‘Libertarian’ party UKIP to exploit gay marriage vote


by Sunny Hundal    
8:15 am - December 12th 2012

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Heard the one about UKIP claiming to be the libertarian party? Yup, I thought that was funny too.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage told the Guardian last night:

David Cameron’s proposal has the potential to rip apart the traditional rural Tory vote. While Ukip wholly respects the rights of gay people to have civil partnerships, we feel the prime minister’s proposals will present an affront to millions of people in this country for whom this will be the final straw.

The division between city and rural is absolutely huge. In my village pub in Kent they are just completely against.

It was even funnier hearing Farage trying to link gay marriage with the EU.

Ukip is not a one-issue party, but the gay marriage case is closely interwoven with the European court of human rights, as is so much of our life.

I never turn down an opportunity to laugh at right-wing infighting.

But even by his own standards this is a highly cynical move by the party that claims to be libertarian. I wonder how many of the younger grassroots activists at UKIP feel about this.

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Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Policy as suggested by a village pub in Kent. UKIP in a nutshell.

Were UKIP to be a serious party it would be looking at its youth wing and seeing the future direction it could take. However, it is not. It is a pressure group designed, as was its predecessor the Referendum Party, to campaign on the EU and to attract votes from the Conservatives (and in lesser levels, Labour) from older voters who don’t like the social liberal consensus that has developed.

The new club for golf club bores.

Why is gay marrage such a massive issue, which always seems to attract the over emotional left?

4. Roger Bamforth

“It was even funnier hearing Farage trying to link gay marriage with the EU.

Ukip is not a one-issue party, but the gay marriage case is closely interwoven with the European court of human rights, as is so much of our life.”

I don’t know if it’s your mistake or Farage’s but the European Court of Human Rights has got nothing to do with the EU. They’re completely separate institutions.

It was also amusing to see Dai Bungalow (David Davies MP) claim he wasn’t homophobic because he once had a fight with a Gay boxer.

6. Chaise Guevara

Well, UKIP are libertarian small-c conservatives. Which absolutely doesn’t make sense, but it’s no stranger than the makeup of most other parties.

@ 1

“Policy as suggested by a village pub in Kent. UKIP in a nutshell”

Haha!

7. Chaise Guevara

@ 3 Blah

“Why is gay marrage such a massive issue, which always seems to attract the over emotional left?”

Would you really say UKIP was on the “over emotional left”?

The European Court of Human Rights is presumably why 4 states in the US legalised gay marriage last month. Oh, wait…

9. Dark Heart of Toryland

Does UKIP actually have any younger grassroots activists? It strikes me as a party of the borderline senile.

Why is gay marrage such a massive issue, which always seems to attract the over emotional left?

Why does it attract the ire of hysterical rightwingers?

11. gastro george

Considering the recent survey that showed that UKIP voters were more concerned about immigration than Europe, should this be surprising?

What’s wrong with pub opinion from villages in Kent?
Is it less valid than opinion from metropolitan liberal hangouts?

Of course, the left might be in a better position to criticise UKIP on this issue if Labour had committed themselves to overturning a ban on the CoE performing gay marriages – otherwise it just looks like tribal opportunism on their part.

“Would you really say UKIP was on the “over emotional left”?

What ever they, as well as most political partys do, is to exploit the issue to best suit there current need, in my view anyway. What I am trying to understand here is whyt he dramatic push for gay marage? Why do people care etc

Why the “dramatic push” for equal rights you mean?

Yeah – why on earth do people care about those??

Meanwhile in a happier place
http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/joyful-declarations-of-love-from-newlyweds-in-seat

“Why the “dramatic push” for equal rights you mean?

Yeah – why on earth do people care about those??”

Most people I have heard object do it on the grounds of child raising and so forth. Are equal rights always so straight forward?

Gay couples already raise children just as successfully as straight couples.

19. Chaise Guevara

@ 12 damon

“What’s wrong with pub opinion from villages in Kent?”

It’s a bit of a microcosm, no?

“Gay couples already raise children just as successfully as straight couples.”

They sure do, beats not having a loving home to grow up in by a billion times. Some people think a child requires a mother and farther, I can kind of see there point. Its not a simple issue.

21. Chaise Guevara

@ 15 Blah

“What I am trying to understand here is whyt he dramatic push for gay marage?”

People want it and are unfairly denied it. Hence the push. Other people are trying to prevent it, creating two opposed sides. Hence the drama.

“Why do people care etc”

Empathy.

I’m starting to get scared by how many LC posters don’t understand this concept.

Why do we have to allow a tiny minority of people to hold sway over the many? They have already hi-jacked one word: Gay (it used to be a quite commonly used adjective both conversationally and in songs); and now we have to have the word/connotation/usage of marriage altered to suit what by all accounts isn’t even that big a deal amongst the gay community.

It was not in either of the coalition’s manifestos and it is just Cameron, knowing he will lose the next election, putting in his job applications for 2015… back in the “liberal” media.That’s all he is.. a PR man!!!

23. Robin Levett

@damn #12:

What’s wrong with pub opinion from villages in Kent?

Have you ever been in a pub in a village in Kent? I grew up there.

@OP:

Heard the one about UKIP claiming to be the libertarian party?

Of course they’re libertarian; they’re committed to shrinking the state so much that it’ll fit into your bedroom and mine.

24. Chaise Guevara

@ 22 tony

“Why do we have to allow a tiny minority of people to hold sway over the many?”

Tiny minority? Opinion polls on the issue vary widely based on how the question is phrased, but they all show a lot of support for gay marriage and many show a majority.

But do go ahead and tell us why it’s ok for minorities to be shafted when they’re not hurting anyone.

“They have already hi-jacked one word: Gay”

Arrgh, amateur language snobs. Language changes. That’s just how things work. “Silly” used to mean “holy” (presumably it changed via “innocent”). We used to cap up all the important-sounding nouns like Honour and Reason. Big deal.

Of course, thanks to the other side, you can no longer easily use “queer” to mean “strange”, “faggot” to mean bundle of wood, or “bender” to mean “one who bends”. But while I object to these words being hurled as abuse, I’m not gonna get my panties in a bunch simply over the fact that they’ve picked up extra meaning.

It was in the manifesto.

“The Conservative Party has once again attempted to reach out to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered issues) with an equality manifesto that promises to consider the case for civil partnerships to be renamed as civil marriages.”

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/05/03/conservative-equality-manifesto-promises-to-consider-full-gay-marriage/

@Tony:

I hear that homosexuals will come round to your house and beat you senseless if you even think of using ‘gay’ to mean ‘happy’. They just hate any positive association with the word, bloody linguistic hijackers that they are.

