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Gay Marriage

As far as I know none of the nine Republican candidates for President have produced any campaign adds (or made any campaign speeches) about “gay marriage”. The media have asked them “gotcha” questions about this (and other such topics) but that is about it.

Sorry Paul, but you have provoked a rant here.

Now, I beg to disagree on several points here. Either my eyes deceived me or I saw on my 32″ HD Samsung a Republican shindig with a banner behind some of the candidates stating the bizarre arithmetic that “Marriage = 1 man + 1 woman”. Michelle Bachmann’s husband (who doesn’t exactly look a straight arrow to me anyway) runs clinics specialising in the absolute snake-oil of “Praying away the Gay”. The amazing thing about such “treatments” is that they do sort of work. In the ’60s and ’70s they did similar with a Rube Goldberg type contraption that measured erections when the subject was shown images of naked chicks and lads and delivered a shock if tumescence was prompted by the “wrong” gender. It worked – for about a month. I don’t know whether they played Beethoven’s ninth in the background but they might as well have done. So God knows about the new form but it would appear that certain portions of US society have advanced from Heath-Robinson style “science” to good old hellfire. A positive I feel.

And herein lies the rub. “Certain portions”. The most zealous anti-gay (well he’s basically anti-everything else) American is the reprehensible Fred Phelps who is absolutely completely nucking futz and his “church” is only really attended by his family (the vast majority of “ordinary” Americans are vastly more homopilic than you might think – I have spent quite a lot of time over the pond you know). I first heard of Phelps many years ago. So bizarred was I by his “godhatesfags.com” website I emailed the local paper in Topeka, KS. I received a very nice reply that Fred Phelps was alas very real – I thought it a spoof. This was before Phelps got the wonderous URL “godhatesamerica.com” which I have only now discovered is superseded by “godhatestheworld.com”. Talk about winning friends and influencing people!

This is what Phelps has to say about my country. Charming isn’t it? Especially in its complete inability to use an apostrophe or understand the UK constitution. By Phelp’s metric a “fag-enabler” is pretty much anyone who isn’t rolling the cattle-trucks or making pink triangles.

I’m not comparing Paul’s comment to utter Phelpsian insanity but…

Over my life-time (and I do know the USA quite well having spent several months in total there and having had a long-term relationship with an American) both here and in the USA probably the most remarkable transformation of social attitudes I have witnessed is that towards homosexuality. Being anti-gay is just not an electoral asset. Indeed of the folks who might support something like the FDMA you will alienate vastly more over the fact it is deeply unconstitutional. Americans are married under state law, not federal law. I suspect a lot of US right-wingers who might be expected to care about such a matters will draw their horns in over the constitutional issue. Frankly on the “morals” front the likes of Bachmann Perry Overdrive are preaching to a mythical “middle America” that probably never even existed in 1955. It certainly doesn’t in 2011.

And it’s not the BBC, or the Washington Post or the schools and universities “brainwashing” or some such – it’s just life’s rich tapestry. I’ve got to say this to you Paul. Got to. Every time you go on about brainwashing I feel stupidly belittled. It reminds me every single time of a quote from Bertrand Russell. Russell stated that he’d rather have his philosophical opinions reported by his “Worst enemy in philosophy” than by someone ignorant of the discipline. I agree. I can filter as much as that old goat could. It is a disservice to suppose otherwise. And perhaps as much to the point I was never indoctrinated. I learned electromagnetism and quantum mechanics and general relativity and stuff. If I’d wanted to learn sociology I could have traded my Nikes for a pair of socks and sandals, grown a pondering beard and given-up any hope of sexual congress – like ever.

But Paul, I haven’t even come to my major point.

Anyway what is there to “argue” about on this matter? What ceremonies groups of homosexuals conduct on their own property is no one’s business but their own – as long as no is forced to “recognise” such “marriages” by “anti discrimination laws” and so on.

God knows about the use of scare quotes but there is a lot to argue (or “argue”) here. The whole point and conception of marriage (at least in English law – and I doubt US laws are much different) is that it is intrinsically public – when they liberalised the civil marriage laws here to include hotels and such public access was and remains an issue. Indeed in the USA which of course has different marriage laws across the states because it is a state issue and not a federal one there is a long-standing “gentleman’s agreement” to recognise out of state marriages. Marriage means nothing if it is not generally accepted. It is essentially a contract between two people which has to be recognised by the wider community in order to mean anything.

