Look at the language behind criticism of gay marriage


9:40 am - March 18th 2012

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contribution by Nindy Purba

When gay marriage is finally allowed, western society will crumble into a cesspit of depravity. It will open up a Pandora’s box of evil and the devil will rule, metaphorically of course, over humanity.

Homosexuals will, ironically, multiply, and heterosexuals will perversely become the minority, ridiculed for being such a bore.

We’ll then move onto marrying more than one person – love as singular being a misguided romantic notion of course – and the merits of bestiality will be debated in Parliament because, hey, we’re animals, they’re animals, let’s dance.

We’ll loot, rape and murder. Life as we know it will cease to exist. Fucking gays, man, fucking it right up.

Though those in a position of power are reluctant to call it so black and white as articulated above, the arguments made against gay marriage, because they are so antiquated and nonsensical, leak truths.

We hear about tradition, that marriage is a longstanding institution between a man and a woman, that it’ll have a devastating effect of legislation, that gay people have an equivalent in civil partnerships. Everyone’s happy. But this is a façade. What is implied is that they believe homosexuality is not normal.

Some, though they never say it publically, go further and think of it as an abomination, unnatural in every way, a warning sign of either an individual’s moral failure or that of society as a whole. Because a man and a man and a woman and a woman cannot procreate, well then, evidently something is amiss.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien and Lord Brennan QC have been exceptions to the debate. Their language has been honest. Though they are both misguided, their candour is welcome. We agree to disagree.

It matters very little how opponents of gay marriage express their sentiments, how carefully they word their objections; their unwillingness to extend equality to homosexuals is prejudicial.

A similar style of argument was reasoned against black people and people from ethic minorities not so long ago. By virtue of having a different colour or physical aesthetic, one could be seen to be inferior. In the US, segregation was a cheap attempt to solve the problem through dividing the races, while modestly extending the rights of black people.

That was called progress, which I suppose it was. The Nazis obsessive malevolence towards Jewish people shows us how far our ignorant, confused and obsessive ideas can go. You. Me. Distinction.

It’s hard to even fathom that in the year 2012, a consultation on the matter is evening being considered. A truly free and progressive society would, by a sense of justice and fairness and egalitarianism, extend marriage to homosexuals immediately.

But I’m being naïve. It’s a symptom of our times. As women were denied the vote way beyond the wisdom of the time, so too are gays still subjected to inequalities in today’s open society.

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Reader comments


1. the a&e charge nurse

I thought the church had finally accepted that it is OK to be in a relationship with members of the same genital group?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQf5jL3a4iU

2. Chaise Guevara

Good article. Especially this: “What is implied is that they believe homosexuality is not normal. ” All serious opponents to gay marriage seem to start with the assumption that homosexuality is a bad thing. Cue mental gymnastics to look unprejudiced.

That was a bit of a polemic I thought. Making debate harder.
I still don’t know why we are not also arguing for equality for polygamous muslim marriage.
There are wives outside the UK who are unable to live with their husbands here because they are a second or third wife and not recognised by our state.

4. Chaise Guevara

@ 3 damon

Well, polygamy would raise some genuine questions, because there are a number of ways that the law surrounding marriage relies on it being between two people. They’re not unanswerable questions by any means, but it’s more complex that gay marriage, which in practical terms is an open-and-shut case.

@3 Because polygamy, as opposed to polyamory, is an unequal, unbalanced and exploitative system.

6. Just Visiting

Cylux 5

The Muslims I chatted to 2 weeks ago would have disagreed with you vehemently. They say there is a whole pile of rules to be met before polygamy is allowed – that protect everyone’s interests.
They were not extremists, they were young women students at a local university, talking to me during their outreach style Islamic Awareness week.

Islam, they said, can never ban polygamy – Mohammed was a polygamist. Everything he did was good, as he is the Ideal man.

So what you’ve said so far does not prevent Polygamous Marriage coming on to the agenda in the future.

7. So Much For Subtlety

5. Cylux

Because polygamy, as opposed to polyamory, is an unequal, unbalanced and exploitative system.

That is 1. quibbling over words and 2. just as much of a value judgment as saying that homosexuality is unnatural and wrong.

8. Just Visiting

Chaise

> questions, because there are a number of ways that the law surrounding marriage relies on it being between two people. They’re not unanswerable questions by any means, but it’s more complex that gay marriage, which in practical terms is an open-and-shut case

That sounds simplistic to me.

Gay marriage has more complexities than straight – as any children in it are by definition not the biological offspring of both parents; so parenting rights are more complex.

On the basis of consenting adults should make their own decisions – I see no case being made by Liberals yet that would make polygamous marriage impossible to legalise.

Liberals are caught in a hard place here – it seems many are acting out of emotion and instinct, not evidence.

It seems ‘instinctive’ to them that homosexual marriage is good and polygamy bad – but are nervous to drill into the logic under-pinning that – as both Chaise and Cylux have been nervous to enter even in this thread.

@6 Good for them. However a system that allows members of one particular gender to have several marriages whereas the other can only ever have one is unequal, unbalanced, and given that it will be made aviliable to all upon its legalisation -wide open to promote exploitation.

10. the a&e charge nurse

[5] if partners had to be ‘equal’ then rates of marriage would go down considerably.

Is it OK for rich men to marry poor women – or a middle aged person to marry somebody just out of school?

Having said that I agree with the OP that language has been used to promote a climate of fear, and even disgust around gay relationships and change is long overdue.

Nindy, I’m not sure you give society enough credit. It is a slow moving beast, frustratingly slow at times, but when a conservative prime minister is making the case for gay marriage, and the only opponents left are an antiquated, non-democratic all-male Catholoc Hierarchy, surely it is clear that we are moving in the right direction?

Even in the USA, with it’s poisonous culture war still raging, the trend is towards marriage equality.

A debate on polygamy is worthwhile. Everything is up for discussion. To be progressive is to engage in discourse about uneasy things that in this time and place are beyond the social norm.

Robert – I totally agree with you that progress is being made but the piece is, I suppose, a critique of those opposing gay marriage and their clandestine language for what is basically an argument that homosexuality is a unfortunate thing.

I always knew there was something unusual about black swans:

An estimated one-quarter of all black swans pairings are of homosexual males. They steal nests, or form temporary threesomes with females to obtain eggs, driving away the female after she lays the eggs. More of their cygnets survive to adulthood than those of different-sex pairs, possibly due to their superior ability to defend large portions of land. The same reasoning has been applied to male flamingo pairs raising chicks.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals

Compulsory equality for all.

Onwards, to Utopia!

What is implied is that they believe homosexuality is not normal.

And they are, of course, correct.

Because is not normal (conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural).

Moreover, it is a perversion (any of various means of obtaining sexual gratification that is generally regarded as being abnormal).

It is also unnatural (contrary to the laws or course of nature).

Now, what was your problem with language?

“So what you’ve said so far does not prevent Polygamous Marriage coming on to the agenda in the future.”

Well, nothing really prevents polygamous marriage coming on to some agenda, somewhere, in the future, does it? If you think you’ve got any evidence, or something approaching a logical argument, to support the view that allowing gay people to get married increases the likelihood that polygamy will be legalised then produce it. After you’ve done that you should probably produce some evidence, or logical argument, to show that polygamy would be a bad thing.

“Gay marriage has more complexities than straight – as any children in it are by definition not the biological offspring of both parents; so parenting rights are more complex.”

What, you mean like adoption?

“Liberals are caught in a hard place here – it seems many are acting out of emotion and instinct, not evidence.”

Maybe they are, but who cares? The real hard place seems to be occupied by religious fundamentalists in denial like you. You’re inspired in most things you say and do almost exclusively by a set of prejudices but you know you can’t express them explicitly so you’re coming up with the most convoluted ramblings imaginable to justify your position. That’s unfair, some of you have the courage to say what you really think, such as cardinal o’brien expressing his homophobia openly on national radio.

This is just outrage looking for an outlet. Most people don’t give a toss about the subject. I’d like someone to explain just exactly what is wrong with the civil partnership law. Also, if a marriage now consists of a husband and a wife, what are the names for the partners in a gay marriage? This cannot be dismissed as a minor matter, because this whole debate is about the word ‘marriage’ which is apparently of vital importance.

@17

Did you know Simon Hughes justified the coalition agreement by saying it ‘wasn’t a real marriage, just a civil partnership’?

If even the Lib Dems thinks its a pawn off and joke, who doesn’t?

The irony of the OP is that this is precisely how liberals shift the Overton Window continuously over time. There will never be an end to aggressive social engineering, because there cannot, because the goals of liberalism are unattainable. Thus liberalism’s demands are not limited and reasonable but rather are comprehensive and peremptory.

20. Paul Newman

Its a curious phoney war this. and this article is a rather lovely example of the phoney-ness. It begins with a string of ghastly insults uttered only by the writer and then proceeds to be against them .Goody for me and goody for you as Ogden Nash would have it.
Firstly the state of holy matrimony without which, I gather, gays cannot do, seems a rather odd ambition for gays, and a strange cause for people who value neither marriage nor holiness to espouse. The writer clearly feels the church is irrelevant to this discussion, and yet without the place of marriage as a sacrament, and historic sponsorship of the Church , what have you got, well something a lot like as civil partnership?
Weddings have no necessary connection to any of it, there is no mater’ or mother, in wedding, (there is in matrimony ), weddings have taken all sorts of forms and are always open to all.
I think we can take it as read that before long the Catholic and Islamic Faiths, in particular, will,be under legal attack to hold such ceremonies and thus offending all those for whom the word marriage does indeed have sacred component and a man/woman framework and shutting down more institutions between state and economic man. If it works for a B and B then surely it will for the C or E ?
On the other side few C of E church goers have insurmountable objections if any and stand rather bemused at the accusations of inhumanity flung at them by the secular unbelievers for whom marriage is not only a cultural anathema but an abhorrent relic of patriarchalism best replaced with Soviet style, crèches social workers with single teenage mothers doing the messy bit.

On balance I support gay marriage but if we up date an institution’s that carries with the authority of the sacred , I `d say it was disingenuous to pretend it is only a matter for gays, the state and those who hate the church and marriage anyway.
Have a little sensitivity for the concerns of those you demonise .

21. the a&e charge nurse

[17] “this whole debate is about the word ‘marriage’ which is apparently of vital importance” – isn’t it more about the denigration of a group based on sexual preference, or identity?

Some things become impervious to change once we stop seeing them for what they are, in part because such assumptions become habituated through the everyday use of certain forms of language (amongst other mechanisms).

I mean look at some of the idiotic comments at [15] – pagar seems to think ‘it’ (perhaps he means gay sex) does not conform to the rules of nature yet acording to Bruce Bagemihl homosexual behavior has been observed in close to 1,500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them. Animal sexual behavior takes many different forms, even within the same species.

Since we are talking about language why don’t we start with the word ignorance?

22. Robin Levett

@Paul Newman #20:

Firstly the state of holy matrimony without which, I gather, gays cannot do, seems a rather odd ambition for gays…

“Holy” matrimony? No, just plain matrimony. Gays aren’t campaigning for churches to be forced to perform gay marriages. They may of course also be campaigning within their churches to persuade the churches to perform gay marriages – but that is a different issue.

A debate on polygamy is worthwhile. Everything is up for discussion. To be progressive is to engage in discourse about uneasy things that in this time and place are beyond the social norm.

Perhaps, but I’ve come to sympathise with the conservatives who’d argue that social change should be enacted with caution and occur gradually because, among other things, and as unpleasant as it can be, our society tends to be quite nice: few people kill each other; hardly anyone is short of food; we have the freedom to express ourselves, generally, without fear of repression. That alone is no reason to avoid doing X, Y and Z if there’s no reason to believe it threatens that state of affairs but there’s wisdom, nonetheless, to saying that (a) we’re not quite sure of how it’s come to pass yet (b) we know it’s an impermenant phemonenon so messing with its premises is something that deserves more than usual circumspection.

@ A&E

Animal sexual behavior takes many different forms, even within the same species.

Agreed.

But homosexuality is not the normal sexual impulse in that it is only experienced by a minority. Nor can homosexuality be said to conform to the rules of nature in the sense that it cannot result in procreation, which is part of the natural cycle.

Of course this does not mean that a homosexual sex drive is, in any sense, inferior to that of a heterosexual or that homosexuals deserve any kind of condemnation, discrimination or prohibition.

They do not.

But I cannot condone any attempt to control language or pervert the meaning of words in order to try to ensure that potential bigots are unable to express their misguided views.

Vimothy – Utopia is indeed a myth but we’re conditioned, to a degree, to improve things, however sisyphean that might be.

Trooper Thomas – Yes indeed, it is outrage. I want equality. A civil partnership, though a breakthrough, still suggests an unwillingness to accept homosexuals as equals. Most people don’t give a toss? Well, in which case, forget the consultation, let’s make it legal.

Excuse me for being simplistic, but a married gay couple would be wife and wife, husband and husband. Or maybe a whole new set of terms. Ideas and institutions evolve – it’s called progress. The definition of marriage needn’t be static.

Paul Newman – The intro is a literary technique to highlight the parochial mindset of many people who use clandestine language to hide their true thoughts. It’s intended to be inflated.

Marriage is not exclusive to religion/church. From what I’ve understand, the very institution predates religion. Furthermore, in additional support to this argument, many atheists/agnostics get married either in a church or a registry office as a commitment to one another. Not as a religious act. As such, with regards to religion, though it is an important part of the conversation, isn’t the argument here. It’s about equal rights.

Let me repeat. Marriage is a human construct. a hundred thousand years ago, you can bet our ancestors were not getting married in the way we understand marriage today.

Finally, again from what I understand, legalizing gay marriage will give churches the choice to choose whether they wish to marry gay couples or not. At present they have no such freedoms.

Marriage should be open to all regardless of their sexual orientation. But let us not confuse marriage with being one of those things we should all strive for. There are countless people who are more than happy spending a life together without ever getting married. They may even have children and heaven forbid bring them up as well as any parents can. Should we place such a high regard on this institution? It’s a human construct, therefore, not biologically programmed. We could contend that the only thing that really matters is if one person loves another. Whatever their sex if they want to get married, let them, if they don’t, well, no harm, no foul.

Nor can homosexuality be said to conform to the rules of nature

Go on then, Pagar amuse me.

Tell me what these ‘rules of nature’ are, then. And while you’re at it perhaps you can explain why they differ completely and utterly from what nature actually throws up.

…or perhaps you’re not really quite that stupid, and are just trolling.

@ 21,

“isn’t it more about the denigration of a group based on sexual preference, or identity?”

Oh really? So, this is not about a lobby to change an existing law? I think you have unwittingly admitted the truth here, that the issue of changing the law is secondary to the opportunity to attack and denounce those who disagree, at least as far as the commenters and and the writer of the OP are concerned.

As for Pagar’s comments @ 15, all he said was that homosexuality was not normal in the same sense that being left-handed is not normal, i.e., if you randomly grab a passer-by, the chances will be that he’s heterosexual and righ-handed (unless you’re in Old Compton Street perhaps).

I’m still waiting for someone to explain what is wrong with the civil partnership law.

Nindy,

Yes, but the point about Utopia is that it is an unattainable destination. In the OP you mock opponents of gay marriage, because of course gay marriage is not going to lead to other things that conservative (i.e. most) people dislike. The implication is that demand for change is limited to gay marriage. Once we get gay marriage, then demand for change stops.

However, in reality, there is no end to aggressive demands made by liberals for precisely that reason: we never get to Utopia, so we never reach the point at which liberals are satiated. The demands of liberalism are not reasonable and limited but are peremptory and comprehensive. It goes on and on and on forever, and will never end: a continuous slide into alienation and social disintegration.

29. Robin Levett

@Trooper Thompson #27:

…all he said was that homosexuality was not normal in the same sense that being left-handed is not normal…

If he were making that argument, then he is using “normal” in a way that is totally irrelevant to the issue at hand. And I have yet to see anybody describing the red-headed as abnormal; perhaps because most sensible people believe that the is a range, not an archetype, of normality in most human characteristics. Homosexuality does not lie outside the range of normality in sexuality in either humans or nature.

The problem is that even if it were valid to describe homosexuality as normal, those making the argument from normality then equivocate between descriptive and prescriptive norms.

30. Chaise Guevara

@ 8 Just Visiting

“That sounds simplistic to me.”

I suppose I could have written an 80-page investigative report, but this didn’t seem the place.

“Gay marriage has more complexities than straight – as any children in it are by definition not the biological offspring of both parents; so parenting rights are more complex.”

That would be parenthood, not marriage. They’re not the same thing. And in any case, we already have a system for people raising children that aren’t their own.

To legalise gay marriage, all you have to do is change the rules so that people of the same sex can marry. In the case of polygamy, it’s more complex: you can’t just say “people can marry multiple partners”, there are legal issues to sort out first. How does inheritance work? Do you need the consent of all partners for a new person to be brought into the union? If I marry two women, does that make them married to each other as well?

“On the basis of consenting adults should make their own decisions – I see no case being made by Liberals yet that would make polygamous marriage impossible to legalise.

Liberals are caught in a hard place here – it seems many are acting out of emotion and instinct, not evidence.”

Who are you actually talking about here?

“It seems ‘instinctive’ to them that homosexual marriage is good and polygamy bad – but are nervous to drill into the logic under-pinning that – as both Chaise and Cylux have been nervous to enter even in this thread.”

Hah! So the guys actually discussing the issue are nervous about discussing it? Give over. Firstly, you seem to think I should defend a position I don’t hold, which is absurd. Secondly, I also haven’t mentioned in this thread whether I prefer chocolate or strawberry ice-cream, but that doesn’t mean that the topic of ice-cream flavours frightens me.

@24 You mean like using words like ‘common’ and ‘uncommon’ when you mean those things rather than ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’?

32. Chaise Guevara

@ 15 pagar

“Because is not normal”

Correct.

“Moreover, it is a perversion”

Arguably correct, but an unnecessarily unpleasant way of putting it, given that the word “peversion” has obvious negative baggage, and people who use it to describe homosexuality are generally trying to convey that negativity.

“It is also unnatural (contrary to the laws or course of nature).”

Laughably incorrect. If it was unnatural it wouldn’t exist. The laws of nature self-evidently allow for homosexuality. Or do you think the laws of nature are defined by your personal preferences?

15
The concept of ‘normal’ is quite fluid, unless you just want to count categories and label the most ‘normal’ and the least ‘not normal’. Owning a car was once elitist it’s now thought of as normal, calling your spouse ‘partner’ is now normal although a fairly new concept.
The OP is talking about language, which is fluid, and the thing is, language tends to reflect a ‘default position’ equal to the dominant values of a society. Hence, the idea that marriage is about opposite sex partners, reflects a long established social norm. Indeed, the decriminalizing of adult homosexuality is relatively new as is same-sex civil partnerships, it takes time for the new to become a default position.
However, those opposing such progression can utilize language to attack what they do not like, which is what the OP is talking about. I have little doubt that ‘marriage’ will become a default position which means any two people joined in a civil-service and that is all that gay couples are asking, they are not proposing walking down the aisle in a church.

