Guest post: critiqueing the case for same-sex marriage

While readers know my view on marriage equality I welcome guest posts to air all views.  Today, we have a guest post from Matthew and Madeleine Flanagan.

Critiquing the Case for Same-Sex Marriage

Matthew and Madeleine Flannagan

 

Equality and Non-Discrimination

According to the General policy statement of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill (“the Bill”), the justification for affirming same-sex marriage as a human right is the notion of equality and non-discrimination. The General policy statement provides: “This Bill amends the Marriage Act 1955 (the principal Act) to ensure that its provisions are not applied in a discriminatory manner”; it goes on to state, “Marriage, as a social institution, is a fundamental human right and limiting that human right to 1 group in society only does not allow for equality.”

The problem is that the Bill itself goes on to apply the provisions in an unequal and discriminatory manner.

Schedule 2 of the Bill provides a list of prohibited degrees of marriage; fifteen different classes of people are explicitly excluded from being able to marry. Further, the General policy statement and sections 4 and 5 of the Bill explicitly exclude unions where there are more than two people.

The Bill does this regardless of whether such unions are consensual, and the parties in question love and are committed to each other. It does this despite Sections 4 and 5 each repeating the idea that marriage should have no regard for “sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

In doing this the Bill itself blatantly and explicitly applies the law in a discriminatory manner, it limits “the human right to marry” to only 2 classes of people in society, while excluding many more.

If equality were a valid basis for rejecting the Marriage Act as it stands then it is an equally valid basis for rejecting the Bill. Proponents of the Bill cannot have it both ways; the appeal to equality either refutes both or neither.

The drafters of the Bill clearly recognise that it is not unjust to legislate Marriage in a discriminatory manner. They make it clear, by the inclusion of Schedule 2, that they do not really believe that all classes of people should be allowed to marry if they want to; further they make it clear and that sexual orientation is a legitimate ground for marriage discrimination.

Of course one can gerrymander the position and claim that it is not unjust to apply the law in a discriminatory manner; rather, it is only unjust to do so when the union in question has only two partners and is not between people in the sorts of relationships the law restricts (which, incidentally, parallel the relationship restrictions prohibited in the bible identically). But if one does this then it is apparent that the only reason for adopting this modified position is that it both allows same-sex marriage and avoids other counter examples above.

The reasoning then is circular; one adopts the premise because it fits the preordained conclusion and then argues for the conclusion on the basis of the premise. The arguer assumes what he attempts to prove and commits the fallacy of petitio principii.

Slogans that people have a right to marry whomever they love are just that, slogans. People do not have a right to marry whomever they love. If someone loved their sister or brother, or mother, or loved their two best friends, they do not, in virtue of that fact, have a right to have the state solemnise or recognise these relationships as marriage. Nor does the Bill enable people to marry whomever they love.

Analogy with Inter-Racial Marriage

At this point, some play the race card. The state would act unjustly if it refused to recognise someone’s union on the basis of their partner’s race. It is argued that refusing to recognise someone’s union on the basis of their partner’s sex is analogous to this, and so it is unjust for the same reasons.

The analogy is questionable. First, it assumes that discrimination on the basis of race is on par with discrimination on the basis of sex. It is not. If a mall had racially segregated toilets that would be an outrage, but having separate toilets for the sexes simply upholds privacy. Refusing pregnancy services to people on the basis of their race would be racist, but refusing pregnancy services to men is sensible.

The point is that there are important physiological differences between men and women that justify treating them differently in various contexts that are not present between races, so racial and sexual discrimination is not on par. Until proponents of this Bill are willing to offer pregnancy services to men and prosecute all mall owners that have male and female toilets, we can safely put to one side the idea that discrimination based on a person’s sex is on par with racism.

Further, anti-miscegenation laws differ in important ways from the prohibition on state recognition of same-sex marriage. Advocates of the former object to someone’s union because their partner is of a different race; the thinking is that people of different races are physiologically different, they come from different clans or ethnic groups. The position is based on the idea that other races are inferior; it is part of a broader attempt to keep people of different races apart to avoid the inferior contaminating the superior.

Whereas those opposed to same-sex marriages object to someone’s union because their partner is the same-sex. Like the prohibition on incest, the issue stems from the physiological similarity between the couple. The objection arises because the couple are from the same group as each other. This means the rationale is very different; the position is not based on the idea that other sexes are inferior, neither is the intent to keep members of the same-sex separate to avoid contamination. On the contrary, it is based on notions of other sexes being equal and complementary.

Imposing views on others in a Pluralistic Society

Other slogans fare little better. It is argued that the Marriage Act presupposes a controversial moral position that homosexual conduct is wrong, which many people now reject in a pluralistic society. One cannot, therefore, impose it on others who do not share that view (but apparently one can impose the view in reverse).

The problem is that the Bill also presupposes a moral position which many today reject: that consensual adult incest, polygamy and polyandry is wrong. Under this Bill the state will not recognise such unions even though some in a pluralistic society accept these practises.  If this Bill passes then the new law will be imposed on others in the same way the present law currently is.

Again, if this argument refutes the status quo then it refutes the Bill.

Rejoinders to the Incest, Polygamy, Polyandry Argument

Above we have offered arguments that reference incest, polyandry and polygamy. Note: we are not here making a prediction; our argument is not that if we recognise same-sex marriages then inevitably, at some point in the future, the state will pass laws recognising incestuous, polyandrous or polygamous unions.

Rather, our point is that several of the major arguments for same-sex marriage employ premises which, if true, logically entail that incest, polyandrous and polygamous unions should be legally recognised; those who make arguments from equality, non-discrimination and pluralism are rationally committed to this conclusion.

It is true that legislators are unlikely, in the present climate, to recognise such unions and do not advocate doing so – Schedule 2 being Exhibit A of the case in point. This, however, is the point, their actions in doing so show that their stance is irrational. When the topic is not same-sex marriage they recognise that these arguments do not work, and they do not advocate acting in accord with them. If they are to rationally advocate for same-sex marriage proponents need to offer different arguments – ones that are sound!

Many people will undoubtedly respond with outrage and will apply derogatory labels to us over this blog post. They re-join that sex with member of the same-sex is totally different to incest or polyandry or polygamy; they will point to features of these practises which mean there is good reason to not recognise them in law.

None of these responses will be adequate. Expressing outrage is not an argument, it is simply an expression of dislike for another’s position; casting labels is not an adequate response either, doing so commits the ad hominem fallacy. The issue is not whether you like what we say but whether our arguments are sound.

Pointing to differences between incestuous and same-sex unions also misses the point. We never said that homosexual conduct was like incest in all respects. We pointed out that the premises of the arguments in question commit one to drawing conclusions about incest; this is not the same thing.

Finally, pointing out that there are good reasons for not recognising incestuous, polyandrous or polygamous unions, actually proves, rather than rebuts, our argument. Those who make this point illustrate that one can legitimately discriminate against sexual practises and sexual orientation. They show that one can discriminate against people on the basis of how many partner’s they have and on the basis of whether the partners are of the same kin as them – same-sex relationships between relatives cannot be state sanctioned. They hold this position despite the fact that such unions may be loving, consensual and between adults.

This shows that the issue is not equality, discrimination, love or consent. It is about whether good reasons exist independently of these features for the prohibition in question (apparently social norms based on biblical texts amount to good reasons in any context other than same-sex relationships). Consequently, appealing to these features as though they themselves provided good reasons is a red herring and it is not good enough to justify a law change.

Matthew Flannagan is a Pastor at Takanini Community Church; Madeleine Flannagan is a Lawyer at Coast Legal. Together they blog at MandM.

  • Alan

    their argument is flawed. they are effectively saying, that becuase the state has not opened full slather on all kinds of consensual relationships that the bill to extend from the current single allowed consensual relationship to one more is wrong.

    small steps. politicians know that people dont like things they find ‘icky’. less people find gay relationships icky than they did 20 years go. i imagine that it will be a good while before polygamy and polyandry are not considered icky and a whole hell of a lot longer before consensual incest gets off the ick radar.

    So the govt is moving to allow something that most people dont find icky anymore. will the other relationships one day be allowed? who knows, it depends on societys changing of the ick factor of those relationships.

    its circular argument to state that:

    1. currently only 1 type of relationship can get married, discriminating against all the other types.
    2. the new bill allows one more type of relationship to get legally married.
    3. becuase that will still have multiple relationship types discriminated against the bill is flawed and should not go ahead.
    leaving us back at 1, which somehow now becomes morally better because it always discriminated against the rest?

    its a nice attempt by two deeply religious people to frame their argument in a way that is not the usual ‘gays are icky’ which is what most religious arguments boil down to. but its so flawed as to be transparent.

    • Seems to me

      Seems to me that you have missed their point. Re-read the first paragraph where they take issue with this “amendment bill is to remove discrimination”…It does not. It just extends the discrimination to include another group….homosexuals…
      So why not frame the bill as an extension to current discrimination rather than a woosy statement about removing discrimination.

      Seems to me it would be more honest that way.

      I must admit to liking this analytical approach to debates rather than the hysteria practiced by many on this blog. NO if responders could use the same analytical response it would make for very interesting reading.

      PS. Marriage for “love” is a lovely romantic novel notion. Many many many marriages are for reasons other than “love”. (Suggest readers do their own research) So why does love get to be the motivating reason for legalising Gay marriage?

    • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

      Completely agree Alan. Well said

    • Matt

      “its a nice attempt by two deeply religious people to frame their argument in a way that is not the usual ‘gays are icky’ which is what most religious arguments boil down to. but its so flawed as to be transparent. ”

      Actually my religion is irrelevant whats relevant is whether my argument is good. Saying the author is “deeply religious” . Nor is your characterization of “religious arguments” accurate

      But you response here appears to be special pleading you claim religious people typically make that “Gays are icky” is transparently bad reason to discriminate against Gays. Yet claim the current Bill is fine in discriminating against incest because people find it “icky” .

      ” 1currently only 1 type of relationship can get married, discriminating against all the other types.

      2. the new bill allows one more type of relationship to get legally married.
      3. becuase that will still have multiple relationship types discriminated against the bill is flawed and should not go ahead.
      leaving us back at 1, which somehow now becomes morally better because it always discriminated against the rest? ”

      That’s neither the argument I gave nor is that argument circular.

      • Craig Cottam

        That’s neither the argument I gave nor is that argument circular.

        How is it not circular? Please elaborate.

        • Matt

          To be circular the conclusion must be contained in the premises: the conclusion of that argument ( which is not mine) is that the bill is flawed and should not go ahead, Neither 1, 2 contains that premise nor do they presuppose it.

          • Craig Cottam

            Very smart of you to stop at point 2 and completely disregard 3. And that is exactly what you are arguing in reference to Schedule 2.

