August 05, 2003


John Howard opposes same-sex marriages:

"I would never support any facilitation of it in Australia," he said.

"The reason is not based on discrimination. It is that marriage as we have traditionally understood it (is) the voluntary union between a man and a woman, hopefully for life.

"It's a bedrock institution. You're talking here about the survival of the species.

"The idea that you treat a gay union the same way as you treat a union between a man and a woman is, in my view, to misunderstand the fundamental bedrock character of marriage."

My own view: given the declining rate of marriage among heterosexuals, gay marriages might be the only way to maintain this grand conservative social tradition. Support the facilitation!

Posted by Tim Blair at August 5, 2003 11:40 PM

Huh, huh... huh, huh... phallicitation! huh, huh... huh, huh...

(sorry, it's early)

Posted by: D at August 6, 2003 at 12:27 AM

Im sorry. I disagree with your last statement. The only way for the "institution" of marriage to survive is for heterosexuals to take it seriously again. I have just as many harsh comments about the heteros who are so careless in their vows as I do about the homos who think that by playing house, they can call themselves domesticated. Far too many heteros take the vows as if the vows themselves will change their lives, and those same heteros drop their vows the moment they decide that those vows arent of any use to them. I know of one lady who is getting divorced simply because she just isnt moved "by the spirit of love" any more. I would condemn that attitude just as quickly as I would a homosexual couple saying that because they lived together for so long, they should be considered "married." Marriage is far more than about who makes your nerve endings twitch, or whether or not you can integrate into society.

When people take marriage seriously, and that means respecting it for what it is and approaching it as it should be, then civilization will survive. Homosexuals are no more saviors of society than heteros who divorce because they "just dont feel it" anymore.

John Howard is correct. To say that homosexuals can be married too is to completely misunderstand and mischaracterize the nature of marriage.

Posted by: Sharon Ferguson at August 6, 2003 at 12:49 AM

Starting to sounds a bit to left ain't we?

Posted by: K at August 6, 2003 at 01:37 AM

marriage as institution of state: Who cares, let everyone do as they please

marriage as a christian institution: Christians write the rules.

End of argument really.

Posted by: Rohan Singe at August 6, 2003 at 01:55 AM

I agree with Tim and Rohan.

Posted by: Scott at August 6, 2003 at 03:39 AM

I am a Conservative ( i work for the tory party in Britain) and it is not left wing to extend the enshrinement of partnership rights. In fact the gay left for many years opposed gay marriage for trying to "ape" a patriarchal heteroseuyal and fundamentally conservative institution.

i do not see how John Howard, who I usually support, can say "talking here about the survival of the species" when it comes to gay marriage. How on earth does it undermine heterosexual marriage? As Sharon says, heterosexual marriage has its own problems, and this needs to be worked on.

The important thing for most gay people is not whether as couples tthey can be "married" or not, but whether the state can address particular grievances. ie hospital visitation, health insurance, inheritance tax (thankfully because of Joh we dont have that problem in oz), wills etc... Marriage is one option, but a form of partnership rights which respects of religious sensitivities bu falls short of being called "marriage" is another.

Posted by: Matthew at August 6, 2003 at 07:55 AM

Declining rate of marriages amongst hetros? They're still getting married, Tim, it's just that some have no idea on how to make it work!
John Howard is right. Is he ever wrong?!

Posted by: Kate at August 6, 2003 at 08:00 AM

Oh, but the arguments I have seen from the anti gay marriage camp have revolved around how expanding the legal definition of marriage will somehow impact on the human experience of marriage and specifically cause a rift in reality. Heterosexuals will stop providing babies for our future prosperity or the biblical definition of marriage(whatever that is) will somehow be changed. All of this resulting in the a moral and civic disaster.

Imagine a group of people running in circles, flailing their arms about and screaming "The sky is falling!"