28. Robin Levett

@tony #22:

One point worth responding to:

It was not in either of the coalition’s manifestos…

From the Tory equalities manifesto in 2010:

In this election campaign we have talked about the new part we hope people will play in making
the country better, in building the Big Society. Now, at the end of the campaign, we are setting out
our side of the bargain: what we will do if we win the election…

We will also consider the case for changing the
law to allow civil partnerships to be called and
classified as marriage.

Clegg gave a personal commitment to gay marriage in Feb 2010, and the LibDem conference adopted that as policy in September 2010.

People want it and are unfairly denied it. Hence the push. Other people are trying to prevent it, creating two opposed sides. Hence the drama.

There’s not even a symmetry here. There’s one group, which simply wants to express their love and commitment in a way that is quite usual among heterosexuals( and another group which wants to prevent them form expressing this love because they think it’s icky.

Why do we have to allow a tiny minority of people to hold sway over the many? They have already hi-jacked one word: Gay (it used to be a quite commonly used adjective both conversationally and in songs); and now we have to have the word/connotation/usage of marriage altered to suit what by all accounts isn’t even that big a deal amongst the gay community.

There was a time when bullshit meant shit from a bull but you’ve just demonstrated why we need its newer usage..

31. Chaise Guevara

@ 29 Shatterface

You’re probably oversimplifying the other side, but I agree that we’re not talking about two houses, both alike in dignity. There’s a pretty clear right side and wrong side here as far as I’m concerned.

” … and another group which wants to prevent them form expressing this love because they think it’s icky”

Icky? Only if it’s done right.

33. The XYZ Line

“But even by his own standards this is a highly cynical move by the party that claims to be libertarian.”

The idea that the government can and ought to change the fundamental building-block of society by legislative fiat is about as far from libertarianism as it is possible to get.

Marginally expand the “fundamental building block” to include those previously excluded would be a better description.

I’m sorry but where is the claim to libertarianism? Considering libertarians support allowing institutions to marry gays I don’t see the connection. Not to mention UKIP is rather too nationalist to be considered libertarian.

36. Chaise Guevara

@ 33

“The idea that the government can and ought to change the fundamental building-block of society by legislative fiat is about as far from libertarianism as it is possible to get.”

That’s right. Because libertarians are all about the government telling people what they can do with their lives. It couldn’t possibly be that you have no clue whatsoever of which you speak.

37. Jason Status

@ 3. Blah

“Why is gay marrage such a massive issue, which always seems to attract the over emotional left?”

I think it’s really easy for people who aren’t gay to see an issue of homophobia as irrelevant and a waste of time. Try thinking past your own front door ey?

22. tony

” They have already hi-jacked one word: Gay (it used to be a quite commonly used adjective both conversationally and in songs); and now we have to have the word/connotation/usage of marriage altered to suit what by all accounts isn’t even that big a deal amongst the gay community. ”

Part of the success of the English language is its ability to evolve. New words are adopted and meanings change through the users adopting different meanings. Originalism is rather silly thing to adopt for the English language because even the spelling of common words has changed over the years. The fact that we understand gay to mean something different to the context people used the word in the past is no big deal. What matters is how the contemporary users apply meaning to the word.

The term Little Englander originally was used in the context of anti-imperialists who one could broadly say were on the Left. However, the term has evolved to mean something quite different. Most people understand the new meaning tends to describe someone who is a reactionary rightwinger none too keen on Johnny Foreigner. What matters is how people understand the new context and not the original meaning.

Yes of course “gay marriage” is “an affront to millions of people”, but we live in a democracy, and if a majority (of a larger number of millions) either say “Gay marriage is fine by me” or “Not really bothered either way, let them get on with it” then that is the end of that.

I mean, a slim majority support getting out of the EU, and it’s hardly an argument to say “millions of people” want to stay in (and it cannot be disputed that millions do want to stay in).

Either we are in or are we are out (pun intended).

Yes, language evolves. But if the right cannot object to the loss of gay in the sense of “bright, cheerful” us PC lefties cannot object to the Moyles and Clarksons who now use gay in the sense of “effete, feeble.” In fact the word may do a complete 180 and go from a synonym of “colourful” to “colourless”.

“I wonder how many of the younger grassroots activists at UKIP feel about this.”

The under 70s?

42. Chaise Guevara

@ 40 badstephen

“Yes, language evolves. But if the right cannot object to the loss of gay in the sense of “bright, cheerful” us PC lefties cannot object to the Moyles and Clarksons who now use gay in the sense of “effete, feeble.”

That’s a different matter. The issue there isn’t “OMG a word has changed meaning my brain cannot handle it!” The problem is the implication that being gay makes you feeble. Nobody seriously thinks that the modern use of the word “gay” means that being bright and colourful makes you a homosexual.

I personally think that the backlash against “gay” as a pejorative is overblown, especially when people assume an individual is a homophobe when they’re probably just thoughtlessly using an insult they got used to when growing up. But people don’t object to “gay” for “feeble” simply on grounds of etymological obtuseness, unlike tony’s objection to its use for “homosexual” (more accurately, he’s pretending to have etymological objections as a stalking horse; really he’s a bully scrabbling for an excuse to call himself a victim).

In fact, the use of “Gay” to mean “rubbish, feeble, etc” is particularly common amongst young tolerant types. Including homosexuals. In short, it’s ironic, though you should probably avoid it unless you’re young, tolerant, groovy etc.

Besides, at the risk being overly graphic,

a) Sex between two men is, ahem, usually more physically demanding than the traditional type, and

b) People are generally more adventurous these days. This tends to involve “unisex” activities such as fellatio, anal, spanking, etc. In other words, once this point drops, fewer people will see gay sex as “alien” or “gross”.

Robin Levett @22
Have you ever been in a pub in a village in Kent? I grew up there.
Yes I have as I grew up very close to Kent myself.
Kent is next to London. People who live in Kent villages can be big commuters and are always on the M25.
Harldy Pop Lakin territory these days.
Sounds a bit like cosmopolitan sneering though.
What’s the opposite of these ”backward” places like small town Kent? Islington High Street?
Gentrifying Hackney?
Anyway, I presume there’s nothing that should not be done to stick it to the UKIP voting part of society.
Just to annoy the heck out of them if nothing else.

“I live in London but I leave it often enough to know that parts of the country are pretty white, enough to scare my “white” children because they are just not used to such a monoculture and find it disturbing, unreal and, to be frank, lacking.”

I hope it is not those Kent villages with all their scary and lacking white people who are scaring Suzanne Moore’s children. Always amazing the sheer shock and wonderment that a Guardian journalist feels when they venture beyond the M25 and discover a country with actual people living in it. Sometimes reading the output nowadays it is hard to tell whether it is real, trolling readers or satire. The really scary thing is they are becoming a parody of themselves without realising.

