Nine Labour MPs likely to vote against same-sex marriage


11:29 am - December 17th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Telegraph today carries a letter by various MPs opposing same-sex marriage. The letter includes three Labour MPs.

But that isn’t the full list. In fact at least nine Labour MPs are vocally opposed to same-sex marriage and expected to vote against it.

There may be more of course, as not all have said where they stand on the matter.

But here are nine names collected by the C4EM campaign opposed to full civil rights for gays and lesbians.

We’ll post an updated list once we get more names.

Joe Benton Bootle
Jim Dobbin Heywood and Middleton Evidence
Brian H Donohoe Central Ayrshire Evidence
Mary Glindon North Tyneside
Roger Godsiff Birmingham Bizarre letter to constituent
Paul Goggins Wythenshawe and Sale East Twitter
Austin Mitchell Great Grimsby Via LGBT Labour and Twitter
Paul Murphy Torfaen Email to constituent.
Stephen Pound Ealing North Letter to constituent

The names are taken from the Campaign 4 Equal Marriage site.

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


1. Michael Moran

[deleted]

I’m shocked that Austin Mitchell is on the list. The others I’ve not heard of.

Good! Why does everyone have to support gay marriage? It’s a matter of their own conscience.

Gay people have all the rights married people do, via civil partnership. Marriage is for men and women to have children and stay together as mother and father. This is called “holy matrimony”.

This comment of mine is neither abusive nor homophobic (hateful of homosexuals). It does however differ to your view on the matter. It’ll be interesting to see if you’re “liberal” and democratic enough not to delete it.

As I understand it – the new rules won’t force anything on r4eligious institutions who can choose not to perform gay marriage ceremonies.

So I’m always a bit confused as to why religion plays any part in this discussion beyond that. I get that religions often don’t support equality – but it would be nice for them to be a bit honest about that rather than pretending this has some implication for their own institutions.

Sam/3: It’s a matter of their own conscience.

That’s a terrible argument for the MPs. On a personal level, sure, people should have/attend/perform as many or as few gay marriages as they feel comfortable with. That’s not in itself an argument for banning it.

Gay people have all the rights married people do, via civil partnership

Actually, there are differences, relating to foreign recognition, pension continuity, and a few other things. The myth that they’re exactly the same except for the name is widespread.

Marriage is for men and women to have children and stay together as mother and father. This is called “holy matrimony”.

I must have missed the part of the campaign that called for the abolition of civil different-sex marriage (not only is it not “holy”, the ceremony is explicitly forbidden from having any religious content) and/or its restriction to couples intending to have children only. Could you give us a link to it, please? (Are any of the MPs planning to raise this as an amendment, do you know?)

Taken as a package with continuing to disallow civil same-sex marriage this would be a far more consistent position, and no doubt would gain far more popular support. “It’s nothing personal against gay people – we’re not banning anything for them we don’t also want banned for straight people.”

@ Sam 3

Marriage is for men and women to have children and stay together as mother and father. This is called “holy matrimony”.

Funny that. I’ve been together with my wife for 21 years now and don’t have any kids. Never wanted any. Nor did the missus. Does that mean that there’s something wrong with our marriage?

Let’s remember that until the 18th century, people were considered “married in nature” if they lived together – no church ceremony was needed. Many people still mistakenly believe this to be the case, hence the term “common law marriage” which I have even seen as an option on insurance documents despite it not having existed in law for 300 years. The whole idea of state regulation of weddings is a relatively recent invention.

Btw, though we have no sprogs, we do have dogs – does that count?

Perhaps these nine Labour MPs are reflective people who wonder whether gay marriage is (a) necessary when homosexuals have all the rights of marriage with civil partnerships and (b) undesirable because it will turn out to be a highly profitable area for lawyers.

Consider:

1. When many homosexuals don’t practise penetrative sex, how is gay adultery and consummation to be defined in law? The problem is they can’t be, as the government concedes; so it will be left to the courts to decide on a case-by-case basis.

2. Will the heir to the throne be allowed to have a gay marriage? If, by surrogacy using a mixture of their semen, their union is blessed with a child, will that child be excluded from the succession unless a dna test confirms it is of the blood royal? Or, more prosaically, imagine two divorcing gays, one of whom refuses to help support ‘their’ child (born by surrogacy with mixed semen) on the grounds that he is not the biological father…

3. Then there are the many possible collateral results of gay marriage – in employment law, sex discrimination, fostering… Perhaps a church-school teacher who refuses to act out a wedding in the classroom relationships lesson in which little Jack has to put a ring on little Jimmy’s finger, and so loses her job?

Or, perhaps, a gay Muslim couple who (despite death threats?) sue a mosque for refusing them entry?

Or an attention-seeking Anglican vicar who defies his Church and the law to marry a homosexual couple, and then dares perplexed bishops to invoke the law against him. If the bishops dither, a fanatical, gay-bashing evangelical may sue the Church for failing to protect its own exemption…

And so on and on…None of these issues is insuperable, but the Courts will have to decide – often at public expense – and gay marriage will become an adventure playground for lawyers. Moreover, in the process, there will be fractious controversy in the media and friction in society.

