The incoherent case against same-sex marriage


lyonmartin2There is a rather beautiful story that emerged from Chinese State of Chu during the Zhou dynasty, in which a wonderful male writer named Pan Zhang meets and falls in love with another male named Wang Zhongxian. The people of the town in which they lived adored the two. A contemporary writer writes that the two are:

“affectionate as husband and wife, sharing the same coverlet and pillow with unbounded intimacy for one another”

The story continues, that the two die on the same day, holding each other, and when they’re buried, a tree grew from their grave spot, and the twigs entwined.
It has only been since Western progressions into China, that homosexuality has been considered wrong.

No horrendous Church or vicious Mosque owns the definition of marriage. They appropriated the institution, and created their own definition. This is absolutely not a definition we must all consider unquestionable. Every argument I have yet come across, has a religious element. And it’s easy to understand why;

The only reason gay people have been oppressed so viciously over the years, is because of religion. Absolutely no other reason. How absurd that a bronze aged book of fairy tales about a paranoid sky dictator has that sort of power to stigmatise an entire group of people that otherwise would not have to suffer such stigma, and bullying, and fear. For that alone, I think it’s vital to utterly despise religion and speak out against it at every possible opportunity.

We must not be led to believe that the Church has a rightful monopoly on what constitutes marriage.

The House of Commons today is alive with bigoted and homophobic Tory MPs insisting that they aren’t bigoted nor homophobic, whilst presenting arguments against gay marriage that curiously follow rather bigoted strands of ‘reasoning’ (and I use that term in its loosest possible form). The Supreme Court of the United States is working to decide whether to uphold the Christian fundamentalist “Defence of Marriage Act”, that has no basis in reasonable discussion, and is entirely the realm of mystical fairy tales. If the Supreme Court upholds DOMA, Secularism takes another battering from the unconstitutional, Christian Far Right. I will try to briefly address a few of the ludicrous arguments being put forth by the regressive homophobes in the Tory Party and the Republican Party.

  • “You cannot redefine marriage.”
    This argument relies solely on the idea that the institution of marriage has absolutely always followed the same defining route. It simply hasn’t. We know that marriage has changed radically over the years, and has different meanings to different cultures. We know that the old noble families of Europe insisted on marriage in order to cement or strengthen social and economic status. Rarely was marriage anything to do with love.

    For much of human history, we have had marriage. Granted, it hasn’t always been called marriage, but the naming is irrelevant, the coming together of two people in a shared bond has always existed; the name simply evolved alongside the institution. Stone aged marriage is now referred to as ‘pair bonding’. It was used to provide a stable social structure, though it seems love may have played a part given that social status was not yet a defining feature of human society.

    Hebrew society engaged in polygamy much of the time, it certainly wasn’t frowned upon. Monogamy in a marriage is a pretty new development. We know that the Islamic Prophet Mohamad married Aisha when she was 6 years old. In Ancient Rome, marriage was civil, it was not overtly religious. In India, if the bride was born when Mars and Saturn are “under the 7th house”, she is considered cursed and could end up murdering her husband. And so to break the curse, the bride must first marry a tree, the tree is then destroyed, and the bride is free from the curse forever. In the Tidong community in Northern Borneo, after marriage, the couple must not urinate for three days. Marriage is not official within the Neur tribe in Sudan, until the bride has had two children.

    In 1061, Pedro Díaz and Muño Vandilaz were married in Rairiz de Veiga in Spain, by a Priest.

    It was only in 1967, that the US allowed interracial marriage. By 1910, Arizona, California, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah had all banned interracial marriage. And what was used to justify anti-miscegenation laws in the US? You wont be surprised to hear that it was the Bible. Christian groups opposed to interracial marriage would often cite the story of Phinehas and the Curse of Ham.

    The Judge presiding over the case of the Loving’s; an interracial couple that this Judge sentenced to jail for marrying, stated:

    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

    - Religion. Specifically, Christianity… has always been used to justify control over whom should be allowed to love who. The Conservatives in the Commons today are doing the same thing. They wish to control love.

    As suggested with the story of Pan Zhang, Same-sex unions have always existed. They are not a new thing. They have only recently come to be demonised, and that is down purely to the Church. The great cancer on the face of society.
    We know for example, that at least 13 Roman Emperors were either bi-sexual or exclusively homosexual. We know that Nero married a male in a very public ceremony. We know that the Ancient American Indians practiced a form of same-sex union known as ‘Two Spirit’ relationships, in which anthropologist Brian Gilley said:

    In many tribes, individuals who entered into same-sex relationships were considered holy and treated with utmost respect and acceptance

    So the ‘definition’ of marriage varies widely, from culture, and history. What the modern Church and its Tory bigots actually mean is, it wishes complete control over what marriage SHOULD mean, according to their very narrow doctrines. That, only their World view is acceptable. That, rights should be approved by them first.

