Dissent of the Day

A reader writes:

You may be interested to read [this article], which pretty well states why I think the gay marriage debate to be a waste
of time.

The article makes some interesting points:

Nothing in the gay-marriage debate adds up. Nothing. For example, gay-marriage rights are presented as a radical rallying cry on a par with the struggles for women’s suffrage or black civil rights, and yet they’re enthusiastically backed by such superbly un-radical institutions as The Times, Goldman Sachs and David Cameron. Politicians say they must do ‘the right thing’ on gay marriage, just as earlier politicians eventually did the right thing on giving women the vote, neglecting to mention that there has been absolutely no sustained public agitation, no leaping in front of the Queen’s horse, for the right of gays to get hitched. Self-selected gay spokespeople present this effort as the logical conclusion to their 60-odd years of campaigning for equality, overlooking the fact that a great many gay activists once saw marriage and the family as problems, and demanded recognition of their right to liveoutside of those institutions.

He may have a slight point there that there is no huge public outcry…but so what.

Well because apparently the support for marriage equality is elitist:

The reason the gay-marriage issue can feel like it came from nowhere, and is now everywhere, is because it is an entirely top-down, elite-driven thing. The true driving force behind it is not any real or publicly manifested hunger amongst homosexual couples to get wed, far less a broader public appetite for the reform of the institution of marriage; rather it is the need of the political and media class for an issue through which to signify its values and advertise its superiority. Gay marriage is not a real issue – it is a cultural signifier, like wearing a pink ribbon to show you care about breast cancer.

One of the most striking things about gay marriage is the disparity between mass feeling for the issue (which is best described as weak to non-existent) and elite passion for it (which is intense). All sorts of elite institutions, from political parties to massive corporations, are lining up to back the gay-marriage ‘cause’, clearly having sensed that it is the issue through which their kind can now make a display of their sanctity.

Ok so we now oppose equality because elites are pushing for it…riiiight.


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  • Pete George

    I don’t think it’s ‘elites’ pushing for it, but even if it was they deserve equal rights don’t they?

    But gay marriage is not a top down thing, gays are dumped at the bottom of the heap by some people, they have to fight their way up to equal rights.

    • Steve P

      “…they deserve equal rights don’t they?”
      Fail. Gays already have equal marriage rights.

      Since we’re citing articles, how about this one:


      “Explaining that you oppose gay marriage as a gay man tends to get a baffled response at first. This is understandable given how quickly the debate on gay marriage can collapse into allegations of homophobia.”

      • Rufus

         Thanks for that link.  He makes some good points.

        I challenge Cam to read it and rebuff it here, point by point.

        Bet he won’t.

  • Michael

    There are plenty of straight couples who don’t marry, yet there is no outcry (except the usual suspects.) Leave it open to the choice of those who want to marry or not.

    And churches can and do decide not to recognise marraiges – a divorced catholic who has a legal civil marraige (even in another church) is not considered to be married by the catholic church.

  • Grumpy

    This is a boring topic, only run by a few prolific one issue poofs (and whale). It is a distraction on this site and only serves to encourage nutters like kosh.

    Whale is in danger of losing his most loyal followers with this obsession.

    • Tracey

      I’m wondering if your going would really be a “loss”?

      • Groans

        I notice you don’t have any ‘likes’.  Maybe you’re the one who should take a hike.

      • Grumpy

        Thanks “groans”, i am far too modest to say that………..

    • Auto_immune

      You have to admit though, posts about the topic generally get more comments than most others posted on the same day (even if some are simply saying it’s boring).

  • Sadu

    I don’t accept it’s an equality issue – it’s a discussion about the meaning of a word.

    What was brilliant about the civil union laws was that it gave the exactly same legal rights to gay couples, and managed to sidestep the uncomfartable discussion of marriage that is happening now. Frankly I don’t care which way this turns out, so long as it doesn’t become a anti-smacking-sized distraction when there are more important things to be done.

    Anyway, where things have come unstuck was the choice of word. Civil union. It’s not a verb, so you can’t conjugate the fucking thing. The following statements all make you sound like a cock…

    – We got civil unioned on the weekend
    – I’m going to civil union the love of my life
    – I’d like you to meet Steve, my civil union partner
    – I now pronounce you, civil union partner and civil union partner!