46. Robin Levett

@damon #44:

Kent is next to London. People who live in Kent villages can be big commuters and are always on the M25.
Harldy Pop Lakin territory these days.[sic]

All facts of which I am well aware, having grown up in Kent; ponder the implications of that…

I live in the city of Leicester, two miles from its centre, where white UK-born people now account for less than 50% of the population. And I live on a street of 70+ houses in which four homes have non-white residents. My street is not-atypical of the middle income neighbourhood.

It sometimes feels a bit strange coming home or using the local shops. I wonder whether other Leicester residents consider it to be odd when visiting.

Aggregated numbers can confuse rather than illuminate. Draw a tiddly circle around my house and neighbours, and within it white UK-born citizens amount to 14%. Draw one ten times the diameter and white UK-born citizens become 90%. And when you draw a wobbly circle around the entire city, the number changes again.

Forgive me for the ramble which was a basic setup case about Tyranny of the Majority. By drawing a circle around my home three times, I can analyse my minority/majority status in three ways.

For a classical liberal, opposition to Tyranny of the Majority is a no-brain decision. Some social democrats and socialists don’t instinctively understand opposition but come round owing to pragmatism; idiots compromise themselves by establishing alliances with unpleasant organisations that can deliver a partisan vote.

I don’t have a clue about how UKIP intends to play their opposition to gay marriage; I doubt whether they do. UKIP are just tossing an idea to the electorate in the hope that Tyranny of the Majority (or Tyranny of a Big Enough Minority) sticks to it.

48. Chaise Guevara

@ 43 Jack C

“In fact, the use of “Gay” to mean “rubbish, feeble, etc” is particularly common amongst young tolerant types. Including homosexuals. In short, it’s ironic, though you should probably avoid it unless you’re young, tolerant, groovy etc.”

Agreed. Although I don’t think you need to actively earn N-word privileges here. You can use the word that way if a) you don’t have a record of being a homophobe, b) you say it in such a way as to make it clear you’re being ironic, and c) if there’s nobody you don’t know around who might take it the wrong way, as I have learned to my cost.

“Besides, at the risk being overly graphic,

a) Sex between two men is, ahem, usually more physically demanding than the traditional type”

Heh. Interesting point. I might add that gay people have to put up with flack just for being gay, and hence may well be a bit tougher than most of us straights.

“b) People are generally more adventurous these days. This tends to involve “unisex” activities such as fellatio, anal, spanking, etc. In other words, once this point drops, fewer people will see gay sex as “alien” or “gross”.”

Agreed: once everyone’s able to explore their own kinkiness, they’ll be less inclined to tut over kink in others. Although I should point out that fellatio isn’t exactly unisex, at least on the receiving end.

“Although I should point out that fellatio isn’t exactly unisex, at least on the receiving end”

True, but this is the season of giving after all.

50. Chaise Guevara

@ 49

Ha ha!

51. Richard Carey

UKIP are not really a libertarian party, although many libertarians have joined them in recent times.

Libertarians are not duty bound to support the government’s gay marriage policy at all. Many will, I expect, but there are arguments against the proposed changes from a libertarian point of view.

The standard libertarian position, I would say, is that the government has no business interfering with marriage, that it is a contractual matter between two people.

If all the government wanted to do was remove some of the barriers it has put around marriage, then that would be one thing (I am thinking for instance of the prohibition of prayers and such like at a civil ceremony), but it’s not going to do just that, due to all the other legislation about equality and group rights, and what the government leaves undone will be completed by the courts.

This will no doubt please some people, but for a Conservative government, it seems suicidal.

52. Chaise Guevara

@ 51 Carey

“The standard libertarian position, I would say, is that the government has no business interfering with marriage, that it is a contractual matter between two people.”

Agreed, but if the options are restricted to “status quo” and “status quo with gay marriage legalised”, I’m having trouble seeing how a libertarian could back the former.

53. Derek Hattons Tailor

The libertarian position would be that marriage should not involve the state at all. If 2 people want to get married – in the legal sense – they should go and see a solicitor and set up a legal contract between them. If they also wish to have that marriage recognised by a religion of their choice they go and arrange that with a representative of that religion. A libertarian would not care if you wanted to marry a man, a woman or your favourite sheep. He would object to any organisation or individual being forced to marry 2 parties, for any reason. If you wanted to marry a sheep you would have to find a solicitor and/or vicar willing to endorse that union. If none could be found, he would have to invent his own religion and legal contract.
The states involvement with marriage IIRC correctly goes back to Henry the 8th, the reformation and the genesis of the nation state, it was originally a political construct, in the sense that Henry 8th didn’t want to be a subject of Papal Diktat on who he could marry/divorce (or anything else). Despite kicking off the reformation, the religious construct was incidental, and only relevant then because church/state were effectively the same thing.

54. Chaise Guevara

@ 53 Derek

“The libertarian position would be that marriage should not involve the state at all. If 2 people want to get married – in the legal sense – they should go and see a solicitor and set up a legal contract between them.”

That does involve the state indirectly, and directly if either party is accused of breaking said contract.

55. Richard Carey

@ Chaise,

I think DHT @53 lays out the libertarian position well.

“if the options are restricted to “status quo” and “status quo with gay marriage legalised”, I’m having trouble seeing how a libertarian could back the former.”

Firstly, you will be aware that libertarians are rarely consulted in these matters, so whether we back one side or the other or neither is a personal matter, rather than one of great political import.

Secondly, I think the government is going to muck it up, and that its most latest pronouncement, removing the C of E from the law change, is indicative that they are only now beginning to understand what is required, and that, legally speaking, they are like a child playing with a box of matches.

Thirdly, I think these changes will increase state interference rather than reduce it. I don’t see why it’s any business of the state if people are married or not. If it was only removing barriers so that, for instance a Unitarian Church could marry a gay couple, that would be one thing, but I just don’t see it stopping at that point.

56. Derek Hattons Tailor

@ 54 To the extend that the state gives legal force to the contract then yes there is indirect involvement, but no more so than for any other dispute between 2 parties. This is a circular argument though. If the state did not exist then it would be a dispute between the 2 parties and would be settled by them, probably with reference to the community a bit like disputes being settled by local elders in some cultures.

The states involvement in Law enforcement began as an attempt to standardise the process and outcome of resolving such disputes (i.e. Civil law)

57. Chaise Guevara

@ 55 Richard

OK, but would you, as a libertarian, say that gay marriage being legalised for state marriages and optional for religious ministers, with full safeguards ensuring no minister would ever be compelled to marry a gay couple or punished under criminal or civil law for doing so, would be better or worse than what we have now?

I realise it’s a bit icing-on-the-cake given your position on marriage generally, but surely a slight improvement in freedom is a good thing?

58. Richard Carey

@ 57 Chaise,

maybe it would, if those safeguards were in place, but I expect that the courts will nullify the safeguards, or, if not, the next government will remove them.

