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They sneered at Bishop Gilbert’s suggestion that gay marriage would lead to unions between one man and two women. Well, now it’s happened

In Brazil, the unthinkable has come to pass. Why not?

By on Friday, 31 August 2012

David Cameron (PA)

David Cameron (PA)

You may remember that earlier this month, I wrote about “controversial” remarks made by Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen, who, when asked a question about the Scottish government’s plans to introduce gay “marriage”, replied that “The truth is that a government can pass any legislation it likes. Why is it all right for a man to marry another man, but not all right for him to marry two women? If we really want equality, why does that equality not extend to nieces who genuinely, truly love their uncles?”

Not unexpectedly, his remarks provoked scornful rejoinders from supporters of gay unions (marriage or not). One of them, underneath my piece, protested that “There is no political movement to make [polygamous] marriage legal. All attempts to claim that [polygamous marriage] is equivalent to same-sex marriage have failed. The claim that same-sex marriage will lead to [polygamous] marriage has been made by anti-gay campaigners for years, and has – in 11 countries so far – always been shown to be mere malicious scaremongering.”

Well, we now have polygamous civil unions (and don’t tell me that that’s not “marriage”: it’s the first step towards it, and was always intended to be so). Three people have been allowed to enter into a civil union in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, the Telegraph reported earlier this week. Claudia do Nascimento Domingues, a public notary, granted the request for a civil union of one man and two women, saying there is nothing in law that prevents such an arrangement. The union was estabished formally three months ago but only became public this week.

“We are only recognising what has always existed. We are not inventing anything,” said Ms Domingues. “For better or worse, it doesn’t matter, but what we considered a family before isn’t necessarily what we would consider a family today.”

You can say that again. Dr Patricia Morgan, the most important sociologist specialising in family policy today, told Simon Caldwell on this site’s homepage that she was not surprised by the ruling, and pointed out that similar attempts have been made in the Netherlands. She said that the proliferation of a range of relationships that will be legally considered equalvalent to marriage was inevitable once the institution had been redefined. And surely she is right: does anybody (anybody, that is, who isn’t trying for their own ends to underplay the disruptively revolutionary nature of what is now going on) seriously contest that this is one of the most inevitable slippery slopes we have seen for years?

“In the Netherlands,” continues Dr Morgan, “to be equal they opened up civil partnerships to heterosexuals as well as to gays but then found that there were these three-in-a-bed relationships that were seeking legal recognition; I think it is all part of the cause. Once you break away from one man and one woman, what do you expect? Once you allow two men [to marry], where are your boundaries?” Precisely: you haven’t just effected a minor readjustment: you have torn down the walls protecting the institution itself: anything goes. “People say this won’t happen,” she continues, “but where does it stop? You are going to get polygamy from Muslims, aren’t you? People are simply shutting their eyes if they think that this is not going to happen.”

Dr Morgan (who I have written about before in this column) is one of the few sensible sociologists around, and she is a specialist on the family, and particularly on the dire consequences for children of families which are not based on two married parents (of opposite sex): her classic study Marriage-Lite: The Rise of Cohabitation and its Consequences is available from Civitas as a free download.

And she has surely put her finger on the whole point. Marriage is not simply there for the good of those involved. “Part of the problem,” she says, “is the modern view of marriage as a [private relationship] based on subjective definitions of ‘love’. This is to the exclusion of its wider purpose as a public contract serving the common good by supporting the procreation and education of future generations.”

Precisely. Do you remember Theresa May’s declaration of support for “gay marriage” (the same slushy declaration that we hear on all sides): “I believe if two people care for each other, if they love each other, if they want to commit to each other and spend the rest of their lives together then they should be able to get married and that marriage should be for everyone.” And what if three people care for each other? Why not? Marriage should be for everyone. Back to Bishop Gilbert: “The truth is that a government can pass any legislation it likes. Why is it all right for a man to marry another man, but not all right for him to marry two women?”

As I write, the petition for the government to respect the immemorial understanding of marriage as being between one man and one woman (sign it now, if you haven’t already) has reached the stratospheric level of 597, 226 signatures. Oh, and for those who rejoin that that’s only a tiny proportion of the population as a whole, the reply is, of course, that most people don’t sign petitions. The point is that this is one of the highest figures ever (it may be the highest) for an online petition: and the equivalent pro gay-marriage petition (“I support the right of two people in love to get married, regardless of gender. It’s only fair”) has after some months edged up to a comparatively paltry 62, 695, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t manage very much more: it certainly won’t get anywhere near half a million.

So the support in the population at large for marriage as traditionally understood is massive and preponderant. But will that be reflected in a falling away of Cameron’s incomprehensible enthusiasm for this revolutionary change? We shall see; but I have a nasty feeling about all this.

  • Jeannine

    There is so much to refute in what you post; I just don’t know where to begin. Hopefully others can help.

    But I’ll say this, as a statistician I do not look at studies where the sample size is so small & biased that any of the derived statistics can not honestly estimate & project the studied population (1000s). As of now there are no robust studies that refute my claim that same-sex households generally raise well-adjusted children. A couple of good things coming out of the Regnerus study are the sample size was about 3000 compared with those studies that agree with your beliefs, about 50 -100? (None of those sttudies’ sample sizes comes even close to 1000.) and Professor Regnerus did not have a preconceived idea on the outcome of his study. Thus he was a impartial investigator.

  • Lago1

    The question you should be asking is why society should be interested in recognising it formally.

    And even if there was a reason to do so, it still wouldnt be marriage any more than squares are triangles.

  • GulliverUK

    The report is slated everywhere.

    I’ve read a few of the articles from the gay press, but most I’ve read have been from mainstream quality papers, warning people about the dangers of treating this study as anything but unusable and incredible flawed.  Regnerus must take the flack he deserves, because if he couldn’t see the question asked and the category it put people in was invalid, he simply isn’t competent.  Most of the population will be scratching their heads wondering what the hell he was playing at, because most people understand real life, and the study doesn’t measure real life.

