Informative & Thought-Provoking Posts From Around The Web – March Edition

Continuing our post from last month summarising the best informative and thought-provoking articles from around the web, here are six posts from the month of March covering the hottest topics related to love and relationships.

Is Big Data Dating The Key To Long-Lasting Romance?

Paul Rubens at the BBC investigates whether “big data” is the key to finding long-lasting romance and if modern technology can assist us all in finding our true love (or even just a highly compatible partner).

Love Machine: How Gen Yers Used Technology To Transform The Dating Game

“Sex and romance online was for freaks and geeks until young people came along. Nothing would ever be the same again.” In another post on love in the modern world and the use of technology, the Guardian looks at how Generation Y is going about the quest for love – their ways might seem outrageous to other generations, but it appears that the nature of the beast is still the same.

Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal As First Couples Wed In the UK

The first same-sex weddings have taken place after gay marriage became legal in England and Wales at midnight on March 29. Politicians from the main parties have hailed the change in the law. Scotland passed a similar law in February; the first same-sex marriages are expected there in October. For those who missed it last year, check out Find Keep Love’s post on Why Gay Marriage Is A Step Forward For Humanity.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law Challenged In Court

On the other side of the world, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed an anti-gay bill last month toughening penalties for gay people, including life sentences for gay sex and same-sex marriages. Some of the outrageous punishments include:

  • Life imprisonment for gay sex, including oral sex;
  • Life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality”, including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive;
  • Life imprisonment for living in a same-sex marriage;
  • Seven years for “attempting to commit homosexuality”;
  • Between five and seven years in jail and/or a $40,700 (£24,500) fine for the promotion of homosexuality; and
  • Businesses or non-governmental organisations found guilty of the promotion of homosexuality would have their certificates of registration cancelled and directors could face seven years in jail.

Protests are ongoing from groups like All Out and LGBT groups around the world, and the law is currently being challenged in court in Uganda.

Am I Really Ready For This? Pre-Wedding Jitters

A good number of engagements happen during the month of love – Februrary – but what happens when the excitement dies down and reality hits. Here is some advice for those who have recently popped the question (or have been asked to marry) and the enormity of the situation has just sunk in.

Cat Café Opens In London – Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

And, finally, taking after the craze in Japan, a cat café has opened in London: Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium. At Lady Dinah’s – a home for rescued cats – visitors can kick back and relax with a cup of tea and spend time in the soothing company of our purring feline friends. This article provides more information on the cat café and its opening.

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Informative & Thought-Provoking Posts From Around The Web – February Edition

February’s always a hot month for love with Valentine’s Day falling right in the middle. Here are a summary of posts from around the web this month that are informative and thought-provoking, covering various topics related to love and relationships. There’s something for everyone in this collection of news, articles and videos.

The History Of Marriage – Alex Gendler (A TED Talk)

“Marriage has always been shaped by society, and as a society’s structure, values and goals change over time, its ideas of marriage will continue to change along with them.” With marriage being a hotly discussed topic of late with increasing divorce rates and same-sex marriage legislation being debated by governments around the world, here is a brief history of marriage (via TED-Ed – Lessons Worth Sharing) in The History Of Marriage – Alex Gendler.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Polyamory But Were Afraid To Ask

Some of the estimated 1 million to 2 million Americans who choose to openly love more than one person share wisdom and advice for people who are considering “going poly,” or who are just curious about the practice in Everything you wanted to know about polyamory but were afraid to ask – inside the sex positive world of multiple partners.

10 Stubborn Sex Myths That Just Won’t Die, Debunked

Perhaps you’ve heard that size matters, women are naturally more bisexual than men, or that tantric sex means everlasting orgasms. The fact is, none of these things are quite true. Sex has been around forever, but we’re just starting to understand it. Lifehacker debunks 10 of the most common sex myths to set the record straight in 10 Stubborn Sex Myths That Just Won’t Die, Debunked.