Posted by: ESP at August 6, 2003 at 09:52 AM

yes sort of like the anti-war lefties screaming about the awful catostrophic vietnam like dangers of liberating the people of Iraq...

Posted by: Matthew at August 6, 2003 at 10:04 AM

Exactly, Matthew, Exactly.

Posted by: ESP at August 6, 2003 at 10:05 AM

Howard's comments are manifestly stupid.

If procreation is the reason for marriage (cf "survival of the species") then he should object to marriage when one of the parties is infertile, and to marriage between people who are past the age of fertility.

Of course it's fucking based on discrimination against same-sex relationships!

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 11:08 AM

It makes no sense at all.

How does preventing gay marriages promote/protect traditional marriages?

This is not some area of financial economics where you provide an incentive to encourage a type of behaviour.

By permitting gay marriages, you won't suddenly create a massive incentive for straight people to become gay.

And besides the point, governments should have no business regulating what kind of relationships between two consenting people are allowed.

Posted by: Jono at August 6, 2003 at 11:34 AM

John Howard's right.

The institution of marriage will become much less desirable if homosexuals are allowed to enter into it.

It's like my mother's tiramasu. I loved that decicious concoction, until homosexuals started singing the praises of this famous Italian dessert.

Now every bite of Mums tiramasu is pure, stomach-turning torture.

Homosexuals have ruined my puddings!

Posted by: block at August 6, 2003 at 11:56 AM

It's illegal to marry your sister.

It's not about your sister. It's about marriage.

Marriage is the institution underpinning the basic unit of society: a family.

Families teach their children laws, morality, codes of behaviour, call it what you will, so the State doesn't have to. When the State has to, there's trouble.

In other words, like Churchill's democracy, a family is the least worst way for humans to co-exist to their and others' greatest advantage.

Marriage was enshrined in law for one male and one female because only such a combination procreates (and if they don't, it doesn't negate the law as suggested illogically by some correspondents) and causes the above to happen.

It's not about gays. It's about marriage.

Posted by: ilibcc at August 6, 2003 at 12:22 PM

Starting to sounds a bit to left ain't we?

I'm kind of wondering if he's being sarcastic.

(I'm in support of gay marriage rights, BTW)

Posted by: Andjam at August 6, 2003 at 12:23 PM

I don't see the point of heterosexual marriages. They cost a good sized deposit for a house, and more than likely end up in the Family Court- an idiotic mediaeval hangover.
(Although the receptions can be a good piss-up).

Posted by: Habib Bickford at August 6, 2003 at 12:26 PM

That's transperently bullshit, ilibcc.

1. There is no suggestion that marriage is restricted to heterosexual couples who intend to procreate - not even to couples who are physically capbable of procreating. You gonna tell a pair of 70 ear olds that they can't get married because they can't procreate? Come on.

2. Allowing homosexuals to marry has absolutely no impact on heterosexual marriage. See the post by "block" above - it nails the utter stupidity of that argument.

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 12:29 PM

70 ear olds

Obviously, I'm assuming that if their ears are 70 years old, the rest of them is too.

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 12:30 PM

The reason we have problems with marriage in the West is that our law and our attitudes derive from the Christian concept of marriage as a sacrament. Other religions treat it as a civil contract. In most other cultures, it is a contract that can be easily entered into or terminated.

My concern is not whether two men or two women want to enter into the same contract that husbands and wives do, but rather the consequences for any children of previous relationships that then become part of that
contract, since I refuse to accept that two women or two men can be father and mother to a child. In this, I agree with John Howard.

Posted by: Rob (No 1) at August 6, 2003 at 01:06 PM

Rob: correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't your objection one to gay relationships per se?

In fact, it seems to me that most of the objections to formalising gay relationships are really objections to the relationship itself.

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 01:15 PM

I support Lesbian marriages as long as we get to watch.

Posted by: Razor at August 6, 2003 at 01:22 PM

From Rob (No 1)'s comment.