    Whomever came up with this term gave no thought beyond the legal document and how it could actually be used in everyday conversation. It’s a huge fail, because civil union couples have no words available to describe their relationship. Personally I have trouble forming coherent sentences around the term. I’d be up in arms too if I had to deal with this on a daily basis.

    • Apolonia

       There were only two things wrong with the anti-smacking law.
      1) What it does do. Turns good parents into criminals.
      2) What it doesn’t do. Stop child abuse.

    • Bryce

      Interesting point (regarding conjugation) however it really
      identifies a functional problem with the name applied to the civil union
      legislation, and is not (as I’m sure you agree) an argument justifying the
      redefinition of a long-held cultural tradition enshrined in law.


      As far as it not being an equality issue – agreed. I suspect
      however that (for those actively and fervently pushing the barrow) it is not
      simply an issue of socially awkward terminology, either. I mean – come on! How
      do gay couples introduce each other? “Hi, I’m Bob and this is my husband, Doug”;
      or are they more likely to refer to their other half as “partner”?


      There is an agenda, I believe. This is about redefining the
      common meaning of what is a cherished heterosexual and familial cultural
      tradition. Some might argue that the ambition goes even further, and is about ultimately
      about redefining the role of family as recognised by the law.

    • BJ

      So they need to invent another word – and leave marriage that heterosexual couple identify with. It is not about equality at all – its only about hijacking another groups identity.

    • Agent BallSack

      Simple. Anachronise it (I made that word up too). I got CUed on the weekend. Meet Steve, My CUe. I’m going to CUe my partner. I now pronounce you sCrUwed.

  • BJ

    I do believe this debate is going nowhere until everyone is on the same page as far as defining  ‘equality’. 
    Gay rights fort  – and won the right to their own identity. They fort and won the right to ‘marriage equality’ – that is, Civil Union (equivalent right for the group that they identify with).

     What they are now arguing is really that they want to ‘Identify’ with the group that are called married. But they will never identlfy with the married group –  this concept signifying that one and the same object corresponds to itself in ALL its features”- so it is nothing more than a  notion of equality that is just a convenient slogan going nowhere. ” Gay couples can’t possibly identify with ‘marriage’ as defined.  The only thing that would be accomplished by persisting with this debate would indeed be the destruction of the identity of the married group. And, yes that does point to this being elitist and politically driven.

    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has an article concerned with political and social equality – first of all defining this “highly loaded and highly contested” concept of equality.

    • Pete George

      But it’s not equal. A hetero couple can have a civil union, or get married. A homosexual couple don’t have the same options available. Civil union is like a cabbage marriage, a special second class version for those that aren’t allowed to do the real thing.

      • cinematic

        Marriage is the union of a man and a woman. Civil Unions are a new construct to recognise those same interests for same sex couples. And I think it’s great, though poorly named as Sadu explains. The fact hetero couples can ‘civil unionise’ is a red herring.

        You might be able to advance an argument that ‘marriage’ is sexist. But really who cares?

      • BJ

        Oh how sad – life really isn’t fair for all of us one way or the other don’t you know! Next thing homosexuals will be complaining that they want medical intervention so  two men can conceive and make a baby so they can be called Mother and Father. What they are harping on about is just not valid. All of life is about choices and the consequences of those choices. A homosexual has chosen to have a committed relationship with another of their same gender so as I pointed out before – they don’t as a couple get to identify with the group that get ‘married’ –  as a consequence of their gender choice.
        What we all have – if we live in a decent society- is to make choices about the way we live our lives – surely that is all that should concern those that have chosen a path not of the norm. Or are just a few gay ‘rights’ advocates more concerned with what every one else thinks that they think a ‘marriage’ will make them any more respectable in society?

      • Peter Wilson

        Civil union is like a cabbage marriage, a special second class version for those that aren’t allowed to do the real thing.

        Have to agree here PG, to a point. I don’t think civil union is a second class version of marriage, it is simply reserved for those not allowing themselves the real thing.

      • BJ

        Marriage is a word that means much more than two men in a union can ever bring to it. So no they can’t ‘do the real thing’ because they cannot identify with the ‘real thing group’ if they don’t belong to the group. This bulls..t debate has nothing to do with equality – its a conveniently highly charged misused emotive word

      • Rufus

         What a way to offend all those who conscientiously chose a civil union instead of a marriage.

