Thursday, December 08, 2011

Scottish Government shifts the gay goalposts


Hitherto, we have been led to believe that the consultation in Scotland on the introduction of ‘gay marriage’ was a matter for the Scots alone: no-one else in any corner of the UK was able to vote.

However, yesterday the pro-‘gay marriage’ groups let it slip that they are asking people outside Scotland to respond, suggesting that the Scottish Government will accept non-Scottish responses.

So, with a nifty last-minute shift of the goalposts (the consultation closes tomorrow [Friday]), it now appears that ANYONE in the UK (and beyond?) can respond the Scottish Government's consultation on redefining marriage.

It is not clear if this crude democratic ‘consultation’ will be won by the side with the greatest number of supporters. But the pro-side claim to have gathered over 15,000 responses in favour of changing the definition of marriage. It is likely that many of these will be from outside Scotland.

If marriage is redefined in Scotland, then pressure will be greater for redefining marriage throughout the UK.

Please use THIS FORM to register your view, and URGENTLY pass it on to your family/friends/churches/synagogues/mosques/mandirs/gurdwaras/viharas. The consultation closes tomorrow (Friday 9th Dec). Every vote counts.

And please pray that the legal definition of marriage will be retained throughout the UK.

98 Comments:

Blogger Author said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8 December 2011 at 15:05  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
I was made aware of this through Christian Concern but I do admit I was unsure whether I was able to complete the questionnaire. I expected it to be rejected when it looked at my post code. I got an acknowledgment however.
It does seem to have been handled in a rather odd way and the questions are in places written in double speak.
Good that you have brought this up.

8 December 2011 at 15:42  
Blogger Al said...

Your Grace, thanks for alerting us to this. I have just responded, with the following comments:


"I believe that redrawing the institution of marriage around individual sexual agents is dangerous, jeopardising the common goods that are invested in the institution.

Marriage is a recognition of the centrality of the relationship between the sexes - the two halves of the human race - in the constitution of society. It is a recognition that sex is not a univocal reality, but that the bodies of males and females are ordered together in a manner that is intrinsic to their unique and specific phenomenology.

It is a recognition that a lifelong committed sexual relationship between a man and a woman is generally procreative. Society's sanction and celebration of their sexual relationship recognises that their children are an extension of their marital union, expressed in the bodies that they pledged to each other in their wedding.

It is a recognition that the sexual relationship between a man and a woman is oriented, not merely to the good of bringing the sexes together, and expressing our natural sexual dimorphism, but also to the good of procreation. The sexual relationship between a man and a woman has potential public consequences on account of procreation that no same sex relationship can have. The two are not equal, and it is natural that marriage should be given a particular and especial status, as society has a peculiar vested interest in such sexual relationships that it does not have in the case of relationships between persons of the same sex.

The connection of marriage with procreation is one of the primary reasons for its institutional character, as society has a clear interest in surrounding marriage with a serious of social norms and expectations, as through procreation the ends of marriage powerfully transcend the mere interests of the sexual partners within it. Lacking this same means of rendering a private sexual relationship public through procreation, same sex marriage will hasten the redrawing of our understanding of marriage around partnerships completely detached from the end of procreation, and the deinstitutionalisation of the union.


Marriage is a recognition of the rights of children to be, when at all possible, raised by their biological parents, and that being raised and socialised by a parent of both sexes, exhibiting the loving and lifelong commitment and cooperation that should exist between the sexes is in the best interests both of the child and of society more widely. It is a recognition of the irreplaceableness and gendered character of both fathers and mothers.

It is recognition of the importance of holding genetic, gestational, legal, and social parenthood together as closely as possible. Marriage idealises the fusion of all of these, as the various aspects of parenthood are integrated into a single institution. The redefinition of marriage that the admission of same sex couples to the institution involves no longer upholds this.

Marriage protects children's rights to a lineage, simple origins and an assured paternity. The admission of same sex couples to the institution will hasten the normalisation and widespread use of reproductive technology, removing the origins of our relationship with our offspring from the intimate and aneconomic union of the marriage bed to economic and legal transactions in the marketplace. This encourages the depersonalisation of children, making abortion, for instance, considerably more conscionable."

(cont.)

8 December 2011 at 15:54  
Blogger Al said...

(cont.)

"Marriage protects the bonds of blood that constitute the wider life of the family, the bonds between siblings, generations, extended relations, etc. It involves the recognition that marriage is not merely ordered to serve the interests of the merely living, but also exists for the sake of generations past and future. Same sex marriage focuses the rationale of marriage too closely on the interests of the sexual partners. On account of its necessarily non-procreative character, same sex marriages cannot protect and extend the bonds of blood to the same extent.

Marriage is monogamous, but same sex marriage threatens the monogamous character of marriage, by undermining its rationale. Monogamy is not solely or primarily concerned with the inviolability and exclusivity of the romantic and companionate attachment to a single sexual partner, but is chiefly based upon the realities of gender difference, sexual dimorphism, reproductive pairing, and biological parenthood. Absent these realities, and monogamy loses most of its rationale. Recognising same-sex partnerships as marriages goes beyond marginalising these realities to undermine or deny their significance, attacking the very things that monogamy seeks to protect. It opens the door to the watering down of the concept of monogamy as lifelong sexual exclusivity, or to the recognition of polyamorous partnerships and the social countenancing of open marriages.

The real question here is whether committed same sex partnerships should be recognised as marriages, or whether they should be seen as sui generis, with a distinct character of their own, unlike that of marriage."

8 December 2011 at 15:54  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace.

A devious low trick, what ! Can’t see ‘Jimmy McPublic’ rolling over and letting the gays put one up him with a Yes vote without a struggle - not the ones the Inspector has met, hence the duplicity – come on you overwhelming decent majority of Scots, now is the time to shout back !

Remarkable, it’s not even 45 years, yet homosexuality has moved from legal acceptance to state policy. What have we done to deserve politicians like that ??

8 December 2011 at 17:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

If only Christians could manage to muster up as much enthusiasm for stopping the divorce or co-habitation of non-Christian couples if they cared as much about marriage as they claim. Of course, those people aren't a minority so the chances of Christians taking them on for their own religious reasons is rather small.

8 December 2011 at 17:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Unusually weak comment for you. What’s happened ??

8 December 2011 at 17:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Unusually weak comment for you. What’s happened ??"

I expect marriage to include gay couples fairly soon so I'm mostly happy to let the future naturally take its course. But what's weak about my comment? A common argument against inclusion in civil marriage is that it will undermine the marriage and/or bring down society. Therefore, I'd expect the Christian Institute and other pressure groups to be agitating and marching on Parliament demanding changes to the current law. Where are they?

8 December 2011 at 17:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Celebrating the collapse of traditional marriage is not an attractive trait in anyone, even (...or should that be especially...) divorce lawyers. As for co-habitating, at least that’s de facto marriage. The Inspector shouldn’t have said your contribution was ‘weak’. Remark unconditionally withdrawn.

8 December 2011 at 18:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

If we were to rely on Christian morals for our law then presumably remarriage after divorce would be a no-no and only a divorce after adultery would be acceptable (and then only in extremis I suppose). Obviously we don't rely on Christian morals to support our law and Christians appear to accept that by the nature of their comparative silence on it. That's one positive for the rest of us, I suppose.

8 December 2011 at 18:20  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

The 'Miserable Rights' movement stoop low, yet again. The Scottish Parliament is full of secularists so don't be too surprised if this legislation is passed

8 December 2011 at 18:22  
Blogger Al said...

DanJ0,

You seem to suggest that opposition to gay marriage finds its grounds in Christian morality and religious reasons. I presented a short case against gay marriage above, without ever once mentioning Christian faith.

8 December 2011 at 18:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

AI: "You seem to suggest that opposition to gay marriage finds its grounds in Christian morality and religious reasons."

I have no doubt most religious people who oppose inclusion in marriage are doing so because of religious reasons and try to sugarcoat those with more secular reasoning. Scratch the surface though and there they are. I've made my case a number of times in favour of inclusion, I'm not minded to do it again now, or to work through your specific comments.

8 December 2011 at 19:05  
Blogger Al said...

DanJ0,

Ultimately, all arguments concerning marriage from all sides are 'religious', relying upon convictions about human nature, the relationship between person and society, the ends of human sexuality, etc., convictions whose truth is, in the final analysis, indemonstrable.

