Friday 22nd May sees an important and somewhat historic day for Ireland, as a marriage referendum will be cast to see if same-sex marriage will be legalised.

If the yes vote wins out, Ireland will be the first country in the world to pass a marriage equality bill by national vote. This is an exciting time, not only for the Irish nation but also for LGBT rights in general.

Throughout my social media feeds there are pleas for both sides of the argument, which as I read from comment to comment make me happy and frustrated in equal measure. As I scroll through them I can’t help but be reminded of two years ago, when the bill was being rolled through our parliament here in Britain.

 

Back then in February 2013, I posted an online survey asking the social media flock for their anonymous opinions on the matter at hand. The artist in me decided to delve into it head first to find out whether the people of Great Britain had great pride or great prejudice. I created a photographic series entitled The Natural Order with some of my results. Somewhat unfortunately this piece is still relevant today so in lieu of Friday’s vote I decided to dig into my archives and promote it again.

I posted one simple thing:

“Please can you tell me what your honest opinions are about same-sex marriage. Be as negative or as positive as you like, just be honest.”

 

And honest they were…

Homosexuals are obviously mentally twisted since they resist what nature has already determined. Their deviant sexual behaviors are proven to be disease ridden and from personal experience I can say that they have been an unusual high percentage of child predators. Gay marriage normalizes their gross ways and will endanger our children.”

“It’s a sickness on our society in every sense of the word. Homosexuality, to me, is just as bad as incest. Two people of the same family having sex, let alone getting married, is instinctively frowned upon. So why in black thunder does anyone think it should be perfectly acceptable for two members of the same gender to have sex, let alone get married?”

“They must be deranged in the mind to fight against the natural order of God’s creation. All they see is happy pink not their disgusting truth.”

I had prepared myself for the odd negative comment, but still found myself completely taken aback by the outrageous opinions festering in these strangers’ minds. Some of the negativity made me want to laugh, some made me angry and some produced a bizarre mixture of both. Being compared to a “child predator“ was one comment in particular that made me laugh at first and then turn red in the face with frustration. The comment about incest is too ridiculous to even comment on.

A lot of the anonymous writers questioned the mental state of a homosexual person – suggesting we are “deranged in the mind.” These comments empower the belief that a heterosexual couple should be celebrated because they’re committed to one another yet a homosexual couple should be committed for wanting the same celebration.

“It’s a direct mockery of the natural order of things (i.e God’s creation). While I’ve heard some people argue that it happens in the animal kingdom, I have to remind you that we, as humans, are not dumb animals! God did not intend for members of the same sex to marry each other, otherwise he would’ve created two men and two women, and told them their options…”

“It’s disgusting and unnatural”

“Marriage is religious construct, you cannot ask for something that the religion does not believe in.”

The reasoning behind the majority of this adverse attitude was unsurprisingly linked to religion; something that I’m certain will be the root of the no votes in Ireland on Friday. I received a constant reference to “God’s natural order,” throughout the replies. As an atheist who is standing up for same-sex rights, my view of God’s natural order is obviously biased but the consistent referral to His creation made me just as angry as being called a peadophile.

I’m not here to list my anti-religious views or argue whether God exists but I cannot justify intelligent human minds in today’s society using God as an excuse. If there is a God, then he created me, and he created me as a homosexual. It is irritating that some people still see homosexuality as a choice, when it is not. It is natural and because that fact is somehow lost in translation between homosexuals and heterosexuals, the anti-crowd turns straight to God as an alibi for their ignorance. Quite a large chunk of my conceptual photographs were created with a religious thought in mind.

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“How is it acceptable for a heterosexual person to marry several times but not for a gay person to marry once?”

“Currently, 50% of heterosexual marriages end in divorce & those are people who have never had to fight for the marital right. But, like the now infamous image states “Marriage is a human right, not a heterosexual privilege.”

I am pleased to say that a lot of the survey feedback was positive. The above two answers suggest interesting points about the state of heterosexual marriage – competing with another survey reply,

“Homosexuals will make marriage a joke.” I am uncertain whether the quoted statistic above of 50% is a fact but it still leads to the same conclusion that many people remarry and remarry and have the right to do so yet a same sex couple cannot have the same privilege even once.

“Homosexuals will make marriage a joke.” I am uncertain whether the quoted statistic above of 50% is a fact but it still leads to the same conclusion that many people remarry and remarry and have the right to do so yet a same sex couple cannot have the same privilege even once.

“Unnatural and Immoral. You have to ask yourself what would Jesus do? And know that his answer would be opposed to the ludicrousness.”

The results I gathered made for interesting reading no matter how absurd or low the answerer sunk. They became the backbone to my personal conceptual art project The Natural Order. For the negative results, I wanted to turn the answers into a “ludicrous” version of themselves through portraiture and tableaus. Whereas the positive results simply inspired me to push further towards equality awareness.

I was disgusted that the opinions collated through modern social networking sites contradicted the modern means with the old fashioned views. Yet as the same-sex marriage bill still steadily rolls its way through the world, soon the opinions of the anti-party will be voided out by the equal rights decision to allow anyone to get married, no matter their gender. It is only natural after all.

The series was part of a group exhibition at UCA Rochester Campus in June 2013 and can be seen now online here www.markgoggin.tumblr.com.

“Love is love, we are born the way we’re born, and it’s literally stupid to think homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to marry in the same way heterosexuals are. Why is it STILL even up for discussion? Equality for all, one earth.”

 

 

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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.