Canadian Actress Ellen Page Comes Out As Gay At Time To Thrive Conference

Canadian actress Ellen Page made the brave decision to come out as gay at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Time to Thrive Conference in Nevada, Las Vegas. Check out the post over at the Human Rights Campaign’s Tumblr page and watch the Juno star’s moving coming out speech below.

Facebook Offers Users 56 New Gender Options

Facebook announced this month that it will allow users to customise their gender, after consulting on the subject with gay and transgender advocacy groups. Facebook now offers users 56 new gender options and here’s what they all mean over at The Week.

In The Mood For Love (10 TED Talks On Love)

Love: it’s what makes the world go round. And also: all you need. As well as that thing, in addition to war, in which all is fair. Here, watch TED Talks about this most basic of human emotions in In The Mood For Love.

26 Of Hollywood’s Most Romantic Movie Moments In One & A Half Minutes

Watch 26 of Hollywood’s most romantic movie moments in a minute and a half in The Most Romantic Movie Moments Mashup by Fandango.

Philosophy Of Love Course On MIT’s OpenCourseWare

The MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) OpenCourseWare is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity. This course,  titled ‘Philosophy of Love,’ explores the nature of love through works of philosophy, literature, film, poetry, and individual experience. It investigates the distinction among eros, philia, and agape. Students discuss ideas of love as a feeling, an action, a species of ‘knowing someone,’ or a way to give or take. Authors studied include Plato, Kant, Buber, D. H. Lawrence, Rumi, and Aristotle. Find out more and go through the course materials yourself here.

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas For Everyone

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, so I thought in this post I’d provide some timely encouragement and inspiration to make the most of this yearly event celebrating love.

LOOKING FOR LOVE?

For those looking for love, you might like to start with our post Step 3. (Where To) Start Looking For Love, and if online dating is something you’ve thought about trying, check out our online dating-themed posts on The Best Dating Websites & Apps To Look For Love, Creating A Successful Online Dating Profile, and Tips & Advice To Stay Safe Online. Make Valentine’s Day your catalyst for finding and keeping love this year.

GOING ON A DATE?

If you’re going on a date with someone, particularly for the first time, don’t leave home without having read our First Date Dos And Don’ts!

And make sure you give yourself the best chance possible of attracting your ideal mate by reading 10 Ways To Make Yourself More Attractive To The Opposite Sex – Part 1 and Part 2.

WANT A DATE IDEA?

If you don’t know where to go or what to do on your date, and want some ideas that won’t break the bank, our posts on 10 Cheap Date Ideas That Won’t Make You A Cheapskate – Part 1 and Part 2 should put you on the right track.

If you’d just like to have a romantic evening indoors with your loved one instead, perhaps try our series of movie posts on movies perfect for couples: 10 Man-Friendly Romantic Comedies That Women Love, 10 Feel-Good And Tear-Jerker Movies That Change Your Perspective, 10 Classic Love Stories & Romantic Movies and 10 Girl-Friendly Action Movies That Men Love. There’s something for everyone in these collections of fantastic movies.

WANT TO SURPRISE YOUR PARTNER?

If you are in a relationship and want to make your Valentine feel special, 10 Ways To Surprise Your Partner will give you several handy suggestions to show them that you love and appreciate them.

And if you really want to surprise them and take your relationship to the ultimate level, our post on Epic Marriage Proposal Wins should inspire you to make it uniquely special.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day to celebrate love?

New Year Resolutions To Improve Your Love Life

Many of us make resolutions at the beginning of the New Year, but how many of us actually end up turning them in action, let alone achieve them? Now that we’ve had some time to get over New Year’s Eve festivities, reflecting on 2013, what were your best and worst moments of the past year? If you made resolutions last year, did you come close to achieving any of them? I managed to achieve 5.5 out of 7 of my resolutions, but I didn’t read nearly enough books as I’d hoped, and I lost some excess weight, but not nearly as much as I’d set as a goal. Starting and maintaining this blog was one of my resolutions last year and I’m looking forward to continuing and expanding it this year. It now has its own web address, too: findkeeplove.com.

