on ‘marriage equality’

When I said to my lady that I was going to write a piece on ‘marriage equality’ she asked ‘You mean, wives having the same status in marriage as their husbands?’ I had to say, on the contrary, that the piece was actually about the  proposal to enshrine same-sex marriages, already recognised as civil unions. There are bills already prepared in the Federal Parliament by a cross-bench senator and by the Greens, and Labor is offering one of its own. Labor has offered to share the bill with the Liberal Party; it is not clear whether that will occur.  Gordon Watson, a friend, asked on his Facebook page what people thought about the issue. Someone said it was a fundamental right, and I began by saying that it was nothing of the sort. That pushed me into realising that I could not do the subject justice on a Facebook entry, but I could have a shot at it on my website. And here is that shot.

There is an astonishing simplicity about just about everything I have read or heard in the media on the topic. It is as though marriage is straightforward thing, and everyone knows what it is. Historically and anthropologically, however, marriage is an extraordinarily varied social institution (see the Wikipedia entry), with enormous differences across societies and across time. The common attribute is simple enough: two people choose each other (for whatever reason and in whatever context) and their choice is recognised by others. It is the matter of recognition, and the enforcement of that recognition, which is the complex bit.

For marriage has traditionally resulted in children, and they were most important in older societies, not simply as blessings in themselves, but also as future workers, gifts, and carers for one’s old age. The children were, at once, the product of two families, which brought in other responsibilities and privileges. The children were also the hope of the future, and they still are today: we place tremendous pressure on our educational systems because our children carry our society forward, and we want that done well, even if we disagree about what would count as doing that well.

Marriage was made a religious sacrament in 1184; before the couple simply had to agree before witnesses. As a civil contract marriage is only as old as the nation-state that regulates it. In outback colonial Australia, when there were few priests and little government, the travelling clergyman would regularise relationships and legitimise any children on his infrequent visits. What else could be done? There has been a marked reduction in the number of couples seeking formal marriage in Australia over the last half-century. Many people just live together, and their living together is recognised by their peers and families. Yes, the state will, if things come adrift, and there is rancour about the dissolution, do its best to sort out who owes whom what. Here there are rights, but they’re aren’t fundamental, just those according to legislation. All our supposed rights are set out in legislation or the common law. There aren’t, at least in my view, fundamental rights that people have because they have been born. Those are aspirational statements only. Real rights depend on real laws.

I have been marred three times. The first was in the Church of England, and as a lapsed and quondam Methodist I had to be baptised before the wedding could take place. That was in 1958. In 1977 I married again, at the registry office. In 1991 I married for the last time, in the garden of an aunt and uncle, surrounded by relatives and friends, with a celebrant, who happened to be someone I knew through work. It was the most informal of the three, and perhaps the cheeriest. Of our nine children, five are married (two on beaches, one in a park, one in our house, and one in someone else’s garden), one is a single mum with adopted children, one lives with his partner and children, one is separated and on her way to divorce, and one has chosen to be unmarried. My guess is that such a breadth is typical of Australian society.

Same-sex marriage is historically rare, and indeed same-sex sexual relationships, especially between men, have commonly been frowned upon in most societies. In Australia there has been a profound shift from the permitted homophobia of my youth and earlier, to the more-or-less acceptance of gay couples of today. Same-sex relationships have been granted the status of civil unions, but there is a strong push, from a passionate minority, for more: the same kind of status that is accorded heterosexual couples. Since Christian religious practice is now way down, even if a majority still assert that they are Christians at the Census, arguing against same-sex marriage on theological grounds can’t carry much weight. Why should it matter to anyone else?

Well of course, it does. It matters to everyone who is used to something, or a settled state of affairs, and sees the status quo about to shift. Not because it is going to affect them personally in any way, but just because most people are conservative. They will cry, ‘Why can’t things just be the way they always have been?’. Then there are the worriers who have in mind the thin edge of the wedge, and propose dire happenings if this sort of thing (whatever it is) goes ahead. And there will be professionals of various kinds who can see that what they are used to will change, and they’ll have to learn something new. The law is not simple, and changing it will involve changing other matters as well.

Will Australia as a whole be any better if the change comes? Probably not in any significant way. But among the passionate minority there will be people who do really feel that their life and its context have changed materially for the better. I’m neither for same-sex marriage nor against it. If there were a referendum on the Irish pattern I’d probably vote in favour, because I know people for whom it would be important.  I do expect same-sex marriage to win through in  in due course, and expect also that life for everyone else will go on as before.