Now, taking a sectarian view (as a libertarian), I see benefits from the government’s planned action, by pissing off a lot of Christians, who may become more open to the message that the state is the enemy. So I’m kind of in favour!

Time to start officially naming them the Nutters Party when talking about these brain-less far-right wankers and their stupid supporters.

60. Richard Carey

@ 59 Tory BStard,

well, that’s probably about the level you are capable of, but others can manage rational debate, and find playground insults tiresome. Now, run along and do your homework.

61. The XYZ Line

Chaise @ 36:

“That’s right. Because libertarians are all about the government telling people what they can do with their lives.”

There’s a difference between not telling people what to do and actively promoting a certain viewpoint. Gay marriage is about the latter, not the former.

(In fact, I’d say that from any libertarian point of view, gay marriage is pretty dubious. If you take the view of most SSM advocates — that marriage is about two people in love, not about making babies or anything like that — then it’s none of the State’s business and it ought to butt out of marriage altogether. [As a matter of fact, I happen to think that the case under any political philosophy, but even more so for libertarianism.] Whereas, if you take the more traditional view that marriage is about providing a stable environment for the next generation, then since only heterosexual couples are inherently able to have children, the State only ought to get involved in their marriages, if at all.)

62. Chaise Guevara

@ 61 XYZ

“There’s a difference between not telling people what to do and actively promoting a certain viewpoint. Gay marriage is about the latter, not the former.”

False dichotomy. Gay marriage is quite blatantly about not telling people what to do, because we’re removing a legal restriction on people’s private lives.

“In fact, I’d say that from any libertarian point of view, gay marriage is pretty dubious.”

Yes, but you seem worryingly unfamiliar with the philosophy. It’s not the same as conservatism, you know.

“If you take the view of most SSM advocates — that marriage is about two people in love, not about making babies or anything like that — then it’s none of the State’s business and it ought to butt out of marriage altogether. [As a matter of fact, I happen to think that the case under any political philosophy, but even more so for libertarianism.] Whereas, if you take the more traditional view that marriage is about providing a stable environment for the next generation, then since only heterosexual couples are inherently able to have children, the State only ought to get involved in their marriages, if at all.)”

Another false dichotomy. Why can’t it be both, or either, depending on the couple? We don’t need to state to enforce some kind of breeding program. Maybe you want your marriage to be about raising kids and I want mine to be about love and someone else just wants it to be a way of hanging on to the best lover they’ve ever had. Fair enough. I won’t tell you you’re wrong, and if you try to tell me I’m wrong I’ll laugh in your face.

63. Chaise Guevara

@ 58 Richard

“maybe it would, if those safeguards were in place, but I expect that the courts will nullify the safeguards, or, if not, the next government will remove them.”

You seem a bit set on not giving an answer here. It’s a hypothetical, I’m not going to pretend that you need to stick to your response if the rules are different.

“Now, taking a sectarian view (as a libertarian), I see benefits from the government’s planned action, by pissing off a lot of Christians, who may become more open to the message that the state is the enemy. So I’m kind of in favour!”

Well, fair enough!

64. The XYZ Line

Chaise @ 62:

“Gay marriage is quite blatantly about not telling people what to do, because we’re removing a legal restriction on people’s private lives.”

Gay people are already free to consider themselves married, call themselves married, and live together as a married couple. There’s no restriction on their private lives, other than perhaps the fact that they can’t celebrate their wedding ceremony at a church.

(Although even that probably doesn’t make much difference — if a priest somewhere does decide to allow gay weddings, are the police seriously going to arrest all the organisers? The ceremony wouldn’t be legally binding, but then no non-CoE wedding is legally binding anyway, and members of other denominations seem to get on fine.)

“Another false dichotomy. Why can’t it be both, or either, depending on the couple?”

Then I’ll add a third option: marriage is inherently purposeless, any meaning is decided upon by the couple. In which case I still don’t see why the State should get involved.

“We don’t need to state to enforce some kind of breeding program.”

It’s not about the State enforcing a breeding program, it’s about trying to make sure children have the best possible start in life.

65. Robin Levett

@Richard Carey #58:

maybe it would, if those safeguards were in place, but I expect that the courts will nullify the safeguards

Why would they do that?

66. Chaise Guevara

@ 64 XYZ

“Gay people are already free to consider themselves married, call themselves married, and live together as a married couple. There’s no restriction on their private lives, other than perhaps the fact that they can’t celebrate their wedding ceremony at a church.”

I don’t count that. It’s up to the church, they can do what they like. But gay people currently can’t get married, legally. I know it’s mainly a semantic distinction. But we shouldn’t have a deliberately insulting split between gays and straights. It’s a bit separate but equal.

“Although even that probably doesn’t make much difference — if a priest somewhere does decide to allow gay weddings, are the police seriously going to arrest all the organisers? The ceremony wouldn’t be legally binding, but then no non-CoE wedding is legally binding anyway, and members of other denominations seem to get on fine.”

Agreed. I can’t actually see people being done for it. But this is absolutely mental legislation, which fits social policy by our wonderful government. If it’s not legally binding I have absolutely no clue why the government is getting involved.

“Then I’ll add a third option: marriage is inherently purposeless, any meaning is decided upon by the couple. In which case I still don’t see why the State should get involved.”

Sure, and fine. This is one of the many places where I at least sympathise with libertarians. But it’s not the issue at hand. You don’t solve a false dichotomy with a non-sequitur. Maybe the government should get out of marriage entirely, that would be a genuinely interesting discussion. But we currently have a situation where the state can grant legally sanctified (ha ha) marriages, and the question is whether or not gay people should be denied that.

“It’s not about the State enforcing a breeding program, it’s about trying to make sure children have the best possible start in life.”

Ah. Ok. So, Mr So-Called Libertarian, exactly how does this wonderful scheme of yours work? Do we visit each family once a year and, if we deem them to not be providing the “best start in life”, drag their children screaming from their arms? I can’t say I’d support that, on account of the fact that I’m a human fucking being.

And this is all rather weird as the whole basis of your point is that gay people can’t have kids, hence the start in life their kids get is massively irrelevant, on account of them not exist.

For anyone who missed it:

”The victory of the ‘me, me, me’ marriage”

The government’s fervent promotion of same-sex marriage has led some rather fusty, intolerant men of the cloth to claim that homosexuality is being “foisted” upon us all. In truth, if anything is being foisted upon society through the increasingly bizarre Tory-meets-radical-queer campaign to legalise gay marriage, it is the idea of the “me, me, me” marriage, the notion that marriage is about “two people” and nothing more. This relatively new, highly bourgeois idea, which runs counter to how great swathes of Britain’s more traditionally minded or working-class communities view their marital unions, is being unilaterally promoted by the Tories and their cheerleaders as the ideal form of marriage. Question it, dare to suggest that for some people marriage is about so much more than companionship, and you will be branded a dinosaur, a throwback to an ugly past.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100193924/the-victory-of-the-me-me-me-marriage/

or working-class communities view their marital unions

One day, Brendan O’Neill will meet a working class person, and likely be disgusted by them. Plus what the fuck will happen when he discovers that the overwhelming majority of queers in this nation are also working class?

