Anti same sex marriage campaigner Matthew Offord MP has been attracting much attention to himself of late. He has gone public with his view that the purpose of marriage is to procreate. As Mrs Angry rather cruelly points out, Mr Offord has thus far failed to actually procreate himself following his marriage. Now I'm a big fan of marriage and I'm a big fan of procreation. I have spent many a happy hour whiling away the time daydreaming about procreating. Being a good Roman Catholic, I'd have happily had ten children, because there is nothing I enjoy more than being in a mad house . Having children is great. It allows you to meet lovely new friends and develop exciting new hobbies. Since my kids were born, some of the marvellous new hobbies include getting up at 4.15 to ferry kids to the swimming pool, standing in the pissing rain for two hours watching inept eight year olds failing miserably to kick a ball to each other and best of all the marvellous sport of trying to get a coherent sentence out of a teenager.
It also teaches you great humility. After all of the sacrifices, you know you have succeeded as a parent when a polite request to move a coat dropped in the middle of the living room is met with "OH MY GOD, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!!!!" or a request to turn off a light or shut a door is met with "WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM".
Now sadly for me, my chosen wife is not a Roman Catholic and she doesn't share my desire to be driven insane at all times, for the fun of the intellectual challenge. Therefore she selfishly limited our family to a mere three children (she is also not of the faith, so doesn't feel guilty about it). As three kids singularly failed to cause me enough brain damage, I have successfully managed to persuade her to add two dogs to the mad house. Dogs are far better than children in many ways. If you give them food they eat it. They don't answer back and they wag their tails when you enter the room. Matthew Offord is also a fan of dogs. He made a huge fuss when the Parliamentary authorities banned him from bringing his dog to work. He claimed that it breached his dogs human rights. Personally, I think anyone who breaches a Dogs human rights must be a terrible meany. How could they be so cruel to poor old Max (Matthews doggy). I must commend Matthew for subjecting himself to such public ridicule on behalf of Max. Personally, whilst I love my dogs, I would not want the world to think I had a screw loose on their behalf.
Matthew claims that Gay marriage is the first step on a long, rocky road to the destruction of the institution of marriage. He used the issue of polygamy to demonstrate one way in which it might be undermined. Just think how society would collapse if we could all have as many wives or husbands as we like? As I stated above, I'm quite a fan of procreation. Matthew is quite right that dastardly devils such as myself would be tempted to try and bring extra wives back home. I can just imagine the conversation "Hello Darling, this is Uma, you may have seen her in Kill Bill, I met her at the drugstore and we got hitched at the Elvis chapel. I thought she could help you with the chores". Poor old Matthew doesn't realise that such things are not really the thing which damages most marriages in this country. Usually it is more likely to be a bit of extra marital shenanigans with Betty from billing or Bob from the Butchers.
I was discussing the gay marriage thing and Mr Offord with a friend of mine who was gay and had been married a while back. He married a woman when he was younger, before he came out. He believed that if he married and had kids, he would be able to manage. In the end, his wife got sick of the fact that her husband wasn't really interested in her. She suggested that they would be far happier as friends, if he could live his life the way he wanted and she could find a man who wanted a woman. They parted amicably and he says they are good friends, the children are happier and his ex wife is fulfilled. He plays a full role in his childrens life as a father. I asked him if he regretted what happened. He said that he would never regret having children and his children were the one thing in his life that he was truly proud of, but he bitterly regretted the hurt he caused his ex wife and says that he is blessed that she is so kind and forgiving. I asked him about how he feels about his ex's new husband. He laughed and told me they regularly play golf. It was a bit awkward at first, but once everyone realised that they had each others best interests at heart, it was fine. You may wonder about the kids. He said that because both he and his wife cared passionately about them, they did everything they could to protect them. When they finally told the kids the truth (at an age when they thought they could deal with it), the kids told them they'd known for years and their biggest worry was that "daddy wouldn't love them any more". When they realised that Daddy did love them and that Daddy was still there for them, they were happy.
I asked him how he felt as a father? He said that he had never missed a parents evening, a football match, a birthday party or anything else. He said that his kids talked to him as friends and confidants and felt there was a mutual bond of trust. When one of the children was seriously ill, he'd stayed at the family home for several weeks and was fine with it.
Then I asked him about gay marriage. He said that having been married and failed to keep the marriage together, he would not try again. He said that he felt everyone who marries should regard it as a solemn sacrament and be 100% committed to the marriage. He said that he couldn't judge anyone else as he'd failed himself.
My friend, who was raised a Roman Catholic, asked me how I felt about the position of the Church on the issue. I said that I feel it lacks a bit of compassion for people. I find it hard to condemn people to a lonely existence who have a different predeliction, when I enjoy my own, more conformist one so much. I find it almost selfish. I am happy and fulfilled with my life choices, so how can I possibly judge others who are wired so different.
His response to this shocked me. He said that I didn't realise just how miserable he'd been at one point. He said he knew his wife was being made to live a horrible existence and it was all his fault. He was considering committing suicide as a "honourable way out for all concerned". He said the only thing that stopped him was his son one day saying "daddy I love you so much, you won't die will you" after watching a documentary about a father who had a terminal disease. He then said that he entered a period of praying madly for "a cure". This brought no joy, just angst and turmoil. Eventually he asked a priest for guidance. The priest, who was clearly a wise and spiritual man said "God made you the way you are, that was his plan for you and it is not a cure you need. What you need is a purpose and a away forward, pray for guidance, not a cure".
He said that he prayed for this that night. He said that the priest had been the first person he'd ever discussed his feelings with properly. Shortly after, his wife asked him if he was gay and they worked out their separation. He said that his biggest fear was that she would cut him off from his children and cease to be his friend. In the circumstances, she insisted that he "remained their father and remained a part of the family".
Which brings us up to date. The children have almost grown up and are well adjusted and successful, the ex wife is happy and contented with a partner that appreciates her. In short, although we are not at the ending, everyone is pretty happy at the moment.
And the conversation returned to where it started. With our local MP, Matthew Offord. My friend said that perhaps the best thing Matthew could do is go forth and multiply. I'll let you decide exactly what he meant.
*** We discussed if he'd mind me blogging the conversation as reported above. He said that so long as I didn't identify anyone it would be fine. He read this before I blogged it and agonised over whether he'd be happy with me publishing it. That is why it has taken a few days to emerge. When he read it, he found it a bit "raw" but in the end decided that he wanted the story told. He said that I was the first person he'd ever really told whole story to. I find it tragic, I hope that getting it off his chest helps in some way. As for Mr Offord, I hope he gets plenty of opportunituies for sex and travel after the next election. --- I have to admit that this is possibly the most disturbing blog I have ever written. When you realise just how sad and low peopleyou know and you like can really get, you have to readjust your views on life. If you are feeling the way my friend was feeling, please contact someone to talk it through with, be it a friend, a priest, a rabbi, or the Samaritans. The one thing I can say without fear of contradiction is that the world would have been a worse place if my friend had killed himself. To me, that is all that really matters. ***