Vimothy – You make some great points. But if there is no end to the demand of ‘aggressive liberals’, I guess to reshape man in ‘man’s image’, then went alternative do you suggest?

Within the debate about gay marriage, if we don’t champion equality, then do we simply accept the social norm?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree that there is no end to reshaping things, but will this really result in social disintegration in the long run? Is it fair to argue that we make progress by way of, for example, extending the vote to women, ending the death penalty?

On a secular level I’m happy to support gay marriage, at the same time I’d expect the Government to remove every legal and financial benefit, implication, requirement, or recognition of any union between individuals in any way, shape, or form. That way churches can continue doing as much or little as they please to accommodate any forms of marriage they deem acceptable and no-one can force them to do anything. Anyone who wants to call themselves “married” can then do so but with no legal implication or ceremony. This would also have the advantage of not penalising married couples state-pension-wise as all people would legally be seen as single within the law of the land, and the law would have no influence whatsoever over division of assets/children in case of divorce: all would be achieved by pre-nup agreements or become a free-for-all in their absence. That way, Christians can continue to live according to God’s law, nurture children and support family life and everyone else can go hang.

@ 25 Nindy,

“I want equality. A civil partnership, though a breakthrough, still suggests an unwillingness to accept homosexuals as equals.”

“Suggests”? So, you can’t think of any actual concrete deficiencies with the civil partnership law? And what do you mean by ‘equal’? Is a single person not equal in the eyes of the law to a married person? Be honest; isnt’ what you really want to further criminalise people expressing views critical or denigratory of homosexual acts or individuals?

“Excuse me for being simplistic, but a married gay couple would be wife and wife, husband and husband.”

More butchery of the English language. Fine.

“Or maybe a whole new set of terms.”

Yeah, why not indeed? Only problem with that, is that this whole campaign is about a refusal to accept the new legal term, that being ‘civil partnership’ and the dogmatic insistence that the old terms must have their definitions rewritten by fiat.

37. Chaise Guevara

@ 17 Trooper Thompson

“This is just outrage looking for an outlet. Most people don’t give a toss about the subject.”

Evidently the OP does, you do and so does everyone on the thread. What’s your actual point here?

“I’d like someone to explain just exactly what is wrong with the civil partnership law.”

In terms of the rights and responsibilities granted, the law is fine. Most of the battle has been won. However, I don’t see why we should have a legally defined snub at same-sex partners by using a different word to suggest their unions aren’t *quite* as good as heterosexual ones.

And it’s a deliberate snub, which is the problem – a bone thrown out to the bigots to make the idea of gay marriage slightly easier to digest. If it was a historical accident of language, I wouldn’t care.

“Also, if a marriage now consists of a husband and a wife, what are the names for the partners in a gay marriage? This cannot be dismissed as a minor matter, because this whole debate is about the word ‘marriage’ which is apparently of vital importance.”

No comment on whether this is a minor issue, but it’s hardly relevant to whether or not we should legalise gay marriage. I assume the normal form would be “husband and husband” or “wife and wife”, but honestly people can say what they like.

Cylux @5

Because polygamy, as opposed to polyamory, is an unequal, unbalanced and exploitative system.

That is a rather sweeping statement – even if it was mostly true. There must be millions of successful happy polygamous marriages. We just don’t recognise them.
Where’s the equality there? You tell a wife she’s not married to her husband? And must be an adulteress or something? And by whose standards are these polygamous marriages unequal, unbalanced and exploitative?

These British women don’t seem to think so.

”High-flying Muslim career women willing to ‘share husbands’ because of a lack of suitable men”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2113366/Muslim-women-share-husbands-lack-suitable-men.html
We have 12,000 brides coming from south Asia to the UK every year, many or most as arrranged and cousin marriages, and your arguments about polygamy would apply to a big percentage of those too perhaps, but we don’t disallow them because it’s not really our business to be sticking our noses into people’s private affairs.

So while I’m not that fussed about gay marriage, and think we should allow it, I don’t see why we should discriminate against others who have a slightly different version of marriage to the norm too. We might even be being racist for denying that equality.
It must affect legally married polygamous people when they come to the UK.
Even when they just come as tourists.

@ 37,

no really, I don’t give a toss, but the issue is being used as a vehicle for continuing the so-called culture war, and in that aspect it is mildly interesting.

“In terms of the rights and responsibilities granted, the law is fine. ”

Excellent! We can all move on … uh oh! I spoke too soon.

“However, I don’t see why we should have a legally defined snub at same-sex partners by using a different word to suggest their unions aren’t *quite* as good as heterosexual ones.”

Again, as with @ 25, it’s a ‘suggestion’, a hint, a raised eyebrow, that because the term ‘civil partnership’ is different to the term ‘marriage’ then it must be inferior, even when you accept that the law is fine.

So, basically, this is, as I said @ 17 ; ‘outrage looking for an outlet’, the equivalent of the striker’s trailing leg, looking for an excuse to go down in the penalty box.

36
The thing is, language evolves, new words come into being old words take on new meanings, language is not a fixed property. Look at the word ‘gay’, the new meaning came into being after homosexuality was decriminalized, otherwise such words as ‘fag’ and worse were used, which reflected the social values of the time The word ‘marriage’ is no different to the many other labels which have vanished or evolved into new meaning, it’s really about language evolving to reflect social change.

Nindy,

If you don’t mind, I’ll limit my response to the general issue of liberalism and the particular issue of gay marriage.

In general, liberal demands for equality and inclusiveness imply that equality and inclusiveness will be defined and administered by the government–in fact, these demands require it. So where we end up is with the destruction of “organic”, evolved or traditional social institutions, and their replacement with a system of state control of social life.

Furthermore, we all have personal qualities and characteristics that define us as people and social beings. If, per the doctrine of universal inclusiveness and equality, who we are cannot be allowed to affect how we are treated, then we must lose connection in essence to the social order of which we are a part.

So I think it’s fair to say that liberalism results in alienation. Given that we have had a lot of liberalism over the last 100 years, according to my theory, we must be more alienated from the social order and from each other. It seems to me that this is true.

As for the particular issue of gay marriage, on one level this is just one demand among many. Why should we elevate gay marriage over manipulation of the family in other spheres, or the erosion of respect for authority, or any number of other destructive effects of liberalism?

Which is well and good, but it cannot be an argument for gay marriage, or else there could never be an argument made against any of liberalism’s demands in any context, and hence there would be no way to defend society from endless technocratic revision. Everything solid, etc.

Marriage is a specific institution with specific characteristics and qualities which has arisen over time and reflects something essential about people. If you redefine in arbitrarily, you’re really abolishing it as an institution in itself. Religious people understand this and so of course are liable to get somewhat upset about it.

42. Chaise Guevara

@ 39 Trooper

“no really, I don’t give a toss”

You spend a lot of time voluntarily debating things you don’t care about?

” but the issue is being used as a vehicle for continuing the so-called culture war, and in that aspect it is mildly interesting.”

I don’t know what this means; “culture war” is too vague to transmit any real meaning. I would say, though, that in general this issue is exactly what it says on the tin: people want gay marriage legalised. And it’s interesting that you have to move away from the issue to comment on it.

“Excellent! We can all move on … uh oh! I spoke too soon.”

Yeah, it was probably a mistake to reply before you’d read the whole post.

“Again, as with @ 25, it’s a ‘suggestion’, a hint, a raised eyebrow, that because the term ‘civil partnership’ is different to the term ‘marriage’ then it must be inferior, even when you accept that the law is fine. ”

I agree it’s not the most important issue of our times. But the snub IS there, and it IS deliberate. And as we can achieve equality in this area in one spectacularly easy stroke, why not do it?

“So, basically, this is, as I said @ 17 ; ‘outrage looking for an outlet’, the equivalent of the striker’s trailing leg, looking for an excuse to go down in the penalty box.”

It’s pointless to pass judgement on other people’s motives if you’re not even going to try to consider their point of view. The fact that YOU don’t think an issue is important doesn’t mean that other people must be faking it. If people say they want gay marriage, the most likely conclusion is that *they want gay marriage*.

43. Chaise Guevara

@ 36 Trooper

“More butchery of the English language”

Referring to a man you’re married to as your husband is “butchery” of English? That’s weird even for a die-hard prescriptivist.

By the way, why did you ask what the terms would be if all the answers offend you? What was your motive?

@ Larry

Go on then, Pagar amuse me. Tell me what these ‘rules of nature’ are, then.

I was referring to the fact that we are born, have the opportunity to procreate and that we die.

Like in the Lion King!!!!

Procreation is necessary to perpetuate our species, therefore sexual impulses that do not result in procreation can reasonably be described as “unnatural”. Homosexuality along with, for example, paedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia, are “perversions” of, or divergences from, the “normal” rules of nature in that the consequences of the sexual relationships that ensue are, by their nature, unfruitful.

Of course, for every individual, their own sexual drive is entirely “natural” in that it is at the core of their being and value judgements are, therefore, nonsensical. For everyone, that part of their nature is what it is and it would make no more sense to denigrate someone for their sexual orientation than for the colour of their hair or skin. (It might be argued that there is a value judgement to be made in that some sexual impulses are incapable of consensual consummation, but that is tangential to the main argument).

Regarding the gay marriage issue, I have no problem whatever with this being permitted (though why anyone should feel the need to have the blessing of the state on their relationship is somewhat beyond me).

@ 40

“The thing is, language evolves, new words come into being old words take on new meanings, language is not a fixed property. ”

Well, yes, but this is not what is being discussed, which is rather the alteration of language by fiat, which will change one fixed definition for another equally fixed definition.

@ 42 Chaise,

“It’s pointless to pass judgement on other people’s motives if you’re not even going to try to consider their point of view. The fact that YOU don’t think an issue is important doesn’t mean that other people must be faking it. If people say they want gay marriage, the most likely conclusion is that *they want gay marriage*.”

I’m actually trying to discover what is the point of changing the law, i.e., what is the deficiency with the law as it stands, and I have got from yourself and another above the acceptance that there is nothing wrong with the law as it stands on civil partnerships, other than the ‘suggestion’ of inferiority, because a different term is used. Rather than not considering other people’s point of view, I’m trying to find out what it is. I have said that I don’t care, and I don’t. I have not said that no one else cares. I accept that some people want gay marriage, that is clear. The question of why they want it, and why the civil partnership law is insufficient?

“Referring to a man you’re married to as your husband is “butchery” of English? That’s weird even for a die-hard prescriptivist.

By the way, why did you ask what the terms would be if all the answers offend you? What was your motive?”

Who’s offended? And how do you work out that ‘all the answers’ have been given. The only answer given is the least imaginative one. Anyway, you are leaping over the incongruous part. Referring to a man you are married to as your husband carries the equal signification that you are his wife. A husband is a partner of a wife and vice versa. Two husbands is not a marriage, it’s two halves of two marriages.

@ Chaise

“Moreover, it is a perversion”

Arguably correct, but an unnecessarily unpleasant way of putting it, given that the word “peversion” has obvious negative baggage, and people who use it to describe homosexuality are generally trying to convey that negativity.

So you are saying that because some idiots have used the word in a pejorative sense I should not be able to use it correctly? Even when I append the definition?

Only an intellectual cripple would agree……

“It is also unnatural (contrary to the laws or course of nature).”

Laughably incorrect. If it was unnatural it wouldn’t exist. The laws of nature self-evidently allow for homosexuality.

See above.

45
But this OP is about the language of the criticism of gay marriage and my stated argument is that most language evolves to reflect the dominant values of society, this is why ‘gay’ is now used instead of ‘fag’. Unmarried mothers were at one time called ‘whores’ and their child/children ‘bastards’, as society changes, so does the labels, the word ‘marriage’ is no different to any other label we use.

46
Words change their meanings to reflect contemporary society, I bet you wouldn’t call your mother a ‘tart,’ but in the 19th century this would be considered a compliment. There’s so many examples of words that you wouldn’t use even if they were listed in the dictionary as correct in the way you are using them, ‘cretin’ and ‘cripple’ are but two examples.

Procreation is necessary to perpetuate our species, therefore sexual impulses that do not result in procreation can reasonably be described as “unnatural”. Homosexuality along with, for example, paedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia, are “perversions” of, or divergences from, the “normal” rules of nature in that the consequences of the sexual relationships that ensue are, by their nature, unfruitful.

So any form of contraception is also ‘unnatural’ I guess. As is consentual heterosexual oral sex.

Or for that matter, masturbation.

Unnatural perversions all.

I’ve got to put it to you that nature doesn’t actually seem to give a rat’s arse about all these so called ‘laws of nature’ which you’re parading around. So why the hell should I?

Perhaps the answer is that they’re not laws of nature at all, but laws of puritanical old farts (plus the occasional libertarian troll).

It’s hilarious that you think you’re arguing against people trying to “pervert the meaning of words”, when you sound like an 1820s minister railing against the invention of the ‘unnatural’ bicycle.

49. Just Visiting

Chaise

So far as I can tell from what you’ve written – you have no basis for excluding polygamy from being a legal marriage.

Your issues

> How does inheritance work? Do you need the consent of all partners for a new person to be brought into the union? If I marry two women, does that make them married to each other as well?

seem just minor ones, easily definable.

It does feel like the motivation for the desire to change the definition of marriage is to attack the traditional institution of heterosexual marriage – rather then to liberate any group who are in need of liberation – as you and others here are so very certain that polygamy is out of the question.

There are after all many on the left who have for years opposed the very concept of marriage anyway: so curious that many on the left now treat it as important and desirable!

This thread is about language – so looking back at LC:

…financial support for primary carers, proper prosecution of sexual assaults, the dissolution of normative marriage…

and

force men and women, who have been drifting gratefully away from the ball-and-chain-and-live-with-it moral mentality for generations, back into the heteronormative marriage model. …

50. Robin Levett

@pagar #44:

Procreation is necessary to perpetuate our species, therefore sexual impulses that do not result in procreation can reasonably be described as “unnatural”.

No. Procreation is necessary to perpetuate our species; but that doesn’t mean that the only natural reason for sex is procreation, The argument is what is known as a non sequitur.

Pagar

On what’s “natural” and “unnatural” behaviour, try the extensive literature on homosexuality and animal behaviour:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals

By accounts in the professional literature on sexual beviour in animals, instances of homosexual behaviour have been observed and documented in literally hundreds of species. This suggests that sexual relations have additional social or group functions in addition to procreation.

There’s nothing wrong with appealing to natural teleology when trying to understand sex. (For example, although man also eats for pleasure of eating, eating itself has a natural function). But at the same time, sex should also be understood as being more than a simple tool or technique.

@ 47,

yeah, I get the point, but it’s not relevant. The issue is not the evolution of the usage of particular words, but a state-mandated change to the marriage laws. If it were the former, all that would be needed is to sit back and let evolution take its course, but for some that is evidently not enough, and evolution must be given a helping hand, via the coercive power of the state.

There is now talk of a courtesy title for the same-sex spouses of peers and knights, and presumably also therefore for the husbands of women peers (peeresses are the wives of peers) and for the husbands of dames. Either that, or the style of “Lady” for peeresses and for knights’ wives will be abolished, even though, in this as in all past ages, many a man has accepted a peerage or a knighthood specifically so that his wife might call herself “Lady”.

But that is hardly the start of it all. Whether or not we are currently admitting it where the Duchess of Cornwall in concerned, the wife of His Majesty the King is Her Majesty the Queen Consort. The husband of Her Majesty the Queen is His Royal Highness the Prince Consort, even if he is given another title by his wife or, as in the present case, already held another title prior to her accession. Oh, and two persons of the same sex may now be listed as the parents on a birth certificate, making them the only legal parents of the child. Consider that, on this Parent B’s Day. Indeed, consider it all. Obviously, no one else has bothered to do so.

That said, there has been a distinct silence from the Labour Party, as such, on the redefinition of marriage. Opposing things like the abolition of national pay agreements in the public sector, while at least declining to support, as a party rather as an individuals, moves such as the redefinition of this most fundamental of institutions in the metrosexual interest, may or may not be enough to win a General Election outright. But they are certainly enough to deny the Conservative Party an overall majority for the fifth time in a row.

It is difficult to see how that party, which, as such, exists purely in order to be in government as the end in itself, could possibly survive that fifth successive denial of a clear mandate to govern. Disgruntled Tories out in the shires and the provincial cities, don’t register your protest by voting UKIP. Make a real difference by voting for the only party that can actually defeat and destroy the one that that you have rightly come to despise.

If you still felt the need, then you could start again from scratch after that. But with Labour visibly dependent on you rather than on the imaginary or disagreeable “centre ground”, then who knows what you might be able to achieve from a party largely created by your sort of people in the first place and, with the Blairites as good as gone, far more open to the central and local government action on which your social and cultural aspirations depend for realisation?

53
No, you’re splitting hairs, when I use the term ‘evolution’ it refers to all social change wherever the catalyst came from.
The reason homosexuality was a crime is because the state deemed it to be, the reason it was decriminalized is because the state determined it to be.
The state determined that civil partnerships are legal and accorded the civil ceremony but this only happened because of a) the state decriminialized homosexuality and b)social values regarding homosexuality changed. And accordingly, so did the labels.

There’s nothing wrong with appealing to the Darwinian theory of evolution when trying to understand sex and other modes of animal behaviour.

A species which exclusively practised homosexual relations would die out – unless it acquired the characteristics of hermaphroditism, as some species have. However, the many observations of extensive homosexual practices across hundreds of species is consistent with hypotheses suggesting that homosexuality can contribute to species survival for all sorts of social reasons we can only speculate about.

Bob B,

If that comment is in response to my own, then I’d say that you’re equivocating. I mean nature in the sense of essence or inherent character. The fact that animals do something or do not do something is not really relevant as far as I can see.

@ 55,

“when I use the term ‘evolution’ it refers to all social change wherever the catalyst came from.”

Well, you’re not using it correctly then! Evolution refers to change over time, not change per se.

59. Robin Levett

@vimothy #52:

But at the same time, sex should also be understood as being more than a simple tool or technique.

It is indeed; it is far more complicated than your simplistic model of “procreation or nothing”. Sex is also an important bonding mechanism, for example.

I’d love to know what you mean by “natural teleology”?

Ancient cultures – such as Greece and Rome – were tolerant towards homosexuality (*) but the Abrahamic religions have been intolerant. But then, the Abrahamic religions were also initially very intolerant towards adultery and unchaste behaviour (try Deuteronomy 22). The challenging question is why the Abrahamic religions – excepting extreme Islam – have become tolerant towards adultery and lapses from chastity but much less so towards homosexuality.

