I am a gay man who, when arguing for gay marriage, has been called “lesser”, “unnatural”, “deviant” and “sinful”. In these arguments the love I have for my fiancé has been belittled as just “sex” or only “friendship”. I have been told my natural urges are a choice. I have been told I do not deserve equal rights. I have even been told I am going to hell. Furthermore, I have been told it is offensive to brand such remarks “bigoted”, and that I am the bully.

I do not believe all opponents of gay marriage are hateful. Some have just not been exposed to the right arguments, and so I will demonstrate here that each anti-gay marriage argument ultimately serves to oppress or imply the lesser status of the minority of which I am a part. In rallying against the introduction of equal marriage, religious campaigners have frequently stressed that their objections are not driven by homophobia, and have deployed numerous arguments to demonstrate this. To the untrained ear these arguments sound like they may have grounding in reason, but on closer inspection reveal themselves as homophobic.

What follows is a handy guide to spotting, and refuting, these arguments

Type A: The Insidiously Homophobic Arguments

1. “We need to protect marriage.”

The word “protect” implies that gay people are a threat to the institution of marriage. To imply that including same-sex couples within the definition of marriage will somehow be detrimental or even destructive for the institution is to suggest gay people must be inherently poisonous. It also implies a nefarious gay mafia that is out to wreck marriage for straight people. Naturally if such a mafia existed I would be bound by a code of honour to deny its existence. However, it doesn’t exist.

2. “We must preserve traditional marriage.”

Given that marriage has always changed to suit the culture of the time and place, I would refrain from ever calling it “traditional”. If marriage was truly traditional, interracial couples would not be allowed to wed, one could marry a child, ceremonies would be arranged by parents to share familial wealth and the Church of England would still be under the authority of the Pope.