  • “It is unnatural!”
    This is used against homosexuality in general. It is based solely on sexual and biological ignorance, promoted by faith. Since a review by Canadian researcher and biologist Bruce Bagemihl in 1999, it has been widely understood that at least 1,500 species have been shown to exhibit homosexual tendencies. At least 10% of the population of domesticated sheep, are exclusively homosexual. A study in London by M.J Cole noted that homosexual behaviour in Giraffes tends to be more common than heterosexual behaviour. The African Lion has been noted to have homosexual tendencies.
    Dr. Jerome Goldstein, Director of the San Francisco Clinical Research Center, says:

    “Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice, it is primarily neurobiological at birth”

    Goldstein continues:

    “Using volumetric studies, there have been findings of significant cerebral amygdala size differences between homosexual and heterosexual subjects. Sex dimorphic connections were found among homosexual participants in these studies.”

    In fact, there is not one reputable scientific source that will in any way, suggest that sexuality is merely a choice. There is not one reputable scientific source that will say: “You know, turns out Leviticus was right”. None. This includes:
    The American Psychiatric Association,
    The World Health Organisation,
    The American Psychological Association,
    The American Medical Association,
    The Academy of Pediatrics,
    The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists
    Council on Child and Adolescent Health,
    The British Psychological Society,
    The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy…..
    …. all of these intensely reputable sources, with a wealth of research and evidence, will all tell you that sexuality, is part of a natural spectrum. There is no debate here. The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists released a statement to:

    “clarify that homsexuality is not a psychiatric disorder. There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish.”

    Now, there is only one species that has Gods. There is only one species that has homophobic tendencies. And there is only one species that has marriage. So which is the more unnatural?
    Sexuality is a spectrum. It is not simply “gay and straight” with one being “right” and the other being “unnatural”. Sexuality therefore is not a choice. Building on that idea, Alfred Kinsey, the great biologist noted:

    “Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories… The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.”

    - To deny this fundamental fact of nature, i’m afraid, is not just very uneducated, it is unnatural.

    A wonderful in-depth study by Binbin Wang et al, found that allele types differed greatly between homosexual men and heterosexual men. A further study by Sven Bocklandt et al, found that mothers of gay sons, have higher rates of extreme skewing of X-Chromosome inactivation, than those without gay sons. All the evidence points to genetics playing a role in sexuality. Therefore, it is very very natural. Christianity on the other hand….. a social construct. Absolutely nothing to do with genetics. Completely man made. Unnatural.

    And let us also not forget that whilst being told by the religious that “Homosexuality is unnatural”, they spend Easter Sunday celebrating the coming back to life of a dead man, who sacrificed himself to himself, to atone for the sins that he himself created. Nature is the best!

  • “Marriage is about procreation! Gay people can’t procreate!”
    Charles Cooper, the Attorney defending California’s ban on gay marriage stated:

    “the central purpose of marriage in virtually all societies and at all times has been to channel potentially procreative sexual relationships into enduring stable unions to increase the likelihood that any offspring will be raised by the man and woman who brought them into the world.”

    - Curiously, Cooper hasn’t yet called for infertile couples to be banned from marriage, or couples that don’t want children, or the elderly. By his logic, we should ban all of those groups from marriage. But we don’t. We don’t because we believe marriage is about love, and the right to express that love. It is not simply a means to create offspring. If you believe your marriage is purely about reproduction, then your mechanical relationship is rather miserable in itself. “I married this woman, purely to reproduce”. How romantic.
    Wedding vows would certainly be interesting if those who claim marriage is purely for procreation have their way: “To have, and to hold, and to fuck, and NOTHING else! Get fucking! WE NEED TO POPULATE THE EARTH BECAUSE OF THE GAYS!”
    Cooper went on to say that legalising gay marriage, would result in the human race dying out. This guy is an ACTUAL Attorney. A guy who presumes, apparently, that in legalising same sex marriage, the entire human race will all at once decide that they are gay, and stop reproducing. A guy who believes that by banning same sex marriage, homosexual people will happily marry someone of the opposite sex and have lots of babies. The anti-same sex marriage lobby, are a parody.

  • “The Bible does not permit same sex relationships.”
    Well, then, let’s be consistent.  2 Cor. 6:14 tells me that a non-Christian is not allowed to marry a Christian (this is far more defining, than what the Bible says about gay marriage). Genesis 20:1-14 tells me it’s perfectly acceptable in God’s eyes, to marry your sister. Deut. 21:11-13 tells me it’s perfectly acceptable, when taking people hostage, to search out a hostage you find attractive, and marry her, as long as I shave her head first (she has no choice in this, obviously). I Corinthians 14:34-35 tells me that a husband should not allow his wife to have any opinions. Deut. 22:28 tells me that if I pay some silver to my rape victim, I am legally entitled to marry her. Again, she has no choice in this. Judges 21:7-23 tells me I can take the female children of families that i’ve slaughtered, and keep them for myself to marry. WHOOP! Leviticus 12:5 tells me that if my wife gives birth to a girl, she must spend two weeks in isolation because she’s a dirty bitch. Exodus 21:10 tells me that it’s perfectly acceptable to have more than one wife (Polygamous, and chauvinistic all at once)
    So…… marry your sister, marry your hostage, marry several women, marry your rape victim, beat your wife if she offers an opinion, and marry the children of families you’ve just slaughtered. But NEVER let a gay couple marry.The Bible says very little on the subject of homosexuality. But if we are to condemn homosexual relationships based on the Bible, we must be consistent and reflect on absolutely every precedent the Bible sets out in relation to marriage. To do otherwise, would be widely hypocritical.