Whatever my motivations may be, it is an argument that I have presented, and that ought to be judged on its own merits. To judge my reasoning on the basis of supposedly underlying motivations is fallacious.

More particularly, why should the indemonstrable quasi-religious convictions of secularists concerning the ends of human beings and their institutions be admissible in public discourse, while those of Christians are excluded?

8 December 2011 at 19:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

AI: "More particularly, why should the indemonstrable quasi-religious convictions of secularists concerning the ends of human beings and their institutions be admissible in public discourse, while those of Christians are excluded?"

Well, marriage is manifestly a civil institution in the UK. If I were to say that Christians cannot marry then I would be excluding you. However, I'm saying that marriage should be extended to include gay people. For you, there is no change. As I'm not advocating muzzling you, I don't see why you should feel excluded. My pointing out what I see as hypocrisy is also surely acceptable public discourse. Unless you disagree with the notion of free speech for gay people too?

8 December 2011 at 19:41  
Blogger Al said...

DanJ0,

My argument, if you look at it, is that same sex marriage cannot just be an 'extension' of marriage to same sex couples, but must necessarily be a far-reaching redefinition of the institution that has implications for all of society.

8 December 2011 at 19:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

AI, your blog article as a comment is full of assertions which essentially present the worldview of the Catholic Church. The key words give it away. If you need someone to argue against it then I suggest you might have more success if you post it to a non-religious blog. I've presented the opposing view to it in other forms already on this blog in the past and I really can't be bothered to do so again. If assertions are fine then I have a handy pie chart which might state the case in the reverse direction.

8 December 2011 at 20:11  
Blogger bluedog said...

Done!

Your Grace, one imagines that the Scottish Conservative Party membership will be excitedly completing the survey on the basis of instructions from their new Leaderene...

8 December 2011 at 20:17  
Blogger Roy said...

@ DanJO

I have no doubt most religious people who oppose inclusion in marriage are doing so because of religious reasons and try to sugarcoat those with more secular reasoning. Scratch the surface though and there they are.

People oppose what you call "inclusion in marriage" because, as I have said on other occasions, marriage has almost certainly been a heterosexual relationship in every country and every ethnic group since long before any of the great present-day religions existed.

If you doubt that marriage has always been a heterosexual arrangement then quote some examples of societies which accepted same sex marriage (and let us know what happened to them) to disprove my assertion!

8 December 2011 at 22:26  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@DanJ0 ... None of the following are rhetorical questions:

What is your definition of marriage?

Is there any reason why marriage shouldn't be permitted between siblings of the same sex or between infertile siblings of different sexes?

Should marriage be lifelong?

Should marriage be defined at all by the state ... should people not simply be able to draw up their own contracts and have them validated by a solicitor?

Why do you believe this Scottish consultation seems to have been invited responses from amongst gay rights organisations across the UK but given the impression it was a consultation of the Scottish people to everyone else?

8 December 2011 at 22:31  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Al

A very fine statement of the benefits of marriage. I also know because, unlikeDanj0, I looked at your profile and blogs, that you are not a Roman Catholic as he implied.

Ps
Many of your views are very close to Roman Catholic doctrine - ever thought of converting?

8 December 2011 at 22:34  
Blogger Al said...

Thanks, Dodo.

Although I have a deep appreciation for Roman Catholic thought in several areas, I am a very convinced Protestant in other key respects, in belief, worship, and culture. If I were going to convert, I would probably be more likely to swim the Bosphorus than the Tiber. However, for now I remain very much at home within the context of theologically Reformed Anglicanism.

8 December 2011 at 22:54  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Al

God knows it needs people with your faith and clarity of thought.

God Bless.

9 December 2011 at 00:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "as he implied."

You inferred that, I did not imply it. There's a difference. What I did imply is that he is making a sugarcoated religious argument. I inferred that from the key words he used. Hope this helps.

9 December 2011 at 05:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Doesn't anyone feel that the ability to divorce, and perhaps to remarry, has changed and even undermined the institution of marriage, which used to be a lifelong commitment? How about the ability to marry in a civil ceremony? That was quite a change, I'd have thought. If the answer is yes to these then where are the marches, and appeals, and petitions, and speeches, and blog articles to reverse the law in these areas?

9 December 2011 at 05:31  
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9 December 2011 at 06:24  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

Naturally, they are garnering the Gay vote across the whole UK to force Scotland to adopt gay "marriage".

As most normal Welsh and English people don't, frankly my dear, give a f*ck what happens in Scotland they will get gay "marriage" imposed upon them.

As for the rest of the UK, I look fwd to the CofE having to swallow gay "marriage" - they have created the environment for it after all by subscribing to moral relativism as opposed to Christian morality..

9 December 2011 at 08:53  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Oi ... DanJ0 ... what about my questions?!

I realise you're not under any compulsion to, but I'd genuinely be interested to hear your answers to the questions I posed.

You're often on here critiquing or criticising comments made on here for their arguments. So I'm genuinely interested to find out what foundations you would build on.

Here are my questions again. They are not trick questions or rhetorical questions ... I genuinely do not know what your answers to them are but would like to know (well, except maybe the last question which is kind of rhetorical!).

What is your definition of marriage?

Is there any reason why marriage shouldn't be permitted between siblings of the same sex or between infertile siblings of different sexes?

Should marriage be lifelong?

Should marriage be defined at all by the state ... should people not simply be able to draw up their own contracts and have them validated by a solicitor?

Why do you believe this Scottish consultation seems to have been invited responses from amongst gay rights organisations across the UK but given the impression it was a consultation of the Scottish people to everyone else?

9 December 2011 at 11:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel, I have covered almost all of that before on the many gay marriage threads here. I'm on a smart phone too at the moment so I must be brief.

Q1. I use the current definition and simply extend it. That's the core of the argument: they're alike enough to be treated alike. Q2. Yes. But I don's see any moral reason against. This has been covered multiple times in the past as it's a classic challenge. Q3. No but one should probably aim and hope so for oneself. Q4. People can co-habit and contract as they wish. However, for rights (including state incentives) one obviously needs the state to be involved. Q5. No idea. It was the first I heard of it and I don't know the background or the politics.

9 December 2011 at 12:11  
Blogger Jon said...

I'm interested in the other side of the equation on the banner.

I think it probably read "= sometimes 1 baby who will find out that God made them gay" but that didn't fit on the banner or chime with their message so they cut it off!

9 December 2011 at 13:57  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@DanJ0 ... thanks for the reply.

I must have missed your answers on previous threads so forgive me for making you type them on your phone!

In answer to Q1 you say you want to retain the current definition but "simply extend it". But "simply extend it" how far?

This is the current definition: "the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others"

So you want to "extend" it so that it says "two people" rather than "one man and one woman" [subject to some of the same provisos that currently exist e.g. marriage to family members]

But in answer to Q3 you then say you also want to "extend" another part - the "for life" part, making it an aspiration rather than an explicit part of the covenant. Perhaps best to remove that part altogether? So the definition is ideally, "the voluntary union of two people to the exclusion of all others"

And once you have that definition, there is absolutely no logical or moral reason why we should not "simply extend it" to more than two people surely?

So the definition should become, "The voluntary union of people to the exclusion of all others"

But what right has the state to tell people that their personal relationships should be exclusive ones? That is discriminatory, un-inclusive & intolerant.

So the only consistently fair, moral & logical definition can surely be,"The voluntary union of people"

And once we have accepted that definition, we realise that it is blatantly discriminatory & unfair. For by the word "union" we are presuming a sexual relationship aren't we? Why should marriage be restricted to sexual relationships? What about those who have relationships of mutual love & respect, but do not wish to (or cannot) have sexual unions? Why not simply "extend" the definition to non-sexual relationships? "The voluntary arrangement of people"

But this of course does exclude those who come from other nations & cultures where marriages are arranged by others. ="The arrangement of people"

Marriage is intrinsically linked to procreation - always has been, always will be (whatever legal 'definition' it is given). There are more logical grounds for "extending" the definition of marriage to include polygamy than homosexuality.

9 December 2011 at 14:10  
Blogger Jon said...

Ah yes, Rebel Saint, with your clever use of the words "discriminatory, un-inclusive, and intolerant" I can see that my support for gay marriage will inevitably lead to polygamy/ world war 3/ incest/ the banning of caravanning*

* insert apocalyptic scenario here as per DanJ0's pie chart.