Of course, for those who believe dogmatically in “equality” and who place homosexual rights at or near the apex of morality, this will be a price worth paying – or even a desirable part of the ‘culture wars’. For those of us of a pragmatic outlook, however, it will all be rather regrettable.

Why is equal marriage any more a matter of “conscience” than cutting welfare benefits or making any other political decisions?

TONE @7,

1. When many homosexuals don’t practise penetrative sex, how is gay adultery and consummation to be defined in law? The problem is they can’t be, as the government concedes; so it will be left to the courts to decide on a case-by-case basis.

iiuc it was the courts that developed the law re consummation, it’s not defined in statute, so I don’t know why you require a statutory definition in terms of same-sex marriage.

“Unreasonable behaviour” is grounds for dissolving a civil partnership, adultery would seem unreasonable to me, why not carry that over to same-sex marriage?

If the couple doesn’t practice penetrative sex, non-consummation seems irrelevant / redundant as a ground for divorce.

As for all the scenarios in your comment, “none of these issues is insuperable”, therefore none should be an obstacle to equality, surely. Do you not understand that statute doesn’t have the answers for every scenario? Or is this only an obstacle when it comes to gays?

For those of us of a pragmatic outlook, however, it will all be rather regrettable

What price equality or the happiness of minorities? Dare I say the “regret” of those with a “pragmatic outlook” doesn’t seem a price too high.

7. TONE

I found your second reason, that we should first consider the implications for royal succession before passing any law which will affect thousands of people, particularly amusing. It’s not the middle ages anymore.

The royals have been quietly adapting to the modern world, albeit about half a century behind everyone else, for several hundred years. If a member of the royal family is gay then they can’t just cover it up with a pretend heterosexual marriage anymore. If society can accept gay people and marriage then I think they will too.

Why is equal marriage any more a matter of “conscience” than cutting welfare benefits or making any other political decisions?

Its considerably less a matter of conscience. Cutting benefits requires actively campaigning against someone; allowing gay marriage just requires butting out and letting people make their own choices.

It could be coincidence but all the people on this list appear to be ballbags.

Indeed.

(That was meant to be a reply to #11 but it applies equally to #12!

ukliberty @ 9:

“…the courts that developed the law re consummation, it’s not defined in statute,”

True

“so I don’t know why you require a statutory definition in terms of same-sex marriage.”

I don’t, as such. But what constitutes the consummation of a sexual relationship underpins adultery conceptually. And it is desirable to have adultery defined in law.

‘“Unreasonable behaviour” is grounds for dissolving a civil partnership, adultery would seem unreasonable to me, why not carry that over to same-sex marriage?’

But adultery is not easily defined in homosexual relationships…So we will have increasingly frequent court cases and appeals to determine it.

‘“none of these issues is insuperable”, therefore none should be an obstacle to equality,’

Non sequitur. Overcoming some obstacles may have unacceptably high costs.

“Do you not understand that statute doesn’t have the answers for every scenario?”

Yes, I understand that statute doesn’t have the answers for every scenario: that’s one of the reasons we have courts. However, enacting legislation that is deliberately vague about key terms and concepts is undemocratic, encourages judicial activism and launches us on a social and legal journey without a destination.

“Or is this only an obstacle when it comes to gays?”

No. The same principle applies to all legislation. I would say that any law enacted by Parliament with the intention that its meaning and implementation are immediately delegated to the courts is bad, undemocratic legislation.

“What price equality or the happiness of minorities?”

Sometimes, as I hope you would agree, “equality” does have too high a price, such as totalitarianism. In this case, any price is probably too high, because civil partnerships already give gays nearly all the rights of married people. I know two gay couples and several individual gays: none of them is interested in gay marriage, though all think civil partnerships were an excellent reform.

As for the happiness of minorities, you could easily create a society in which many minorities are happy but the majority is not. Or a society that is riven with unnecessary but fractious disputes and legal proceedings. Or a society where devotees of equality self-righteously confront other minorities (eg muslims) and so unintentionally encourage them to take a harder line than they otherwise would.

“Dare I say the “regret” of those with a “pragmatic outlook” doesn’t seem a price too high.”

That would indeed be a small price to pay. But the price is arguably much higher — increased conflict, hostility between factions, unnecessary litigation, judicial activism in social policy, and an increasingly fragmented society with (as a consequence) diminishing social solidarity (which is already diminished by mass immigration, incidentally).

John @ 10:

No, I wasn’t saying “we should first consider the implications for royal succession before passing any law which will affect thousands of people”. Rather, I was using the royal succession as a striking example of the problems that gay marriage could create for inheritance, which is why I then went on to mention a similar situation involving gay commoners.

TONE,

‘“Unreasonable behaviour” is grounds for dissolving a civil partnership, adultery would seem unreasonable to me, why not carry that over to same-sex marriage?’

But adultery is not easily defined in homosexual relationships…So we will have increasingly frequent court cases and appeals to determine it.

Pure guesswork on your part that there will be “increasingly frequent court cases”. You probably don’t believe it yourself, it’s probably just rhetoric. No less silly, though.

The fact is that if there is a dispute that won’t be mediated or arbitrated away, it will proceed to court, so case law will develop over time, just as it does with all other legislation.

The point being that this isn’t an reasonable obstacle to gay marriage; or, if it is, then it is an obstacle to everything.

