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The marriage debate has made for some unlikely bedfellows

It is not just ‘bible-thumping Christians’ who oppose the change

By on Friday, 8 June 2012

Conjugality, the blog on the future of marriage that comes from MercatorNet, reports that “Preserve Marriage Washington” has filed a petition against the state’s new law allowing same-sex marriage (SSM) after collecting more than twice the number of signatures to block the law. The issue now goes to a state referendum later this year. It seems that if Washington follows the pattern in 30 other states, opponents of the new law will win.

In addition to Washington, three other states will vote on same-sex marriage this autumn. Maryland voters will decide whether to uphold SSM legislation passed earlier this year; Maine will revisit a marriage equality bill overturned by voters in 2009; and Minnesota is considering a constitutional amendment to ban SSM, similar to one adopted by North Carolina in May this year.

Conjugality comments that advocates of SSM have “so far been unable to post a victory” in a voter referendum on the subject. Voters have gone to the polls more than 30 times since 1998 to have their say. Those supporting a redefinition of marriage have lost every time. In the Church, when the body of the faithful, inspired by the Holy Spirit, upholds magisterial truth we call it the “Sensus fidelium”. It seems that the American public have their own common sense version of this: a sturdy wish to defend the status quo on marriage because instinctively they know it is the right thing to do.

That’s the American scene. Colin Hart, the campaign director of the Coalition for Marriage in the UK, reminds us that next Thursday, June 14, the Coalition’s public consultation on rewriting the meaning of marriage will close. He writes, “We know that public opinion is on our side. Our petition has been signed by almost 550,000 people”. He points out that seven out of ten people want to keep marriage as it is and asks, “What will marriage mean when your children or grandchildren walk down the aisle? Will it mean what it does today, or will it mean something different?” Do contact c4m.org.uk if you need advice on answering the Government’s consultation document. The SPUC also provides a briefing booklet with its own guidelines which is very helpful.

When this subject is raised on a Catholic blog site such as the Herald’s, it always provokes many (predictably) angry posts accusing us of “homophobia” and prejudice among other insults. Thus I was glad to discover that Spiked, “the independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism” is also challenging the Government’s proposals to redefine marriage. Spiked, I hasten to emphasise, has no religious affiliations of any kind; indeed, its contributors take pride in their combatively secular approach to all moral questions. They are not pro-life. They are also republicans rather than royalists. Yet on this emotive issue they can recognise illiberalism (and misanthropy; you have to be misanthropic not to want to privilege the natural setting for the begetting of future members of the human race) from 100 paces.

Editor of Spiked, Brendan O’Neill, wrote an article earlier this year that argues “The gay-marriage juggernaut has nothing to do with liberty and everything to do with providing the elite with a new moral mission.” It is well worth reading for its hard-hitting deconstruction of the London metropolitariat. He is supported more recently by Sean Collins, a New York writer, who again from a secular perspective, has declared in a robust article “Why I’m coming out against gay marriage”. To summarise Collins’ arguments: he states (like O’Neill) that “the gay marriage campaign is elitist and believes its opponents are “bigots”; that “same-sex marriage is not a civil right”; that “traditional marriage and the family are worth defending from state intrusion”; and that “the question of gay marriage has yet to be fully decided.” In his conclusion he declares, “Well, count me out. I will not join the cultural elite’s bandwagon, a bandwagon that runs on self-flattery and the demonization of ‘backward’ voters. Critics of the same-sex marriage campaign are here and we’re not all bible-thumping Christians – get used to it.”

I should add that at the Herald we would not describe ourselves as “Bible-thumping Christians” either (no offence intended against our Evangelical brethren); we would argue from Scripture, tradition, the natural law and the “sensus fidelium” to keep marriage as it is. Sometimes worthy causes find unlikely bedfellows: thanks Spiked, for your ability to cut through the humbug and hypocrisy of the media elite’s current “crusade”.

  • JByrne24

    “There has never been such a thing as “civil” marriage in the UK, there has only ever been marriage. ”
    Nonsense. By civil marriage I mean the marriage that is recognised by the state. The word “Married” in this sense is a legal term, defined by the law of the United Kingdom. 

    I have said nothing about “religious marriage”.

    Heterosexual civil marriages would, of course, continue when the law is changed, and would obviously be, by far, the most popular type.

  • JByrne24

    Nobody is “inserting civil” in place of anything.