But I am reminded of a cartoon I saw recently. The wife in one armchair is reading a newspaper, and says to her husband, sitting a long way away from her,  ‘It looks as though gay marriage is getting close!’

He replies, ‘The poor things. Haven’t they suffered enough?’

I have written about ‘rights’ before: http://donaitkin.com/what-are-rights-anyway/

 

Join the discussion 70 Comments

  • Peter Kemmis says:

    It seems to me that the pro side argues that homosexual and lesbian marriages are the moral equal of the heterosexual, and the con side argues that as they are not the biological equal, they should not be seen as the moral equal. Many on the con side are concerned that a moral equivalence will encourage non-hetero relationships, and so diminish procreation.

    Marriage equality? Now I had thought that meant that my marriage was as good as the next bloke’s. But there you go, Don: your sweetness and light reckons it’s about equal status of husbands and wives. I am reminded of CJ Dennis in his “The Sentimental Bloke” – “Wot’s in a name, she sez . . . And then she sighs, An’ clasps ‘er little ‘ands, an rolls ‘er eyes.”

    The silly thing is, that a change of name won’t make a darned bit of difference. The real change has already occurred, where those relationships can now come safely out of the closet, and be recognised at law for property and family purposes. How they are viewed and accepted or not by heterosexuals won’t be changed by their being called “marriages”. I suspect that attitudes will become maore accepting, and perhaps the “equal marriage” push may encourage that, although sometimes if you push too hard too soon, you get a backlash.

    • David says:

      You argue that

      “”The real change [equality] has already occurred,”

      But there is still about a 8 year difference in life expectancy between a gay and heterosexual males. I would argue that this difference is the result of a lot of a whole lot of learned coping behaviors that gay men have develop in response to discrimination. Whether that behavior be visiting beats, increased drugs and alcohol or comfort eating there is still a significant gap in the all-cause mortality.

      Total equality (is there any other kind) with respect to the marriage act will move Australia in that direction.

      • Peter Kemmis says:

        Hi David
        I hadn’t known of that year gap – thanks for that information. The basic question is about what we mean about “equality”, a question applicable to many contexts. You and I are “equal before the law”, but if your pockets are far deeper than mine, and the contention significant enough, your case might triumph despite mine having a fundamentally stronger claim. Or the converse. And then, equality is often confused with uniformity – but I digress.

        It seems we have a difference of opinion here – I think that “equal marriage” won’t lead to much change, as most in heterosexual marriages will continue to view gay marriages as different, and therefore not the same thing, so by definition not equal. Now there’s a problem – equal can meet “the same as”, and it can mean “the same value as”. So here is another confusion. But you think the change will move the country in the direction of “total equality”. So which equality do you mean?

        It may seem to be another issue, but a concern I have about our use of terms in public discourse, at times becomes too simplified. a recent example has been the conflation of physical violence in relationships (until recently understood as “domestic violence”, often correctly blamed on males), with verbal or emotional abuse (with males sometimes incorrectly perceived as the perpetrators). I have a good friend (who knows well of those situations through her professional career), who argues that verbal and emotional abuse is another form of domestic violence. Now my problem with that view is that we then lose a delineation that is important to understanding, diagnosis and action. While I accept her point that the psychological effects can be just as harmful, the nature of the incidents are quite different, and the diagnosis and actions taken are very likely to be quite different.

        So I was rather whimsical when I quoted “Wot’s in a name, she sez . . “, but actually, the name is really very important. It can clarify, or confuse. Mis-naming can often hide, both blur and sometimes slur.

        So if we call them all “marriages”, have we really moved ourselves forward, or just pushed the more difficult questions under the carpet? Will that 8 year differential, a statistic beneath which lies enormous angst for many, be at all reduced when the difficult questions remain unresolved?

        I’m reminded also of the current Recognition debate. Interesting that with all the discussion for and against, the most difficult question lies under the carpet: who will be defined as aboriginal, not just now, but in two and three generations from now?

        It isn’t all about names and what we think they represent.

        • kvd says:

          Peter said:

          “It seems to me that the pro side argues that homosexual and lesbian marriages are the moral equal of the heterosexual”

          No – they seem, to me, to just wish to be allowed equal rights, under the law as it exists, and reject anything which impedes that.