    You don’t need to be a statistician (some might say it is better not to be one :-p), to understand the very questions asked alone, and how those put people in inappropriate categories, and then made inappropriate comparisons which could be not scientifically valid, makes this the most expensive waste of time and effort ever.

  • GulliverUK

    The law recognises loving relationships – or haven’t you been to a wedding in some time?  Forgotten?  It’s all about love, and no business of the state, and in fact a requirement for the state not to discriminate where there is no compelling basis for it.

    In your world of ceremonies from ancient history you clearly feel your definition of marriage is the only valid one.  This is arrogant nonsense, because as I pointed out Muslims don’t believe a word of what you’re saying, and not do many other religions.  Even other Christians don’t believe as you do.  But what you believe is not relevant to the law.  The law is secular, blind to religion and prejudice bigotry and unreasoned arguments.   As there are no compelling arguments against this unjust and unfair practice it will cease, and the majority of the UK has already come to the conclusion that it should.  The legal definition of marriage will be two people, regardless of gender or gender identity, and that will be fair and just and society will have progressed a little further.

    For you, you will recognise marriage in the old-fashioned narrow perspective way, one man and one women, but the marriage act will be open to all and not exclude people unreasonable.

    Right now, a couple in a Civil Partnership is considered ‘married’ in law regardless, and laws which apply to married couples already apply to those in Civil Partnerships — so the law already recognises Civil Partners as ‘married’ but they cannot use that term.   And that is the crux of the argument.  They are already seen as married in the eyes of the law, so they should be able to use the same term, ‘married’.

  • gentlemind

    None of which contradicts “The voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”. Polygamy is more than one marriage between two people. Each of the polygamous marriages is between one man and one woman. A marriage between three people is physically impossible, because no three people can be a child’s parents. Ditto a one-person marriage and a marriage between two people of the same sex. As for divorce, that law exists outside the definition of marriage.

  • Marco

    As a Brazilian I know how this circus got started. They took away
    Catholicism from a Catholic country and gave it the new Protestant style
    mass and Liberation Theology. The combination of Marxist ideas with a
    watered down Catholicism then resulted in a society that couldn’t find
    much wrong with anything other than poverty. Soon polygamy, incest and
    bestiality will be legalized because we have lost any sense of objective
    standards or strong arguments to support them.  In this chaos we will
    return to the barbarism of pre-christian societies unless strong
    objective standards based on truth and reason are revived.

  • stroika

    (1) Gay people can get married. Nothing stopped Oscar Wilde getting married. Oh you mean two people of the same gender who love each other can’t get married? Well I can’t marry my old flatmate. Oh you mean two people of the same gender who are in love cant get married? Well I love Mabel Figworthy and she loves me, but she is married to Fred Bloggs so I can’t marry her. I don’t want her to be divorced. I just want to marry her. What’s that? You mean that is against the meaning of marriage? Well…..
    (2) Marriage is not the creation of the state. It predates any state. It exists without the state. For that matter marriage exists without the church. This is why the Church recognises the marriages of two people who are not Catholic. It would be the most appalling arrogance for the state to purport to change the meaning of marriage. You are about 200,000 years too late to change the meaning of marriage: one man, one woman. Sure you can cite various outlying cases, even from the Bible but on the whole marriage has survived as the union of one man and one women. And that is what it is now. How human beings – fallen, fallible human beings – have dealt with that high ideal is another matter. Still one man, one woman is what it is. To quote the phrase that brought Cardinal Newman into the Church “securus iudicat orbis terrarum” “the world is secure in its judgment”. It does not matter what happened in such and such a place at such and such a time. What matters is that the fact of marriage as between one man and one woman is always recognised not the bizarre varations that happen to have occurred over such a long period of time. 
    (3) When and where it has been thought necessary or desirable to prevent marriages between people of different races (please note I think such a law to be profoundly immoral) it has been necessary to enact legislation to prevent them. Until such a law was passed it was possible for people from different races to marry and once they were repealed it was possible again. The gay marriage case is precisely the reverse. Until very recently it was literally unthinkable. There was no law against it. It was never possible for Phil and Fred to get married. So leave the civil rights analogies alone please.
    (4) Nobody gave a toss about this until a couple of years ago. Why the hurry? Are you worried that something might happen to take the wind out of your sails, like say, polygamy?

  • Robert

    Well no, marriage between a man and a women tends of necessity to be about two people, whereas marriage to persons of one’s own sex maybe between any number of persons.

  • GulliverUK

    Marriage isn’t a religious concept, it existed long before Christianity, and before Judaism.  The earliest recorded record of marriage is the Code of Hammurabi in 1772 BC.  The Abrahamic God wasn’t invented at that point, although Gods were worshipped, mainly because of superstitious beliefs that they controlled the rain and fertility of the land and of mankind.  We worshipped the Sun because we saw that it provided heat and light an believed Gods controlled the weather, storms and the planetary forces.  Child and other sacrifices were performed to appease the Gods – that’s what Leviticus 18 21 is all about, not worshipping Molech, not sacrificing your child (seed) to Molech.  In Leviticus 18 22 it says not to perform the Pagan fertility rituals, which were ceremonial sex with temple shrine prostitutes in the Pagan temples.  It doesn’t refer to same-sex relationships, it’s referring to idolatry - worshipping another God and their rituals.

    In the Code of Hammurabi clause 145 it allows a man to take a second wife, polygamy.

    The Bible was based on cultures that existed before and at the time, and many of the things we find in the Bible attest to their influence in crafting it.  The floor story appears in prior cultural myths in various guises. 