Number of shits the lads in the warehouse give about the ‘dangers’ of same sex marriage – none. Indeed their main worry is about how this workplace pension scheme is going to affect their income month by month.

69. Chaise Guevara

@ 68 Cylux

“One day, Brendan O’Neill will meet a working class person, and likely be disgusted by them”

I have always wondered exactly how he got elected as Chief Spokesman for Every Working Class Person in the Country.

70. Richard Carey

@ 65

because it will contradict other legislation, and courts will be called upon to ‘discover’ which law trumps the other.

71. Derek Hattons Tailor

“dare to suggest that for some people marriage is about so much more than companionship, and you will be branded a dinosaur, a throwback to an ugly past.”

Too true – I got married so I could get a regular shag without having to buy dinner all the time. That, and my ironing done.

72. The XYZ Line

Chaise @ 66:

I you want governmental and societal validation for your relationships, it’s no longer a private matter.

“Maybe the government should get out of marriage entirely, that would be a genuinely interesting discussion. But we currently have a situation where the state can grant legally sanctified (ha ha) marriages, and the question is whether or not gay people should be denied that.”

If the government should get out of marriage entirely, then its current involvement is unjustified interference, and the solution to unjustified interference isn’t to apply it more widely. If the government were spying on women to make sure they weren’t criminals, I wouldn’t call it progress if they started spying on men as well.

“Mr So-Called Libertarian”

I never actually said I was a libertarian, just that gay marriage isn’t something libertarians should be supporting.

“exactly how does this wonderful scheme of yours work? Do we visit each family once a year and, if we deem them to not be providing the “best start in life”, drag their children screaming from their arms? I can’t say I’d support that, on account of the fact that I’m a human fucking being.”

I’m not entirely sure what point you’re trying to make here. You seem to be suggesting that anybody who wants the government to help ensure children get a good start are inhuman totalitarians, but that seems a bit extreme, since it would also cover people who support child benefit, free universal education, removing children from abusive parents, etc., etc.

“And this is all rather weird as the whole basis of your point is that gay people can’t have kids, hence the start in life their kids get is massively irrelevant, on account of them not exist.”

If the only reason the state gets involved in marriage is because of the kids, and gay couples can’t have kids, then the state has no business getting involved in gay marriage. You may disagree, but I don’t see what’s so weird about it. Indeed, most SSM advocates seem to agree with me, since the usual counter-argument is “No, marriage has nothing to do with kids!”, and not “Yes, but so what?”

73. Derek Hattons Tailor

But we currently have a situation where the state can grant legally sanctified (ha ha) marriages, and the question is whether or not gay people should be denied that.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
They aren’t being “denied” anything. Not all straight people want to get married (or can find someone they want to marry) so by your logic they are also being denied state sanctification of their relationship. This whole “everything must be available to everyone” positive rights bollocks is so 2005 nu labour. Who wants to join a club that doesn’t want then as a member ?

68. Cylux. Hmmm, I don’t know. They might not really give a shit, but at the same time I didn’t see too many gay guys at some of the jobs I was working at recently. Warehousing and parcel delivery companies in Leeds. Or not the type to marry another fella anyway.

As for O’Neill, I think he’s on to something – as he very often is. But it’s usually dismissed out of hand as contrarian on sites like this.
It’s just a different point of view though, and one at least worth taking on board IMO.

@53. Derek Hattons Tailor: “The libertarian position would be that marriage should not involve the state at all. If 2 people want to get married – in the legal sense – they should go and see a solicitor and set up a legal contract between them.”

Just consider marriage as a boilerplate contract. Lots of straight people wish to marry a person of the other sex; consequently society and law have come up with a legal framework that simplifies the legal process. Difficulties arise when people wish to get unmarried, but if the lives of two people are uncomplicated they can get a boilerplate divorce.

A lot of law exists so that we normal citizens don’t have to worry ourselves too much. The Sale of Goods Act, for example, allows us to go shopping with confidence that our purchases meet the sellers’ claimed expectations. When I buy a TV in a shop, I don’t negotiate an agreement with the seller; the contract is assumed.

76. Derek Hattons Tailor

@ 75. You can still negotiate the price and anything else you disagree with in their small print, or want to barter for, but in general, point taken.

The issue is that, post feminism, marriage carries an increasingly complex set of financial, property and (potentially) custody rights which have resonance far beyond the 2 individuals partnership which post modernists insist is all there is too it.

Back to my libertarian assertion though, why couldn’t you go and see an enterprising solicitor who had drawn up just such a standard template. “Hello I’d like a gay marriage cert, type A” ?

You can already do this with a will, either get a bespoke (and expensive) one from a solicitor, or buy a standard (and cheaper) one from the post office and DIY ?

The issue is not with the contract per se but with enforcement of it, which in practical terms still requires some sort of state involvement.

@76. Derek Hattons Tailor: “The issue is that, post feminism, marriage carries an increasingly complex set of financial, property and (potentially) custody rights which have resonance far beyond the 2 individuals partnership…”

You make a valid point there (exempting the “post feminism” comment that I don’t understand). A marriage licence costs £30.

“…which post modernists insist is all there is too it.”

As a postmodernist man, I have to say that you don’t understand people like me. I passed by a photographer’s window on June 09 2010 and fell in love with one of the models. On the third day that I passed the window, I determined that I was married to her. I did not need a ceremony or the model’s consent for marriage; as a postmodernist, I knew that my marriage was true.

78. Robin Levett

@Richard Carey #70:

because it will contradict other legislation, and courts will be called upon to ‘discover’ which law trumps the other.

But we know the answer to that; the right to religious freedom will mean that a religion can’t be forced to carry out a religious rite for someone in contradiction to their religion or for someone not a member.

@78. Robin Levett: “But we know the answer to that; the right to religious freedom will mean that a religion can’t be forced to carry out a religious rite for someone in contradiction to their religion or for someone not a member.”

Somewhere around that are good manners.

Is it purposeful to compel people or organisations to provide a service that others willingly deliver? Well mannered people obey laws or social practice, but laws don’t always match manners.

80. Richard Carey

@ 78 Robin,

“But we know the answer to that; the right to religious freedom will mean that a religion can’t be forced to carry out a religious rite for someone in contradiction to their religion or for someone not a member.”