          “the con side argues that as they are not the biological equal, they should not be seen as the moral equal”

          Probably correct, but bound to query the ‘cons’ as to:
          What does “biological equal” mean? And who decided “biological equal”ity equates to “moral equal”ity?

          “The silly thing is, that a change of name won’t make a darned bit of difference.” – followed by:

          “where those relationships can now come safely out of the closet

          Peter, bound to ask – did you read and understand the ramifications of what you just stated? I struggle to spell cognitive dissonance, because I rarely encounter it on this blog.

          Let’s keep it simple: is it “morally” or even “socially” acceptable that one’s marital status provide benefits over one’s otherwise equally entitled inhabitants of this Earth?

          (The above query is only made because I have yet to read any coherent response to my earlier honest question)

          • Peter Kemmis says:

            Hi kvd

            Thanks for your thoughtful response. I realise as I think about my subsequent post, that I’ve demonstrated that same confusion of terms that I subsequently challenged. What do I mean as “biological equal”? Only in the sense of “the same as”, and in the context of procreation, the capacity is not the same, although as I write I think of one lesbian couple with a happy pre-teen son whose biological father is still a family friend, and who has provided the necessary semen (under what circumstances I know not).

            I was not arguing that “biological equality” equates to “moral equality”; but I think the con side does so argue. Their basis? A long history of human existence and culture.

            The next key issue is about my evident cognitive dissonance, a lovely term which simply means I’ve contradicted myself, and you rarely find contradiction on this blog, you say. So your challenge makes me think, what has led to this progressive change since the dreadful treatment of Oscar Wilde? I haven’t studied that history, but know that in the 50s and 60s we had some dreadful cases of homophobia. Look, as a teen in he 50s, the idea of someone separating, let alone divorcing, was spoken of in hushed tones in my home, and certainly not within my hearing. (You may well ask, how do I know if I never heard? Well, I read about it all later!)

            No, I accept your point – the attitudinal differences occur in little steps, not big ones. But we should not fool ourselves that suddenly everything will be all sweetness and roses. In that sense, we shouldn’t expect a change of name to make a sudden difference to how heterosexuals perceive the matter. I suspect it is of much greater significance to the gay community.

            Marital status and benefits? Now here I must plead ignorance. Are you thinking of social approval, or of other and more tangible benefits?

          • margaret says:

            “in the 50s and 60s we had some dreadful cases of homophobia” – yes Alan Turing comes immediately to my mind – that really was a tragedy.

  • whyisitso says:

    Reminds me of Bob Hope’s one-liner some decades ago:

    “I’ve just flown in from California, where they’ve made
    homosexuality legal. I thought I’d get out before they make it
    compulsory.”

    We’re well on the way, aren’t we?

    By the way when Mark Steyn resurrected this quote on National Review Online eighteen months ago, he was fired by the editor. The intolerance of the “tolerant” knows no bounds.

    • John McLean says:

      I prefer “Marriage is an interesting experience. Everyone should get married, at least once.”

  • Mike says:

    Aah me and I was thinking marriage was about children but I must be wrong. It should be about doing whatever one wants and breaking down all societal tradition. This is to enable sticking it to anyone that thinks history and tradition has any importance. I’m sure we face a future where a child asked who their mother is will answer well I am not sure I do know though a surrogate was chosen from many in a foreign land using artificial insemination from someone other than my bearded parent because of sterility. There is no commitment to look after me as long as I do the right thing I’ve been promised nothing bad will happen. What does the word mother mean?

    • David says:

      I agree with your first sentence.

      • Mike says:

        If it is not about children then what is it about? The marriage act which is what is under discussion is mostly about children I understand.

        The powers that be at the centre of it wished to regulate the product of sex because at the heart of it responsibility. Sex if you are of the same gender produces nothing.

      • margaret says:

        I’m amused.

  • kvd says:

    I’ve only had one marriage (which was terminated after 30+ years by a
    brain tumor) so I guess Don’s three marriages give him the status of
    expert – at least on the process, if not the successful utilisation
    thereof. So, from my admitted amateur status, I would like to state that
    I have yet to observe, read, or hear of any short or long term
    ‘downside’ associated with allowing other people to enjoy what I did,
    and what I wish I still had.

  • John McLean says:

    Call it anything but don’t call it “marriage”. Reserve that for the traditional formal bonding of a man and a woman. “But…but …” I hear you cry. It’s funny how gay people think they are “special” and deserve somewhat different treatment to the rest of us. You’d think they’d jump at the opportunity to have their own word.