(*) Try this on the Roman Emperor Hadrian – who ordered the building of Hadrian’s Wall when he visited Britannia:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/hadrian-the-gay-emperor-769442.html

In previous threads, I’ve remarked on the acceptance of polygamy, polyandrous marriages and wife-sharing in some cultures, practices we prohibit or preach against.

@57: “The fact that animals do something or do not do something is not really relevant as far as I can see.”

It surely bears on whether homosexuality is “natural” or “unnatural” and whether species or group permissiveness towards manifestations of homosexuality is damaging to survival prospects. Some of the rhetoric mounted against homosexuality verges on suggesting that procreation should be compulsory – which might go some way towards explaining male leniency towards rape.

Robin Levitt,

I’m not sure why you think I have a “simplistic model of sex as procreation or nothing”.

Marriage traditionally has been associated with the union of a man and women; there is no doubt about it. But it only ever applied to heterosexuals because homosexuality has, for the most part, been seen as socially unacceptable and moreover illegal. As such, throughout human history, those who have been gay have been unable to live openly for fear of being persecuted. They were made to feel inferior, as if there was something abnormal about their sexual orientation. But attitudes change, humans think, challenge convention, make great leaps forward. Long held ideas become obsolete, recognised in the present day for being absurd.

The popular view has been homosexuality is an anomaly, which can be remedied through education, imprisonment or death. Nowadays, we’re more accepting of it than we have been, but like racism, the idea we’re going to reach some consensus over homosexuality, is a chimera. We can live with that, with have different opinions on things. The state’s role in the gay marriage debate is essential because it’s about ensuring through law that freedoms exist. Women were given the vote through an act of law, slavery was abolished through an act of law. The state isn’t controlling social life, it’s using its powers to make it better.

What is desired is equality, to admonish those who argue against it. Those in favour of gay marriage are arguing, at base level, for fairness for all, regardless of their sexual orientation. Marriage should not be exclusive to man and women, it should be about the union of two people in love. It can either be a religious ceremony or secularist. It should be applicable to everyone. Civil partnerships, as great as they are, still pigeonhole a group. You don’t devalue marriage by making it open to everyone, you make it stronger. And, again, let’s not forget those who have never married yet stayed in love and brought up their children in loving family. Marriage for them is superfluous. Everyone should have a choice, gay or straight: I want to get married, I don’t want to get married.

The original focus of this article is the fact that those who are against gay marriage, particularly those in a position of power, decorate their misgivings about it through language that is disingenuous. Because they don’t want to appear to come across as bigots, and because they also concede that homosexuality is not something that can be “corrected” and that it is a part of society whether they like it or not, they continue to want assert some control over the masses through arguments that have no real merit to keep control over things. Because, according to them, they know what’s right.

It reminds me of a quote attributed to the Egyptologist, G. Massey: “They must find it difficult, those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than the truth as authority.”

63. Robin Levett

@vimothy #61:

The reference to there being nothing wrong in looking to “natural teleology” suggested that you were supporting pagar’ views – if that is not the case (and on re-reading I was perhaps a little hasty), then I withdraw the comment and apologise.

@ Bob B,

“Ancient cultures – such as Greece and Rome – were tolerant towards homosexuality”

I think this is a sweeping statement which I’m not sure was the case. I know about the Sacred Band of the Thebans etc., and I’ve seen the pottery, but I’ve got a feeling that the toleration was a bit like the toleration of Jews in the Middle Ages, i.e., somewhat prone to sudden and violent suspension. Also, you have to consider the position of women at the time. Where homosexual love is lionised (Plato’s ‘Symposium’?) it is at the expense of heterosexual, isn’t it? Although homosexuality is certainly discussed and therefore accepted, insofar as its existence is accepted, most references to homosexuality that I’ve come across in ancient literature are as insults, or examples of one’s depravity. One example being Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, who is attacked for the low moral standing of his retinue.

Robin,

No offence taken.

Obviously my comment was not very clear, but I’m struggling to rephrase it in a way that seems clearer. Perhaps I will come back to it later.

Hostility towards homosexuality is not universal and is culturally relative. Some cultures – notably cultures following the traditions of the Abrahamic religions – have been hostile towards homosexuality but many other cultures have not been hostile.

Try Homosexuality in ancient Greece:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Greece

Try also the corresponding entry in Wikipedia for: Homosexuality in Ancient Rome

Bushido, the code of the Samurai in Japan, was tolerant of homosexual relations between samurai.

The Abrahamic religions were also originally hostile towards adultery and lapses from chastity (Deuteronomy 22) but that has faded while the hostility towards homosexuality hasn’t. Why?

“The Abrahamic religions” are no less opposed to adaultery and other forms of unchastity than they have ever been. And the homosexuality in Ancient Greece was pederasty. Like the homosexuality of the Stonewall Inn, in fact.

““The Abrahamic religions” are no less opposed to adaultery and other forms of unchastity than they have ever been. ”

That claim is demonstrably (and laughably) untrue. Deuteronomy 22 is explicit in commanding the death penalty for adultery and unchaste damsels. Check it out.

Please remind us when were the last executions for adulterers and unchaste damsels. When were adultery or lapses from chastity criminal offences?

Robin,

What I meant with there being nothing wrong with appealing to the natural teleology of sex was not that the argument should begin or end with procreation, but that there is something about procreation that is essential to sex. In the same way, we could discuss the natural teleology of eating, but for sure I still eat to be social, for the simple pleasure of eating, and so on. So a whole raft of things are consistent with an understanding of sex, one of which is its purpose in terms of procreation–but sex is not limited to being merely a technical act and shouldn’t be understood in those terms alone.

On adultery and lapses of chastity, aide memoire:

David Cameron is a direct descendant of William IV (monarch 1830-37), who was survived by eight children, none of them legitimate.

It is uncertain how many mistresses Edward VII had – according to this source, at least 55:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_VII

All that was a persuasive reason enough why the churches found it convenient to forget about condemning adultery and lapses in chastity. And before that, there was Charles II.

@ 66 BobB,

yeah, I checked out the link, but it doesn’t change my view. E.g., it says:

“According to contemporary opinion, Greeks who engaged in passive homosexuality past the age at which they were the passive members of pederastic relationships “made a woman” of themselves; there is ample evidence in the theater of Aristophanes that derides these passive homosexuals and gives a glimpse of the type of biting social opprobrium heaped upon them by their society.”

@ 68

“Please remind us when were the last executions for adulterers and unchaste damsels. When were adultery or lapses from chastity criminal offences?”

I’m pretty sure adultery was a criminal offence under the Protectorate, if not before and after. I remember learning, though I know not from whence, that when adultery was made a capital offence, nobody got convicted – an example of the perverse verdict doing what it’s supposed to do.

@ 70 Bob B,

“All that was a persuasive reason enough why the churches found it convenient to forget about condemning adultery and lapses in chastity. And before that, there was Charles II.”

You’re definitely over-doing your argument. There’s no way you can claim that the church forgot about condemning adultery, and holding up the bedroom antics of the king proves nothing. What about James I? Whilst the gay revisionists are happy to claim Richard the Lionheart as one of their own, I’ve not yet seen them make a play for the vile, unwashed Scotsman, for whom there is a stronger case indeed.

Trooper

I have serious doubts any evidence that hostility towards homosexuality is culturally relative would convince you however compelling the evidence is. The facts are that hostitlity towards homosexuality has not been universal, just as various other cultures have accepted polygamy, polyandry and wife-sharing, practices we ban or frown upon.

Try Fox news:

While countries around the world are all guilty of trying to control our sex lives, the U.S. has more laws regulating sexual behavior than all the European countries combined.

Outdated, unthinkable, erotophobic and downright ridiculous, we should thank our lucky stars that enforcing them is another matter.

Sex toys are banned in some states, such as Alabama. Sexual intercourse between unmarried couples is illegal in Georgia. Flirting is banned in San Antonio, Texas.

Oral sex is banned in Indiana. Anal intercourse is banned in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Sexual positions beyond missionary are illegal in Washington, D.C. Sleeping naked is illegal in Minnesota.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,351636,00.html

@ 73 Bob B,

“I have serious doubts any evidence that hostility towards homosexuality is culturally relative would convince you however compelling the evidence is. ”

I’m not disputing that. Indeed, it seems a statement of the bleeding obvious. All I was saying is that in my studies of Greek and Latin literature, I have come across references to homosexuality which lead me to doubt the simplistic view that I have seen espoused, that it was some kind of golden age for homosexuals. I gave the example of Alexander the Great’s father, I’ll give you another from Suetonius, regarding Caesar:

‘Helvius Cinna, tribune of the people, admitted to several persons the fact, that he had a bill ready drawn, which Caesar had ordered him to get enacted in his absence, allowing him, with the hope of leaving issue, to take any wife he chose, and as many of them as he pleased; and to leave no room for doubt of his infamous character for unnatural lewdness and adultery, Curio, the father, says, in one of his speeches, “He was every woman’s man, and every man’s woman.”‘

However impervious my reason may be to evidence, my reading of this is that Caesar was not being praised for a ‘progressive’ attitude to sex, but rather criticised. Please correct me with your enlightened interpretation.

75. Paul Newman

On Darwinian reasons for homosexuality the supposition that everything present in a population is an optimum adaptive feature is, I suspect the only reason to make any assumption. That is quite obviously not the case and homosexuality may be a a by product of some other adaptive tendency which gives the possessor an advantage of some kind.
Bob- In the ancient world and in other cultures phases of homosexuality were tolerated as part for a warrior culture which require the removal of adolescent boys from women for a period . I cannot think of any culture where homosexuality was recognised as an equivalent social norm.
Whilst attitudes to adultery have softened I am not sure that is a good argument for anything by the way and this whole line of thinking is peculiar . Gays can marry , because after all no-one takes it seriously anyway?

There are many divisions in humankind. One of the divisions is between those who feel absolutely impelled to regulate the sex lives of their fellow citizens and those who don’t. Google a little and it’s easy to find a host of websites and postings making great fun of the huge diversity of states laws about sex in the United States:

“Each state in the US has its own laws regarding the sexual behavior of its citizens. These laws show an astonishing lack of conformity as to the number and character of punishable offenses as well as to the severity of the prescribed punishment. For example, certain sexual acts may be punishable by life imprisonment in one state, yet may not be a crime at all in another state. Furthermore, there is a total confusion as to the terminology used in defining sexual offenses. The various legal terms employed for this purpose are mostly of prescientific origin, and their meaning can differ from state to state.”
http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/ATLAS_EN/html/current_sex_laws_in_the_united.html

I greatly enjoyed reading this news item a few months ago:

“Widely seen as the most tolerant and liberal city in the US, San Francisco is drawing the line at nude public dining. The city’s Board of Supervisors has adopted new rules that ban naked people from eating in restaurants, and forces nudists to place a cover on public chairs and benches before they sit down, the San Francisco Examiner reported.”

77. Chaise Guevara

@ 46 pagar

“So you are saying that because some idiots have used the word in a pejorative sense I should not be able to use it correctly? Even when I append the definition?”

When you append the definition, sure. But otherwise you’re at risk of people assuming you mean it the normal way (i.e. pejoratively). And using definition A to defend people using definition B is equivocation. “Correctly” is wrong, by the way: there is no final arbiter of correct language, and the closest thing we have (common usage) would support the negative form.

“Only an intellectual cripple would agree……”

Oh, I see. Sounds like there’s no point arguing with you as anyone who disagrees is a moron by definition. What larks.

“See above.”

Yes, I see you’ve conflated “law” with “general trend”.

78. Chaise Guevara

@ 45 Trooper

“I’m actually trying to discover what is the point of changing the law etc.”

Nice try, but I was referring to your claim that people who disagree with you are showing “outrage looking for an outlet”. Don’t take my response to one thing and pretend I was responding to something else so you can avoid the issue.

“I accept that some people want gay marriage, that is clear. The question of why they want it, and why the civil partnership law is insufficient? ”

Indeed, and I have answered you already.

“Who’s offended?”

Well, you’re whinging about “butchery” of English (in a totally illogical way). Talk about outrage looking for an outlet! :)

“And how do you work out that ‘all the answers’ have been given.”

Fair question. What terms would you approve of, then? Or is this, as I suspect, an incredibly weak attempt to declare gay marriage impossible on a made-up technicality?

“Anyway, you are leaping over the incongruous part. Referring to a man you are married to as your husband carries the equal signification that you are his wife. A husband is a partner of a wife and vice versa. Two husbands is not a marriage, it’s two halves of two marriages.”

Only until gay people get married. Actually, it’s already changing as people in civil partnerships often use these terms. It’s almost as if language moves along with society instead of being set in stone!

The real question is: why is this change such a bad thing?

79. Chaise Guevara

@ 49 Just Visiting

[Explorer went weird, sp possible double-post]

“So far as I can tell from what you’ve written – you have no basis for excluding polygamy from being a legal marriage.”

Correct!

“It does feel like the motivation for the desire to change the definition of marriage is to attack the traditional institution of heterosexual marriage – rather then to liberate any group who are in need of liberation – as you and others here are so very certain that polygamy is out of the question.”

This is based on a total straw man. Need I respond? I’m getting a bit sick of your weird assumption that I agree with polygamy being banned, TBH – does your argument get weaker when you’re forced to base it on facts rather than lies?

“There are after all many on the left who have for years opposed the very concept of marriage anyway: so curious that many on the left now treat it as important and desirable!”

It’s a lot easier to understand once you realise the “the left” is not a homogenous hive-mind doing the bidding of the Marxist Ant Queen.

“This thread is about language – so looking back at LC:”

The second quote looks suspiciously like you’ve quote-mined it. The first is a bit pathetically right-on and illiberal, but I’m not answerable for it.

So: got any REAL points to make? Or are you going to keep lying about my beliefs and pretending the “the left” is equivalent to “the Borg”?

Nindy,

It seems clear that the state would be using its powers to control social life. Indeed, you’re explicitly appealing to it to use those powers, and are drawing on examples of it doing so successfully in the past. You think that this is a good thing, but that’s the point of debate in this particular instance.

As you note, there doesn’t really exist a consensus about homosexuality or gay marriage whereby most people think that it’s a good thing, which is why the state is needed to try to impose such an outcome, or such an outcome in effect, on the rest of society.

In recognising gay marriage, society is being asked to recognise that homosexual partnerships are just as valid as heterosexual partnerships. You describe this as “fairness”, but it isn’t really fair, because most people do not recognise their validity and can’t easily be made to do so. Instead, the state is being asked to overrule the tacit decision of the many and simply force the outcome you want.

In recognising gay marriage, society is also being asked to come to a different understanding about what marriage is as an institution. If the meaning of marriage can be changed in this abrupt manner, it’s not clear that it can continue to mean anything. What’s so special about a man and a woman? Well, what’s so special about marriage anyway? If marriage can be everything to all people in all situations then it ceases to have a particular meaning as a particular social institution. We could just dump the whole thing as exclusive and inequitable. Indeed, this seems like where we’re heading.

@ 78 Chaise,

I said:

“I accept that some people want gay marriage, that is clear. The question of why they want it, and why the civil partnership law is insufficient? ”

You said:

“Indeed, and I have answered you already.”

That’s right. You told me that the civil partnership law was sufficient. @ 37 you said:

“In terms of the rights and responsibilities granted, the law is fine.”

As for this ‘your claim that people who disagree with you are showing “outrage looking for an outlet”’

That was never my claim, and I’m sure you know. It was not about people disagreeing with me, but with people calling for the law change.

“What terms would you approve of, then? Or is this, as I suspect, an incredibly weak attempt to declare gay marriage impossible on a made-up technicality?”

What does it matter what I approve or disapprove of? I asked the question, because the whole issue is ONLY about changing the definition of a word NOT, as you have conceded, about any deficiency in the civil partnership law, therefore, I surmise, it’s a fair question. I had no intention of declaring gay marriage impossible on a made-up technicality. I fear you have an over-active mind.

82. Chaise Guevara

@ 81 Trooper

“That’s right. You told me that the civil partnership law was sufficient. ”

I told you that the rights and responsibilites it grants are sufficient. I also told you why people object to the language used in the law, so stop pretending I haven’t. Wifully misunderstanding/ignoring central parts of my post is unhelpful to either of us.

“That was never my claim, and I’m sure you know. It was not about people disagreeing with me, but with people calling for the law change.”

I.E. people who disagree with you about the law change. In any case it’s generally an unwarranted accusation.

“What does it matter what I approve or disapprove of? I asked the question, because the whole issue is ONLY about changing the definition of a word NOT, as you have conceded, about any deficiency in the civil partnership law, therefore, I surmise, it’s a fair question.”

It is deficient, I have EXPLAINED WHY. Address that.

“I had no intention of declaring gay marriage impossible on a made-up technicality. I fear you have an over-active mind.”

Fair enough. The anti-gay-marriage lot (being apparently low on serious arguments) have a tendency to scrape the bottom of the barrel in this way (I recently had to deal with someone claiming they were against gay marriage as it was “an oxymoron”, FFS). I suspected (not assumed) that you were doing the same thing. As you’re not, I’m really not sure what your point is. A man married to a man can refer to him as “my husband” or “my thingamywhatsit” or “my supergay life partner”; I don’t care and I don’t see why it matters.

71
Interesting as it is, appealing to historical societies and values is unlikely to yield anything useful, even if homosexuality has always been considered ‘abnormal’. We are looking at current societies and, in particular, civil partnerships (which I believe have never had a precedent in history) and an appeal to give same sex couples the status of ‘marriage’,
And appealing to evolutionary theory seems futile, we are in the here and now, and gay people exist and there is state and general social acceptance.
Finally, appealing to ‘the natural’ is just plain ridiculous, we live in a world that rarely lets nature overcome, our whole way of life is not ‘natural’
We need a debate which considers whether gay marriage can be assimilated into existing civil society which doesn’t have any negative impact and considers the rights of the people involved.

Woud sources be so difficult to provide? Not that Im claiming your making this up or anything? Nazis thrown as well, good job!

85. paulnewman

Bob the fact that in some places driving on the right is the rule and in others it is driving on the left is not a demonstration that freedom to choose is a good idea. Almost any form of social conservatism can be ridiculed in that way.The fact that so many very different societies do work for the people in them, is a a better lesson for progressives who assume only they know how everyone should best order their communal life.
I don`t think that having views on other people`s sexual habits is necesarrily a bad thing either . I support Gay marriage overall , there may be some who are chiefly motivated by a wish to taunt ‘conservatives’ but others I know for a fact approach the matter in what I think of as the right spirit.

@ 82 Chaise,

“I told you that the rights and responsibilites it grants are sufficient. I also told you why people object to the language used in the law, so stop pretending I haven’t. ”

I’m not pretending at all. I know what you’ve said; that the different terms. marriage and civil partnership “suggest” inequality, even though, yet again, you confirm that the law itself is sufficient, with regard to rights and responsibilities. This seems to be the most flimsy reason for changing the law. Just because the terms are different, there is no reason to assume an inequality or disparity. Indeed you accept this, because you find no fault in the rights and responsibilities that the law spells out.