Thinking about what we might like to achieve in 2014, let’s look at the resolutions you might have made. Many resolutions are made without serious intent and are too vague to actually achieve: “lose weight,” “find love,” “be happier,” and so on. Making resolutions for the right reasons and that are achievable give you a goal to aim at throughout the year, something to look forward to, a personal challenge, and/or a new start. We feel better about ourselves when we set personal goals, no matter how small, and then end up accomplishing them.

So how can we set realistic New Year resolutions and set out to achieve them? First, don’t think of a resolution as something silly you make up on New Year’s Eve, but as you would any other goal or challenge you might make on any other day of the year. If you have trouble taking a “New Year resolution” seriously, call it something else, like “Goals for 2014.” Then follow these simple steps:

1. Pick the right resolution(s)

Think about what you really want to achieve this year and how you will benefit from it.

2. Set an achievable goal

Unrealistic goals are doomed to fail and a goal is more achievable if you can quantify it in terms of numbers.

3. Set a time line for the goal

and if possible, break the goal up into steps. This helps you review your progress against tangible performance metrics. A resolution made without thinking of the steps necessary to achieve that resolution will most likely fail. If you want to lose weight, for example, try “exercise for 30 minutes a day,” “replace crisps/chocolate with a piece of fruit,” and so on, in order to lose weight (e.g., lose x kilograms).

4. Review your progress towards the goal

This helps you stay on track… and remember to try as hard as possible not to move the goalposts, but also remain somewhat flexible – at the end of the day, you are only letting yourself down, but you are the main influencer of your own happiness! At the end of January, review the progress towards your goals and see how you’re going.

5. Achieve your challenge

… or part of it. Even if you don’t complete 100% of the original goal, you may have learnt a thing or two along the way. And there’s always a chance to make new resolutions in a year’s time.

Making New Year Resolutions To Improve Your Love Life – For Singles

For singles looking to find love, perhaps you can set yourself the goal of one activity a month that allows you to meet someone new. This might be joining new club, group or organisation related to something that interests you or something you’ve wanted to try. One place you can start looking is Meetup. It’s always good to push yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself from time to time. You can use these activities as an opportunity of assessing others’ suitability as a partner (subtly, of course).

If you’re serious about finding love this year, you’ll want to have a look at Find Keep Love’s three step program to finding love:

If you want to try online dating, sign up to a dating website or two and start creating a profile. You’ll might also like to check out our series of posts on online dating:

Making New Year Resolutions To Improve Your Love Life – For Couples

For couples, you can set goals individually or together. As an individual goal, for example, resolve to do a random nice thing for your partner once a month (or once a week if you’re feeling overly ambitious) or to take your partner out for a proper romantic date once a month. Find Keep Love’s post on 10 Ways To Surprise Your Partner addresses this topic and will point you in the right direction. You could also aim to pay your loved one a compliment a day for the entirety of 2014. 365 compliments will gain you some serious love points, and you’ll form good habits to strengthen your relationship.

You can also set goals together – to learn something new by taking a course together (a new language or a cooking course perhaps) or to go on a romantic getaway once or twice this year. Resolve to spend more quality time together, particularly if work or family life gets in the way. Our posts on Modern Day Dating & Scheduling Dates, Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts and The Natural Drift Of Relationships – Why Some Relationships Don’t Last discuss some of the common issues with modern relationships and some ways to overcome them. You may also find some inspiration from our two-part post on the 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love and on the 7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – you’ll want to aim to do more of the former and less of the latter.

What are your New Year resolutions? What steps will you take to achieve them?

5 Worst Ways To Break Up With Someone

The act of breaking up with someone should never be taken lightly. Ending a relationship is never a pleasant experience, but it can be simply devastating for some and can have potential long-term consequences for your partner and their future relationships. Although for some, it can be a blessing in disguise and a potentially life-changing experience for the better. In this post, Find Keep Love looks at five of the worst ways to break up with someone and discusses the most humane way in which to be the bearer of bad news in the best possible light.