One doesn't need to be married to pro-create, nor does one need to pro-create to be married. I think your attachment of biological conditions to what is essentially an emotional commitment is wrong, and I would hazard, at odds with the views of the vast majority of people in the country (perhaps even this blog). Should you stop elderly widowed people from marrying simply because their union can't result (nor, I would suggest would they want it to!) in children? Should we permit Dodo to get married in case his does?!!

Your position is incoherent precisely because of the things that you choose to tolerate in even the marriage ceremonies which do fulfil your criteria; pre- marital sex, divorcees remarrying, the existence of Katie Price... All of these things would seem to do more collateral damage to the pristine image of marriage than my desire to add myself to the massed ranks of oppressed husbands!

If the Church were to take a more active line against the other "sexual sins" with which it claims to obsess itself, I would still have little sympathy for its insistence on monitoring my life. I would, however, at least have to respect its intellectual consistency. At present, there is very little to respect in its position.

9 December 2011 at 15:10  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Jon ... you seem to have fundamentally misunderstood & ignored pretty much everything I have said. Quite a spectacular achievement.

Now if you want to address any of the points I actually made rather than lots of ones I didn't that might be more interesting.

9 December 2011 at 15:14  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Jon said ...

Should we permit Dodo to get married in case his does?!!

Now don't be so bitter Jon just because you can't put your little tutu on, wear make up and strut the aisle with a posy. I know its a shame but jealousy is unbecoming.

Just organise a little gathering after the civil ceremony and dress up 'til your hearts content. Then later you can get a couple of those 'virtual babies' and play at being mummy and daddy.

9 December 2011 at 16:23  
Blogger Jon said...

Rebel Saint - I just have seen all or your points addressed by one of the previous invited posters on this very blog. They're not new at all - so I was merely mocking your attempt to give them liberal credence with your careful use of buzz words. Your response to DanJ0 showed you hadn't read the brief response he posted either, btw.

Dodo - I love your attempts at being patronising. Should the EU fall apart, I do hope you don't get deported - it would be terrible if you went on to burden the public sector of Ireland with your incessant witterings whilst you're supposed to be working! We may not get our £9 billion back! And what would the RCC do without such a powerful apologist working at the heart of MI5, or whatever is that you claim to be doing this week!

9 December 2011 at 17:09  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Jon ... Hmmmm, hadn't realised it but seems like you're the gay doppelgänger of G Tingerly. Maybe you two should get married? Surely a marriage made in heaven - an utter arse & a complete knob. [Apologies for the coarseness of the language Cranmer]

9 December 2011 at 17:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "I must have missed your answers [...]"

Well, I was minded to avoid yet another replay but, hey, what the heck.

"In answer to Q1 you say you want to retain the current definition but "simply extend it". But "simply extend it" how far?"

To include a relevantly alike case: the case of a gay or lesbian couple.

"This is the current definition: "the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others"

More or less, yes. But let's look at that a bit more. In the UK, couples may divorce for a number of reasons so the union is not necessarily for life. This was why I answered your Q3 as I did: to allow for divorce.

This leads on quite nicely to the point I made earlier in the thread which you avoided. Do you think we as a society should hold people to their marriage vows come what may? I don't. If so then are you campaigning for that change?

"And once you have that definition, there is absolutely no logical or moral reason why we should not "simply extend it" to more than two people surely?"

Well, with the previous explanation in place, I'm not seeing why you write "surely?" at the end there. I can immediately think of a number of reasons. Hence, your slippery-slope argument looks a bit dodgy to me.

"But what right has the state to tell people that their personal relationships should be exclusive ones? That is discriminatory, un-inclusive & intolerant."

Nope. You're veering off off-piste now. Firstly, you're equivocating between a marriage and a relationship. Secondly, you'd need to explain the meaning of the key words in the last sentence I think. Thirdly, you're probably assuming stuff in the notion of a 'right' at the start there but we can probably come on to that later.

"So the only consistently fair, moral & logical definition can surely be,"The voluntary union of people""

There's that word "surely" again. I think you're too far off-piste now to find the run but I'll try to make do with the rest.

"For by the word "union" we are presuming a sexual relationship aren't we? Why should marriage be restricted to sexual relationships?"

Marriage is essentially a social institution and it's one of the building blocks of our society. Moreover, it formalises something that falls out of our ethology: pair-bonding. So, I think the sexual nature of it is quite core. But remember too, my position is that relevantly alike should be treated alike, at least in the absence of mitigating factors.

"Marriage is intrinsically linked to procreation - always has been, always will be (whatever legal 'definition' it is given)."

Well, pair-bonding is linked to procreation for sure. As marriage formalises pair-bonding then it's at least a second-order linkage. However, we know that the ability to have children is not a pre-requisite now for marriage so you need to fall back on some sort of archetype to make your point. Is that a knock-down argument against gay people marrying? I think not.

"There are more logical grounds for "extending" the definition of marriage to include polygamy than homosexuality."

I think you'd need to explain the logic there as you can't get away with that as it stands. Gay marriage looks like an extension of straight marriage to me, polygamous marriage does not. Moreover, polygamous marriage presents its own set of legal problems to do with things like inheritance and next of kin. That is, we can consider it on its own merits or lack of them without holding gay marriage back. As you no doubt know, the marriage laws have been changed a number of times over the years so you can hardly claim: no change potentially allows for any change.

9 December 2011 at 17:39  
Blogger paul said...

Coming from a country where polygamous marriage is both legal and common, I don't see how inheritance and next of kin are a problem.

The problem is that same sex marriage is a binding of non-complementary unequal persons rather than the ideal of marriage as defined in the UK of complimentary equals. Its not that far removed from the type of stepped relationship that develops in polygamous marriages.

I agree with DanJ0, same-sex marriage will come to the UK, I think the UK people will regret it. Since so few people have the marriages or relationships that they could I don't see why a few more lies and deceptions to keep some self centred Darwinian award winners happy will matter that much.

It may be that UK marriages are less internationally recognized and I don't think that Mr. Cameroons threats to with hold aid will count for much if Mr. and Mr. Smith run into trouble in a country that does not recognize/permit same sex relations

9 December 2011 at 19:16  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Jon
Ooooo, having a little hissy fit, are we?

Rebel Saint
They can't get 'married' but will have to settle for a civil partnership. One made in hell, not heaven. They can still dress up and 'pretend'. Who will be the 'bride'? Hope he remembers toshave on the big day.

9 December 2011 at 20:59  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

DanJ0...

Doh ... my epic response is too long for one comment apparently, so I'll have to break it up into several. Bet y' can't wait!!

"In answer to Q1 you say you want to retain the current definition but "simply extend it". But "simply extend it" how far?"

To include a relevantly alike case: the case of a gay or lesbian couple.

"Relevantly alike"? They're absolutely nothing alike! How are two padlock keys "relevantly alike" one padlock key & one lock? This is the hub of the matter, you seem to be confusing the substance of marriage with the purpose of marriage. A marriage consists of love & sacrifice & affection & intimacy. These can be the substance of all sorts of relationships. But they do not constitute the PURPOSE of marriage.

"This is the current definition: "the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others"

More or less, yes. But let's look at that a bit more. In the UK, couples may divorce for a number of reasons so the union is not necessarily for life. This was why I answered your Q3 as I did: to allow for divorce.

Not more or less ... that is the current legal definition. I don't understand why are you clouding the subject with discussion of divorce? I have views about divorce and am happy to discuss them at length. But no-one is currently trying to fundamentally change the definition of divorce to something completely different from what it has been understood as for millennia.

This leads on quite nicely to the point I made earlier in the thread which you avoided. Do you think we as a society should hold people to their marriage vows come what may? I don't. If so then are you campaigning for that change?

I do think people should be held to vows that they make, otherwise they are utterly worthless. In fact they are not vows at all (or is that something else you would like to change the definition of now)? Maybe you're right and vows should no longer be considered exclusively as solemn promises, as these can be quite discriminatory towards debauchees. Maybe vows should now be defined as "hopes & aspirations declared publicly".

I have campaigned about all sorts of things, including the liberalising of divorce law. It is always better (& easier) to stop rot setting in than it is to attempt to remove once it is has set-in.

9 December 2011 at 22:18  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

[PART 2!]