In marriage there are two parties, the husband and the wife. In all the long struggle for women’s rights, I’ve not come across the demand that wives must also be called husbands, because not to do so “suggests” inequality. In contrast, women’s libbers have stamped on the use of ‘Miss’, prefering ‘Ms’, because the latter is neutral with regard to marriage status and the former is not, therefore it can be argued that ‘Ms’ is equivalent to ‘Mr’, whereas ‘Miss’ is not. (I’ll leave aside the fact that there are women who object very strongly to ‘Ms’ and insist on being ‘Miss’, often to the bemusement of clerks).

“The anti-gay-marriage lot (being apparently low on serious arguments) have a tendency to scrape the bottom of the barrel in this way ”

Yeah, and the pro-gay marriage lot haven’t got much to say either. All you can come up with is a “suggestion” of inequality in the wording of the existing law. Seriously, if you were saying that a civil partnership does not grant some particular right, that meant that a civil partner is refused something that a married partner would not be, I would say ‘fair enough’, but no one, not you or anyone else here, has said that.

87. Chaise Guevara

@ 86 Trooper

“I’m not pretending at all. I know what you’ve said; that the different terms. marriage and civil partnership “suggest” inequality, even though, yet again, you confirm that the law itself is sufficient, with regard to rights and responsibilities.”

If you know what I said, stop misrepresenting me.

“This seems to be the most flimsy reason for changing the law.”

It’s a smallish improvement but an improvement nonetheless, so why not?

“Just because the terms are different, there is no reason to assume an inequality or disparity. Indeed you accept this, because you find no fault in the rights and responsibilities that the law spells out.”

Ok, seriously: straw man me one more time and I’m done with this. I don’t accept it, and I have spelled out my reasons for perceiving inequality – which you are still ignoring like the intellectually brave soul you so obviously are.

“In marriage there are two parties, the husband and the wife.”

Or, once this law passes, a husband and husband or wife and wife.

“In all the long struggle for women’s rights, I’ve not come across the demand that wives must also be called husbands, because not to do so “suggests” inequality.”

What’s that got to do with the price of fish? “Wife” (or for that matter “husband”) is not a concept we coined in law very recently to indicate inferiority. “Civil partnership”, in the sense of a gay union, is.

“Yeah, and the pro-gay marriage lot haven’t got much to say either. All you can come up with is a “suggestion” of inequality in the wording of the existing law. Seriously, if you were saying that a civil partnership does not grant some particular right, that meant that a civil partner is refused something that a married partner would not be, I would say ‘fair enough’, but no one, not you or anyone else here, has said that.”

I’ll be more interested in your opinion of my arguments if and when you get around to responding to them. Not that all this stalling and dodging isn’t simply thrilling.

I got married in a civil ceromony, no religion of any stripe was involved.
If the anti-gay marriage argument is to have any weight then surely they should be arguing that purely civil marriages are also not “marraiges”. If they want to argue that non-religious marraiges are “just” civil partnerships I’m fine with that but if they accept civil marraige then surely they have to accept that religion has no monoploy on marraige and as such cannot define the term. As they are not arguing this I can only infer that they are arguing against same sex marriage for reasons the have nothing to do with marraige it self but purely to do with anti-gay prejudice.

Nobody has commented on my entry at no.35. Is that because my proposal is too straightforward to be argued about in the ludicrous philosophical terms I’m reading above? Or perhaps because it would remove the excuse for liberals to make further attacks on the Church on this issue, and vice versa?

90. Chaise Guevara

@ Julian

Well, I don’t see why we need to remove all impediments and rights associated with state marriage. It certainly isn’t necessary to demarcate the difference between state and religious unions. And some of those rights are important (should a house-spouse of 50 years be left penniless because their partner forgot to write a will?). I’m sure there’s plenty of scope for modernising and improving the system, but you don’t seem to have presented a cogent argument for doing away with it altogether.

@ Chaise,

I didn’t ‘straw man’ you, I quoted you back to yourself. I understand your argument, which is: there’s nothing wrong with the law apart from the term ‘civil partnership’ which implies or “suggests” inferiority, although you are incapable of explaining in what way it does this, nor can you put forward any concrete distinction where a civil partner is treated in an inferior manner to a married partner. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t distinctions, there may well be, but I don’t know what they are and seemingly neither do you.

As I’ve said above, I don’t really care. Getting the law changed doesn’t require my agreement.

92. Chaise Guevara

@ 91 Trooper

I’m not incapable of explaining. You are apparently incapable of reading. I have already explained what the problem is, at post 37, which you replied to without addressing that part.

So grow up and address the point or leave this discussion you apparently don’t care about, it’s not my business either way. Those are the two options available to someone who isn’t being a dick for the sake of it. If you continue to straw man me, lie (in a hilariously falsifiable way) about what I have and haven’t said thus far, and accuse me of being “incapable” of answering a question that I long ago answered… well, then we all know what you are.

Chaise @ 77

When you append the definition, sure.

I did @ 15. “conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural”.

“Only an intellectual cripple would agree……”

Oh, I see. Sounds like there’s no point arguing with you as anyone who disagrees is a moron by definition.

Actually that was not intended as a slight on your intellect. I used the phrase to try highlight another fine descriptive word that is currently in the process of being outlawed by the progressive word police.

I see you’ve conflated “law” with “general trend”.

Don’t follow.

Are you suggesting that the “circle of life” is not a fact of nature?

You mean that there is a general trend for people to be born, procreate and die?

I withdraw my withdrawal of the slight on your intellect. :)

@ Chaise,

I haven’t lied anywhere, or misrepresented, or avoided your argument. I just find it rather feeble.

95. Chaise Guevara

@ 93 pagar

“I did @ 15. “conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural”.”

Sorry, wasn’t clear. I meant it wouldn’t be a good word to pick as a general rule: i.e. going around saying “Gay people are perverted” and then, when people complain, saying “What? I meant it in the technical sense!”

If you append it as you say it, as you did, it’s fine. No problem with that specific instance.

“Actually that was not intended as a slight on your intellect. I used the phrase to try highlight another fine descriptive word that is currently in the process of being outlawed by the progressive word police.”

I think the word police might be right on that one, as used as a noun. Like other such epithets, the problem isn’t the word itself (a collection of letters), it’s that it’s historically been used as a term of abuse.

“Don’t follow.

Are you suggesting that the “circle of life” is not a fact of nature? ”

You’re doing it again. Law =/= fact. It’s a fact of nature but not a law. If something exists in nature then it obviously can’t be contrary to the laws of nature. If it was, how could it exist? You’re defining “unnatural” as “something that breaks nature’s laws”, and nature’s laws obviously allow for homosexuality. Like I said, conflating.

“You mean that there is a general trend for people to be born, procreate and die?”

There’s a general trend for people to procreate, as some of us don’t.

“I withdraw my withdrawal of the slight on your intellect.”

Ah, me, your unkind words have sucked all the joy out of life. I shall leap now from the window, with a note reading simply “pagar thinks I’m stupid”. The world will understand.

96. Chaise Guevara

@ 94 Trooper Thompson

“I haven’t lied anywhere, or misrepresented, or avoided your argument. I just find it rather feeble.”

If it’s so feeble, how come you can’t present a counterargument instead of repeatedly doing all those things you just claimed not to have done? No: you’ve finally (following post after post of dodging and lying) admitted I’ve made an argument, and your response? “It’s feeble”.

Wow. Knock-out blow, that.

@ Chaise,

that is honestly pathetic. I addressed your piss-poor argument throughout, starting @ 39. I quit.

“I still don’t know why we are not also arguing for equality for polygamous muslim marriage.
There are wives outside the UK who are unable to live with their husbands here because they are a second or third wife and not recognised by our state.”

Probably because that would be considered oppressive and there is no demand for it? And because often (usually) not all parties truly consent to it on equal footing?

What does it have to do with same sex marriage?

Chaise Guevara, you said somewhere above that you didn’t really understand the term ”culture wars”. Might I suggest that you google it?
Add in the word ”gay” or ”gay marriage”.

And just for fun, this was Brendan O’Neill just today.

John Sentamu’s fall from grace with liberals shows that you criticise gay marriage at your peril.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100144758/john-sentamus-fall-from-grace-with-liberals-shows-that-you-criticise-gay-marriage-at-your-peril/#disqus_thread

Amongst the modern political and media class, in both Right-wing and Left-wing circles, the issue of gay marriage has been turned into a barometer of goodness, with those who support it being treated as decent, One Of Us, and those who oppose it being demonised as backward, stuck in the mud, stupid and possibly evil. Maybe even mentally disordered, judging by the way that the tag “homophobic” now gets attached to anyone who raises so much as a peep of criticism of gay marriage.

Just to recap: it’s really freakish IMO to feel impelled to want to control the sex lives of others unless someone gets harmed. I put that caveat in on recalling a murder trial in Germany a few years back where some guy had wanted to be eaten. After much searching, he eventually met up with someone who was willing to kill him, cook him and eat him.

The diversity of current states legislation in America about sexual behaviour – see links @73 and @76 – is a clear demonstration that some cultures are more tolerant than others. Historic references to ancient Greece and Rome bear this narrative out. Hostility towards homosexuality is culturally relative

The well-documented examples of homosexual behaviour across hurdreds of species of animals show plainly enough that there is nothing “unnatural” about it.

The Abrahamic religions were and are especially intolerant towards homosexuality. They used to be intolerant towards adultery and chastity failings too but maintaining that proved politically inconvenient with the way royalty behaved so it got parked – which is just as well, seeing as how half the babies born in Britain nowadays are to unmarried couples.

“[5] if partners had to be ‘equal’ then rates of marriage would go down considerably.

Is it OK for rich men to marry poor women – or a middle aged person to marry somebody just out of school?”

Allowing men to have multiple wives and not women is about the law treating men differently, legally, than it treats women.

This is nothing to do with allowing two different partners with different finances or ages to marry!

102. Chaise Guevara

@ Trooper

“that is honestly pathetic. I addressed your piss-poor argument throughout, starting @ 39.”

Oh, yes. Straw man, straw man, straw man, straw man, “it’s feeble”. Riveting stuff.

“I quit.”

Good, stop wasting my time.

“On the basis of consenting adults should make their own decisions – I see no case being made by Liberals yet that would make polygamous marriage impossible to legalise.”

“Liberals are caught in a hard place here – it seems many are acting out of emotion and instinct, not evidence.”

“It seems ‘instinctive’ to them that homosexual marriage is good and polygamy bad – but are nervous to drill into the logic under-pinning that – as both Chaise and Cylux have been nervous to enter even in this thread.”

What a pile of nonsense!

Liberals are not caught between anything. There is a liberal case for gay marriage. There is huge support for it and desire for it. There is no sensible argument against it.

Polygamy is essentially sexist (unless you’re saying women should have multiple husbands too but I don’t think that’s the religious practice right?). If you want to campaign for it, start a campaign, win support, win the argument.

It’s not instinctive; all the arguments AGAINST gay marriage are instinctive!

104. Chaise Guevara

@ 99 damon

I did that Googling. It just looks like a buzzword being used to dramatise social disagreement, TBH. Two early sources called them “bloody culture wars”. Dun-dun DUUUN! Is there some deep insight I’m missing?

As for your quote: it’s a cap-fits thing normally. Maybe not all opponents of gay marriage are homophobic, but most of them seem to be, and nearly every argument I’ve seen used against it has either been directly homophobic or has relied on homophobic assumptions.

So, “evil”? That’s up to you. But as I’ve said many times now, I don’t thing we should pander to bigots by pretending that they’re not bigoted.

And just for fun, this was Brendan O’Neill just today.

I’m not going to read any Brand O’Contrarian but did he mention whether he supported gay marriage or not?

106. the a&e charge nurse

[101] “This is nothing to do with allowing two different partners with different finances or ages to marry” – not saying it is, just that power dynamics in relationships are unequal for a number of reasons.

Personally I have no problem with whatever relationships consenting people decide to enter into, or whatever permutations they need to make them happy – make all variations legal, what’s the harm in it?

Let’s face it a third of straight marriages go down the pan anyway – maybe gay marriages will last a bit longer?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/dec/08/richer-poorer-recession-divorce-rates

Perhaps it’s time the pledge ’til death us do part’ was removed from the marriage vows to be replaced by a number of time options (rather like joining the army)?

I’m not going to read any Brand O’Contrarian but did he mention whether he supported gay marriage or not?

I guess you’ll never know then KB Player.

But Chaise, it certainly is culture wars in my opinion.
It’s an us verses them standoff.
”Themuns”. The rednecks and contrarians The Daily Mail readers of Middle England. Good verses evil.

These people have been picking up on this issue for a few years now.
http://www.culturewars.org.uk/index.php/about

@ Chaise

I shall leap now from the window, with a note reading simply “pagar thinks I’m stupid”. The world will understand.

If you’re going to do it, make sure you’re on the ground floor.

Then the world will understand……..

Damon raises a good example of a general trend within liberalism, which I alluded to in my comments: the principle of non-satiation, and the tendency for liberal demands to always accelerate.

The demand for social change will never end, and so the claims of liberals that their demands are limited to particular issues cannot really be taken seriously. Today, of course, all that is being asked is that the institution of marriage be redefined and reconstituted along new and radical lines. Tomorrow, when this is taken for granted, boundaries will be pushed out again.

110. Chaise Guevara

@ 106 a&e

“Perhaps it’s time the pledge ’til death us do part’ was removed from the marriage vows to be replaced by a number of time options (rather like joining the army)?”

“In sickness and in health, at least until we’re past the mandatory six months on our rent agreement.”

Chaise/37: In terms of the rights and responsibilities granted, the law is fine.

Not quite.

There’s the really unpleasant bit where trans people who are either married or in a civil partnership (whichever is appropriate to their partner and originally-assigned gender) have to get divorced to be recognised as their actual gender (and then re-civil partnered/married at their own expense, losing any benefits dependent on continuity of marriage/CP in the process).

There are also consequences for people who get a civil partnership in the UK, and then move to a country (or some US states) which either grants different rights to civil partnerships and marriages (and recognises it as a CP) or recognises foreign marriages but not foreign CPs.

(And there are arbitrary differences between the restrictions on the ceremonial arrangements, too, of course)

112. Chaise Guevara

@ 109 vimothy

“The demand for social change will never end, and so the claims of liberals that their demands are limited to particular issues cannot really be taken seriously. Today, of course, all that is being asked is that the institution of marriage be redefined and reconstituted along new and radical lines. Tomorrow, when this is taken for granted, boundaries will be pushed out again.”

Gee, I suppose we better not change anything, ever, regardless of what a good idea it is.

113. Chaise Guevara

@ 107 damon

“But Chaise, it certainly is culture wars in my opinion.
It’s an us verses them standoff.”

Maybe so, but there doesn’t seem to be anything very revelatory about that. What it seems to come down to is “there is often statistical correlation along demographic lines”, so if I disagree with Fred on gay marriage, there’s a strong chance that I disagree with him on separation of church and state, and a fair chance I disagree with him on tax policy.

All of that’s valid, I’m just not sure it’s *relevant*. It certainly doesn’t seem to have much to say about whether or not gay marriage would be a good thing. Used that way (if you ARE using it that way), it’s a mass ad hom that will inevitably find itself levelled mainly at the people you disagree with.

114. Chaise Guevara

@ 108 pagar

That was actually funny, but I also feel I should congratulate you on focusing on the most crucial point of my post. Between this and your behaviour on the disability thread, would I be right in guessing that Pagar has evolved back into Trollpagar, and learned the special move Cutting But Irrelevant Remark?

But in fact it seems like we’re much more likely to change everything, regardless of whether it’s a good idea. Call it the Spirit of the Age.

116. Chaise Guevara

@ 111 cim

“There’s the really unpleasant bit where trans people who are either married or in a civil partnership (whichever is appropriate to their partner and originally-assigned gender) have to get divorced to be recognised as their actual gender (and then re-civil partnered/married at their own expense, losing any benefits dependent on continuity of marriage/CP in the process).”

Really? Ok, I retract my statement.

“There are also consequences for people who get a civil partnership in the UK, and then move to a country (or some US states) which either grants different rights to civil partnerships and marriages (and recognises it as a CP) or recognises foreign marriages but not foreign CPs.”

If we allowed gay marriage, would a married gay people who moved to these countries/states then be treated as married?

117. Chaise Guevara

@ 115

“But in fact it seems like we’re much more likely to change everything, regardless of whether it’s a good idea. Call it the Spirit of the Age.”

Well, I for one vote for changing things when it’s a good idea to change, and not changing things when it’s a bad idea to change. How about you?

Or to make a different point: if we free the slaves, that won’t be the end of it. Soon they’ll be allowed to vote, and eventually we won’t even be able to keep them out of our schools!

Chaise,

You can either take the view that all change happens for the best, or you can take a more measured view.

Several commenters have sought to tie in the demand for gay marriage to the abolition of slavery. The idea being, it seems to me, to appeal to the notion of change as a universal principle and force for good. To deny gay marriage is to deny change per se and thus to deny good. In fact, I think that this represents something particular to modern liberalism.

But you can’t organise society around the principle of change, because 1, it’s chaotic and unstable, and 2, it’s inadequate from a the point of view of humanising society. If something is good and true, then that tells us something of its essential nature. If we’re constantly throwing out what’s good and true, then we’re not really understanding things as they are in their essence. How can people live a good life in such a situation? It would be better instead to deal with things as they really are.

Damon raises a good example of a general trend within liberalism, which I alluded to in my comments: the principle of non-satiation, and the tendency for liberal demands to always accelerate.

Yes. Women ask for – even demand – the vote. They think they should be allowed to attend universities. Then they join the professions. They even demand equal pay for doing the same jobs and think they should be able to take out a mortgage without permission from a husband or father. Give them an inch and they take a mile.

Brand O’Contrarian – this votes for women business is merely a concern of the liberal elite and an excuse to bash the male masses who oppose it.

120. Chaise Guevara

@ 118

“You can either take the view that all change happens for the best, or you can take a more measured view.”

Which is what I’m advocating above, quite clearly.

And yes, I agree with the rest of your post. But it’s you who seems to be dealing in absolutes: inevitably after change happens people will want more change, ergo change creates an unending process, ergo any change is BAD. If you’re not saying that then I don’t know why you keep bringing this up RE gay marriage.

If you truly believe we should deal with things as they are, should we not ask “Legalising gay marriage? Good thing or bad thing?” Your habit of doomsaying about change seems like the sort of thing that people only think to mention when they disapprove of the specific change on the table.

Sorry, don’t know why I keep bringing what up re gay marriage?

The truth is that, in a very real sense, allowing the homosexuals to marry will lead to a catastrophe. Perhaps even The End Of Civilisation As We Know It. The fact is that the mere realisation such change will lead to couples being addressed as “husband and husband” or “wife and wife” ought to be enough to stop it.