So essentially secret homosexual trysts up in the hills (assuming they own them) don’t really cover it. The entire move towards gay marriage has not been about setting-up a secret society of “supergay-friends” but towards the union being generally recognised.

And I shall re-iterate my point. There are a number of religious organisations in this country who are currently conducting “sham” gay marriages. They are doing it because their theology has no problem with homosexuality and would like to marry gay couples on the same basis (and on land they own) in the same way they do straight couples. These are essentially (there may be others) the Quakers, some Jewish organisations and the Methodists. Why the sham (and then there has to be some sort of “civil partnership” ‘do’ as well to make it legal)? Why? Don’t get me wrong here. I have no problem with the various other religious groups who don’t want to conduct same sex marriages. The entire thing is for whatever faith to decide by whatever means. Fine m- their perogative. But the current law means the religious building I am warden of cannot celebrate homosexual marriages (though it is one that can do heterosexual – I know because I clean the place good and proper for the dealie – I mean it’s their big day right?) But no gay marriages despite (a) this religion has no issue contra homosexuality and (b) a number of our regulars are in homosexual relationships. How is that fair?

If as a libertarian then surely you must allow faith groups who have no issue contra homosexuality to be allowed to conduct marriages as they see fit. Surely Paul! That is the issue. I know a lesbian couple quite well who cannot legally be married here despite the fact that this religious organisation doesn’t actually see their relationship as wrong in any sense whatsoever. In a very real sense this is not even about gay rights (I would personally regard it as about fundamental human rights) but religious rights. Now, fine for assorted religious sorts to be anti-gay or lesbian. They can knock themselves out on it. They don’t force anyone to worship there do they? No they don’t so fine. But why extend that ban to other faith groups that don’t think the same? C’mon Paul, you’re a libertarian so you believe in freedom and freedom of religion has to be be way up there. You might not like what the Quakers, the Methodists and Reformed Judaism wants but nobody beats you into a meeting house, a chapel or synagogue.

This is exactly the same point that whilst some Muslim women might cover their hair it’s not a general legal requirement in this country (it’s debatable whether it’s even a Qu’ranic requirement). It is in Iran (but the Ayatollahs are fucking mental) and they also hang gays in Iran don’t they? If we’re not way better than Iran then I pity us. But we are. And we ought to be proud of this. Because quite simply this is what seperates us from goat-buggery.

You might not like gay marriage (why does it matter to you?) and fair play to you but if it is going to happen it (like any other marriage) has to be generally recognized otherwise it is utterly meaningless. Yet it isn’t is it? It is clearly very meaningful to the primary parties involved. Or let’s put it another way. I got married (to a woman) five years ago without any plans for offspring so what is so fundamentally different? Is my marriage wrong too?

Or yet another way. One of the drives for gay marriage happens in ICU. You may have lived with and loved someone for 40 years but you still don’t have the legal right to turn-off the life-support. Marriage (gay, straight or whatever) is pretty much the only chance anyone has to choose their designated driver. I personally think that matters and I personally think that matters more than the genital configuration of the other party to the deal. Allegedly under Iranian law it is legal to fuck a goat if you subsequently slaughter and sell it in a different village to where you gave it the full 7″s. I have been to many places on roughly three continents but that is just dark-age fucking barbarism.

I’m OK with even ugly people having sex but goats – Jeebus of Nazareth that is where I draw the line. I mean if you have to lift a tail to enter into congress then I draw a line in the sand that must never be crossed. Oh, I don’t know! OK, I guess (as long as no animal cruelty is involved) but don’t expect me at the stag night. Well, not if it involves fucking one up the Arras.

And on that bizarre point I’ll leave it. Except I don’t honestly see why Paul is contra gay marriage. Let me go fully 20mm Hispano-Suiza on it. For me to believe Paul has a point here he would have to sincerely believe (and convince me) my marriage (he doesn’t have one and I’ve just had my fifth marriage anniversary) is as utterly worthless as a gay or lesbian one. This I don’t believe. I have done questionable things. Sometimes against city walls. I also got married to the person I love. That was my call and hers and it had nothing to do with being straight. Anyway who said we were both straight? I never did. We did some moderately interesting things as well.