  • “What about my religious freedoms?”
    I have honestly never heard anyone describe how letting two people in love marry, will destroy their right to believe in whatever God they choose. So it’s pretty difficult to answer this, given that it’s an empty and meaningless question. This victim mentality, expressed against a victimless backdrop, is worthy of absolutely no respect.

    Giving a group of people rights that you yourself have always had, does not take anything away from you. It is absurd to suggest it does. I am almost convinced that those who spout the “you’re taking away my religious freedoms” argument are under the rather odd impression that allowing gay people to marry, would mean they themselves are forced to marry a gay person.

    Please feel free to enlighten me, as to which religious freedoms you will lose, if a gay couple that you’ve never met, and will never meet, get married without your knowledge?

  • “Legalising same-sex marriage? Why not legalise incest? Or marrying your dog?”
    – This is perhaps the most ridiculous of all arguments. A slippery slope fallacy of the worst kind. If homosexual marriage leads to marrying your dog, or your daughter, then we must accept that heterosexual marriage lead to homosexual marriage, and so in fact the very institution of marriage itself, starts the ball rolling down the slippery slope. It is a silly argument. It is the equivalent of insisting that eating pork, will eventually lead to eating humans. Why let gay people vote? We may as well let your dog vote, right? It is a disgusting argument, to suggest that a loving relationship between two men, or between two women is morally equivalent to incest. And yet, this intense logical fallacy is being used constantly by our Parliamentary representatives in the House of Commons today. How shameful. Canada legalised same-sex marriage in 2005, and in the eight years that has passed, no one is marrying their goat.

    For a Conservative Party and a Republican, who base their entire existence on ‘freedom’, and getting government out of people’s lives, the 100+ British Conservative MPs willing to withhold the right to love, and a Republican Party willing to use government to tell an individual he or she is not allowed to marry the person that they love, has to be the most vicious form of government oppression that exists in a liberal secular democracy.

    The choice to become Christian is just that; a choice. Sexuality is a spectrum based on genetic and hormonal differences, that is not in any way about choice. Therefore, sexuality, like skin colour, comes with inalienable rights, that choosing to be Christian, simply doesn’t. A choice is entirely different from genetic traits.

    Your choice to become a Christian does not bestow upon you a right to inhibit the rights of others.

    There is no debate here. It isn’t two rational sides conflicting. It is the side of rationality and sensible, evidence based point of view, against homophobes. Their arguments are so very weak, their points are useless, and so the conclusion we can come to is that they simply do not like homosexuality. To oppose the right for two people in love to get married, based solely on their sexuality, is bigoted and nothing else. The suggestion of ‘separate but equal’ is the cry of the regressives. It is a nice little sound bite that masks the intent; segregation. Segregation is, and always will be wrong.

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  • 21 Responses to The incoherent case against same-sex marriage

    1. Hi, This is 100pcLondoner from Twitter. I see from your summary of yourself that you are an atheist leftie who distrusts the Church etc, so we are unlikely to see this from the same perspective. I also see that you like throwing insults around as a form of fun argument, e.g. re the US elections. I think the best thing you can do is to read, as I have just done, the House of Commons debate in full and you will find two things: 1. a debate without descent to personal insults; and 2. many coherent arguments, which sure I know you won’t agree with, put forward by the anti side. Try reading some of them.