I am fed up with imagining what they get up to. Already, I feel I cannot introduce Mrs ukliberty as my wife and I no longer look at her in the same way.

I do not know why God created the homosexuals but obviously He did not want them to enjoy the same kind of marital commitment before Him as (formerly) enjoyed by normal people.

It is madness and a redefinition of reality itself.

@109: “Damon raises a good example of a general trend within liberalism, which I alluded to in my comments: the principle of non-satiation, and the tendency for liberal demands to always accelerate. ”

It’s terrible, isn’t it. Parliament conspired to get rid of James II in 1688 and invited a Protestant monarch to rule jointly with his wife Mary, James’s daughter, in his place. That settled the principle that monarchs in Britain rule by consent of the governed, as expressed through Parliament, not by divine right.

This was truly radical stuff – and it certainly impressed Voltaire who visited Britain shortly after those events. He was sent here on exile by Louis XIV as a punishment for something he had written.

The electoral reforms of the 19th century – in 1832, 1867 and 1884 – extended the franchise. The ballot was made secret in 1872. The Parliament Act of 1911 stopped the Lords from voting on finance bills and limited the power to block legislation approved by the Commons to two years.

Does anyone this side of sanity suppose we should now deplore those liberal reforms?

Since LC is probably doing its usual thing of taking ages to publish your comment, let me take a guess at what you mean. You will have to tell me if I’m on the right track or not.

The reason why I bring up the general programme of liberalism with regards to the particular issue of gay marriage is that it’s important to place particular issues within a larger milieu. Liberalism is not seeking to make limited one-time changes to the social order, but rather to continuously make changes that are comprehensive, radical and peremptory.

Conservatives always end up giving in the particular instances, so they loose massively in a general sense. For the conservative mentality, people think that if they concede this or that principle, then the demands for radical social change will stop, because liberal will have won and got what they wanted.

But the continuous tactical successes of liberalism reflects its strategic superiority and the supine incoherence of modern conservatism. Lo and behold: the demands for radical change never stop, and will never stop, because how can they?

Human societies are the way they are because humans are the way they are. The things that liberalism tries to overthrow reflect things that are essential to meaningful and liveable social order, and so constantly reassert themselves, only to have to be overthrown yet again by more intervention. It’s a process without end.

Bob B,

And if you could show Parliamentarians in 1688 the state of Britain in 2012, how do you think they would feel about the programme of liberalism?

118
Of course it’s a good ideal to deal with things as they really are, and what we have is gay people asking to be joined in a civil service called ‘marriage’ This is no massive leap from a civil partnership is it?
I have a feeling that when you write ‘something which is good and true’, you are making reference to something which you feel is ‘good and true’ not an objective truth.
Despite what you say @125, our society is better in so many ways than in 1688, being able to reach out to the rest of the world from your home might be something that 17th century society would be in awe of.

@125 Vimothy: “And if you could show Parliamentarians in 1688 the state of Britain in 2012, how do you think they would feel about the programme of liberalism?”

I’m sure many would be appalled but then the Duke of Wellington’s comment on seeing the newly elected Parliament after the Reform Act of 1832 – which he had strenuously opposed – was to say that he had never seen so many bad hats before. Wellington really believed that franchise reform was the thin end of the wedge.

To several inquiries about the troopers in his victorious armies, he responded by saying that they were “the mere scum of the earth”. Famously, on inspecting the troops before one battle, he said to aides, “I don’t know what they do to the enemy but by g*d they frighten me.”

I suspect Samuel Johnson had much the same insight when he remarked – according to Bosworth – “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

Recall Churchill’s reported response to someone early last century who was reflecting of the traditions of the Royal Navy – by which Britain “Ruled the Waves” for a century past Trafalgar. Churchill’s response was that the traditions of the Royal Navy depended on “Rum, sodomy and the lash.” There are, of course, alternative theories advanced to account for the ascendancy of the Royal Navy.

The inter-war years seem to have been marked by relative tolerance towards homosexuality – as compared with the harsh repressions of the early post-war years, which led to Alan Turing’s suicide.

The Bloomsbury group – which included Keynes, Duncan Grant, Lytton Strachey and Viginia Woolf – were often in and out of each other’s beds. Duncan Grant, who had been one of Keynes’s lovers, had a daughter by Vanessa Bell, the sister of Virginia Woolf and wife to Clive Bell. Vita Sackville West and Harold Nicholson had a strong marriage although they were both bisexual. Vita had a long affair with Virginia Woolf.

Try Paul Levy on the Bloomsbury Group: http://www.ua.es/personal/jalvarez/Word/Adiciones%20de%202005/levy.rtf

128. Chaise Guevara

@ 121 vimothy

“Sorry, don’t know why I keep bringing what up re gay marriage?”

The whole “liberals will just keep demanding more and more change till we end up with the End Days/an event horizon/scorched Earth” thing.

129. Chaise Guevara

@ 124 vimothy

I see what you mean. But isn’t this just to do with “liberalism” being associated with change and “conservatism” being associated with lack thereof? I mean, change happens. That’s what it does. If we lived in a world where liberal values were seen as the “old guard” and conservative values were the exciting, if controversial, winds of change, I’m sure this would be vice versa. If liberalism keeps winning, then eventually this will probably happen (despite the fact that the terms used seem inappropriate).

I’m interested by the idea of conservatives deciding to put up with one last change in the hope that this will be an end to it, not realising that they’re actually making more change that much more viable. I have to confess it hasn’t occurred to me before, and frankly it makes a lot of sense.

Two objections, though. Firstly, I think conservatives, as a group, have fought tooth and nail against most pro-liberal changes. They’re doing it now with gay marriage. They did it before with women’s lib. We just forget that with the force of history; we see conservatives putting up with the new order AFTER it changed and forget that they fought hard against it beforehand.

Secondly, this isn’t a reason to reject change outright. That’s lack of thought, using a clumsy rule to replace reason. As I said before, the main question here is whether or not gay marriage is a good thing. I answer “yes”.

130. Chaise Guevara

@ 126 Jojo

I feel kinda bad about trading blows with you in a previous thread now, because that comment was pretty awesome.

A good example of ”culture war” in my opinion, was the great fox hunting rows we were having ten years ago. It wasn’t just a case of being for or against something, but became a bit of a moral crusade.
If you were very much against, you might find anyone who was ”pro choice” on the issue to be an appalling person, and you’d be aghast if any family or friends were anything other than opposed to it and supporting the ban.
I wasn’t reading LC back then (if it was around), but my guess is that it’s editorial line would have been totally for the ban. And really hating those people from the Countryside Alliance.

Not to take this off topic. That was just an example.
You’d have the same in the US for anyone who supports gun ownership (in general).
It’s always presented as a ”no brainer” …. and that there aren’t really any vailid arguments the other way.
Of course you have to ban this or that, or change this or that it is said – like this issue with gay marriage.
And like with fox hunting, the pressure can pay off in the end. The ”culture war” protest campaign can (and does) work. It can wear down opponants, and build support so that people want to be seen to be on the right side. The moral and just one.

132. Chaise Guevara

@ 122 ukliberty

“The fact is that the mere realisation such change will lead to couples being addressed as “husband and husband” or “wife and wife” ought to be enough to stop it. ”

Christ, I know. And it just doesn’t make SENSE. I mean, a husband marries a wife, everyone knows that! If a husband marries a husband, my brain is going to explode like a TV robot being told about a logical paradox.

I mean, we don’t WANT to discriminate against people. It’s just a sad side effect of the vital quest to ensure that nobody is confused by language, ever. Imagine a robot being told that Jenny is Susan’s wife and yet Susan is Jenny’s wife. Look at his brain melting! Do you want that on your conscience? DO YOU?

130
Wasn’t me Chaise, someone else posts on LC as JoJo.

134. Chaise Guevara

@ 133 jojo

“Wasn’t me Chaise, someone else posts on LC as JoJo.”

Good to know (and I’ll pay more attention to capital Js or lack therof in future). It did seem like “JoJo” had received a sudden intelligence upgrade, so at least this means I’m not going mad…

135. Chaise Guevara

@ 131 damon

Fox hunting and the right to own guns are interesting examples, because they’re both cases which actually sound liberal but liberals in general are against.

I think the anti-gun liberals were right but the anti-fox-hunting liberals were wrong. On the other hand, I’m aware that this is totally and completely personal bias: I used to be against guns and hunting, but I’ve only reversed one of those opinions since. Gun control makes sense; objecting to fox hunting ended up sounding hypocritical in 90% of cases, including mine.

If people are allowed to torture chickens all their life to make them slightly cheaper, I see no problem with killing free-range foxes.

Chaise,

Something must explain the essential uselessness of modern conservatives, who don’t seem to stand for anything consistent or reasoned, and have never managed to conserve a thing in their lives. What is the point of them? Mostly, it seems like they try to out-compete liberals at being liberals, which hardly seems like the basis of a principled political philosophy—although it gives them plenty of opportunity to be condescending and superior, which does seem like the basis for modern political life.

Tomorrow’s conservatives can be guaranteed to repudiate the positions of today’s conservatives. Indeed, in all probability, tomorrow’s conservatives will loudly denounce others for not being more forthright in their criticism of the illiberal practices of today.

In my view, conservation and progress are both procedures and shouldn’t be elevated to the status of universal principles around which society can be ordered. Traditional conservatism is not simply the principle of resistance to change, and the principle of change could never be a stable order against which the principle of conservatism could react. Amongst other things, this is contrary to the both nature of change and of conservation.

In any case, I don’t think about such things in such ways.

I agree with you that we don’t want to reject change outright. What we want is a sensible and commonsense understanding of change that puts it in its proper place and doesn’t elevate it to a status that it shouldn’t have.

Society isn’t something that should be made and remade according to every contemporaneous whim and urge. Society is something that should be gradually grown and added to by successive generations. It should be something that accords with the nature of man as he is, and the nature of man as he is is not something that is constantly in flux either.

The particular issue of gay marriage can be divorced from all this and taken out of context, but that’s not what I want to do. I want to understand modernity and relate individual modern phenomena to the larger settings within which they are located.

One reason for wanting to do this is that taken as individual issues it’s not obvious why any of them should be given any weight when compared to the massive amounts of social upheaval that have already taken place. What’s the big deal about gay marriage when we already have civil partnerships, etc? But that’s an argument for giving up ground in all cases, so it can’t really be a way for traditional, conservative people to proceed.

It’s also the case that when you add up all these tiny concessions, you get something massive. Five years ago, it was civil partnerships. Today it’s gay marriage. In five years time, it will be something else. Why shouldn’t liberals be made to make all their demands all at once, rather than piecemeal, so that we can actually see them as a whole and evaluate them and their likely effects in a consistent and rational way?

“Five years ago, it was civil partnerships. Today it’s gay marriage. In five years time, it will be something else. ”

These issues challenging received values mostly come up from below and liberals on the look out for new causes jump on. In the early 1990s, it was “the environment” and the green crusade. Movie makers often glean profitable inspirations from these emerging causes – like Jurassic Park?

It used to be said that women’s fashion progressed from the brothel to the stage to bohemia before it got taken up by high society. With the internet and the popularity of social media, trends can take root and flourish much faster.

By news reports, all three main parties are officially backing civil marriages for gays. Will there be any movement to legalise polygamy for consenting adults?

138. Robin Levett

@vimothy #124 & #136:

For the conservative mentality, people think that if they concede this or that principle, then the demands for radical social change will stop, because liberal will have won and got what they wanted.

Do you really mean the conservatives don’t judge the case on its merits and accept (or not) change on that basis?

Why shouldn’t liberals be made to make all their demands all at once, rather than piecemeal, so that we can actually see them as a whole and evaluate them and their likely effects in a consistent and rational way?

On the basis that if “the liberals” win the argument on any one issue they get to implement all the changes they want? Thought not.

There is one underlying demand here – equal treatment before the law. The arguments are over what constitutes that.

139. Chaise Guevara

@ 136 vimothy

I think that the problem with many conservatives is that they instinctively resent change – and I’m sure many liberals do the opposite (if it’s new it must be “progressive” and therefore a good thing…)

“Society isn’t something that should be made and remade according to every contemporaneous whim and urge. Society is something that should be gradually grown and added to by successive generations. It should be something that accords with the nature of man as he is, and the nature of man as he is is not something that is constantly in flux either.”

Sure. But gay marriage fits on the “gradual” scale, it’s a small change in the grand scheme of things that builds on previous victories, much like what you’re arguing for here.

“It’s also the case that when you add up all these tiny concessions, you get something massive. Five years ago, it was civil partnerships. Today it’s gay marriage. In five years time, it will be something else.”

Small changes happen over short time periods, large changes over large ones. This isn’t news. It’s not a bad thing, either, as I thought we’d agreed.

Although I think some specific issues (or categories of issue) have a limited course to run. The liberal end goal in this case is equality for LGBT people. We’re close to achieving that now; once it’s done there’s nothing left to fight for (yes, some people will always find something to complain about, but I’m talking about national-scale issues).

“Why shouldn’t liberals be made to make all their demands all at once, rather than piecemeal, so that we can actually see them as a whole and evaluate them and their likely effects in a consistent and rational way?”

“Made”? Were you planning on jailing them if they don’t, or just pointing a gun at them?

1) On both sides, trying to talk about a million issues at once is unworkable.

2) The demands themselves change in reaction to other social changes. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves but scoffed at the idea of black people being equal to whites. You seem to view this as something bordering on a conspiracy by every liberal past, present and future, which it isn’t.

3) As I’m getting mighty bored of explaining to people who should know better, “liberals” are not a homogenous group who all believe the same thing and therefore can have their views summed up on a single piece of paper.

4) Have you tried asking?

I fail to see what the point is in raising up polygamy as a crystal-ball preemptive post hoc ergo proctor hoc scare tactic, when you’re already legally allowed to marry your own cousins. Does multiple wives trump incest on the ‘things you ought to deny an unrelated group their equal civil rights for’ list?

@140: “I fail to see what the point is in raising up polygamy as a crystal-ball preemptive post hoc ergo proctor hoc scare tactic”

It’s not a scare tactic at all but rather a test of how far all the claims for equality of treatment stretch. If civil gay marriages are to be legitimised, why not polygamy and polyandry between consenting adults? It’s a straight and valid question. After all, polygamy – and polyandry – are legitimate in some countries so why not Britain too? Curiously, some seem to find the question embarrassing and that makes me wonder why?

@ Chaise

I think the anti-gun liberals were right

And I think you would be wrong………

Switzerland has the highest number of guns per head of population and the lowest crime rate in the world.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/1566715.stm

144. Chaise Guevara

@ 142 pagar

“And I think you would be wrong………

Switzerland has the highest number of guns per head of population and the lowest crime rate in the world. ”

That’s not data.

Anyway, don’t troll your way out of one conversation then try to start another one. I really can’t be arsed.

@142: “Switzerland has the highest number of guns per head of population and the lowest crime rate in the world. ”

Different countries have different cultures and different social values.

Switzerland has a long history of (highly profitable) political neutrality and its citizens have long recognised that it might at some time be necessary to defend that against unwelcome invaders. Switzerland only extended the voting franchise to include women in 1971 but I don’t regard that as a sensible argument for emulating its profitable neutrality or extending gun ownership in other countries, especially in Britain where the population tends to have an unusually high disposition towards crimes of violence without easy access to guns:

A UNITED Nations report has labelled Scotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America. England and Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while Northern Ireland recorded the fewest.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1487949/posts

I’m mostly for the general liberalising of societies. It’s great that we’ve come so far – and I’d hate to live back in a repressed society. Just see that current BBC drama ”White Heat” to see how stifling things could be.

But when it comes to the ”culture wars” I’m really not impressed.
Another example of it (I think) has been the overreaction to the EDL.
They’re nasty, brutish (and small) – but the way the likes of UAF and the liberal society has reacted to their limmited ”away-days” is much ado … about not that much.
They come – cause a bit of agro – and leave.
A storm in a tea cup really, and without the hype we’d hardly know about it. ”No Pasaran” say the ridiculous banners.
Us verses them – (the other).

Of course there was going to be some reaction to 9/11 and the ”islamification” of some parts of our cities. Even Newsnight saw there was a problem with segregation in places like Oldham when they did some reports from the town.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9468617.stm
The EDL are nasty, and should be opposed, but they are just our more lumpen neighbours reacting in ways that are blatant, uncouth and direct.
Polls have said that a majority of Brits have had reservations about mass immigration from way back when it first started. The EDL are a backward expression of more popular opinion. The small minority who are ballsy enough (and thick enough) to go out and shout about something they don’t like about it.

I think LC is actually very much involved in the culture wars. On every issue it’s always partisan and all about supporting your side and putting down the enemy. See the Ken Livingstone v Boris stuff as an example.
Four years ago, as well as saying that Boris was a racist, his enemies were even putting it about – and it was in The Voice (black) newspaper, that older Caribbean Londoners might even quit Britain if ”the racist” became mayor.
Which was pretty outrageous really. It was culture war scaremongering at its dirtiest.

Also….. just the other day LC did a thread about the singer ”Plan B” and his song and video about the summer riots. As if it was something positive.
The spiked people (who KB Player refuses to even read) had this take on it.
http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/12268/

And they’re right IMO.

@ Chaise @ 144

Switzerland has the highest number of guns per head of population and the lowest crime rate in the world. ”

That’s not data.

Yes it is.

Anyway, don’t troll your way out of one conversation then try to start another one. I really can’t be arsed.

Just a minute. It was you who first raised the issue of gun ownership on a thread about gay marriage, so don’t accuse me of going off topic. And your continual accusations of trolling are becoming tiresome.

You need to understand that there are times when it is better to stop harassing those letters on your keyboard. The above was your 32nd contribution to this debate and even someone as smugly certain of their monopoly on wisdom as yourself needs to know when to STFU occasionally.

Please feel under no obligation whatever to respond to this comment. In fact, I’ll be grateful if you don’t.

Bob B,

A UNITED Nations report has labelled Scotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America. England and Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while Northern Ireland recorded the fewest.

That’s a very interesting link–thanks for that.

I do like how Spiked set themselves up as the defenders of the working class while loudly supporting things – open borders, say – that are the nigh-on exclusive preserve of the middle-class intelligentsia.

Is it my imagination, or are Spiked the hipsters of the political world?

151. Robin Levett

@pagar #142:

Switzerland has the highest number of guns per head of population and the lowest crime rate in the world.

In 2004, the last year for which both countries reported data to ONODC for its 2010 figures (link below), Switzerland had a gun homicide rate 8 times that of England and Wales. Do you really want to pursue this argument?

http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/statistics/Homicide/Homicides_by_firearms.xls

152. Robin Levett

@vimothy #148:

A UNITED Nations report has labelled Scotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America. England and Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while Northern Ireland recorded the fewest.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1487949/posts

That’s a very interesting link–thanks for that.

Free Republic? Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

The freepers will tell you all about their Kenyan-born Marxist President and how GW bombed the WTC if you ask them.