1. Break-ups using social media

Social media is great for keeping in touch with family and friends, sharing photos and videos, sharing important (and even meaningless) moments, and debating current issues. One thing it is not good for is breaking up with someone. You should never break up via a Facebook message or a Twitter Direct Message, but even worse is doing it publicly via a wall post or status update (or a Tweet, if using Twitter).

2. Break-ups via email or text message

There is a common theme forming – don’t use text to break up with someone. Even a voice mail is a big no-no. The only possible exception here is a heartfelt and thoughtful handwritten break-up letter. But definitely not a post-it note, like in this episode of Sex and the City:

3. Break-ups via a middle man

When breaking up with someone, never find someone else to do your dirty work for you. Children can get away with this, but not adults. There is, in fact, a “Separation Agency” in Germany who you can pay for them to break-up with your partner. Be a responsible, mature adult and deal with your problem personally and directly.

4. Break-ups on important days

As mentioned earlier, a break-up can have potentially devastating effects on your partner, so if you are really committed to ending your relationship, consider their feelings and never break up with them on an important day. This includes birthdays, Valentine’s Day (whether you “believe” in it or not), right before or during exam periods, after they’ve had a significant loss (career-wise or a loved one), or while on vacation.

5. Break-ups in public

As part of most break-ups, there are tears, possibly shouting, and sometimes things are broken/destroyed/thrown. I’ve seen several public break-ups and it never looks good. You can make your partner feel horribly embarrassed by the situation – public humiliation is never nice – and there is a good possibility of causing a scene. So, if possible, have your break-up discussion in a private place with just the two of you.

Sitting down with someone face-to-face (even Skype or FaceTime works) and explaining your feelings is the best and most humane way of breaking up with someone. By being honest with your partner and getting out your feelings, you not only leave them less confused (and possibly less heartbroken), but you may find that talking about an issue that has been plaguing you and working on a resolution may in fact rescue the relationship. The best relationships are formed around mutual trust, honesty and love.

Do you have a bad break-up story as either the bearer or receiver of bad news? Share it with us in the comments below!

Find Keep Love Blog Competition – Best & Worst Dating Stories

Congratulations to the winners of Find Keep Love‘s blog competition to celebrate 1,000 views and to find out your Best & Worst Dating Stories: Alastair, Sam, Michelle, Rob, Steph and Jamie. Here’s the text from the original post:

Find Keep Love has now passed 1,000 views and continues to climb! To celebrate this milestone, and to thank all the readers and contributors so far, we’re delighted to announce a competition, in collaboration with eHarmony.co.uk, to find out your Best & Worst Dating Stories.

Did the universe align for one special moment? Did a set of unbelievable circumstances result in something serendipitous? Did your date or partner do something outrageously romantic and beautiful to win you over?

Or did things go horribly wrong? Did a trusted family member or friend set you up with someone completely wrong for you? Did something embarrassing happen to you or your date? Have you sent the wrong message to the wrong person while dating?

PRIZE WINNERS  BEST DATING STORIES

Dashing Prince Rescues Damsel In Distress. Travelling for a sales job, I had a flat tire off the main highway, outside of a small village. My mobile phone reception was poor and I was struggling to get through to the AA for help. Then a nice (and attractive!) guy came along, pulled over and offered his assistance. He’d clearly done it before and replaced the tyre in no time. I offered him dinner next time I was in town, which happened to be in two weeks’ time. We hit it off amazingly well, and we’re still together today. We still laugh at fortunate unfortunate situation and at the “damsel in distress” comments many people make!

The Serendipitous Train. It was New Year’s Eve and my friend and I had missed a train (getting ready as girls do), and he missed two (deciding on whether or not to go to another local bar heading into the city for a New Year party with his mate). We caught each others’ eyes through the train carriage window, checking each other out, and the ticket machine in his carriage didn’t work. We were sitting right next to the machine in our carriage, and we struck up a conversation while he purchased his ticket. It turned out they were going to the same New Year party at the same nightclub as us, and we ended up sharing a dance and a midnight kiss, and we’ve been together ever since (for over eight years now!).

