The Dim-Post

July 30, 2012

Sort of standing up for the Conservative Party on their opposition to gay marriage

Filed under: policy,Politics — danylmc @ 12:46 pm

The essence of conservative philosophy goes something like this:

Human civilisation is a complex web of customs and traditions representing the accumulated wisdom of thousands of generations of our ancestors on how to live well in a harmonious society. Whenever liberals and/or reformers want to change those customs they contend they’re acting from good intentions for the betterment of all, but often they’re acting from selfish motives, and even if they’re not their changes can lead to disastrous unforeseen outcomes. Social change – especially to core institutions like marriage – should be gradual and organic, not imposed by politicians.

I don’t agree with that philosophy in general, and I totally disagree with it as applied to marriage equality – but it’s not an invalid argument and I think there’s a large constituency who would agree with it. So I do hope that the Conservative Party make it into Parliament next term. (Even if I spend the subsequent three years mocking them.)

If they do make it, it might be off the back of Louisa Wall’s Members Bill, which – now that the PM has backed it – is basically a done deal. This is a huge stroke of luck for Labour. Next time they’re in government there would have been huge pressure from many MPs and the party rank and file to pass this into law, and serious push-back from the factions of Labour reluctant to live through another version of the anti-smacking debate. Now they get to deliver to their base without wearing much backlash.

 

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68 Comments »

  1. It would be nice if their objections were more concrete than “if the gays are allowed to marry, my marriage will mean less” or some ethereal shit like that.

    Also, any argument that includes: “Same-sex couples cannot have children. Only a man and a woman can produce children.” (Bob McCroskrie, NZ Herald 30 July 2012) does not even deserve the courtesy of a response, frankly.

    Comment by Vanilla Eis — July 30, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  2. I wasn’t aware that the PM had backed Wall’s bill. Won’t it be a conscience vote? If so, it’s far from a done deal.

    Comment by Ross — July 30, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

  3. How can an institution defined by the state not be changed through a political process? It’s nonsense. Anyway, the unforeseen consequences argument isn’t the one they’re making. They’re using a mix of ahistorical traditionalism, mysticism, biological determinism and slippery slope fallacy, none of which stands up to the slightest bit of scrutiny. You can tell it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny because all of the critical comments on McCroskie’s Protect Marriage site keep getting deleted.

    Comment by Jake — July 30, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  4. So I do hope that the Conservative Party make it into Parliament next term. (So I can spend the subsequent three years mocking them.)

    You are just praying (pun intended) for that to happen. Since ACT has imploded, we desperately need some new clowns in parlaiment.

    Comment by eszett — July 30, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  5. @Ross

    While it is, I believe, a conscience vote, most of National’s MPs will be relying on the same/similar focus groups to make their decisions that Key does.

    Comment by Richard — July 30, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  6. Whilst most in this country won’t have a problem with gay marriage itself I still think Labour will wear it for the perception that they are the party that spends all its time and effort making sure poofters are happy whilst not really givng a stuff about the travails of the rest of the country.

    National MP’s have done a good job of promoting this theme in the media by saying they havent really given the vote alot of thought as there are much bigger fish to fry at the moment.

    Comment by King Kong — July 30, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

  7. I don’t agree with that philosophy in general….

    I’m confused. Do you reject the entire proposition or each premise?
    As a self confessed liberal, I would have though you would reject any doctrine that espouses politically imposed social change.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 30, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  8. @ # 3. Totally agree. Parliament is the only place laws can be changed. This change can only happen through the parliamentary process.

    “should be gradual and organic, not imposed by politicians”

    A) – the change has been gradual. We’ve gone from homosexuality itself being illegal, to legal to civil unions. Marriage is the next step in the gradual process of accepting homosexuality as a natural part of human nature.

    B) – nothing at all is being imposed on anyone. Don’t like homosexual marriage? Don’t marry a homosexual!

    Comment by nommopilot — July 30, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  9. Are u kidding? The conservative overly religious Christians banned same sex relationships in the first place. So they were the ‘reformers’ and it wasn’t that long ago. And look how that didn’t work. How many priests and men of cloth abused children, mainly boys, over many many centuries. Many of the missionaries who came here had ulterior motives, including fulfilling their personal gay desires out of the gaze of their superiors. I actually don’t know why the gay community are pushing for marriage because marriage is another Christian farce. But I guess being legally accepted is the main kaupapa.
    Also, the reality is politicians pass or don’t support laws. But it should be us that informs the politicians.
    I say go for it and good luck. And f*@k the Conservative Party. There are enough clowns in parliament and you don’t need them in the there to mock them (-:

    Comment by indiginz — July 30, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  10. Since ACT has imploded, we desperately need some new clowns in parlaiment.