    Also, I’m led to believe that the last census found that there were about 35,000 same-sex couples in Australia, or about 1% of all couples. That 1% must be important if the rest of us have to bend over backwards – get your mind out of the gutter! – to appease them.

    In Ireland wasn’t the voter turnout about 62% and the votes in favour around 60%? On those figures, 62% of 60% only equates to 37.2% of all of the potential voters; the extrapolation of 60% to the whole population is assumption rather than fact. (Adjust the figures accordingly but unless the data shows it, be very wary of claiming “majority” support)

    I also think of the children of same sex parents – you know what I mean – now coming out and questionong whether their upbringing would have been better with one male and one female parent. Maybe if we call the formal relationship as something other than marriage we might take this into account when considering the children’s behaviour.

    • kvd says:

      Ah statistics: three fifths of five eighths of not really very much ado about nothing really. Why are you so exercised (exorcised, maybe?) about the common right for a tiny minority of your fellow citizens to live their life as they see fit?

      “I think”…”you know what I mean”

      No, not really. Why not just fully disgorge what you actually mean?

  • margaret says:

    Marriage equality should exist, couples should have equal rights, straight or gay, but when it happens not every same sex couple will race to a church to tie the knot, even though that’s what will be shown by the media.
    As you say, weddings since the seventies have been celebrated in many different places and styles. They’ve become ridiculously expensive also. Many many people live together in happy relationships and raise children and now, some married young couples are questioning whether they want children to be part of their union.
    Romantic love is not necessarily part of the marriage equation. Advertising has sold the dream of weddings with beautiful white gowns … and some still dream on. Thanks to the Kardashians, the footballers, and also the George Clooneys of the world.

  • JMO says:

    When I married 35 years ago, marriage was consideredby some as legal prostitution, then it became a dying institution and then, we were referred to as “breeders”(those advocating this view conveniently forgot that they owe their existence to “breeders”(.

    My my now everyone wants to be married. Any apology for the prior condemnation and contentious remarks? Not on your nelly.

    I am absolutely against homosexual marriage. It is unnatural and wrong – full stop.Looking back as a child, if I had been adopted by two male homosexuals, I would have considered it abhorrent.

    • David says:

      Its silly to describe homosexuality as “unnatural”. Its like saying being left handed in unnatural. Name one society where homosexuality does not occur?

    • kvd says:

      Of course, 35 years ago is now the new ‘norm’ of what is permitted (by who?) and what is not. “Looking back as a child” – yes that is obvious – but why not try considering the idea as an adult? I promise your world will not disintergrate.

  • Albert says:

    Perhaps we will need to invent a new descriptor for a particular type of marriage “nonconsumated marriage” seems apt.

  • Gary in Erko says:

    Marriage has been a compact between previous and subsequent generations of the couple. It’s been an amalgamation of two families, each with its own heritage, generating a merged heritage passed on via those two families’ next generation to their more immediate relations and society. It’s a compact that two people enter with relationships vertical through generations, and horizontal within their community. Innate in “marriage equality” couples is the inability to partake of this without the essential interference of medical technology and a third party not of the same sex as the couple. It can never take part in its community in an equivalent way. Divorce of same sex couples with children will be the clear demonstration of this.

    • kvd says:

      Gary, marriage as celebrated is between two people who promise to love and cherish one another (until death, but we’ll leave out that inconvenient bit, in deference to Don).

      What harm is caused to either you, or the community more broadly, by granting this ‘compact’ to others who you will probably never meet?

      • Gary in Erko says:

        A relative of mine was the first to be married in a same sex couple in a Synagogue, so please don’t insist that it’s “others who you will probably never meet”. I have no objection to their individual sexual inclinations. Nor do I have a problem with two lesbian friends who definitely love their daughter.

        You can chuck out biology and merged genetic and familial heritage as non considerations if you wish as though they have no validity, but please don’t ask me to call it equivalent to something that’s been normal practice for thousands of years. You can do that if you want. Redifine anything you chose – go ahead. I really don’t care. You can choose to live in the age of the virgin birth of anything imaginable where the pretence of anything is valid.

      • Gary in Erko says:

        Second thought – If two people wish to pretend they have zero relationship with their ancestry and decendents, and all their current society then ok. They can do whatever they want in their own locked up closed world. But that’s not where people actually live. We all have complex multiple relationships with people of the past and future and the present. Marriage is not a simplistic relationship only between two people.