        “cabbage marriage”.  Nice one.

  • We all seem to want equality here.  Cameron, you make the point that any outcry is now and will be muted after the obvious happens.  Civil unions don’t happen much, and I doubt that gay marriages will either.  Only gay people should be qualified to vote for it one way or the other.  That is what we need, a survey of gay people.  Except .. they don’t wear badges do they .. they are in every walk of life, beside you every day, but you can’t be sure ….

    Ha Ha Ha !!!!!!

    • Bryce

      I can’t agree that only gay people should be allowed to vote for the legal redifinition of marriage! After all, what is being sought is the redefinition – the cultural reform if you like – of a very old, established, and cherished heterosexual tradition!

      • Evan Johnson

        I thought we were discussing marriage or civiil unions as they affect gay people.  It should not be the business of the rest of us, surely?

    • Bryce

      In reply to Evan Johnson (incidentally, I accidentally
      clicked “Like” in an attempt to reply to your comment. Not sure why I
      can’t reply to it explicitly).


      Evan – If by “our” you refer to heterosexual couples and
      married people, then it is “our” business because those agitating for this
      political change are seeking to redefine “our” cultural, traditional,
      institution of marriage – which is by definition a union between a man and a


      Frankly, I cannot believe that you are seriously
      suggesting that a minority group should be allowed to vote exclusively on an
      issue that primarily affects a majority group, in order to forcibly redefine
      the meaning of a traditional practise (marriage) enshrined in law that effectively
      belongs to that majority group. This is an issue of rights all right, but not
      as it is being portrayed by those pushing the agenda. We should actually be
      concerned about the right of heterosexuals and their families to retain the
      long-standing tradition of marriage in the form that it has always had, and was
      always intended to have.


      Your suggestion is akin to suggesting that the rules of
      rugby should be redefined by disabled rugby players in wheelchairs so make the
      game “wheelchair friendly”, and that only disabled rugby players should be able
      to vote on whether or not the rule changes are implemented. The fact is that
      disabled people can and do play “rugby”, however in practise it is a very
      different game.

  • Bryce

    Homosexual couples already have the same rights in law as
    married and de facto heterosexual couples. The “gay rights” angle in the “gay
    marriage” debate is a dishonest ploy. Marriage is a cultural and religious
    tradition, and by its very definition is a union between a man and a woman. The
    claim of a homosexual couple to be married is no more valid than a dog claiming
    that it is a cat.


    What is wrong then with the civil union? It is, for legal
    and bureaucratic purposes, no different than marriage. The answer to this quite
    reasonable question follows:


    Homosexual marriage requires the legal, and cultural,
    redefinition of marriage. This is the real agenda, and in my opinion if one
    fails to recognise this then one is being intellectually dishonest with


    • Evan Johnson

      Marriage is NOT a “cultural and religious tradition”.  It is a contract in secular law!
      The religious activity that accompanies a marriage contract is pure ritual.
      It is the signing of the register that determines the status of the individuals concerned.

      • Rufus

         hmmm.  Maybe it is both.  Marriage rituals and traditions were around well before “governments” decided to get everyone to register them as such.

      • Bryce

        This doesn’t qualify as a “chicken or egg” debate, Evan. Marriage – the cultural and religious tradition – predates “secular law”.

  • It’s a good article.  Supporting “gay marriage” is the new barometer of moral decency, probably a bandwagon jumped onto by those whose morals are questionable, to say the least.  And then, as a by product, traditional marriage is being devalued, to the point where the British Government is considering removing the words “husband” and “wife” from the official documents.

    So, no, we should not be against “gay marriage” because the elites are all for it, we should be against it because it’s wrong.  Your moral sense of right and wrong has been corrupted by sentimentalism, where your feelings are overruling your reason.

    • Evan Johnson

      Gay marriage is only wrong for heterosexual people, surely?

      Would you want gay people in heterosexual marriages?  There is ample evidence that this does not work !