    Isn’t that what Richard Prosser is for?

    Comment by Idiot/Savant (@norightturnnz) — July 30, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

  11. “But when it comes to public policy I’m pretty conservative. This isn’t an ideology so much as just a gut feeling that you shouldn’t make radical changes to highly complex systems that will effect millions of people unless you know what you’re doing and can be confident things are going to work out.”

    – Danyl, just over a week ago

    Comment by Hugh — July 30, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  12. As for the Conservatives getting into parliament – I agree that there’s a huge constituency who would agree with the creed you outlined above, but most of them vote National, so I think we should take their word and respect their right to define their own best interests when they assert that National is a better fit for their beliefs than Colin Craig’s outfit.

    Comment by Hugh — July 30, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  13. Perhaps Key is supporting so that the backlash ups the Conservative vote, making a 3rd term more viable?

    Comment by max — July 30, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  14. > the perception that they are the party that spends all its time and effort making sure poofters are happy

    Maybe that’s the perception among those with two brain cells to rub together…

    Comment by Ross — July 30, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

  15. Lol – its is almost funny watching a society commit suicide because it refuses to acknowledge both the rules of elementary biology and the fundamental need to produce the next generation in order to survive.

    Still I expect there will be a few lavish “weddings” and fun parties to follow before the bill falls due.

    Then again maybe not, maybe the West’s elites headlong rush into this nonsense is to provide a distraction from the real problems they cannot solve and the end is nearer than we think.

    Comment by Andrei — July 30, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  16. @ Max, hitting the nail on the head there I think. Key looks more centrist, and he gets a new right wing that he can yank into his orbit. After all, would the Conservatives form a govt with Labour?
    Overall though, I don’t think this strategy will work, because I can’t see the Conservatives getting above 5%. I just doubt they have the nationwide organisation needed to pull it off.

    Comment by alex — July 30, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  17. I do hope that the Conservative Party make it into Parliament next term.

    There’s a sound democratic argument here: there’s a constituency for social conservatives, as for greenies, etc. Therefore the House of Representatives should, you know, represent them.

    But the fairness should be achieved by fair means. If they get 5%, that’s fine. Or if the MMP threshold is lowered, with strong cross-party support, that’s also fine. If it’s yet another case of “single electorate jack-up beats 4.9%”, that’s not so fine.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — July 30, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  18. “society commit suicide because it refuses to acknowledge both the rules of elementary biology”

    so andrei – are you saying that giving two gay people (who cant biologically have children anyway) the same legal rights as two hetero people (who can make babies) = societal suicide?
    Because denying them the same marital status doesnt make any one (gay or straight) go “oh ok – i’ll make a few sprogs”

    but as for providing a distraction – possibly

    Comment by framu — July 30, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  19. @max/alex

    I think the National/Conservative dance is a tricky one. Dunne and Banks basically said “I heart John Key”. Whereas Craig wants National voters to be angry enough to desert Key and then happy enough to back him again, post-election. That’s not a simple message to sell, and I’m not sure Craig is subtle enough to pull it off.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — July 30, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  20. – Danyl, just over a week ago
    @Hugh are you saying that marriage is a highly complex system ? Or that enabling gay marriage will affect millions of people ?

    @Andrei – plenty of homosexual couples (of either gender) have children. Of course, they have to find a willing party to assist, but this is not insurmountable. Obviously, easier for lesbian couples than male gay couples, but I do know a male gay couple who did this. I am curious, how does this fit within your “societal suicide” paradigm ? What about straight couples who do not have kids ?

    Comment by mikaerecurtis — July 30, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  21. and lets not forget the “cant have children” argument applies to all post-menopause women. no more marriage for them!

    Comment by terryg — July 30, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

  22. Danyl – it is only a done deal if the majority of MPs (who mostly appear to be socially liberal) ignore the voters, like they did on S59. What a stellar example of a political mandate – over 80% of voters opposing your new smacking law – let’s try it again!

    @ mikaerecurtis – you said it! Gay couples CANNOT have children – it is biologically impossible, as any school student knows. They have to ‘step outside’ their gayness for a moment or two aye? Tell me mikaere – whose DNA does the child have. Bet you it ain’t from both ‘daddies’ or both ‘mummies’, is it?