          • Madeleine

            3 is the conclusion not a premise; it is not circular for the conclusion to be contained in the conclusion.

      • http://www.facebook.com/goosoid Ben Lenihan

        So should the Civil Rights movement in the United States have stopped because it didnt include homosexual rights?
        If we extend your logic that should be the case.
        If Polygamists or incestuous people want to come forward and present a bill legalising their marriage rights, we should have exactly the same debate. I do find incestuous relationships “icky” but I also find the thought of old people having sex “icky”. But that is not the basis in my mind for incestuous relationships being illegal. It is based on a harm argument based on genetics.
        If you feel strongly about it maybe organise a petition by your Church.

        • Matt

          Actually, that might be a good argument if that was my logic, but if you read the article above you’ll see its not.

          Interestingly however, your argument has the implication that everyone should have ignored the civil rights movement. Because above you stated “The Church/State issue is that NO law can be made by reference to Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/Jewish values.”

          Given Martin Luther King based his advocacy on Christian values and appealed directly in places to Christian natural law teaching, it seems its your logic that suggests the civil rights movement was illegitimate.

  • GPT

    I do not agree but have to acknowledge it is a carefully constructed and clearly sincere post that puts the status quo side of the debate rationally and absent the Colin Craig type homophobic hysteria.
    For me I still see no rational for prohibiting loving couples from making the ultimate legal and moral commitment.

  • Michael Ward

    Good post. Well thought out and rationally presented.

    I also give kudos to Cam. Well done for presenting the other side of the argument in a fair and balanced way.

  • johnny T

    A reasonable argument.
    Once again, gay marriage encourages homosexuality, and homosexuality is not something that should be encouraged.

    • Mully

      I thought it was making it compulsory, rather than encouraging it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/goosoid Ben Lenihan

      What a well thought out and reasoned post. I must say I did find my gaze lingering on other men more than usual the day after the Bill was submitted. Perhaps you are right, it seems logical that my entire sexual preference could be overwhelmed by a piece of legislation. Yes, I see it now.

  • Euan.Rt

    A good argument well presented. It shows that when the bill goes to the select committee it will have to be reworded to something more along the lines of, ‘acceptable to the majority of people in society’, rather than the arguments of discrimination and equality.

  • Craig Cottam

    The argument against using racial discrimination as a comparison is so flawed as to be ludicrous. Toilets? Really? I dare say there would be quite a few people who would feel much more comfortable knowing that gay men had segregated toilets in malls – the problem is how could you tell if a gay man was using the wrong toilet? For legitimate purposes obviously.
    The argument of polygamy and even incest is flawed as well as quite simply very few people are talking about legalizing it. It is still not socially acceptable. And this is where your argument falls down. These sorts of legal redefining and rights amendments are a direct result of changing social attitudes. The granting of the right for SSM is no different to women’s suffrage or abolition of slavery or for peasants to own land or for capital punishment to be abolished or for alcohol to be legal or even cannabis to be decriminalized. All of these things have been or may be changed because societies attitudes have changed. What was once the norm is now abhorred, what was once deemed wrong is now acceptable.
    Polygamy was, and still is legal in many countries, one day New Zealand’s society may have a different view on this subject than we do now and polygamy may be legalized. So what? If that is what the society of the day wants why should they not have it? The important thing here is that it is Society that drives these changes, through education and public debate, Not just a few in power that have decreed it to be so.

    • Callum

      If society is driving it then have a referendum, but that is now how the arguement for is being framed.

      • Craig Cottam

        I agree, all the polls I have seen back a change.

        • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

          I agree so a referendum in that sense would be a huge waste of time and money. I like them in principle but only if they are binding and only if they are going to tell us something that we dont already know!

          • Callum

            So a supporter of gay marriage is saying we don’t need a referendum because they know everyone supports them. Sounds logical to me.

    • Matt

      ” I dare say there would be quite a few people who would feel much more comfortable knowing that gay men had segregated toilets in malls – the problem is how could you tell if a gay man was using the wrong toilet? ”

      Not sure how this answers our point, which was that discrimination against a person on grounds of their sex is acceptable in cases where it would be unacceptable on the grounds of race. The fact is we don’t see people racing to prosecute malls for having sexually segregated toilets.

      “The argument of polygamy and even incest is flawed as well as quite simply very few people are talking about legalizing it. It is still not socially acceptable. And this is where your argument falls down.”

      This means that if a majority consider same sex intercourse to be immoral or disgusting the state is justified in discriminating against it. Last time I checked proponents of gay rights typically argued Gay marriage was a human right that societal attitudes like this were mistaken and should be changed to accommodate these rights.

      • Craig Cottam

        Sorry, I was trying to point out the futility of having segregated toilets for gay men, otherwise I dare say there would have been a call for it.
        Homosexuality was illegal, In the ’50s Alan Turing, arguably the most important man in WWII, was convicted of homosexuality and at the time it was widely accepted that he, or at least those like him, were just perverted. Today society is more enlightened.
        The same can be said for slavery. In the 18th century slavery was the norm in the southern states, as more and more people came to the conclusion that slavery was not right changes were made. In this case the argument became so heated they effectively went to war over it, among other things. Today you would be hard pressed to find anyone in the states who thinks slavery should be made legal once again.
        Looking at most of these social changes over time you can start to see a pattern where society as a whole slowly accepts that it’s only fair that certain groups are given the same rights as everyone else. Whether it’s freedom from slavery, the right to vote, the right to marry – interracial, same sex, etc etc.

        • Matt

          Given I did not argue that we should have segregated toilets for Gay men pointing out its futile does not address anything I said. The rest is just question begging, you point to various unjust practices from the past note we abolished them and then assert prohibiting same sex marriage is one such unjust practice. That is however the issue under discussion.

          • Craig Cottam

            So then what is the justification for prohibiting SSM? And don’t give us the BS answer that everything else should be open slather as well because no is calling for that at this time.

          • Madeleine

            Read the article above instead of pulling out phrases about toilets out of context.

          • Craig Cottam

            It was you initial reference to toilets that was utterly out of context. I was just trying to show it up for what is was, an empty argument.
            Now could please stop whining about your initial argument being pulled to pieces and answer my question above. “So then what is the justification for prohibiting SSM?”

          • Matt

            Craig, again you seem to have a problem with reading the argument, because if you look in the first three paragraph’s under ” Rejoinders to the Incest, Polygamy, Polyandry Argument” where we explictly mention the argument you just refered to, Pointed out it was not the one we were making and also noted your observation ” no one is calling for it” actually establishes our point.

            You seem to think misrepresenting anothers argument and then asserting you have destroyed it counts as an argument. Actually its known as the straw man fallacy.

          • Craig Cottam

            Given that so many here have come to the same conclusion just goes to show how unclear your argument is. But to suggest that something should not be changed because the same argument to change it would mean something else would have to be allowed as well is an absolute nonsense.
            If the legislators want to draw an arbitrary line then they can do so. If you want to campaign to allow incest and polygamy using the same argument then go right ahead. Just a hint though. You’ll lose on that score because very very few want to see that happen.
            You see, you have already lost this battle. If SSM is not passed this time round then it will succeed in the next few years.

    • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

      I agree Craig.

      Ironically polygamy sometimes legal in countries that ban homosexuality….

      • Matt

        So? Given we explictly said we were not predicting that a society that legalises Gay marriage will legalise polygamy, that’s hardly relevant.

        • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

          Oh my God, you are one big mind ‘you-know-what’ Matthew Flannagan. You argue precisely that then back track.

          Flip flop flop flip: you have far more in common with the Labour Party and Phil Goff that you do with any respected law firm!

          First the use of toilet & pregnant men analogies then this – if that is how they teach you to write a decent argument in ethics then clearly it was more of a waste of our taxes (your subsidised uni fees) than I first thought.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Glenn.Andrew.Peoples Glenn Andrew Peoples

            Try reading again. Carefully.

          • CT

            Nonsense is still nonsense no matte how many times you read it.

          • Madeleine

            When, someone is shown to have misrepresented another’s argument the response is name calling, funny that

          • Madeleine

            Actually the article states

            “Above we have offered arguments that reference incest, polyandry and polygamy. Note: we are not here making a prediction; our argument is not that if we recognise same-sex marriages then inevitably, at some point in the future, the state will pass laws recognising incestuous, polyandrous or polygamous unions.
            Rather, our point is that several of the major arguments for same-sex marriage employ premises which, if true, logically entail that incest, polyandrous and polygamous unions should be legally recognised; those who make arguments from equality, non-discrimination and pluralism are rationally committed to this conclusion.
            It is true that legislators are unlikely, in the present climate, to recognise such unions and do not advocate doing so – Schedule 2 being Exhibit A of the case in point. This, however, is the point, their actions in doing so show that their stance is irrational. When the topic is not same-sex marriage they recognise that these arguments do not work, and they do not advocate acting in accord with them. ”

          • Matt

            Actually we did not argue precisely that, here is what we said:

            “Rejoinders to the Incest, Polygamy, Polyandry Argument
            Above we have offered arguments that reference incest, polyandry and polygamy. Note: we are not here making a prediction; our argument is not that if we recognise same-sex marriages then inevitably, at some point in the future, the state will pass laws recognising incestuous, polyandrous or polygamous unions.
            Rather, our point is that several of the major arguments for same-sex marriage employ premises which, if true, logically entail that incest, polyandrous and polygamous unions should be legally recognised; those who make arguments from equality, non-discrimination and pluralism are rationally committed to this conclusion.
            It is true that legislators are unlikely, in the present climate, to recognise such unions and do not advocate doing so – Schedule 2 being Exhibit A of the case in point. This, however, is the point, their actions in doing so show that their stance is irrational. When the topic is not same-sex marriage they recognise that these arguments do not work, and they do not advocate acting in accord with them.”
            One thing I did learn studying ethics is to read your opponents position and understand it before I shoot my mouth off pretending to know what I am talking about. Try it some time.

  • Rolla

    While I don’t agree with religion in any way, and as such don’t like arguments that are based on the bible, as if it is a factual book.

    But I agree with the gist of the argument, that if we are going to amend the marriage act to recognise one new form of marriage, then why don’t we do a first principles review of the entire legislation, and make it truely non discriminatory, excecpt for scientific reasons, such as close relation intermarriage (based purely on the science that such marriages are more likely to result in genetic problems with offspring, and it would be wrong to force people who wanted such a marriage to undergo sterillisation to avoid this).