"And once you have that definition, there is absolutely no logical or moral reason why we should not "simply extend it" to more than two people surely?"

Well, with the previous explanation in place, I'm not seeing why you write "surely?" at the end there. I can immediately think of a number of reasons. Hence, your slippery-slope argument looks a bit dodgy to me.

It's not a slippery slope argument, I'm asking you to justify why not? Aren't relationships between 3 loving, consenting adults "relatively alike" those of 2 people? Isn't it simply taking a definition and "simply extending it"? "Indeed, haven't bigamous & polygamous marriages got more historical & established legal precedence than homosexual ones. There really aren't any good grounds for objecting to polygamous marriages are there once marriages only PURPOSE is to express some emotional attachment & it's DEFINITION is simply "any two people"?

"But what right has the state to tell people that their personal relationships should be exclusive ones? That is discriminatory, un-inclusive & intolerant."

Nope. You're veering off off-piste now. Firstly, you're equivocating between a marriage and a relationship. Secondly, you'd need to explain the meaning of the key words in the last sentence I think. Thirdly, you're probably assuming stuff in the notion of a 'right' at the start there but we can probably come on to that later.

Well what IS marriage? You still haven't ever told me what it is yet. The definition of marriage currently includes a vow to faithfulness. Why is that important? If we are going to "simply extend" the definition of marriage please justify to me why this part is necessary. I genuinely want to know.

"So the only consistently fair, moral & logical definition can surely be,"The voluntary union of people""

There's that word "surely" again. I think you're too far off-piste now to find the run but I'll try to make do with the rest.

Don't just keep saying I'm off piste. Why am I off piste? Please justify to me why marriages must be exclusive.

9 December 2011 at 22:21  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

[PART 3]

"For by the word "union" we are presuming a sexual relationship aren't we? Why should marriage be restricted to sexual relationships?"

Marriage is essentially a social institution and it's one of the building blocks of our society. Moreover, it formalises something that falls out of our ethology: pair-bonding. So, I think the sexual nature of it is quite core. But remember too, my position is that relevantly alike should be treated alike, at least in the absence of mitigating factors.

I agree whole-heartedly with your first sentence. And homosexual unions can never be a building block of society because BY THEIR VERY NATURE they don't build anything.

I really don't get this "relatively alike" argument. Is cannibalism "relatively alike" omnivorism which is "relatively alike" vegetarianism ? Should the definitions of each "simply be extended"? Homosexual sexual conduct is not "relatively alike" heterosexual sexual conduct.

"Marriage is intrinsically linked to procreation - always has been, always will be (whatever legal 'definition' it is given)."

Well, pair-bonding is linked to procreation for sure. As marriage formalises pair-bonding then it's at least a second-order linkage. However, we know that the ability to have children is not a pre-requisite now for marriage so you need to fall back on some sort of archetype to make your point. Is that a knock-down argument against gay people marrying? I think not.

The ability to have children IN PRINCIPLE is currently a pre-requisite of marriage. That is why it is defined as being between a male & a female. That is why lack of consummation is legal grounds for annulment. "Extending" the definition disconnects the very PRINCIPLE of procreation (and pair-bonding) from marriage. It is as fundamental shift as "extending" the definition of vegetarianism to include meat eating because they are both "relatively alike" dietary forms.

"There are more logical grounds for "extending" the definition of marriage to include polygamy than homosexuality."

I think you'd need to explain the logic there as you can't get away with that as it stands. Gay marriage looks like an extension of straight marriage to me, polygamous marriage does not. Moreover, polygamous marriage presents its own set of legal problems to do with things like inheritance and next of kin. That is, we can consider it on its own merits or lack of them without holding gay marriage back. As you no doubt know, the marriage laws have been changed a number of times over the years so you can hardly claim: no change potentially allows for any change.

Gay marriage may "look like an extension of straight marriage" to you, but it's absolutely not. In fact, by definition you do not need to the include the qualifier "straight" to the word marriage. just like you don't need to add the words "meat eating" to "carnivore". As stated before polygamous marriages are a very well established form of marriage. They maintain the fundamental link of procreation to the institution, and as such are a much more natural "extension" of the definition than that of homosexuality which completely breaks the PRINCIPLE of pro-creation from marriage. Continuing my dietary metaphor (or is it a simile ... I can never remember!): Monogamous marriage > Polygmamous marriage is more akin to Carnivore > Omnivore ... at least there's some overlap. Monogamous marriage > homosexual "pair-bonding" is akin to Carnivore > herbivore ... mutually exclusive.

9 December 2011 at 22:30  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Saint. The ability to have children IN PRINCIPLE is currently a pre-requisite of marriage.

The Inspector remembers a Carmelite priest who said he would not officiate at a marriage ceremony if either of the participants was in a wheelchair...

9 December 2011 at 22:56  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

The Carmelite priest was wrong - or you misunderstood him. There is no such pre-requisite to have children. However, the marriage would have to be be consumated.

9 December 2011 at 23:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "These can be the substance of all sorts of relationships. But they do not constitute the PURPOSE of marriage."

The social purpose? The family is a fundamental building block of our society. It doesn't necessarily have to be so but we have made it so. For one thing, marriage encourages stability. We tend to have a very modern and Western view of marriage being about love. Of course historically it had political and/or financial purposes at all levels of society, binding the interests of extended families together, and so on.

"I don't understand why are you clouding the subject with discussion of divorce?"

Your legal definition says "for life" yet manifestly this does not need to be so as one can legally divorce. Hence, your legal definition can't actually be the legal definition.

"I do think people should be held to vows that they make, otherwise they are utterly worthless."

Well, they are not held to them as they can legally divorce for a number of reasons. This is a good thing as far as I am concerned, especially given that religionists are usually not happy that people 'try before they buy'.

"It's not a slippery slope argument, I'm asking you to justify why not? Aren't relationships between 3 loving, consenting adults "relatively alike" those of 2 people?"

I said relevantly alike not relatively alike. That is, in analogy terms they have the same characteristics and therefore should be treated alike as a matter of justice.

"There really aren't any good grounds for objecting to polygamous marriages are there once marriages only PURPOSE is to express some emotional attachment & it's DEFINITION is simply "any two people"?"

I disagree with your understanding of the purpose of marriage.

"Well what IS marriage? You still haven't ever told me what it is yet. The definition of marriage currently includes a vow to faithfulness. Why is that important?"

I've told everyone else here in the past. I've set out a whole list of stuff that describes a marriage and checked out how gay and straight couples compare.

The clause about faithfulness is to encourage stability as far as I can see. It also matches our ethology as far as pair-bonding is concerned. Marriage doesn't have to formalise a pair-bond of course, but we have set up our society along those lines.

"Don't just keep saying I'm off piste. Why am I off piste? Please justify to me why marriages must be exclusive."

Your original argument was off-piste because the logical steps you tried to build into it to take it to your conclusion were flawed. As the argument progresses, these flaws multiplied until the argument fell apart. Hey, it happens sometimes.

9 December 2011 at 23:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. He was the rugby master, and is still around. YOU tell him...

9 December 2011 at 23:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "I agree whole-heartedly with your first sentence. And homosexual unions can never be a building block of society because BY THEIR VERY NATURE they don't build anything."

They do. They create a stable social unit with mutual financial, emotional, and practical support. They bind the interests of extended families together. They're centred around a home, usually a house or flat, which usually requires a dual income to maintain these days. Note in passing that our standard 3-bedroomed houses tend to match our pair-bonded family unit size, which is rather useful. If gay people have children from a former relationship, or adopt, or foster, or create a child in some manner or other then it provides first stage socialisation for the child just like a straight family unit.

"I really don't get this "relatively alike" argument. Is cannibalism "relatively alike" omnivorism which is "relatively alike" vegetarianism ?"

Again, it's relevantly alike not relatively alike. The difference is very important.

"The ability to have children IN PRINCIPLE is currently a pre-requisite of marriage. That is why it is defined as being between a male & a female. That is why lack of consummation is legal grounds for annulment."

It's not a pre-requisite. Elderly couples have no chance of conceiving yet they are allowed to get married. As for consummation, I think that goes back to the historical political and financial purposes, in conjunction with the historical no-sex-before-marriage thing.

Certainly at the upper echelons of society, the ability to create heirs was very important. In conjuction with primogeniture and inheritance, the ability for a branch of an extended family to create a male heir was pretty important.