    Whoops – there we go. Gay marriage lobby group ‘The Queer Avengers’ are now calling for legalised polygamy. 2 mummies and 3 daddies, aye? That won’t cause any societal problems will it?

    Comment by bob — July 30, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  23. So Bob, in a nutshell, are you saying that only those who can naturally conceive can ‘have’ children, that is, bring them up to adulthood within a loving family?

    Comment by Gregor W — July 30, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  24. Pretty sure most NZ’ers actually view this as a non-issue.. “just let gays get married and lets get on with it please”

    I don’t have any stats to support this assertion but then you don’t appear to have any figures either so I reckon we’re even.

    Comment by Rob — July 30, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  25. you forgot beastiality bob – because, you know, one you let “teh gays” get married people will of course try and marry their horse – it only stands to reason after all

    Comment by framu — July 30, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  26. No one tell bob that science can create a zygote with the DNA from two women.

    <i? 2 mummies and 3 daddies, aye? That won’t cause any societal problems will it?

    Ever heard the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”? Because I’d love it if three of our friends decided to co-parent my son along with me and my partner. Actually, I think he’d be better off for it.

    Comment by V — July 30, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  27. Whoops, completely mongled previous post. Was me, and

    2 mummies and 3 daddies, aye? That won’t cause any societal problems will it? is a quote, obv.

    Comment by Vanilla Eis — July 30, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

  28. “@Hugh are you saying that marriage is a highly complex system ? Or that enabling gay marriage will affect millions of people ?”

    Mikaere, I’m not saying anything about my own opinions, I just find it weird that Danyl is observing conservatism from an external perspective when a week ago he was saying that he himself holds conservative views.

    Comment by Hugh — July 30, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

  29. ‘Having’ or conceiving children is not the same thing as raising a child Gregor, as I’m sure you realise. The gay lobby constantly conflate these terms. Gay couples cannot conceive children – scientific fact. So whose children are they going to raise? The children they have when they ‘step outside being gay’ to have a heterosexual relationship to get a child? The actual biological parents have custodial rights over their own children.

    And if gay couples scientifically can never have children within that relationship, why should the state recognise that relationship? ie what is the purpose? It is not the existing purpose – to help parents raise the next generation of society. And couples don’t need the state to approve of their relationship, do they? Nanny state in the bedroom and all that?

    @ Rob – you are the ones pushing for gay marriage, so the burden of proof is on you to justify the public support and reasons for gay marriage. Unless you just want to ram thru’ laws against the public will of course, just like S59. Give us a referendum, eh?

    Comment by bob — July 30, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

  30. Seeing as S59 was actually repealing the exception that allowed for parents to beat their children – thus bringing the rights of children in-line with the rights of adults, “ramming it thru” was the right move. Just because a law is unpopular with a segment of society doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be passed. The southern states of the USA didn’t like the abolition of slavery – do you care to argue that the US government shouldn’t have “rammed that thru”?

    I’m actually not pushing for gay marriage at all, the issue doesn’t affect me and I’m pretty much of the opinion that it was basically sorted with the establishment of civil unions. However I understand that it is a very important issue for some gay people and can see no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to use the word “marriage” if they want. Seeing as gay people marrying has ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT on existing or future heterosexual marriages, the objections from the homophobes and the religious extremists don’t really carry any weight as far as I’m concerned.

    As I’ve stated before, let them get married and lets get on with it.

    Comment by Rob — July 30, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  31. bob @ 27

    ‘Having’ or conceiving children is not the same thing as raising a child Gregor, as I’m sure you realise

    bob, I know plenty of heterosexual couples that would make fuckawful parents, and at least three lesbian couples that are all doing a great job with their kids. A marriage certificate is not proof of suitability to raise children. In addition, the state recognises relationships for all sorts of reasons beyond the ability to procreate.

    Also, given that allowing gay couples to get married won’t change their fertility one bit, why are you so determined to deny them the right? There are plenty of childless heterosexual marriages; what makes them so special?

    Comment by Vanilla Eis — July 30, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  32. Bob, on the contrary, it seems to be the anti-gay marriage lobby that conflate the terms.

    No other group equates conception to the family unit and certainly, no other group suggests marriage as a precursor to either.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 30, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

  33. And, finally (because my original post got eaten)

    legalised polygamy. 2 mummies and 3 daddies, aye? That won’t cause any societal problems will it?

    I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child”? My partner and I (omg, unwed with children!) would love it if three loving adults decided that they wanted to be part of our sons life on a regular basis, and I’m sure he would actually be emotionally healthier for the experience.