Well, why not?

More fun than being a Republican. Apart from Gary Johnson.

19 Comments

  1. Lynne says:

    I don’t have an axe to grind either way. If gays want to marry then why not? They are as capable as heteros in forming long term relationships. I lived next door to a couple of retired male nurses who’d been together for decades (one of them was a medic aboard HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident). Two nicer people you couldn’t hope to meet.

    The only real problem I have with gay marriages is some cunting politician (I’m talking to you, Cameron, you arse-brained, scabrous shitbag) raising the importance of such above an economy that is rapidly going into meltdown.

  2. Stonyground says:

    I can’t really get inside the head of someone who would deny a right that they claim for themselves to someone else for no good reason. I first heard the gay marriage issue being discussed a few years ago on the radio in Ireland. A case was discussed that involved a gay couple where one partner had died young. The deceased guy’s parents were homophobic and had had nothing to do with their son since he came out. However, on his death they inherited half of his house and the other partner had to sell the house to pay them off. I think that it was injustices such as this that first prompted the move toward civil parnerships for gays and actual marriage is a logical next step.

    Not sure where the Bible thumpers get their one man one woman definition of marriage from. According to the Bible marriage can involve one man and anything up to seven hundred women.

  3. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    Nick,

    I agree with your main point (I think, to the extent I understand it) but your argument is a dreadful muddle of confusions.

    First, marriages vs. weddings; they’re not the same thing. Churches and such like do not conduct marriages; they conduct weddings. Marriage is a recognised state that exists between two or more persons. A wedding is the ceremony that marks the beginning of that state.

    Second, there are at least three (or possibly more), different things that are all called ‘marriage’. ‘Marriage’ is just a recognised state of relationship between persons. The difference between the different marriages is nothing more than the requirements that different groups say must be met before they will recognise that state.

    The State has a definition of marriage; those whom it recognises as married have specified legal rights. These include inheritance rights, next-of-kin rights, and so on. Let’s leave aside the question of whether the state should be involved with marriages at all for the moment. As the matter stands, the states grants certain rights to persons who have fulfilled their defined specifications.

    The second definition of marriage is what a society as a whole will recognise as a relationship. A ‘long-term stable relationship’ is bullshit, as it requires a definition of both ‘long-term’ and ‘stable’. Regardless, these things change with a culture over time.

    The third definition is that which any particular religious group (which is really a subset of the cultural definition) decides is an acceptable definition of marriage.

    You see how this all fits together. What any particular subset of society recognises as a marriage is irrelevant to the state’s decision about who to grant certain legal rights to.

    Your religious building’s owners may say, “Hell, yes, we recognise these two as a married couple” and confer on them their definition of married-ness. But that has no relation to what the state decides about who it wishes to grant couple status to.

    Nor should it.

  4. Ian B says:

    I think I’m more with Paul than Nick. I don’t give a tinkers cuss what arrangements people make, they can live as two men, three women and a labrador for all I care. But it’s about the word “marriage” really, which has had a quite specific meaning across cultures throughout history, and I really don’t think two blokes or two women or anything involving the labrador fit into that definition.

    Words are naturally smeary, and mean different things to different people, but there is some kind of boundary around those definitions, or the words become completely worthless. It’s like saying you shouldn’t have to believe in God to be a Christian. Well okay, you can smear “Christian” out to mean atheists as well if you like, but it becomes a meaningless word as you do so.

    There is really nothing discriminatory about not smearing the word marriage to mean blokes with each other. Marriage throughout cultures across the world is a certain life stage, you marry, have kids, become parents, grandparents and so on. It’s not just a contract, as such.

    I mean, I can think of other couples who might like the contractual benefits; two elderly spinsters living together (in a non sexual sense) but they wouldn’t want to “marry”, because that is a sexual contract. Like I said, I think such contracts should be open to anyone. I just don’t think they are recognisably “marriage”.