PRIZE WINNERS – WORST DATING STORIES

The Date With The Painful, Icy Ending. After a nice dinner date with a guy I’d just started dating, we decided to go to the local ice skating rink. With it came romantic thoughts of gliding and twirling on the ice, hand in hand, him guiding me forward. After 15 mins or so of staying near the guard to get our balance (and a slightly bruised bottom from falling over a couple of times), we decided to attempt moving off the rails and going a bit faster. Not long after, I took a big tumble and landed on my leg awkwardly, resulting in a trip to the hospital with a broken ankle and severely injured pride (and a quiet social life for the next few weeks).

A Dance Move To Remember. Whilst probably not a date in the strictest sense of the word, one of the worst evenings I’ve ever spent with a member of the opposite sex had actually started quite well. I’d been catching up with an old school friend over a couple of early evening drinks in Cambridge and I was snapped out of the conversation by a piercing pain shooting through my right foot, which turned out to be from a young lady’s stiletto heel backing out from the crowded bar, two mojitos in hand. My first impression of her (aside from her aggressive choice of footwear) was that she was very pretty, which may have been why I made a little more of my newly-inflicted injury than was absolutely necessary. Anyway, after she’d apologised for impaling me with her shoes and we’d decided that a trip to hospital wasn’t needed, I found out that the extra mojito was for a friend of hers who she was also catching up with. After the four of us had shared an evening of incident-free drinks we decided to head for a nightclub to dance the rest of the night away. This was where things took a turn for the worse as I always find myself fighting with the volume in clubs and seem to end up holding conversations though a combination of bellowing and then pushing my ear towards my partner to hear. The evening ended when I’d leaned towards my date to hear what she had to say with a little too much gusto and ended up head-butting her square in the forehead, her stilettos offered her little stability and I sent her crashing to the floor. Whilst we narrowly avoided a second trip to the hospital that evening, my apologies did little to cover my embarrassment and we ended up going our separate ways quite shortly after. Needless to say we haven’t caught up for a second date!

The Ex That Wasn’t. I met a girl while out one day and organised a date at a nice restaurant. Everything was going fine until about an hour or so into the date, when a guy comes rushing in after seeing us through the front window. Soon enough a yelling and screaming match began between the two, then crying, all within a few minutes. After the initial shock of the whole situation, I excused myself for them to sort it out (in private!). It turns out they hadn’t just broken up, but were still together and they’d recently been having a few arguments! I politely declined any future contact with this particular lady.

Universal Misalignment. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, some things just aren’t meant to be. On our first date, I wrote the wrong date in the diary and received a text message in a late afternoon work meeting asking where I was. I apologised profusely and we re-organised a second date, but this time around the car wouldn’t start when I went to leave and had to take it into the mechanic to get it fixed. I basically begged for a third date, but the night before the date, a family member of hers passed away and she had to cancel. By then we got the hint that it just wasn’t going to work out!

Thanks to all those who entered and Find Keep Love hopes you enjoy the eHarmony gift cards, Amazon gift certificates and eBooks!

ABOUT THE SPONSOR: eHarmony has over 2,000,000 registered users in the United Kingdom, and isn’t like other online dating sites in the UK: their Compatibility Matching System™ matches you with like-minded singles based on key dimensions of compatibility. Follow them on Twitter: http://twitter.com/eHarmonyUK.

Why Gay Marriage Is A Step Forward For Humanity

Human beings have a long history of persecuting minorities and those different to others, and homosexuals are one minority group who have borne the brunt of societal disapproval over thousands of years, suffering discrimination, prejudice, and verbal and physical abuse. Like women’s suffrage and coloured rights before, it is now time to stop persecuting people based on their sexuality, and acknowledging publicly the right of homosexuals to same sex marriage.

The UK is taking positive steps towards legalisation of same sex marriage, and marriage rights for same sex couples are now supported by a majority of the US senate, but having just visited Australia, and heard and read some very ignorant and backwards views on the topic, I thought it would be a good opportunity to write an article on my own thoughts: to debunk some of the myths and fallacies, and convince those who are still against the issue that equality for all, gay or straight, is the best way forward.