‘“none of these issues is insuperable”, therefore none should be an obstacle to equality,’

Non sequitur. Overcoming some obstacles may have unacceptably high costs.

If they are unacceptably high, they are insuperable, surely?

Can’t be bothered to deal with the rest of your Chicken Little fantasies.

18. Robin Levett

@TONE #15:

But adultery is not easily defined in homosexual relationships…So we will have increasingly frequent court cases and appeals to determine it.

Where exactly is the problem? What is special about homosexual relationships that makes adultery more difficult to define?

jhjhjuhek @ 6:

“I’ve been together with my wife for 21 years now and don’t have any kids. Never wanted any. Nor did the missus. Does that mean that there’s something wrong with our marriage?”

Of course there are many wonderful marriages without children; but if it were not for children, the institution of marriage would not be needed and probably would not exist. Children exist because of men and women; and every marriage – even ones that subsequently turn out to be infertile – is potentially reproductive. Marriage involves the recognition by society of what makes the human race endure. It ties together the urge to have sex with one another with the desire to have children with the need to bring them up. Homosexuals may love one another just as much as anyone loves anyone else – and all disinterested love is a social good – but their domestic arrangements make no difference to the human future. And marriage is potentially about the human future.

@ 7. TONE

“2. Will the heir to the throne be allowed to have a gay marriage?”

You make a very good point given that the monarch is also the head of the church. To fix this problem we must force the C of E to accept gay marriage to solve the succession problem. What a brilliant solution you have found.

BTW I love comments like Sam @ 3. ‘Bloody liberals will delete this post because they don’t like the truth’. Then the post remains up.

Here’s hoping it isn’t later deleted making me look like an idiot.

ukliberty @ 17:

‘Pure guesswork on your part that there will be “increasingly frequent court cases”.’

A reasonable assumption, not guesswork. Open-ended, vague legislation leads to increasingly frequent court cases…as with the ill-conceived HRA, for example.

“If they are unacceptably high, they are insuperable, surely?”

No. We may decide to pay the unacceptably high costs.

But what constitutes the consummation of a sexual relationship underpins adultery conceptually. And it is desirable to have adultery defined in law.

Is it?

‘Adultery’ is a hangover from religion: It’s a ‘sin’.

If there are irreconcilable differences between a couple they should be allowed to seperate without having to attribute blame.

Adultery is not a crime and needs no legal definition – especially if that legal definition is a fiction concocted to prevent the official recongnition of relationships between those who commit the ‘sin’ of homosexuality.

@ 15 TONE

Adultery can loosely be defined as sticking your cock in anyone you aren’t married too. Or having someone do that to you. That serves pretty well for straight and gay couples. I might need to get into a bit more depth for lesbian couples though. Even so it isn’t a great difficulty to define it.

On the subject of marriage being for children, that is fundamentally wrong. jhjhjuhek has already pointed that out in his case. I’d add to that the fact that there are plenty of children born out of wedlock and raised by both parents to be good people. I don’t see you on a moral crusade against this.

So if it is OK for married people to not have kids, and it is OK for non-married people to have kids, then marriage isn’t about having kids.

There is nothing new about childless marriages, deliberate or otherwise.

If marriage is all about the children, we should presumably ban marriage for different-sex couples who don’t want or can’t have children.

Or is this yet another silly non-obstacle invented by people who want inequality?

TONE,

A reasonable assumption, not guesswork. Open-ended, vague legislation leads to increasingly frequent court cases…as with the ill-conceived HRA, for example.

Human Rights Act and mass immigration: typical right-whinge bogeymen.

Funny that the common law approach is only lauded when it suits.

Robin Levett @ 19:

“What is special about homosexual relationships that makes adultery more difficult to define?”

Because not all homosexual practice is penetrative. If married lesbians A and B consummate their relationship with cunnilingus, does this mean that when B has cunnilingus with lesbian C she has committed adultery? What if B and C don’t have cunnilingus, but enjoy digital penetration or use a strap-on? Has B committed adultery?

Has sodomite X, married to sodomite Y, committed adultery when he allows Z to insert a butt-plug into him (ie X) in Y’s absence? And would this be materially affected by the fact that X watched Y take a butt-plug from W at that jacuzzi party last weekend…?

It’s questions like this that have led the civil servants charged with drawing up the legislation to abandon the attempt to define gay adultery…

And if there aren’t common legal standards of adultery for both homosexual and heterosexual marriage, is not the idea of “equal marriage” a chimera?

26. Robin Levett

@TONE #21:

A reasonable assumption, not guesswork. Open-ended, vague legislation leads to increasingly frequent court cases…as with the ill-conceived HRA, for example.

Not so. What has caused increasingly frequent court cases under the HRA is governments passing laws but failing to constrain their behaviour to stay within those laws.

What exactly is “open-ended” or “vague” about a law permitting same sex marriage I have no idea.

Sorry, one more point about this:

A reasonable assumption, not guesswork. Open-ended, vague legislation leads to increasingly frequent court cases…as with the ill-conceived HRA, for example.

Without a study, how can we know whether these cases were justifiably brought? IOW, how do we know that there haven’t been increasingly frequent violations of human rights?

