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Source: (consider it) Thread: ...an attempt to redefine marriage [civil partnerships]
Matt Black

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Do you think the state should recognise this, though?

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Marvin the Martian

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I haven't considered it in any depth.

Obviously the risk of genetic abnormalities in any children that might result from such a union would have to be taken into account, but what if both parties agreed to be sterilised? There's also the risk of there being a grossly unbalanced power relationship, but that could be said of many "legitimate" relationships. Obviously there's the cultural taboo against it, but taboos in and of themselves should not be the basis for law.

My gut feeling is currently in favour of allowing it.

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
... As a matter of interest, would you say that a brother and sister who go through a wedding ceremony, declare themselves married and then live together for the rest of their lives would be actually maried?

If they are royalty or mythological figures, absolutely. [Big Grin] If they are human, legally, maybe; socially, yes. If their jurisdiction allows the marriage despite affinity / consanguinuity, then yes. If not, then they will probably still call themselves married, just like many cohabiting straight, gay and lesbian couples call themselves married. There's also step- and half-siblings to consider.

My simplistic viewpoint is that defining marriage requires considering not just what marriage "is", but also what it is for. "It is not good for the human to be alone." The only unique attribute of a male-female marriage is penis-vagina intercourse. Every other activity in marriage - love, companionship, bearing and raising children, mutual care and support - can be done by any two people, regardless of sex.

Adding additional people to marriage creates social and demographic problems, and can be opposed on those grounds alone. Including animals is just daft, as animals cannot enter into contracts. That doesn't mean I haven't considered marrying my cat on many Saturday nights. At least it's a male cat! [Razz] OliviaG

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The Great Gumby

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I hope all the straight people who are against gay marriage for "slippery slope" reasons such as those advanced above are also campaigning for the abolition of straight marriage - after all, it's the existence of straight marriage which is encouraging people to campaign for gay marriage, so we're already on that horrible, slippery slope.

You can't be too careful.

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
But you think it would be okay for the govenment to change the law to accommodate the Stonewall agenda? Why?

What moral principles underlie the Stonewall agenda?

That straight people and gay people are equal in worth, that their relationships are equally valuable, that they need and have a right to the same recognitions and protections in law.


What moral principles underlie the Catholic agenda?

That marriage was instituted by God between man and woman for the procreation of children, and that the only morally licit use of sex is within the context endorsed by God and authoritatively defined by the Catholic Church.


Which set of principles is ALREADY the basis of most of our laws relating to homosexuality?

Stonewall's.


Civil partnerships exist because we accept Stonewall's values. Anti-discrimination in employment laws exist because of those values. Buggery is no longer a criminal offence because we have adopted those values. The pre-eminence of equality and consent in essentially all of our laws governing sexual relations and (non-sexual) relationships between the sexes prove that we have those values. Stonewall's agenda can be followed without violating the principle of legislative integrity.

The Catholic values, admirable though they may be, are no part of our laws at all, nor is there any serious prospect of them becoming so. Any attempt to impose them would be bitterly resented by all but Catholics. Stonewall's values would not be resented by (almost) anyone - some might react against this particular implementation of them, but you have to look long and hard to find anyone with a morally principled position against equality per se.

That's why the Stonewall agenda ought to win this fight. It fits with everything else that British society, expressed through the law, purports to believe in. It is a seemless extension of what we already do. Yes, it redefines marriage, but it does so in a way that makes moral sense alongside everything else. The Catholic agenda supports the status quo on this one issue, but its arguments for retaining traditional marriage are against current legal integrity.

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
My simplistic viewpoint is that defining marriage requires considering not just what marriage "is", but also what it is for. "It is not good for the human to be alone." The only unique attribute of a male-female marriage is penis-vagina intercourse. Every other activity in marriage - love, companionship, bearing and raising children, mutual care and support - can be done by any two people, regardless of sex.

Every other activity you list above can also be done without marriage at all.
quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
Adding additional people to marriage creates social and demographic problems, and can be opposed on those grounds alone.

If it could be shown that gay marriages caused social and demographic problems akin to the ones you say would result from "group" marriages would you oppose them? Or is your position that gay people ought to be allowed to marry one another, regardless of what social/demographic problems may or may not result?

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Organ Builder
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
If it could be shown that gay marriages caused social and demographic problems akin to the ones you say would result from "group" marriages would you oppose them? Or is your position that gay people ought to be allowed to marry one another, regardless of what social/demographic problems may or may not result?

Civil gay marriage exists in a number of places already. What NEW social/demographic problems do you think exist in Spain, or Canada, or elsewhere that--outside of sheer fantasy--can be attributed to the State's recognition of equal marriage rights?

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How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people.--E.F. Benson

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Chesterbelloc

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You've done it again, Eliab - you have conflated the argument for the status quo over mariage with a specifically Catholic argument from revelation and natural law. But the case against redefining marriage in this way is not an exclusively Catholic one. Most of H.E.'s argumant were non-Catholic-specific ones. Just ask other Christian and non-Christian groups who are opposed!

Only some of Stonewall's agenda is already consonant with the majority of our existing legislation: the broad principle that every human being, regardless of sexual orientation, has equal dignity and worth as a person - something the Church happens to agree with (although it draws some different conclusions from it). The specific principle about the nature of marriage - that it is an institution that is premissed on the sexual complementarity of a man and a woman and the importance of such male-female pair-bonds in society - that is and always has been embodied in law and is being challenged by Stonewall is not consonant with their principles.

Your argument that what Stonewall is aking for is just more of the same as what we've already got is not obviously true at all - there is a clear difference of principle still at stake. It is also not true that the broad principle that I laid out above - that marriage is an institution that is premissed on the sexual complementarity of a man and a woman and the importance of such male-female pair-bonds for society - has nothing to do with the Christian notion of marriage. It is screamingly obvious that British law does embody and form itself around such "Christian" notions - it could hardly not!

You seem to want to argue that the government should do what Stonewall want because it is more consistent with the other stuff government enacts - but it is not consistent with the one big thing that actually matters in this case, i.e., the notion of marriage and its unique value to society that we've been working with and around which marriage legislation has gather for centuries. But because that traditional notion and principle of marriage is supported by the Church you think the government would be wrong to stick with it. How is that reasonable?

In short, your argument boils down to: the govenment should support the full Stonewall agenda because it is consisitent with other some principles that undergird society, but shouldn't heed the Church because they, er, don't support the full Stonewall agenda. That's begging the question.

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"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
If it could be shown that gay marriages caused social and demographic problems akin to the ones you say would result from "group" marriages would you oppose them? Or is your position that gay people ought to be allowed to marry one another, regardless of what social/demographic problems may or may not result?