    Same-sex marriages and relationships existed long ago, at the time of Jesus.  David and Jonathan were betrothed in the Bible.  Same-sex marriages existed in Rome up to 342AD when “In 342 AD Christian emperors Constantius II and Constansissued a law in the Theodosian Code (C. Th. 9.7.3) prohibiting same-sex marriage in Rome and ordering execution for those so married.”

    But there were lots of other examples of same-sex marriage in ancient times also.  Remember also in the Bible the Roman centurion asked for his male partner to be healed (Luke 7:1-10).

    What is happening is to recognise what mankind has known to be true forever, that two people of whatever gender can have deep romantic feelings for one another, that bind them together.  Love between two people of the same gender is no different than love between two people of opposite genders.  Because love is the same it should be recognised as such, and the word we use to recognise love officially is ‘marriage’.  ‘Marriage’ isn’t a Christian or religious term, it was used long before, and it’s primary purpose was the ordering transfer of power and wealth and the maintenance of that wealth in the bloodlines.  Love was not always in the mix.

    As regards children, 50% are born outside marriage now, marriage has bombed from a peak of 450,000pa in the early 70s to just 230,000pa today.  70% of marriages are now without religious content, which is a massive drop from when my mum got married, when there was a cultural expectation to marry in church, and 70% did.

    I believe in equal rights, and I believe in marriage and civil partnerships for the legal protections they provide — which I think are important to protect spouses and children.  Therefore I propose that all be open to all.  Better that heterosexual couples should have a Civil Partnership and all the same legal protections of marriage than live together cohabiting without those legal protections, and any consequences that might have, such as the inability to make medical decisions in a crisis. It’s known that more and more heterosexual couples would like to have a Civil Partnership, and churches should be ready to offer those in church — Civil Partnerships already happen in church for gay couples, in the Unitarian churches here right now.  In fact, the Catholic church could offer Civil Partnerships right now to gay couples, because they don’t contain the word ‘marriage’.  And it’s only the word which if found offensive, there shouldn’t be a problem, not if you want to try to get close to catechism 2358.

    ps. creationists are going to have a fit with you if you claim the Earth existed 200,000 years ago !  :-p

  • GulliverUK

    Not in Islam, and that has been around almost as long a Christianity.  They have had polygamy, and it was there long before Christianity (see my other post and the Code of Hammurabi).  And it’s in the Bible, as are same-sex relationships, David and Jonathan were betrothed.

    Marriage between one man and one women isn’t the standard convention, except in Western countries.  Given the number of Muslims worldwide, is claimed to be higher than the number of Christians, then the number of people whose religion includes polygamy is greater than those believers whose religions don’t.

  • Lazarus

    Good (even handed) analysis of Regenrus from Peter Ould on his website:

  • GulliverUK

    I forgot to mention the LDS – who practised polygamy until recently, and the FLDS which still practices polygamy.  These are “Christian” religions, and if the LDS is no longer practising polygamy then it has modified it’s own teachings on marriage.

    In that same way the Catholic faith can continue to believe what it does, and the LDS what it does, and the FLDS what it does, and the law will create a common recognition of rights under the term ‘marriage’ which includes and supports all those who are accepted by society as equal.  Whether polygamy would ever emerge in the UK in our lifetimes, I doubt it.  Each change is quite distinct in how society processes it.  Same-sex marriages have no effect at all on straight couples, because straight couples are only interested in the opposite sex.  Polygamy opens up new choices to all, and thus effects everybody.

    But, hilarious how the Catholic church wanted to work so closely with Muslim groups to defeat same-sex marriage, but it would be Muslim groups today in the UK who would want to advance polygamy because it is a part of their religious beliefs.  Although poll data I’ve seen suggests most Muslims are happy with one wife and don’t want more than that.

  • LMAO@U

    Polygamy and same sex marriage are fundamentally different in as much as it is possible for both same sex and opposite sex marriages to have polygamous realionships. Therefore it is not a question of inequality in the same sense that a continued ban on gay marriages is.

    can i just quote this 
    You are about 200,000 years too late to change the meaning of marriage  lmfao you might wanna consult the priest on that one not sure if that timeframe quite works 

  • GulliverUK

    Interesting analysis, but I’m afraid the categories Regnerus used are utterly flawed.  It’s like putting a whole load of fruit in a basket, asking people to pick one out blindfolded, then asking them if it’s sweet or sour.  With a variety of fruit you’ll get a variety of outcomes.  Yet he’s labelled the basket ‘sweet fruit’.

    Some parents will have been in long-term stable same-sex relationships, others will have perhaps been seeing someone casually for a number of years, but with that person not necessarily living with them, others may have had a brief 3 month affair with someone of the same sex.  They are not all sets of same-sex parents.  Once you also take in to account that some won’t be able to get married, perhaps not even domestic partnerships or civil unions, it’s complicated to measure outcomes at this point, unless you compare married same-sex long-term families with married opposite-sex families and unmarried same-sex long-term with unmarried opposite-sex families.   Without that, the study is worthless.

    There might be other ways to measure outcomes.

    We know that child abuse occurs primarily in heterosexual families (although it gets complicated as to age, etc., as to whether the perpetrator is heterosexual themselves or has paedophile tendencies).  But let’s assume it’s a relative or close family friend.

    A study showed the rate of sexual abuse in the studied lesbian group was zero.

    Again, a group 78 is too small to apply to a population, especially with such a staggering result, but it is worthy of note.

    Children growing up in school would be subject to some level of abuse where they have two parents of the same sex, in the climate they grew up in …. at that time.  Things are different now, but there’s still a lot to do in tackling homophobic bullying.  The Catholic church in particular has received harsh criticism for it’s refusal to allow GSA (Gay-Straight-Alliances) in schools, and it still routinely fires staff in the US if it discovers they are gay.  It’s stance of asking children to sign the C4M petition was exceptionally wrong, because it encouraged pupils to become a political lobby force.