"Gay marriage may "look like an extension of straight marriage" to you, but it's absolutely not. In fact, by definition you do not need to the include the qualifier "straight" to the word marriage."

I said in a previous thread that there are a handful of standard attempts to stand in the way of gay marriage. This is one. Another is the argument from tradition, which is easily trashed. So, marriage has a definition today and tomorrow the definition is changed to reflect changes in society. No problem. Afterall, marriage is essentially a social institution.

"As stated before polygamous marriages are a very well established form of marriage. They maintain the fundamental link of procreation to the institution, and as such are a much more natural "extension" of the definition than that of homosexuality which completely breaks the PRINCIPLE of pro-creation from marriage."

A principle which you insist exists but one which doesn't seem to have the status of a principle as far as I can see. Obviously, the elevation of it to necessity to enter marriage is very attractive for people who want to stop gay people getting married but it's not a show-stopper really, is it?

I gave up before I started with your dietary analogy as it doesn't look very analogous to me as far as your points go. Afterall, we're talking of social institutions. The definition of marriage follows from the reality, and the reality is what we choose to make it. This is not a definition game where 'chair' and 'table' reflect essentially unchanging real world objects.

9 December 2011 at 23:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Me: "I disagree with your understanding of the purpose of marriage."

I meant: I disagree with your understanding of my understanding of the purpose of marriage. You created a strawman.

9 December 2011 at 23:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "I don't understand why are you clouding the subject with discussion of divorce?"

Finally, bear in mind that the topic of divorce and hypocrisy was my original entries into this thread. You rather randomly jumped in and insisted that I present my position on the wider issue of gay marriage so that you could try to attack it. I'm entertaining that at the moment but it was you clouding the issue I think.

9 December 2011 at 23:53  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector said ...

"Dodo. He was the rugby master, and is still around. YOU tell him..."

More than happy to.

Besides, its more likely you misunderstood and confused an inability to consumate a marriage with the transmission of life. The former is required by Canon Law, the latter is not.

10 December 2011 at 00:44  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Danj0: "The family is a fundamental building block of our society. It doesn't necessarily have to be so but we have made it so."

Hold on a second. We've "made it so"? Whose made it so? It is so because it's the natural & fundamental way in which children are socialised & nurtured & protected & trained & provided for by people who have an emotional & biological investment with them. Can you point me to examples of other alternative societal building blocks please?

I'm glad we both agree that family life is essential to building society. But as I said in my previous comments, homosexual unions cannot BY THEIR INHERENT NATURE be "building blocks". They are incapable of "building" anything, and left to run their natural course they would ALL completely wither away without any trace.

DanJ0: "Your legal definition says "for life" yet manifestly this does not need to be so as one can legally divorce. Hence, your legal definition can't actually be the legal definition.

It's not MY legal definition, it's THE legal definition. But divorce is a whole different kettle of fish which I am happy to discuss. But talking about how marriage vows are broken or under what circumstances covenants can be dissolved is a bit like the tail wagging the dog. I do think our divorce laws fundamentally weaken & misunderstand the value of the marriage covenant, but I don’t see that as being a good reason for dismantling marriage all together!

DanJ0: "I do think people should be held to vows that they make, otherwise they are utterly worthless."

Well, they are not held to them as they can legally divorce for a number of reasons. This is a good thing as far as I am concerned, especially given that religionists are usually not happy that people 'try before they buy'.


People unfortunately break vows & there have always been ways of addressing the consequences of that. But discussing divorce takes us much more “off piste” than any of the arguments I raised so I’m not sure why you want to keep going there? Interestingly enough, people who “try before they buy” are significantly more likely to have a marriage that ends in divorce. So maybe there’s some (divine?) wisdom in what the religionists have to say.

10 December 2011 at 01:22  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

So why do interesting arguments always develop when I am in the middle of 30 hours of airports and airplanes.

DanJ0

Your point about divorce and cohabitation is a well-taken point. Certainly I agree that the current legitimization of homosexuality is derivative. Sexual autonomy is the driving force behind the sexual revolution. Sexual autonomy legitimizes fornication and divorce. Once you start down that road, there is no logical boundary beyond consent. If A can choose to fornicate on the basis of autonomy, then A must accept B's choice for homosexual sex on the basis of autonomy as well. This is why homosexuality is accepted in the general case ("It's OK for someone else's kid.") but not the particular case ("It's not OK for my kid.") I agree with you that the church's response to divorce is by and large scandalous. And I also agree that this response is largely driven by cowardice. It is not universal however. My own church will not remarry people who lack legitimate grounds for divorce, nor will it marry cohabitating couples. It has also expelled couples who get remarried without legitimate grounds for a prior divorce.

Even so, the legitimization of homosexuality is ontologically different. Fornication at least has the benefit of being according to the natural use of the body. There is no kind way to put this. Homosexual desire is unnatural and therefore perverse. To legitimate it is to annihilate any and all structural boundaries on sexual behavior, and to do so in the name of consent. Man by force of will determines what is 'natural' for him. There can be no concept of sexual perversion in such an environment, for perversion requires an objective norm of behavior.

Marriage is intended to act as the public gateway for legitimate expression human sexuality in human society. Homosexual marriage fundamentally alters the relationship of sex to marriage and marriage to society. It severs the connection to children and procreation. It undermines the commitment for monogamy. It removes all the unchosen obligations that traditional marriage imposes upon people to receive and raise children. Instead sex becomes a private component of the relationship between two private individuals - as transient and effervescent as the relationship itself. In deed that is the very point of the redefinition. To remove all those unchosen constraints and obligations so that the human will may be free to choose what it wants whenever it wants it.

carl

10 December 2011 at 01:24  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

DanJ0: "Aren't relationships between 3 loving, consenting adults "relatively alike" those of 2 people?"

I said relevantly alike not relatively alike. That is, in analogy terms they have the same characteristics and therefore should be treated alike as a matter of justice.


OK, Relevantly alike … my argument remains the same. Haven’t polygamous relationships actually PROVEN to be relevantly the same: love, affection, pro-creation, stability, etc. What have you got against polygamy? What is your logical or moral objection to it? Isn’t vegetarianism relevantly alike to omnivorism?

DanJ0: "There really aren't any good grounds for objecting to polygamous marriages are there once marriages only PURPOSE is to express some emotional attachment & it's DEFINITION is simply "any two people"?"

I disagree with your understanding of the purpose of marriage.


I know you do. Most people who advocate gay “marriage” do. Hence the constant merry-go-round. The majority seem to see it’s purpose as some purely sentimental expression of love/commitment/fidelity, or at best, as something to bring security & stability to their own relationship.

When it comes to what the purpose of marriage is, I can’t do any better than this (you can remove the theistic elements if it makes you feel more comfortable):

First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.

Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body.

Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.

Gay unions fulfil the 3rd purpose. I suppose that might be justification for Civil Partnerships.

DanJ0: "Well what IS marriage? You still haven't ever told me what it is yet. The definition of marriage currently includes a vow to faithfulness. Why is that important?"

I've told everyone else here in the past. I've set out a whole list of stuff that describes a marriage and checked out how gay and straight couples compare.


But it’s what is different about marriage that makes it marriage. Just comparing relationships and saying, “there’s so much common ground here, we might as well call them the same” is, frankly, ludicrous. Please make a list comparing the traits of a herbivore & a omnivore. It’s the differences that make them what they are!

10 December 2011 at 01:29  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

DanJ0: The clause about faithfulness is to encourage stability as far as I can see. It also matches our ethology as far as pair-bonding is concerned. Marriage doesn't have to formalise a pair-bond of course, but we have set up our society along those lines.

I’m intrigued by the way you seem to believe we arbitrarily chose the way to set up society & civilisations , rather than actually codifying what we discovered actually worked over countless generations.

DanJ0: "Don't just keep saying I'm off piste. Why am I off piste?"

Your original argument was off-piste because the logical steps you tried to build into it to take it to your conclusion were flawed. As the argument progresses, these flaws multiplied until the argument fell apart. Hey, it happens sometimes.


I like your style DanJ0! There really was no breakdown in my logic. But if the progression didn’t make sense to you, let me set things out to you as a set of distinct questions. If you desire to “simply extend” the definition of marriage …

Why not extend it to polygamous marriage, when it is already an established, ancient practice and is more (or at least) “relevantly alike” monogamous marriage?