      For me the key points, which come from my concept of marriage which was formed well before this controversy ever arose (and during most of which time gays showed no perceptible interest in marriage) are as follows:
      1. I do not believe that marriage would ever have been invented as a social institution, still less have ever been bolstered and sponsored by the State (or even most religions), if it had not been for the social good to wider society that comes from the parents of children staying together to bring them up. Without that aim, I think that certainly the male sex’s instinct is towards promiscuity and variety than lifelong union. It follows from this that having natural children is intrinsic to marriage for me. I am on my second marriage and would not have entered into either of them if I had not intended to have children with the woman concerned. The only other reason I would weigh is tax and rights upon death;
      2. I have sat through, and bought into, too many marriage ceremonies which recite that “Marriage is an institution ordained by God between a man and a woman” to be able to accept that the change is anything other than the redefinition by legislative fiat of a long understood and appreciated concept. I do not think it is the role of Government to stand such words on their head. To me it is intrinsic to the word that it is between people of the opposite sex. Therefore if people want something similar but different between people of the same sex, they should find their own word for it. I thought they had with civil partnership but if they don’t like that, come up with something else – do not steal the existing word’s full meaning;
      3. On a narrower point of redefinition, it is a bad linguistic principle to redefine a word to make it less precise. A marriage now means between a man and a woman. If the legislation succeeds I would have to qualify that to obtain the same amount of meaning by saying a mixed sex marriage (or some such ugly phrase);
      4. I am genuinely concerned that this will be used as a weapon by those who want to undermine the established Church – it will over time become difficult for a Church with the head of State as its Supreme Governor to maintain a different definition of marriage from that of the State power which recognises it. This will add to the pressures (some in the C of E itself) for disestablishment as a way out of this dilemma. I do not expect you to share this concern, or even understand why a Tory and Monarchist member of the C of E such as me should care whether there is an established Church or not. But just supposing for a moment that you shared that concern, I trust you can see why gay marriage might be a concern; and
      5. Even if equality were very high up my list of ideals (which it isn’t compared with freedom, justice, national identity, material wellbeing (to name a few other things)), calling this equal marriage is bogus because a gay marriage will require no consummation not to be capable of being declared void and has no legal penalty for unfaithfulness with an outsider of the sex of the person’s primary preference. It therefore lacks the legal back-up of “forsaking all others” and is therefore, literally, a watered down version of marriage as presently legally recognised. Further the lack of any proposal either to end further civil partnerships or to extend that facility to opposite sex couples is unjust (and unequal) as between gay and straight relationships. This, together with the reduction in the connection between a private love and the public social cement of family building, therefore risks, over time, reducing the potency of marriages of all types.

      My final point is more a recommendation to gays than an argument against the change. A lot of grief comes about in hetero relationships from the pressure of one party to marry on the other. A lot of grief comes from expectations of sexual fidelity (an expectation more desired in my observation in women than in men and often fairly weak in male gay couples). I always thought that one of the advantages of being gay might have been to have been freer of both of these than us poor benighted heterosexuals. I think gays would be better off pursuing different lifestyles than seeking to imitate a heterosexual institution/lifestyle which (in my belief as stated above) was only invented because of procreation. The difference that gay couples cannot overcome is that they do not have the opportunity to make babies naturally with the person they love. Sadly no legislation can overcome that.

      Now – I challenge you not to come back saying that the above shows what a piece of homophobic dirt I must be. I genuinely believe that changing the definition of marriage will be bad for everyone’s perception of what marriage is, bad for the english language, bad for the Church of England and therefore our constitution and bad for gays.

      Needless to say, I do not expect you to agree with this but at least give me the credit of trying to explain.

    2. Brett Wolfe says:

      Religion should be banned full stop – its been responsible for the deaths of millions of people worldwide throughout history. How many people would gay marriage kill?

      If you want to believe in a fictitious book rewritten as a form of social control various times through history then feel free but dont use it as an excuse to say whether I can marry or not.

      I might as well take guidance on whether to marry from a book of childrens fairy tales – lets be honest fairy tales usually carry far more moral guidance than the bible does.

      I also like the fact you haven’t provided your response to what the bible says on marrying your sister, rape victim, conquests, etc. As with any other religious bigot you chose to pick and choose the bits of the bible you want and put your own slant on interpretation. Face it Christianity is a dying religion in the UK due to it being out of touch with modern society. The sooner we hear its last gasping breath the better!

    3. Excellent article, had to share it, It is ridiculous that churches that have existed for less than 2000 years can claim to own the definition of a concept that is closer to 10,000 years old. Societies that pre-date Christianity as a whole accepted homosexuality with no difficulty, it’s disgusting that people allow the fantastical ramblings of the bible dictate what’s right and wrong, a bible that supports the stoning to death of your neighbours if they dare wear clothing containing 2 or more differing materials (Death to all who wear polyester!!! Leviticus 19:19) , a bible that bans round haircuts, or tattoo’s (Leviticus 19:21).. the whole book is farcical the funniest part being that it was commissioned by a Pagan, the first actual pope, who established the first Christian religion, the Vatican etc. He was a pagan follower of the cult of Isis, baptised only on his death bed against his will by his mother.

    4. @100pcLondoner says:

      Not sure if Brette Wolfe’s comment are directed at me but, if so, I point out I never mentioned the Bible, I just mentioned the liturgy of marriage ceremonies which have shaped society’s (and my own) understanding of marriage. Mind you, I do agree with Leviticus about tattoos – thanks for pointing that out, Conorn, even if sadly your erudition does not extend so far as understanding the correct use of apostrophes!

      I was given to understand that Mr Futile Democracy was keen to engage me on debate on this website. I await such engagement.

    5. Okay, let me address all of your points. Expect language you will find insulting, because whilst I respect your right to hold such regressive and dangerous and bigoted opinions, I do not respect your opinion in the slightest. In fact I despise it.