Just typical rubbish rhetoric isn’t it TONE?

ukliberty @ 24:

“If marriage is all about the children, we should presumably ban marriage for different-sex couples who don’t want or can’t have children.”

Another monstrous non sequitur!

It simply does not follow from:

P1. marriage is all about the children

That:

P2: marriage for different-sex couples who don’t want or can’t have children should be banned

Also, I never said marriage is “all” about children: I said it exists because of children.

Human rights are often justified by reference to human rationality. Yet we do not deny the mentally handicapped or congenitally brain-damaged human rights because we recognise that they are in a weak sense potentially rational. Similarly, marriages between men and women who do not want or cannot have children are still potentially reproductive.

TONE @25, again, why attempt to ‘define’ adultery in such terms, in such minute detail? We already deal with cases of ‘unreasonable behaviour’, for example, which can include being sexually unfaithful.

@28,

Human rights are often justified by reference to human rationality. Yet we do not deny the mentally handicapped or congenitally brain-damaged human rights because we recognise that they are in a weak sense potentially rational.

What a bizarre argument.

Anyway, if they can’t have children, in what way are they potentially reproductive? Is the Holy Spirit likely to visit?

30. The XYZ Line

Shatterface @ 11:

“allowing gay marriage just requires butting out and letting people make their own choices.”

I’m not sure where this idea comes from. Gay people already have the choice to live together and call themselves married; what this is about is some people demanding that the government starts involving itself in such a situation — about as far from “butting out” as it’s possible to get.

jhjhjuhek @ 6:

“Funny that. I’ve been together with my wife for 21 years now and don’t have any kids. Never wanted any. Nor did the missus. Does that mean that there’s something wrong with our marriage?”

There’s a difference between the purposes of an instituion and the purposes of a particular individual taking part in said instituion. I could build a house to spoil somebody’s view and not intend for anybody to live in it; that doesn’t change the fact that the institution of house-building exists so that people have somewhere to live.

“Let’s remember that until the 18th century, people were considered “married in nature” if they lived together – no church ceremony was needed.”

An urban legend, and irrelevant anyway.

“The whole idea of state regulation of weddings is a relatively recent invention.”

Well, if you consider the eighteenth century to be “relatively recent”. Anyway, though, that’s a poor precedent for the current situation, because the state was only regulating something that already existed, not trying to redifine it by legislative fiat.

UKL @ 24:

“There is nothing new about childless marriages, deliberate or otherwise.

If marriage is all about the children, we should presumably ban marriage for different-sex couples who don’t want or can’t have children.

Or is this yet another silly non-obstacle invented by people who want inequality?”

Not all marriages fulfil all the functions of marriage, but that doesn’t actually matter all that much. One of the functions of the human brain is to reason; if somebody is unable to do this because of a mental condition caused by a genetic defect, it doesn’t follow that the grey squidgy stuff in their head isn’t actually a brain, or that reasoning isn’t one of the functions of a brain; rather, it means that theirs isn’t a perfect specimin of the object class “brain”. Similarly, if a married heterosexual couple is infertile, then it doesn’t follow that they aren’t married or that children have nothing to do with marriage, it just means that they are unable to fulfil all the functions of being married (although their marriage might well be excellent in other respects). A homosexual couple, however, are incapable *even in principle* of having children, and so their relationship, however happy and comitted and emotionally supportive it might be, is not and cannot be a marriage, any more than an ear or an eye can be a brain.

ukliberty @ 24:

“Human Rights Act and mass immigration: typical right-whinge bogeymen.”

Argumentum ad hominem.

“Funny that the common law approach is only lauded when it suits.”

Nothing wrong with common law. The problem is the particular legislation

And, @ 27, you are ranting.

A homosexual couple, however, are incapable *even in principle* of having children, and so their relationship, however happy and comitted and emotionally supportive it might be, is not and cannot be a marriage, any more than an ear or an eye can be a brain.

Funnily enough I happen to know a lesbian couple that managed to have kids. Apparently having a twin brother and a turkey baster comes in handy.

TONE,

“Human Rights Act and mass immigration: typical right-whinge bogeymen.”

Argumentum ad hominem.

Hardly. Those are typical right-wing bogeymen.

“Funny that the common law approach is only lauded when it suits.”

Nothing wrong with common law. The problem is the particular legislation

You object @7 and @15 to the courts deciding on the scenarios you described. But that is what the common law is about.

And, @ 27, you are ranting.

Absent your cite of a study of whether these increasingly brought cases are due to (a) the open-ended or vagueness of the HRA or (b) because of human rights violations, it’s fair to say you are complaining about a bogeyman. Of course you are quite welcome to link to a decent study; I’m sure everyone will be interested to see it.

XYZ,

Similarly, if a married heterosexual couple is infertile, then it doesn’t follow that they aren’t married or that children have nothing to do with marriage, it just means that they are unable to fulfil all the functions of being married (although their marriage might well be excellent in other respects).

The argument appeared to be that a couple incapable of having children shouldn’t be married.

Of course this only applies to homosexuals, because infertile couples are somehow nonetheless potentially capable of having children…

35. The XYZ Line

Cylux @ 32:

“Funnily enough I happen to know a lesbian couple that managed to have kids. Apparently having a twin brother and a turkey baster comes in handy.”