"but rather the consequences for any children of previous relationships that then become part of that contract, since I refuse to accept that two women or two men can be father and mother to a child."

My Grandfather and his brother were orphaned at the age of five and their aunts raised them (count two women). He lived through The Depression, married my grandmother, had a family, taught me to hunt, fish, fix my car, and died at the age of 72. He had full life. Pretty good for someone who could not have possibly been raised correctly.


Posted by: ESP at August 6, 2003 at 01:26 PM

The biggest threat to the institution of marriage is the Divorce Industry.

Thousands of burueacrats and lawyers infest the Family Court and the Child Support Agency, profiting from the breakup of marriages.

Women are encouraged to divorce for little or no reason in order to feed the industry.

Removing the profit motive from divorce and its aftermath would do more to protect heterosexual marriages than any action with regard to non-heterosexual unions.

Posted by: Indole Ring at August 6, 2003 at 01:31 PM

Indole Ring: maybe she just didn't like you.

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 01:52 PM

Mork: Maybe you just made a stupid assumption.

Hell, there's no "maybe" about it. You did make a stupid assumption.

I have never been married.

But I'm sorry for those poor blokes who have been caught up in the net.

Posted by: Indole Ring at August 6, 2003 at 01:59 PM

Riiiight. So it's only women who decide to break up marriages, eh?

Nast, nasty women. We hates them, we does.

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 02:02 PM

"You're talking here about the survival of the species."

With 6 billion people inhabiting this planet the survival of the species is not in imminent danger so let 'em marry. When we're down to a couple of million we can review the policy.

Posted by: Naiad at August 6, 2003 at 02:03 PM

"So it's only women who decide to break up marriages, eh?"

About 80% of divorces are initiated by women.

"Nasty, nasty women. We hates them, we does."

Maybe you should seek psychiatric treatment for your misogyny.

Posted by: Indole Ring at August 6, 2003 at 02:07 PM

Yes. Quite.

I suppose you have a source for your statistic?

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 02:14 PM

From Ilibcc's comment:

What is it with these people.

"It's illegal to marry your sister."

"It's not about your sister. It's about marriage."

Of course it is about your sister. It is about not having seriously deformed and mentally disturbed children because of the genetics involved.

That applies whether you married or not.

Posted by: ESP at August 6, 2003 at 02:18 PM

Google search for stats

Looks like it's 70%, not 80%. It's still a majority of divorces.

Posted by: Indole Ring at August 6, 2003 at 02:20 PM

So all you're talking about is who actually files the papers?

How much does that tell you? Doesn't tell me very much.

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 02:30 PM


'absolutely no impact on heterosexual marriage'

Governments favour married couples via a range of monetary and other benefits. Offering these to people who, generally, will not raise children puts the former at a relative disadvantage, and reduces the incentive to marry in the first place. (This is already happening via other social engineering.) As stated, for this reason, Governments have an obligation to protect marriage because reproducing families are the basic and predominant unit of society.

Further, laws are created for the 'common' good, meaning the best result for the most people. The fact that marriage protects two people who raise children for the good of society is not negated in any way by couples who do not plan, cannot, or are too old to have children. That, like so many of today's arguments, is a baby/bathwater one.

As I said, it's not about gays. It's about marriage.

Posted by: ilibcc at August 6, 2003 at 02:42 PM


"It's illegal to marry your sister.

It's not about your sister. It's about marriage."

It's a parallel.

My point is that, obviously, your sister will not take umbrage at a law designed for a greater good.

The wider point is that today's lawmaking is increasingly about aggrieved individuals and groups believing that a law - which exists for a common good - is making a victim of them.

Posted by: ilibcc at August 6, 2003 at 02:51 PM

ilibcc: I don't understand the argument in your first paragraph . . . unless I do, in which case it's patently nonsensical. Hopefully the former.

As for your second paragraph, well, duh! The same reasoning would apply to homosexual marriage as well.