No we don’t know the answer. In the land of human rights, some are more equal than others, and the courts may easily rule that one right – the right to get married – trumps another right – religious belief, and even if the courts don’t rule this way, it will surely be tested.

Besides, you are ignoring the other part of what I said, that Labour will no doubt change the rules when they get a chance. They are being lobbied to do this already.

70. Richard Carey

” because it will contradict other legislation, and courts will be called upon to ‘discover’ which law trumps the other. ”

I don’t really get this point. As well as dispensing justice courts are always arenas of law discovery.

What is the law? The law is whatever a judge says it is. The question of law interpretation of what one judge says the law is can be overruled by another judge sitting in a higher court. That in turn can be overruled by a higher court etc. So there has always been an ongoing process of law discovery built into the justice system.

@74

They might not really give a shit, but at the same time I didn’t see too many gay guys at some of the jobs I was working at recently. Warehousing and parcel delivery companies in Leeds. Or not the type to marry another fella anyway.

Not sure what your point is?

83. Richard Carey

@81 fellow Richard,

I’m not sure what point you’re not getting. What I said was that, whatever the government says about the application of the law, it will be decided in the courts, that a challenge to the government’s interpretation is very likely, and that, anyway, a future Labour government may well rewrite the legislation.

As such, I am sceptical of the government’s position that the law change means A but definitely doesn’t mean B, as it is not the government which will decide this, but the courts. Does that help?

84. Robin Levett

@Richard Carey #80:

No we don’t know the answer.

We do.

In the land of human rights, some are more equal than others,

True dat; religious belief gets a deference that is rather surprising.

and the courts may easily rule that one right – the right to get married – trumps another right – religious belief

Nope. Not going to happen. We know that from past rulings. There is no interference with the right to get married by permitting religious organisations to withhold their religious rite. No religious rite is necessary for marriage.

85. Richard Carey

@ Robin,

“Nope. Not going to happen. We know that from past rulings.”

What past rulings? I think other rulings contradict this. In any case, past rulings do not dictate future rulings on different legal cases. And you continue to ignore the point that Labour are likely to change the law, if the courts haven’t already done so.

“religious belief gets a deference that is rather surprising”

Hmm, I infer the sneering contempt of the progressive bigot in this remark, although I doubt you’ll acknowledge it.

86. Robin Levett

@Richard Carey #85:

What past rulings? I think other rulings contradict this.

The ECHR has consistently refused to force countries to allow gay marriage, still less religious organisations. Look at the ECHR jurisprudence. The Court has explicielty said it will follow, not lead, social consensus on the issue of gay marriage.

In any case, past rulings do not dictate future rulings on different legal cases.

Oddly, they do. The same principles apply, even though the factual matrix may differ. It’s called precedent.

And you continue to ignore the point that Labour are likely to change the law, if the courts haven’t already done so.

Labour are talking about ending the statutory ban on CoE same-sex marriage; not withdrawing the right to religious freedom.

And you ignore the point that a church not offering its own religious rite of marriage to same-sex couples does not impact the couples’ right to marry.

@ 83. Richard Carey

I see what you mean. However, I think that is an argument for better and more clearly written legislation. Some of the stuff that has been passed over the last thirty years is appalling because it is so badly written and not clearly defined. I don’t think there is much anyone can do about what a future government may or may not do. The inability to bind your successors pretty much defines the UK system of government.

The government are changing the definition of marriage or at least the definition of who can be considered married and the Anglicans are not happy. It was the Anglicans in the first place who asked the government to get involved in deciding who was actually married. The system was a complete mess with different laws applying in various parts of the UK. The CoE was not happy because they wanted the state to protect their monopoly rents from marriage fees. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleet_Marriage

The government agreed to legislate when a thirty-year marriage appealed to the House of Lords was declared null after the death of the husband. The widower was left penniless because he had made a pre-contract to marry another woman. In other parts of the UK a pre-contract was the same thing as a marriage so he was not free to marry. The other woman inherited his fortune.

88. Richard Carey

@ Robin,

” The same principles apply, even though the factual matrix may differ. It’s called precedent.”

Well, there is precedent for forcing churches to offer same-sex marriages. A pub can’t refuse to sell booze to a homosexual, a hotel can’t refuse to provide a room to a homosexual couple. An adoption agency can’t refuse to deal with homosexual couples. And what if a homosexual couple is offended by being turned down? That’s another crime under current legislation.

“And you ignore the point that a church not offering its own religious rite of marriage to same-sex couples does not impact the couples’ right to marry.”

I don’t ignore this at all, but it doesn’t stop a case being made against a church for discrimination, and, going by your remark above: “religious belief gets a deference that is rather surprising”, you would probably like to see this happen.

89. Robin Levett

@Richard Carey #88:

Well, there is precedent for forcing churches to offer same-sex marriages.

There is none.

A pub can’t refuse to sell booze to a homosexual, a hotel can’t refuse to provide a room to a homosexual couple. An adoption agency can’t refuse to deal with homosexual couples

None of which is remotely relevant to the issue of whether a religious organisation can be compelled to administer a religious rite to those from whom their religious convictions require them to withhold it. A sacrament is not a good or a service; it makes sense only within the religion. It is, for example, perfectly permissible, although highly discriminatory, to refuse a Muslim communion in a Catholic Church.

The precedents you mention relate to discrimination in the supply of goods and services. It’s difficult for me to understand why this is so difficult for you to understand. Are you religious?

“And you ignore the point that a church not offering its own religious rite of marriage to same-sex couples does not impact the couples’ right to marry.”

I don’t ignore this at all,

you say, but then:

but it doesn’t stop a case being made against a church for discrimination,

continue to ignore it.

and, going by your remark above: “religious belief gets a deference that is rather surprising”, you would probably like to see this happen.

It’s amazing where your assumptions take you.

90. Chaise Guevara

@ 72 XYZ

“I you want governmental and societal validation for your relationships, it’s no longer a private matter.”

Leave societal out of it – people’s opinions are their own, and if someone wants to disapprove of their neighbour’s gay marriage then that’s their prerogative.

Yes, a government stamp of approval does mean it’s not entirely private. But in real terms, in a day-to-day sense, I don’t see how the hell Alice’s marriage to Barbara affects the life of Claire across the street. Unless you think Claire has the right not to be offended.

“If the government should get out of marriage entirely, then its current involvement is unjustified interference, and the solution to unjustified interference isn’t to apply it more widely.”

Yes, agreed, but we need to distinguish between these two positions:

1) The government should get out of marriage entirely (I don’t agree with this, but I can respect it).
2) The government should allow straight marriages, but not gay ones (the status quo we’re debating here).

I haven’t exactly gained the impression that a lot of opposition to gay marriage is founded on the belief that state marriages themselves are wrong.