    If all marriage between loving people should be allowed then why limit it to just two people? No one is yet to answer this to me with any reasoned answer, and any answer I usually get boils down to an argument of just cause it should, or one that assumes that a woman wouldn’t be able to say no to a husband if he wanted multiple wives. Which is to assume females are weak and can’t have their own voice, and basically comes back to the premise that women are their husbands property. Which clearly is an outdated view in this day and age.
    I would argue a view that is just as outdated as one thats against gay marriage.

    • Craig Cottam

      Simple – One bloke with several wives means several blokes with no wives/partners = built up frustrations and potential civil unrest.

      • Callum

        Why do you presume there won’t be a balance of wives with many husbands?

        • Craig Cottam

          Because history has shown that the majority of polygamist relationships are one male top many females.

          • Rolla

            In NZ and in the majority of the world there are allready more females than their are males, so there should still be plenty to go around for everyone.
            Also I’m not sure on the number of gay men vs the number of lesbians, but I suspect there are more gay men than lebian women, so there should be an even greater number of women for each man.

            But I don’t agree that just because history suggests that many polygamist relationships have one man to many females, that this would continue in the future. There could theoretically be a group of females who all love each other and want to marry each other, or a female who wants multiple husbands at the same time (after all some women have multiple husbands over their lifetime already, who’s to say they wouldn’t prefer to have them at the same time?)

            History used to suggest the world was flat, how’s that theory going today?

          • Craig Cottam

            When did history ever suggest the world was flat? The Catholic church did but then what have they ever got right?
            Women outnumber men by about 50,000, sounds like a big number but it’s actually a small percentage. If polygamy was widely accepted then 1 man to two women for say 10% of the population would equate to 10% of men, theoretically, without wives a number much much larger than 50,000.
            I actually suspect there are more lesbians than gay men.

            You may well be right about the ratio of M/FF to MM/F evening up, I would suggest that this may be one of the triggers that may make it socially acceptable. In time.

          • Callum

            Are you seriously trying to say that the Catholic church was the only group that ever believed in a flat earth? I think you need to review a bit more of history, numerous civilisations have believed the earth was flat without the influence of the Catholic church. I think your anti religious stance is clouding your arguements.

          • seymour

            The story that Christians believed in a flat earth until Columbus’ time, and
            for some time thereafter, began as part of a fictional story that was elevated to
            historical fact by late 19th-century Darwinists who used it primarily
            as a means to ridicule Christians.

            The spherical shape of the earth was known to the ancient Greeks, who even made
            some good estimates of its circumference and, contrary to the claims of the flat-earth
            myth perpetuators, was never lost. One well-known example is Eratosthenes who measured
            the earth’s diameter fairly accurately in the 3rd century BC. Eratosthenes calculated the circumference
            using geometry to within 3.5% of the true value. The ancient Greek experimenters
            knew its shape by evaluating a variety of evidences, including the earth’s
            shadow during a lunar eclipse and the changing sky as one travels northward and
            southward. The ancients knew much about astronomy because they spent
            a great deal of time studying the heavens and stars for navigation purposes and
            because of their strong interest in astrology.

            Christian theologians, almost without exception, likewise accepted the fact that
            the earth is a sphere. The only two Christian writers known to have advocated a
            flat earth were a 4th-century heretic, Lactantius, and an obscure 6th-century
            Egyptian Monk, Cosmas Indicopleustes.
            Later, these two obscure and uninfluential writers were used as the prime evidence
            to prove that the flat-earth view was accepted by the Church as a whole—or
            at least by large parts of it.

            The myth that the Church ‘condemned as heretics all who claimed that the earth
            was round’ was ‘invented by two fabulists working separately: Antoine-Jean
            Letronne, an anticlerical 19th-century Frenchman, and Washington Irving.’ The 19th-century
            American writer Washington Irving was actually the first major promulgator of the
            flat-earth myth. In his very unreliable biography of Columbus, titled History of
            the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828), Irving wrote that
            it was the flat-earth believing churchmen who vehemently opposed Columbus’
            plan to travel to the Indies on the grounds that his ship would fall off the edge
            of the earth while attempting to sail across the Atlantic.

            In fact, those who opposed Columbus not only knew the earth was a sphere, but also
            had a good idea of how large it was—and this was the major reason
            why they opposed Columbus. Columbus and his men were not afraid of falling off the
            earth as Irving claimed, but of travelling so far from land in an unknown part of
            the world. They did not know the American continent existed, and, for this reason,
            Columbus’ critics correctly believed that a voyage to the Far East would take
            far too long and cost way too much. Unfortunately, Irving used many facts from reputable
            references to make his fictional account appear well supported, and, as a result,
            ‘the public was fooled into taking his literary game as history.’ A careful reading of Irving
            makes it clear that his ‘history’ was deliberately designed to make
            Christianity appear prejudiced, dogmatic and ignorant, and to make scientists appear
            as objective persons who were carefully weighing the facts and who, in the end,
            were correct. As Morrison correctly concluded, Irving’s account is ‘mischievous
            nonsense … . The sphericity of the globe was not in question. The issue was
            the width of the ocean,’ and on this question Columbus’ opposition was
            correct.

    • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

      Funny thing is that it is only in recent history marriage was limited to just 2 people.

      • Get a grip

        Would be very interested in the source information for this somewhat outlandish statement. Hopefully “we” are not rewriting history to make a point?

        • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

          Your name spoke my mind – if you need to ask that & assume it is an “outlandlish statement” then it would appear you clearly dont know much about this topic at all.

          Sources: bible (ironic given that polygamy is one of the reasons Christians oppose gay marriage) and plenty of scientists like Michael Hammer :http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14817-polygamy-left-its-mark-on-the-human-genome.html. Other interesting papers on the issue include http://www.ide.go.jp/English/Publish/Periodicals/De/pdf/97_03_04.pdf

          • Madeleine

            The Bible does not endorse polygamy. I challenge you to find one passage in the Bible where the writer refers to polygamy being a good thing or where a polygamous relationship causes no issues or problems in the narrative context it occurs.
            The Bible explicitly condemns polygamy in the law sections and in the narrative sections where it refers to it being practices there is always a negative context to it.
            Describing something is not the same thing as proscribing it.

          • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

            Considering that there are so many references to polygamy throughout the Bible, it was definitely accepted practice – even if not specifically endorsed by God.

            Matt 25:1 even suggests the Kingdom of Heaven is like a polygamist arrangement (10 virgins going to meet the bridegroom). If it was such an abhorrent thing then why would the Bible refer to it in such a loving context?

            Anyway, when I stated that marriage was only recently limited to 2 people I only referred to the bible in terms of accepted practice from way back.

            I dont consider something as contradictory as the bible to have any legal standing.

          • Madeleine

            It not being endorsed by God in the Bible was kinda my point.

          • Matt

            I see, you want to demonstrate your ignorance of Jewish wedding customs. The virgins are actually in this cultural picture the bridesmaids. Once again you show you don’t know what your talking about. Try and be informed before you rant.

        • http://www.facebook.com/goosoid Ben Lenihan

          Polygamous relationships were and are very common. Of course Muslims can have multiple wives in many countries and early Celtic and Gothic pagan societies all condoned multiple wives. Then there are the Mormon socities in the early United States. Alexander the Great had multiple wives. The Romans were quite unusual in the Ancient World in having single wives, although they did recognise divorce.

    • Jimmie

      Hmmmm a little question for you Rolla. If you only object to close family marriages based on the likelihood of genetic abnormalities in any offspring, would you also object to close family same sex marriages where there will be no offspring (homo incest)……or is that discriminatory against hetero incest??

      The mind boggles at the various permutations.

      The question I have is what is wrong with the status quo?

      Just emphasise that marriage is for a couple who are planning on having kids and tell everyone else to get a civil union or don’t bother with either as a lot do now.

      • Rolla

        As I pointed out it would be wrong for the government to say that people can’t have children. So the ban on familial marriage is scientifically reasoned. Clearly two guys, or two women can’t have a child without outside assistance, so I guess I would have to say their is no scientific reason for banning such a marriage. Which could be seen as discriminatory, but as its based on science, I can’t see how you could reasonably argue against it, unless you can refute the science. There’s plenty of laws that could be seen as discriminatory that are scientifically based, and they seem to be doing okay.

        Nothing is wrong with the status quo, I have no strong feelings one way or the other on the matter. All I was saying was that the ammendment proposed is silly as the origianl post points out, as it doesn’t go back to first principles and look at what if the law was written for the first time today it would be, and come up with a reasoned law based upon scientific and common sense reasoning.
        But obviously some gay people feel like they are discriminated against by not being able to be married, and who am I to say the way they feel is wrong? It doesn’t affect me if the law is changed, I can still get married just the same as before.

        Okay if we emphasise that marriage is only for couples who have kids, does that mean that me and my fiancee can’t get married as we may not be able to have kids due to her medical condition? Or could we get married, as we plan to have kids, but if we can’t it gets downgraded to a civil union?
        What about the thousands of couples who are married now and don’t have kids, would they also be downgraded to a civil union?
        Because if you’re saying that then you’re just being an asshole to those who can’t for medical reasons have children or don’t want children, to suit your narrow minded, bible based views, to grasp at straws to have a semi reasonable argument against allowing same sex marriages.

        To take your argument one step further, should we all be banned from having children till we are married too? How would you enforce this? Would it be compulsary contraception, or some sort of device that monitored people and shocked them if they were about to have sex and were unmarried?

        I guess it all boils down to personal choice, and as long as the personal choice of one person doesn’t affect me, then why should I complain about it? After all there’s a lot of bigger problems in the world than changing the marriage act.

  • Mully

    I do like that this blog will allow alternate viewpoints to be aired. I guess it shows the maturity to engage with others.

  • Alloytoo

    A cunningly crafted argument which basically boils down to:
    “We’re ok with prohibiting icky things, and if we stop prohibiting something we don’t consider icky anymore, we may well not consider certain things icky in the future, and ,heaven forbid, stop prohibiting them.”

  • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

    Ugh same ole same ole. Good grief! Even Christian lawyers cant get pass their own beliefs to assess the issue objectively. But then give their stint in the limelight I am not surprised.

    Like everyone else who objects to this issue, they still seem to miss the main crucial point: unlike incest & polygamy that will never be legal let alone get the support to argue for marriage equality, gay (male – there was no law against gay females) relationships are in fact legal. And they are going to remain legal. Forever.

    Thus to argue that the new Bill can be opposed on the basis of equality is a fallacy. There is no equality when it comes to things that are not legal.

    IF the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is amended to include incest and polygamy THEN the Flannagans would have a point. But it wont so they dont.

    So yes, in that sense the issue of gay marriage has plenty of similarities with the refusal to recognise the right of blacks to marry; unlike the Flannagans straw man argument, no one is suggesting the biologically impossible (a man being given the right to get pregnant). We are talking about something that is already legal and accepted as OK by most New Zealanders. And if they used this argument to in someone argue against the right to adopt – well then their apparent grasp of rational argument goes out the window because then they would of course have to substantiate that argument with claims that gay couples pose a threat to children. Which they dont.

