A Model of Tolerance and Open-Mindedness?

July 5, 2012


“We are what is considered a ‘traditional’ married couple with children. We find ridiculous and offensive claims by some clergy, and the so-called ‘defenders’ of traditional family values, that the legal recognition of same-sex families and their children is a threat to our family. We oppose the discrimination and unfair treatment that same-sex couples and their children still face in Europe.”

Love does not have a gender or sexual orientation and should be embraced and recognised in all its expressions!” (Source: ILGA Europe)


The message this poster seeks to convey is that even “traditional families” (i.e., married heterosexuals) should support the novel concepts of family and marriage promoted by the ILGA campaign. Any opposition to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage is dismissed as “ridiculous” and “offensive”, and the opponents are portrayed as the gullible disciples of “some clergy”. Reading between the lines, those “some clergy” presumably belong to the fundamentalist fringe of their respective religious communities, whereas the mainstream of those communities supports the ILGA agenda. The truth is, however, that ALL major religious traditions in Europe continue to recognise marriage as solely between a man and a woman.

When reference is made to proponents of traditional family values, the ILGA uses the phrase “so-called ‘defenders’”, suggesting that their opponents merely pretend to defend family values, while in reality their one and only motivation is to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Is there any basis for such an insinuation? Isn’t it a precondition for a reasonable debate to assume that the other side is arguing in good faith, and that the concerns it expresses are genuine? Would it not be more appropriate to respond to such concerns, rather than just calling them “ridiculous” and “offensive”?

In a democratic society, politics should be based on the exchange of rational arguments, not on negative campaigning and name-calling. This poster does not present any reasoned arguments in favour of same-sex marriage or gay adoption. Instead, its apparent purpose is to prevent the exchange of rational arguments from taking place and to belittle, marginalise and denigrate those holding different views. Their message is simple: Don’t listen to the arguments of our opponents — they are BAD and IGNORANT people.

Of course, a lobby group like ILGA Europe may resort to such demagoguery if it believes this to be helpful for the advancement of its agenda. Given that convincing arguments do not seem to be available, the lack of argument and use of derogatory language in their propaganda comes as no surprise. However, it is shameful for the European Commission to provide a forum for this style of campaigning and, what’s worse, to subsidise it with taxpayers’ money. Given that it is the exclusive competence of Member States to regulate marriage and family, it is wholly inappropriate for the Commission to take sides in the debate on those issues.

Far from fostering a fair and balanced debate, the Commission’s one-sided moral and financial support to this campaign is disrespectful and offensive. It discriminates against all those EU citizens who believe in the traditional definitions of “family” and “marriage”.