    Again, catechism 2358 applied, and any Catholic who doesn’t follow that, and rid the world of homophobia and unfairness, might as well burn the lot.  Of the two rules that Jesus gave “love your neighbour as yourself” was one and he said these rules were more important than anything else.  If you aren’t obeying it, you are disobeying his golden rule.

  • GulliverUK

    Oh, I’m a bit confused here.

    A man and women are married, or unmarried, and have a child.  They break their relationship – if they are married they get divorced and child lives with, say, the mother.  She starts a new relationship and they get married.  They are now married.  The child now has 3 parents.  The biological mother and father and the wife’s husband is a second father, the one which now cares for the child with the child’s mother, whether or not the biological father visits and also takes an interest in the child’s upbringing or not.

    Are you saying that in this situation the wife’s husband isn’t really a father to the child ?

    Divorce exists in societies before Christianity established itself, in other religions, it is in the law, and in the Bible.  There is controversy as to whether the Bible sanctions marriage or not.

    Matthew 19:9 (NKJV)

    9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

    Seem to me that it is allowed for adultery, although in other places it seems not to be !

  • theroadmaster

    Once you change the innate qualities of something, then you have changed it’s very definition.  This is a law of nature and it equally applies here to our historical understanding of marriage i.e the solemnized union between one man and one woman which is open to procreation.  Regional variations such as polygamy were and still are very much the exception to the general rule of marriage being an institution mean’t for monogamy.  Polygamy had been effectively phased out of the Western nations by the 19th century and only remained in certain African and Middle-Eastern countries, mainly due to religious or cultural considerations.  This form of marriage has been ingrained in these areas since time immemorial and was viewed with tolerance if not outright acceptance.  Israeli kings and patriarchs did indeed did have many wives and concubines, and while Judaic laws did not totally condemn this practice, they severely admonished the husband who would mistreat his wife/wives.   In other words, they sought to ameliorate the worst excesses of polygamy while trying to reform it at the same time. Jesus who was both the fulfillment of the law in all of it’s senses, clarified the proper understanding of marriage-”..
     But Jesus said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote this decree for you.  But from the beginning of creation ‘GOD MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. THEREFORE A MAN WILL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND WILL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE,  AND THE TWO WILL BE ONE FLESH.’  For this reason they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God joined together, let man not separate.”
     Mark (10:5-9).

    Historically procreative intent has been tied up with the institution of marriage, despite marriage being used as a convenient tool to further other ends e.g royal alliances etc, during different eras.  One cannot separate this criteria from the institution and by extension this rules out same sex couplings from qualifying for it’s application.

  • Lazarus

    Well, you’re throwing in a lot of stuff to muddy the waters. Let’s keep to the question of Regnerus.

    Ould is right to note that the report is primarily an invitation to further research. But it’s slightly more than that. A lot of existing pro-same sex parenting claims are based on the sort of ‘if you compare long term stable gay and straight partnerships you get similar parental outcomes’ reasoning. But as an issue of social policy, it’s not clear that comparing ‘like with like’ is the right question. Rather, it should be: If you encourage a social climate where both gays and straights bring up children, what is more likely to produce the best outcomes for children? (Eg because it’s relevant how likely any pair (straight/gay) is to form and maintain a stable partnership.)

    Regnerus is the first stab at answering that general question. And the evidence so far -not conclusive but suggestive- is against gay parenting.

  • Lazarus

    ‘ It’s all about love, and no business of the state’
    If that were true, then we wouldn’t be having these heated debates about changes in law.

    In essence, we have two competing views of marriage: one, the traditional one going back to at least Aristotle in the west which argues that it is the institution which exists to support procreation and the raising of children; the other, which is that it’s all about love and having a nice party. It’s clear why the state would be interested in supporting the former. Why on earth would it be interested in supporting the latter?

    The logic of the ‘it’s love’ position is that marriage shouldn’t be a matter of the state -as you recognize.  So why not be honest and campaign explicitly to destroy marriage rather than trying to redefine it out of existence on the sly?

  • GulliverUK

    That’s a religious belief, not the law which is made for all, and which we all agree to follow.  You can practice whatever religious beliefs you want, but only the law of the land is what matters in terms of your rights and protections and status.   Married is married, regardless of whether it’s in a registry office or church, and to ensure fairness and equality whether you’re a man and women, or same-sex couple.  The law treats Civil Partnerships as marriage, only the name is different.  The name can have consequences in International law, and for the status of same-sex couples in society, and must therefore be changed in line with the government’s need to ensure fairness and equality, in line with societies wishes.

    We don’t want any racism in our society, in the UK, and we won’t tolerate it.  In the same vein, we don’t want homophobia in our society, and we won’t tolerate it.

    Quoting scripture won’t make any difference to the argument, except to highlight the weakness of the argument, in a Bible that believed slavery was God-ordained and of which most churches were involved in.  The facts are the facts.  Slavery was never acceptable, at any point in time, even if societies once might have thought so.  In the light of that the Bible is in error on slavery.

    Also, when Jesus was asked various questions about marriage and divorce nobody asked him about same-sex relationships.  If someone asked you about marriage just 20 years ago you would have known they meant heterosexual marriage, because marriage between same-gender couples had been suppressed for a thousand years.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    GulliverUK:  What do you mean by  “the law”?  Do you mean just what Parliament legislates?  Can Parliament ever get it wrong in your view?  Also I do not think everyone agrees to follow an unjust law.

    Where in the Bible does it say that slavery was God-ordained?  Just because slaves appear in the Bible it surely does not mean that God approved.

  • Lazarus

    ‘Please remember, the majority of Catholics are for equality.’
    Putting aside the question of whether we are talking about ‘equality’ or merely a variety of misdirected social engineering, if by ‘Catholics’ you mean ‘people who were baptized by the Church’ or who have some sort of loose connection with it, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they’ve imbibed the sexual libertarianism of the surrounding society.

