Marriage vs civil union

An excellent editorial from The Southland Times:

Among the arguments against same-sex marriage is that gay couples can already have all the protective status that marriage does under law.

Conservative gatekeepers are saying cannot we keep our version of marriage intact and allow gay civil unions to exist in a legally parallel, but distinct, state?

Does this sound at all familiar? A good deal of this rhetoric has similarities to the “separate but equal” thinking used to justify apartheid and racial segregation. Admittedly, in those cases, the “separate” was far more emphatically enforced than the “equal”, but the comparison is not lightly made.

Within existing law there’s still an element of requiring gays, like the blacks of US southern states, to sit at the back of the relationship bus, where they belong. They still get to ride on the same journey as the decent folk, so what’s the problem?

So is the rather too expansive appropriation of marriage as a state between man and woman – case closed. We are advised to consult a dictionary: “The legal union of a man and a woman in order to live together and often to have children,” says Oxford.

Yes, well, voting was once the right of men alone; to be gay was to be happy and carefree. Dictionary definitions do change over years, as society does.

Next question is whether marriage is inherently a religious state, entered into by those who do so as a particular act of faith in this being God’s will. In which case, the argument is akin to saying that the defenders of heterosexual marriage are simply asking to keep this state distinguishable from others.

But consider this: Christians, Muslims, Hindus and many other religions have held sharply different views on whose marriages were truly sanctified in the eyes of God – and whose weren’t.

Even within faiths, exclusivity was at times entrenched. Catholics and Protestants haven’t always seen eye to eye on the status of each other’s marital unions.

In hindsight, should each of these religions, and denominations, have held firm to protect the status of marriage as a closed-ranked holy huddle? Surely not.

Those for whom marriage is special for what it excludes, rather than for what it embraces, are becoming proportionately fewer.

New Zealand should be ready for gay marriage. We hope it is.

Countries that have introduced gay marriage laws have not seen a reported corrosion of the state of heterosexual marriage. For its part, New Zealand has survived homosexual law reform and civil unions without evil social consequence. Those who argue otherwise are looking in the wrong place for their scapegoats for what few would deny to be problems of parenting.

Our problem is too few true, utterly committed, unions of loving couples.

We need more marriages. More commitments that aspire to a way to declare something more than a letter-of-the-law legal status.

Unions whose participants want to live a married life; not just something that technically runs parallel to it.


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  • Andrewo

    That is the worst possible ‘straw man’ argument I’ve ever heard!

  • The first same-sex marriage law was signed in December 2000 in the Netherlands, the country where old people are afraid to go to hospital just in case some medical person decides their life is not worth living, and kills them without their consent. Funnily enough, we are already debating euthanasia again, here in NZ.

    All these sorts of things are linked, because they attack human life.

    Give the Netherlands another 10 years and we’ll see how far their society has devolved. These things take time – the sky doesn’t fall straight away. It’s more like a black hole.

    • LesleyNZ

      Very true about the Netherlands.

      • Yeah, I have a friend who was a nurse there and still keeps in touch with other medical people.

    • Rodger T

      Is that the False Cause argument or the Slippery Slope argument or tho` it could qualify as the Bandwagon argument or even the Composition/Division argument ,possibly the Appeal to Emotion argument?
      Maybe we can get Whale to pass judgement?

      • Brilliant! It was funny to read Dr Ethics Flannagan (but with no concept of ethics when talking about the gay community) argue his way around the straw man, slippery slope and other “logical fallacies” on his so-called critique of gay marriage the other day.

    • Gayguy

      It is people like you who attack human life by devaluing people because they do not fit what you approve of.

    • Goldie

      Lucia Maria: “The first same-sex marriage law was signed in December 2000 in the Netherlands… All these sorts of things are linked, because they attack human life.”
      Huh? How are gay people marrying an attack on human life? Seriously.
      For example, has the murder rate has increased because of gay marriage in any country?
      Last year, 232 gay couples in NZ went into a civil union. Can you please explain how these couples have “attacked human life”?
      Thank you Lucia Maria. I look forwards to your response.

    • grumpy

      You are absolutely correct, Lucia Maria.

  • Andrei

    Lol – Whaleoil echoing talking points from the party central committee blissfully unaware that he is a useful idiot for the progress of Marxism and its agendas.

    • The Baron

      THE SKY IS FALLING! RUN FOR THE HILLS! oh hold on, no guidance as to which hills to run to in the good book… prayer session time! THE GOOD LORD WILL PROVIDE US COMPLETELY UNAMBIGUOUS ADVICE ON HOW TO DEAL WITH EVERY SITUATION!

      Waiting, Lord… waiting…

    • It is the words of Satan speaking through me didn’t you know?

      • nasska

        Have a look in the Yellow Pages for your local branch of Exorcisms R US.

        • He doesn’t need an exorcism, he just needs Confession.

          • Gayguy

            Read the parts of the Bible yet about loving everyone Lucia?

          • grumpy

            Yep, so had the teacher at Kaitaia……

      • You’re having fun with this, aren’t you!

      • Rodger T

        I continue to be astounded at the ignorance and superstition exhibited here ,by a few commenters ,exists on scale not seen since the dark ages.

      • Redneck

        Lucia makes a good point in relation to the Dutch accelerating their hell in a hand cart status.

        The Dutch lowered their age of sexual consent to 12 a few years ago. One of the biggest organizations arguing for such a change was the “Dutch Association for the Integration of Homosexuality” – the oldest gay rights organization on the planet and one of the largest in Europe, quaintly known by the Dutch acronym as “COC” . . . and of course, the biggest advantage of setting 12 as the age is that it includes children on the cusp of puberty – a chance to violate the ultimate manifestation of innocence.

    • Goldie

      You earlier claimed that the purpose of marriage was procreation. I asked whether that meant that elderly or infertile people couldn’t marry, but I never saw your answer. I am still interested in a response from you.

  • James

    And the bigots are off and running with their extremist nonsense…..uggh.

  • cows4me

    No gays don’t want to sit on the relationship bus they want to own the fucking thing. It’s been said before. A marriage is between a MAN and a WOMAN and it always has been, what’s so fucking hard to understand. Gays want the word, it’s the holy grail. The rest is window dressing. If they are not happy with “civil union” I suggest they hold a competition to come up with a new word that covers their relationship, what’s the fucking bet it will be “marriage”.

    • Gayguy

      Awww poor hater. Deal with it Cow, equality is coming and people like you can bugger off.

    • chwaga

      They have its “gay marriage” or “same sex marriage”

  • Agent BallSack

    This thread will shortly be filled with a whole bunch of bigoted fucking tossers I am guessing…Oh wait. It already is.

    • Oh but Agent saying same sex attraction/relationships are abnormal, akin to incest & child molestation is not hate speech, it’s not judgment, it’s not marginalising a group of people that have done nothing wrong – it’s the truth said in love?! :-)

      Or so they keep regurgitating time & time again…..Thomas Fuller was on the money when he said “He that knows little often repeats it”!!!

      Thankfully the Bill is a shoe in so all their comments will become even more irrelevant than what they are now.

  • phronesis

    Anyone else think it’s hilarious that a newspaper editorial can raise the issue of “separate but equal” and apartheid and then pretend that its relevance to NZ society is homo marriage. Where’s Hone when you need him…

  • Vlad

    There has been a lot of interchange on this topic on this & other blogs. This editorial is maybe the best, most sensible and compassionate exposition of the fair case for encouraging commitment that I have read. Good on Invercargill, WO, please declare a moratorium on bagging Southland for at least a week.

  • Get a grip

    Seems the Germans might have it under control. But of course they will get derided by the emotive Pro lobby.