      ” I think the best thing you can do is to read, as I have just done, the House of Commons debate in full and you will find two things: 1. a debate without descent to personal insults”

      – You clearly have a different understanding of personal insult, than I do, or you just don’t think MPs comparing the morality of homosexuality to marrying an animal (Sir Roger Gale compared it to incest), or referring to their love as ‘unnatural’ is insulting to people. It is utterly disgusting, and based on such horrid falsities, as I make clear in my article when referring to the genetics of sexuality. The “Adam and Steve” argument came out yesterday. If you think comparing a same sex couple, to incest is not insulting, and is reasonable debate, you really are in a World of your own. Another Tory MP (John Glenn) mentions gay MPs by saying: “Those who profess to be gay”. Profess to be gay? Would he have the balls to say “Those who profess to be black”? Of course not. What an offensive and bigoted turd he is. Ian Paisley said: “Government does not change nature”. This is a suggestion that homosexual is unnatural. How is that not offensive? Tory MP Matthew Offord said it would lead to legalising polygamy. Slippery slope fallacy of the worst kind, and hugely offensive to gay couples. But apparently you don’t think so. You must have been watching a different debate to me.

      The absolute best point in the debate, was by a gay Tory MP Iain Stewart:

      “I don’t have anyone at the moment but if I do I want to love them, support them. I don’t understand why some people feel threatened that allowing me to have that in any way diminishes what a heterosexual couple has.”

      – Beautifully said. And quite right. Your relationship with wife 1, or 2, or whatever, is in no way diminished by a gay couple expressing their love.

      “1. I do not believe that marriage would ever have been invented as a social institution, still less have ever been bolstered and sponsored by the State (or even most religions), if it had not been for the social good to wider society that comes from the parents of children staying together to bring them up.”

      – Complete conjecture, based on your “belief”. You think this is enough of a reason to prevent a loving couple from marrying, simply because they’re the same sex? What are you expecting to achieve by banning them from marrying? They will still be in a relationship. They wont suddenly decide to be straight, just to marry. You just wish to not let them express their love, as much as you think is necessary.
      You believe marriage in Medieval Europe, was predicated on providing a social good to wider society, for the security of child rearing? Really? You completely ignore the fact that it was entirely down to economic and social progression for reasons of political power through different noble factions. Henry VIII wanted to strengthen his dynasty for power reasons and because the Tudor dynasty was still relatively weak in its claims to the throne. His marriages to different European families of nobility had nothing to do with providing a “social good to wider society”. You have just invented that argument, to justify your intent to withhold the rights of others you consider inferior.

      “Without that aim, I think that certainly the male sex’s instinct is towards promiscuity and variety than lifelong union.”

      – What a horrifying view of marriage. Why not ban marriage entirely, if all men want to do is fuck around? What of couples who marry, but don’t want children? I ask again, should they be banned from marriage also? What of couples who know one of them is infertile? Should they be banned? Or is it just gay couples, because if it is, then yes, you are bigoted, and the word is justly deserved, regardless of how much you people dislike being labelled whilst spewing irrational bigoted nonsense. I love my girlfriend. I intend to marry her. Not simply to have children. Two of my family have been married for decades, they don’t have children. I shall let them know they should have consulted you first, before marrying, given that you seem to have the absolute understanding of what a marriage is about. This is why I dislike Tories. They claim to big fans of personal freedom, but insist on freedom being as they understand it… which tends to include very little freedom for others who aren’t like them.

      “I have sat through, and bought into, too many marriage ceremonies which recite that “Marriage is an institution ordained by God between a man and a woman” to be able to accept that the change is anything other than the redefinition by legislative fiat of a long understood and appreciated concept.”

      – Sit through even more gay marriages. Then your mind will be changed, given that apparently you’re easily swayed by hearing something repeated enough times. You have heard a phrase a few times, so have decided it must be true? I guess that’s just how religious people in general are indoctrinated in the first place. I do agree with you here though:

      “other than the redefinition by legislative fiat of a long understood and appreciated concept.”

      …….. And i’m glad that’s the case. The ‘definition’ (which actually means, right winged Christian definition….. amongst a plethora of other definitions across the World, that you choose to ignore, given that your faith have appropriated a tradition that it absolutely didn’t create and has no intrinsic right to) is archaic, and in need of an update to reflect 21st century society. It updates every so often, for that very reason. It is no longer acceptable to ban interracial couples from marrying, yet if we were now in 1920s USA, I guarantee you’d be arguing for the status quo, rather than progress. It is no different today.

      “I do not think it is the role of Government to stand such words on their head.”

      – You are a Tory. Apparently the party of ‘freedom’. And at the moment, you are denying a group of people basic freedoms that you yourself have always enjoyed. To enjoy freedoms whilst denying the same freedoms to others, would make the heroes of liberty squirm that people like you have apparently attempted to appropriate their enlightenment precepts. You cannot escape the fact that you are enjoying rights, that you are denying to others. Regardless of how you justify it (Religion – a construct, based on no firm evidence whatsoever – does not count, because it is baseless), you are denying rights, that you have yourself. But then, i’m not surprised. A Tory MP during the debate genuinely said that we should not trade tradition for equality. Jefferson and Paine would turn in their graves at such a disgraceful remark.