    Fortunately, theological and moral truth isn’t decided by a majority vote within the Church, but by the expertise of the Magisterium, guided by the Holy Spirit.

  • Lazarus

    I think you said elsewhere that you wish there were a meeting point between the Catholic and ‘other’ view.

    How about this? We could start by agreeing to condemn all sexual activity that took place outside a stable, lifelong and sexually exclusive partnership. Of course, Catholics would like to condemn more than that, but it’d do for a start.

    Do you think you’d get Stonewall etc to sign up for that? 

  • gentlemind

    Where there is GulliverUK , there is misunderstanding.
    Nature is not a religious belief. If a secular government proposed to redefine gravity i am sure various religious organisations would stand up and say “But that’s not what gravity is”. Nature has not “supressed” same-sex marriages. Nature has dictated that they are physically impossible, along with one person marriages and marriages between more than two people and marriages involving children and impermanent marriages. Nature has you surrounded. You may as well come out with your hands up ;)

  • GulliverUK

    Your assertion is muddled.  Gay couples have been bringing up children for decades.  

    Legal protections only started to be introduced in the last few years, and in many cases they still don’t have recognition and protections and benefits in most US states, and most countries.  

    If you just stick to the states outcomes could reasonable be expected to be worse precisely due to the lack of legal protections and benefits, such as health insurance.  

    Also any stability in having civil unions or marriage is undermined by the Catholic church and other organisations, who strive to take away those marriages through rapacious balloting to remove rights – the very threat of which is obviously destabilising.Millions of children in the US are living in same-sex households so any suggestion about whether public policy should allow it is daft.  We’re there now.  The best thing for children, if indeed there is any truth to the claim that the Catholic church cares for the well-being of children, is to ensure that full benefits protections and rights are given to marriage as rapidly as possible, so that fighting for rights and worrying about the repeat of rights, doesn’t adversely affect children’s welfare.  It’s the Catholic church fighting most of these legal protections, through organisations like NOM, AFA, FRC, FRI, etc.

    The only valid study is that between like situations. You don’t need to be an expert to know it was wholly invalid to lump a whole range of different types of relationships together — just so you could try to make a comparison.  Everybody involved in this study is clearly corrupt or stupid if they didn’t spot this amazingly obvious mistake.  It’s been widely debunking and denounced – and what a way to blow $800,000.

    If you think it’s valid – then go out there, on the Internet, try to use it, see how far you get.  Next time they need to be careful to compare like with like, but until people have had the right to marry and all the legal benefits and protections, joint filing of tax returns at Federal level, healthcare for their whole family, etc., then comparison will be hard.

    For now there are clearly sufficient studies for the authorities to have accepted that same-sex parenting is absolutely fine, and it will continue, regardless of this study.  And if you look carefully you’ll find that Regnerus actually says that a case could be made for marriage equality because it can be said that stable families are better for children.

  • Lazarus

    Again, let’s just try and keep it manageable rather than drown in a torrent of rhetoric.

    ‘Your assertion is muddled.  Gay couples have been bringing up children for decades.’

    My two main assertions were that: a) Regnerus suggests the need for further research; and b) in the meantime, it suggests that homosexuals bringing up children, on the whole, will do less well than heterosexuals.

    Which of those is muddled? (Do you mean perhaps that they are an incorrect summary of Regnerus? Or that they are a correct summary of Regnerus, but that you think Regnerus is wrong?)

    On your assertion above, the fact that gay couples have been bringing up children for ages does not entail that it is a good social policy to encourage (or even not to discourage) homosexuals from bringing up children. (It would for example depend on how likely gay couples were to be formed and survive.)

    Most of the rest of your points are irrelevant. For example, I have absolutely no idea why you think the internet reaction to anything, let alone Catholic ideas, is relevant: it’d be rather like (and as informative as) showing a pack of Dobermans a pork chop.

    In general, the burden of proof is on those who would destroy institutions that have the accumulated weight of centuries of human wisdom behind them. None of the existing studies in this area come anywhere doing this.

  • Jeannine

    Instead of reading others’ biased opinions, why don’t you read the actual article & make your own conclusions? See:
    I will say this: his research reopens the door to questions that were seemingly answered. Regnerus’ evidence is quite compelling & further investigation on the studied population needs to be followed up.

    And you are correct. One doesn’t have to be a statisitician to understand basic statistics but the MSM doesn’t even understand that let alone showing some civility to those who have contrary views.

  • GulliverUK

    As you’re aware, in nature not all animals follow what we would call a heterosexual sexual relationship, there are 1500 species which have been observed in same-sex sexual activity and same-sex relationships.  Over 450 of these are scientifically documented in “Biological Exuberance”.
    I have a copy on my shelf — naturally :-p

    The fact that your God made a diverse sexual orientation might tell you something about his plans — like not over-populating the planet.  Already we aren’t well enough adapted to this world, we have too many people with not enough to eat, or even no jobs, or unclean drinking water.  

    Perhaps the plan was to have a group of people to show you the way, to make you understand that popping out babies as often as possible isn’t actually the correct way, but that each birth should be planned for, anticipated and welcomed as a new possibility for greatness and advancement of the world, and not as just another mouth to feed.  We can teach you how to be good parents.  Although we may have children from heterosexual marriages entered in to — because some people erroneously believed that might make them straight ( !! heavens above), but two lesbians or two gay men don’t have children by accident, they have to go through the adoption process (rescuing children from  abandonment by heterosexual parents), or through IVF or surrogacy.  This is way more complicated and demanding that the Friday night  over indulgence and alcohol-fuel accident.  I was unplanned, but welcome and loved, as I’m sure most are.  Gay couples have to work harder for children, so they must really want them to go through all that.  It’s therefore quite logical that having worked so hard, they would try to be the best parents they can be.

    btw. In case people are wondering, yes I was baptised at birth.

