A frustratingly obtuse twitter argument tonight has made it finally register for me how it is that those defending discriminatory marriage laws argue that it’s not “discriminating” against anyone on the grounds of gender.
They do it by focusing on the general. So men and women can, indeed, marry under the present Marriage Act. Therefore, they say, there’s no discrimination! Men and women can marry! They’ve just got to rule out half the population when choosing their partner.
The rhetorical trick there, of course, is to ignore the specific.
Because where the discrimination comes in is where the law prevents a particular person from doing something because of their gender. As in, I was allowed to marry my wife by the law, but I would have been prevented if I were a woman. And she was allowed to marry me, but only because she’s a woman. If she were a man, she’d have been blocked.
And of course, when the law prevents you from doing something because of your gender, by necessity that’s discrimination on the grounds of gender.
I’d have thought that was obvious, but apparently others pretend to ignore the specific discrimination and zoom out to the macro level where they can’t see it.
But it’s there. All you have to do is look at the individuals affected by it. Individuals who are prevented from marrying their partner purely because they’re a particular gender.
Q, as they say, ED.