Civil gay marriage exists in a number of places already. What NEW social/demographic problems do you think exist in Spain, or Canada, or elsewhere that--outside of sheer fantasy--can be attributed to the State's recognition of equal marriage rights?
Its obviously too early to tell. But they needn't be new ones to count against it - they could just exacerbate existing ones (like family breakups, shortening parental pair-bonds, etc.).

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"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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Organ Builder
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Its obviously too early to tell. But they needn't be new ones to count against it - they could just exacerbate existing ones (like family breakups, shortening parental pair-bonds, etc.).

This reads remarkably like a waffle. I don't buy that it is "obviously" too early, given the level of rhetoric the anti-equality proponents have used. You know as well as I do that they have not been above suggesting the total and immediate collapse of Life And Civilization As We Know It.

Against your "it might making existing problems worse," groups fighting for marriage equality have shown how the lack of equality damages the families of gay people, puts gay youth at risk of suicide, puts an unfair tax onus (at least in the US..) on gay couples...those are off the top of my head--I'm sure other gay Shipmates could add more.

The lack of marriage equality is something I actually live with every day. I'm not talking about vague, nebulous things that might get worse--I'm talking about the real discrimination that goes on day after day from people who don't even realize the level of their babbitry.

I would have more respect for the position of the Catholic Church, perhaps, if they fought equally hard to make divorce more difficult--because that DEFINITELY exacerbates the very conditions you chose to use as examples of what marriage equality MIGHT make worse.

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How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people.--E.F. Benson

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Chesterbelloc

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Organ Builder, a general question first, if I may: what practical difference would it make to your life if you could contract a state-recognised marriage as sopposed to a state-recognised partnership that carried all the leagl protection and benefits of marriage?
quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
I would have more respect for the position of the Catholic Church, perhaps, if they fought equally hard to make divorce more difficult--because that DEFINITELY exacerbates the very conditions you chose to use as examples of what marriage equality MIGHT make worse.

But we did fight it - when it was a legislative issue - and we lost in most places. All we can do now is discourage divorce as much as we can, but we're mainly preaching to our own because no-one else is listening much. In fact, we are constantly criticised for our "cruel", "unfeeling", "legalistic", "unpastoral" approach to divorce and remarriage. What more could we do that we are not doing?

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"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
That, if you'll forgive me, is rather my point. If people now want to say that marriage can include two people of the same sex they can ceratinly call it marriage - but that changes what is covered by the epithet so dramtically that practically no-one before the 1960s would have recognised it as anything of the sort, and most peole, it seems to me, still don't. This fact implicitly picks out one of marriage's enduring and I'd say essential properties: the sexual complementarity of the two sexes (and the potential fecundity that flows therefrom).

The point that I was making is the logical point that we have an institution with two properties: it unites two people and the two people concerned are a man and a woman. It is not the only relationship or institution between a man and a woman - concubinage is such a relationship. It is, however, the only relationship that unites two people in the way that it does. So the question is whether we regard the unitive formal feature on its own as the defining feature or whether we require the additional material feature that the parties are a man and a woman.

The innovation is having two people of the same sex uniting themselves in a relationship that is formally identical to marriages between men and women. Both saying that is a marriage or that it is not a marriage are equally extensions of the previous practice.

We might add that in the past sexual complementarity was supposed to require that the man was in a position of moderate authority over the woman: that aspect of sexual complementarity is now no longer deemed essential to the business. In fact, sexual complementarity seems to amount to nothing more than the claim that men and women are different genders, and is therefore not in itself a reason for considering that important.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The point that I was making is the logical point that we have an institution with two properties: it unites two people and the two people concerned are a man and a woman. It is not the only relationship or institution between a man and a woman - concubinage is such a relationship. It is, however, the only relationship that unites two people in the way that it does. So the question is whether we regard the unitive formal feature on its own as the defining feature or whether we require the additional material feature that the parties are a man and a woman. The innovation is having two people of the same sex uniting themselves in a relationship that is formally identical to marriages between men and women. Both saying that is a marriage or that it is not a marriage are equally extensions of the previous practice.

That is to to assume that an unstated premiss (that marriage con only be contracted between a man and a woman) is an absent premiss. That is clearly false. The legislation did not have to spell out that premiss precisely because it was so obviously a part of the notion of marriage itself. You can't honestly pretend that it was an open question all along. It is by no stretch of the imagination an "extension of the previous practice" to rule a same-sex partnership out as a marriage compatible with the traditional understanding. You can hardly claim now the implicitness of the premiss as support for it's negation.
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
We might add that in the past sexual complementarity was supposed to require that the man was in a position of moderate authority over the woman: that aspect of sexual complementarity is now no longer deemed essential to the business. In fact, sexual complementarity seems to amount to nothing more than the claim that men and women are different genders, and is therefore not in itself a reason for considering that important.

There's more to the complementarity of the sexes than that, Dafyd, as I'm pretty sure you must know. There's the procreative aspect for a start - amongst other things, the uniqueness being able to raise children genetically parented by both spouses.

[ 05. March 2012, 18:40: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]

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"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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Organ Builder
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Organ Builder, a general question first, if I may: what practical difference would it make to your life if you could contract a state-recognised marriage as sopposed to a state-recognised partnership that carried all the leagl protection and benefits of marriage?

Well, it has that whole "separate but equal" thing going on, which has a particularly unfortunate resonance to most Americans, especially those of us who live in southern states. While I recognize that you as an individual might consider that a solution, you surely realize that the Catholic Church in the US has also fought the creation of any type of civil union legislation tooth-and-nail at every chance they have had. Even now, your question would earn you a sharp rebuke from certain US bishops because that solution would blur the distinctiveness of marriage.

Perhaps it would be equally fair to ask how you would feel if all that was available to you was a state-recognized partnership which carried the state benefits of marriage, but wasn't one? (You would have a better knowledge of English history than I--was there ever a time Catholics faced that kind of issue? It wouldn't surprise me).

quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:

But we did fight it - when it was a legislative issue - and we lost in most places. All we can do now is discourage divorce as much as we can, but we're mainly preaching to our own because no-one else is listening much. In fact, we are constantly criticised for our "cruel", "unfeeling", "legalistic", "unpastoral" approach to divorce and remarriage. What more could we do that we are not doing?