      “To me it is intrinsic to the word that it is between people of the opposite sex. Therefore if people want something similar but different between people of the same sex, they should find their own word for it. I thought they had with civil partnership but if they don’t like that, come up with something else – do not steal the existing word’s full meaning;”

      – The existing word’s meaning was stolen entirely by Christianity. Marriage has absolutely always changed over time, it has never had a static principle behind it. You cannot rewrite history to suit your prejudice. You are wrong on this one. It has never had one simple definition, regardless of what you “believe”. Why shouldn’t a gay couple say they’re getting married? Why does that annoy you so much? You’re not in their relationship. You have no right to tell them they aren’t allowed to call it marriage. What a horrid form of oppression you are advocating. “Civil Partnership” sounds terrible. I have had this discussion with my friends, who are in lesbian relationship and wish to get married. Both agree that Civil Partnership sounds like a legal name given to appease gay people. Marriage has the romance to it, it epitomises the idea of love. They hate telling people they’re having a Civil Partnership rather than a marriage, and when I see how down it gets them, you are damned right that I resort to insulting people like you, because it is your oppressive and homophobic – for-no-real-reason – that contributes to that sense of unhappiness. For what reason? Why does that make you feel anything but ashamed of yourself? They just want to be able to say they are getting married, to enjoy their day, to express their love, and to get on with their lives. They are not trying to threaten your beloved Church. They do not want to take away your religious freedoms. They just want to be allowed to express their relationship traditionally. You wish to stop that from happening. This makes you an enemy of freedom, not its defender. And yes, it makes you a bigot.

      “On a narrower point of redefinition, it is a bad linguistic principle to redefine a word to make it less precise. A marriage now means between a man and a woman. If the legislation succeeds I would have to qualify that to obtain the same amount of meaning by saying a mixed sex marriage (or some such ugly phrase);”

      – Very narrow point indeed. So far, you have told me that same sex couples madly in love should not be allowed to marry, because….. it’s always been about bringing up children (not true), because you’ve sat through a few weddings (irrelevant, and totally absurd argument), it’s always been about a man and a woman (which it hasn’t) and now, a gay couple deeply in love shouldn’t be allowed to express that love in a marriage, because you don’t like the linguistic consequences. What a weak point. “A marriage now means between a man and a woman”….. it also used to mean between a man and a woman, of the same race. Why are you okay with the change in that?

      “If the legislation succeeds I would have to qualify that to obtain the same amount of meaning by saying a mixed sex marriage”

      – Slippery slope. This hasn’t happened in Canada, and they’ve had gay marriage since 2005. Your arguments get weaker by the second, because they aren’t based on evidence, rather just on your right winged, very Christian “belief”. I’m sorry, but that isn’t a good enough reason to restrict the right to love.

      “I am genuinely concerned that this will be used as a weapon by those who want to undermine the established Church”

      – Slippery slope again. There’s a reason it’s called a fallacy. Because it’s nonsense. There is no reason to even comment on this argument, because it is offensive to homosexual couples to hear that they shouldn’t get married, because a Tory thinks people might not like the Church, if they do.
      For what it’s worth, my opinion is that an established Church in a Secular Country is an utter disgrace. To have any form of power over the lives of citizens, it should first be able to prove that its power is legitimate; to do this, it must prove the existence of the God it claims exists. Until it does that, I see no legitimate reason why the Church should have any power over public life, whatsoever.
      On the subject of slippery slope. I could easily say, by allowing the Church a victory over gay marriage, what next? Ban abortion entirely? Then what? Reinstate the divine right of Kings? Do away with Democracy entirely? Institute Theocratic government? Do you see the absurdity of the fallacy you employ so flippantly?

      “it will over time become difficult for a Church with the head of State as its Supreme Governor to maintain a different definition of marriage from that of the State power which recognises it.”

      – Simple answer then. Anyone who has a Church wedding, should not be given any rights that the State currently gives to married couples. If you’re so bitter about State interference in the Church, fine, have it your way. Have a State wedding – gay or straight, and get all the benefits that come with it. Have a Church wedding, and get no State benefits. Problem solved. I have a sneaky feeling you’re going to want it both ways though.

      “Even if equality were very high up my list of ideals (which it isn’t compared with freedom, justice, national identity, material wellbeing (to name a few other things)”

      – Freedom quite clearly isn’t on your list of ideals. Unless your definition of freedom is, freedom for straight, Christian men. The Republican Party in the US would LOVE you.

      “Calling this equal marriage is bogus because a gay marriage will require no consummation not to be capable of being declared void and has no legal penalty for unfaithfulness with an outsider of the sex of the person’s primary preference. It therefore lacks the legal back-up of “forsaking all others” and is therefore, literally, a watered down version of marriage as presently legally recognised.”

      – Here, we agree. Full equal marriage, I support. You should be happy that it’s a watered down version. It isn’t your treasured one-man-one-woman ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY FOR THE SAKE OF CHILDREN Christian marriage that you seem so desperate to defend as an unmoveable truth.