  • margaret says:

    I’ve only been married once – I recall a friend who was married twice saying about divorce -“too many people get hurt”. It’s a pretty big step marriage and these days not often thought of as being about producing children in the minds of the people being married – In the western world it was a religious and societal expectation and now it’s an “occasion” and an “event” (hopefully based on the couple involved caring deeply for each other).

  • dlb says:

    We need an Australian film about all of this.
    I think it should be called “Priscilla’s Wedding”.

    • kvd says:

      dlb, I used to read your posts with a fair amount of respect.

      • dlb says:

        Lighten up kvd.
        Both the films I alluded to highlighted social issues in Australia. Even though they were comedies, I thought they portrayed such issues and people in a respectful way.

        • kvd says:

          dlb – apology. My interpretation of your comment was affected by (my earlier interpretation of) the tenor of others.

  • kvd says:

    Professor, I have made several comments below – most in reply to your commenters. I have ‘no dog in this fight’ – i.e. whatever happens, will happen without any effect upon my life, or those I care about, or upon society at large, as far as I can see.

    If pressed for an opinion, I would just state that I am amazed that an institution, so regularly abused by those who presently have access, should be so belatedly (and perhaps hypocritically) defended against ‘the other’. I’m just really disappointed that such a normally clear thinking group of individuals as those who comment here would collapse into smirk and innuendo.

    I think in my first comment I asked for any specific ‘downside’ for myself or the state threatened by this proposal. That seemed in line with your usual skeptical approach?

    But worn-out old Bob Hope jokes are not in any way a reasonable answer.

    • Gary in Erko says:

      The idea that marriage is simply a decision exclusively between any two people completely redefines the role of marriage and family within social history and culture. For instance, if it’s only the two people then the individuals of the family conflict in Romeo and Juliet is meaningless. West Side Story becomes a bunch of silly worthless garbage. Henry the VIII had no need to alter anything of the Church’s decrees – marriage is only just a temporal agreement between two individuals with zero repercussions on anything else.

      • margaret says:

        Henry the VIII had a few wives beheaded in the attempt to produce that much desired male heir … marriage seemed a very dangerous institution to his daughter by Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I – and she never did marry.

    • David says:

      See, I’m surprised your surprised. The comments below are about what I would have expected, except for yours. I had to do a double take when I read your posts, because your comments usually main steam skeptic. But from now on I pay more attention to your posts. 🙂

      • dlb says:

        You sound very tribal there David.
        kvd is doing what we all should, giving the issue a good deal of thought and forming an opinion.
        The thing about gay marriage or for that matter any marriage is that emotion and tradition are big components. This may be why normally clear thinking individuals suddenly loose it. Marriage is different to things like climate science which rely on facts and logic. cough, cough.

        • David says:

          Right or wrong there is a pretty strong correlation between how the contributors on this blog line up in AGW and Gay marriage. And we see this pattern nationally, too. For example the Greens are pro gay marriage and pro AGW. The Coalition have until very recently been anti AGW and anti gay marriage. But the Coalition has given ground on both positions, as they slowly and inevitably loose both arguments.

          Just call it as I see it. I would expect a sample of AGW recalcitrants, to be anti gay marriage. And I am right! (see comments above and below)

          • dlb says:

            I think you need to run a poll there David to give some credence to your view. Make sure you have a few questions towards the centre, we don’t all uniformly see things in black or white.

          • David says:

            Correlation does not imply uniformity.

          • Peter Kemmis says:

            Hi David

            You touch on an important point, probably the most important in understanding those differences between “conservatives” and “progressives”. Now I’ve put those terms in quotes deliberately, as they are loaded descriptors, but I’ve found it useful to ask myself, what are the factors that lead to one or the other, or what are the predominant characteristics of each?

            Incidentally, despite the latest NOAA paper with its convenient omission of the ARGO float data, I don’t think we’re getting any warmer right now. I just think some in the Coalition are a bit wary of coming out and saying what they really think. But as you know, I’m an anti-AGW recalcitrant . . . and not simply because the GW bit seems to be flailing around a little at the moment.

            Do you sometime wonder about the “silent majority”? Who are their members? Do they really exist? Do they matter? Much of what drives public discourse arises from those active in the social and political sphere. I’d suggest that many of that silent majority, and it is a majority, and it is largely silent in public discourse, is too busy getting on with its own life, managing its families and households, holding down a job, making both ends meet, having some fun, without any special cause to fight. Activists have causes to fight. But those causes aren’t the only things in life that matter.