Cylux

Is it my imagination, or are Spiked the hipsters of the political world?

Maybe so. But I didn’t make that up (about the Plan B video).
What’s it doing on Liberal Conspiracy?
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/03/12/whatchu-lookin-at-rich-boy-plan-bs-new-video-blasts-cameron/

I made my comments on it at posts 10 and 21. ”A TRULY awful video” I said.

And BenSix, I don’t really get the open borders thing either.
It’s either a long term aspiration, or just playing silly buggers.
But at least they never said anything positive about the Plan B video.
That would have been embarrassing.

Vimothy: “That’s a very interesting link–thanks for that.”

The BBC put a slightly different spin on that United Nations report in 2005 about the incidence of crimes of violence:

Scotland has been named the most violent country in the developed world by a United Nations report.

The study found that, excluding murder, Scots were almost three times as likely to be assaulted as Americans. . .

The figure for Scotland dwarfs that of other developed nations such as Japan, where people are 30 times less likely to be attacked.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4257966.stm

Decades back, I lived and worked in Scotland so I’m not surprised. There’s a likely link with what the Scottish government has been saying about the high level of alcoholism in Scotland and “drinking to excess.” Australia and New Zealand also have high incidences of violence.

@153 I’m not sure you understand why hipster is a pejorative in this instance, given that Spiked’s objection appears to little more than a cry of ‘mainstream!’

Anyway, here’s a counter link for ya http://howupsetting.tumblr.com/post/19285397347/adefenceofplanb

156. Just Visiting

Chaise 79

Steady on mate, calm down!

> I’m getting a bit sick of your weird assumption that I agree with polygamy being banned

Ah OK – maybe I’d misread you earlier, apologies.

So my next question would be – if marriage is extended to same-sex partners, are there any grounds, do you think, for it to be denied to polygamous partners?

As it seems that for others on LC – polygamy is definitely a no-no.

157. Just Visiting

LibertarianLou 98

>> “I still don’t know why we are not also arguing for equality for polygamous muslim marriage.”

> Probably because that would be considered oppressive and there is no demand for

Considered oppressive by who? The consenting adults who form polygamous marriages?

> And because often (usually) not all parties truly consent to it on equal footing?

Again, you have given no reason to stop consenting adults choosing polygamous marriages – unless you have a special definition of ‘truly consent’ that treats consenting adults as – err -less than consenting adults.

> What does it have to do with same sex marriage?

Because the reason you are so certain that same-sex marriage is good and right and to be made law – is the same reason that anyone wishing to legalise polygamous marriage would use.

So, be careful what you wish for !

158. Just Visiting

Chaise

IMHO you have been uncharacteristically aggressive in your tone in this topic.

I don’t feel that it can be justified by arguing that those discussing with you have been using weak arguments.

159. Just Visiting

It’s weird, but no one seems to have raised the issue (or did I miss it) – that for decades feminists condemned marriage; but today seem to want to extend marriage !

Googling soon shows the level of anti-marriage from feminists:

Feminism’s shrill animosity toward the married family continued beyond the 1970s. In 1981, radical feminist author Vivian Gornick, a tenured professor at the University of Arizona, proclaimed that “Being a housewife is an illegitimate profession…The choice to serve and be protected and plan towards being a family-maker is a choice that shouldn’t be. The heart of radical feminism is to change that.”

Some influential feminists asserted that marriage was akin to prostitution. In 1983, radical feminist author Andrea Dworkin declared, “Like prostitution, marriage is an institution that is extremely oppressive and dangerous for women.” In 1991, Catherine MacKinnon, a professor of law at both the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Chicago Law School, added, “Feminism stresses the indistinguishability of prostitution, marriage, and sexual harassment.”

In 1990, the organization Radical Women issued a group manifesto affirming that the traditional family was “founded on the open or concealed domestic slavery of the wife.” The manifesto celebrated the growth of single-parent families and serial cohabitation in low-income communities as a positive step toward the liberation of women.

In her 1996 book In the Name of the Family: Rethinking Family Values in the Postmodern Age, Judith Stacey, Professor of Gender Studies and Sociology at the University of Southern California, consigned traditional marriage to the dustbin of history. Stacey contended that “Inequity and coercion…always lay at the vortex of that supposedly voluntary ‘compassionate marriage’ of the traditional nuclear family.” She welcomed the fact that traditional married-couple families (which she terms “The Family” ) are being replaced by single-mother families (which she terms the postmodern “family of woman” ):

“Perhaps the postmodern “family of woman” will take the lead in burying The Family at long last. The [married nuclear] Family is a concept derived from faulty theoretical premises and an imperialistic logic, which even at its height never served the best interests of women, their children, or even many men…. The [nuclear married] family is dead. Long live our families!”

Stacey urged policy makers to abandon their concern with restoring marital commitment between mothers and fathers and instead “move forward toward the postmodern family regime,” characterized by single parenthood and transitory relationships.

In 1996, Claudia Card, professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, continued the attack:

“The legal rights of access that married partners have to each other’s persons, property, and lives makes it all but impossible for a spouse to defend herself (or himself), or to be protected against torture, rape, battery, stalking, mayhem, or murder by the other spouse…. Legal marriage thus enlists state support for conditions conducive to murder and mayhem.”

Other radical feminists suggested that a culture of self-sufficiency and high turnover in intimate relationships is the key to independence and protection from hostile home life. Activist Fran Peavey, in a 1997 Harvard article ironically titled “A Celebration of Love and Commitment,” suggested that “Instead of getting married for life, men and women (in whatever combination suits their sexual orientation) should sign up for a seven-year hitch. If they want to reenlist for another seven, they may, but after that, the marriage is over.” Also in 1997, radical feminist author Ashton Applewhite, in her book Cutting Loose — Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well proclaimed: “Women who end their marriages are far better off afterward.”

Another feminist widely read during the 1990s was Barbara Ehrenreich, a former columnist with Time magazine who now writes for The Nation. 43 Throughout her work, Ehrenreich extols single parenthood and disparages marriage. Divorce, she argues, produces “no lasting psychological damage” for children. What America needs is not fewer divorces but more “good divorces.” Rather than seeking to strengthen marriage, policy makers “should concentrate on improving the quality of divorce.” In general, Ehrenreich concludes that single parenthood presents no problems that cannot be solved by much larger government subsidies to single parents.

Ehrenreich writes enthusiastically about efforts to move beyond the narrow limits of the nuclear married family toward more rational forms of human relationship:

“There is a long and honorable tradition of ‘anti-family’ thought. The French philosopher Charles Fourier taught that the family was a barrier to human progress; early feminists saw a degrading parallel between marriage and prostitution. More recently, the renowned British anthropologist Edmund Leach stated, ‘far from being the basis of the good society, the family with its narrow privacy and tawdry secrets, is the source of all discontents.’ ”

While Ehrenreich recognizes that men and women are inevitably drawn to one another, she believes male-female relationships should be ad hoc, provisional, and transitory. She particularly disparages the idea of long-term marital commitment between fathers and mothers. In the future, children will be raised increasingly by communal groups of adults. These children apparently will fare far better than those raised within the tight constraints of the nuclear married family “with its deep impacted tensions.”

The spiked people (who KB Player refuses to even read) had this take on it.

Hey damon, I don’t read them for the same reason I don’t eat Mars bars – I’ve tried them and don’t like them.

See here, if you want to read my assessment of them:-

http://rosiebell.typepad.com/rosiebell/2010/10/mediocs.html

I have read Brand O’Contrarian in the past and think he’s an annoying pain in the neck. He won’t argue a case on its merits – it’s always what his despised liberals or pet masses think of it that counts.

As for these arguments about gays marrying – I agree with the OP. I think in vimothy’s arguments something rather atavistic is going on, just as one used hear to with women’s rights. It was once thought intrinsically hilarious that women might sit in Parliament or preside over courts. The different waves of feminism affected many men with something like fear and hatred that they couldn’t put in any language except that it was against nature in some way. The language of justice and rights couldn’t meet the case. So I think the case for gradual conservatism we’re getting from vimothy is really the language of definite unease with gay sexuality.

161. Robin Levett

@Just Visiting #156:

As it seems that for others on LC – polygamy is definitely a no-no.

All is not as it seems. For many on LC, what-abouttery is definitely a no-no. OTOH some have pointed out that there are significant legal issues to deal with with polygamy that simply don’t exist with gay marriage. Gay marriage is the simple case; whether there is a case for polygamous marriage depends on what structure of polygamous marriage you are actually asking to legalise. What, as a proponent of legalisation of polygamous marriage, did you have in mind?

I’d deasly love to know the feminist position on polyandrous marriages.

Judging by web postings, polyandrous relationships appear to be hugely popular in America well beyond the tradional feminist camp. As JV says, the case for legitimising polygamy and polyandrous marriages between consenting adults is as robust as that for legitimising same-sex civil marriages, not least because these are legitimate in some countries.

163. Just Visiting

Robin 161

> there are significant legal issues to deal with with polygamy that simply don’t exist with gay marriage

Looks like Bob B answered you already:

> the case for legitimising polygamy and polyandrous marriages between consenting adults is as robust as that for legitimising same-sex civil marriages, not least because these are legitimate in some countries.

@163

the case for legitimising polygamy and polyandrous marriages between consenting adults is as robust as that for legitimising same-sex civil marriages

Point me to the lobby groups pushing for them in this country.

165. Robin Levett

@JV #163:

Looks like Bob B answered you already:

> the case for legitimising polygamy and polyandrous marriages between consenting adults is as robust as that for legitimising same-sex civil marriages, not least because these are legitimate in some countries.

Nope. What form of polygamous marriage are you proposing? How are you intending to deal with divorce, inheritance and childcare responsibilities within those marriages?

If the case is as robust as that for gay marriage, I’m not quite sure why you aren’t putting it, rather than simply alluding to it.

This remains, though, whatabouttery.

166. Chaise Guevara

@ 156 JV

“Ah OK – maybe I’d misread you earlier, apologies.

So my next question would be – if marriage is extended to same-sex partners, are there any grounds, do you think, for it to be denied to polygamous partners?”

None that I can see.

“As it seems that for others on LC – polygamy is definitely a no-no.”

Who? I’m not all that clear on Cylux’s view, and Lou seems to be objecting only to polygamy laws that only allow men multiple partners, which is fair.

“IMHO you have been uncharacteristically aggressive in your tone in this topic.”

It’s not that uncharacteristic, to be honest. I’m short-tempered.

“I don’t feel that it can be justified by arguing that those discussing with you have been using weak arguments.”

It’s not so much weak arguments that bug me, as constant and continued basic fallacies (mainly straw man attacks and ad homs, the standard arsenal of a scoundrel) peppered with personal abuse.

Who have I been unacceptably mean to? Pagar? His responses drifted from a mix of actual points with random insults (which for the record I don’t mind too much) into sheer empty abuse. And when I pointed that out he threw his toys out of his pram (along with a parting straw man attack for the road).

I’m not going to say how mature I was for respecting his request for me not to respond (mainly because I DID respond but Explorer crashed, and I couldn’t be bothered to retype, so I was hardly being noble). But I would LOVE to know why you appear to think (based on you upbraiding me and nobody else) that abuse against me is OK but the other way around is unacceptable.

Basically, if you (and I don’t mean YOU) are going to go on the internet and act like a prick, you don’t have much cause to complain if you’re treated in kind.

KB Player, I read your link some time ago. And Bob from Brockley’s. Interesting stuff, and partly true. Maybe it’s just an ideological difference. They say ”Polar bears – who cares?” …. and this website promotes anti aviation activist youtube films which showed polar bears falling from the sky and landing on pavements and cars in a city.
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=falling+polar+bears

I think the youtubes were completely stupid,
As was that ”Just do it” film – which I actually went to see at the cinema after it was promoted on here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNpeAMl5Ktw

So even when they are not so good, there are still times when they are better than most else. Unless you think that a woman pouring a can of oil over herself to protest about Shell is something positive. Or turning up at Nick Clegg’s home with a giant paper mache viagra pill to give him to ”keep him hard” on opposing climate change,

I (and Spiked) think all that stuff is daft. It is,
Sunny calls it trolling and is liable to delete such comments. Who’s right?

168. Chaise Guevara

@159 Just Visiting

By talking about “shrill animosity” in its opening quote, that essay, wherever it’s from, rather reveals itself as being written by someone with an axe to grind.

And it looks like cherry-picking. Oh, sure, there have been and still are anti-marriage feminists. But what of it? There must be millions of self-described feminists in the English-speaking world alone, and the category is so broad that I suspect it’s possible to find two feminists who don’t agree on any political issue.

I’m starting to feel like I should just paste this statement into every comment I write on this site, but once more with feeling: demographics do not contain perfectly homogenous individuals. If one liberal/feminist/conservative/whatever says one thing, that does not mean another liberal/feminist/conservative/whatever who disagrees is somehow a hypocrite or backpedaling.

Robin: “This remains, though, whatabouttery.”

Most of the OP stuff posted here amounts to whatabouttery – because it proposes changing the status quo, traditional institutions or received, conventional wisdom.

The left and radical political traditions have always amounted to whatabouttery since time immemorial so I can’t see what’s new or why it’s specifically objectionable when it comes to asking about the legitimisation of polygamous and polyandrous civil marriages between consenting adults as these are well established and recognised in some countries.

A mandatory requirement for pre-nuptial agreements could go a long way towards transparency and resolving potential divorce or separation issues. Besides, as I say, judging by webpostings, informal polyandrous relationships in America seem to have a large active following there extending well beyond the traditional feminist camp.

170. Robin Levett

‘Bob B #169:

Most of the OP stuff posted here amounts to whatabouttery – because it proposes changing the status quo, traditional institutions or received, conventional wisdom.

That’s not whatabouttery. Whatabouttery is refusing to address the arguments on the issue at hand, instead asking why the proponent of the issue isn’t doing something about something else – eg “How can you say you’re against badger culls if you don’t oppose the ban on foxhunting?”

As JV says, the case for legitimising polygamy and polyandrous marriages between consenting adults is as robust as that for legitimising same-sex civil marriages, not least because these are legitimate in some countries.

If it doesn’t do any harm then go for it.

Robin: “That’s not whatabouttery. Whatabouttery is refusing to address the arguments on the issue at hand, instead asking why the proponent of the issue isn’t doing something about something else ”

C’mon. Legitimising polygamous and polyandrous civil marriages between consenting adults is precisely about extending the scope of civil marriages for reasons of equality of treatment and resolving the legal anomalies that arise with informal partnerships if one partner dies or palimony claims.

Some countries already recognise polygamous and polyandrous marriages so this is hardly an entirely irrelevant public policy issue. As mentioned, by web postings, informal polyandrous relationships appear popular in America with a following there going well beyond the feminist camp.

173. Chaise Guevara

@ 170 Robin

You’re right. However, I think whataboutery can be a valid line of enquiry. If someone holds two views that are apparently inconsistent, that can reveal that their motives are not what they claim.

Imagine I say that people should be banned from discussing their religion in public. You enquire whether discussing atheism should also be banned from public discussion (which is whataboutery on your part) and I say “Of course not – freedom of speech!” I think you’d be within your rights to ask why freedom of speech didn’t apply for religion as well. It’s similar to reducto ad absurdium: holding people to account for their principles.

In this case, I think JV and Bob B have a point. I’m not sure what logic allows someone to support gay marriage but oppose polygamy in all forms. I’m not saying that such logic doesn’t exist, just that I don’t know what it would be.

Basically, it’s the difference between checking someone’s logic and having a go at them for not specifically mentioning something. The general trick seems to be assuming someone is OK with anything they don’t specifically criticise. If I denounce a gang of Christians who beat up a Muslim, and someone says “I don’t see you complaining about those Muslims who beat up a Christian last year!”, that’s stupid whataboutary. There was no particular reason for me to raise last year’s incident. If someone asks if I’m ok with Muslims beating up Christians, and I say “yes”, I think they’ve exposed a fairly major chink in my armour.

Can anyone explain what the legal status of second and third wives is in the UK?
When people come from the Arabian Gulf for their holidays to escape the summer heat and to hang out in London. When going though passport control at Heathrow, do the prince’s several wives just get nodded through with their husband?

ukliberty

If it doesn’t do any harm then go for it.

I don’t think it’s up to people ”to go for it”. It’s a question of equality and morality.
Do people in those relationships deserve to have those relationships recognised?
To not recognise them might be deemed as racist. Or culturally chauvinist.

@174 Well, you might not think it’s up to people to ‘go for it’ but thats pretty much the only way rights and equality have ever been achieved.

176. Robin Levett

@Bob B #172;

<blockquote.Legitimising polygamous and polyandrous civil marriages between consenting adults is precisely about extending the scope of civil marriages for reasons of equality of treatment

I don’t agree that this is a simple issue of equality of treatment. The preference for multiple partners ain’t a sexual orientation. Nobody is born attracted solely to multiple partners simultaneously; and those polygamous traditions of which we are aware do not involve, as a norm, multiple partner sex – the wives generally each take it in turns to sleep with the husband.

There are differences of kind between gay marriage and polygamy/andry. Firstly, marriage is an simple existing status enterered into by two consenting adults from which gays (male embracing female here) were excluded simply because of their sexual orientation. Polygamists are excluded because three into two doesn’t go…

Secondly, allowing gay marriage does not require any fundamental change to that institution. Succession rights, child care and divorce, for examples, need no adjustment; slotting in a male instead of a female, or vice versa, makes no difference. I assume that there need be no required gender makeup for a multiple marriage, although even this might be an issue with many – specifically those who might be thought to be prepared to agitate for recognition of polygamy. With a multiple partners setup, the entire instituion will have to be thought through afresh. Are the multiple partners all married to each other – or can I just marry Chaise, even though Chaise is married to you and vimothy? Even if we all married (either because the law requires it, or because we all loved one another…), if I divorce, must I divorce everybody, or can I divorce only you, remaining married to Chaise and vimothy. If I do divorce everybody, does that break up the marriage for all, or only for me? What happens to my children (were I female) by Chaise; are they children of the family, so 4 or more adults have rights and responsibilities in relation to them, or only of me and Chaise. If the latter, is this a true multiple marriage?

I don’t have strong feelings either way; I can see that there is an increased risk of exploitation in a multiple partnership (particularly where the gender makeup is 1 to manywhich is again the model of which we are generally aware and from which we woudl expect agitation), and that would have to be taken into account in deciding whether to create a new insitution of multiple partnership; just as that risk is taken into account in refusing to allow sibling or parent-child couples to marrry (indeed to couple…).

177. Robin Levett

@damon #174:

Can anyone explain what the legal status of second and third wives is in the UK?

For what purposes? Marrying a second or third (or higher) wife in the UK is criminal. Coming to the UK with several wives isn’t.

When people come from the Arabian Gulf for their holidays to escape the summer heat and to hang out in London. When going though passport control at Heathrow, do the prince’s several wives just get nodded through with their husband?