  • theroadmaster

    It is more than a religious belief, as it concretises the natural order i.e the 
    solemnization of the union between one man and one woman which is open to procreation. .  Pagan societies such as Classical Rome and Greece recognized the common sense behind it and it’s invaluable contribution to the Common Good in society.  Thus this institution pre-dates the modern state by thousands of years and as such, is not some transitory social fad.
    You seem to be one of those people who fallaciously depict others who hold fast to the well understood definition of marriage, as being “homophobic”.  This is a sloppy and intellectually lazy argumentation.  People who recognize the indispensable value in supporting the family unit i.e father, mother and children contained within marriage, are not by extension insulting or persecuting anyone with a same-sex attraction.  They are merely recognizing the natural complementariness which a man and a woman bring to each other and  the positive results which this brings to their children and society as a whole.  To undermine or tamper with marriage as it stands, will have serious negative ramifications for it’s survival.

    You really need to brush up on your interpretation of scripture as there is nothing there to support your erroneous assertion that slavery was Divinely ordained.  Slavery indeed is insupportable, but we must distinguish between the “indentured” version which the bible wanted to ameliorate and reform e.g prisoners captured in war and those giving service as payback for debt etc, and the complete domination of body and soul as evident in the southern states of America during the 18th/19th centuries.  Slavery was eventually abolished through the work of Christian activists in Europe and the Americas during the 19th centuries.  It took people of Faith to achieve it’s outlawing across the world.

    No-one asked Jesus about same-sex “marriage” because they would have not been seen as normative in Judaic or Palestinian society of His period.  They would have been seen as a contravention of the natural order which was orientated towards union between one man and one woman open to procreation.

  • GulliverUK

    I think you’re leaking in to the wind – not really a very sensible thing to do in my opinion.

    The vast majority of people have sex outside marriage.  Marriage has become a minority pursuit.  Couples prefer to cohabit for long periods of time, and many now don’t get married at all.  Marriage rates have crashed here, and I’ve just seen data from some other countries — it’s happening all over.  Polling data I’ve seen of Christians show most now want to and do have sex before marriage — quite sensible in my view.  For all those who aren’t religious, which is most people in this country, then they would expect to have sex with anyone they like whenever, but once you find the right person, I would personally expect a reasonable level of fidelity.

    At this point you’ve sussed that I’m pragmatic, and won’t have any truck with literalism, and nor will most other people.  In one poll I saw 25% of married men cheated, and 18% of women.  I say fine.  I also say thank god it’s not 90% of men and 90% of women.  There is no doubt at all that unless you have already agreed parameters for some more open sexual relationship then infidelity will have a devastating effect on a marriage.  It’s not the sex, it’s the breech of trust between two people.  If you’ve told someone already and they’ve agreed to an open relationship, then if you’ve agreed parameters and stuck to them, you can’t really complain.  But I think most people enter relationships and legal partnerships with the intention of exclusivity. 

    If you want to start a high-profile campaign, like the one used to condemn and denomise gay people over equal rights, but directed to heterosexuals who have sex outside marriage, ….. I couldn’t encourage you strongly enough.  Do let me know when most of the population have stopped throwing rotten tomatoes at you :-p

  • Lazarus

    I’m not quite sure what view of Catholics you’re coming from here. Most of us, due to the fact we have some sense of personal niceties, would hesitate to rush up to a stranger and start laying down morality.

    But let’s assume it’s some sort of context where it wouldn’t be totally inappropriate socially: say here for example where you’ve invited a comment. First, you need to separate out political questions from moral ones. I’d have absolutely no problem explaining why I thought that marriage, as an institution with the end of procreation and the upbringing of children should be confined to different sex couples.

    But then let’s turn to the really difficult question, which is that of the substance of your relationship in the first place. Here’s what I’d like to say to you. All of us fall short of God’s demands for us. Sexual desire is a particularly problematic area and one where we’re prone to go wrong. Your love for John is great, but expressing it in a sexually active way is wrong. That doesn’t mean I’m any better than you, but it does mean that you have a particular difficulty that I don’t. 

    A difficult conversation, I imagine. But only as difficult as a similar one I had with a friend who had abandoned his wife for a younger version. He of course wanted simple, unjudgmental validation as you do. I tried -in as stumbling, ineffectual a way as I probably would with you- to express that difference between recognizing wrongness and still loving him as a flawed child of God.

    Unless you think that absolutely anything, anywhere goes morally, there’s always going to be a tension between what one finds easy to say directly to a person and what is objectively moral or immoral. In most cases, that tension proves very little about moral (let alone political) truth.

  • theroadmaster

    You quote some biological studies which demonstrate the level of same-sex activity among diverse species in the animal kingdom.  But we must qualify the nature of such activity among non-human animal species, as this type of activity is still very much an exception to the rule in terms of mating.  Also humankind is the only species where exclusively homosexual individuals have been observed , as distinct from other species where such activity tends to be transitory and those animals who indulge in it, revert back to normal mating with members of the opposite gender. As humans we should instinctively know that sex is intended primarily for propagation of the species and the furtherance of the complimentary love between a man and a woman.  You also seem to be a supporter of the over-population theory myth, when well-informed experts will tell you that nations across the globe are encountering demographic free-fall as populations fall below fertility replacement levels.

    You outline the torturous route that same-sex couples go to adopt children.  The use of surrogate mothers brings in a third party to the affair and even four can get involved if a mother donates her eggs for another woman to carry the resultant child.  This leads to the child as being seen as a product rather then natural issue from the loving relationship between a man and a woman.  It is morally indefensible and overthrows the natural order of things.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    GulliverUK:  Do you really believe that people have not got enough to eat or are jobless or lack drinking water because there are too many of them?  Surely the reason why these evils exist is not through lack of resources but a failure of organisation as a result of corrupt and evil regimes.