Why not remove any commitment to a time-frame?

Why not remove references to exclusivity – especially if it is in relationships that preclude the procreation of children?

Why not extend it to other, non-sexual relationships?

What should the new, “extended” definition of marriage be? Go on, give it to me, in one sentence.

10 December 2011 at 01:32  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

And ditto what "Carl Jacobs" says.

In fact he says it much better than me and in less words!

I like the sound of your denomination Carl. Which is it?

10 December 2011 at 01:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Rebel Saint

I belong to an Evangelical Free Church. It is an American church that finds its roots in people who left the state Church of Sweden. If there was a good Calvinist Anglican church near my home, I would join it. But there isn't. My choices are 1) liberal old line Protestant churches, or 2) non-denominational Evangelical churches that reek of Arminianism. So, traditional Reformed Protestant that I am, I joined a congregationalist credo-baptist church. But the pastors are all Calvinists and they aren't concerned with my infant baptism. You make compromises when you have to.

carl

10 December 2011 at 02:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "Hold on a second. We've "made it so"? Whose made it so? It is so because it's the natural & fundamental way in which children are socialised & nurtured & protected & trained & provided for by people who have an emotional & biological investment with them. Can you point me to examples of other alternative societal building blocks please?"

We're a rational species which is not bound to instinctive behaviour and so we have considerable scope to change our environment. At the moment, we tend to live in nuclear families (or fragments of them).

In the recent past, we used to live in extended families where child-rearing was handled by a number of women in the family. At the upper echelons of society, child-rearing was handled by servants, such as nannies, including wet-nursing.

An alternative organisation is kibbutzim. There are probably other examples in small nomadic or agrarian societies, especially in history, if I were to google around but I trust the point has been made. If not then I'm not relying on it for anything anyway. I was just 'setting the scene', so to speak.

All that said, a core family unit of father and mother works very well for raising their own children in the manner you say. The social instiution of marriage formalises that arrangement, and encourages it and, in some sense approves it.

"I'm glad we both agree that family life is essential to building society. But as I said in my previous comments, homosexual unions cannot BY THEIR INHERENT NATURE be "building blocks". They are incapable of "building" anything, and left to run their natural course they would ALL completely wither away without any trace."

You're equivocating between building blocks in the sense of directly propagating the species and building blocks in the sense of constructing our complex, modern society, including relationships with the State. In the latter sense, two people marrying and thereby joining the interests of two separate families together is a building block. That core element has associated rights, such as Article 8, in relation to the State. It provides stability. It provides a focus for economic activity. It's nominally self-supporting. And so on.

10 December 2011 at 08:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "It's not MY legal definition, it's THE legal definition. But divorce is a whole different kettle of fish which I am happy to discuss."

Clearly it's not the full definition despite its use in the civil ceremony. The full legal definition is contained in the body of family and marriage law. This manifestly has to be so because people can marry and subsequently divorce. The marriage in one core sense is a contractual arrangement between people (and, historically, families).

"I do think our divorce laws fundamentally weaken & misunderstand the value of the marriage covenant, but I don’t see that as being a good reason for dismantling marriage all together!"

Luckily, that's not the intention at all. The proposal is to extend marriage to gay couples on the basis of like treated alike given the place gay people now suddenly have in society. It's promting marriage, actually.

"People unfortunately break vows & there have always been ways of addressing the consequences of that. But discussing divorce takes us much more “off piste” than any of the arguments I raised so I’m not sure why you want to keep going there?"

I keep going there for two reasons. It was my entry into the thread and the reason I commented. It's my new theme in this ongoing debate on the blog: the heavy Christian focus on gay marriage whilst apparently ignoring the herds of elephants in the room. The second reason is you initially asked the question about lifelong commitment, thus making it important, and you talk about "for life" in your legal definition, thus making it important in any related discussion. It's part of the current nature of marriage that people can subsequently divorce from it.

"OK, Relevantly alike … my argument remains the same. Haven’t polygamous relationships actually PROVEN to be relevantly the same: love, affection, pro-creation, stability, etc. What have you got against polygamy? What is your logical or moral objection to it? Isn’t vegetarianism relevantly alike to omnivorism?"

I have no moral objection to polygamy myself. Also, to go back to an equivocation you made in the past, the State has no business interfering in polygamous relationships other than the social institution of marriage which it endorses on our behalf.

I'm not sure what argument you think a logical objection might reside. On what basis do you object to it, religious beliefs aside? Surely not merely a definitional one or one based on tradition? There is no sound slippery slope argument here that I can see. That is, extending marriage to include gay couples does not necessarily open the way for polygamous marriages. That can be and should be argued on its own merits.

10 December 2011 at 08:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "I know you do. Most people who advocate gay “marriage” do. Hence the constant merry-go-round. The majority seem to see it’s purpose as some purely sentimental expression of love/commitment/fidelity, or at best, as something to bring security & stability to their own relationship."

This is related to your understanding on my understanding. I don't hold a merely romantic view of the purpose of marriage. Marriage is a social institution; it provides social benefits for all of us.

The social benefit of marriage is that it encourages a core social building block in our society. Binding the interests of two families together tends to create social stability. It also creates an environment for nurturing children, it creates a private space which nominally sustains itself, it contains support structures, and so on.

State recognition of marriage also involves rights, benefits, and the like. It changes next-of-kin. It nominally changes inheritance. It has impacts on things like tenancy agreements. And so on.

I'm an advocate of marriage for gay people because I think it will change residual gay cultures too. Fifty years ago, gay people had to live their gay lives 'underground' and sex lives tended towards 'ships passing in the night'. I think it's in all of our (social and financial) interests that young gay people aspire to marriage, or at least long-term co-habitation, along with a family home, holidays, shared Christmases, etc, just like anyone else.

10 December 2011 at 08:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "I’m intrigued by the way you seem to believe we arbitrarily chose the way to set up society & civilisations , rather than actually codifying what we discovered actually worked over countless generations."

The two work hand in hand, I think.

Gay rights have led the way recently and a surprisingly large chunk of society has followed. The change over the last 50 years has been astounding. I keep having to remind myself that people were put in prison at one point for having private, consensual sex with another man. People were blackmailed for their sexual orientation. People lost their jobs if they were outed. Etc.

Marriage, and expectations of marriage, have also changed dramatically. Young women personally inclined to promiscuity were sometimes put in mental institutions for it, and not that long ago. It was socially devastating for an unmarried woman to get pregnant. The idea of living together was completely socially unacceptable. And so on.

10 December 2011 at 08:45  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "But it’s what is different about marriage that makes it marriage. Just comparing relationships and saying, “there’s so much common ground here, we might as well call them the same” is, frankly, ludicrous. Please make a list comparing the traits of a herbivore & a omnivore. It’s the differences that make them what they are!"

I don't see the point of your using the definitions of herbivore and omnivore to argue here as I have explained already. I'll try to ram the difference home again. Animals which can't eat meat are called herbivores and therefore are not omnivores. Animals which can create all the amino acids from plants to make proteins are called omnivores. The animals can't change and so they are classified using formal, descriptive terms.

Marriage is a social institution. We define what it is. Both the description and the object can change. It's not the same type of thing as herbivore/omnivore at all.

I am not just comparing relationships and saying that they are similar so we may as well call them the same. Marriage has benefits for society and the endorsement of it comes with state benefits to the couple. This is a social justice argument, though not just so. The two relationships are relevantly alike and so should be treated the same. That is, they should get the same benefits.

10 December 2011 at 08:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "Why not extend it to polygamous marriage, when it is already an established, ancient practice and is more (or at least) “relevantly alike” monogamous marriage?"

Why didn't we do it at the previous times of change in the marriage and family laws? You can probably answer your own question there.

"Why not remove any commitment to a time-frame?"

One of the perceived benefits to society is stability. I don't see any obvious benefit at all in setting a time frame.

"Why not remove references to exclusivity – especially if it is in relationships that preclude the procreation of children?"

One of the perceived benefits to society is stability. See also my comments about tying the interests of two extended families together.

"Why not extend it to other, non-sexual relationships?"

We're formalising pair-bonding.

I have to say that despite your admonishing of Jon earlier, and without meaning to be too rude, you don't seem to be reading and understanding much of what I've been writing so far. Just repeating yourself as though you are bewildered why I do not accept your views is not going to help.