    The other issue I have with this post, is their regurgitation of how gay marriage somehow imposes on them – or anyone who disagrees with homosexuality and/or gay marriage. They state “one cannot, therefore, impose it on others who do not share that view (but apparently one can impose the view in reverse)”.

    People like the Flannagans refusing to acknowledge the rights of gay couples to marry is a huge imposition on the rights of approximately 10% of the population – which incidentally, is almost on par with the population of Maori (14%). Yet gay couples – whether they are married or no, pose no imposition to the Flannagans (or people like them) any more than the relationship of every other stranger around them (one would assume they could not possibly be friends with a gay person).

    So the Flannagans et al can hang-wring & throw their clenched fists in their air (despite their calm tone and apparent rational approach, the fact that they have gone to all this effort clearly shows they are very bothered) about this as much as they like, but it wont change the inevitable.

    Gay couples should and will be give the right to marry because 1) they are legally allowed to be in a relationship with each other 2) the law says one cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation (says nothing about not being able to discriminate against incest and polygamy) 3) they are no more a threat to the fabric of society than people like the Flannagans. 4) they pose no more threat to ones marriage or de facto relationship that the relationship of all the other people you dont know.

    As for “Many people will undoubtedly respond with outrage and will apply derogatory labels to us over this blog post”

    This tends to be the monopoly of the anti gay/gay marriage brigade.

    • Matt

      You write “they still seem to miss the main crucial point: unlike incest & polygamy that will never be legal let alone get the support to argue for marriage equality, gay (male – there was no law against gay females) relationships are in fact legal. And they are going to remain legal. Forever.”
      Thus to argue that the new Bill can be opposed on the basis of equality is a fallacy. There is no equality when it comes to things that are not legal.”
      Actually there is no fallacy here:
      First, its not illegal to form polygamous relationships in NZ, nor is it illegal to form polyamorous ones.

      Second, the suggestion that its just to discriminate against something if its illegal does not work because currently discrimination against Gay marriage is legal. To criticize the law because it violates an alleged right to be equal and then claim the right does not apply to actions which are against the law makes little sense. Except to demonstrate the incredible flip flops needed to justify your position.
      Also if you push this line, then you can’t claim that its unjust to discriminate against homosexuals in jurisdictions where homosexual conduct is illegal in Iran homosexuals can be executed, seeing that’s the law your argument entails that this can’t be unjust discrimination, is that your view? I doubt it.
      You write “IF the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is amended to include incest and polygamy THEN the Flannagans would have a point. But it wont so they dont. ”

      The UN declaration of human rights contains no amendment for same sex marriage either. Article 16 It refers to marriage being between a man and a women and lists only race and religion as the prohibited grounds. So if lack of amendment for same incest means that its not unjust to discriminate against incestuous unions, lack of the same amendment for same sex marriage means its not unjust to discriminate against same sex unions.

      This argument also assumes that a right only exists if the UN recognizes it exists which is pretty obviously false. To justify the claim that a right exists you need more than “the UN says so”

      You write “So yes, in that sense the issue of gay marriage has plenty of similarities with the refusal to recognise the right of blacks to marry; unlike the Flannagans straw man argument, no one is suggesting the biologically impossible (a man being given the right to get pregnant).”

      Actually if you read the argument I did not say people were suggesting that Gay marriage was biologically impossible, the examples were used to show that sex discrimination and racial discrimination are not on par. *Several* examples were used, I also used the example of men’s and women’s toilets and it is biologically possible to share a loo. Try responding to the argument instead of attacking straw men.

      But for the record, on some influential definitions of marriage and consummation of marriage Gay marriage *is* biologically possible, so even if I had argued this ( which i didn’t) your argument begs the question against these definitions.
      You write “And if they used this argument to somehow argue against the right of gays to adopt – well then their apparent grasp of rational argument goes out the window because then they would of course have to substantiate that argument with claims that gay couples pose a threat to children. Which they dont. ”

      I don’t recall mentioning anything about Gay adoption or Gays being threats to children, so ranting about that is beside the point.
      As to my grasp of rational moral argument being apparent. Take that up with Otago Uni where I did a PhD in ethics, Waikato Uni where I did my Masters in Philosophy and the numerous peer reviewed journals and books I get published in and professional ethics conferences I speak at. They apparently have a different view of the matter.
      You can pretend those who disagree with you are morons and academically ignorant and sub par or you can address the arguments I made.

      You write:” The other issue I have with this post, is their regurgitation of how gay marriage somehow imposes on them – or anyone who disagrees with homosexuality and/or gay marriage. They state “one cannot, therefore, impose it on others who do not share that view (but apparently one can impose the view in reverse)”.

      Actually you need again to read carefully, what I said was that *if* the current marriage act imposes a particular view on marriage on people then the revised bill will impose a different particular view * in the same way*. That’s pretty obviously correct.

      As to “imposing it in reverse” that actually was my point, if imposing in this way is wrong then both the marriage act and the bill are unjust. If its not wrong then this objection to the marriage act is flawed.
      You write “People like the Flannagans refusing to acknowledge the rights of gay couples to marry is a huge imposition on the rights of approximately 10% of the population – which incidentally, is almost on par with the population of Maori (14%). Yet gay couples – whether they are married or no, pose no imposition to the Flannagans (or people like them) any more than the relationship of every other stranger around them (one would assume they could not possibly be friends with a gay person). ”

      Actually the 10% is based on Kinsey’s study, that figure is widely discredited majority of studies since show the figure of people with an exclusive homosexual orientation as closer to 1-2%.

      But this is irrelevant anyway the number of people who do something does not tell us anything about whether its right wrong or acceptable. I suspect the number of homophobic people is over 10% does it follow that homophobia is acceptable and we should not discriminate against it?
      The argument here also further illustrates my point, after all the number of people who are brother and sister is well over 10% so if the fact that over 10% of people are gay means Gays should not be discriminated against by marriage laws the fact that over 10% of the population are brothers and sisters means brothers and sisters should be allowed to marry. So again we just see inconsistency on your part.
      As to “posing no imposition on the Flannagan’s” your welcome to read the studies on the case law overseas which shows that when gay marriage is legalized, this does typically result in restrictions on the freedom of religious people to practice there beliefs. I can give you citations if you want.

      You write:”Gay couples should and will be give the right to marry because 1) they are legally allowed to be in a relationship with each other 2) the law says one cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation (says nothing about not being able to discriminate against incest and polygamy) 3) they are no more a threat to the fabric of society than people like the Flannagans. 4) they pose no more threat to ones marriage or de facto relationship that the relationship of all the other people you dont know. ”

      Thats all true of polyamorous relationships, so if the argument was sound it would prove my point.
      But as to 1) I addressed that above, the fact an action is legal or illegal does not mean its just or unjust. Moreover, Gay marriage *is* currently illegal so getting married is doing something against the law.
      2) The marriage act does not discriminate on the basis of “sexual orientation” it discriminates on the basis of sexual conduct. Not the same thing.
      Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition to attracted to close relatives so the law in fact *does* discriminate on sexual orientation by prohibiting incestuous marriages.
      3) is true of lots of things, I can’t think of many practices which pose a threat to society. Someone banging their sister doesn’t threaten to destroy society. Some one banging three women at the same time doesn’t, and someone banging a cow doesn’t, does that mean these things should be recognized as unions? obviously not.

      4) is similar, if someone commits incest or engages in polygamy that does not threaten my marriage either so if this slogan is a good argument against the status quo its a good argument against the bill.

      You write:”So the Flannagans et al can hang-wring & throw their clenched fists in their air (despite their calm tone and apparent rational approach, the fact that they have gone to all this effort clearly shows they are very bothered) about this as much as they like, but it wont change the inevitable. ”

      Actually, we wrote because I was invited to by Cam. Moreover, this is a clearly ridiculous inference. I write articles this length on various topics all the time. My blog at MandM has hundreds of them most of which have nothing to do with same sex marriage.
      I also write monthly articles this length on numerous other topics for a magazine. In addition I publish several o articles a year of much longer length in various journals and forum about ethics philosophy and theology, none of which so far have been on same sex marriage. So the suggestion that because I wrote one article its clearly some kind of obsession is very lame.

      All your doing here is proving the point that when presented with an argument certain defenders of same sex marriage respond by slandering people as hate filled or impinge there motives.

      “Many people will undoubtedly respond with outrage and will apply derogatory labels to us over this blog post”

      Yeah, right, defenders of gay marriage never claim those who disagree with them are hate filled, bigots and suffer from a “phobia” try not to tell obvious lies.

      • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

        Thanks for the reply Matt – I will overlook your smarmy tone.

        Re ” its not illegal to form polygamous relationships in NZ, nor is it illegal to form polyamorous ones.” OK, good point.
        But what about incest and bestiality? That was part of your argument too (including your reply re “omeone banging a cow doesn’t, does that mean these things should be recognized as unions”)!
        Re “Second, the suggestion that its just to discriminate against something if its illegal does not work because currently discrimination against Gay marriage is legal.”
        But it is NOT legal to discriminate against homosexuals. I fail to see how I would need to flip flop in order to quantify my point. The UN contradicts itself. How can one say the right to marry is only for man and woman and exclude same sex couples yet on the other hand say same sex people are not to be discriminated against?
        “So if lack of amendment for same incest means that its not unjust to discriminate against incestuous unions, lack of the same amendment for same sex marriage means its not unjust to discriminate against same sex unions.” No. The UN does not say that those in incestuous relationships, or those that love to have sex with children and animals have the right to be free from sexual orientation.
        Re “you can’t claim that its unjust to discriminate against homosexuals in jurisdictions where homosexual conduct is illegal in Iran homosexuals can be executed, seeing that’s the law your argument entails that this can’t be unjust discrimination, is that your view? I doubt it. ”
        Difficult to read given your lack of punctuation. But what bollicks – a real straw man argument there! Honestly. We are talking about NZ where it is homosexuality IS legal and it IS unjust to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. If you want to go down that road well then we can talk about how the Iranians hate women – especially vocal ones like your wife, and Christians! I wonder – has any of your research and publications talked about the discrimination against women, Christians & the continued practices of brutality such as female circumcision?
        There is simply no correlation between a first world democratic secular society that allows women the right to vote (oh and leave the country at whim!) and countries like Iran! Thankfully in NZ we have moved well beyond most of the antiquated ideals and torturous practices that can exist elsewhere. Gay marriage being one of the last things to be tackled.
        Gay adoption: I inferred you might be encouraging debate on that because your reference to pregnancy vs men
        I didn’t say that you were arguing gay marriage was biologically impossible. I said that your reference to it was a straw man argument. You cant possibly expect your reference to something as absurd as men getting pregnant to be seen as quantifying your argument!
        Toilets – if you want to get nonsensical, there are many toilets that are unisex. What about those? You’re the lawyer – is there is any law that says men & women must have separate toilets? And what are the exceptions? Do some public facilities have to have them more than others? What about the home? I suspect it’s a preference not something set in stone. The only reference I have seen pertaining to toilets is for child care facilities.
        Re ” The marriage act does not discriminate on the basis of “sexual orientation” it discriminates on the basis of sexual conduct”

        And that is the crux of the issue. Sex between homosexuals is not illegal in NZ whereas sex between adults and children, brother and sister, father and daughter/son, people and animals is. And will remain so.
        There has been an amendment to acknowledge gay sex is ok (men vs men – women vs women has never been illegal) so it IS “unjust to discriminate against same sex unions”.
        Re “we wrote because I was invited to by Cam” – given your wifes recent time in the spotlight I am quite amazed he did. He has a lot of guts. But dont take his invitation as validation. After all he has said “silly ideas should not be laughed at, not hidden…The more people see of intolerance the more they can oppose it and mock it”
        Re you blowing your own trumpet I assume you are obviously ruffled so for me, that is job well done (Take that up with Otago Uni where I did a PhD in ethics, Waikato Uni where I did my Masters in Philosophy and the numerous peer reviewed journals and books I get published in and professional ethics conferences I speak at.) .