  • Meena

    Do you not realise that it was once so-decided?
    The election of a new pope is a vestige of this.

  • Lazarus

    Well, your reply doesn’t surprise me -but it does emphasize that your understanding of marriage is radically different from Catholicism’s, and not just (indeed, not especially) in the area of the same sex issue. This isn’t  -as you and others on the other side of campaign insist- a campaign based on homophobia but a fundamentally different understanding of human beings and what makes them flourish. Or more exactly, Catholicism has a deep and clear understanding of human flourishing, whilst most secularists such as yourself are simply (to borrow your phrase) leaking into the wind.

    On a campaign against heterosexual misconduct, it’s day in and day out. Ask divorced Catholics who can’t take communion.

  • nardialop

    Certainly nobody asked Jesus about homosexual unions but you forget that He defined marriage: “God made them male and female. Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and will cleave to his wife, and the two will be one flesh”. This definition is clear and do not include homosexual unions and polygamy.

    And yes, you are right, name maters, a redefinition of marriage will have, and is having, an important impact on the freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and scientific research. Religious institution, parents, researchers and doctors will be accused of bigotry, prosecuted and banned. Thought control will extend to many areas of society. As it is already happening in schools, research institutes, and the public arena.

    Being against homosexual unions is not equivalent of being a bigot. As being against polygamy, drinking, drugs, TV, or whatever will not make you a bigot.

    Marriage is an institution created by every society, religious and secular, christian and non-christian, through miles of years.  It precedes religion and government. It has a meaning and purpose and it do not includes homosexual unions.

  • GulliverUK

    Ok, I was working on a clever answer with lots of scriptural references, but to post that, and this would take up too much space.  So I’ll just go for this – partly because it more correctly addresses the article, and it will …. really… make you think.

    “Sir, the sun will grow dim with age before that Scripture can be torturedto mean any thing else than just what it says; that God commanded theIsraelites to be slave-holders in the strict and true sense over theheathen, in manner and form therein set forth. Do you tell the world thatthis cannot be the sense of the Bible, because it is “a violation of thefirst principles of the American Declaration of Independence;” because itgrates upon your “instinct of liberty;” because it reveals God inopposition to the “spirit of the age;” because, if it be the sense of thepassage, then “the Bible neither ought to be, nor can be, received bymankind as a divine revelation”? _That_ is what you say: _that_ is whatAlbert Barnes affirms in his philosophy. But what if God in his word says,”Both thy bondmen and thy bondmaids which thou shalt have shall be of theheathen that are round about you”? What if we may then choose betweenAlbert Barnes’s philosophy and God’s truth?Or will you say, God, under the circumstances, _permitted_ the Israelites_to sin_ in the matter of slave-holding, just as he permitted them _tosin_ by living in polygamy. _Permitted_ them _to sin!_ No, sir; God_commanded_ them to be slave-holders. He _made it_ the law of their socialstate. He _made it_ one form of his ordained government among them.Moreover, you take it for granted all too soon, that the Israelitescommitted sin in their polygamy. God sanctioned their polygamy. It wastherefore not sin in them. It was right. But God now forbids polygamy,under the gospel; and now it is sin.”

    They practised polygamy, the Hebrews, back in that time, and this passage is one of a whole slew I found just in one page, which are speeches given by those defending God-ordained slavery.

    ps. I’ve going to work on the slavery post, because even though I probably won’t use it here, it will come up again elsewhere, and I want to draw together a whole range of links and references which prove my point.

    pps. Ok, I’ll include just one. amendment “recognising the damage done” to those enslaved has been backed overwhelmingly by the Church’s General Synod.Debating the motion, Rev Simon Bessant, from Pleckgate, Blackburn, described the Church’s involvement in the trade, saying, “We were at the heart of it.”

  • GulliverUK

    “is having, an important impact on the freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and scientific research. Religious institution, researchers and doctors will be accused of bigotry, prosecuted and banned. Thought control will extend to many areas of society. As it is already happening in schools, research institutes, and the public arena.”

    Ok. You don’t cite any examples.  Give examples of how it is “affecting” things now, or how it might in the future too.

  • GulliverUK

    I said; “Already we aren’t well enough adapted to this world”

    I think I put it a bit poorly there.  What I meant was exactly what you said, that we aren’t well organised enough, that we have enough land, enough resources, the ability for food and clean water for all, but that we have economic systems which fail us, and create societies which don’t distribute and share more fairly around the planet, to those that need a leg up.  The first obvious sign is the charity – if governments always took care of things, or if life was so well organised that there was … nothing to take care of, .. then there would be no charities.  They are a symptom that we are not well organised as a society, and as societies worldwide.

  • nardialop

    There are many cases and I am sure you can find them all over the internet. But here are some of them (I am sure you can find the links):

    California bill targets consensual therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction. Democrat (a gay representative) admits, ‘Attack on parental rights’ is ‘the whole point’ of banning sex orientation therapy. (Parents, doctors, scientists, and patients)

    California Gov. signs law mandating pro-gay curriculum (Parents and teachers)

    Brazilian psychology association seeks to revoke Christian therapist’s license (doctors, scientists and patients)

    Rahm Emanuel (Major of Chicago): Chick-Fil-A (a fast food chain) should be banished for Christian marriage beliefs (Freedom of religion, freedom of expression)

    Christian Psychologist Loses Job with Minneapolis Police over Pro-Family Group Membership (Freedom of association)

    Lesley Pilkington, the Christian psychotherapist who was the subject of a “sting” operation by a homosexualist
    activist, has lost her appeal to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Freedom of religion, doctors, patients).