"What should the new, “extended” definition of marriage be? Go on, give it to me, in one sentence."

One sentence will not do unless it is a complex one.

What are we trying to achieve here by extending marriage to include gay people. We're formalising the pair-bonding of two people, we're joining the interests of two extended families, we're creating a social building block which will be centred around a private home, we're encouraging long-term shared interests, we're joining the social, financial, and personal interests of two people together and treating them as one. It's essentially the same purpose, isn't it?

The definition just needs to extend the "one man and one woman" bit, really. Besides, supplementary/explanatory notes are common in legislation so I'm not seeing much of a problem.

Phew. Have I covered everything in those multiple posts? I normally don't have the patience to do this but at least this is a relatively free exchange of views. Compare and contrast this with the chess game, argument-rail-roading, 'complete reputation on the line', 'fighting for control of the topic' style of some previous versions. It's almost refreshing. :)

10 December 2011 at 09:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Me: "Animals which can't eat meat are called herbivores and therefore are not omnivores. Animals which can create all the amino acids from plants to make proteins are called omnivores."

Well, I buggered that up. Doh. I can't be bothered tying that down any more. We all know what the words means in the formal sense, I'm sure.

10 December 2011 at 09:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "To legitimate it is to annihilate any and all structural boundaries on sexual behavior, and to do so in the name of consent."

We've exchanged fire on this particular point before. I don't think what you have written there follows. Consent is not the only factor in all of this as has been said before. I think you have a unnecessarily reductionist view on this which one can probably tease out from your otherwise eloquent prose if one is so inclined.

10 December 2011 at 09:27  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I just shifted two-thirds of the world's time zones, and arrived in a country so uncivilized in doesn't understand that cars are supposed to drive on the right side of the road. My ability to respond might be limited by external factors like a ruined sleep schedule. However...

Nothing justifies homosexual behavior other than authentic desire acting through legitimate consent. Every argument I make in defense of the purpose of traditional marriage and sexual morality is met with this overriding imperative. Your attempt to move the structural boundary to include homosexuality but not other sexual activities of which you disapprove will be founded on your arbitrary limits. You have already paved the way for your future opponents with your own arguments against me. They need only adapt what you say to their particular sexual cause. Indeed, incest laws are already beginning to collapse under eroding force of this very mechanism.

You seem to think there is a rational stopping point in all this. There isn't. There is no lower limit to the sexual appetite of man.

carl

10 December 2011 at 09:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Nothing justifies homosexual behavior other than authentic desire acting through legitimate consent."

I'm not sure what this means but I see no reason why I should have to justify homosexual behaviour in a philosophically liberal society like ours any more than someone else needs to justify heterosexual behaviour.

"Your attempt to move the structural boundary to include homosexuality but not other sexual activities of which you disapprove will be founded on your arbitrary limits."

They don't look arbitrary to me.

"They need only adapt what you say to their particular sexual cause. Indeed, incest laws are already beginning to collapse under eroding force of this very mechanism."

We've done incest taboos etc before. Those arguments still stand.

"You seem to think there is a rational stopping point in all this. There isn't."

Well, that's a personal assertion of yours as it stands. Thanks for sharing.

10 December 2011 at 10:44  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Carl

Once again, I have to acknowledge my wholehearted agreement with you. Excellent and concise summation of the 'sexual revolution' and where it is ultimately heading.

Should you ever need to change career the Vatican could always use your literary talents in helping draft future encyclicals!

10 December 2011 at 11:44  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

They don't look arbitrary to me.

Do you think the boundaries that I defend look arbitrary to me? Yet when I ask you to justify homosexual conduct, you respond with ...

"I see no reason why I should have to justify homosexual behaviour in a philosophically liberal society like ours any more than someone else needs to justify heterosexual behaviour."

Which is convenient for you ... since you can't present any justification. Your desire is sufficient justification for you. And yet you would deny this line of argument to others simply because you deem their behavior based on their authentic desire outside of some boundary that exists in some rational world that you construct. It is a rational world that applies only to you. Do you not understand your future opponent will quote your response above back to you word for word save only for substituting whatever sexual activity you would choose to prohibit. "It doesn't hurt anybody. We are consenting adults. It's none of your business. Get out of my sex life, and live your own." You have already established those assertions as an unanswerable argument by justifying homosexuality on those grounds.

btw, as for "I'm not sure what this means..." I mean for you to establish that homosexual behavior is morally good behavior based upon something other than your desire to participate in it.

carl

10 December 2011 at 11:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lordy, he's like one of those irritating pet dogs that pounce on people and try to shag their legs when you're talking to them.

10 December 2011 at 11:56  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

"Should you ever need to change career the Vatican could always use your literary talents in helping draft future encyclicals!"

Agreed! I shall start by substituting the Westminster Confession of Faith for the CCC. Do start reading. You have much to re-learn.

carl ;)

10 December 2011 at 11:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Which is convenient for you ... since you can't present any justification. Your desire is sufficient justification for you."

Well, if you want to put words into my mouth then you may as well have a conversation with yourself.

""It doesn't hurt anybody.""

Hey, you've suddenly added more than just consent now. At what point will social structure and its implications make an appearance?

"I mean for you to establish that homosexual behavior is morally good behavior based upon something other than your desire to participate in it."

I see morals have crept in too now. On what basis is a sexual act a moral act?

10 December 2011 at 12:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Is masturbation a moral act?

10 December 2011 at 12:04  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Carl
Dear man, we believe in obedience in the RCC!

DanJ0 asked ...
"Is masturbation a moral act?"

NO!

10 December 2011 at 12:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "NO!"

I wasn't asking whether it was a morally good act, just whether it falls into the moral realm and if so why.

10 December 2011 at 12:25  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0
Thinking about it, I'm wondering are you immoral or just plain amoral in matters sexual? Surely you base your actions on some sort of code.

What is it? Just "consent" "pleasure" and "do no (obvious) harm"? No idea of any purpose behind our creation? No sense of proper conduct beyond hedonistic desire? No idea of order in human relationships?

10 December 2011 at 12:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, there's a flow to this sort of exchange and you're disrupting it. I've already said that Carl holds an unnecessarily reductionist view. You can surely see where this is headed.

10 December 2011 at 12:47  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

The same morality and ethics apply to all acts of a sexual nature.
They have a purpose and a proper place - an act of self-giving and the transmission of life within marriage between a man and a woman.

Have a read of:
PERSONA HUMANA
(1975)

Here's an indication of its central message:

"In moral matters man cannot make value judgments according to his personal whim: "In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose on himself, but which holds him to obedience. . . . For man has in his heart a law written by God. To obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged."

" ... masturbation is an intrinsically and seriously disordered act ... the deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside normal conjugal relations essentially contradicts the finality of the faculty ... it lacks the sexual relationship called for by the moral order ... the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love."

10 December 2011 at 12:53  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Suddenly, religion rears its ugly and arbitrary head again. See, AI?

10 December 2011 at 12:55  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

Define "religion"?

10 December 2011 at 13:40  
Blogger len said...

Religion, from Latin 'religare' meaning 'to bind'.

Of course to' bind 'oneself to God is good, to bind oneself to a religious organisation with dodgy foundations is not so good.

10 December 2011 at 20:29  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

;en said ...

" ... to' bind 'oneself to God is good, to bind oneself to a religious organisation with dodgy foundations is not so good."

Absolutely, and much more so if a group lacks organisation and structure, is without commonly agreed doctrines and makes it up as it goes along based on individual inspiration from private bible reading.

Actually I was thinking more along the lines of there being a secular 'religion' with a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.

10 December 2011 at 20:53  
Blogger Graham Combs said...

Your Grace,

"Scottish Nationalism" is simply more leftist encryption for "ideological purity."

Including by excluding.

Graham Combs

12 December 2011 at 04:35  
Blogger Jon said...

@ DanJ0 10 December 2011 11:56 - LOL!

Carl - I think there is an additional assumption which you're making concerning "choice". You think that people choose homosexual behaviours. By and large, I don't think this is true and it certainly wasn't my experience. If Dodo can quote some random catholic dude, I'm gonna go with Persona Gaga 2010;

'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track baby,
I was born this way.