    I use the term “civil marriage” because this is EXACTLY what the argument is about: viz. the LEGALLY defined status of “Married” in the eyes of the STATE  – through act of Parliament and given assent by the Monarch.
    It is this LEGAL status that Gay people want. They want EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW in the matter of marriage – without continuing to suffer discrimination.

    EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW is a very modest wish (to say the least).

  • JByrne24

    “My right to live in the UK is contingent upon the fact that I have a British passport..”
    No, it isn’t.

    I have dealt with incest above, and also why some people might be opposed to equality before the law in respect of marriage.

  • JByrne24

    But you do seem to have obvious and strong views about people’s “mindsets”.

    I prefaced the above posting with “Perhaps”, as I’m not quite sure what you mean.
    Maybe you could explain your understanding of the word in this context.

  • JByrne24

    Which page etc is that?

  • JByrne24

    I think marriages will be described, in the near future, as either “Straight” or “Gay” – but it’s possible that other words will be used.

  • JabbaPapa

    Always straight to the real point eh ?

    NOT your claims that Catholic teachings are “evil” (whilst amazingly presenting yourself as “catholic”) — ooooh no, the much more important question of forum post management !!!!

    Job *suffered* for your convenience to point and click !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    Can’t somebody please just BAN this JB24 person ?

    It is gravely disordered to allow the expression of heresies in any public space that one is in control of.

  • JByrne24

    A very penetrating analysis, teigitur!

  • JByrne24

    Have you tried switching yourself off, waiting a few seconds, and then switching yourself back on?

  • Jack

    JByrne  uses the word discrimination as a buzz word from politically correct brainwashing. The state has every right to discriminate on many matters. I can’t just invent a right to marry my niece  for example and then expect the state to do my bidding (I got a vasectomy and kids will not be produced) and then expect the state to do my bidding. In democracy its is the majority that decides

    what a right is and if the majority opposes gay marriage then it is not a right and discrimination is justifiable. Thats the secular part; the moral part is simple: unless morals come from God then they come from us. If they come from God then gay marriage is immoral. If they come from us then it can still be illegal if the majority says so. I prefer the moral argument but am arguing on the secular level to make the point that there is no morality to gay marriage either way.

  • JessicaHof

    In today’s DT we learn that the Danish parliament has legislated to make the State Church marry gay couples in Church. Not long ago on this site we were being assured that no one would ever legislate to do this. This does not, at the moment, apply to any other churches in Denmark, but there can be no assurance it won’t in the future. Those of us who were told off for scare-mongering look a good deal more far-sighted than those who so confidently proclaimed there was no need to worry.

  • theroadmaster

    Of course it is natural, as it sacralizes the complementary union between a man and a woman which is open to procreation.  A neutral alien would tell you no different, if he/she was to draw lessons from the observance and study of the anthropological, social and religious conventions of mankind, which have been consistent over 2 Millennia.  But Marriage is not merely one convention among many, as it is based on the ontological reality of human relationships in a social and religious sense.  In that sense it transcends any notion of a 
    “idée fixe” and legal attempts to redefine  it’s well-understood configuration are ill-judged and will have negative consequences for society.

  • theroadmaster

    Marriage is not a civil “right” for every coupling who desire it.  This institution has been well and truly defined by the criteria which is associated with it i.e one man married to one woman with pro-family intentions.  if a particular coupling  cannot match this criteria i.e same-sex partners, then a marriage is not in the offing. People will mischievously use this as case of discrimination, when all one is doing is defending the inestimable value of marriage in it’s well-established form.

  • theroadmaster

    The marital ceremony whether carried out in a religious or civil setting, currently has consistent criteria in relation to the makeup of the two people in terms of gender who tie the knot i.e one man and one woman.  To redefine this configuration ultimately upsets the profound nature of the Institute that is marriage.  People dress up current attempts to have marriage extended to same-sex couples, in sociological terms with respect to “rights”.  But in essence, how can a society extend something that is not really in it’s moral gift, as marriage predates modern countries and it’s criteria is well-set and widely recognized..  

  • JByrne24

    “Marriage is not a civil “right” for every coupling who desire it. ”

    Yes, exactly. The fact that marriage is not presently a right for Gay couples is what this whole discussion is about.