    Homosexual’s ‘defamatory’ lawsuit seeks to silence pro-family groups: Liberty University attorney (Freedom of expression and freedom of religion)

    Regnerum (Scientist)

  • GulliverUK

    Only Lesley Pilkington, the Christian psychotherapist is of any interest to us, since our laws, UK laws, are not the same as other countries, and what goes on in other places is interesting but not of direct importance.

    Secret undercover investigation where covert behaviours are obscuring transparency, are absolutely fine with me.  I was absolutely fine with the MP’s expenses exposure, and I’m fine with wikileaks for the most part.

    She broke the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) ethical framework rules.  She already knew she was forbidden to offer any type of conversion therapy by her professional association but ignored the fact.  I welcome the expose of anybody, of any faith, and none, who offer this therapy.  In fact I’ll go further and say that I would like to see it outlawed because it is a) only used by homophobes to smear the lives of gay people by suggesting it’s a chosen orientation, b) promotes a therapy know to carry high risks of depression and suicide and c) the therapy is proven to be ineffective.

    Exodus have now renounced any notion that people can change their sexual orientation, although in fact if you look back over the last 5 or so years, their literature has been going in that direction for a long time.

     gay ‘cure’ therapy itself, which is considered “profoundly unethical” by the UK Council for Psychotherapists and liable to let “prejudice and discrimination flourish” by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

  • Lazarus

    If you’re going to convince Catholics, you need to stop quoting heretics  (Presbyterian in the case of Ross). I appreciate that, from your perspective, it mustn’t matter very much which variety of sky-fairy worship you’re dealing with, but to come on a Catholic site and start quoting Ross’s Divine Command theory nonsense… Come off it!

  • nardialop

    Here again you are cherry picking. Of course every case is important, we are living in an interconnected world where people, money, materials, ideas, an laws travel.

    My point is not that what she is doing is legal or not. My point is that by being illegal the freedom of patients, doctors and scientists are restricted.

    Reparation therapy is not the only therapy that can be used or researched. However, homosexual activists want to ban all therapy types. Against your opinion those therapies have had positive results in many cases. The issue has not been settled in the scientific community however, some associations disproves it. In addition, there is no therapy that can cure many mental illnesses, do you want to forbid any treatment?

  • theroadmaster

    The quotations that you have given do not in anyway backup your supposition that the bible mandates slavery in the name of God.  The practice of polygamy was spread over a wide geographical area in ancient times which would include the modern day Middle East and North Africa.  It became deeply ingrained(despite being very much a minority pursuit) and would not have been removed in one fell swoop.  It’s influence dissipated over the centuries in the lands where Christianity held sway and likewise slavery disappeared largely through the efforts of people of Faith.  People can argue about the time-frame it took for such effective action to took place, but campaigns largely inspired by people of religious belief brought these changes about.

    Because various religious communities tolerated or overlooked the practice of enslavement, does not mean that Christianity as a whole promulgates it.  Rather it was people of Faith who removed such vile practices from global society.

  • GulliverUK

    It isn’t an area you know anything about.  John Smid who ran Love in Action with Exodus International said; 

    “I also want to reiterate here that the transformation for the vast majority of
    homosexuals will not include a change of sexual orientation. Actually I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.”

    It’s cost vulnerable people tens of thousands each, taken 20 years, and caused long-term depression and in some cases suicide.  

    We are not going to pander to this ridiculous unscientific notion from the right-wing social conservatives any longer.  The start of the ban on reparative therapy has already started.

    The issue is totally settled in the “mainsteam” scientific community – prohibited or discouraged by all the large and most of the smaller professional bodies — perhaps you like to tell me who recommends it, that’ll be a short list, and … when you do … I’ll point out that organisation is a right-wing socially conservative religious one.

    Sexual orientation isn’t an illness or an issue, so it doesn’t need treatment.  Most mental illnesses will response to drugs or therapy.  If you give people fake fixes like prozac, it just won’t work for some types of mental health issues.  Most GPs are pretty rubbish in this area – their answer is always prozac.  The answer is more CBT and less drugs, IMO.  But for some conditions, like schizophrenia first-line treatment is medication, followed up with social support and CBT,

    The sooner Christians stop going around saying people are mentally ill and need to be cured, the better for everyone.  It only perpetuates the idea that Christians are bigots, homophobes, don’t know or believe a whole lot about science, and are cruel and nasty.

  • Lazarus

    Complete tosh, I’m afraid. On the charitable (and no doubt idle) assumption that you might have some spark of truth at the bottom of your thought, are you thinking about General Councils? If you are, then -putting aside whatever else might be said- they aren’t a poll of the sort of semi-catechized Catholics who support the modish nonsense we’re talking about just now, but bishops as successors of the Apostles deliberating and coming to a decision as part of the Magisterium.

    You really do have quite an ‘odd’ grasp of history for an historian.

  • JabbaPapa

    That’s a religious belief

    Well, whoop-de-doo !!

    FYI the opposite view is no less religious.

  • JabbaPapa

    Enjoining people to behave like wild animals is ethically reprehensible.

  • JabbaPapa

    For the legal system, the primary concern is, in the UK’s case, is to
    create a society with fairness, social justice, equality, an equal
    chance for all to be happy and prosper, a society which works and plays
    together without destructive influences and division, to promote
    education and understanding, to grow our status as human beings, to be
    kind and compassionate, caring for those in need.

    oooh and doing such a *fantastic* job at providing this utopia, eh ?

  • JabbaPapa

    Multiple other reports show that children in same-sex households have the same outcomes to equivalent heterosexual households.  The research and studies are all there, on the Internet, free for anyone to read.

    The unbiased reports show the exact opposite.

  • JabbaPapa

    Those scriptural texts don’t refer to loving same-sex acts

    Leviticus {18:22} You shall not commit sexual acts with a male, in place of sexual intercourse with a female, for this is an abomination.