Thursday, 19 April 2007
Tory MP worried by polygamous gay immigrants
Conservative MP Mr Davies has warned that human rights laws and equality regulations could open the door for gays to demand similar recognition for multiple partnerships, with groups of men or women presenting themselves as polygamous 'families' according to the Mail.
The old fear of the promiscuous gay male has reared its head again, this time articulate by this particular backbench Conservative MP. The point is entirely baseless because, as noted within the article by Stonewall: "In all countries that have legalised gay marriage or any other form of same-sex recognition, polygamy is illegal" - so essentially this is a bit of a non-news story with little actual legislative relevance. What is interesting however is the language used to convey the fear of such an occurrence ever happening.
The way Davis phrases his points may be familiar to many: the fear of accepting a "pretended family relationship" (Sychin) as normal in law. What this story tells us in part is that good homosexuality requires bad homosexuality, Davis utilises the imaginary scurge of the polygamous gay immigrant to illustrate this point. Many of the arguments that have been made criticising same-sex civil partnerships also recognise this fact, suggesting such pairings effectively render those partnerships (such as polygamous pairings) that are not recognised by law - 'queer'. Many of the debates surrounding Section 28 involved an implicit acceptance that by articulating or codifying the gay male and female in law they may be subject to greater scrutiny ("By amending the law, we will make them part of a civil and civilized society" as one Labour MP once up it - Stychin 2003).
The progression towards acceptable forms of partnership and activism has been elsewhere acknowledged and commented upon (Warner 2000). It's not hard to find example within a UK/US political context; Stonewall, started as a riot, and is now a fairly servile state-depentent pressure-group participating in Pride events with corporate-backing that would rival the Olympics. Stonewall speak out, if only to assuage the fears of the 'confused' Member of Parliment.
Stychin: Governing Sexuality, 2003
Warner: The problem with normal, 2000