The Guy That I Marry Will Have To Be A Butch Kind Of Bloke Who’s Into King Gee

Despite my Resident Poof status on ‘Dillo de Trop – or maybe because of it – I’ve resisted blogging, up till now, on the vexed question of gay marriage, propagation of the species and the increasingly strident demands of the over-privileged gay minority – and ever-cognisant of that constant threat, the always entertaining Homer Paxton mused gloomily about the next homo agenda horror, over at Gareth Parker’s – ” I suppose homosexuals will sue society for oppressing their right to have babies?” . Hmmmm. Just let me note that down on my list…..

But Homer’s has been pretty much a voice in the wilderness on this one. Gareth, Andrew Norton at Catallaxy, the lovely Gianna and Stewart Kelly and Tim Dunlop have all canvassed the issue in erudite, balanced detail that, in a rare moment of cross-bloggerdom unity, comes nicely together in the case framed by Richard Paulin of North Ryde in today’s SMH letters

What gay marriage is about, Mr Howard, is the legal status of a tax-paying citizen before a secular and civil legal system. This includes the vital matters of wills, superannuation, pensions and the myriad other legalisms associated with shared relationships.

For you to deny legal status to individuals in a secular society on the basis of the undefined term “sanctity of marriage” is a gross violation of civil rights. It demonstrates insecurity, predjudice and unwillingness to move with the times. No matter that you are “not discriminating” – the outcome is the same. i

In short: if you’re going to confine a set of specifically privileged entitlements to spousal relationships and then eternally exclude the relationships of people who are homosexual from participating – it’s discriminatory. Forget babies, god-bothering sectional interests, the PM’s ill-advised blundering about in some neo-Darwinian swamp and all the other side-shows to this main event. It’s possible for gay and lesbian people to make legal provision for some but not all of the spousal entitlements currently. What’s missing is the automatic presumption and protection that flows from that spousal relationship definition. And let’s be clear: the legal validation of that relationship does not require that you fulfil the PM’s dictum of going forth and multiplying, merely that the couple involved possess the genital arrangements that would lead him to conclude that you could: if you weren’t both aged in your 60’s as you embark on nuptial bliss and were, on the whole, rather more engaged with decouppage and lawn bowls than with procreative rumpty.

Meanwhile the first generation of Australians to pass the entirety of their adult lives as ‘open homosexuals’ is steaming towards the golden years in their tens of thousands – and their patience is running out. Many of us who lived though the late 80’s and early 90’s – when 5,000 young Australian men were taken by AIDS in 6 years – remember the families that had often chucked them out a decade or more before, turning up to evict a longterm partner and claim their legal spoils. I also remember the movie “The Sum of Us” which depicted two elderly women who had spent their entire adult lives together being separated forever in their 80’s by their respective families when one of the women developed dementia.

Stripped of all the emotive, religiosity-laden baggage this is an issue that goes to the very heart of what pluralistic, liberal democratic society is supposedly about and all the ducking and weaving in the world won’t change it. The PM’s assurance that his was not a position framed from any old discriminatory impulse, reminded me of the supporters of anti-miscegenation legislation claiming that their aversion to racial mixing stemmed from the most altruistic of motives: it’s the natural order of things, etc. I also noted the swiftness and alacrity with which Messrs Crean and Latham managed to find themselves anywhere but within microphone range of refuting the PM’s assertion. Don’t hold your breath.

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Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Geoff,
This is for the always intelligent Ken Parish but don’t most de-facto’s have basically the same legal rights as married couples? I was told this is the case in NSW.

If so then why not campaign for the same rights as they have. I would support this in an entertaining way of course.

It is interesting to note that amost all bloggers are social liberals.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Homer,

It’s not really my specialty area. My general understanding coincides with what Geoff said. De facto relationships (including gay ones) have equal legal rights in many and perhaps even most respects in most states and territories. But there are still some differences, and they can be crucially important in some situations (e.g. the ones Geoff talks about).

Another question (don’t have time to discussin detail right now) is whether the Commonwealth has the constitutional power at present to legislate for gay marriage. The ALP spokesperson alluded to this in his public comment. The Commonwealth has exclusive constitutional power to make laws with respect to marriage. However, some High Court Justices at least might well take the view that “marriage” must continue to bear the meaning it did in 1901, in the absence of a referendum. Kirby J doesn’t think that, and McHugh J has hinted that he doesn’t either. But there’s a high probability that the Coalition-appointed majority have a different view.

The problem that poses for achieving complete reform (which I wholeheartedly agree is desirable) is that referenda never succeed when a major party or grouping oppose them. Thus I suspect efforts should be concentrated on lobbying state and territory governments to bring de facto laws as nearly as possible precisely in line with the rights of married couples in all respects. However, as I say, I’m not an expert in this area.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

In lockstep with W, His Darkness indulges himself in another by-numbers stunt to conjure up the myth of a traditional homogeneous communitarian Australia …

… after lazily working his base at doorstops, what’s the next step? Probably to defend himself against the dismay of the elites by appealing to the liberal right to free speech. And then he’ll get on with the serious work of ensuring Heffernan keeps his Senate spot against Malcolm Turbull …

… in the meantime, Simon Crean decides that Labor’s principled opposition to the death penalty evaporates at Australia’s borders …

… and politics as postmodern usual continues on its way, about nothing but itself … unless you happen to find yourself as part of the foil, of course …

Julian
Julian
2022 years ago

In answer to Homer’s question, I suspect there are several reasons why the push for gay marriage exists even though gay relationships enjoy increasing legal recognition. There is certainly the legal argument, highlighted in the main post. One other, to my mind, highly relevant argument is the manner in which lack of access to marriage positions gay people and gay relationships in the broader society.