    And besides all else, if this were really about extending choice and equality to non-standard arrangements, you’d think polygamy would be closer and the first to include in the definition. Common in many cultures, and then there’s concubinage, which was very popular in the West in the past. None of that is as radical as gays and lesbians, and it is far closer to the current working definition of the word marriage. So really this is nothing to do with justice or rights at all. The debate has been framed for us by activists; and thus I tend very much more towards Paul than Nick, I’m afraid.

  5. NickM says:

    “Marriage throughout cultures across the world is a certain life stage, you marry, have kids, become parents, grandparents and so on. It’s not just a contract, as such.”

    And you’ve done all that Ian?

    I made it utterly clear I do regard it as a contract. I made it utterly clear that kids were not an issue much less grandchildren.

    Having said all that I have no problem with the elderly spinsters you mention Ian. In very much the sense that Stony states it. There absolutely ought to be civil partenerships (without a sexual connotation – or let’s face it now inheritance tax at all) for such folks. In the same way there ought to be actual marriage for shagging partners. And God alone knows what your rant about polygamy is about. Oddly enough I don’t regard that as “closer” to the traditional conception of marriage than two blokes or two birds getting hitched. Most conceptions of polygamy skirt the shining seas of slavery. The Islamic version for example is at best a deranged widows’ pension and at worst yet another example of Islamic sexism and the idea of the ownership of women and girls.

  6. Ian B says:

    Nick, your bluster about Islam and slavery is a bit silly. I know you’re in the “they’re subhuman” camp, but it’s basically just the standard tribal arrangements common the world over. Our own ancestors did much the same. It’s only very recently that we got these aerie-faerie ideas about equality and so on.

    But anyway. No, I haven’t done any of that, which is kind of besides the point. Marriage, the thing we’re talking about, is part of a conformist, traditional path through life. It has taken many forms in many cultures, but up until recently it was considered just something you do; you find a nice opposite sex person, marry them and have children. It’s part of a package. It’s not just a contract.

    Contracts, as I said, do what you like. If an old biddy wants to have a contract naming her cat her next of kin, that’s fine. But you can’t call that “marriage”. Marriage is a specific thing. I can’t defend definitions of words any other way than to say, “that is waht the word means”. Like, the word “asteroid”. It has a certain meaning. If you say, “why can’t large balls of hydrogen undergoing fusion be called asteroids as well?” all I can say is, “because that is not what the word means”. If you start calling Sirius an asteroid, you’re just wrecking the language.

    There has never been gay marriage anywhere in the world ever. Not even in Ancient Greece. Because that is just not what marriage is.

  7. CountingCats says:

    I tend to agree with Ian.

    I go further, and say that marriage was largely a religious sacrament until recently, and that is what it should be again. If the state wants to legislate civil relationships between consenting adults of whatever sexual orientation, then, fine, so be it. But lets just stick marriage back in the box marked religion and leave it there.

    If religions want to set restrictions, definitions and limits, let them. No one is forced to be a member of any organised religion, and, like any club, they are entitled to set their own rules for their membership.

  8. Talwin says:

    “……the full 7″s…..”

    Ah, if only…..

  9. NickM says:

    Cats,
    But the whole reason why this issue has arisen in the UK is some religious groups actively want to carry out same sex weddings. So should they be allowed to because those are the rules of their club?

  10. CountingCats says:

    I think it’s silly, but yep.

  11. Peter says:

    “Especially in it’s complete inability to use an apostrophe…”

    The possessive “its” has no apostrophe.

    Just trying to help…

  12. NickM says:

    Peter,
    I know I did that. My wife has given me right stick over it.

    Cats,
    But the whole point of being a libertarian is not to object to the doing of things you think silly. Maybe it is silly but it ain’t our call. Or maybe it can be our call but it ain’t our right to enforce – just our right to say. Almost every argument contra gay nuptials is based upon some sort of bizarre idea that it undermines straight marriage. Now that I think is very silly. Let us say you meet the woman of your dreams and get married. Perhaps after that you start working late with a lass you rapidly wind-up finding even more dreamy. Well that could undermine you marriage. I very much doubt any meeting with a bloke could.