Yes, the Catholic Church does get a lot of criticism for its position on divorce--in the US most of it, as far as I can tell, from lay Catholics. Perhaps if the annulment process had not become such a joke amongst US Catholics there would be less criticism. Not surprisingly, though, Baptists and Atheists and Episcopalians and Methodists usually don't bother criticizing what the Catholic Church teaches about divorce and remarriage because it doesn't really affect them.

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How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people.--E.F. Benson

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
Even now, your question would earn you a sharp rebuke from certain US bishops because that solution would blur the distinctiveness of marriage.

Which of course I believe in. But what I find that many gay people I know and hear from actually want is the full set of state recognition and benefits of marriage, rather than the label marriage itself. Many of them don't want anything to do with an institution which they see as inherently and inextricably straight. I don't think that is too uncommon an opinion in the gay community, is it? That's certainly what we were hearing a lot of in the argument for same-sex civil partnerships over here - was it not true after all? I'm corrigible here.
quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
Perhaps it would be equally fair to ask how you would feel if all that was available to you was a state-recognized partnership which carried the state benefits of marriage, but wasn't one?

As long as the Church let me marry and the state gave me all the benefits that accrue to marriage, I could live with that. But I also believe that states ought to support and recognise the specific benefits of heterosexual marriage, which I think are unique and uniquely valuable. I don't think the same applies to homosexual unions, because I don't think they have the unique value for society that heterosexual marriage does.
quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
(You would have a better knowledge of English history than I--was there ever a time Catholics faced that kind of issue? It wouldn't surprise me).

I don't think so, OB, but there are still plenty of countries where a Catholic wedding is simply not recognicsed by the state as a fallout of some nasty anti-clerical history, e.g., France.
quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
Yes, the Catholic Church does get a lot of criticism for its position on divorce--in the US most of it, as far as I can tell, from lay Catholics. Perhaps if the annulment process had not become such a joke amongst US Catholics there would be less criticism. Not surprisingly, though, Baptists and Atheists and Episcopalians and Methodists usually don't bother criticizing what the Catholic Church teaches about divorce and remarriage because it doesn't really affect them.

I entirely agree with you about the annulment process, OB. But plenty other (i.e., non-Catholic) liberal Christians (even here on the Ship!) lay into the Catholic Church over our teaching on marriage, divorce and re-marriage.

And now, dinner.

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"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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ToujoursDan

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The only thing "gay activists" have asked for, and [some]governments have changed, is civil marriage, so all these religious arguments are nothing more than red herrings.

Civil Marriage, of course, is nothing more than a legal contract between two people which give them a roster of established protections and benefits. Every. Single. Time. the state has tweaked this contract - by adding and removing benefits or protections or by changing the requirements to enter and leave this contract it has redefined marriage.

When the State allowed women to initiate divorce or approved no-fault divorce, it redefined marriage. When the State banned spousal rape, it redefined marriage. When the State gave married couples tax benefits, it redefined marriage. Removing gender requirements does redefine marriage but in no way that is more significant than any other - since there is no compelling reason that this (or any contract) needs to have specific gender requirements to be valid from the perspective of the State.

Redefining [civil] marriage is nothing new. This is just one more example of it.

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The Great Gumby

Ship's Brain Surgeon
# 10989

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Organ Builder, a general question first, if I may: what practical difference would it make to your life if you could contract a state-recognised marriage as sopposed to a state-recognised partnership that carried all the leagl protection and benefits of marriage?

Why not turn that round? What practical difference would it make to the church if people contracted civil state-recognised marriages, as opposed to civil state-recognised partnerships? Because for something you seem to think doesn't really matter, they seem to be making an awful lot of fuss about it.

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The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. - Richard Feynman

A letter to my son about death

Posts: 5382 | From: Home for shot clergy spouses | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Therefore it is wrong for the GOVERNMENT to impose a marriage code based on principles of Catholic doctrine. The government does not claim the right to enforce belief in or adherence to Catholic doctrine generally, so has no principled reason to enforce marriage law on that basis.

I don't think I'd agree with that as a general principle. While it would be wrong for the government to adopt a policy solely on the grounds that the Roman Catholic Church was advocating it, that is qua policy advocated for by the Roman Catholic Church, I don't think there's any in principle objection to the government adopting a policy because the Roman Catholic Church have succeeded in convincing enough people of it. For example, I would be all for the government adopting a policy on immigration based on the Roman Catholic Church's doctrines or a policy on the death penalty.
The reasons for objecting in this particular case are partly that here Roman Catholic doctrine would arguably infringe fundamental rights of respect and equality, and mostly that in this particular case the Roman Catholic doctrine is wrong and also atrociously argued.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Alogon
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# 5513

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
perhaps you can tell me in which western state, culture or society (modern or ancient) marriage has ever been contracted between two persons of the same sex.

Since you have framed your argument in such absolute terms that a single counterexample suffices to demolish it, I am happy to present: Two-Spirit people, as were recognized in many North American aboriginal tribes.

About ten years ago, I happened to catch a brief interview on television with a male berdache, as they are also called (although the term is now considered pejorative due to etymology). It was a revelation. In some ways he reminded me of the effeminate gay guys whom I've known. But I'd never met one with so much quiet self-confidence in his manner. In this respect he defied all stereotypes. There was absolutely no hint of theatricality or bitterness. He was, I had to think, the natural result of growing up among people who accepted him as much as everyone else, and as a matter of course into a valued place in their society that he could anticipate. In the case of a gay boy or girl, how rare we have made that. How far afield we must look to find it-- how exotic. Why any of us, especially in the name of our religion, would want to deny this to any of our children boggles my mind.

But if you're in the U.S., be of good cheer. Next year the "marriage tax" is coming back. A married couple will pay more federal income tax than two unmarried people living otherwise exactly the same. This will be especially true for elderly couples, one of whom may need to forgo a pension. If financial disadvantages like these are already making a man and a woman think twice before tying the knot, they will do the same for two men. That has to be a good thing, right?

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The word diversity comes from the word divide. So when you’re talking about celebrating diversity, are we celebrating the fact that I am not you? What am I celebrating? --Richard Rodriguez

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ToujoursDan

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# 10578

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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Do you think the state should recognise this, though?

Why not? In the eyes of the State, Marriage is nothing more or less than a civil contract between two people that confers a roster of benefits and protections. From that perspective it shouldn't matter who those people are.

I think we should detach civil marriage from the expectation that it involves physical intimacy and open it to any couple who wants access to it. Then an adult son can marry his ageing mother and receive the legal protections and tax benefits while he cares for her - as well as have a clear right of survivorship. A brother can marry his sister and jointly hold property and receive benefits. Two single people can marry, hold joint property with a right to survivorship, etc.