Then it wasn’t the couple having the child.

TONE @25, again, why attempt to ‘define’ adultery in such terms, in such minute detail? We already deal with cases of ‘unreasonable behaviour’, for example, which can include being sexually unfaithful.

Do we need even that? Why should a divorce require blame?

Well, the party’s a broad church. Really, I’m more interested in whether Labour MPs are socialists or not.

@31. TONE: “Nothing wrong with common law. The problem is the particular legislation”

I don’t follow the argument.

Let’s accept that common law is a system of interpretation. Common law sorts it out when statute is unclear.

Is “particular legislation” a euphemism for laws that you do not like? If you don’t like those laws, or if like me you think that there are too many, argue against them. I generally argue against laws that prevent people from doing things, so I don’t care where people get married.

ukliberty @ 29:

“why attempt to ‘define’ adultery in such terms, in such minute detail? We already deal with cases of ‘unreasonable behaviour’, for example, which can include being sexually unfaithful.”

Sp what consitutes being sexually unfaithful in homosexual relationships?

@ 33:

“Argumentum ad hominem.

Hardly. Those are typical right-wing bogeymen.”

*sigh* An ad hominem can be true: what makes it a fallacy is that it is not relevant, being directed at the person rather than the argument. Gordon Brown is indeed a one-eyed Scotsman, but that is irrelevant to his fiscal incontinence in office.

“You object @7 and @15 to the courts deciding on the scenarios you described. But that is what the common law is about.”

No, I don’t; and, yes, it is. What I object to is unnecessary and poorly defined legislation that the courts will in effect decide how to implement. The common law is the world’s finest legal system; but its health is partly dependent on our legislators enacting prudently defined legislation.

“Absent your cite of a study of whether these increasingly brought cases are due to (a) the open-ended or vagueness of the HRA or (b) because of human rights violations, it’s fair to say you are complaining about a bogeyman.”

I doubt we could easily agree on what could be a useful study of this. Moreover (a) and (b) are not mutually exclusive; and, indeed, I suspect (a) leads us to find human rights violations – ie (b). I am, incidentally, with Alasdair MacIntyre (hardly a right-winger!) when he says of human rights that “there are no such rights, and belief in them is one with belief in witches and in unicorns.”

@35

Then it wasn’t the couple having the child.

Isn’t it? So what happens when the research on implanting the DNA information from a woman’s egg into DNA-blank sperm and fertilising another women’s egg reaches fruition? Cos it’s being worked on right now. Those naughty biologists, always tinkering away at what makes us tick. Apparently getting two guys worth of DNA together to make a child (assuming access to a surrogate mother) is actually doable right now.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-59196/How-women-make-babies-men.html

I do like using the Daily Mail for evidence. Heh.

@35. The XYZ Line: “Then it wasn’t the couple having the child.”

Life is wider than a Petri dish.

We all grew up with children who were adopted and we know/question/challenge whether or not genes outstump rearing.

Charlieman @ 38:

“I don’t follow the argument….Common law sorts it out when statute is unclear.”

Statute can be unclear because circumstances arise that the legislators could never have foreseen. And statute can be unclear because the legislators can foresee circumstances that they have no idea how to provide for, so they delegate resolution of the muddle to the courts. I object to the latter – and in all circumstances, because it suggests confused and ill-defined legislation.

And, as I’ve tried to make clear in this thread, this ‘equal marriage’ legislation is ill-conceived because the criteria for determining adultery and sexual infidelity are different for hetero- and homosexuals, as are the criteria for parenthood (and so inheritance). In fact, gay and straight marriage are clearly not the same thing or equal.

“I generally argue against laws that prevent people from doing things, so I don’t care where people get married.”

Colloquially, gays in a civil partnership can be “married”, so I don’t wish to prevent gays from doing anything. And I also don’t particularly care where people get married: the church angle on all this is a distraction.

ukliberty @ 29:

“why attempt to ‘define’ adultery in such terms, in such minute detail? We already deal with cases of ‘unreasonable behaviour’, for example, which can include being sexually unfaithful.”

Sp what consitutes being sexually unfaithful in homosexual relationships?

Same as for heterosexual relationships: “engaging in sexual relations with a person other than one’s regular partner in contravention of a previous promise or understanding”.

And, as I’ve tried to make clear in this thread, this ‘equal marriage’ legislation is ill-conceived because the criteria for determining adultery and sexual infidelity are different for hetero- and homosexuals, as are the criteria for parenthood (and so inheritance).

The criteria for infidelity aren’t different at all (what’s the difference between adultery and infidelity btw?). I think the problem is you have a view of what homosexual relationships consist of; from your comments here, they feature regular sexual or intimate contact with people outside the couple, e.g. your ‘sodomites’ – good troll, btw – X, Y and Z.

I doubt we could easily agree on what could be a useful study of this. Moreover (a) and (b) are not mutually exclusive; and, indeed, I suspect (a) leads us to find human rights violations – ie (b). I am, incidentally, with Alasdair MacIntyre (hardly a right-winger!) when he says of human rights that “there are no such rights, and belief in them is one with belief in witches and in unicorns.”

Jesus. You made a claim, so back it up, or stop banging on about it.