        Re “Actually you need again to read carefully (marriage being an imposition).
        In your original post you state: ” It is argued that the Marriage Act presupposes a controversial moral position that homosexual conduct is wrong, which many people now reject in a pluralistic society. One cannot, therefore, impose it on others who do not share that view (but apparently one can impose the view in reverse).
        The problem is that the Bill also presupposes a moral position which many today reject: that consensual adult incest, polygamy and polyandry is wrong. Under this Bill the state will not recognise such unions even though some in a pluralistic society accept these practises. If this Bill passes then the new law will be imposed on others in the same way the present law currently is.”In one foul long-winded sweep you imply that this Bill is the start of a slippery slope to a society that accepts incest and polygamy as the norm – despite acknowledging that the legislators are not trying to push these issues and that Schedule 2 of the Bill says such relationships will still be prohibited under the Marriage Act.You then use this as the basis of your argument to state gay marriage will have a detrimental impact on us all.Re “your welcome to read the studies on the case law overseas which shows that when gay marriage is legalized, this does typically result in restrictions on the freedom of religious people to practice there beliefs. I can give you citations if you want.” – thank you that would be interesting. But only if there is no distinction between those societies and NZ. You have to compare apples – no point in reading citations that come from Iran or Texas!

        Ultimately you have presented NOTHING new. Your whole anti gay marriage argument rests on the premise that somehow gay marriage will open the door to one day legalising incest, bestiality & polygamy with the aim to get these ‘relationships’ recognised in the Marriage Act too.It is nothing short of scaremongering and evangelical dog whistling.What you don’t get or just don’t seem to care about is that this law pertains to a group of society who didn’t ask to be attracted to the same sex, who have done nothing wrong and who are sick of being marginalised just because of who they are in a relationship with.Your ease at equating same sex attraction with vile acts like incest is hateful. How can it be seen as anything but?You are telling people that who they are is wrong and that it will lead society down the path of eternal destruction.Trying to provide so-called secular arguments and then hiding behind them to justify your so obviously blatant Christian bigotry is laughable. The second you disregard someone’s right to marriage because of their sexual orientation you condemn them. And you have no right.You are merely a flawed man who, like us all, falls well short of the grace of God.To me your arguments (to use a loose definition of the term) amount to nothing more than the well-known hateful Christian mantra “love the sinner hate the sin). Love and hate for flawed human beings are mutually exclusive. And you Matt are telling gays you hate them.I would respect you more if you came out and said you disagreed with gay sex and gay marriage because you are a Christian (so long as you refrained from equating same sex attraction with incest & bestiality & that gays bring about the apocalypse).I would disagree as I have plenty to say on the issue of the 6-7 Biblical verses used by Christians to espouse anti gay rhetoric whilst simultaneously overlooking the thousands that declare God LOVES. But I would accept your faith.But this attempt at secular arguments coat in a bit of academia & legal snobbery – once I managed to work out where your sentences stopped and started and that “your” was actually meant to be “you are” just seemed like pure nonsense.The only reason why you disagree with gay marriage is because you dont like gay male sex. It makes you uncomfortable.But I bet the idea of gay female sex isnt quite so abhorrent.So since we are sharing reading I have 3 books to share with you: The Sexually Confident Wife by renowned Christian writer Shannon Etheridge, Love Wins by Rob Bell and What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancy.

        • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

          P.s Matt, I also suggest reading the Human Rights Commission’s paper on same sex marriage who, as a result, formally endorsed same sex marriage and a “non discrimination” approach to adoption (currently it is only single men that cannot adopt children).

          See http://www.hrc.co.nz/highlights/commission-endorses-marriage-and-adoption-equality

          • http://www.mandm.org.nz Madeleine Flannagan

            A non-discrimination approach to adoption? So what, all people, gay, straight, male, female, paedophile, should be free to adopt without discrimination…

        • Matt

          Sorry for the “smarmy tone” when people make insulting
          references to my wife it tends to not facilitate pleasant conversation.

          I still don’t see any cogent response to our argument in your comments
          1. Your first comment is that society does not consider polygamy to
          be acceptable. The marriage act however
          shows that currently society does not consider Gay marriage to be acceptable
          either. Hence by your logic its currently OK to discriminate against Gay marriage.

          As to incest and bestiality, try reading the argument, one
          reason “you” gave for SSM was that it does not destroy the fabric of society,
          and it does not negatively effect my marriage by point is banging a cow doesn’t
          do this either, yet no sensible person would claim this meant these things
          counted as marriage. The fact something does not harm my marriage says nothing
          about whether the state should recognise it as marriage.

          2. You point out the discrimination against people of homosexual
          orientation is illegal, that’s true. But it’s also illegal to discriminate
          against same sex marriage that’s what the marriage act which is the current law
          does. So if this argument provides grounds for SSM it also provides grounds
          against it. I could also point you to the philosophical inadequacies in the
          case for non-discrimination rights but that’s another issue.

          3. You state the UN states one should not discriminate against
          people of homosexual orientation. But as I pointed out the UN charter of human
          rights states that marriage is between a man and a women and does not list
          sexual orientation as a prohibited discrimination in the provision of marriage.
          It also states the rights in the Bill can be overridden on moral grounds at the
          end. So my point stands just as you can appeal to the lack of a prohibition on
          discrimination on the grounds of incest to justify discrimination against incestuous
          couples. I can appeal to the same lack of prohibition on discriminating against
          homosexual marriages to argue for discrimination against same sex unions.

          You note the UN contradicts itself. That actually reinforces my
          point. From a contradiction one can with equal validly infer contradictory
          positions. You were the one who appealed to the UN declaration of human rights not
          me. I myself don’t find the argument X is a human right because the UN says so
          a very compelling moral argument.

          4.Re Iran, sorry but shouting “bollocks” and “straw man” is not
          really a response ( you probably also should learn what a straw man is) your
          repeated argument was that the state can discriminate against practises that
          society finds unacceptable and makes illegal. That entails that if homosexual
          conduct is considered unacceptable and made illegal in a society discrimination
          against it is OK. You say this logic cannot apply to their world countries;
          unfortunately logic is not like that its validity does not have geographical
          boarders.
          Moreover, there is an obvious contradiction in this whole reasoning, in the SSM
          debate people appeal to a right to non discrimination as grounds for
          challenging various laws, when the counter examples to this right are provided
          the responses is that it doesn’t apply to actions which are contrary to the
          existing laws. Sorry can’t have it both ways.

          5 As to Gay adoption, your response shows again you simply did
          not understand the reference to pregnancy. The fact the words pregnancy occur
          in an article on SSM does not mean you can throw them together and make any
          statement you like. The point is again, that discriminating against someone on
          the basis of the sex is not on par with discrimination on the grounds of race
          for the reasons I cited.

          You state “You cant possibly expect your reference to something
          as absurd as men getting pregnant to be seen as quantifying your argument”. Actually
          that’s exactly how the valid argument of reductio
          ad absurdum works, you show that a particular position, in this case the
          claim that discrimination on the basis of sex is on par with discrimination on
          the basis of race, if true, entails absurdities, such as that its unjust to
          discriminate against men in the delivering of pregnancy services. Pointing out
          this implication is absurd only reinforces this argument. That’s the whole
          point, the implications of this claim is absurd, therefore it’s a false claim.

          Your comments about public toilets do not engage this argument
          at all. So what if some people have uni sex toilets, and so what if uni sex
          toilets are legal. None of that addresses my point which is that separate toilets
          for men and women are not *illegal *nor is are they seen as an outrage which they would be
          if it they were racially segregated toilets, ergo, discrimination on the basis of
          sex is not analogous to discrimination on the basis of race.

          6 “And that is the crux of the issue. Sex between homosexuals is
          not illegal in NZ whereas sex between adults and children, brother and sister,
          father and daughter/son, people and animals is. And will remain so.” This
          entails that anything legal should be recognised as marriage, just think about
          that for a while playing baseball with my mates is legal does it follow the state should recognise my baseball team as a marriage? Try not to make obviously stupid arguments.
          But again note the I have already addressed that above, your
          argument assumes that its just to discriminate against a practise if its
          illegal. Same sex marriage is illegal in NZ ergo by your logic its just to
          discriminate against same sex marriages.

          7. insults against my wife is not a rational response (
          especially when you don’t have a clue what your talking about) nor is calling
          something silly. Do a logic 101 course and you might learn about this thing
          called the ad hominen fallacy. As to the reference to “intolerant people” that
          assumes that opposing SSM is an unjustified form of intolerance, which is the
          issue under discussion. You don’t get to assume your answer is correct and then
          use it to rebut the claim that it is.

          8. No I am not “blowing my own trumpet” I was rebutting to your
          suggestion that I lack basic skills of moral and logical argument that’s a
          claim that’s pretty easily refuted. Similarly the suggestion I have a low IQ is
          equally false, again if you grasped the basics of logical argument you’d see
          that insulting people does not count as a valid response..