Yes. Why should they not be, assuming they have valid immigration documentation?

damon,

ukliberty: If it doesn’t do any harm then go for it.

I don’t think it’s up to people ”to go for it”. It’s a question of equality and morality.

Whose “morality”?

Do people in those relationships deserve to have those relationships recognised? To not recognise them might be deemed as racist. Or culturally chauvinist.

You’re not obliged to recognise them. If you don’t believe in gay marriage, don’t marry a gay.

@ damon

Damon – I may agree with Spiked on various issues, especially freedom of speech – there have been some ridiculous cases eg the guy on Facebook getting charged for making abusive comments about soldiers featured on this site.

However, everything about them sets my teeth on edge. So if I see you linking to a Spiked article which I know will say something like “this concern for the imminent nuclear war between Britain and France is a preoccupation of the elite, while the sturdy masses don’t give a toss” I’ll ask if Brand O’Contrarian is in favour of nuclear war between Britain and France. If he isn’t, wtf is he going on about?

“Slippery slope? What slippery slope?”

Social engineering consists of two phases:

1, What could possibly go wrong?
2, How were we supposed to know?

http://tofspot.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/slippery-slope-what-slippery-slope.html

Rosie, maybe they should tone it down then because I have hardly come across a person who likes them, and loads and loads who despise them. Yet they so often say some very good things. I read their stuff looking for the good bits. Maybe that’s the difference. Sunny wouldn’t even give them the time of day, and one of his mods on Pickled Politics even banned me off his threads on the BNP and EDL because I was taking a Spiked kind of line …. questioning why there were so many threads on the EDL when they really weren’t that big or important etc.
I thought I was (Spiked were) right on that, but it was no good. I was a ”concern troll” who had a ”hidden agenda” and was banned and deleted. You can’t really get more stark than that. But Spiked are certainly partly right in their EDL and BNP analysis.

If you google ”spiked-online nick griffin question time” it throws up a few of their pieces on that, and one from PP …. the one on the ”Muslamic Ray Guns” youtube.
See comments one and two on that one and you see the clear blue water.
The difference is, I would debate the pros and cons of it, whereas I find that the ”traditional left” won’t do that at all. And will just pour scorn, evaade and (eventually) attack.

I said the other day that maybe it’s about the way one reads them. I skip bits I’m not interested in, and try to ignore some of the guff, and to seek out those bit sized chunks of quality, and they are often there.
I understand though how much of it is anathema to much of the ”straight left” like LC though, which strongly supports all the ”Just do It” activists chaining themselves to things, and protesting outside St.Paul’s etc.
I heard Owen Jones on the radio talking about taxation this morning and nearly had to turn him off (he writes on here sometimes). Just too damn earnest and ”on-message” for me. ”Tax the rich … blah blah”. Even though I mostly agree with him. It’s the style I can’t stand. Actually …. that’s what ”sets my teeth on edge”.

I think a lot of this could be worked out by talking through it. But as my banning episode taught me, it just doesn’t work like that on the internet. Which is a pity I think.

@181 Well clearly the answer is, instead of presenting the same points that you agree with in a different way that you’re happy with, to bang on about how out of touch liberals are with the study masses and do fuck all else. That’ll help I’m sure.

183. Chaise Guevara

@ damon

Cylux is right. You’re saying we should talk through issues, but in the last umpteenth threads I’ve seen you in, you’ve avoided the issue itself, choosing instead to sigh over how “elitist” liberals are, while quoting repetitive Spiked quotes that say the same.

Rather than join in the conversation, you’ve developed a habit of sitting on the sidelines saying that the conversation isn’t up to your standards, while other people (including us nasty liberal elitists) actually DO try to talk through it.

“Slippery slope? What slippery slope?”

Social engineering consists of two phases:

1, What could possibly go wrong?
2, How were we supposed to know?

http://tofspot.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/slippery-slope-what-slippery-slope.html

The ‘fallacy’ is stopping today a particular thing (A), which is otherwise reasonable to stop, as we fear some other thing (B) will inevitably happen in the future, because we should be capable of looking at A and B on their individual merits and stop B if it is reasonable to stop it. IOW, just because people are given A it doesn’t entail giving them B; we don’t have to allow men and dogs to marry just because we allow men and men to marry.

I wonder if anyone, centuries ago, warned against allowing men and women to marry, because they said at some point in the future men would demand to be allowed to marry dogs?

Robin: “I don’t agree that this is a simple issue of equality of treatment. The preference for multiple partners ain’t a sexual orientation. ”

That’s nonsense, for starters. Carla Bruni, currently married to Presdient Sarkozy, is quoted on public record as saying: “Monogamy is boring.”

If that isn’t sexual orientation, then I don’t know what is. Much the same likely applies widely to the BDSM, cuckolding and polyandrous fetishist communities, who are as much deserving of equality of treatment as those of the LGBT community who wish to engage in civil same-sex marriages. There are no substantive reasons to justify your wish to discriminate.

But Caise, I’ve said that I’m not that bothered with the mariage bit personally, but it seems to be overly confrontational …. because it hammers those people who think that marriage means a man and a woman. Which is most of the world.
You have said things like ”well what’s wrong with change?” and ignored the bits you don’t agree with too.
What’s the need for gay ”marriage” when a civil partnership is the same. The ”equality” argument isn’t quite enough for me. It does come across a bit as ”hijacking” marriage. In the same way that you can hardly have a demonstration or protest without the SWP turning up and hijacking it and trying to take it over.
The ”Oh my gosh – what’s your problem? Are you bigoted against gay people and agaist equality?” …. is part of that ”elitism” IMO.

Where I live (in Ireland) half the population also think that marriage is one of the seven holy sacraments from god. The ”equality” argument, while having some merrit, is a bit too clever by half</i. for my liking completely. Maybe because it was only ''five minutes ago'' that there was a ''don't ask – don't tell'' policy in the US military, and now it's gay soldiers snogging their husbands on returning home from Afghanistan.

http://www.milpages.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/417310_10150611385561832_218974766831_8877064_338345111_n.jpg

It's the: ''And what's your problem with kissing soldiers?'' question that's kind of elitist I find.
If you disagree then fine. Mine's just an opinion.

187. Chaise Guevara

@ 186 damon

1) I agree that the battle is mostly won now that we have civil partnerships. But I think we should be treated equally under the law, and that requires the law not to use different terms for different people as a deliberate way to slap gay people in the face.

2) “Hijacking” rather suggests that you’re affecting the ride for other people. Gay marriage doesn’t do anything to straight marriages. People who want it banned are people who want other people to live by their rules, even though it doesn’t affect them or anyone else except the couple in question.

3) My philosophy treats liberty as a positive thing. If you’re going to inhibit it, you need a good reason for doing so. I have seen no such good reason for doing so here.

4) Your post seems to define “elitist” as anyone who opposes bigotry. Why does defending equal rights for gay people make me a snob?

5) Alternatively, your dismissal of an argument as “too clever by half” suggests that you’re taking an anti-intellectual stance, so maybe your cries of “elitism!” are part of that. Are you saying that you’re only prepared to address stupid arguments?

6) What IS your problem with soliders kissing? I know, I know, I’m being all anti-bigotry and therefore I’m a nasty elitist and probably one of those consarmed intellectuals to boot, but an ad hom is not the same thing as the answer to a question.

@185 Try not to mix up kinks and turn ons with sexual orientation Bob, ffs. Given that those things are in addition to a persons sexual orientation. For example a guy who likes to sleep with two girls at once is still heterosexual.

189. Chaise Guevara

@ 188 Cylux

Agreed – I think orientation describes which categories of person you find sexually attractive (men, women, both) and kinks/fetishes describes specific forms of sex you find particularly arousing (threesomes, blindfolds, constumes etc). I suspect the former is much more set in stone than the latter, and wouldn’t be surprised to find that they’re determined by different causes.

Chaise Guevara, this forum isn’t probably the place for such discussons. I don’t know if the editors approve of the way this can run and run.
I’ve told you that I’m a bit unperturbed by the whole gay marriage thing, but at the same time I do think there is something in this argument.
http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/10646/

As I said, maybe here isn’t the best place for that discussion, but try this line from it:

… the campaign for gay marriage is not just about rights; it is also about the contestation of values and attitudes.

You don’t have to agree, it’s just an opinion. I agree with it though.
And this:

The campaign for the legalisation of gay marriage does not simply represent a claim for a right; it also represents a demand for the institutionalisation of new moral and cultural values.

I may well be taking an ”anti-intelectual stance”. So what?

As for kissing soldiers – also who cares? But in a diverse society, we have all kinds of ”norms” and cultural values. Take that picture of the kissing soldiers to Turkey and show that to some soldiers there, and point and smile … and there maybe some lack of international understanding. In Turkey soldiers don’t kiss each other. It’s not the culture.

Personally I’m all for being quite liberal, and think the state should often take a lead in that process, but not everyone will ”get” Thomas Beatie (the pregnant man).
Yes sure let the state take a lead and grant this and that recognition as much as possible, but people are people and many are going to lag behind.

http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01399/Thomas-Beatie-MAIN_1399916a.jpg

I just don’t think we should be too sniffy and ”elitist” about that. The fact that ”we enlightened liberals” are so much better than the rednecks and people not much further ”evolved” than the Taliban.

Saul Alinsky had a concept for the behaviour of certain people, which others have drawn a link with concern trolling, calling them “Do-Nothings”
These Do-Nothings profess a commitment to social change for ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity, and then abstain from and discourage all effective action for change. They are known by their brand, ‘I agree with your ends but not your means.’

Damon, who is being “sniffy” or “elitist”? Who is trying to distance himself from the “plebs” and “rednecks”? Which supporters of gay marriage have called themselves “enlightened liberals”?

And how can a campaign for any ‘right’ not involve some kind of “contest” between “values and attitudes”?

193. Chaise Guevara

@ 190 damon

” the campaign for gay marriage is not just about rights; it is also about the contestation of values and attitudes.”

Of course it is. It’s a political disagreement, how could it not be about values and attitudes? And why is this so important, and so special to this argument? Why is suddenly an issue when you don’t agree with what someone’s saying?

“The campaign for the legalisation of gay marriage does not simply represent a claim for a right; it also represents a demand for the institutionalisation of new moral and cultural values.”

Exactly one value: that gay people are equal to straights. You claim not to have a problem with that, so what are you arguing against?

“I may well be taking an ”anti-intelectual stance”. So what?”

I notice you failed to answer the question. How intelligent does an argument have to be before you’ll call it the enemy by default? For that matter, what’s wrong with intelligence? What’s so great about being stupid?

“As for kissing soldiers – also who cares?”

You , apparently. It was presented as the unwelcome conclusion in your series of unfortunate events. Again, you haven’t answered the question. What’s wrong with men kissing? Why is it a bad conclusion to events?

“But in a diverse society, we have all kinds of ”norms” and cultural values. Take that picture of the kissing soldiers to Turkey and show that to some soldiers there, and point and smile … and there maybe some lack of international understanding. In Turkey soldiers don’t kiss each other. It’s not the culture.”

Bad news for Turkish gays. I hope Turkey wakes up. Point?

“Personally I’m all for being quite liberal, and think the state should often take a lead in that process, but not everyone will ”get” Thomas Beatie (the pregnant man).”

Are you? Why are you dodging through every hoop available to oppose gay marriage (not that you oppose it, of course, it’s just that you oppose it)?

“Yes sure let the state take a lead and grant this and that recognition as much as possible, but people are people and many are going to lag behind. ”

Agreed. Why, according to you and Spiked, are the laggers in the right?

“I just don’t think we should be too sniffy and ”elitist” about that. The fact that ”we enlightened liberals” are so much better than the rednecks and people not much further ”evolved” than the Taliban.”

I have no clue what “evolved” means in that sentence. It certainly has nothing to do with evolution. You and me and the Taliban are exactly as evolved as each other, insofar as that can even make sense as a statement.

But really, who’s being sniffy? Who’s dodging around the issue and sniping from the sidelines and using faux-intellectual psychobabble to attack the rights of people who just want to be treated like other people? Clue: it’s not me.

Seriously, damon, if snobbery and elitism are your enemies, you need to look in the mirror. You seem to have turned into everything you hate. The only snob on this thread is you, patiently and passive-aggressively explaining why you’re superior to everyone else, and therefore have no need to respond to anything they say. It’s not convincing.

Cylux: “@185 Try not to mix up kinks and turn ons with sexual orientation Bob”

Some, doubtless misguided folk, regard same-sex marriages as kinki.

Personally, I’m none too clear on why polygamous and polyandrous partners and the cuckolding and BDSM fetishist communities shouldn’t have equivalent civil rights to members of the LGBT communities.

The pioneering and admirable civic authorities in San Francisco – where the Hippy Culture started in 1968 – recently introduced ordinances banning eating in restaurants while nude and a mandatory obligation upon nudists to place a cover on any public seat before sitting down. We each have our own notion as to the limits of acceptable kinks.

San Francisco National Guard Armory and Arsenal is a historic building in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. In late 2006, The Armory was purchased by Kink.com, a San Francisco-based internet pornography producer specializing in BDSM porn:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Armory

Cylux, I looked up Saul Alinsky, who I’d never heard of, and read his wikipedia page.
Interesting guy. I must be a concern troll then. I don’t mean to be, it was probably these ”contrarians” that made me like that.

When Time magazine proclaimed that 2011 was the year of the protester, it lent its prestige to the recently constructed prejudice that believes a loss of moral and cultural purpose can be recovered through the actions of people on the streets.

http://www.frankfuredi.com/index.php/site/article/523/

Ukliberty – it’s hard even for me to explain it. How about I just say I would be fine with the government making the marriages of gays and straights equal. Fine.
it’s still going to mean that huge parts of society are still not going to understand and be happy about it, and I will understand why they wouldn’t be. It would be like banning guns in the USA. Even if it was for the best, it will not sit right with sections of society for cultural reasons. But maybe you just have to force it and defeat them.

And Chaise, well I’ve said my piece now. So maybe I’m being an arse, or maybe I just have some iffy opinions.
Here in Ireland, abortion is hugely divisive, and illegal north and south. It will always be so, and I couldn’t be bothered to get involved to be a part of any campaign because it’s so divisive. Even though I’m pro-choice myself.
I don’t agree with those against, but I have to respect them to some degree. It’s their culture.

As for soldiers kissing and what’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with anything? Armies and regiments have particular cultures. Ways of viewing manliness and machismo. They can be different in different places and times.
I was once with some British TA soldiers in Germany, waiting on a plane I think – and a squadren load of Dutch soldiers turned up. Conscripts they were, and the Britsish soldiers were gobsmacked about how loud, wild and unsoldierly the Dutch were. Several had long hair …. and earings, It was a culture clash.
Even though it was only the British TA, a lot of them had been in the regular Paras, and they stood watching the Dutch and tutting and being shocked by their ”otherness”.
This was in the early 80s.
Who was better? Were they just equal cultures? Who’s to say? As for kissing soldiers, the Dutch were probably a couple of decades more progressive about that than the Brits were. I know it would have been frowned upon amongst the (British) ranks back then.

But your point of view might be more logical than mine. I know that culture does change. Even army culture. Thirty years ago racism was still rampant in the British army. Encouraged even. And now it’s more like British football is, and multicultural.
Perhaps even not approving of homophobia. But issues about what it is to be a man, still has very strong cultural baggage, and for some, gay men will always be that bit different.
Army married quaters with gay men living together as husband and husband will probably come some day. But can you really force people to be completely liberal about it? Maybe you can.

Ok….just read your comments policy and it seems to narrow the field for constructive criticism, however, here goes with an honest viewpoint,

Is it really so unpalatable to accept that there may be some who hold a view that is different from the all encompassing modern liberal force fed righteousness.
What ever happened to autonomy, self expression of the heterosexual ? Where is the discriminatory dissemination of the moderate tradition belief going to take us all ?
Perhaps an all gay totalitarian state is the answer to the worlds problems.

“Perhaps an all gay totalitarian state is the answer to the worlds problems.”

Not at all. What’s at stake is the acceptability of a “live and let live” culture so fellow citizens can live according to their lights, with equivalent civil rights to other citizens, always providing no one is harmed. How am I harmed if that same-sex couple down the road or in the next street get married?

@194 What ‘equivalent civil rights’ are BDSMers and cuckolders a) currently lacking and b) have actually expressed a need/want for due to their lack ?

199. Chaise Guevara

@ 196

“Perhaps an all gay totalitarian state is the answer to the worlds problems.”

They’re on to us! Someone’s realised that we liberals are pushing for that ultimate liberal ideal: a totalitarian state where people are either forced to be gay, or all non-gays are exiled/killed (it’s not quite clear from the above).

Either that, or someone thinks they’re clever when they’re really, REALLY not. Any guesses, people?

200. Chaise Guevara

@ 195 damon

There’s not really any point us continuing this conversation if you’re going to repeatedly ignore questions (e.g. I didn’t ask why other people don’t like soliders kissing, I asked why YOU see it as such a bad thing) in favour of long essays about the awesomeness of cultural relativism that are at best tangentially connected to the discussion thus far.

As I said before, your mission here seems to be a) sneering at everyone else while hypocritically accusing them of elitism, and b) couching your opposition to gay marriage in the vaguest possible terms, frequently wandering into quasi-philosophical musings to avoid direst questions. Perhaps you should gather your thoughts and submit an article to Spiked?

@195 You seem to be worried that certain segments of the population won’t “understand” (though I would credit this section of society as understanding perfectly well and disagreeing, but then I’m not an elitist who thinks the ‘sturdy masses’ are a hegemonic group of blinkered reactionaries, unlike some) and being “unhappy” with lgbt equality. Frankly, who gives a fuck? You can never, ever, please absolutely everyone, and maintaining existing inequality just means that it’s the minioritys being discriminated against who are now in the “not understanding” and “unhappy” camp.

But by all means, claim you are for equality while coming up with ever more trumped up reasons as to why we shouldn’t bother pushing for it like “will Turkish soldiers understand UK gay marriage?” As though a gay couple walking down the aisle need the approval of foreign soldiers to live their lives as they see fit.

damon,

Ukliberty – it’s hard even for me to explain it. How about I just say I would be fine with the government making the marriages of gays and straights equal. Fine.
it’s still going to mean that huge parts of society are still not going to understand and be happy about it, and I will understand why they wouldn’t be. It would be like banning guns in the USA. Even if it was for the best, it will not sit right with sections of society for cultural reasons. But maybe you just have to force it and defeat them.

I agree that lots of people won’t like it. But now what?

Cylux: “@194 What ‘equivalent civil rights’ are BDSMers and cuckolders a) currently lacking and b) have actually expressed a need/want for due to their lack ?”

Consenting polygamous and polyandrous partners and BDSM and cuckolding fetishists lack the basic civil right to participate in civil marriage contracts and no one presently seems to be proposing the rights to civil marriages being claimed by the LGBT communities should be extended to them. This amounts to discrimination against a minority.