  • JByrne24

    “The marital ceremony whether carried out in a religious or civil setting…”

    It is not necessarily anything to do with the setting. A civil marriage (in the UK) is the tripartite contract (it IS a legal contract) – at present – between a man, a woman and the state.
    Soon, either under the present government or another in the near future, the contract will be between two adults and the state – the sex of the adults being unimportant.

  • JByrne24

    Discrimination is much more than a buzz word.

    “The state has every right to discriminate on many matters.”  – yes, and also to change the laws it introduces.
     ” In democracy its is the majority that decides” — but not always in the short term and in accordance with some popular myth. The state also has a duty to lead its society in wise directions.

    What gives you the idea that God disapproves of Gay marriage?  I know the Church’s view very well, but here it is wrong, taking an ancient view founded on the fear of a disastrously falling population in ancient times.

  • JByrne24

    “does not bear children” – yes it does. Please see below.

    “They have a civil partnership why is that not enough why is that not equal to them. ”    You are in effect presuming to tell Gay people what they SHOULD be satisfied with.

    Many of your other comments really have already been dealt with on this thread..

  • theroadmaster

    I recognize that.  But one cannot seek to radically change the essential characteristics of a marriage by a law under the guise of “rights”, and then call the new version marriage.  This is the central point that people who want to redefine it seem to be overlooking or side-stepping.

  • theroadmaster

    You have reiterated my main point in relation to the irrelevance of the setting to the nature of what marriage truly constitutes. It is rightly recognized as the blessed union between one man and one woman which is open to procreation.
    As I have pointed out before, marriage has been universally recognized as consisting of the above reality for countless centuries.  This great Institution which arose before the foundation of the majority of the world’s states, has been at the root of the stability of global societies. Now if a secular government wants to radically break with the long-standing view of marriage, it will be violating it’s very nature.  So it is not as simple as stating that marriage can be just an “understanding” between the partners and the states and changed at will.

  • AC

    Yes it is. I promise you it really is. If you disagree, please educate me as to why it is not…..

  • JabbaPapa

    The same people also claimed that civil unions for gays would “never” lead to “gay marriage”.

    Manipulative liars, the lot of them !!!

  • JabbaPapa

     Carry on claiming the Church is “wrong” and “evil”, JB24, but please stop insulting everyone’s intelligence by describing yourself as “catholic”.

  • JabbaPapa

    Right, and now you claim that God is not the source of religious belief, and moral justice.

    And you have the *gall* to call yourself a Christian !!!

  • JessicaHof

    Yes, odd that. The same people now expect us to believe that this is a ‘one off’. They didn’t fool anyone once, so why they think they can a second time, who knows?

  • JabbaPapa

    Have you tried abandoning your heretical creeds, and leaving your apostasy behind ?

  • jdhummerstone

     “…sky fairy…”
    It was a long time coming, but at last somebody has said it. Congratulations!

  • jdhummerstone

    “…civil marriage…does NOT have to be open to procreation.”
    It does, however have to be capable of consummation, so either “marriage” or “consummation” will have to be redefined if this law goes through.
    JByrne24 is quick to accuse others of begging the question, but to say that homosexuals should be given the same right to marriage as others begs the question, whether what they are claiming is, or ever can be, the same as what heterosexuals already have. “Equal” marriage entails redefinition.

  • JByrne24

    I have posted a reply, on this thread, to Ms Phillips’ article and thereafter spent the past few days replying in turn to fellow posters who have replied to me, while generally ignoring the vulgar abuse.

    However posters, particularly in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe, may be unaware that some responses probably coming from the US seem (to me) to conform to the views and attitudes of a certain right-wing and well-financed sector of that society.

    A great deal of silliness and name-calling has been observed. Those who argue for the rights of women,  Gay people and others and the general inclusion in society of those minorities who are marginalised or excluded from the rights enjoyed by the majority, are seen in alarmist and sometimes hysterical fashion, as a threat to the political and moral fabric of the nation (the US).
    The book “Closing of the American Mind” (Alan Bloom) summarises the right’s view by saying that the principal belief of “liberals” (their term) is that all truth is relative and that the “liberals” opposition to racism, sexism, equality of Gay rights etc, is an attack on free speech and anti-family.
    In the US this has given birth to a new PC – not Political Correctness but rather “Patriotic Correctness” – which is a well-funded and well-organised right wing lobby, currently seeking to place a Mooney in the White House (who believes that Jesus has visited several States of the Union!). 