(as for MacIntyre, he’s quite right in terms of natural rights, imo; rights are man-made, but so what.)

shatterface,

TONE @25, again, why attempt to ‘define’ adultery in such terms, in such minute detail? We already deal with cases of ‘unreasonable behaviour’, for example, which can include being sexually unfaithful.

Do we need even that? Why should a divorce require blame?

iiuc, you can’t simply get a divorce; you need grounds for divorce. Among the grounds are adultery and unreasonable behaviour. To tell ‘the story’ of that kind of divorce, at least one of the parties will be to blame. E.g. “State briefly your reasons for saying that the Respondent has committed the adultery alleged.”

You don’t need to assign blame if the grounds are that you have lived apart for over two years.

@42. TONE: “And statute can be unclear because the legislators can foresee circumstances that they have no idea how to provide for, so they delegate resolution of the muddle to the courts. I object to the latter – and in all circumstances, because it suggests confused and ill-defined legislation.”

Thanks for the honestness, Tone (I can’t type it in FULL CAPS).

I worship muddled and unclear thoughts. I have never believed in absolute truths. I’ll learn something new tomorrow.

46. Robin Levett

@TONE #42 (& 27):

And, as I’ve tried to make clear in this thread, this ‘equal marriage’ legislation is ill-conceived because the criteria for determining adultery and sexual infidelity are different for hetero- and homosexuals

Are you suggesting that the behaviour you mention in #27 would not be grounds for divorce if the married couple were opposite-sex? Seriously?

And are you really suggesting that if an opposite-sex couple doesn’t engage in oral-sex, then if either partner engages in oral sex with a third party that would not be grounds for divorce? That seems to be the logic of your #27, insofar as you aren’t simply figuratively swooning at the ickiness of it all.

Tone,
Without video evidence, actual penetrative unfaithfulness is rather hard to prove anyway. Besides, the rules need to be fairly flexible to keep up with changing behaviour. A wife who sleeps with other men with her husband’s permission is not being unfaithful, though she will have comitted adultery.

These days, marriages end for pretty much the same reason every time: the couple don’t want to be married anymore.

Cylux, @40:

These developments seem a shame … same-sex couples who want children represent a tremendous opportunity to get more children adopted or fostered. Ah well, that’s progress.

What’s the point of this thread?
That MPs who will vote against gay marriage are bad people and should be targeted or something?
Isn’t it meant to be a free vote? Let MPs decide for themselves. It’s a contentious enough issue without all this aggro on top of it too.
Personally I couldn’t care about gay marriage one way or the other, but I find the campaigning by the pro side very off putting.
Enough to make me recoil from it quite strongly.

ukl @ 29:

“…if they can’t have children, in what way are they potentially reproductive? Is the Holy Spirit likely to visit?”

The distinction between strong and weak senses of potentiality dates back to the ancient Greeks. If a couple cannot presently have children, they are still potential (in the weak sense) parents because their infidelity might yet be cured or the diagnosis false…

ukl @ 43:

“The criteria for infidelity aren’t different at all”

Yes, the criteria are different, as I have explained above in his thread and again below to RL. And if they aren’t different, why did those charged with drafting the Bill give up trying to define gay adultery?

“(what’s the difference between adultery and infidelity btw?).”

You introduced ‘sexual infidelity’ into the argument @ 29; so I was simply covering all semantic possibilities.

“I think the problem is you have a view of what homosexual relationships consist of; from your comments here, they feature regular sexual or intimate contact with people outside the couple…”

That’s pure speculation and prejudice on your part. And a red herring. I have no view on whether gay couples have more or less sexual contact with other people than heterosexual couples do.

RL @ 46:

“Are you suggesting that the behaviour you mention in #27 would not be grounds for divorce if the married couple were opposite-sex? Seriously?”

No. I’m suggesting that the behaviour I mention @ 25 is not obviously grounds for same-sex divorce, though it would be (swingers excepted) for different-sex divorce. Of physiological necessity, gay sex is more diverse and imaginative than hetero sex; so it is less easy to determine what constitutes adultery, infidelity or (if you prefer) unreasonable behaviour.

Which means that gay and heterosexual marriage are not equal in this repect, any more than they are (developments in reproductive technology notwithstanding) equal in matters of parenthood and inheritance.

Tone, your point at 25 shows solely that you have some rather weird stereotypes about queer people. All of the above are defined as unreasonable behaviour in the context of ending a civil partnership – so irrespective of the definition of adultery used, this doesn’t actually present any obstacles to SSM at all.

To be honest, reading this thread it sounds like current divorce laws might need a bit of legal housekeeping and updating.

john b @ 51:

“your point at 25 shows solely that you have some rather weird stereotypes about queer people”

My examples are possible scenarios, not sterotypes.

“All of the above are defined as unreasonable behaviour in the context of ending a civil partnership.”

Sexual infidelity is cited as one such example of unreasonable behaviour. However, how is sexual fidelity to be defined in gay relationships? This is hard enough in straight relationships: was Bill Clinton sexually unfaithful with Monica Lewinsky?

“This is hard enough in straight relationships: was Bill Clinton sexually unfaithful with Monica Lewinsky?”

Yes.

Next stupid question?