    The only societal problem I can see would be an increase in demand for big houses. Extra incomes, more attention, wider range of skills and backgrounds to pass on? Sounds amazing, sign me up.

    Comment by Vanilla Eis — July 30, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

  34. @bob: What’s your opinion of medically infertile heterosexual couples?

    Comment by Hugh — July 30, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  35. @ Rob – gotcha, democracy is secondary to what you consider to be important human rights. Tell me Rob, who determines what is a human right? Oh, the majority huh? I don’[t think governments should ram thru laws, no. It’s kinda undemocratic.

    And gay marriage does have an impact on everyone else Rob. Kevin Hague has made it very explicit (in his Bill) that gay adoption will be demanded as a corollary to gay marriage, and that gives the right (and cost to us) of IVF for gay couples. I don’t want to pay for that, nor do I agree with IVF at all – I have sympathy for infertile couples, but gay couples aren’t infertile – they are biologically incapable of conceiving human children, same as humans can’t have kids with buffalo ;) Complete mismatch.

    Which kinda answers Hugh – I have total sympathy with infertile hetero couples Hugh, but the state doesn’t know they are infertile when it gives them a marriage certificate. And ‘infertile’ usually just means ‘low fertility’. My elderly neighbours adopted lots of kids, and then had their own biological child late in life. Happens all the time.

    And frankly, the state doesn’t ask about fertility before giving marriage certificates, because we don’t want the state prying too far into our private medical details. But that doesn’t imply we should just give marriage to anyone who demands it – the state has a reason for supporting marriage, which gay marriage is incompatible with.

    @ Vanilla – tell that bull to the demographers in China and India, where gender imbalance (from sex-selective abortion) is causing all kinds of social problems, not least of which, depression among young men who can’t find a wife, because there just are less women alive.

    @ Gregor – nope, I quite recognise people don’t have to be married to conceive kids, nor be married to raise them. But the state does recognise that historically, the kids have the best chance of being raised well in a loving lifelong marriage. Don’t take my workd – google it. Plenty of studies out there showing this.

    But come on guys – still no one explaining why gay marriage is needed for gay couples? What’s it for?

    Comment by bob — July 30, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

  36. Bob

    Can you explain your “democracy” argument? Since the S59 (Bradford) law was passed, we’ve had 2 elections. Some MPs voted against the bill (e.g. Rodney Hide, Winston Peters). Key, of course, voted for it. As PM, he subsequently blocked an ACT amendment (to undo the Bradford law), and ignored a referendum. He has been rewarded with unprecedented levels of support, unlike (e.g.) Hide and Peters.

    Your real problem is that the opposition to the bill took a public majority on a high-profile issue, and through inept political management (Baldock, Craig, McCroskie etc), wasted it.

    That’s not democracy’s fault.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — July 30, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

  37. still no one explaining why gay marriage is needed for gay couples? What’s it for?

    It’s for the same purpose as heterosexual marriage – putting a romantic relationship between two people on a legal footing. If you think there’s no requirement for such a thing, feel free to lobby for the state to get out of marriage and leave it entirely to the churches. Thing is though, a lot of people want their relationship to be on a legal footing so I can’t see you getting a whole lot of support for the idea.

    Now you get to explain why marriage law shouldn’t cover gay couples. Good luck…

    Comment by Psycho Milt — July 30, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  38. Rubbish PM everyone of my generation I know got married to raise kids and raise kids we did.

    It used to be a running joke that young brides immediately after the wedding would get sick of people enquiring if they were pregnant yet.

    If there is one thing leftoids are good at it is lying, especially to themselves.

    I put it down to the sixties generation who must have addled their brains with drugs which is why their thought patterns are so confused.that they cannot tell the difference between breeding pairs and sodomites

    Comment by Andrei — July 30, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

  39. Bob @35, the state recognises no such thing.

    The state neither cares to be involved in supporting the longevity or quality of anyone’s marriage, nor generally, the quality of child rearing undertaken (irrespective of family composition) beyond the absolute basics.

    Otherwise there wouldn’t be the DPB and divorce would be illegal.

    So I’m afraid your supposition is poppycock.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 30, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

  40. Hugh, I took Danyl to be meaning ‘conservative’ in a fairly general sense last week, in the sense of ‘cautious’. He is cautious about (large scale or complex) social change, despite being a liberal. Whereas this week he’s talking about ‘conservative philosophy’, so is meaning it more in its ideological sense.