    Look, my fundamental issue (and this is something I have experience with) is the Hell on Earth unmarried partners have with immigration in almost every country. This is a huge issue and it is not economic migration but just wanting to live in the same country as your boyf or girlf. And no I don’t care how “the parts fit” – the UK’s own dear Home Office is hardly homophobic – it treats everyone like scum. So get married. Perhaps I should have done with my American but gay couples don’t even get that chance. I’m basing this largely on a lesbian radio-astronomer I once met who fought a bitter and expensive legal struggle to be able to live with her girlfriend. Also a radio-astronomer (so clearly not a dole-scrounger or whatever the Mail has in mind) from the USA. Christ almighty, Cats, the University actually wanted to give her a job. It was the Home Office who barred her from the country. Is that fair? That’s the fucking Home Office for you.

  13. Ian B says:

    NIck, this sort of touches on a post by Julia over at her site. I don’t see any particular reason that marrieds should get immigration preference. It is hard to see why one person should be allowed into the country just because one citizen is in love with them, or at least prepared to pretend to be, or lashed to them by the nuptual noose, whatever your angle. It makes no sense. It’s pretty obvious that that is going to create a false immigration channel and false marriages.

    Now this isn’t an issue of whether or not borders should be open, closed, tight or leaky. But the same rules should apply to all, if there are any. I don’t think anyone has a “right” to migrate under the nation state system; if we want to abolish that, fine, we coome up with different ideas altogether. But as it stands, there are borders, and thus rules. And it is extremely hard to come up with a reason for why marriage should negate some of those rules. Either a person is a desirable or an undesirable. Their marital status shouldn’t affect that.

    So, I think you’re coming from the wrong angle, as are most pro gay “marriage” advocates. You’re trying to extend a special privelege to another group. A more libertarian approach would be to not apply it to anyone. I go back again to my example of the platonic spinsters; why should they not enjoy this privilege? And so on it goes.

    If you want more open borders, apply it to everyone. If you want more closed borders, apply it to everyone. Don’t make a system that is custom-built to be unequal and unjust. You’re looking at the wrong end of the problem IMV.

  14. Paul Marks says:

    M.B.s husband does not run clincs “specializing” in curing homosexuality – that is from Jon Stewart. Of course (like most medics before the 1970s) Mr Bachmann does believe that homosexuality is cureable and that may (or may not) be based on personal experience (although Jon Stewart’s evidence for Mr Bachmann’s homosexuality appears to be that he is fat and can not dance well – not exaxctly ironclad evidence). Jon is a comic – not a journalist, although (I admit) he is no worse that the rest of the MSM (he just has an excuse they do not have).

    As for the Michelle Bachmann campaign – methinks that was in Iowa (basically the only State she is campaigning in anyway) where half of likely Caucus goers (Iowa is a Caucus State) are born agains. By the way even Michelle has not made defending marriage the central part of her campaign – actually the central part of her campaign was her anti government spending voting record in the House of Representives – the DEBT ISSUE you were pointing at your original post Nick. Anyway Ron Paul has a beter voting record in the House of Representives so Michelle has to try something (other than the I-was-born-in-Iowa – which is true, and none of the other candidates were).

    Actually the United States could (and most likely will) do worse than a President Bachmann (her general voting record is not that bad) – but it is not going to happen (no chance). Basically the only effect of her campaign was to knock out Pawlenty (who might have done well against Obama – but had to win Iowa to have any chance to get the nomination). However, Pawlenty then went and endorsed Romney (so I can hardly say I am impressed by the man).

    Rick Perry might make a comeback (now his flat tax plan is finally out) – but taking three debates to learn how to debate (now we know why he tended to avoid television debates in Texas) made his campaign nosedive – the votes went to Herman. Rick Perry may get back some of the votes but……

    All this vote spliting among the 70 to 80 per cent of the grass roots Republican party that is conservative will likely lead to Mitt Romney being the candidate (this sort of thing happens a lot). The higher levels (the Country Club set) tend to win because they unite around one candidate (conservatives are like cats – all going off in different directions). Of course a lot of conservatives would rather shoot than vote (the sort of people who won the Battle of King’s Mountain most likely never voted in their lives – and were not interested in voting), but the time for that has not come just yet.