From a purely legal perspective, what is the compelling reason that the two people who enter into a civil contract be emotionally and physically intimate? Are there any other types of contract law that carries this kind of expectation?

The problems with shoehorning so called "group marriage" have been covered on this board several times before - it adds many layers of complexity which would not work in the one-size-fits-all type of contract of civil marriage. But if one wants to more than two spouses I don't see why they shouldn't be able to get together with a lawyer and draw up contracts that guarantee property and survivor rights between them.

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Soror Magna
Shipmate
# 9881

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
There's more to the complementarity of the sexes than that, Dafyd, as I'm pretty sure you must know. There's the procreative aspect for a start - amongst other things, the uniqueness being able to raise children genetically parented by both spouses.

quote:
... But I also believe that states ought to support and recognise the specific benefits of heterosexual marriage, which I think are unique and uniquely valuable. I don't think the same applies to homosexual unions, because I don't think they have the unique value for society that heterosexual marriage does. ...
I assume that the procreative aspect referred to in your earlier post is the specific benefit referred to in your latter. If so, what role does the state have in supporting and recognizing families with children that are "genetically parented" by one or neither parent? This situation can arise with remarriage after death or divorce, adoption, children cared for by relatives, and some fertility interventions. In practice, these families are treated no differently those with "genetically parented" children. So why is their situation different from e.g. a lesbian couple who have a baby or a gay couple who adopt?

And besides reproduction, what other complementary properties do the sexes have? If there are other uniquely special benefits of heterosexual marriage, what are there? "Modeling sexual stereotypes for children" is not the answer I'm looking for, BTW. OliviaG

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Chesterbelloc

Tremendous trifler
# 3128

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I'm done here for now, folks. There's only so much responding I can do and still have time to work, rest and play.

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Hawk

Semi-social raptor
# 14289

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quote:
Originally posted by Alogon:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
perhaps you can tell me in which western state, culture or society (modern or ancient) marriage has ever been contracted between two persons of the same sex.

Since you have framed your argument in such absolute terms that a single counterexample suffices to demolish it, I am happy to present: Two-Spirit people, as were recognized in many North American aboriginal tribes.
It's a shame that Chesterbelloc has elected to leave the debate now as I was just about to respond to this as well. As well as the two spirit people of Native America, there are the hijra of India, another 'third gender' group who, while often physiologically male, have been known to join in marriage to other males. In China, in Fujian during the Ming dynasty same-sex couples would sometimes bind them themselves to each other in elaborate ceromonies.

There are also instances of same-sex marriage unions in ancient Greece and ancient Rome. There is even a record of a Catholic priest performing a same-sex marriage for two men in Galicia in 1061.

And finally, how far ago does something need to have happened before you can start calling it historical? Legally recognised same-sex mariages have been taking place in western culture since 2001.

I think this proves that Chesterbelloc's argument that there is one universal, all-encompassing definition of marriage that has existed without deviation since time immemorial, is false. Shame he's bowed out though - he might have learned something.

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Given that we are talking about changing the rules of marriage as it is understood in democratic western states, perhaps you can tell me in which western state, culture or society (modern or ancient) marriage has ever been contracted between two persons of the same sex.

I haven't seen anyone answer this directly, so I will. Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Iceland. I left out a couple of others in case they're not 'Western'. But if you want a list of western states (modern) where marriage has been contracted between two persons of the same sex, I don't have to be Sherlock to come up with a few.

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The musical diary delves into The Flipside...

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
As a matter of interest, would you say that a brother and sister who go through a wedding ceremony, declare themselves married and then live together for the rest of their lives would be actually maried?

Yes, of course they would. That doesn't make it a good idea, of course...
Agreed. And they would quite possibly be prosecuted for being married when they shouldn't be. But they can only in fact be prosecuted BECAUSE they are married. The prosecution depends on that fact.

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The musical diary delves into The Flipside...

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
If it could be shown that gay marriages caused social and demographic problems akin to the ones you say would result from "group" marriages would you oppose them? Or is your position that gay people ought to be allowed to marry one another, regardless of what social/demographic problems may or may not result?

Civil gay marriage exists in a number of places already. What NEW social/demographic problems do you think exist in Spain, or Canada, or elsewhere that--outside of sheer fantasy--can be attributed to the State's recognition of equal marriage rights?
Its obviously too early to tell. But they needn't be new ones to count against it - they could just exacerbate existing ones (like family breakups, shortening parental pair-bonds, etc.).
Why on earth would gay marriage exacerbate family breakups or shorten parental pair-bonds? We're talking about people making greater commitments to each other, not lesser ones.

What, do you think closeted homosexuals will up and leave for their secret same-sex lover more readily if they can MARRY that lover? That's utterly ridiculous. That's like saying that heterosexuals only started leaving their spouses to shack up with their lovers when they could remarry instead of 'living in sin'.

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The musical diary delves into The Flipside...

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Gracious rebel

Rainbow warrior
# 3523

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There is a letter in today's Daily Telegraph with a new consideration on this topic, that someone (Catholic no doubt) obviously thought was a clincher...

'How can a gay marriage be considered more permanent than a gay civil partnership if it can be dissolved with a simple annulment, rather than needing a divorce?'

He seems to be arguing that for same sex marriages to be valid, the definition of consummation would have to be changed. Because otherwise a same sex marriage would always be one that could be annulled due to lack of consummation (as apparently that is defined as a sexual act that can produce a child).

The lengths people will go to pick holes eh?

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The Great Gumby

Ship's Brain Surgeon
# 10989

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quote:
Originally posted by Gracious rebel:
The lengths people will go to pick holes eh?

Quite.

It doesn't help that the "anti" side are simultaneously trying to argue both that marriage is something uniquely special that shouldn't be corrupted by teh gayz, and that there's no reason for it because civil partnership's just the same thing, really, isn't it? They'd be better off picking a line and sticking to it.

And I suspect that C4M could be the worst thing that's ever happened to the "antis", making a lot of noise but with little of substance to back it up, which just makes them look like reactionary bigots - I make no comment on the accuracy of that impression. In fact, some of their trumpeting of gay "Uncle Toms" who don't see any point in getting married ("See? They don't even want it!") is positively distasteful.

My favourite was something they posted on their blog last week about Julie Bindel (how surprising that she should have a controversial opinion) saying that gay marriage was a waste of time - Lesbian Feminist Not Interested in Marriage Shock! In the short embedded video in which she said this, she also said that she wanted all marriage abolished, and she was sick of the fuss and special treatment of an institution which ends in divorce as often as not.