    Comment by Steve Parkes — July 30, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  41. @Steve: The thing is, what you are describing as two unconnected uses of the term “conservative” are actually related. Caution about large scale and complex social change is at the heart of conservative philosophy.

    Comment by Hugh — July 30, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

  42. The state neither cares to be involved in supporting the longevity…

    There is no such thing as The State, just as there is no such thing as The Market or International Community. They are just categories. All there is is people making decisions.

    But we have no other option for negotiating conflict resolution but to speak in terms of categories.

    Comment by NeilM — July 30, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

  43. As for: “Social change – especially to core institutions like marriage – should be gradual and organic, not imposed by politicians.”

    I don’t think this conservative argument even works on its own terms. As others have pointed out, it HAS been gradual. If the law changes, this isn’t ‘imposed’ by politicians. Even conservatives (as described by Danyl’s summation) should be okay with this change – and to be fair many are.

    Comment by Steve Parkes — July 30, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

  44. @Bob: Infertility exists medically – that’s what I was talking about. If I’d meant “low fertility” I’d have meant it. I was talking about couples for whom conceiving a child is an impossibility. They exist, and it seems that, according to your view of marriage, they shouldn’t be allowed to marry.

    Actually to be fair your position seems more nuanced than that. You say “the state doesn’t ask about fertility before giving marriage certificates, because we don’t want the state prying too far into our private medical details.” So essentially an individual’s right to privacy is greater than the state’s duty to only allow people who are capable of producing kids to marry? It seems that you don’t really rate the state’s duty that highly if you consider it to be trumped by the right to personal privacy.

    Comment by Hugh — July 30, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

  45. @ sammy – my comment was in response to Rob wanting to get that nasty democratic debate out of the way (and avoid a referendum on gay marriage). My real problem on S59 (irrespective of how I feel or voted in the CIR) is that Bradford, Key and other MPs ignored an overwhelmingly majority of voters giving explicit direction on the issue of one Bill. That is tyranny. And people vote for parties for a range of reasons – getting re-elected doesn’t give Key a mandate for anything. He should consult properly on all Bills (including asset sales, aye?).

    @ Gregor – nonsense! You clearly haven’t read the Marriage Act. And the DPB has only been here since the 70s, and fault free divorce about the same time. So the state HAS been sanctioning lifelong, quality marriages *for the purpose* of ensuring the next generation of society exists and is functional. Sadly, the state has drifted off that target, and the results really show.

    Now Psycho has a better riposte, arguing the state recognises marriage to put ” a romantic relationship between two people on a legal footing”. I agree that is what the state does PM, but why? To ensure best raising of the next generation, and to provide the support married couples need to do so. Hence I agree the state should continue to recognise marriage, for that purpose.

    But the state has no need to recognise gay marriage, as gay couples (no matter how loving you may think they are) can intrinsically never generate children within that relationship. So they are irrelevant as far as the state’s concern for continuation of society goes. Sorry.

    And given that other issues, such as next-of-kin status, inheritance, etc are covered by such laws as the Property Relationships Act, exactly what legal footing do gay (or straight) couples need if the state should recognise their relationship in the form of marriage, PM?

    Comment by bob — July 30, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

  46. Funny lot, conservatives. Government is the main agent of change? Your average Minister (or President or Judge) couldn’t log on to Facebook, never mind invent it.

    I’m “conservative” in many ways. Getting older, things are changing too fast. Slow down already! But those scary changes all around me aren’t brought about by select committees and public servants writing white papers. The government machinery is just trying to keep up.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — July 30, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

  47. Like most on the left, Danyl is a conservative. What a surprise. Please stop using the L word.

    Comment by Swan — July 30, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

  48. Rubbish PM everyone of my generation I know got married to raise kids and raise kids we did.

    Certainly that’s what the minister who married us thought, and was quite explicit about it. Churches seemed to be quite big on the idea, but the law had no opinion on it either way – and in fact, if the law, rather than a church, had declared the production of children as an obligation that marriage imposed on us, we certainly wouldn’t have done it. Laws are harder to ignore than churches.

    I agree that is what the state does PM, but why?

    Because its citizens wish it to. If you’re saying the state institutes marriage solely as a means of providing a legal framework for the raising of children, there’s a significant number of childless married couples who’d no doubt strongly beg to differ.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — July 30, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

  49. @ Hugh – you are quite right mate. Sorry bout that! I have heard infertility used frequently to mean low fertility, but there are couples for whom conceiving a child is tragically impossible. They have my full sympathy.