Frankly, the speciousness of your posts on this subject seem to me to be pretty convincing evidence that for you, it is about gays, but for some reason you can't bring yourself to admit it.

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 03:02 PM

For me, Mork, it is not about gays, I assure you.

It is simply about taking a social conservative approach to the subject. There is no other agenda. Boring but there you go.

Some conservative gays will take my line, while others will agree with you.

See Andrew Sullivan v Stanley Kurtz.

Posted by: ilibcc at August 6, 2003 at 04:42 PM

kill the gays

Posted by: Straight at August 6, 2003 at 04:46 PM

I'm having second thoughts, and now I'm sorry I made a stupid assumption that just because Indole Ring made a comment about the "divorce industry", he's a blackshirt.

I realy must think more before I comment because even though I'm so superior in my views to the rest of you rockapes, I must be more sensitive.

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 04:49 PM

and if this clown keeps on impersonating me, I might even fuck off like Bon Scott did and start my own blog

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 04:50 PM

That is fucking gutless, prick.

If you don't like being out-argued, then don't come here, because I'm not going to stop posting just because some spineless, infantile loser wants to turn the comment pages into an echo chamber for morons.

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 05:04 PM


As ilibcc says, it's not about gays, it's about marriage; even more it's about children.

It is simplistic to suggest that anyone who doesn't accept your arguments is anti-gay.

Posted by: Rob (No 1) at August 6, 2003 at 05:11 PM

Well, Rob, your argument wasn't about marriage: it was about gay couples. It makes no difference to the problem you perceive whether the partnership of the gay couple is legally recognised or not. Therefore, you're saying that gay couples are a bad thing per se. Right?

And it's an outright distortion to suggest that I implied that anyone who doesn't agree with me is anti-gay. What I was saying is that when people manufacture patently bogus arguments that just happen to have the same result as an argument that seems to be socially unacceptable these days, it's not unreasonable to conclude that it's something else that's really driving them.

For all I know, there are perfectly rational and compelling arguments against gay marriage. But what I do know is that no-one's made them on this thread.

ilibcc - would that be the definition of "social conservatism" that really means "let me impose my values on other people"? If not, what does "social conservatism" mean to you? And why were you trying to dress it up as utilitarianism before?

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 05:28 PM

Not one bite - nothing, nil, nix. Does this mean the Lesbos don't mind if we watch?

Posted by: Razor at August 6, 2003 at 06:05 PM


Laws for the greater good. An innate distrust of the trend for ever-growing numbers of individuals and groups to manufacture legislation to right perceived wrongs. And a core belief that the family is sacrosanct: a man, a woman and any children that may come along.

Posted by: ilibcc at August 6, 2003 at 06:23 PM

Taking your tests in order:

1. Any law that benefits one group without harming any other is, by defintion, a law for the greater good;

2. that's not a rational argument, so there's no rational argument against it. Hey, we all have our irrational prejudices. My view is that we should avoid using them as a basis for legislative decisions, though. You might disagree.

3. You are still unable to explain how letting gays marry weakens the traditional family. Is your argument just that it makes you feel less special?

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 06:40 PM


Once again, I have to aassure you that there is no prejudice, rational or irrational, running beneath my argument.

You don't believe it and I cannot prove it, so further comment on this is pointless and also irrelevant to other posters.

The arguments have been put - on both sides - they are there to be seen.

Finally, I have already conceded in my earlier post that my opinion is just that as well as quoting a source where the two opposing opinions can be seen.

Posted by: ilibcc at August 6, 2003 at 07:10 PM

Fair enough. Thanks for playing.

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 07:27 PM

Who am I calling a gutless prick? As for an echo chamber for morons, I'm only echoing myself.

Posted by: Mork at August 6, 2003 at 08:29 PM

Allowing gays to marry will just send out the wrong message to our young, professional, well-educated citizens.

They'll start believing marriage is fashionable.

Posted by: Block at August 6, 2003 at 10:02 PM