      “I always thought that one of the advantages of being gay might have been to have been freer of both of these than us poor benighted heterosexuals. I think gays would be better off pursuing different lifestyles than seeking to imitate a heterosexual institution/lifestyle which (in my belief as stated above) was only invented because of procreation. “

      – I have read this to my gay friends, and both put their hands over their mouths in shock. I honestly don’t know how to respond to this. I am gob-smacked that people like you exist. You strike me as someone who is obsessed with having power over others, telling them how they should love, claiming to understand an entire group of people based on your ludicrous and flimsy beliefs and having the arrogance to try to offer them ‘advice’.
      Why shouldn’t the choice be there, if a couple (whom want a traditional lifestyle, and want to spend their lives together) be open to them, if they wish? It’s open to you. You’ve taken up that right twice. Why do you think you get to have that right whenever you wish, but other’s shouldn’t?

      “The difference that gay couples cannot overcome is that they do not have the opportunity to make babies naturally with the person they love. Sadly no legislation can overcome that.”

      – Irrelevant. Marriage has never been simply about procreation. To suggest it has, is entirely ignorant of history and disingenuous. But even if marriage were JUST about procreation (I feel sorry for your emotionless marriage, if all you’re concerned about is banging out children) There are plenty of children that need adopting and plenty of gay couples that would love to adopt. And again, what if both in a heterosexual relationship know that one of them is infertile, I hope for the sake of consistency you are going to say they should be banned from marriage? Otherwise your argument from procreation, is entirely meaningless.

      As I noted in my article, sexuality has a strong genetic tie. Therefore, it is no different than race, or gender, or eye colour. These natural, biological occurrences should be protected by inalienable rights, that people like you should not be allowed to stigmatise. I am guessing you would not argue that a Church should be allowed to turn away an interracial couple if they wish. So why a gay couple? You are trying to fight nature, based on religion. This, in a nutshell, is the history of the poison of Christianity.

      On a side note, I have heard a few rather comical complaints from the anti-same sex Tories…. mainly, that there is no mandate to do this. I wondered what your thoughts on this were? Given that the same Tories remained eerily silent during a top down reorganisation of the NHS that they had no mandate to do, the removal of Sure Start that they had no mandate to do, and a tuition fee hike they had no mandate to do…. it seems a little hypocritical to be complaining about mandates on this subject and suddenly finding a love for democratic accountability right at this moment……. Just another way to try to justify bigotry.

      There is nothing you have said that decreases my opinion that you are a bigot. In fact, you have simply strengthened that opinion in me. I group you together with all those conservatives over the years that have opposed equal rights whilst claiming to be a lover of freedom. Hypocritical, bigoted, and only interested with preserving the rights of people you consider to be decent and correct.

      The more we can do to de-stigmatise homosexuality, the better. It is a win for equality in general. For you to say you’re not interested in equality – when kids are bullied, when athletes are scared to come out, when people get the shit kicked out of them in the street, purely because their sexuality is stigmatised mainly because of the putrid bile your religion has thrown out over the centuries – is an utter disgrace. This is why I have no respect for your point of view. I am yet to understand why you believe a right that you have, should not be given to someone else, based on their genetic difference to you. To deny those equal rights, is shocking, and I do not think you deserve to refer to yourself as someone who wishes to defend freedom. You simply wish for the freedom, to decide who is equal to you and gets the joy of the same rights as you, and who is inferior and gets less rights. Again, this is essentially the history of your religion. I expect nothing less.

    6. Thank you, I think you pretty much smashed 100pcLondoner’s bigoted arguments, and yes I do use the word advisedly .ie “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance” according to Merriam-Webster.

    7. Kamidiox says:

      Awesome article. Please don’t listen the comments than start with “I believe”. This is not a matter of beliefs, is a matter of human rights. Besides, 50 years ago interracial marriage was as punished as gay marriage now so, I still have faith.

    8. JDA says:

      There’s a little detail here that tickled me in @100pcLondoner’s tirade, that I’m a little surprised futiledemocracy’s extensive reply didn’t pick up on:

      If you’re so opposed to “redefining” the meaning of marriage, how do you justify being divorced and re-married? Why do you accept the redefinition of ‘marriage’ from “a man and a woman, joined for life” to “a man and a woman, joined for life – or until they’ve had enough of each other”? If you accept religion as having the authority to determine what marriage is, while most Christian churches now accept the latter definition, the former is surely the older, more original one.

      Also, accepting divorce rather destroys your whole argument about the purpose (or a purpose) of marriage being to ensure that a man and a woman stay together to bring up their children. If you can have kids, divorce their mother, marry someone else and have some more kids with her, then you’ve already deprived the first set of children of this supposedly essential social good.

      So not only are you a bigot, you’re also a hypocrite. Well done.

    9. Great point.
      Wish i’d picked up on it myself.

    10. @100pcLondoner says:

      Thank you for addressing my arguments. It must be very comfortable to be so sure that someone who doesn’t see the world as you do is bigoted. The certainty of youth I suppose. Sone might see that as intolerance of others’ opinions. But I am glad, despite that, that we have engaged in some reasoned argument. I may come back with some more detailed counter-comments at a later time.