    The state does have a right to intrude on a couple’s privacy to a certain extent when certifying them as ‘married’ – the state needs to do so to avoid dishonesty (multiple marriages, identity fraud, student visa dodges, etc). But we as a society say the state should not intrude too far on fertility, because it is impractical and hugely intrusive for the state to validate our fertility in an ongoing practical sense.

    For example, a rampantly fertile hetero couple could get married, then use contraception for the rest of their lives, putting them effectively in the same position as an infertile hetero couple. And the state is none the wiser, because we don’t want sex police in our bedrooms checking if we are using condoms or not. Ick.

    But when a gay couple ask to be married, the state knows by their very gender that they are incapable of ever taking part in creating the next generation of society. So why endorse their relationship for the recognition, protection and support needed for raising children?

    Kinda like if I fronted at the Marriage Office to get hitched to my toaster – the official on behalf of the state is naturally gonna raise an eyebrow, and quietly suggest my toaster isn’t going to be ensuring the ongoing creation of humanity! Or, if it did, I would be in a fair bit of pain ;)

    None of the above suggests I hate my toaster, or gay people. Just that marriage is reserved for a reason.

    Comment by bob — July 30, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

  50. ” Now they get to deliver to their base without wearing much backlash.”

    You mean the base that stayed away from the polling booths at the last election?

    What makes you think this is going to motivate them to turn out and vote labour?

    Comment by peterlepaysan — July 30, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

  51. bob,

    So let’s just say it wasn’t impractical and hugely intrusive for the state to validate our fertility – would you then say infertile couples should not be able to marry?.

    Comment by Steve Parkes — July 30, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  52. Hi Steve – you are talking about an impossible hypothetical! For the state to do that, they would have to know our future actions for the rest of our lives. Otherwise, we could be tested fertile, leave the Marriage Office, then contracept for the rest of our lives – for your scenario to hold, somehow the state would have to know that. I just don’t see how that would ever be possible, given laws of physics on time travel ;)

    Besides, I’m not saying a relationship (whether marriage or not) is solely about procreation – there is a unitive aspect; the couple being bound together by their love for each other. Just that the state’s interest in marriage is primarily due to procreation and raising of the next generation.

    Comment by bob — July 30, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  53. @Bob #45

    Indeed. Since the 70s. 40 years.

    So I guess you are correct in that, historically, the State in an offhand way ‘cared’ about your (or my) marriage to the extent that there was limited support for unmarried people that had kids and it was difficult to get divorced. But the State certainly never cared about whether family life was harmonious or I beat my children with a strap to instill discipline.

    A few hundred years before that, the State hung, drew and quartered people for treason, burned midwives as witches and the world was categorically flat.

    We’ve moved on from that Golden Age.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 30, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

  54. @Bob: “For example, a rampantly fertile hetero couple could get married, then use contraception for the rest of their lives, putting them effectively in the same position as an infertile hetero couple.”

    OK, but let me ask you this. If the only reason that this couple can get away with it is because of their right to privacy, if they voluntarily waive their privacy by telling the officials concerned they don’t intend to have kids, should they be allowed to get married? I mean, the law right now doesn’t stipulate that (and AFAIK it never has, at least not in NZ) but it seems like in your opinion they should, since the protect-their-privacy thing doesn’t apply anymore.

    @Swan: I am also frustrated by the acceptance of the American use of the word “liberal”, but I decided to pick my battles.

    Comment by Hugh — July 30, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

  55. “A few hundred years before that, the State hung, drew and quartered people for treason, burned midwives as witches and the world was categorically flat.”

    The idea that the world was flat hasn’t been widely accepted since the time of Classical Greece.

    Comment by Hugh — July 30, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

  56. bob (#52)

    I was thinking more of the opposite situation; not an ongoing check on fertile couples, but a test for infertility, which is more conceivable (sadly, pun intended). Hence my question: would you then say infertile couples should not be able to marry?

    It might be science fiction at the moment, but say the state could test reasonably quickly and non-intrusively whether a couple is able to “generate children within that relationship” as you put it. If it finds a particular couple are not able to generate children, then the state is surely in exactly the same situation as when you said:

    “But when a gay [infertile] couple ask to be married, the state knows by their very gender [infertility] that they are incapable of ever taking part in creating the next generation of society. So why endorse their relationship for the recognition, protection and support needed for raising children?”

    Should they be married?

