Normal family, abnormal morality…


This ‘What Would You Do?’ clip, which arrived in my inbox today via Upworthy, recorded the reactions of diners in a Texas restaurant to same-sex couples enjoying lunch out with their families. In the same way that many in the UK were surprised that it was a Tory government that finally pushed same-sex marriage legislation thru the House of Commons, the clip shows that the connection between party politics and private attitudes isn’t always as clear cut as one might assume…

Disappointingly, the guy at 6.17 still resorts to using a sexist slur whilst taking the ‘waitress’ to task – misogyny might be the perennial #1 in the bigotry charts, yet remains the least recognized, and most casually perpetuated – but we can still take heart that in a world (or in the US, at least) where 1 in 5 gay couples raising kids, and a ‘normal family’ is a relative term, many ‘ordinary Joes’ are able to recognize injustice and are willing to claim the moral high-ground.

At 3.04 our ‘waitress’ berates the ‘couple’ (one of whom actually is lesbian) ‘…I actually have morals and standards’ so it’s not insignificant, then, that Donovan, who next takes the couple’s side is openly Christian in his extortion that she ‘not judge’ them. It’s refreshing that he interprets Christ‘s words in the spirit they were apparently intended, in an age when so-called Christian groups are too-often reactionary, narrow-minded and proscriptive in their thinking.

Andrea Dworkin‘s words ‘The worst immorality is in apathy, a deadening of caring about others, not because they have some special claim but because they have no claim at all’ are especially pertinent here; as Donovan says at 4.54 ‘I think silence is one of the failures of people today … when they see an injustice … they stay silent…’. Texas is one of 29 US states where gay people can legally be refused service, yet half the diners come to the defence of the harrassed couples; in liberal NY, by comparison, less than a quarter do so…

Back in the UK, the Marriage (same-sex couples) bill (2013) was passed in the House of Commons by a majority of 400 vs 175. British PM, David Cameron was brave and enlightened enough to make this a free vote, and fully half his party voted against or abstained. Much of the resistance was predicated on the notion that marriage is an institution designed around the ‘proper’ raising of children. Beyond party politics and religious orthodoxy, it is heartening that many people recognize this reasoning as specious; that marriage and family are fundamentally about commitment and love. Indeed, a recent study in The Netherlands suggests that kids of same-sex couples (female) actually do better than their Mum/Dad peers.

The Quakers and Unitarians, along with some Protestant groups beat Cameron to the punch with Gay Marriage. Sometimes ‘Conservatives’ don’t feel the way one might expect. Conventional ‘morality’ is changing: let’s not let human decency and real morality go the way of the ‘y’, for all our sakes…


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