“I never actually said I was a libertarian, just that gay marriage isn’t something libertarians should be supporting.”

Fair enough. But I still think that, on the assumption that state marriage won’t be cancelled anytime soon, most libertarians would see the gay marriage ban as a case of the government interfering in people’s lives, which as a rule they tend to be against.

“I’m not entirely sure what point you’re trying to make here. You seem to be suggesting that anybody who wants the government to help ensure children get a good start are inhuman totalitarians, but that seems a bit extreme, since it would also cover people who support child benefit, free universal education, removing children from abusive parents, etc., etc.”

The point I’m making is that your “best start in life” thing is a rather obvious stalking-horse for your personal distaste for gay marriage (and I don’t know your reasons for that, could be anything from homophobia to religion to a blind respect for tradition to a desire to piss off liberals). If (IF) children of gay marriages are statistically less likely to get the best start in life, there must be literally hundreds of parental combinations with the same or worse average outcome. We could start with poor people. I want to see the full extent of your “best start in life” programme, if I’m wrong about it being a stalking-horse.

As a general rule, we don’t deny people rights because they’re in a demographic that makes them mildly to moderately more likely to screw up. Men are more likely to crash cars than women, but we don’t ban all men from driving as a result. Yes, there are counter-examples, but they tend to be cases where a line needs to be drawn in the sand somewhere – minimum driving age, for example.

“If the only reason the state gets involved in marriage is because of the kids, and gay couples can’t have kids, then the state has no business getting involved in gay marriage.”

Firstly, that’s not the only reason the government gets involved. Secondly, even if it were, it’s more complicated than that. Whatever the original reason for granting rights, once they exist they should be universal unless there’s good reason for them not to be. “You weren’t who we had in mind when we created these rights” is not sufficient justification. Once marriage exists, there’s no good reason to deny it to gay couples who want it.

“Indeed, most SSM advocates seem to agree with me, since the usual counter-argument is “No, marriage has nothing to do with kids!”, and not “Yes, but so what?””

I don’t believe you. From my experience, the argument is “marriage isn’t ONLY about kids”. I’m sure you can dig up some zealots and dishonest arguers who make this claim of yours, but generally I think you’re trying to straw-man the opposition.

91. The XYZ Line

Chaise @ 90:

“Leave societal out of it – people’s opinions are their own, and if someone wants to disapprove of their neighbour’s gay marriage then that’s their prerogative.”

I’ve heard gay marriage advocates argue that SSM would send a signal against homophobia, which sounds like an attempt to influence society to me. No doubt you’ll just dismiss this as a lie, though.

“Yes, a government stamp of approval does mean it’s not entirely private. But in real terms, in a day-to-day sense, I don’t see how the hell Alice’s marriage to Barbara affects the life of Claire across the street. Unless you think Claire has the right not to be offended.”

I don’t see how Alice having to put “civil partner” instead of “wife” affects *her* day-to-day life either. Unless you think that this would upset her, and that Alice has a right not to be upset whereas Claire doesn’t, but I doubt it.

“I haven’t exactly gained the impression that a lot of opposition to gay marriage is founded on the belief that state marriages themselves are wrong.”

No, but a lot of support is derived from beliefs which, if applied consistently, would lead one to reject state marriages in general.

“The point I’m making is that your “best start in life” thing is a rather obvious stalking-horse for your personal distaste for gay marriage”

Not at all. In fact I used to be moderately in favour, until I thought more seriously about the issues.

“(IF) children of gay marriages are statistically less likely to get the best start in life, there must be literally hundreds of parental combinations with the same or worse average outcome. We could start with poor people.”

Just because there are worse problems than X doesn’t mean that we should ignore X. You might as well say that, since people with drug-addicted parents have a worse start than people with poor parents, therefore any scheme for countering child povery is clearly a stalking horse for [insert sinister ulterior motive here]. Heck, if you’re going to apply your objection consistently, then it would seem that we shouldn’t try and solve anything unless it is literally the worst problem facing the world at this moment, which is a totally ridiculous conclusion.

Anyway, though, you’ve misunderstood the point, which is that gay couples are literally incapable of conceiving children (unless through, e.g., surrogate pregnancy, but in that case it’s debatable whether it’s actually the couple having the child or whether it’s three people), and hence there’s no child-centred reason for passing gay marriage.

92. Chaise Guevara

@ 91

“I’ve heard gay marriage advocates argue that SSM would send a signal against homophobia, which sounds like an attempt to influence society to me. No doubt you’ll just dismiss this as a lie, though.”

Oh, right. I thought you meant that if gay people could marry then that would somehow require those around them to approve the union, which obv it wouldn’t.

“I don’t see how Alice having to put “civil partner” instead of “wife” affects *her* day-to-day life either. Unless you think that this would upset her, and that Alice has a right not to be upset whereas Claire doesn’t, but I doubt it.”

The difference is that Alice would be upset about what happens to her, whereas Claire would just be sticking her unwanted nose in, trying to change other people’s lives to suit her preferences.

“No, but a lot of support is derived from beliefs which, if applied consistently, would lead one to reject state marriages in general.”

Can you expand on this? Both the chain of logic and the fact that a lot of people are in this group?

“Just because there are worse problems than X doesn’t mean that we should ignore X. You might as well say that, since people with drug-addicted parents have a worse start than people with poor parents, therefore any scheme for countering child povery is clearly a stalking horse for [insert sinister ulterior motive here].”

It’s just so weird that I’ve never once heard you advocate preventing all these other people from being parents. Who was talking about consistency of belief a minute ago? I’m not going to ask you to give equal time to all the other groups, but I do want to know just how many people you think should be denied families, and your reasoning for your conclusions. You need categories within things like income, personal health, race, and political views.

Because I still think it’s a stalking-horse.

“Heck, if you’re going to apply your objection consistently, then it would seem that we shouldn’t try and solve anything unless it is literally the worst problem facing the world at this moment, which is a totally ridiculous conclusion.”

No, no, no. I just want to know if you’re up for these huge restrictions in principle. Obviously it would, in practice, be easier to prevent gay couples having kids.

“Anyway, though, you’ve misunderstood the point, which is that gay couples are literally incapable of conceiving children (unless through, e.g., surrogate pregnancy, but in that case it’s debatable whether it’s actually the couple having the child or whether it’s three people)”

I’d say it’s category confusion: are we using the term “my child” to mean “my progeny” or “the child I am officially raising”?

“and hence there’s no child-centred reason for passing gay marriage.”

Well, there is, but it’s weaker than it would be if they could conceive. Allowing gay people to have children increases the availability of adopters (by far more, one assumes, than the ratio of gays in society).

93. The XYZ Line

Chaise @ 92:

“Oh, right. I thought you meant that if gay people could marry then that would somehow require those around them to approve the union, which obv it wouldn’t.”