TONE,

Yes, the criteria are different, as I have explained above in his thread and again below to RL.

You haven’t “explained”, you have only asserted they are different.

And if they aren’t different, why did those charged with drafting the Bill give up trying to define gay adultery?

I only have your word they did, you haven’t referred readers to any evidence this happened, so I don’t have any idea whether that happened and, if it did, their reasons.

“(what’s the difference between adultery and infidelity btw?).”

You introduced ‘sexual infidelity’ into the argument @ 29; so I was simply covering all semantic possibilities.

Incorrect, I used the term “sexually unfaithful”, for the reasons given.

This is hard enough in straight relationships: was Bill Clinton sexually unfaithful with Monica Lewinsky?

Not sure if serious…

However, how is sexual fidelity to be defined in gay relationships?

By the people involved in the relationship. Monogamy does feature in a number of same sex relationships you know, and the honest poly or ‘monogamish’ relationships will have established ground rules long before there will have even been talk of tying the knot.

Unless the so called sanctity of marriage people will support a bill banning divorce, they should shut the fuck up. The biggest threat to marriage is not from gay marriage, but divorce of heterosexual marriage.

But of course they don’t really give a dam about sanctity of marriage. They just use that as a cover to push their bigoted anti gay agenda. Newt Gingrich is a so called sanctity of marriage kind of guy. Apparently leaving your wife on her death bed to run off with your secretary is just fine for the sanctity of marriage. Or asking your wife if she will let him have an open marriage so he can fuck someone else is also seen as sanctity of marriage.

these people are vermin.

cylus @ 56:

“By the people involved in the relationship.”

Exactly!

Which is why the courts will become extensively involved in adjudicating on what constitutes gay adultery/infidelity…

I’m still calling for the legalisation of polygamy between consenting adults. Try this on the history of polygamy in North America:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy_in_North_America

At the very least, if legalisation isn’t on, including polygamy and cuckolding options in pre-nuptial agreements should lessen the hypocrisy about marital infidelity downstream. But I can’t understand this opposition to polygamy as there are ample precedents in the Bible when that very source is repeatedly invoked as an authority preventing gay marriage. Let’s have consistency.

I have no idea why TONE insists on ignoring the fact that “adultery” has been supplanted by “unreasonable behaviour” in the vast majority of divorce cases in which “infidelity” (widely defined) is the main issue.

This appears to be causing few problems currently, and there is no reason why it should do so in the case of same sex divorce.

I have no idea why TONE thinks the courts aren’t involved in heterosexual divorce cases.

62. The XYZ Line

Cylux @ 40:

“Isn’t it?”

No, if a third party has to get involved, then by definition it’s not the couple having the child. Same goes for your other examples.

ULK @ 43:

“(as for MacIntyre, he’s quite right in terms of natural rights, imo; rights are man-made, but so what.)”

If there are no such things as natural rights, any rights-based arguments for gay marriage (or for anything, really) become significantly harder to make. If rights are conferred by society, we can choose whom to give them to, and if we only want to give the right to marry to straight people, well, that’s that.

Sally @ 57:

Unless the so called road safety people will support an advertising campaign about heart disease, they should shut the fuck up. The biggest cause of death in the UK is not car accidents, but heart problems.

But of course they don’t really give a dam about saving lives. They just use that as a cover to push their spiteful anti-car agenda (etc., etc., etc.).

62 And your point is what?

XYZ,

If there are no such things as natural rights, any rights-based arguments for gay marriage (or for anything, really) become significantly harder to make. If rights are conferred by society, we can choose whom to give them to, and if we only want to give the right to marry to straight people, well, that’s that.

I’m not sure what you mean by “that’s that” – it reads as if that is the end of the matter. But as rights are conferred / legislated by ‘society’ (read: lawmakers), they can be modified by ‘society’ too.

I don’t recall any advocates for gay marriage arguing in terms of rights (perhaps I missed it), natural or otherwise, but in essence fairness. I do however recall opponents arguing in terms of God and nature, and in essence unfairness.

If rights are conferred by society, we can choose whom to give them to, and if we only want to give the right to marry to straight people, well, that’s that.

From what polls I’ve seen so far ‘we’ are apparently quite happy to extend the right of marriage to same sex couples…

If we scrupulously follow the Bible, gay marriages may be inadmissible but polygamy was certainly approved.

The venerated King Solomon was reported to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

@57 – On the subject of Newt Gingrich, it’s worth noting that Jesus had nothing at all to say about homosexuality, but had plenty to say about the grave crime of adultery. Also, adultery made the top ten list of God’s most hated crimes while same sex action did not.

67 yes true that.

But like so much religion, various bits have been ignored and other bits tact on.

You don’t need to assign blame if the grounds are that you have lived apart for over two years.

I still don’t see why blame has to be attributed under two years. Why is it relevant?

70. Robin Levett

@Shatterface #69:

I still don’t see why blame has to be attributed under two years. Why is it relevant?

Because:

The sole ground for divorce is irretrievable breakdown. To establish that ground, however, one must prove one of 5 facts:

1 Adultery by the Respondent (you can’t get a divorce on your own adultery) and it would be intolerable to continue to live with them;
2 Unreasonable behaviour by the Respondent;
3 Desertion by the Respondent for 2 years;
4 2 years separation (divorce by consent);
5 5 years separation (whether the Respondent consents to the divorce or not).