    Comment by Steve Parkes — July 30, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

  57. @ Gregor – 40 years, blink of an eye in the history of marriage, chum.But what would I know – I’m clearly Cardinal Fang of the Spanish Inquisition, right :)

    @ Hugh, no, I don’t think so. Because in your example, the couple can change their minds later, and have kids.

    @ Steve, similar issue you raise to Hugh’s question. Again no, because:
    a) the state testing our fertility is creepily drifting towards eugenics, in my view
    b) there is no way for the state to ever know if a couple will be fertile in future, medical advances, yadda, yadda. By contrast, it is always impossible in the future for a gay couple to conceive, as they lack the ability to produce the requisite genetic material; 2 sperm or 2 eggs won’t cut the mustard ever. So the state says, no thanks.

    But while it is interesting to tease out these exceptional cases, I note I have given good reason why the state only sanctions hetero marriage (continuation of society), and shown the logic used to justify gay marriage (consenting adults) can be used to also sanction polygamous and incestous marriage of adults. The ball is in the court of those wanting gay marriage to show why gay couples should get it, but not incestous or polygamous couples/triples/etc.

    Or to perhaps acknowledge that it is not inequality or unjust discrimination for the state to only confer certain rights on people who need them. I don’t get a wheelchair ramp on my home from Housing NZ, because I don’t need a wheelchair. I’m a bloke, but it’s not gender discrimination for me to be banned from ladies changing rooms at the local gym – don’t laugh too hard at that one; there are feminist groups who want access to changing sheds to be based on ‘perceived gender identity’.

    The struggle to end *all* discrimination has taken on the hysterical tones of the soccer moms of the 1990s who foisted cellphones on their daughters to protect them from ‘stranger danger’; now they are worried those cellphones are the mechanism of cyber-bullying of their kids. Sometimes we need to stop and ask if the screeched ‘injustice’ is actually unjust.

    Comment by bob — July 31, 2012 @ 1:10 am

  58. “@ Hugh, no, I don’t think so. Because in your example, the couple can change their minds later, and have kids.”

    OK, what about a couple who are medically infertile and who inform the marriage officiant of this fact? They shouldn’t be permitted to marry?

    The fact is, the ability to have children is not mentioned anywhere in any marriage law or marriage-related court judgement. Your claim that marriage revolves around procreation has no legal backing, and it also has no logical backing, since it’s plainly obvious to everybody that marriage does not in any way assist in procreation.

    Comment by Hugh — July 31, 2012 @ 3:21 am

  59. @Bob: “I note I have given good reason why the state only sanctions hetero marriage (continuation of society), and shown the logic used to justify gay marriage (consenting adults) can be used to also sanction polygamous and incestous marriage of adults. The ball is in the court of those wanting gay marriage to show why gay couples should get it, but not incestous or polygamous couples/triples/etc.”

    Not quite sure you’ve proved the point you think you have. You’ve given a putative reason for having the legal institution of marriage (to permit the conception and raising of children, thus enabling “the continuation of society”). But given that (1) marriage is not necessary for the conception and raising of children (as is demonstrated by the existence of single parent families, de facto couples with children, and civilly unionised couples with children); and (2) there is no necessary connection between the acts of conceiving and raising children (as is demonstrated by the existence of adoption and guardianship arrangements); and (3) there exist numerous marriages that do not result in children (and the law shows no interest at all in the ability or otherwise of those seeking to marry to have children), the reason you provide is insufficient to ground the practice – it is both over- and under-inclusive. So I can’t help but suspect that you’ve worked backwards from a conclusion – “I don’t want gay marriage … gay’s cannot have children that result “naturally” from intercourse … therefore the purpose of marriage is to have children that result naturally from intercourse.”

    You then suggest that the logic used for gay marriage – that the state should be neutral with respect to the genders of those seeking to have their relationships formally recognised in law – “can be used to also sanction polygamous and incestous (sic) marriage of adults.” An immediate response to this is “so what”? Because by the same token, your own logic (“marriage exists to allow for the continuation of society”) ALSO can be used to sanction polygamous marriage (a man can have kids with 2 wives, after all) and is not a strong argument against incestuous marriages (we let people with a family history of Huntingdon’s disease marry despite the risk of the condition being passed on to their offspring, so why worry about the increased risk of inherited abnormalities resulting from close-family breeding). Hence, any argument against polygamy/incestuous marriages must be based on something other than your claimed reason for marriage as it exists presently … something along the lines of concern about the true consent of those involved in the practice. And why don’t those reasons then apply when same sex couples are able to be formally recognised as married?