Anyone who took the trouble to watch the video will have seen their cherry-picking mendacity for what it is. This might be a moderately effective tactic in the short term, but in the long run it will do serious damage to their cause.

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The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. - Richard Feynman

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Matt Black

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# 2210

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quote:
Originally posted by ToujoursDan:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Do you think the state should recognise this, though?

Why not? In the eyes of the State, Marriage is nothing more or less than a civil contract between two people that confers a roster of benefits and protections. From that perspective it shouldn't matter who those people are.


But in saying this, don't you see that you play directly into the hands of the 'antis'? You're basically shoring up their slippery slope argument, that "pretty soon all sorts of relationships will be classed as 'marriage' and that when you over-issue a currency in this way, you devalue it." You're confirming their worst fears in some respects.

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"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The point that I was making is the logical point that we have an institution with two properties: it unites two people and the two people concerned are a man and a woman. It is not the only relationship or institution between a man and a woman - concubinage is such a relationship. It is, however, the only relationship that unites two people in the way that it does.

That is to to assume that an unstated premiss (that marriage con only be contracted between a man and a woman) is an absent premiss. That is clearly false.
That's not the argument. We appear to be both repeating ourselves.
People who assumed that marriage only happened between a man and a woman would equally have assumed that a relationship between two people of the same sex that was intended to be formally the same as a marriage didn't happen at all. They were certainly wrong about the latter.


quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
In fact, sexual complementarity seems to amount to nothing more than the claim that men and women are different genders, and is therefore not in itself a reason for considering that important.

There's more to the complementarity of the sexes than that, Dafyd, as I'm pretty sure you must know. There's the procreative aspect for a start - amongst other things, the uniqueness being able to raise children genetically parented by both spouses.
I didn't mention that, because as I'm sure you must know, most non-Roman Catholics who've thought about it think this argument special pleading. Unless the man has been actually castrated, no reasonable expectation of infertility is a bar in Roman Catholic law to any marriage between a man and a woman on grounds of the procreative aspect. Not the menopause, not erectile dysfunction, not hysterectomy. So saying that a given relationship has a 'procreative aspect' in effect turns out to be merely another way of saying that the relationship is between a man and a woman. So that the argument is circular.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
You're basically shoring up their slippery slope argument, that "pretty soon all sorts of relationships will be classed as 'marriage' and that when you over-issue a currency in this way, you devalue it."

I disagree with that argument, not because I don't think other types of relationship might become included later (they may or may not) but because I disagree that it is a devaluation of marriage.

Marriage is, at heart, a formalised relationship between two people. My marriage is worth what it's worth not because of everyone else who is married, but because of how my wife and I feel about each other. Without that love, our marriage wouldn't be worth spit - with it, it's worth everything.

The only way two people of the same sex getting married could devalue my own marriage would be if it somehow caused my wife and I to love each other less. But how can what two other people we've never even met do together change how we feel about each other?

I suspect that what people really mean when they say same-sex marriage will devalue marriage is something along the lines of it legitimising non-hetero relationships. The old "if we say it's OK then our kids might choose to do it instead of what we want them to do" chestnut. It's as if they think that restricting the availability of marriage to straights only will somehow encourage gay people to become (or at least pretend to be) straight in order to access it. But that's clearly bunkum, right?

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and you just can't tell just what tomorrow brings.

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Spawn
Shipmate
# 4867

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I disagree with that argument, not because I don't think other types of relationship might become included later (they may or may not) but because I disagree that it is a devaluation of marriage.

Well, 'devaluation' may not be the right word - but the extension of marriage to same-sex couples certainly empties the concept of some of its traditional, and theological meaning.

It's a matter of judgement as to whether that damages or 'devalues' marriage. We won't know until it happens. I suspect that in the years ahead we will find that fewer couples marry (evidence that this is happening in Sweden). This will not solely or even primarily be as a result of same-sex marriage but because marriage as an institution is increasingly less understood (and yes, divorce rates will have played their part as much as redefinition).

quote:
Marriage is, at heart, a formalised relationship between two people. My marriage is worth what it's worth not because of everyone else who is married, but because of how my wife and I feel about each other. Without that love, our marriage wouldn't be worth spit - with it, it's worth everything.
What you are describing is an aspect of marriage, but certainly not the fullness of it. Read the marriage service in the BCP if you want to have a clue what many people on the other side of the argument understand by marriage.

quote:
The only way two people of the same sex getting married could devalue my own marriage would be if it somehow caused my wife and I to love each other less. But how can what two other people we've never even met do together change how we feel about each other?
Strawman alert. No-one is saying that the love you have for your wife and vice versa is going to be affected by gay marriage.

quote:
I suspect that what people really mean when they say same-sex marriage will devalue marriage is something along the lines of it legitimising non-hetero relationships.
Well, I can only say what I think rather than responding to your wilful and rhetorical misunderstanding of the opposing point of view. So-called same-sex 'marriage' doesn't damage individual marriages it tends to weaken the institution further. Firstly, it makes marriage into a contested and controversial thing in society. Secondly, it drives a wedge between civil marriage and religious marriage (there is no essential difference between them). Thirdly, it evacuates marriage of its procreative element (thus the exception that proves the rule becomes the norm). Fourthly, it rids marriage of the notion of complementarity of the sexes. Fifthly, it weakens still further the norm that children are best served in their upbringing and development by a mother and a father sharing and dividing responsibility between them.

I accept the fact that homosexuals are not the real enemy here. We heterosexuals did the damage to marriage before the demands for 'marriage equality' came along. In actual fact, our failure to understand 'marriage' properly and to honour it laid the basis for this fundamental redefinition.

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Matt Black

Shipmate
# 2210

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[Overused]

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"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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Niteowl

Hopeless Insomniac
# 15841

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IMO the church - Catholic included - gave up the right to define marriage long ago. The church wants to take the right define and grant marriage, but doesn't take it's share of responsibility for the 50% divorce rate among Christians - and even the Catholic church nullifies marriages, even those that produced children. Nullifying a marriage that produced children is beyond ridiculous. Jesus was far stricter on what constituted marriage and adultery than the Church is. What should have happened long ago is the state retaining all legal rights to marriage and what constitutes marriage in the eyes of the law and the church retaining any religious rites. If you want both you go through both.

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Matt Black

Shipmate
# 2210

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Hence Spawn's comment about we heteros having devalued marriage already (I'm sure he had in mind the issue of divorce there).

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"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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The Great Gumby

Ship's Brain Surgeon
# 10989

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quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
So-called same-sex 'marriage' doesn't damage individual marriages it tends to weaken the institution further. Firstly, it makes marriage into a contested and controversial thing in society.