A quick scan shows that the only grounds (more properly “facts”) available where the couple have been less than 2 years apart are two fault grounds – adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

71. Robin Levett

@TONE #58:

Which is why the courts will become extensively involved in adjudicating on what constitutes gay adultery/infidelity

To the precise extent that they are currently involved in adjudicating on what constitutes heterosexual adultery/infidelity; which is to say, in practice, not at all.

72. Robin Levett

@TONE #50:

“Are you suggesting that the behaviour you mention in #27 would not be grounds for divorce if the married couple were opposite-sex? Seriously?”

No. I’m suggesting that the behaviour I mention @ 25 is not obviously grounds for same-sex divorce, though it would be (swingers excepted) for different-sex divorce. Of physiological necessity, gay sex is more diverse and imaginative than hetero sex; so it is less easy to determine what constitutes adultery, infidelity or (if you prefer) unreasonable behaviour.

Why do you presume that sexual behaviour by one party to a same-sex marriage with a third party cannot found a divorce – where that same behaviour, with the same person, could found a divorce of a heterosexual couple? I find this difficult to understand, but it seems to be the entire basis of your objection to same-sex marriage.

Which means that gay and heterosexual marriage are not equal in this repect, any more than they are (developments in reproductive technology notwithstanding) equal in matters of parenthood and inheritance.

Your premise being incorrect, your conclusion doesn’t follow.

73. Robin Levett

@Mr X/XYZ #62:

No, if a third party has to get involved, then by definition it’s not the couple having the child

So a couple who conceive using AID don’t have a child?

74. The XYZ Line

Sally @ 62:

“62 And your point is what?”

That if you applied your argument consistently and not just against views you happen to dislike, you’d end up rejecting all sorts of worthy causes. But this would be ridiculous, so your argument is clearly deficient.

UKL @ 64:

“I don’t recall any advocates for gay marriage arguing in terms of rights (perhaps I missed it), natural or otherwise, but in essence fairness.”

I, on the other hand, have heard plenty of appeals to “equal rights” and comparisons of SSM with civil rights in America. Come to think of it, though, I can’t remember who was making those comparisons, so it might be an American thing rather than a British. Anyway, though, surely an argument from fairness presupposes a right to fair treatment, as otherwise your opponent could just shrug his shoulders and say “Yeah, it’s unfair. So what?”

Bob @ 66:

“If we scrupulously follow the Bible, gay marriages may be inadmissible but polygamy was certainly approved.”

You’ve already been corrected on this matter several times on previous threads.

Cylux @ 67:

“On the subject of Newt Gingrich, it’s worth noting that Jesus had nothing at all to say about homosexuality, but had plenty to say about the grave crime of adultery. Also, adultery made the top ten list of God’s most hated crimes while same sex action did not.”

Jesus is also pretty clear that marriage is between a man and a woman (e.g., Mat. 19.4-5).

@73 XYZ line’s stance there does have interesting consequences for those children conceived via IVF treatment.

@74 Yeah that passage there focuses far more on why divorce is wrong and is a form of adultery. Campaigning against divorce are we?

XYZ,

UKL @ 64:

“I don’t recall any advocates for gay marriage arguing in terms of rights (perhaps I missed it), natural or otherwise, but in essence fairness.”

I, on the other hand, have heard plenty of appeals to “equal rights” and comparisons of SSM with civil rights in America. Come to think of it, though, I can’t remember who was making those comparisons, so it might be an American thing rather than a British.

Yes, sigh, people have called for equal rights, not rights ‘in themselves’, which is what I understood you to mean from the context of the sub-thread about MacIntyre etc…

Anyway, though, surely an argument from fairness presupposes a right to fair treatment, as otherwise your opponent could just shrug his shoulders and say “Yeah, it’s unfair. So what?”

Yes, they can say they support unfairness. If that’s all opponents to gay marriage can essentially argue, it’s no wonder polls show majority support for gay marriage.

77. Robin Levett

@Cylux #75:

XYZ line’s stance there does have interesting consequences for those children conceived via IVF treatment.

AID, not IVF; IVF generally refers to the use of gametes from both members of the couple. AID involves, usually, sperm from a third party.

@77 His position is that if a third party has to get involved in any fashion then it’s not the couple having the child. Given the example I used was of a lesbian couple using material only procured from one another.

I think 9 Labour MPs is nothing compared to the 130 (or more) Tory MPs who are intending to oppose gay marriage. Though it is ashame that there are Labour MPs who are taking a less progressive position that a Tory Prime Minister (even though the PM is doing it out of PR, rather than conviction), I think it is right that Ed Miliband has made the issue a free vote because we should not have a situation where MPs are being disciplined or punished because of their religious beliefs. That being said, I doubt that the Government will introduce gay marriage because of the amount of dissent from within the Tory Party and personally I think the institution of marriage is just one of those things where Government needs to just get out of the way or in other words – denationalise marriage.

Shatterface and Cjcj
“It could be coincidence but all the people on this list appear to be ballbags.”
What are the Tory MP’s who voted against the bill are they ballbags ?


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