Update (18/4/13): New Zealand has now legalised same-sex marriage with 77 of 121 members of parliament voting in favour of amending the 1955 Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to wed, making New Zealand the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.

This post is obviously more serious than the usual posts on Find Keep Love, but the issue at hand is one that is intertwined with love and relationships, and humanity and society in general. One of the myths I’ve heard quite often is that sexuality is a choice and that being gay is a lifestyle, not in-built biology. In the circle of gay friends I have, I can’t recall anyone who hasn’t said that their preference for the same sex began to develop around puberty (when sexual hormones begin to kick in), and I know of no-one who has specifically “chosen” the gay lifestyle.

The best humans are dynamic and fluid thinkers, and more progress is made in humanity when there are more open minds and hearts in the world. Education, experience and openness build stronger relationships between different cultures and people, foster understanding, and cultivate tolerance and acceptance of others. The world can always do with more love, and affording gay partnerships the same rights as heterosexual partnerships is one way in which we can share even more love and happiness throughout the world. Here are five important points as to why gay marriage is a step forward for humanity:

  1. Gay marriage is not a threat to straight marriage. It doesn’t infringe on the rights of straight people, but allows the same rights as traditional male-female couples to be held by non-heterosexual couples. Marriage ties biological parents to their children, but also step-parents, parents who adopt, and gay parents.
  2. Legalising gay marriage will not turn otherwise straight people gay. Just like you cannot convert a gay person to become a straight person, the opposite doesn’t work either!
  3. Sexuality, once developed, is an innate characteristic of that person, and there is a broad spectrum of sexuality: there aren’t just “straight” and “gay” people. Young adults (and even older adults) may experiment (as people do with non-sexual things), but to find out who they really are inside. Allowing gay marriage might increase reported gay numbers, but only because they feel safer to be themselves and “come out” – it won’t increase the number of gay people per head of population.
  4. Same sex marriages won’t harm children. Opponents of gay marriage often say that children do best when raised by their married (one male, one female) parents. But in the US today, a third of all children do not live with married parents – due co-habitation, divorce and single parenthood (a quarter live with a single parent). This trend began many years ago, decades before the same sex marriage was mainstream (see Social Indicators of Marital Health & Well-being – Fragile Families With Children). Recognising same sex marriage can be done separately to any parenting rights. There are already homosexual parents out there. The most important thing we can do as a society is to teach children that, above all, we value loving relationships.
  5. There’s often an argument with drugs: that a “softer” drug like marijuana will inevitably lead to harder drugs like heroin and cocaine. A similar argument has also been applied to gay marriage. Allowing gay marriage will not lead to the desire to allow marriage between humans and animals (bestiality), blood relatives (incest) and even multiple men and/or women (polygamy). It does, however, lead directly to assessing these options/futures and we should indeed think about consequences of such actions, including whether as a society allowing a particular type of relationship would be harmful. There are some interesting philosophical debates on why bestiality (for example, animals cannot consent or make rational decisions or judgements) and inter-family breeding (difficult to argue if the arguments of a religious or cultural nature and problems with reproduction are taken out of the equation) are wrong. Polygamy (or group marriage) is a discussion for another day, but if a trio, for example, are in love, why shouldn’t they have the right to have their partnership legally recognised? Watch this space, because this could be the next civil rights movement.

If I were to define modern marriage (or ‘civil partnerships’ if the majority wish to maintain this term for male-female heterosexual partnerships), I would state it as follows:

If two people (man and woman, man and man, woman and woman), unrelated by blood and of the same human species, wish to have their love for each other officially/legally recognised by their country/government/society and be afforded all of the benefits of being in such a partnership, they should be free to do so, and all such relationships should be of equal standing.

You’ll note this has nothing to do with religion as religion, like sexuality, should be a private matter and unique to each and every person. I have included “unrelated by blood” to cover those who believe gay marriage will lead to incestual relations, and included “of the same human species” to cover those who believe it will lead to bestiality.