  • Gordon Watson says:

    Wow, just wow. The comments in this stream are both heartening and disturbing at the same time. So let me inspire more commentary by saying, for me marriage equality is not so much about me, but rather the next generation of people who identify as being gay, and for those who do not necessarily fit with a traditional concept of gender. I am not defined by my sexual orientation, rather I like to think of myself as a positive person who can positive influence the community around me, be it volunteering for my local Lions Club or other local charity, serving as a volunteer board member on community projects, or encouraging others to venture beyond their safe boundary so they can be the best they can be. Anyway, back to my reason. I would hope the next generation of people who identify as being gay can grow up knowing their ‘status’ is no more and no less than the people in their community. The simple fact of knowing the love for someone of the same sex can be universally accepted and recognised by marriage can have profound positive impacts, on the value that person places on themselves. I am lucky, I grew up with a thick skin and had enough self determination to out weigh the burden of my sexuality, and I like to think, along the way I have positively changed the way people feel about homosexuals by simply being me, and the value I bring to every waking day.

  • Margaret says:

    I’d like to ask if you would get married if possibility becomes a reality?

    • Margaret says:

      Sorry, I’m on a dumbphone, my question is to Gordon.

    • Gordon Watson says:

      Hi Margaret, my partner and I have talked about it, and we would probably have a small ceremony, as we have already have a registered relationship or what ever it has been changed to in Queensland. Which does take me to the point I mentioned in my post below, the universality aspect of marriage – not having to explain, not having to worry that your legal rights may or could change, not having a perceived value placed on our relationship, being accepted across states and now internationally etc. I am always reminded of this when we travel, looking at couples who are female and male are instantly accepted and recognised at passport control, whereas, I cant tell you how many times I have been told to get back behind the red line even though my partner and I are clearly travelling together and even after stating we are a couple. I know this sounds trivial, but it is just one instance of how our relationship is devalued.

      • kvd says:

        not having to worry that your legal rights may or could change, not
        having a perceived value placed on our relationship, being accepted
        across states and now internationally

        This.

        (which in other ongoing discussions is referred to as not having to “check your privilege”)

        • Gordon Watson says:

          Hi kvd, I was just responding to Margaret’s question and elaborating on the reason why my partner and I would probably have a small ceremony.

      • margaret says:

        Not trivial I think, because irrespective of the truth of why Stephen Brady’s partner was told to wait in the car, that’s the sort of situation that wouldn’t arise if there was universality of marriage … whether or not couples chose not to marry.

  • PeterE says:

    I’ve only been marred once, in a church, and I got a helluva shock when the priest said that marriage was, inter alia, ‘… for the procreation of children’ but I got over it and we had a couple. This issue is complex. Marriage used to mean a life-long union between a man and a woman but I can empathise with others who want to make their civil union a ‘marriage’; it adds that final degree of intent and solemnity. I think this will happen in Australia but what interests me more is the politics of the Irish referendum and the badging of the world-wide political movement that drove it under its rainbow banner. It is typical of how the cadres will get onto an issue which may be a good one and bring on a rolling agitprop campaign ending in ‘victory.’ What next?

  • whyisitso says:

    I’m aware that I’m part of an ever-dwindling minority and the likes of me will die out with my passing.

    I do find homosexual displays quite repulsive, and I shudder even thinking of the method of intercourse homosexual men use (ie using a fecal-stained anus as a quasi vagina).

    I realise that my descendants will be forced to recognise that these practices are in fact demonstrations of superiority over what we used to call “normal”. Damn glad I won’t be around.

    Old Bob Hope jokes are of course a sign of moral degeneracy now, but his jibe about “compulsory” was quite prescient.