          9. You state “In one foul
          perverted sweep you imply that this Bill is the start of a slippery slope to a
          society that accepts incest and polygamy as the norm – despite acknowledging
          that the legislators are not trying to push these issues and that Schedule 2 of
          the Bill says such relationships will still be prohibited under the Marriage
          Act. You then use this as the basis of your argument to state gay marriage will
          have a detrimental impact on us all.” Actually the passage you cite to verify this says nothing of the sort, nor do we argue this at all, in fact in the
          three paragraphs under the title “Rejoinders to
          the Incest, Polygamy, Polyandry Argument” its made clear that this is not the
          argument we offer. Try reading carefully what other people say before you leap
          to conclusions about what you think they must be saying based on some preconceived
          idea. This goes for much of your responses.

          10.
          The case law I refer to is all from western
          jurisdictions the US and the UK . The international experience shows that when
          SSM is legalised people this inevitably results in clashes with religious
          freedom one example is a recent UK case which held that Christian’s cannot
          foster children unless that teach those children that SSM is morally permissible.
          Another was where a religious believer who believed homosexual conduct was
          sinful was fired for refusing to give marriage counselling to same sex couples.
          The most comprehensive study of western
          juristictions, “Same‐Sex and
          religious liberty : emerging conflicts” (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers) suggests that that
          conflicts with religious liberty are inevitable where marriage is extended to
          same‐sex
          couples. But your welcome to keep asserting that same sex marriage involves no
          imposition or restrictions upon the freedom of religious people. Just don’t
          pretend that claim is based on evidence, because the evidence supports the
          denial of the conclusion.

          11. as to the rest of your response,
          it consists of ignoring the arguments I gave, making speculative and inaccurate
          generalisations about that my real
          motives are “hate” and “feeling uncomfortable” accusing me of bigotry and
          suggesting that you can engage in biblical argument because you so on, none is a rational response.

          Finally the argument that if I think homosexual sex is wrong it
          follows I hate Gays is so ridiculously flawed it’s hard to understand why
          anyone takes it seriously. I think its wrong to steal does it follow I hate thieves
          and want to kill them all? I think its wrong to drink alcohol to access does it
          follow I hate my brothers drinking buddies?
          To suggest you can only show someone respect and love if you agree with
          everything they do is simply false. Its also incoherent, after all aren’t you
          saying discrimination against SS marriage is wrong. Obviously by your logic you
          must “ hate”. If some people are so insecure that they can’t accept any moral
          criticism without taking it as “hate” and persecution that says more about them
          than it does about me.

          • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

            Matt I think you should really ask yourself what the pay off is before you press post. The hole you have dug for yourself is so deep I cant even see your shovel.

            If you don’t like insulting references directed towards you and your wife (the latter of course based on a recent court ruling made very public) then perhaps you should both lead lives that do not invite criticism; people in glass houses should not throw stones. I started to read your post with an open mind, but after seeing your smarmy comments to others I could not help but respond in kind. As I recall Jesus didnt make friends by running people down and that is the tone you have used on here from the start (before I commented). I take particular exception to Christians assuming an air of superiority.

            My guess is that you are persisting with regurgitating your points because 1) my arguments have gotten under your skin or 2) you think you can outsmart me, that I am easy pickings. Problem with that though is when you identify yourself as a Christian you instantly lose any credibility – it is impossible for a Christian to effectively argue secular viewpoints.

            Irrespective of what your reasons are however, lets be clear about 2 things: we are not going to change each other’s mind and regardless of what you and your comrades feel, most people do in fact support gay marriage. This Bill is a shoe in.

            Thankfully, NZ society has changed a lot since 1955 and it is ready to accept gay couples as being as legitimate in every way as heterosexual couples. Just the same as it became ready for women to get the vote, for women to go to work and not just be housewives, for women to use contraceptive and for women to have the right to choose if they want an abortion.

            Values and the definition of what is acceptable evolves and unluckily for you, most people value and find acceptable what you clearly don’t.

            Basically I think your time as a pastor is far better spent trying to dismantle the ‘typical Christian’ stereotype than tip tapping away to me. As a pastor you are no doubt well aware of society’s general views of Christians; people who claim to have all the answers in life, that they are somehow more special than others, who assume they have been given the right by God to judge others, yet who often cheat, lie & gossip making them hypocrites and therefore, far removed from the standard Christ set. Everyone has a story about a ‘typical Christian’ as few walk the talk. So my suggestion is that you start changing this mindset by demonstrating love rather than misplaced judgment is what God is all about.

            I also think that in order for NZers to be convinced that your points have even a smidgen of substance, you are going to have to win over the HRC and people like Dr Margaret Mayman.

            Dr Mayman is far nicer than me though and I doubt she would be willing to give the views of someone like you oxygen.

          • Matt

            So basically just an insulting rant and no substantive response

          • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

            Your reply doesn’t warrant anything other than a telling off Matt. Like I said – you are a Pastor therefore meant to be a pillar in your community.

            You need to ask yourself what the pay off is when you decide – using your real name – to come on here and first, write a waffly nonsensical post opposing gay marriage under the guise of so-called secular arguments, then get defensive and rude towards those who dare to disagree with you.

            I am not sure you and your wife hounding those who oppose your posts like flies to dog poo does much to uphold the righteous stance you appear to take.

          • Matt

            “You can claim arguments against you actually support your viewpoint by default as much as you like, but the problem is that in order for this to hold true, one must first think that homosexuality is more akin to incest and polygamy than it is to unrelated one man/one woman relationships. And I don’t think that. Neither do the gay community. And the fact that people like you continue to suggest this is morally repugnant. Gay sex is as natural as hetero sex as far as I am concerned; the LGBT community do not have the monopoly on anal and oral sex.”

            Actually I addressed that very argument in the fifth fourth and third paragraph from the bottom of the article you “read with an open mind”

            Again, try actually reading the argument your attacking.

        • http://www.mandm.org.nz Madeleine Flannagan

          Which of my recent times in the spotlight are you referring to?
          - I cannot think of a recent one that is relevant to the soundness of my argument.

      • Alloytoo

        ” Article 16 It refers to marriage being between a man and a women and lists only race and religion as the prohibited grounds. ”
        Just to correct a fallacy here, Article 16 does not refer to “marriage being between a man and a women”
        Article 16 says:
        “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”
        There’s no mention to the nature of the marriage, or endorsement of a specific model. It only says men (plural) and women (also plural) have the right to enter into a marriage.

        • http://www.mandm.org.nz Matt

          First, that’s
          not a fallacy, a fallacy is a common error in reasoning not a mistaken claim of
          fact.

          Second,
          your suggestion that in 1945 that when they said “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race,
          nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.” They meant
          that men (plural) and women plural could marry is implausible, particularly
          given the phrase “found a family” which
          refers to procreation ( founding a family) this of course is prior to much
          modern reproductive technology where it would be impossible for men to found a
          family with other men or r women to found a family with other women. Its also
          suggested by the fact that the phrase “men and women” is used only in section
          16 where the discussion is marriage. When they refer to all men, (plural) and
          all women (plural) in any other section the words used are “everyone” and “no
          body” shall. The switch to “men and women” only occurs in the section in
          marriage. If they mean’t what you said the word “everyone” would have been used
          as it was everywhere else.

          I
          suggest a more plausible reading given the cultural context is that any man has
          a right to marry any women and found a family ( i.e. procreate). Attempts to
          say otherwise are attempts to impose in the text a meaning that was not there
          and hence retroactively re write a contract after it’s signed. I also suggest
          that if in 1945 the framers (which included a Catholic theologian Jacques Martian
          a mentor to Pope John Paul II) had meant what you half the countries of the
          time would not have signed it.

          This suggests that the common understanding
          of the signatories (which is what is binding in a covenant or contract) was
          more in accord with what I said than what you said. I also suggest the word “marry”
          had a common understanding that did not include same sex unions which would
          have been assumed by the signatories and framers at the time.

          • Alloytoo

            Matty

            Fallacy (Dictionary.com)
            1.
            a deceptive, misleading, or false notion, belief, etc.: That the world is flat was at one time a popular fallacy.

            Found

            1.
            to set up or establish on a firm basis or for enduring existence: to found a new publishing company.

            Found means to “establish”, a family can be as little as two people.

            It is a fallacy (2. a misleading or unsound argument.) to insist that procreation is a critical part of founding or establishing a family. A family is formed when two people choose to establish one (it doesn’t even require Marriage)

            “Everyone” could not have been used in the context for the simple reason that children cannot enter into marriage.

            Children can however (even in 1945) be adopted into a family.

            It is however the twenty first century and I reject your suggestion that we should base our cultural establishment on the misguided notions of bronze age nomads.

            I have no doubt that the fundamental intentions of the framers (if not the signatories) was empowerment of the individual and their right to happiness.

  • http://twitter.com/Orcs2Elves Monique Angel

    I have subsequently responded with outrage on my own blog :
    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2012/08/these-guys-are-putting-women-and-black.html

    I don’t know about polygamy but I wish I had me a wife to clean up after my household

  • Andrei

    This whole debate is nuts and it is sheer hubris that the Government thinks it has the right to change what is more or less a universal human institution.

    We do not want the Government blessing our relationships – we want the freedom to establish them without getting a bit of paper from the Government.

    The sole reason why the relationship between a man and a woman is publicly recognized is because of the children that are very likely to result from this union and this acknowledgement is the basis of establishing who belongs to which family and whom is responsible for who.

    Anybody who thinks gay “marriage” is a serious proposition in fucking bonkers.

    We are living in a culture that is committing suicide and you nongs are too fucking dumb to see that

    • Craig Cottam

      “The sole reason why the relationship between a man and a woman is
      publicly recognized is because of the children that are very likely to
      result from this union and this acknowledgement is the basis of
      establishing who belongs to which family and whom is responsible for
      who.”
      To say nothing of the rights those married people otherwise have, such as access as family member, taxation differences, the right to raise children etc etc.
      Without this “piece of paper who could tell who was married to who and when, or are you arguing for polyamory now.

      • Andrei

        To say nothing of the rights those married people otherwise have, such as access as family member, taxation differences, the right to raise children etc etc.

        Are you a mental defective? Nobody has the “right” to raise children. Everybody has the right to try and find an agreeable opposite sex partner and conceive and raise children with that person.

        And as for “visitation rights” utter bulshit, you can nominate anybody you like to be your next of kin. Funnily enough just at this moment there is an old homosexual man currently on his way out and my sister, who is a saint, has become his “next of kin” because being a homosexual he has arrived at the end of his life and he has nobody because he didn’t marry and raise kids. He needed somebody and my sister was the one who has picked up the ball here.

        Bottom line, if the average number of children produced per woman drops below 2.1 then that society goes into decline – It takes about three generations to show up.

        This is where we are at, the birth rate started to decline in the early seventies, the problems are starting to show up now.

        And instead of addressing this we are fiddling with nonsense – like gay “marriage”.

        • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

          “Are you a mental defective?” – charming. Hope that made you feel better.

          Re “you can nominate anybody you like to be your next of kin” – not quite.

          I think you are getting confused with power of attorney whether finances or health.

          Next of kin is widely assumed & expected to be a blood relative. A non blood relative can assume the role of next of kin but when it coms to switching of life support etc blood relatives can force and injunction until the issue is heard out in court.

          And then there is the issue of burying/cremating rights/rights to the body.

          Being married makes a lot of this go away as in most cases the court assumes that right belongs to the spouse.

          If you are in a de facto relationship they wont assume this and you will find your partner’s parents have more say than you.

        • http://www.facebook.com/goosoid Ben Lenihan

          “We are living in a culture that is committing suicide” – really in what way? I actually see an exciting multi-cultural, tolerant culture in the western secular societies that, if we manage it right, could lead to a golden age. In the past Golden Ages have mostly been linked with an open tolerant society that embraces interacting with different cultures and ways of thinking, such as Sicily during the Middle Ages and to a limited extent the early Ottoman Empire.
          Is your concern that we are less religious?
          “if the average number of children produced per woman drops below 2.1 then that society goes into decline” – Really? What evidence do you have to back that up? Is there a historic precedent? I doubt there has almost ever been a time when the fertility rate has been that low with the high infant mortality rates of the past. In fact, in terms of producing fertile adults, the fertility rate probably didnt exceed replacement levels before 1800, as the world’s population was about 1 billion for the vast majority of homo sapien history.

    • http://www.whaleoil.co.nz Whaleoil

      The government isn;t changing it you fool. It is a private members bill. Your first sentence lost you the argument right there…idiot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/goosoid Ben Lenihan

    This is pure sophistry and straw man arguments. It is obviously religious people tryoing desparately to find arguments to appeal to secularists while really just repeating the same moral based arguments.
    Incest is a scientific matter. It is well known that marrying someone too genetically close to you may lead to defects. Therefore, unless that science can be disproven, the law is logical.
    Polygamy? As a secularist I dont see any problem with it. If it is clearly consented to and there is no element of coercion (and someone is really crazy enough to try and keep 2 spouses happy) I dont see any problem. The law would in theory extend protection to a polygamous relationship through the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, though I have never seen a case on it.
    The only objections to polygamy or gay marriage is religious or just “I dont like it”. Whether you like it or not we live in a secular country with separation of Church and State.

    • Michael Ward

      Instead of merely asserting that the argument is a strawman why don’t you try demonstrating it?

      Did you miss this bit “Finally, pointing out that there are good reasons for not recognising
      incestuous, polyandrous or polygamous unions, actually proves, rather
      than rebuts, our argument.”?

      You not having a problem with polygamy is irrelevant. The legislation excludes polygamy and is therefore discriminating against polygamists, all the while claiming to about equality. That is what the argument shows.

      Even your claim to exclude incest on scientific matters isn’t a relevant response to the argument given. Sure, birth defects may result. So what? Who are you to legislate the risk away from others?

      I think you need to re-read the final two paragraphs and try responding again.

      • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

        “The legislation excludes polygamy and is therefore discriminating against polygamists, all the while claiming to about equality. That is what the argument shows.”

        Which again, makes their points irrelevant. Polygamy is illegal. Homosexuality is not.

        The new Bill does not discriminate against relationships deemed already legal and therefore, already acceptable.

        • http://www.facebook.com/Glenn.Andrew.Peoples Glenn Andrew Peoples

          That is not a bright thing to say. Having multiple sex partners is perfectly legal, just like having a same sex partner. Marrying multiple partners falls outside of marriage in law here, as does marrying your same-sex partner. Try to think before hitting send.

          • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

            You are right – it is incorrect. As Callum has stated below, polygamist relationships – which are another way of describing open relationships or extra marital affairs, are not illegal.

            So yes, in that sense, the argument to have the Marriage Act include polygamy bares some similarities to the quest for gay marriage.

            But unlike homosexuality and the right for gays to have the same rights bestowed upon them as their heterosexual counterparts, society (which has evolved greatly since 1955) still does not view extra marital affairs – whether open & consensual or not, as OK.

            In terms of polygamy it could be that society may want to review the Marriage Act again at some point in the future. But does that matter? How is polygamy any more harmful that men who cheat?

            At least the women in legally recognised polygamist relationships get more help with the kids & chores & know for certain who their spouse is sleeping with (although I suspect in even these kinds of relationships some men would still cheat).

          • Callum

            A polygamist relationship is NOT an affair or an open sexual relationship, it is more than two people living in the nature of a marriage. It is disingenuous to characterise it as such.
            It seems you are happy for society to discriminate against polygamy because society doesn’t accept it yet, but when members of society do not want homosexual marriage that discrimination is not acceptable? To me the legislation is discriminatory for the sole purpose of not being linked to the “where to next?” question. That question could see a lot of the supposed public support evaporate.
            Your sexism seems to be showing too, why do you only mention men who cheat? I know plenty of both sexes who can’t keep their pants (or skirt) on.

        • Callum

          Polygyny/polyandry/polyamory is only illegal if you register more than one marriage. It is not illegal to choose to live as husband, husband and wife (or the reverse) you just can’t be legally recognised as such. The choice of relationship itself is legal.

        • Madeleine

          I must have missed that law at law school. Which Act of Parliament makes polyamory illegal – there must be one since you said the Bill does not discriminate against relationships deemed already legal, therefore acceptable and the Bill does discriminate against polyamorous relationships.

          • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

            “Which Act of Parliament makes polyamory or adult incest illegal ”

            Did you not read what I said above. I agreed with the distinction between polygamist relationships (illegal) and trying to register them as marriage (which is illegal – prohibited – under the Act).

            The Marriage Act prohibits both and the Crimes Act states incest is illegal and will be subject to a term of imprisonment “not exceeding 10 years”.
            But then I suppose defending dodgy defamation cases is a little different to understanding criminal law

    • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

      People like the Flannagans are trying to get some credibilty by clutching at delusional ‘secular’ arguments because they know that their religious ones hold even less water.

      There is simply no basis – legal, religious (Christian since that is more prominent than any other) or otherwise, for the NZ government to continue denying 2 people in a consensual relationship deemed OK by the law the right to get married.

      • Madeleine

        So you are calling for an amendment to the Bill to remove the Schedule 2 prohibitions and amend the parts limiting marriage to being between 2 persons?
        Oh no that is right, sorry got it wrong, there apparently is a non-religious basis for denying a law change for people in a consensual 3+ person relationship, but not for any combo in a 2 person relationship, only you are not actually wanting to say what it is that permits marriage discrimination to be justified for those people.
        And I thought I was the one with a credibility problem ;-)

        • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

          Madeleine your attempt to assume some kind of intellectual superiority whilst simultaneously grasping at some kind of moral high ground does you no favours.
          You are trying to pick holes in what I have said just because I left room for the reader to make rather obvious assumptions.
          I dont have an issue with polygamy. I have an issue with adultery.
          And polygamy is a non issue – if people want to push for the Marriage Act to include them then why not. At least it is all out in the open. However, I would assume most men would much rather have affairs then add their mistress to their marital woes.

      • Matt

        More name calling and no substance.

    • Madeleine

      Interesting that you appeal to the science of genetics to back your support for marriage inequality for adult incest relationships that meet your standard ‘consented to with no element of coercion’ but you seem to forget the contributions science has made to contraception, abortion and even the potential for genetic manipulation, the existence of IVF.
      I put it to you that science could easily make incestuous marriage manageable in terms of the genetic defect risk in much the same as it probably does currently for those couples/groups presently living in our communities in committed incestuous relationships that are not state recognised. Further I am quite certain that the common law is up to the task in terms of the property law issues even if our legislators made a hack of it.
      I think really your objection to adult incest relationships is just “I don’t like it.”

      P.S. Asserting someone’s argument sophistry and strawman doesn’t actually establish the truth of the claim.
      P.P.S.The separation of Church and State is a Christian theological position so it is not like we Christians have an issue with it, although I submit that you don’t really have a handle on what it is and how it works as it is not a relevant thing to appeal to here – no one is suggesting that any church take over the running of the state, I certainly do not recall arguing that above.

      • http://www.facebook.com/goosoid Ben Lenihan

        Madeleine, I understand that distinction of Church and State very well, being a lawyer like you. And of course I know you are not advocating that the Church take over the State (yet).

        If science could provide genetic protection for incestuous relationships such that we could guarantee no genetic defects and the law allowed such genetic fiddling, then my objections would fall away. Do I think incestuous relationships are right? No, I do not. But I dont like a lot of things and I wish they didnt exist (for example, abortion) BUT there is a huge difference between holding a private opinion and asking for that opinion to be enshrined in law. For me that is the difference between an enlightened society and an oppressive one. It is the essence of tolerance, and bI am sure Jesus would be all in favour of it.

        The Church/State issue is that NO law can be made by reference to Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/Jewish values. Laws must be based on facts and evidence from the world around us and the minimisation (not elimination) of harm.
        I agree that asserting someone’s argument sophistry and strawman doesn’t actually establish the truth of the claim. But neither does using arguments based in sophistry or straw man scenarios.
        The logical progression from homosexual marriages to incestuous marriages is opaque and you are of course using the old slippery slope argument by suggesting they are on the same path. The same as saying that using cannabis will lead to heroin use, which also has no basis in fact.
        I am married and I dont feel that my relationship with my wife will be threatened by homosexual marraige or that it will lead to some moral disintegration of society. Even in my relatively young life I have heard that argument against homosexual law reform and prostitution law reform and funnily enough, society is still here and seems to be going OK.
        It is not up to me to justify why homosexuals can marry. The onus is always on the person wishing to take away freedoms and righte from another person. I submit you have not done that in a way that our legal system recognises.

        • Matt

          “If science could provide genetic
          protection for incestuous relationships such that we could guarantee no genetic
          defects and the law allowed such genetic fiddling, then my objections would
          fall away. Do I think incestuous relationships are right? No, I do not. But I
          dont like a lot of things and I wish they didnt exist (for example, abortion)
          BUT there is a huge difference between holding a private opinion and asking for
          that opinion to be enshrined in law. For me that is the difference between an
          enlightened society and an oppressive one. It is the essence of tolerance, and
          bI am sure Jesus would be all in favour of it.”

          But nowhere ddi we say we did “like” some
          practise. It’s that I think its wrong for the state to do it. Saying something
          is wrong is not the same as not “liking “ it. The phenomena of temptation
          occurs precisely because in many instances human beings actually find
          wrongdoing something attractive that they like to do.