    11. I’m a long way from being young, but I too find you bigoted. As I have got older, I have doubts about all sorts of things, but i recognise bigotry when I see it, It is you who seek to bend the meaning of the word marriage to suit your ends, and your preconceptions. It is you who is “obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own opinions and prejudices”, as you refuse to accept that the meaning of a word can change, and has changed throughout history. Marriage existed long before the Christian church did, and will no doubt exist in some form, long after it has died out. I have no problem with people holding different views, but I do object to people (in this instance various religious groups) foisting that view on people who don’t believe in it.

    12. [...] it is people like Diana Medley that drive us. Sexuality, as pointed out in a previous entry, has a genetic element. So, exchange the word “homosexuality” for [...]

    13. Anon says:

      To be quite frank, we can see that parents exist in relation to their children. We don’t need to break their bonds just to prove we exist.

      Male and female can only procreate with the opposite sex. This in no way renders us half human but makes us perfectly equal, but different. We are all human, men and women, we should remember that above any divisions people might like to make between us as a human race. When we are divided, we fall; when united we stand together.

    14. [...] the World. I could go on, but I cover the silly religious arguments against same-sex marriage here. We must be intolerant of religious intolerance. It is based on nothing but ‘belief‘ in [...]

    15. leeanneart says:

      Excellent post and enjoying reading others. I tweeted this particular post to my Prime Minister (Australia) purportedly an Atheist, definitely unmarried (never married) and living with her partner Tim. Something is very wrong that instead of supporting same sex marriage her government, the incumbent Australian Labor party, has rejected it…because “marriage is between a man and a woman”. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Whether she or her government cronies, some of whom are very religious, truly believe this or not is moot. Rational thinking people do not raise the argument that to recognise same sex marriage which is a Human Right will bring about doom and destruction and the diminishing of the concept of marriage. Anecdotally we are all aware of how many of our heterosexual friend’s or relativels marriages have ended in divorce. Anecdotally we all are aware of friends/relatives in same sex or heterosexual partnerships that have endured. Who dares to claim commitment is based upon anything other than a genuinely held desire to be with the same person, marriage or not? The added concern is we do not fully and never have enjoyed a proper secular democracy in this country. Our government opens parliament with grotesquely antique nods to the UK and in addition the Lord’s Prayer. Childish and embarrassing at the same time. Our former prime ministers have for the most part gone to church and courted the religious vote shamelessly. Our current prime minister though atheist remains at the beck and call of a religious lobby group that obviously has extensive reach.

    16. glencarrigan says:

      Bravo, excellent article and one of the best instances of a concerted effort to counter the nonsense in the comments section that I’ve ever seen.

      100pcLondoner, sadly, has engaged on a campaign of disinformation, informed mainly by their opinion on this matter. The fact that it seems informed by opinion is a paradox as JDA points out, with regards to divorce. I would add that it is a bit odd, to assume that “the certainty of youth” is in any way helpful, as it is clearly pejorative in nature. It is also an indication that the commenter perhaps would rather that archaic practices were adhered to because they’re older, presumably wiser and of course in line with their opinion.
      The author is obviously well informed, and I’ve subsequently learnt at bit about the history of marriage that I didn’t know beforehand, so thanks for that. I also appreciate the slight satire of outdated opinions on such matters. Hell, I love satire of any kind if it highlights the awkward truth of the matter that people would like to avoid. I find that people can actually be laughed out of the more ridiculous opinions they hold, unless of course they value those opinions over facts and the evidence that supports those facts. I can actually attest to the accuracy of those Psychological sources cited, as it’s something I’m currently studying, and enjoying. The confrontational style the article takes is particularly appropriate as many people seem to be under the impression that just because they have an opinion it must be respected, and valid. You need to be a bit blunt with that sort of uninformed, self-indulgent fallacy, and I’m glad you brook no argumentation from the position of the misinformed .

    17. […] as well as passionate breakdown of the common arguments against marriage equality I would recommend this article. I hope you will identify that they are entirely incoherent arguments with regards to enlightened, […]

    18. […] tax. I address the ridiculous use of the slippery slope fallacy with regard same-sex marriage here, so I wont repeat myself. But Tebbit’s finest moment in this debate came, when he suggested […]

    19. […] a secular nation. Marriage, of course, has many different definitions throughout history (as I note here). Enshrining a Christian definition only, institutionalising a Christian understanding of marriage, […]

    20. James says:

      I agree with it all EXCEPT I don’t see what the genetic/hormonal vs choice material has to do with anything. homophobia is wrong, wasteful and dangerous and is, as you deftly point out, supported by ridiculous and increasingly desperate arguments WHATEVER the causes of any particular individual ending up in bed with someone of the same sex. why shouldn’t people choose who they sleep with?

    21. […] resides, he still presents serious concerns. He opposes same-sex marriage (and as I’ve previously noted, there is not one argument against same-sex marriage that is based on reason rather than bigotry, […]

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