You mean there's no contest and controversy now? Of course, the simple answer to that is to stop opposing gay marriage - no more controversy.
quote:
Secondly, it drives a wedge between civil marriage and religious marriage (there is no essential difference between them).
Why is that a problem?
quote:
Thirdly, it evacuates marriage of its procreative element (thus the exception that proves the rule becomes the norm).
So it's OK if some married people don't breed, especially if they're straight, but not too many. How many gay marriages do you think there would be? More than the current rate of "barren" marriages?
quote:
Fourthly, it rids marriage of the notion of complementarity of the sexes.
Good. Complementarity is just another dogwhistle to the male headship nuts. We are all human beings with different skills, characters and inclinations, and to emphasise differences between the sexes, rather than differences between people in general, is unscientific and misleading. Consigning it to the dustbin would be a positive good.
quote:
Fifthly, it weakens still further the norm that children are best served in their upbringing and development by a mother and a father sharing and dividing responsibility between them.
Uh-huh. Norms can be good, bad or indifferent. How about providing some actual evidence that this would be a bad thing, rather than appealing to "norms"?

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The RCC redefined marriage in the 12th Century when it made it a sacrament.

Do you really believe that, leo?
I was thinking of the Second Lateran Council in 1139. The whole debate about clerical marriage and that declared existing marriages to be void led up to the later sacramental idea. That such beliefs were held earlier doesn't mean that they were defined: indeed there was much debate about how many sacraments there were.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
Well, 'devaluation' may not be the right word - but the extension of marriage to same-sex couples certainly empties the concept of some of its traditional, and theological meaning.

No argument from me on that one. I just don't see that traditional and/or theological meanings (of anything) are worth preserving purely because they are traditional and/or theological.

quote:
I suspect that in the years ahead we will find that fewer couples marry (evidence that this is happening in Sweden). This will not solely or even primarily be as a result of same-sex marriage but because marriage as an institution is increasingly less understood (and yes, divorce rates will have played their part as much as redefinition).
It's just as possible that, by redefining marriage as the ideal state for all loving relationships, more couples will be encouraged to marry. As things stand, some couples might see their gay friends having a perfectly good, stable, long-term relationship without marriage and think that they don't need to get married either.

quote:
What you are describing is an aspect of marriage, but certainly not the fullness of it. Read the marriage service in the BCP if you want to have a clue what many people on the other side of the argument understand by marriage.
Do you mean this?

quote:
The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.

The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.

Because apart from the reference to husband and wife (obviously) the only part of that that isn't compatable with same-sex marriage is the procreation bit. And that can quite easily be ignored under the "when it is God's will" provision.

quote:
quote:
The only way two people of the same sex getting married could devalue my own marriage would be if it somehow caused my wife and I to love each other less. But how can what two other people we've never even met do together change how we feel about each other?
Strawman alert. No-one is saying that the love you have for your wife and vice versa is going to be affected by gay marriage.
It follows, of course, that no couple is going to feel less love for each other because of gay marriage. Which means that if they love each other enough to want to marry, they still will. No devaluations here...

quote:
So-called same-sex 'marriage' doesn't damage individual marriages it tends to weaken the institution further.
Since when has allowing more people to be part of an institution weakened it?

quote:
Firstly, it makes marriage into a contested and controversial thing in society.
No it doesn't - the genie of same-sex relationships is well and truly out of the bottle now, and you can't put it back. So the contest and controversy are here to stay. The only question is which side should "win" and which should "lose".

quote:
Secondly, it drives a wedge between civil marriage and religious marriage (there is no essential difference between them).
It seems to me that that particular wedge was driven many years ago. Civil marriage ceremonies with absolutely no religious content or approval happen all the time.

Besides which, why should civil marriage be forced to be identical to religious marriage? Let the religious marry whomever they want, and let the non-religious marry whomever they want, I say.

quote:
Thirdly, it evacuates marriage of its procreative element (thus the exception that proves the rule becomes the norm).
Sorry, but childless marriages happen often enough to mean that procreation cannot be said to be an essential part of marriage. The only thing that matters these days is that the couple love each other - whether kids come along later or not is a secondary issue at best.

quote:
Fourthly, it rids marriage of the notion of complementarity of the sexes.
And replaces it with the notion of complementarity of the partners involved.

quote:
Fifthly, it weakens still further the norm that children are best served in their upbringing and development by a mother and a father sharing and dividing responsibility between them.
I'm not sure that that should be considered a norm any more. Kids need a decent upbringing by loving parents, sure, but do they have to be a man and a woman?

--------------------
That one last shot's a permanent vacation
and how high can you fly with broken wings?
Life's a journey, not a destination
and you just can't tell just what tomorrow brings.

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Spawn
Shipmate
# 4867

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The only question is which side should "win" and which should "lose".

Here's the rub. No-one wins. Whatever the result we will live in an ever more divided, fragmented society.
Posts: 3385 | From: North Devon | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Leaf
Shipmate
# 14169

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quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
Whatever the result we will live in an ever more divided, fragmented society.

Thank God. Those who did not fit comfortably into the old model were suffocated by it. May it lie in fragments.
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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:


I suspect that what people really mean when they say same-sex marriage will devalue marriage is something along the lines of it legitimising non-hetero relationships. The old "if we say it's OK then our kids might choose to do it instead of what we want them to do" chestnut. It's as if they think that restricting the availability of marriage to straights only will somehow encourage gay people to become (or at least pretend to be) straight in order to access it. But that's clearly bunkum, right?

Too right.

When my two boys were young teens I gave them a serious talk to let them know I would love and respect them exactly the same whether they were gay or straight.

My SIL's Dad pretended to be straight for 60 years, and had six children before he came out. I wouldn't wish such confusion on any man or any family.

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Eliab
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# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by Gracious rebel:
He seems to be arguing that for same sex marriages to be valid, the definition of consummation would have to be changed. Because otherwise a same sex marriage would always be one that could be annulled due to lack of consummation (as apparently that is defined as a sexual act that can produce a child).

The lengths people will go to pick holes eh?

Picky and ill-informed.

Non-consummation is not grounds for annulment. Wilful refusal or incapacity to consummate are grounds for annulment, at the suit of one of the parties.

Granted that the definition of consummation is full penetration of the vagina by the penis*, and granted that a same sex couple can't do that, it does not follow that either can apply for annulment, even under the existing law. Neither can be said to have wilfully refused to consummate, and neither has the right to petition on the grounds of incapacity.