    Anyone who thinks that all this is a silly conspiracy theory only has to look at publicly available accounts of some of America’s richest foundations, such as : the Carthage foundation, the Lynne and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Olin Foundation etc. Enormous sums of money are spent habitually attacking “liberals” and their moral causes.
    The “National Review” published a “College Guide” so that parents could avoid sending their children to universities from where they might return after a semester as Marxists!

    Most of us in the UK see all this as very silly – but you should still be aware of the possible inspirations behind some of the postings on this website, especially where equal rights and matters of sex are concerned.

  • JByrne24

    I have not said, and I do not think, that the Church is evil and wrong as such and always. And I am indeed a Catholic.

    I do believe however, and I have said, that some teachings are wrong because they are out of time and some can be evil.
    For example the teaching I mentioned in a recent topic, and on which I asked for information and guidance, is, I believe wrong and evil.

    The teaching in question was that rape is preferable to masturbation (in the male), as rape can at least give rise to procreation.
    This has been the teaching for many years. I asked (and I ask again) whether this is still the Church’s teaching. If it has been changed I would be interested in knowing – with date and valid reference.

  • JByrne24

    ALL laws evolve and change over time and the laws pertaining to civil marriage are no exception — as present and future events show, and will show.

  • JByrne24

    “..has been at the root of the stability of global societies.”

    After many past centuries, especially perhaps after the last one, how can you use the word “stability”?

    PS: You have left out  the “some” again!

  • JByrne24

    Well I was born and bred in England. However because of my French ancestry I have a French passport. I live in England. 

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    > “conform to the views and attitudes of a certain right-wing and well-financed sector of that society.”

    Don’t demonize people who disagree with you. This impedes any meaningful debate.

    > Those who argue for the rights of women

    There is no need to argue for that. We are not in the XIX century anymore. Women choose their profession (including 4-star women army generals), drive, are highly educated (in fact, they are better educated than men), are fully aware of their rights, they vote – and they are 52% of the voters.

    > “Gay people and others and the general inclusion in society of those minorities who are marginalised or excluded”

    All human rights of homosexuals are respected. Except that redefining marriage is not a human right. If it were, than incestuous, polygamous or polyamorous groups would have the same right.

    > “The book “Closing of the American Mind” (Alan Bloom) summarises the right’s view by saying that the principal belief of “liberals” (their term) is that all truth is relative and that the “liberals” opposition to racism, sexism, denial of Gay rights etc, is an attack on free speech and anti-family.”

    I have never seen a prominent conservative person promoting racism or unfair sexism. Being against affirmative racism – a.k.a. “affirmative action” – does not mean that one is racist!

    > “currently seeking to place a Mooney in the White House (who believes that Jesus has visited several States of the Union!).”

    Oh, and the left claims to be religiously tolerant…

    > “Anyone who thinks that all this is a silly conspiracy theory only has to look at publicly available accounts of some of America’s richest foundations, such as : the Carthage foundation, the Lynne and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Olin Foundation etc.”

    You forgot to mention the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, George Soros, Bill Gates, and countless other deep-pocketed foundations/individuals who fund the Left. Also, in every “ban same-sex marriage” referendum I checked, the pro-same-sex-marriage crowd has attracted much more money than the other side!

  • JabbaPapa

    If you had not posted heresies, nobody would have called you a heretic.

    If you had not posted anathemata, nobody would have called you an anathematic.

    If you had not posted blasphemies, called Catholic teachings “evil” and “wrong”, nor fomented rebellion against the Holy See, then nobody would have called you uncatholic.

    You have, however, done all of these things.

    Your notion that one’s Catholic duty to denounce false doctrines, false teachers, and heresies is motivated by anything other than Catholic duty itself is just as wrong-headed as any of your postings in here.

  • JabbaPapa

    The teaching in question was that rape is preferable to masturbation (in
    the male), as rape can at least give rise to procreation.
    This has been the teaching for many years.

    Typical JB24 trademarked rubbish.

    Your ignorance is astounding !!

    And again with the Catholic teachings being “wrong” and “evil”…

  • theroadmaster

    Laws might “evolve” but certain institutions like marriage, based on the Natural Order as it is, does not.  It has remained pretty much what it is in essence, over the period of two Millennia.  Legal attempts to redefine it into something that it has never been, will essentially change it’s characteristics and then it can be called anything but marriage.

