Ashley Madison and the recent hack of their online systems has been covered thoroughly, and ad nauseam. It doesn’t help that in many ways it is arguably a most nauseating subject matter.
I will not focus on the adultery, the hacking or the online security aspects – those have been well and truly covered.
However, there has been a lot of ‘discussion’ about marriage equality in Australia of late, and the Ashley Madison saga can’t be ignored in the context of that ongoing fight for equality.
I will not pass judgment on those who choose to use Ashley Madison. I believe using the site is up to their individual consciences … and the tolerance levels of their respective spouses once they find out.
However, you can’t argue marriage equality for the LGBTI community represents a threat to marriage in Australia while sites like Ashley Madison exist and thrive. Unless you actively campaign against divorce, adultery and the existence of sites like Ashley Madison, your anti-marriage equality stance is intellectually hollow, and patently bigoted and homophobic.
Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are in the top ten cities worldwide using the services of Ashley Madison, and it’s estimated it has about a million users in Australia:
For better or worse, that’s the kind of culture and society we live in. That’s the reality of the so-called ‘sanctity’ of modern marriage.
Reports indicate there are even around 90 email addresses in the Ashley Madison leak identified so far which are linked to Australian Catholic education accounts, with over 30 of those accounts verified. The very institution that sees the LGBTI community a threat not just to the institution of marriage, but society.
And how many more Catholics could be among the exposed users smart enough not to use their Catholic Church affiliated email servers?
For an organisation that’s founded on morality and biblical values, and uses those values to deny basic human rights to others, that’s 90 more potential cases of hypocrisy than they are allowed to have …
If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel.
And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man’s wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Although it’s perhaps asking too much of the members of Catholic Church to conduct their lives in accordance with the teachings of their Church and holy text, when their own priests and institutions couldn’t stop themselves from committing heinous sexual crimes against children.
A culture and a society that accepts the existence of services like Ashley Madison, and allows the continued operation of hypocritical organisations like the Catholic Church, lost the right to pass ‘moral judgment’ on the LGBTI community and has no right to reject marriage equality. Such a culture and society has no right to throw the perceived ‘promiscuity’ of the LGBTI community into their faces as an argument against extending equality to them.
The LGBTI community may not make the ‘perfect’ contribution to marriage. No doubt they will be like everyone else: there will be separations and divorces, but there will also be beautiful, epic love stories spanning a lifetime.
But marriage is already a flawed institution, because it’s a … human institution, and after a chequered history of purpose over the millenniums, at the heart of it, it still involves the expression of some of the most basic and perplexing human emotions: love, passion and desire.
These emotions are so deeply hardwired in humanity that trying to deny them doesn’t just go against nature and common sense but it is also inhumane and downright cruel.
Members of the LGBTI community have the same unalienable human rights to experience, live and express those emotions as everyone else, including enjoying the institution designed to accommodate and support two people who hold those emotions for no one but each other.