(*Which is not necessarily the case: at least as strong a case could be made for saying that the primary definition is "ordinary sexual intercourse", and the penis/vagina thing is what that means as between a man and a woman. On that argument, a gay couple consummates their marriage if what they have what would be considered ordinary sexual intercourse by a reasonable gay person.)

The case law is very clear that before one party to a marriage can secure an annulment for the other's refusal or incapacity, they must have extended a reasonable opportunity for consummation. David can only complain that Jonathan has refused to penetrate his vagina, if David has presented his vagina for penetration. And this he plainly cannot say that he has done. Similarly, unless he offers to penetrate Jonathan's vagina in circumstances where it would be reasonable for Jonathan to comply, he cannot complain of being refused. It is difficult to imagine what those circumstances could be.

David COULD petition for annulment on the grounds of his own incapacity (one cannot petition on the grounds of one's own refusal), but, importantly, not on the grounds of any defect that he was aware of prior to marriage. David, of course, was fully aware that he was unable both to penetrate Jonathan's vagina or to make a vagina available for Jonathan to penetrate, from the outset of their relationship, so cannot rely on those conditions to annul their marriage.

No amendment to the existing law is required. A same sex couple simply would not satisfy the existing requirements of annulment on these grounds.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The only question is which side should "win" and which should "lose".

Here's the rub. No-one wins. Whatever the result we will live in an ever more divided, fragmented society.
No, I don't think so. I think this is one of those situations where everyone wins, just for a change. I cannot see a downside to letting those gays who want to get married.

And it's not like the floodgates are going to open, or anything. One of the standard con-evo arguments put forward when discussing the prevalence of homosexuality is that the statistics are wrong, and rather than being 10 or 5% of the population, it's more like 1-3%.

If that's the case, then the number of gays getting married is going to really very small.

quote:
18,059 couples entered into a civil partnership between December 2005 and the end of December 2006, with a further 8,728 taking place in 2007, 7,169 in 2008, 6,281 in 2009 and 6,385 in 2010.
There were 231,000 marriages in 2009 in the UK.

That's not really very terrifying, is it now?

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So what does a magic kingdom do when it runs out of magic?

Posts: 5335 | From: Ultima Thule | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Crœsos
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# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
Well, I can only say what I think rather than responding to your wilful and rhetorical misunderstanding of the opposing point of view. So-called same-sex 'marriage' doesn't damage individual marriages it tends to weaken the institution further.

How does it managed to weaken an 'institution' without weakening any of the constituent members of that institution?

quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
Firstly, it makes marriage into a contested and controversial thing in society.

Hardly the first time. The dead wife's sister controversy of the nineteenth century was controversial. American laws against inter-racial marriage even more so. Neither of these managed to destroy or significantly weaken marriage.

quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
Secondly, it drives a wedge between civil marriage and religious marriage (there is no essential difference between them).

Bullshit! Try explaining this one to the Catholic Church about remarriage after divorce. Or to Orthodox Jews concerning marriage between Jews and goyim. Or any other number of examples where perfectly legal civil marriages are not accepted by one religion or another.

quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
Thirdly, it evacuates marriage of its procreative element (thus the exception that proves the rule becomes the norm).

What I find most interesting about this point is the level of pure spite implicit in it. The idea is that the children of married couples benefit from the various legal benefits for marriage is commonplace, but that for some reason children being raised by same-sex couples should not so benefit. Visiting the sins of the parents on the children seems a little Old Testament for a modern society.

quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
Fourthly, it rids marriage of the notion of complementarity of the sexes.

I think that ship sailed when women were considered the equals of men in the eyes of the law. While I appreciate that a lot of religions still teach some version of gender essentialism, there's no reason such views should be mandated by law.

quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
Fifthly, it weakens still further the norm that children are best served in their upbringing and development by a mother and a father sharing and dividing responsibility between them.

Well, that norm is fairly recent, isn't it? The previous norm put most of the child upbringing tasks on the woman. Besides, there are many indications that the assumed norm is just wrong. The National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study seems to indicate that female same-sex couples are actually better parents than opposite-sex couples. Data on male same-sex couples parenting is sparser, but what does exist seems to indicate that they're at least no worse opposite-sex couples at child raising.

quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
I accept the fact that homosexuals are not the real enemy here. We heterosexuals did the damage to marriage before the demands for 'marriage equality' came along. In actual fact, our failure to understand 'marriage' properly and to honour it laid the basis for this fundamental redefinition.

I'd say that the most relevant 'damage' heterosexuals inflicted on traditional marriage was to change it from an arrangement with strictly defined gender roles to a loving partnership of equals. As soon as there were no longer fixed "man jobs" and "woman jobs" in marriage, same-sex couples started saying '"a loving partnership of equals" sounds a lot like my relationship'.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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ToujoursDan

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# 10578

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quote:
Fifthly, it weakens still further the norm that children are best served in their upbringing and development by a mother and a father sharing and dividing responsibility between them.

Well, that norm is fairly recent, isn't it? The previous norm put most of the child upbringing tasks on the woman. Besides, there are many indications that the assumed norm is just wrong. The National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study seems to indicate that female same-sex couples are actually better parents than opposite-sex couples. Data on male same-sex couples parenting is sparser, but what does exist seems to indicate that they're at least no worse opposite-sex couples at child raising.

Not only that, but the whole concept of [only] a two parent family being responsible for the upbringing and development of a child is fairly new.

Traditionally, children were raised by extended families consisting of many cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbours and others. Children were exposed to and would have had close, emotionally intimate relationships with many elders of both genders.

The distinction between a two-parent nuclear family and the extended family wasn't made until urbanization and industrialization led to the mass movement of people from rural areas to cities, tearing people away from those extended kinship networks.

The whole concept of children needing a mother and father is itself a modern innovation and one that arguably, even in the modern era, isn't necessary.

[ 06. March 2012, 15:26: Message edited by: ToujoursDan ]

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"Many people say I embarrass them with my humility" - Archbishop Peter Akinola
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Posts: 3725 | From: NYC | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Justinian
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# 5357

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quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The only question is which side should "win" and which should "lose".

Here's the rub. No-one wins. Whatever the result we will live in an ever more divided, fragmented society.
Then stop trying to fragment it when it doesn't fit your vision. And stop trying to force people onto the Bed of Procrustes.

If you don't want a fragmented society, embrace all. All that is changing is the way the fragments are happening. Under your society, people become fragments if they don't want to lie on your Bed of Procrustes. Under the one we are creating, the fragments and the whole are by choice.

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My real name consists of just four letters, but in billions of combinations.

Eudaimonaic Laughter - my blog.