      •  Evan,

        Right and wrong are absolute.  If gay activity is wrong for heterosexual people then it’s wrong for gay people as well.  Likewise with marriage.  Otherwise we have this thing called moral relativism which means x, y, z is wrong for me, but not for you.  Which is not how moral behaviour works, otherwise anyone can justify anything as being right for themselves.

  • JJ

    Congratualations whale, first sensible thing about this issue I have read on your site, albeit somebody elses link. This is nothing more than a disconnected liberal elite forcing its morality (or lack thereof) on everybody else.

  • Whalehunter

    Calling something marriage does not make it marriage. Marriage is and always has been a covenant between a man and a woman with the purpose of procreation and education of children and unity and wellbeing of the spouses.

    The promoters of homosexual “marriage” are proposing something entirely different. A union between two men or two women. This denies self-evident biological, physiological, and psychological differences between males and females which find their complement in marriage. Also denied by the concept of homosexual marriage is the specific primary purpose of true marriage: the perpetuation of the human race and the raising of children.

    This PC power struggle by yet another “offended” minority is getting old fast!!Two entirely different things cannot be considered the same thing.You’ve got the same rights now harden the fuck up and find your own word, cause you can’t have our’s!

    • Evan Johnson

      Whalehunter – lots of people marry with no intention of having their own family.  

      Unity and wellbeing is fine and of course monogamy is an ideal that makes great sense in a world of HIV and the like.  From this point of view, marriage contracts for both homosexual and heterosexual couples makes great sense.  Think of it from the point of view of the health system.

      Your ramblings Whalehunter belong to yester-year – long before we realised what homosexuality is.

      • Rufus

         “long before we realised what homosexuality is”

        – yes, because homosexuality has only been around for 50 years…

        Actually, you’ll find it has been around for as long as people have.  And the majority of cultures historically have condemned it.  It has never before been mainstream and acceptable.

        But hey folks, just wait till after work tonight, and Kosh will settle the issue for us all.

    • Groans

      Liked.  Right on man!

  • Peter Wilson

    Do we know how rank and file homosexuals feel about gay marriage?

    What evidence is there that it is supported by anyone but the activists who think they know what their people want. I would have thought many would not want to go anywhere near it. It’s like surrendering to the enemy.

    Or perhaps it’s just the homosexuals that secretly yearn for the security of a heterosexual relationship – which is probably most.

  • MrV

    This issue is completely silly. It’s essentially an argument over the use of a word.

    The best thing to do would be to get the state out of the marriage altogether. It should go back to how it was in ancient times of a mutual agreement between two private parties.
    That way if a particular church doesn’t want to marry gay couples it cannot be forced to, but other churches may decide they will marry gay couples etc.

    • Peter Wilson

      Have to say Trevor Mallard’s view on this has some logic. He says all “marriages” should be civil union, and then churches or whoever can add their own stuff to it.

      If I was a church goer, this would appeal to me. I’d be brassed off at the people that get married in churches, but never set foot in one otherwise.

      Bit like the cantabs that want the cathedral saved, but have never been in it.

      • Agent BallSack

        Trevor Mallard only says that because his idea of a marriage is Helen Clarks shammarriage.

      • Bryce

        I thought
        that the idea had merit at first, but then as I thought about it a bit more I
        went off it. Why?

        Because all
        couples already have the same rights and protection in law. Again, by removing
        the institution of marriage from law we are pandering, unnecessarily, to the
        homosexual activists who claim to want equality, but (as they already have it)
        actually want something else; namely the normalisation of their lifestyle via
        the cultural dilution and redefinition of the meaning of the heterosexual union.

    • Bryce

      Nice idea – but you can’t get the state out of anything these days, and certainly not your relationship (although interestingly the state refuses to recognise it for tax purposes). In the eyes of the law, co-habitation for three years or more constitutes marriage.

  • jay cee

    enough of this subject if you please WO. as you can see everyone (myself included) have made up their minds or have pre set opinions and are not going to be swayed to the other side no matter how eloquent the arguement.

    • Peter Wilson

      Agreed. The consensus is clearly that the status quo be maintained, so as JayCee says, there’s nothing further to be gaining by additional submissions.

  • Tim

    Is this whole issue not more about the church accepting gays?

    • Tim

      to add to that…

      If not it really would seem that it is an argument about about trying to alter/change the definition of a word…