I agree Chaise, it’s not really worth carrying on. I never said I have a problem with soldiers kissing. I said that it it would seem quite odd in lots of places. In the Turkish army for example. In the British army of thirty years ago – and today in the British army it might be just about OK, but would still be somewhat jarring for some.
I hear that there are in fact some gay married quarters in the British army now, so things do change, but even though I felt sorry for ”her” – I understand why the army felt that having a pre-operation transexual – Captain John/Jan Hamilton stay on in the Parachute Regiment was a bit too much for them.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-468469/Captain-Jan-transsexual-Para-sues-Army-unfair-dismissal.html

Maybe they were out of order, and could have found her a new job like the one mentioned there, working out in Gibraltar – but carrying on in the same Regiment as a captain to the same men he’d been with in Iraq and Afghanistan might have been culturally confusing. We’re not automans who can just switch to new thinking over night. Not everyone.

It’s true I am using cultural relativism a bit. My grandparents, who were born over a hundred years ago might have thought that marriage was a hetrosexual thing too, and hardly knew homosexuality existed. It doesn’t mean they were bad people.
Gay Marriage? Whatever. OK have it. I couldn’t really care.
Like with the fox hunting issue, I give up and admit that the ”progressives” win the argument. Because it’s a pain in the arse to try to argue otherwise.

Now all we have to do is criminalise any outward signs of homophobia.
Which is up and running in the game of football where even terrace chants to opposing fans about them coming from (say) Brighton … and therefore a bit gay perhaps, have gay rights activists calling for clapdowns, bannings and prosecutions.
http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/12179/

Maybe this hectoring works in the long run, and actually changes society for the better, but it can be a bit of a drag in the meantime too.
And ends up with the police trawling though tweets and websites looking for people who have said something dodgy, or threatening footie fans with arrest if they don’t sit down and shut up.

Anyway, LC has moved on to talking about the budget.

@203 Really? Do you actually know what cuckolding entails? It involves a married couple, man and wife, inviting a male stranger who is (usually) younger, fitter and more well endowed to have sex with the wife while the husband watches and gets off to it. How, the fuck, does group marriage help them out in any possible way? Given that half the thrill is that the bloke banging the misses explicitly isn’t part of their relationship. I’m also unsure what’s preventing a couple into BDSM from marrying one another? Could you explain that one to me? Because I know a few that managed it without any trouble whatsoever.

The only two things you mentioned of any relevance whatsoever is polygamists and polyandrists, and you’ve yet to provide any evidence that liking more than one partner in the bed (which isn’t even part of traditional bigamist marriage arrangements as pointed out above in the comments) represents a sexual orientation. Not to mention the trend I’m aware of regarding polyamourous relationships in that they couple up, and invite random thirds into bed with them as and when desired, much like cuckolders, but more as threesomes/swinger parties.

Again I will ask you, do you have any links to people actively pushing for group marriage? Because if people aren’t asking for it, it’s usually safe to assume its neither needed nor required.

206. Chaise Guevara

@ 203 Bob B

“Consenting polygamous and polyandrous partners and BDSM and cuckolding fetishists lack the basic civil right to participate in civil marriage contracts ”

Um, what? Where’s the rule that says people who are into BDSM aren’t allowed to marry?

207. Robin Levett

Bob B #185:

Chaise and Cylux have said what needs to be said about polygamy (let’s stick with that, since it describes both polygyny and polyandry, and also comprehends many-to-many marriages), cuckoldry and BDSM as sexual orientations; namely that they aren’t.

Just two further comments:

There are no substantive reasons to justify your wish to discriminate.

Assuming you are using “discriminate” here as in the racial as opposed to the musical sense; where do you find that in what I’ve written?

Secondly; there was a lot more in my comment #176; care to comment on any of that?

w jallen,

Is it really so unpalatable to accept that there may be some who hold a view that is different from the all encompassing modern liberal force fed righteousness.
What ever happened to autonomy, self expression of the heterosexual ?

What do you mean? AFAICS nothing has happened to it. What some homosexuals want is ‘equal autonomy’ and ‘self expression’.

Where is the discriminatory dissemination of the moderate tradition belief going to take us all ?

What does this mean? Sorry, but it looks like word salad.

Robin

There is no compelling reason why I or we must accept your (subjective) claim that polygamous and polyandrous relationships and BDSM and cuckolding fetishes are not “sexual orientation”. There’s an instructive insight to be gained from this dialogue in Lewis Carroll: Alice Through the Looking Glass:

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’
http://sabian.org/looking_glass6.php

Definitions of words and phrases change. You can make your choice but I’m free to make mine. As Hobbes put it in Leviathan (1660) bk.1 chp.4:

“For words are wise men’s counters; they do but reckon by them: but they are the money of fools, that value them by the authority of an Aristotle, a Cicero, or a Thomas, or any other doctor whatsoever”

What some heterosexuals want is unequal autonomy and self expression.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_orientation
http://civilliberty.about.com/od/gendersexuality/g/sex_orientation.htm
http://m.dictionary.com/d/?q=sexual%20orientation&o=0&l=dir

So you’ve basically admitted Bob that you’re using your own special personal meaning of the phrase ‘sexual orientation’. Very good.

For what it’s worth (and that may be not much at all) this was ”Brendan O’ Contrarian” again on this just today.

Given its surreality, it is remarkable that so many intelligent people are taking the gay-marriage issue at face value, seriously saying ‘Yes, I fully support the enactment of this long-traduced historic right’. What they should be doing is asking why gay marriage is an issue at all and untangling how it came to be a defining battleground in the modern Culture Wars.

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/12273/

This is a discussion forum, and that may be part of a discussion.
I think it’s worthwhile at least giving views like this a passing thought.

Some people will say: so what if the campaign for gay marriage is a bit off and snobbish? At least there will be the byproduct of greater equality, actual ‘marriage rights’, for gay people. But even in its own terms, gay marriage is a bad idea, for many reasons. Primarily because, while it is presented to us as a wonderfully generous act of cultural elevation (of gay couples), it is more importantly a thoughtless act of cultural devaluation (of traditional marriage). An institution entered into by millions of people for quite specific reasons – often, though not always, for the purpose of procreation – is being casually demoted, with the Lib-Con government even proposing that the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ no longer be used in official documents. The overnight Orwellian airbrushing of two such longstanding titles from public records demonstrates the extent to which the elite is willing to ride roughshod over traditional identities in pursuit of its own new identity as gay-friendly and moral.

I find that kind of talking quite interesting.
I understand though why some people will not even read it.

213. Robin Levett

Bob B #208:

There is no compelling reason why I or we must accept your (subjective) claim that polygamous and polyandrous relationships and BDSM and cuckolding fetishes are not “sexual orientation”. There’s an instructive insight to be gained from this dialogue in Lewis Carroll: Alice Through the Looking Glass:

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

The point is that it is you playing Humpty-Dumpty here. The accepted definition of “sexual orientation” is some variant of:

Sexual orientation refers to the sex, sexes, gender or genders, to which a person is attracted and which form the focus of a person’s amorous or erotic desires, fantasies, and spontaneous feelings.

http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Sexual_orientation

That is also the meaning of the word in law; BDSM and cuckoldry are behaviours, not orientations; although in any event, in the case of BDSM as Cylux and Chaise have pointed out, no-one is preventing either from marrying the object of their desire, and in the case of cuckoldry it is difficult to see who is being prevented from marrying whom because of their cuckoldry – you can only marry a person, not a concept.

If you want to use the words differently, then go ahead; but don’t expect anyone else to agre – still less accept that their usage is wrong.

Now how about a fuller answer to my post #176?

damon,

Brendan O’ Contrarian: What they should be doing is asking why gay marriage is an issue at all and untangling how it came to be a defining battleground in the modern Culture Wars.

As I understand it, ‘gay marriage’ is an issue because supporters of it want treatment equal to that enjoyed by heterosexuals. I don’t see a Culture War going on, so I don’t see why I “should be … untangling how it came to be a defining battleground.”

Some people will say: so what if the campaign for gay marriage is a bit off and snobbish?

Some people – e.g. me – might say, hang on, is the campaign in fact a bit off and snobbish? Because AFAICS it hasn’t been anything of the sort. Damon, I asked you before, who is being “sniffy” or “elitist”? Who is trying to distance himself from the “plebs” and “rednecks”? Which supporters of gay marriage have called themselves “enlightened liberals”? Now I ask you, as someone who apparently endorses Spiked comments, can you show me any examples of the “bit off” and “snobbish” aspects of the campaign?

Right now it looks like an invention of O’Neills that you are buying into absent any evidence there is anything of the sort going on.

it is more importantly a thoughtless act of cultural devaluation (of traditional marriage)

In what way does it “devalue” traditional marriage? (I’ve asked this of people before and not received any response.)

Ukliberty, you asked: Which supporters of gay marriage have called themselves “enlightened liberals”?
Here’s an example of it … and the ”Culture Wars” that these people are talking about.

Remember ”The rally to Restore Sanity” in Washington DC in 2010?
When tens of thousands of people came out to The Mall to show their opposition to the Tea Party and the Fox News view of the world?
Spiked covered it like this:

American liberals’ rally to share an Inside Joke
In place of political vision, Saturday’s Jon Stewart-inspired Washington gathering offered cheap shots at Republicans.

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9842/

Whichever side you’re on, I think it’s plain that there is a clear divide.

The self-righteous undercurrent to the day’s proceedings was palpable. When people held signs saying ‘Think’, ‘Read a Book’ or ‘I have a sign and it’s spelled correctly’, everyone knew what the signs meant. These were not aimed at third graders urging them to take their studies seriously. Rather this is the familiar insider way that liberals think and talk about their conservative opponents.

That’s what they mean by ”culture wars”. It’s pretty obvious.
Because where does that leave people in the ”other” community? The ones who vote Republican and watch Fox News? They are dinosaurs are they not? ”Old School”.
And we can’t be putting up with Old School. Today we’re all meant to be Lady Gaga.

I think gay marriage does (somewhat) ”devalue” – or at least change what marriage has been.
Maybe that doesn’t matter. I said I don’t really care. I’m more intrested in the way how things are discussed. And the title of this thread and it’s opening post are intresting starting points. You keep asking me to ”spell it out”. How does it change anything?
It does a bit because marriage used to be about a man and a woman getting married.
If this law passes it will encompass a wider meaning. Maybe we should just put it to a vote.

216. Robin Levett

@damon #215:

I think gay marriage does (somewhat) ”devalue” – or at least change what marriage has been.

I went through a civil ceremony of marriage [mumble] years ago. I can ses no way in which the fact that gays would be able to marry affects the value of my marriage. I would be even more certain that my marriage has not been affected if |’d had a CofE marriage; after all, gays still won’t have a right to get married in the CofE if the legislation passes.

It’s a possibly relevant thought that in the eyes of many more strictly religious types – the type that oppose gay marriage – I’m not actually married at all (“in the eyes of God”). How can my marriage be devalued if I’m not married in the first place?

@213 Robin” “Now how about a fuller answer to my post #176?”

C’mon. Your argument hangs on your definition of “sexual orienation” – which I don’t accept – period – as well as rejecting your methodology for the reasons Hobbes gave in 1660. Words are merely counters. The point of quoting Lewis Carroll was to show that this nominalist way of thinking is endemic to the British tradition of philosophy. Shakespeare was on the same line when he wrote that a rose by any other name would small as sweet.

Polygamous and polyandous partners and cuckolding and BDSM fetishists are as much entitled to claim that they have a “sexual orientation” as dedicated monogamists, whether heterosexual or homosexual.

damon,

That’s what they mean by ”culture wars”. It’s pretty obvious.
Because where does that leave people in the ”other” community? The ones who vote Republican and watch Fox News? They are dinosaurs are they not? ”Old School”.
And we can’t be putting up with Old School. Today we’re all meant to be Lady Gaga.

I think you are missing the point: we are not meant to be Lady Gaga, the point is that anyone should be free to be Lady Gaga, without being persecuted, punished, discriminated against etc. We are free to like or dislike or be indifferent about Lady Gaga, but what we shouldn’t do is prohibit her from being Lady Gaga or persecute her for being Lady Gaga.

That’s the point; it’s not about being against “rednecks” in themselves, for example, it’s about being against anyone who insists on infringing on the freedoms of others or who insist its right to infringe on the freedoms of others e.g. Fox News, the Catholic Church, Islamists….

We should be free to be a redneck or a Catholic or be Lady Gaga or be someone else so long as we do no harm to others. Live and let live.

I think gay marriage does (somewhat) ”devalue” – or at least change what marriage has been.
Maybe that doesn’t matter. I said I don’t really care. I’m more intrested in the way how things are discussed. And the title of this thread and it’s opening post are intresting starting points. You keep asking me to ”spell it out”. How does it change anything?
It does a bit because marriage used to be about a man and a woman getting married.
If this law passes it will encompass a wider meaning.

You are “interested in how things are discussed”. Let’s look at when you say “gay marriage does (somewhat) “devalue” – or least change what marriage has been”. OK, it is certainly true that the dictionary definition will change. But anti gay marriage people seem to think actual marriages will be “devalued” in some way – the value of marriage will be reduced. I’m interested in how this is discussed as well, because when they are challenged on what this actually means, I haven’t seen a substantive response. It just seems to be a feeling, based on prejudice. Now, call me mad but I don’t think people should remain unequal just because some people will be otherwise pissed off at some imagined hurt. For me, there has got to be a stronger case for inequality, people must be able to show some real harm that will result from equality, to justify it.

So yes, I’m interested in how things are discussed. In the context of gay marriage, there seem to be a number of claims, about harms that will supposedly come to pass, yet there seems to be no substance to them.

219. Robin Levett

@damon #215;

(following on from the last para of my #215):

The Catholic Church, while it recognises the legal consequences of my marriage, does not recognise it as a marriage per se. Were I Catholic, and to divorce, it would be open to me to obtain a decree of nullity for lack of canonical form and to (re)marry in a Catholic Church. You’ll remember that Catholics regard marriage as for life, and denies the validity of divorce – hence no Catholic can “marry” (in the eyes of the Church) twice. The decree of nullity doesn’t dissolve the civil marriage in Catholic eyes – it certifies that a “marriage” never existed.

The Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination; and does not recognise civil marriages as marriages. How can it consistently claim that legal recognition of gay civil marriages “devalues” civil marriages?

“But anti gay marriage people seem to think actual marriages will be “devalued” in some way – the value of marriage will be reduced.”

I can’t begin to understand how a heterosexual relationship of a couple is adversly affected by the homosexual relationship of another couple down the road – or by consenting polygamous and polyandrous unions or the sexual orientations of BDSM and cuckolding fetishists.

As best I can tell, some folk have this insatiable, kinki desire to control the sex lives of others. The fact is that I don’t care what consenting adults do providing they don’t harm others. JS Mill prevails:”The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” [On Liberty 1859]
http://www.utilitarianism.com/ol/one.html

221. Robin Levett

@Bob B #217:

C’mon. Your argument hangs on your definition of “sexual orienation” – which I don’t accept – period – as well as rejecting your methodology for the reasons Hobbes gave in 1660. Words are merely counters.

Well, if you’re going to use words to mean what you want them to mean, rather than as people currently use them, you can’t complain about others questioning your usage. Words are merely counters – but there is an agreed value for the words “sexual orientation”, and in refusing to accept the generally accepted (not “my”) value you are in the position of a shopkeeper who refuses to accept two 50p pieces for an item of goods because his definition of £1 involves the use of a rubber corset.

There’s a difference between the legal status – marriage – and the people permitted to enter that status.

There is nothing preventing those into BDSM, or cuckolding fetishism, entering marriages with one another. Nor indeed is there anything preventing those into polygamy from entering into marriages one with the other. The polygamist is prevented from entering into a multiply-married status because such a status does not exist within the common law; not because as polygamists they would prefer multiple marriages.

I have asked you in #’176 what form of multiple marriage you would prefer to be enacted, and how the various legal issues attending such marriages – which do not exist within marriage as it now stands – are to be dealt with. It’s odd that someone so in favour of the introduction of polygamous marriage is so relucatant to say exactly what he wants.

Robin: “Well, if you’re going to use words to mean what you want them to mean, rather than as people currently use them, you can’t complain about others questioning your usage. Words are merely counters – but there is an agreed value for the words “sexual orientation”, and in refusing to accept the generally accepted (not “my”) value you are in the position of a shopkeeper who refuses to accept two 50p pieces for an item of goods because his definition of £1 involves the use of a rubber corset.”

I regard all that as unmitigated nonsense and reject entirely your claim that there is an agreed consensus about the connotations of “sexual orienation”. I will stick with Shakespeare, Hobbes and Lewis Carroll.

It is patently absurd IMO to claim that tolerance towards polygamous and polyandrous unions and BDSM and cuckolding fetishists all hangs on the meaning of sexual orientation you wish to impute to that term and is not about whether we are collectively entitled to seek to control the sex lives of others regardless of whether their relationships and actions harm others.

223. Robin Levett

@Bob (Humpty Dumpty) B #222:

I regard all that as unmitigated nonsense and reject entirely your claim that there is an agreed consensus about the connotations of “sexual orienation”. I will stick with Shakespeare, Hobbes and Lewis Carroll.

What did Shakespeare, Hobbes and Lewis Carroll mean by “sexual orientation”, then?

I have to say that I have no problem with what Hobbes said; but you are either suffering from Dunning-Krueger syndrome, or are quite deliberately taking the mickey. You can only “reckon by” something which has an agreed value. Your proposed value is inconsistent with every other usage of “sexual orientation” of which I am aware.

I note you still have no reasoned explanation of your odd usage of “sexual orientation”; nor provided any proposal for the form of polygamous marriage that you are so desperate to see enacted into law, or the legal resolutions of the problems I have raised.

Robin: “Your proposed value is inconsistent with every other usage of “sexual orientation” of which I am aware.”

I don’t accept your dogmatic claim as to the meaning of “sexual orientation” and what that includes or excludes and regard as entirely absurd your argument that tolerance towards polygamous and polyandrous unions and BDSM and cuckolding fetishists should hang on the meaning attributed to “sexual orientation”.

What matters in this is what JS Mill wrote – see quote and link @220.

I don’t have this inclination to seek to control the sex lives of others providing they inflict no harm on others – regardless of what “sexual orientation” may or may not mean.

Humpty-Dumpty seems like as good a guide as any in this debate.

226. Robin Levett

Okay Bob B. Please answer one question that you’ve been avoiding all the time. What stops BDSM couples from marrying? I’m aware of nothing.

@224 I think you are (deliberately) confusing ‘marriage’ with ‘sex’ bob, one is the formal recognition of a relationship, the other is what two or more people do with their naughty bits with one another. Aside from the notable exceptions of sex in public, underage sex, and paid sex, the latter is not ‘controlled’ in any way.


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