    • Gordon Watson says:

      Why is it so that intercourse, and more specifically anal intercourse, would be the only way males could show affection for each other? I think your comment reveals more of your attitudes to sex than it does about homosexual affection, let alone how female couples would express their love and affection for each other. That said, I am glad to hear your views, they make me more aware of attitudes from every corner of society – and are a further demonstration perhaps, that lesbian relationships are somehow more palatable the same sex male relationships. The danger of modern society (social media online news alerts etc) is people can surround themselves with information that is completely tailored to a set view of the world and you can cut yourself off from other interpretations and views of society. Too many of my friends are too quick to, unsubscribe, de-friend, unfollow, unlike just because someone does not agree with them – social media and other online communication has certainly contributed to this, I think, to polarising many issues – and at the end of the day, for no need. Particularly, when people can hide behind a pseudo persona, as it makes them less accountable for their words. That said, I do like ‘Freudian id’ aspect of pseudo accounts as it allows some people to truly express, and in some cases, vent thoughts they would not normally express, and in some cases, would go unsaid. For me I find the psychology behind social media and online communication completely fascinating. If you are up for it would be happy to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter etc – I really am a decent guy and respect your views even though i do not agree with them.

      • whyisitso says:

        “Why is it so that intercourse, and more specifically anal intercourse,
        would be the only way males could show affection for each other?”

        You’re misrepresenting what I said, Gordon. I never said that it was the ONLY method of showing affection between homosexuals. However I am led to believe that it is very very common practice between homosexual men. Are you denying this is so?

        • Gordon Watson says:

          As long as people don’t harm others, I don’t really care what people do sexually to and with each other. Sex comes in many forms, each person is different, and what is a turn and horny for one maybe a turn off for others. That is all I am saying. Some of the best sex I have had hasn’t included anal penetration. #justsaying But you are correct, I have no doubt some gay gents would enjoy sliding their manhood inside another man’s arse probably as much as a straight guy nudging his dick inside a female’s warm love tunnel.

      • margaret says:

        The sexuality of lesbian relationships does seem to gain more ‘approval’ from straight men – let’s not analyse why. However as the mother of a gay daughter I have noted that when you take the ‘process’ out of the equation, on the whole it is much ‘cooler’ to be a gay guy than a gay girl. Gay guys seem on the superficial societal level to have ‘more fun’ and be more accepted. Why I wonder?

    • filius says:

      I’m pretty glad you won’t be around either. I find it depressing that most people I know that are my age are simply waiting for people like you to die off so we can actually get our collective head out of the ass of the Bronze Age.
      P.S. I feel that given Don’s post had nothing to do with sexual acts themselves and your first thought was sodomy, it suggests that sodomy is on your brain. Perhaps you are protesting too much?

  • David says:

    When the Israelites were barely managing to eke
    a nomadic existence out of the Sinai desert, while searching for the Promised
    Land, it probably made some sense to issue an “every sperm is sacred” (Monty
    Python) edict its populace. However, humanity has since grown to 7 billion
    people. A populate of perish argument against gay marriage, is not IMO, even remotely
    convincing!

    Live and let live.

  • margaret says:

    I’m so lonely … where are these women contributors that your google statistics showed? – it’s like being Julie Bishop here, without the power. It’s not that I want boosting (although I note that plenty of that happens here amongst ‘the chaps’), it just feels like representation for half of the population falls on the shoulders of one of their number.

  • Mike says:

    This is in today’s Australian written by Alan Baker, Mansfield, Qld

    No less an authority than US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts recently said in response to argument in the same-sex marriage case now before the court: “You’re not seeking to join the institution; you’re seeking to change the institution. The fundamental core of the institution is the opposite sex relationship.”

    Not all change is progress, or fair, or just. The only reason why the law has given special status to marriage is to reinforce the commitment between a man and a woman so that they stay together for the sake of any children they may have.

    The key argument against changing the time-honoured definition of marriage is that, because marriage includes the right to found a family, any children a same-sex couple would obtain by artificial means — through surrogacy or adoption — would be deliberately deprived of either their mother or their father. The right of children, wherever possible, to be raised by their own mother and father must take precedence over the selfish desires of adults.

    __________
    I think it is a change that will come to pass that we will regret. Marriage was created to ensure support for women and children.

  • Leigh says:

    I think that we should never see
    A marriage termed “equality”
    I might be adding one and one and getting three
    But we might just end up with polygamy.
    (apologies to Ogden Nash)

  • Chris says:

    Good article, Don. Is there a possible range of equality legislation after-effects worthy of comment? I found a Canadian article (and a few in the US after using key google terms) suggesting “the Persecution of Christians” after same-sex laws were passed:
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/same-sex-marriage-and-the-persecution-of-christians-in-canada

  • Margaret says:

    A question. If you live in a same sex partnership are you regarded in the same way as heterosexual partnerships? That is, are you regarded as being in a de facto relationship? I’m assuming not.

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