soon as I was old enough, I joined the priest every week as an altar girl.

In my opinion, religion is a personal thing. It is not something anyone should ever feel they have to discuss. It is no-one’s business what I believe in, and honestly, I don’t push my thoughts or views on others.


It’s for this reason that I get so incredibly angry when religion is drawn into the argument about sexuality and marriage.

I strongly believe that everyone has the right to love, in the same way everyone has the right to breathe. Everyone has the right to wake up in the morning and know that they have someone in their life who will stand by them through thick or thin. What should it matter if that person is the same sex as you?

Marriage these days has been so diluted anyway. People marry for green cards, or entry into a country. There is no love there. Arranged marriages take place all around the world every single day of the year… no love there to begin with. So that is socially acceptable? Simply because it’s tradition, or necessity? But what about love? Why then should two people, who have loved each other their whole lives not be allowed to marry, when so many people around the world get married in an ad hoc ceremony in Vegas, and their defence is, “well if it doesn’t work we will divorce.”?

If you ask a same sex couple why they want to get married, it is not out of convenience, or necessity.

It is not for tax reasons, or for a piece of paper to say they can remain in a country.

It is not because, “well, we have been together 10 years so feel maybe we ‘should’ get married.”

They are getting married because they cannot bare to spend a moment of their lives apart.

They want their union to be recognised in the same way as anyone else’s. So tell me what any of that has to do with religion? If “God” were here on planet earth today, surrounded by so much pain, war, poverty and heartache, can we honestly say that he would say, “well I know you love each other, and I know you will take care of each other, but I condone this marriage because you are the same sex”?

Come on now people. Do we live in such a narrow-minded society that we don’t think that God himself and his beliefs and values may also have evolved at the same rate as the human race?

Love has no colour. No race. No Religion. It’s not prejudice, it’s not shy and it has no boundaries.

People, humans; they have boundaries. They have issues with narrow-mindedness. Humans have prejudice. But humans have evolved. Love has evolved and the world has moved on. In a world where you can no longer walk down the street without fear, wouldn’t it be a more pleasant place to live if we could at least walk down this scary road holding the hand of the one we love?

A video that has done the rounds more than a few times on social media touched me deeply and brought a tear to my eye. It is a video I come back to time and time again.

At no time in history has this argument brought people together and divided them as much as it does now. The White House lit up its walls with the rainbow last year, people took to the streets to celebrate. NYC police danced, children smiled, and lovers… they loved. They married. They proposed and they smiled. Because for one day, one blissful, happy, history making day – there were no boundaries on love. Finally it was recognised that freedom to love is just as important as freedom of speech.

Religion has no place in love. I am religious. I have been brought up to believe there is a greater reason for our life on this earth. I have grown up believing that those who leave us, look down upon us from a better place. Not everyone believes the same, and I would never tell anyone they have to agree with my own faith and beliefs. But when you get married, you do not ask the whole congregation to believe everything that you believe. You are not asking them to be a part of your marriage. You are not asking or expecting them to fix your relationship if anything goes wrong. Your friends and family gather to witness two people, in love, professing to the world that they will stand by each other through thick and thin.

So for that very reason, why should two people not be allowed to marry simply because they chose to marry someone of the same sex?Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 18.57.17

I was incredibly proud the day the Supreme Court ruled in the states that marriage was now legal for all. But it was a bittersweet day, because I couldn’t help but feel disappointed at the continuing negativity and anger. Let the love flow. Be happy for those who have found their life partner. Will it really affect your day-to-day life to know that there are people out there married to someone of the same sex? Get on with your own life, and live to your own morals and values, and let love be love.

It is almost a year since the day the world turned Rainbow coloured. Almost a year since we saw dancing in the streets, and although I feel we have come a long way – I still think there is much work to be done before we can truly say we are a planet of equality and acceptance.

What did you think?

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