Marriage is still a highly significant social institution, as evidenced by all the fuss that’s being made in trying to protect its definition and position. If we accept that one of marriage’s primary functions is the promotion of social stability, and the latter is seen as important, it follows that marriage imposes on relationships various expectations and a certain gravity that compel the participants to “live up to” their commitment and create a stable relationship. Arguably, people enter into marriages because they view their relationships as sufficiently significant to impose on them these requirements. Viewed in this way, marriage is a social act that serves to grant the highest level of importance to human relationships. It is true that a de-facto couple might be subject to many of the same legal entitlements (and obligations) as a married couple, but the fact that people still get married indicates that marriage serves a purpose higher than simplly effecting certain legal arrangements.

Consider, then, a gay relationship whose participants are unable to enter into a marriage with each other. To my mind, this sends pretty clear signals about how much significance the society is willing to grant that gay relationship. Equally, by not enabling gay marriage, gay people are denied the assistance that marriage provides straight couples in the formation of stable relationships (divorce rates aside…).

This argument isn’t necessarily problematic if you consider that gay relationships are not deserving of the social status accorded marriages (for whatever reason), which is essentially what Mr Howard is saying, on my understanding. If you are in a gay relationship, though, as I am, it may be a rather more difficult pill to swallow.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“And then he’ll get on with the serious work of ensuring Heffernan keeps his Senate spot against Malcolm Turbull …”

I trust there’s no double entendre inferred there Chris?

cs
cs
2022 years ago

You know I’m not that clever Geoff.

mark
2022 years ago

Whether we like it or not, marriage is considered more significant, more real than de facto relationships. To prevent gays from marrying, quite apart from the “we get benefits they don’t” issue, is to say: we don’t condone what you do, and we’re not going to let you “ape” our sacred institutions, you dirty, smelly people.

Think back to the days of Jews being the only people who could lend money with interest, and being only able to do that. Dirty usurers, right? I think that’s what’s going on today. Gays are supposedly promiscuous, sinful adulterers, and come hell or high water — regardless of their own wishes — that’s how they’re going to stay.

mark
2022 years ago

Oh, and great post, Geoff.

Catacombs
Catacombs
2022 years ago

I don’t want to bang on about this too much, but I am in a state of black despair about this whole miserable business. Look: I’m an Anglican. I know the hymns and liturgy, I know the history. I grew up with it all. I go into an Episcopalian church as one going to a refuge from noise and money and the damn fool Zeitgeist. I go looking for eternal truth, and expecting to find it. If this church that I grew up with is going to be a club for homosexuals, turning its teachings upside down to accommodate every passing social fad, “celebrating” the “gay” ethos, what is there in it for normal people like me? But now where shall I go? The Roman Catholic church is headed the same way–half the priests are queer already, people tell me. I get e-mails–a surprising number–from people who have left the western Catholic churches and found a spiritual home among the Orthodox. Well, I’m open to the suggestion; but why, in my fifties, should I have to give up the devotional habits of a lifetime? Just losing the hymns would break my heart. And in any case, the Orthodox priesthood, with all those bright vestments and ministrational hierarchies, is going to be just as appealing to homosexuals as the Catholic churches have proved, and will sooner or later go the same way. We have let something loose in our society, and it won’t rest until it has occupied the commanding heights and forcibly shut the mouths of all who object–bigots! homophobes! haters! I have never liked homosexuality, nor tried to hide that fact; but all my life I have supported tolerance towards homosexuals as a harmless minority who are just as entitled to pursue their private inclinations as the rest of us. I have always thought that the criminalization of homosexual acts was both foolish, and inhumane, and un-Christian. I am no longer so sure. Perhaps our grandfathers were wiser than us. Perhaps there are some things that we, the normal majority, SHOULD, deliberately and consciously, disapprove and marginalize. But what hope of that now? The toothpaste is out of the tube. To the catacombs!

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Oh my goodness. I’d like to think this person is joking, but if he/she is then the humour’s very well disguised.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I think it’s an elaborate camp joke Ken – the reference to the gay appeal of “bright vestments and ministrational hierarchies” is but one step away from a full finale treatment of “I am what I am” in syncopated Sung Latin.

Jim
Jim
2022 years ago

Geoff,
As a practising Catholic I agree with your sentiments wholeheatedly.

Anthony
Anthony
2022 years ago

I just noticed on CalPundit that the Catacombs post comes from John Derbyshire at National Review Online.
So I guess it’s serious, in that any of that stuff is.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

John Derbyshire!? That’s camp :-)

James Russell
2022 years ago

But now where shall I go?

Well, the way things are going, Peter Jensen and Fred Nile will be forming their own church shortly. Perhaps you can join that.

Alan
Alan
2022 years ago

Somewhow I suspect that Nilotic Church of St Jensen will be fairly short on bells and smells.

trackback
2022 years ago

Bias

I just sat and watched the first TV I’ve seen since getting back to Australia and it was the ABC…