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Justinian
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# 5357

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quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
Firstly, it makes marriage into a contested and controversial thing in society.

There need to be two people to have an argument. If you think the argument is a bad thing stop having it.

quote:
Secondly, it drives a wedge between civil marriage and religious marriage (there is no essential difference between them).
If there is no essential difference between them, stop opposing this. Again the objections you are raising are objections because they are objections.

quote:
Thirdly, it evacuates marriage of its procreative element (thus the exception that proves the rule becomes the norm).
The procreative element was never necessary. You could marry 70 year olds quite happily. As for "the exception that proves the rule", you've perverted that phrase. "Proving" a rule means testing it. Or granting specific and explicit exemptions - which you didn't.

quote:
Fourthly, it rids marriage of the notion of complementarity of the sexes.
There's a reason a friend of mine googlebombs "complementarianism". The very notion of complementarianism is sexist and something that needs to be retired. (That said, in its day it was a step forward).

quote:
Fifthly, it weakens still further the norm that children are best served in their upbringing and development by a mother and a father sharing and dividing responsibility between them.
And that is not a particularly historical definition - and doesn't fit the evidence.

quote:
I accept the fact that homosexuals are not the real enemy here. We heterosexuals did the damage to marriage before the demands for 'marriage equality' came along. In actual fact, our failure to understand 'marriage' properly and to honour it laid the basis for this fundamental redefinition.
In short your first two arguments boil down to "Someone might have a tantrum. I know because I'm about to." Your third boils down to making rules up. Your fourth is sexist. And your fifth is special pleading that that which is now is the only pattern. And then you sum up by saying you shouldn't be trusted with the definition of marriage. Right.

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My real name consists of just four letters, but in billions of combinations.

Eudaimonaic Laughter - my blog.

Posts: 3926 | From: The Sea Coast of Bohemia | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Pre-cambrian
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# 2055

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quote:
Originally posted by ToujoursDan:
Traditionally, children were raised by extended families consisting of many cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbours and others. Children were exposed to and would have had close, emotionally intimate relationships with many elders of both genders.

And that's just keeping it in the family. It's not so long ago that it would have been seen as perfectly acceptable for the upbringing and development of children to be the responsibility of wetnurses, nannies, governesses, tutors, and boarding schools.

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"We cannot leave the appointment of Bishops to the Holy Ghost, because no one is confident that the Holy Ghost would understand what makes a good Church of England bishop."

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Eliab
Shipmate
# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
The specific principle about the nature of marriage - that it is an institution that is premissed on the sexual complementarity of a man and a woman and the importance of such male-female pair-bonds in society - that is and always has been embodied in law and is being challenged by Stonewall is not consonant with their principles.

Your argument that what Stonewall is aking for is just more of the same as what we've already got is not obviously true at all - there is a clear difference of principle still at stake. It is also not true that the broad principle that I laid out above - that marriage is an institution that is premissed on the sexual complementarity of a man and a woman and the importance of such male-female pair-bonds for society - has nothing to do with the Christian notion of marriage. It is screamingly obvious that British law does embody and form itself around such "Christian" notions - it could hardly not!

Except that this is not true. It started not being true decades ago, and is (almost) completely not true now.

The law does not recognise any sort of principle of male-female complementarity. Legal distinctions between men and women are all but abolished everywhere. Men and women are seen by the law as equal and interchangeable. Similarly, the law no longer privileges male-female pair bonds. Gay couples can adopt children, they can form legally recognised life-partnerships, they have the same laws governing their sexual behaviour, and it is considered wrong to discriminate against them in every single way EXCEPT the one hang-over case of who gets to use the word "marriage".

Only in the definition of marriage do these principles persist. They have been obliterated everywhere else. There is no popular mandate for restoring them. The principle that people should be treated equally before the law regardless of sex and sexual orientation is dominant everywhere.

In that legal context, using different words for gay and straight partnerships is an anomaly, because they are substantially the same thing, treated the same, with the same rights and obligations. There is a compelling case, fully consistent with principles that now pervade essentially all of the legal landscape, for equality of terminology. It simply cannot be resisted in terms of legislative integrity - only as a special case.

quote:
You seem to want to argue that the government should do what Stonewall want because it is more consistent with the other stuff government enacts - but it is not consistent with the one big thing that actually matters in this case, i.e., the notion of marriage and its unique value to society that we've been working with and around which marriage legislation has gather for centuries.
You are begging the question. The principle by which we define marriage is the thing that's up for debate.

The argument for change is that the change is consistent with absolutely everything else. Of course it is inconsistent with the old principle by which marriage was defined as male-female. That's WHY it wants the definition of marriage to change. It is the last hold-out of a worldview which (in the legal sphere) has been routed on every other part of the field.

quote:
But because that traditional notion and principle of marriage is supported by the Church you think the government would be wrong to stick with it. How is that reasonable?

In short, your argument boils down to: the govenment should support the full Stonewall agenda because it is consisitent with other some principles that undergird society, but shouldn't heed the Church because they, er, don't support the full Stonewall agenda. That's begging the question.

Nope (and this serves as a reply to Dafyd as well). I have no problem with the government doing what the Church happens to think is right PROVIDED that it is also right on sound legislative principles. If the law has learned about the sacredness of life, and the importance of honest and fair dealing from the Church, that's great. The point is that the law is better when it is consistent and coherent. It makes my job as a lawyer easier (and less lucrative, but such is life) - it makes cases easier to predict, the administration of justice fairer, and the cost of litigation cheaper, when the law embodies clear and consistent principles. That means that if the law holds that men and women are equal, the principle is sound everywhere, in employment law, in criminal law, in family law - whereever the sex of a party is raised as a reason for unequal treatment the starting point is that this is invalid discrimination. Same goes for gays and straights. If they are equal, then they really are equal, and that holds good in whatever context the question arises. That is the principle of legislative integrity - rarely or never perfectly achieved, but still a mark of sound jurisprudence.

The irony is, that this sort of reasoning is something that the Catholic Church positively excels at. You can read the Catechism and find lots to disagree with, but it's very hard to argue that the Church has not taken great pains to make its doctrine and practice scrupulously consistent and well ordered. The idea that a Catholic truth is good in some area of practice but not another is anathema. My argument is that the same coherence is a worthy aspiration in law. We have decided not to discriminate against gays. So let's not. If that is a true principle of justice, then it holds good, ruat caelum.*

(*trans ‘though the heavens fall')

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

Posts: 4078 | From: Hampton, Middlesex, UK | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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Here is an interesting article in today's "Indy".
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