          Its interesting that when confronted with a
          position you disagree with you choose to caricature it as though the writer was
          asserting society should not tolerate anything they don’t like. That premise is
          nowhere in the article above. Criticism is always better when it does not
          attack a straw man.

          Also I doubt a first century Jewish rabbi
          was really a 21st century liberal. The rabbi you refer to stated that John the
          Baptist as one of the greatest prophets at the time John criticising Herod for
          having a consensual incestuous union. I also remember him using a common Essene
          argument against polygamy to criticise the accepted legal practise of no fault
          divorce of his day and suggested that when people married after easy divorce
          despite the courts recognising them as marriage they were really not a valid
          marriage but adultery. So I am not sure which new -testament you are reading.

          “The Church/State issue is that NO law can be made
          by reference to Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/Jewish values.”

          That’s not the separation of church and
          state, it’s rather the separationist view on religion and public life which is
          a different thing. We have spelt this out before here: http://www.mandm.org.nz/2011/09/contra-mundum-separating-church-and-state.html

          As
          to the separationist view also not a view that I think is defensible the
          problems are spelt out here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-politics/ the basic problem is
          that there seems no reason why laws cannot make reference jewish Muslim or
          Christian values and yet can make
          reference to the values of various secular ideologies like Marxism,
          libertarianism and so on. Attempts to justify this have shown time and time
          again to involve special pleading. I summarised the problems in a lecture I
          gave at Auckland Uni last year http://www.mandm.org.nz/2011/08/a-godless-public-square-do-%E2%80%98private%E2%80%99-christian-beliefs-have-a-place-in-public-life-part-i-matthew-flannagan-theology.html

          You don’t get to simply assert a
          controversial and flawed position as though it’s given.

          “ Laws must be based on facts and evidence
          from the world around us and the minimisation (not elimination) of harm.”

          Actually you can’t get answers to what you
          ought to do from “facts” that’s known as the is ought fallacy. Facts alone
          cannot esthablish any normative conclusion from facts alone. Much contemporary
          meta –ethics is motivated by this very problem.

          As
          to the idea that the law is restricted to minimising harm. That’s actually just
          one particular philosophical view point, negative utilitarianism associated , its not self evident or given that view is correct. In fact there are
          numerous alternatives such as Kantianism, utilitarianism, virtue ethics even in the secular literature which are debated. You seem
          to think simply asserting some position counts as establishing it.

          “I agree that asserting someone’s argument
          sophistry and strawman doesn’t actually establish the truth of the claim. But
          neither does using arguments based in sophistry or straw man scenarios.”

          Saying you recognising that asserting
          something does not establish anything and then immediately repeating the same
          assertion is hardly compelling.

          “The logical progression from homosexual marriages
          to incestuous marriages is opaque and you are of course using the old slippery
          slope argument by suggesting they are on the same path. The same as saying that
          using cannabis will lead to heroin use, which also has no basis in fact.”

          Actually its not a slippery slope argument
          and we spelt that out in our paragraphs which states

          “Above we have offered arguments
          that reference incest, polyandry and polygamy. Note: we are not here making a
          prediction; our argument is not that if we recognise same-sex marriages then
          inevitably, at some point in the future, the state will pass laws recognising
          incestuous, polyandrous or polygamous unions.

          Rather, our point is that
          several of the major arguments for same-sex marriage employ premises which, if
          true, logically entail that incest, polyandrous and polygamous unions should be
          legally recognised; those who make arguments from equality, non-discrimination
          and pluralism are rationally committed to this conclusion.

          It is true that legislators are
          unlikely, in the present climate, to recognise such unions and do not advocate
          doing so – Schedule 2 being Exhibit A of the case in point. This, however, is
          the point, their actions in doing so show that their stance is irrational. When
          the topic is not same-sex marriage they recognise that these arguments do not
          work, and they do not advocate acting in accord with them. If they are to
          rationally advocate for same-sex marriage proponents need to offer different
          arguments – ones that are sound!:”

          So the only straw man is yours. We explictly stated we were not offering a slippery slope argument. Try reading the article before you criticize it.

          “I am married and I dont feel that my relationship
          with my wife will be threatened by homosexual marraige or that it will lead to
          some moral disintegration of society. Even in my relatively young life I have
          heard that argument against homosexual law reform and prostitution law reform
          and funnily enough, society is still here and seems to be going OK.”

          Not sure how this is relevant, first, we
          did not argue that anyone’s relationships with their wives would be threatened by
          same sex marriage nor did we claim it would lead to the disintegration of
          society, so rebutting this claim hardly addresses anything we wrote.

          Second, there are lots of practises which
          don’t threaten my marriage and don’t disintegrate society which never the less are unjust. If john
          engages in infanticide and kills his 1 year old child that does not destroy
          society nor does it harm my marriage, does it follow its just, no.

          ‘It is not up to me to justify why
          homosexuals can marry. The onus is always on the person wishing to take away
          freedoms and righte from another person. I submit you have not done that in a
          way that our legal system recognises “

          The problem here is two fold, First, failure to recognise same sex marriage takes
          away someones rights only if you assume that there is a right to same sex
          marriage, which of course is the issue under discussion, so all you do hear is
          assume your position and then use the assumption to argue for it.

          Second, the Marriage act does not restrict a homosexuals
          freedom to do anything, there is nothing in law which prevents two men renting
          a hall, having a private ceremony, exchanging vows, having sex, living together
          sharing property and so forth all it does is restrict the state from calling
          that marriage. Hence it’s the states freedom to call something marriage that is
          restricted not the freedom of homosexuals.

          Third, SSM does in fact restrict the freedom of others,
          there is a body of case law which shows that when legalised same sex marriage
          inevitably leads to restrictions on freedom of religion. For example a Catholic
          caterer who refuses to cater for a same sex marriage because they believe there
          religion requires them to not be involved in such a wedding can be prosecuted
          for discrimination. A church that rents out its hall for weddings is prosecuted
          if they don’t offer there hall to same sex unions cases like this have
          developed in almost every jurisdiction same sex marriage has been brought in
          and so on. So, given SSM, imposes restrictions on other peoples freedom your
          argument means the burden of proof is on them to establish a right to SSM
          exists.

          • Goosoid

            Thanks for taking the time to reply in such detail.
            Of course Jesus was against incest and polygamy and of course he was not a 21st century liberal. He was the son of God and therefore should transcend opinions of the time, shouldnt he? Do you think Jesus would have condemned gay marriages (“Do unto others…”)?
            I disagree with what a modern interpretation of separation of Church and State would mean. I know it started as a Christian theology to justify why the State shouldnt interfer with religion (which I 100% agree with) but I thnk now it is more to explain why religion has no place in the making of rules for a modern society.
            I know you didnt say that you didnt “like” same ex marriage but I was accused (by Madelaine) of not liking incestuous relationships because they are “icky”. By implication it was saying that this was a valid ground for objecting to a change in law and I was refuting that.
            I know you havent said explicitly what your objections are to same sex marriage and I realise (quite cleverly) that you are trying to use secular arguments against secular people. But I think you failed.
            Do you then refute any suggestion that you do see same sex marriage as the thin edge of the wedge and/or a threat to existing marriage? You have no objections on those grounds at all? I know for sure that you arent advocating the legalisation of polygamy or incest, so what is your point?
            You still havent address my point regarding the Civil Rights movement in America and its failure to also address homosexual rights at the time. Should that movement have halted because it didnt make sure everyone was included in that movement?
            At the end of the day, you believe in an absolute set of righst and wrongs and I dont. 11 years of religious education convinced me that religion was and is nothing but another way for the majority to oppress the minority. Not until we divorced law from religion have we started to see real freedom and for mesame sex marriage in another small step in that great journey.
            Are you sure a Catholic caterer could be prosecuted for refusing to cater a gay wedding? I am also a lawyer and I dont see how that is possible. Do you have examples or specific cases wher that has happened? Certainly a public servant could be prosecuted for refsuing to supply services to a gay marriage but I am not sure about a private company. No one is proposing to force churches to perform gay marriages.
            Spain, a far more religious country than NZ, has legalised gay marriages and I didnt notice society collapsing when I was in Madrid recently.

  • http://wasteddays2012.blogspot.co.nz/ SalParadise2012

    When I left Dunedin I figured I would never hear from Matthew and Madeleine Flanagan again. Good to see they are still plugging away for what they believe in (Even if I disagree).

  • Dr Wang

    I thought gay marriage was already legal? (Ref. Helun + Peter)

  • Random66

    Just clicked on your blog site MandM and was wondering what’s with the guns? I’m all for guns if you are a marine or even a police officer, but a pastor and a lawyer.. unusual.

    • Madeleine

      It is a play on the movie Mr and Mrs Smith.

      • Random66

        Thanks for getting back to me. Unusual movie for you to relate to as it was full of domestic violence. One minute they are beating the hell out of each other and then the next they are saying ‘I love you’. Mixed message…

        • Madeleine

          You’re reading far too much into the cultural reference :-)

        • Guest

          I completely agree Random. When you are a pastor there is definitely a certain image one should try and project. And anything that promotes domestic violence as OK, let alone in real life becomes the beginning of an affair, does seem contradictory.

  • Random66

    Cameron are you still up?? For some reason I can’t view all the comments. It seems to show only 60 odd and then it misses the rest. I can’t scroll any further. I haven’t encountered this problem before so it may be something to do with the new system and I haven’t figured it out yet. If I change the discussion order it drops off either the first few comments or the last few. Any suggestions what I need to do?

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  • jjw

    Actually, some of the proscribed relationships in schedule two seem kind of crazy to me. Why can’t I marry my step-grandfather, or my son-in-law? It’s not like they’re any kind of blood relation.

    I would like to reassure my son-in-law that this is a hypothetical question.

    J

  • LesleyNZ

    Totally agree with M&M. Choose another name for homosexual “marriage” because it is not the same as heterosexual marriage. It is different and will never be the same.

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  • AndyS

    As a Christian, I don’t see why marriage as at state recognized institution needs to exist at all. You’d assume that Adam and Eve were married – with no way of formally recognizing it. And I don’t recall anywhere in the bible where the institution of marriage was set up as a Christian institution.

    If state sanctioned marriage isn’t required by the church, why does it exist at all, and for what reason are we trying to amend something so unnecessary?

    The Christians can then do what they want to do (like baptist which isn’t state sanctioned), as can the Muslims, Secularist and Mormans.

    • AndyS

      Sorry, I meant “like baptism” …

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidjstormer David Stormer

    How many hours did you losers spend thinking this crap up while gay men like me are enjoying our lives? And I wonder how many hours do you spend blogging against the evils in this world like the love of power and money? You good folks and your critiques.

  • Edward

    OK, because legalising gay marriage is going to impact negatively on your marriage. Pull your head out of your ass and allow others to live how they want.

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