There is also an argument that it is “natural” for men and women to marry, because only a man and a woman can reproduce via sexual intercourse. While it is true that heterosexuality is the most common sexuality, there is indeed a broad spectrum of sexuality (see the Kinsey scale, for example) from 100% straight (heterosexual) to 100% gay (homosexual) and everything in between (bisexual, pansexual, asexual, and so on). There are girls who like girls and boys, and boys who like girls and boys, in different proportions. While homosexuals cannot reproduce alone, there are heterosexual couples who can’t reproduce, too, and there are couples who don’t want to reproduce. Should they have lesser rights as well because they aren’t behaving as heterosexual reproducing couples?

Another key point I want to make is that I don’t believe churches should be forced to change their beliefs or marry homosexuals, because many religions don’t believe in it. This doesn’t mean that as a society on a whole we can’t progress and improve our own thinking to recognise non-traditional relationships. With many societies becoming more culturally, racially and religiously diverse, we need to encourage and support everyone equally. Modern science is also teaching us more and more about sexuality (see above regarding the sexuality spectrum) and sexual development, and this needs to be included in any sensible contemporary policy-making. The state should recognise each couple’s relationship in terms of the law (straight or gay). The choice of ceremony and location (religious or not) comes down to the personal beliefs and wishes of the couple, and whether or not that religion accepts their circumstances. The issue of same sex acceptance is being hotly debated even within some religions, as to whether in fact their religious practices allow for it (for example, interpretations of the Bible in this respect vary).

It is important to be actively aware of one’s own culture and this issue, if anything, is a good opportunity as a society to question our existing cultural practices and beliefs, and ask why do we do what we do? And, most importantly, do these practices help or hinder our progress of improving the world we live in? Having lived in Australia, Japan and now the UK for extended periods of time, and travelled extensively, I have experienced different cultural practices – some unique and good, some bizarre, some passed down from generation to generation as some kind of ritual or practice from another time. But just because you’ve done something a particular way in the past, it may not always be good and it doesn’t mean it should always be done that way. Adapting, changing and developing thoughts and practices based on new evidence and experiences is how we can better ourselves and improve society and the way we live. It is the core of the scientific principles and philosophy that I live and teach.

In the end, the ability to rationally discuss clearly emotive subjects like gay marriage, question our taboos, and muse philosophically is a good thing (and is what separates us from the animal kingdom). At Find Keep Love, our mission is spreading love, in all of its forms, and providing thoughtful discussions to provoke your own thinking. Our stance is that love – whether it be between a man and a woman, a man and a man, or woman and a woman – should be recognised and supported officially and legally. From the point of view of the state, marriage is about conferring rights with regards to taxation, inheritance, medical decisions, and so on, not to make value judgements. We should be teaching future generations the importance of loving relationships, to accept, understand and respect those born differently to the “norm” (I use quotation marks here to ask who and what defines a “normal person”), and that discrimination based on sexual preference is an infringement of an individual’s human rights.

How do you feel towards the legalisation of same sex marriages?

And finally, here are a couple more resources to help you understand the fallacies the anti-gay marriage lobby present.

Firstly, a great article from the American Psychological Association on ‘Sexual orientation and homosexuality,’ which discusses coming out, the nature of same sex relationships, and whether lesbians and gay men can be good parents.

Next, from the UK, a summary of ‘6 Myths about Gay Marriage Vote and the Facts‘:

  1. Myth: Adultery won’t be grounds for divorce among same sex couples.
  2. Myth: Teachers will be required to promote same sex marriage. A teacher who refuses to teach same sex marriage could be sacked.
  3. Myth: Allowing churches to opt-out of performing same sex marriages could be overturned by the European Court of Human Rights.
  4. Myth: There is no mandate for this change.
  5. Myth: Gay people don’t want this reform.
  6. Myth: This change could cost the [insert political party name] Party victory at the next election.

There is also a great post by Patrick Stokes on ‘Love thy neighbour: religious groups should not be exempt from discrimination laws‘.

Finally, based on US arguments, this image has been travelling around the internet recently (if anyone knows who to correctly attribute it to, please let me know):

Is Marriage a Civil Right?Thanks to M.B. and B.W. for their kind editing and comments.