In Praise of Tolerance: Gay Marriage and Synthetic Turf

I’m not gay and I don’t play soccer, but I have been pleased by the blossoming of gay marriage initiatives and by the fact that increasing numbers of young and old have been drawn to soccer as a recreational activity – to the point that our local community has, with some curmudgeonly exceptions, embraced the reality of synthetic turf, to permit year round participation in a wonderfully healthy activity.

It seems that opposition to the synthetic turf field is very much like opposition to gay rights and gay marriage. In both instances there are claims that the behaviour in question simply isn’t “natural”, and as such, ought to be resisted. Sex between two men or two women is, statistically speaking, outside of pre-existing norms. And a synthetic playing surface is similarly, statistically speaking, outside of pre-existing norms (never mind that plastic has been an integral part of our lives, in other contexts, for decades).

More telling, perhaps, opponents of both gay rights and synthetic turf will tell you that tolerance of such activities is a failure to recognize the thin edge of the wedge – that if we allow these behaviours, great harms will befall the community. In a worst case scenario, more and more young men and women will be drawn to homosexuality, our birthrate will begin to plummet, and respect for the nuclear family will disappear. Before long, human extinction will become a credible threat. Similarly, tolerance of synthetic turf will lead to a Bowen overrun by synthetic surfaces, with children suffering yet to be determined illnesses as a consequence. Even worse, synthetic turf is said to be a proxy for an urban environment, our forests metaphorically (if not actually) depleted to make way for synthetic playing field after synthetic playing field.

How about more tolerance on both counts, gay and lesbian marriage and synthetic turf – a little more of the spirit of live and let live?

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