    Finally, I wouldn’t care if the family living next to me consisted of a man and his three wives (or a women and her three husbands). I admit I would find it somewhat disconcerting if I lived next to a married brother and sister … but I also recognise that’s probably my hang-up (as well as a suspicion that behind the relationship lies some pretty messed up psychological baggage). So, “worst case” scenario – in two decades it is legal for a person to marry as many other people as he or she wishes (provided all involved know about the other spouses) … or even may marry her or his immediate family members. Why is this a bad thing?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 31, 2012 @ 7:54 am

  60. I’m happy for the debate about polygamy and adult incest to be demand driven. If we get a significant proportion of the population protesting that anti-incest/polygamy laws discriminate against them, then we can debate them and change them if the arguments are sound.

    Comment by danylmc — July 31, 2012 @ 8:08 am

  61. Teh selfish gays, wanting to be happy:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/what-has-happened-since-new-york-state-legalized-g

    Note how old many of them are. Double selfishness: can’t breed!

    Comment by MeToo — July 31, 2012 @ 8:43 am

  62. Actually I do agree with the last part of that. And I also think part of that graduality and organic feel may be gained by implementing legislation that makes it mandatory or at least semi-mandatory for a Referendum to be hold at certain times on certain issues and for the results to be binding as to how the government then proceeds on that issue for the foreseeable interim.

    Comment by Dan Lang — July 31, 2012 @ 9:25 am

  63. Why is Key supporting this and not going with the vocal and organised moral conservative lobby in his electorate? Because a Fairfax poll says he is losing his support with women voters. He’ll lose a few local votes to Colin Craig but his electorate majority can take the hit. More importantly he might retain some of that soft social liberal support that seems to be deserting him.

    Comment by MeToo — July 31, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  64. @ Hugh 55.

    OK then. A few hundred years since Heliocentrism was axiomatic.
    My point being, things gradually change and society adapts accordingly. The world doesn’t end.

    @ Bob 57

    I don’t think you’re Cardinal Fang. I just think your supposition is flawed.
    You state “But the state does recognise that historically, the kids have the best chance of being raised well in a loving lifelong marriage”.
    You then go on to cite the Marriage Act 1955 (@ 45#) as a proof of this statement.
    A quick search of the Act brings up “children” twice (in reference to consent and forbidden marriages), “loving” and “lifelong” zero times.
    So as I stated in comment #39, you are incorrect.
    The State cares nothing for the quality or longevity of anyone’s marriage, or the ability of parents (beyond their minimum obligations) to raise children.

    @MeToo

    Old Queens need love too.
    Otherwise, what’s the point of Prince Phillip?

    Comment by Gregor W — July 31, 2012 @ 9:44 am

  65. The claim that the institution of marriage has a single traditional purpose, which historically has remained constant and would be undermined if same-sex couples could enter it, is pretty hard to maintain when you consider this: http://www.bostonreview.net/BR36.1/cott.php

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 31, 2012 @ 11:02 am

  66. Evidence of the slippery slope:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10823519

    Comment by MeToo — July 31, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  67. Bob:there is no way for the state to ever know if a couple will be fertile in future, medical advances, yadda, yadda. By contrast, it is always impossible in the future for a gay couple to conceive

    A 70-year old is obviously incapable of having children, yet most people, including many christians, would have no objection to a 70-year old women marrying her boyfriend. And by the way, there is stem cell research under way at this moment in generating artificial gametes. AT sometime in the future it will be biologically possible for two people of the same sex to conceive.

    Comment by chiz — July 31, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

  68. bob (#57)

    “a) the state testing our fertility is creepily drifting towards eugenics, in my view”

    Why? It’s a simple test to check that the couple is not infertile, and being able to generate children in the partnership is so important to you that it’s your reason for excluding gays from the arrangement. If we could easily tell a given couple was not able to naturally produce children, why should the state support their unnecessary marriage? Oh wait, because…

    “b) there is no way for the state to ever know if a couple will be fertile in future, medical advances, yadda, yadda.”

    That’s not a reason to allow them to marry at the time. IF the same couple become fertile in the future, say thanks to a medical advance, they can go back to the registry and get married then. No reason to marry them before that, though, because the state knows that “they are incapable of taking part in creating the next generation of society. So why endorse their relationship for the recognition, protection and support needed for raising children” when they can’t have children?

    Also, (following chiz #67) I assume to be consistent, you’d be against allowing an 80-year-old man and woman to marry.

    Comment by Steve Parkes — July 31, 2012 @ 9:57 pm


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