  • theroadmaster

    Marriage as properly understood, has been at the base of the success of the social cohesion and demographic health of societies over the centuries. These are marks of “stability” to me.  
    I think your reference to “some” again is erroneous here, as I correctly stated that marriage pre-dates the majority of the world’s states.

  • JByrne24

    Well I suggest (for starters) that you:  read the book;  look at the publicly available accounts for the FACTS; listen (not today’s of course, too near the election) to the loony remarks of that presidential candidate; read the views of Gays in the US, relating THEIR experiences, not yours; listen to the still racially abused etc etc… .

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions – but not to their own FACTS.

    PS: I read the widely respected right-wing press and journals in the UK and many on-line versions in the US. 

    If you are in the US you may be unaware of the laughing-stock in which “the religious right” in the US is viewed in Europe by educated people.

  • JByrne24

    ” called Catholic teachings ‘evil’ and ‘wrong’ ”

    I have replied to this slander ( with a question too ) when you made it yesterday.

    Please see below.

  • Let it be…..

    How does it bear children?? They cannot I repeat cannot bear children it’s humanly impossible. Yes they should be satisfied with that!! Gay marraige is wrong end of!

  • Let it be…..

    Away and read the bible mr, you are too narrow minded and think that not supporting the change in marraige to suit gay people is actually discrimination I’m baffled by your definition of discrimination all 550, 000 of us people who are not in favour of gay marraige are evil and Wrong we are all homophobes. Don’t think so! It’s defilement of what’s sacred between a man and woman, only one man and woman can naturally concieve a child. Can two men? Can two women ? No they can’t they need money and a willing third part involved. This is all Satan at work! But suppose the priests who will never marry a ssc in a church infront of the altar must be evil too oh and discriminatory. I assume you believe the gay couple are in a state of grace to revive holy communion too? Better let them eh because to not would be evil and discriminatory even though it clealy teaches in the bible that homosexuality is a sin but suppose you know better mr…..

  • Let it be…..

    We need to stop indulging in debate with the opinions of jbyrne. He knows best, gays in actual fact are not a minority group, their gay activists love this image portrayed of homosexuals as it all goes to cause for gay marraige. There are gay couples everywhere, in every soap from corrie to hollyoaks it’s thrust on our screens for our you ger generation to see, to believe is ok and normal when it’s not. I have banned tv soaps from my house now because of this. I do not wish for my children to believe that homosexuality is normal behaviour. To avoid discrimination the law gave ssc civil partnerships just as couples who can’t get married in the church have is that not equality in its self?? Why the desire to marry in the church?? Because they know the church is the one body that tells their soul that what they do is wrong so the activists say to themselves how dare they! They want to infringe on the one thing thats left to dismantle which funnily enough is written in revelation …the church and one if the sacred sacraments marraige!

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    > “(which is OBVIOUS discrimination) a legal marriage contract.”

    It is discrimination, but it is fair discrimination. Just like we discriminate against polygamous triples, we can discriminate again same-sex pairs.

    > “The Catholic adoption societies simply had to observe the law.”

    That is no argument. The existance of the law does not mean it is fair.

    > “ALL incestuous marriage is forbidden, and there are good biological reasons for this.”

    Why exacltly is incest/polygamy/polyandry forbiden but homosexualism accepted?

    > “The Bible through the Old Testament records that these can be approved”

    Back up your claim.

  • JByrne24

    You seem not to have bothered to see below, as suggested.

    Some Gay people donate sperm for AI, and others donate ova for implantation. So in this way they can be true, biological, fathers and mothers. 

    I’m surprised you are unaware of this.

  • AC

    Your right to stay here is still only contingent on the fact that you have satisfied certain conditions under various EU Directives that permit you to do so. This only makes my point clearer. The right to residency in any country is not universal, it is contingent. This is a fairly uncontroversial point, no….?.

  • JByrne24

    I think, on the whole, that your are more of an ignorant person, than a homophobe.

    I suggest you widen your horizons and do some wider reading – taking part, if possible, in discussions with people who do not share all of your views. 

  • JByrne24

    Oh yes, of course. Gay marriage will require changes in the law.

    At present though, by way of factual detail, consummation does not mean open to procreation

  • JByrne24

    “gays in actual fact are not a minority group”
    Your supporters are always going on about just how small the minority is (as if it mattered – and of course it doesn’t).

    If you will watch drivel on TV that’s your own lookout (and choice).