12 December 2011 at 11:05  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@DanJ0 ... though you still seem to be sticking to your arbitrary & irrational definition of marriage as being, "the voluntary union, for an indeterminate time, of just two people, to the exclusion of all others", and obstinately denying the institution of marriage has anything to do with procreation, I admire your tenacity & fighting spirit, and the good nature in which you fight.

@Jon ... We've already established that you are one of a number of unmentionable body parts, but to state that a person's behaviour isn't a matter of choice only goes to confirm it.

Everyone has sexual desires/appetites/impulses of some sort. To say that homosexuals have no control over them is to claim that they are bestial.

12 December 2011 at 11:32  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Jon

Carl - I think there is an additional assumption which you're making concerning "choice". You think that people choose homosexual behaviours.

Yes, I freely admit this. All behavior is chosen behavior. The mere presence of desire does not imply the desire should be translated into behavior. Otherwise we should legitimize pedophiles for the sake of their authentic desire. This I trust you would never do.

A man is expected to rise above his desires and do the right thing. The problem is to rightly order desire and conform behavior that rightly ordered desire. That conformation might mean "Deny yourself."

carl

12 December 2011 at 11:42  
Blogger Jon said...

Rebel Saint - no, it's not to say that they can't deny their impulses, I'm just saying that they shouldn't have to. I don't understand your point about my body parts...

Carl - no. I'm not justifying paedophilia and I was aware of your possible objection before I raised it. I think this falls quite easily under Dan's definition of "consent" and so is easily ignored.

12 December 2011 at 12:39  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Jon said ...

"You think that people choose homosexual behaviours. By and large, I don't think this is true and it certainly wasn't my experience. If Dodo can quote some random catholic dude ..."

Not some 'random dude', just consistent Christian teaching teaching for 2000 years - somewhat more pedigree than Gaga!

And we all have choice over what we do and with who. You chose to behave the way you do. That's you free will and responsibility.

12 December 2011 at 17:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "though you still seem to be sticking to your arbitrary & irrational definition of marriage as being, "the voluntary union, for an indeterminate time, of just two people, to the exclusion of all others", and obstinately denying the institution of marriage has anything to do with procreation, I admire your tenacity & fighting spirit, and the good nature in which you fight."

It's a social institution with a social purpose hence it's no more arbitrary then (say) providing the National Health Service. It's not at all irrational either because it has a purpose: to promote social stability through a fundamental building block of society.

I haven't denied marriage is anything to do with procreation at all. Marriage formalises a relationship which usually provides new society members (i.e. children)and an environment in which to grow up. It just doesn't need to in order to be valid as most childless couples will no doubt attest.

12 December 2011 at 17:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jon: "Carl - no. I'm not justifying paedophilia and I was aware of your possible objection before I raised it. I think this falls quite easily under Dan's definition of "consent" and so is easily ignored."

It is also covered by ethical prohibitions about causing significant harm (whatever that might mean) which seems to be variously part of Carl's equation, or not, at any given point.

Carl: "A man is expected to rise above his desires and do the right thing. The problem is to rightly order desire and conform behavior that rightly ordered desire. That conformation might mean "Deny yourself.""

As so we're back around the circle. On what basis should a homosexual not act on his desire? I'm happy to ask again: Is a sexual act a moral act? Is masturbation a moral act?

This is quite key to it all, I think. I will happily agree that the consequences of sexual acts fall into a moral paradigm but are they inherently moral acts as far as you are concerned, Mr Jacobs, and if so then on what basis?

12 December 2011 at 17:52  
Blogger Jon said...

Dodo - what's the dude's name then? I can name my arbitrary source - what's yours?

People believed the earth was flat for thousands of years. "Pedigree" doesn't make truth. Animism is considerably older than Christianity, too. Maybe you should switch to that if you're bothered by age?

We don't have choice about who we fall in love with. I'm glad you're prepared to accede to my free will to marry my man though (christmas present depending...!) Thanks.

12 December 2011 at 17:54  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Jon asked ...

"Dodo - what's the dude's name then? I can name my arbitrary source - what's yours?"

The 'dude's' is God. His ways are written in the Bible and on your heart. Deny it all you like but you know what you're doing is wrong.

Love? Sexual lust is different from selfless, giving love. If you must live with another male does this necessarily mean sexual gratification has to follow? Stay celebate and try to leave your perverted acts in the past, that's my advice as a Christian.

Do what you 'want' or feel you 'must' but please don't call your 'partnership' a marriage. It simply isn't and never will be.

12 December 2011 at 23:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Deny it all you like but you know what you're doing is wrong."

I certainly don't feel it is wrong at all, and rationally it isn't wrong either ... unless one imports religious distortion into it. You're simply 'projecting' by the look if it, and from a messed up religious outlook.

You really ought to try to free yourself from it if you can although I realise it can very hard if one has been indoctrinated and institutionalised from early childhood. It's worth it though, I'm sure.

"Love? Sexual lust is different from selfless, giving love. If you must live with another male does this necessarily mean sexual gratification has to follow?"

It doesn't mean it must follow, just like with its equivalent in an heterosexual orientation. But it's an expression of love and, being normal and natural, probably ought not to be denied without good reason.

It's a pity the heterosexual Catholic clergy aren't allowed to express their sexuality too. It makes some of them very miserable, distorts their humanity and probably their ministry, and is of course quite pointless and unnecessary in the scheme of things.

13 December 2011 at 05:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

That's the trouble with religions like Christianity and Islam, they're more concerned with controlling people than doing what's good and right, in my opinion.

13 December 2011 at 05:40  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0 said ...

"It's a pity the heterosexual Catholic clergy aren't allowed to express their sexuality too. It makes some of them very miserable, distorts their humanity and probably their ministry, and is of course quite pointless and unnecessary in the scheme of things."

What a silly observation! You're actually suggesting human happiness lies in expressing oneself sexually. I take it you're basing this on specualtation rather than evidence.

This reflects a modern obsession with sex. Is everyone who is celebate outside of marriage through choice, for moral reasons, miserable?

And hoomosexual love is neither "normal" nor "natural".

13 December 2011 at 17:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, You're having trouble 'reading for comprehension' again by the look of it. You might do better if you turned off your auto-response feature.

Also, that's a curious assertion in your last sentence. I recognise your indoctrination, and a good dollop of plain, old homophobia, probably leads you to think the sex is unnatural but love is love, isn't it?

13 December 2011 at 17:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

That consent thing of Carl Jacob's ... this is three or more times it's come up and been shot down in flames, the last being about a month ago. It's essentially just a zombie argument now, isn't it? Indefensible, except by reference to arbitrary god stuff. Left out to decompose on its own. Unloved. Etc.

13 December 2011 at 19:14  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

You are the one having trouble comprehending. Homosexual love that centres on unnatural acts of hedonistic lust is not the selfless love I was referring to.

Hetrosexual acts whilst natural are also morally unacceptable when they take place solely for pleasure outside of a self-giving and permanent marital relationship.

13 December 2011 at 22:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "You are the one having trouble comprehending. Homosexual love that centres on unnatural acts of hedonistic lust is not the selfless love I was referring to."

Well, just to be absolutely clear, you're happy that homosexual love is essentially equivalent to heterosexual love? Having shared objective descriptions of it with straight people, it seems exactly the same to me, and bisexual friends verify it too in the subjective sense. Love is love. It's a very powerful state of mind, affecting many aspects of our lives.

So, if it is held in an unnatural state of celibacy then it's all fine and dandy for you? If two homosexual people are married in a civil ceremony and it is expressed in that self-giving, permanent relationship then the love is essentially still fine, arbitrary religious beliefs about sex and marriage aside? It's actually just the homosexual sex itself that bothers you? That is, the love is the same: nominally a joyful gift from your god as far as you are concerned?

"Hetrosexual acts whilst natural are also morally unacceptable when they take place solely for pleasure outside of a self-giving and permanent marital relationship."

That's merely another statement of your unnatural Catholic beliefs which obviously has no bearing on those of us who are not Catholic, just like unnatural Islamic beliefs obviously have no bearing on you or me, our not being Muslim and all. You're merely asserting a human artifice. Of course, I can just as easily describe your Church as morally incorrect and distorted, and in a number of real world cases actually and obviously immoral in terms of institutional behaviour. And let's face it, there are plenty of people who would agree with me, especially the many survivors of the Catholic Church and its hegemony.

14 December 2011 at 07:22  

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