Well, maybe not. The example from Canada isn’t particularly hopeful in this respect, though:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/301641/canadian-crackdown-michael-coren#

“The difference is that Alice would be upset about what happens to her, whereas Claire would just be sticking her unwanted nose in, trying to change other people’s lives to suit her preferences.”

Given that “what happens to her” means “has to tick a different box on official forms”, I don’t think she’s under that much of a burden.

“Can you expand on this? Both the chain of logic and the fact that a lot of people are in this group?”

OK: lots of SSM advocates say that marriage isn’t about children, but about love and commitment. But nobody (at least in my experience; if you can link to any counter-examples, I’d be happy to read them) has actually made any serious attempt to explain precisely *why* the government should be interested in who loves whom. Furthermore, I don’t think anybody’s argued for why the govt.’s interest should extend as far as gay couples and no further. Nobody, for example, has suggested that marriage also be made available to family members, although they’re often plenty committed to one another. Saying that the government should get out of marriage altogether is coherent; saying that it should reward people for being committed, and then restricting this to married couples and gay people, is completely arbitrary.

“It’s just so weird that I’ve never once heard you advocate preventing all these other people from being parents.”

Erm, it’s a simple biological fact that two people of the same sex cannot conceive.

“(by far more, one assumes, than the ratio of gays in society).”

Why does one assume that?

“We should pause here to note that the demand for gay marriage specifically on account of the fact that some same-sex couples are raising children has a very profound consequence. The argument states that because a certain type of family form is raising chlidren, that should be recognised and provided for in the identical way that that the ideal type family form is recognised and supported. The outcome of this demand should be obvious. It is that the best environment for children, that of a mother and father in a marriage that stays together, cannot be encouraged and privileged over any other family form in which children are being-raised. This should demonstrate the falsity of the argument and return us to the proper starting point of the debate, which is the nature of marriage as a publicly encouraged institution to provide for the best environment in which children can be raised.”

http://richardtwaghorne.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/gay-marriage-responses-to-responses/

94. Chaise Guevara

@ 93 XYZ

“Well, maybe not. The example from Canada isn’t particularly hopeful in this respect, though”

That’s a nakedly anti-gay-marriage writer listing stories that I’m apparently meant to take on trust. If they’re true, I agree we should avoid that sort of thing.

“Given that “what happens to her” means “has to tick a different box on official forms”, I don’t think she’s under that much of a burden.”

How nice of you to make that decision for her.

“Can you expand on this? Both the chain of logic and the fact that a lot of people are in this group?”

“OK: lots of SSM advocates say that marriage isn’t about children, but about love and commitment.”

You’re just repeating the claim, I’m not going to take it on trust.

“But nobody (at least in my experience; if you can link to any counter-examples, I’d be happy to read them) has actually made any serious attempt to explain precisely *why* the government should be interested in who loves whom.”

We’re back to whether or not the government should get out of marriage. In any case, gays can adopt and barren straight couples are not barred from marrying. This isn’t relevant to the issue at hand.

“Furthermore, I don’t think anybody’s argued for why the govt.’s interest should extend as far as gay couples and no further. Nobody, for example, has suggested that marriage also be made available to family members, although they’re often plenty committed to one another. Saying that the government should get out of marriage altogether is coherent; saying that it should reward people for being committed, and then restricting this to married couples and gay people, is completely arbitrary.”

Incest is one hell of a lot more complex, because if you did legalise it then probably the majority of resulting marriages would arise out of abusive relationships. Plus I’ve yet to see any would-be incestuous couples demanding reform, which has practical effects on whether people bother to campaign for it. I agree it looks the same at first glance, but it’s not.

“Erm, it’s a simple biological fact that two people of the same sex cannot conceive.”

Non-sequitur. You’re dodging the question on whether poor people etc. should, on principle, be prevented from having children. In doing so, you’re telling me what you already know: that this whole argument is a stalking-horse.

“Why does one assume that?”

Because it’s a simple biological fact that same-sex couples cannot conceive. Hence it’s more likely that they’ll want to adopt, all else being equal. Isn’t this kind of obvious?

“It is that the best environment for children, that of a mother and father in a marriage that stays together, cannot be encouraged and privileged over any other family form in which children are being-raised.”

Remove this pillar and the rest of that paragraph falls apart. I shall now remove it.

Firstly, it’s begging the question, asking us to blindly accept the author’s feeling that mixed-sex marriages are better for the children than any other setup.

Secondly, it makes no attempt to explain why such things should be privileged. Even if it is slightly better, that’s not in itself a reason to trample on the faces of those in other groups. We don’t ban all cars except the most fuel-efficient on the market, for example.

Thirdly, as far as adoption goes, it’s comparing conventional marriage to SSM when it should be comparing SSM to living in foster homes.

So no, this is not a convincing argument for inequality and authoritarianism.

UKIP have claimed to be libertarian? I can’t see Michael Foot and Tony Benn joining any time soon.

96. Robin Levett

@XYZ #91:

I don’t see how Alice having to put “civil partner” instead of “wife” affects *her* day-to-day life either. Unless you think that this would upset her, and that Alice has a right not to be upset whereas Claire doesn’t, but I doubt it.

If Alice and Barbara are married, then Mr & Mrs Bull will of course let them take up their booking of a double room;’ while they remain merely civil partners, however, Mr & Mrs Bull will deny them that privilege on the ground that they aren’t married.


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    ‘Libertarian’ party UKIP to exploit gay marriage vote http://t.co/cCsJcDY9

  10. George Potter

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  11. Spencer

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  12. Patricia Farrington

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  13. A.A.Emmerson

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  14. ExistentialQuandary

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  15. Phil Jones

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  16. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – ‘Libertarian’ party UKIP to exploit gay marriage vote http://t.co/UFQi4xnb

  17. T0BZTR

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  18. Tristram Wyatt

    'Libertarian' party UKIP to exploit gay marriage vote http://t.co/TfYP3znP

  19. Tristram Wyatt

    'Libertarian' party UKIP to exploit gay marriage vote http://t.co/TfYP3znP

  20. Robin for President

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  21. Rob Ford

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  22. Martin Grouch

    Basically @UKIP *Not* being Libertarian.
    http://t.co/dzyWe0um
    (Via @sunny_hundal )
    #equalmarriage

  23. Monika Kosinska

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  24. Stephen

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  25. Sarah Brown

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  26. Paul Hindley

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  27. Ab Brightman

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  28. Will

    I have no problems with right-wing infighting, but UKIP should stop pretending to be 'libertarian' http://t.co/wyuPdevv

  29. Gareth Winchester

    "Of course [ #UKIP are] libertarian; they’re committed to shrinking the state so much that it’ll fit into your bedroom" http://t.co/5vxWjYnB





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