    Still back to Mitt……

    You should be pleased Nick as (under his words – which are designed to appeal to whoever he happens to be talking to at any given moment) Mitt Romney could not care less about “gay marriage” (he will cluck a bit, then let the courts legalize it – with any dissentors being sued to bits for “discrimination”).

    Of course Mitt does not actually care about the DEBT issue either…… but if gm is someone’s key issue they they should vote for Mitt (as he will not stop it). Presently four (of the nine) Supreme Court Judges would most likely declare that gm is a “right” (as soon as they think they can get away with it). So it takes one more judge – or a nudge for Justice Kennedy (who swings both ways – no pun intended).

    My own view?

    I doubt it matters – as the Western world is likely to collapse (economically and socially) over the next few years. So gm (even with people being forced to “recognise” it via “anti discrimination” doctrine, the normal tyranny of the equality police) is the least of our worries.

    But for the record…..

    If a man wants to “marry” another man – that is up to them, as long as no one is forced to “recognise” it (no people being forbidden to run a guest house because they are Christians, or forbidden to foster children for the same reason – as is already happening in crackpot totalitarian countries like……. errr BRITAIN).

    Ditto if a man want to “marry” several women, or a woman wants to “marry” several men.

    What rituals groups of people conduct on their own property is none of my business – as long they are all willing.

  15. Paul Marks says:

    P.S. I have an inquistor comming to my home at 10 AM Tuesday morning over words spoken by me, but taking wildly out of context. A saga that has been going on since July.

    The context is simple enough – an R&D committee meeting where an idea was presented that any group on the council get a de facto automatic turn to name the Mayor (on a points system).

    I pointed out that the system would allow a BNP group to name the Mayor and they could select a “Mr Paki Basher” . Guess which two words have been taken….

    Of course, in Britain, someone can get seven months in prison for words that are deemed to be religious, racial or ethnic abuse.

    Well at least, as a former civil servant in the Prison Service (when it was part of the Home Office), I get my own room in prison.

    Anyway…..

    I have do not have much tolerance for P.C. stuff at the moment.

  16. PeterT says:

    I thought you were in the US?

    Anyway, I’m sorry to hear this; hope it goes ok.

  17. NickM says:

    Paul,
    That is dreadful. Any help us kitty kounters can muster is yours. And RAB is a legal eagle. Is there any conceivable defence here in terms of quoting not saying because the context you used it in was actually anti-racist – well anti the BNP which amounts to much the same.

  18. Paul Marks says:

    Peter – no I am not in the United States. When I write about tyranny it is not all theory (although I am certainly not anti theory), I have a little first hand experience. No First Amendment here and no Second Amendment either (even in a shooting county like Northamptonshire). By the way there is, de facto, no Fifth Amendment right either (not anymore).

    Nick – you (and the other kitty kounters) are in the same position I am in with a person I know. There is naught you can do. Defences and other such….. we shall see (not something I can really deal with at this point). But my position is less serious than a friend of mine.

    The person I know is totally innocent (after my interview this morning, which I will not talk about, I telephoned him and we had a long chat about his case – silly me I should have contacted him via Skype).

    So what good things could I tell this person (who, I repeat, is totally innocent) – what hope could I give him that he will not spend the next few years of his life in prison (assuming he survives prison – which I do not believe he would).

    Bugger all.

    This is Britain – the English and Welsh legal system (I know little of the Scots system) has developed in a bad way (to put things mildly).

    By the way the Federal court system in the United States is not much better (the Feds have had centuries to work round the Constitution) – if ever a person is on trial in the United States they had better hope they are in a State court system.

    There is no State system in the United States (including Louisiana) which is as bad as the Federal system (the Federal system is a conviction machine, not a system of Justice).

    Although the State systems are hardly wonderful – for example there is the vile practice of copping a plea.

    The offering of “deals” assumes guilt (the only arguement is over what you are guilty of), it is defended on the grounds it “saves time and money” – but that just accepts the court system being hopeless to start with.

    The innocent should not be pushed (and they are pushed) into admitting guilt in relation to something they did not do – out of fear of being prosecuted for something worse (that they also did not do).

    German law (for example) up till quite recently rejected the whole concept of such deals.

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