Guest Post: Dover_Beach – What is Marriage? A Reply to David Leyonhjelm

In the Australian Financial Review (13/7/14) – you can find a copy of his essay here – DL outlined his argument for removing the qualification that marriage is exhaustively a relationship between the sexes. What is his argument? Well, it is actually difficult to grasp.

He begins his essay by comparing ‘arranged’ marriage with ‘modern’ marriage and invites us to consider how the former is any different an interference than our existing situation where marriage is defined as a relationship between the sexes. He presses this claim by then arguing that just as arranged marriages might have been a norm of the past, so too now can we say that marriage being a relationship between the sexes is also a norm of the past. However, what DL fails to do is distinguish between aspects of marriage that are accidental/incidental (changeable) and those that are essential (unchangeable).

The implication of his argument is that any and all aspects of marriage are accidental/incidental. Indeed, he says in one passage that “human societies have had every form of marriage imaginable”. But what is the form, marriage, he is talking about that remains unchanged while other aspects change or ‘evolve’? If there no essential characteristics to marriage, then how could we identify – or fail to identify – marriage in this or that historical period or different culture despite all these incidental changes? On this he remains silent, even suggesting at the end of the essay, “If there are to be ‘definitions’, let them be drafted widely” as if any definition is onerous and restricting. But why? I will answer that shortly.

The next move of his argument, however, is strange indeed. Having argued that marriage has taken every ‘form’ imaginable he then declares that Roman law has an important lesson to teach us: that marriage is private. Wait a minute, his argument so far was simply to say that marriage was, so to say, this in Rome,that in Athens, and so in. How, then, could Rome have anything to teach us about marriage now even if we do accept arguendo that marriage was simply a private matter in Rome two thousand or so years ago (it wasn’t, that is why concubines were subordinate to wives in Roman law)? All we could say is that marriage was a private matter in Rome then (though it wasn’t); not that it should be in Rome or anywhere else now, or that marriage per se just is private.

At one point in his essay he turns up the rhetorical dial to eleventy when he writes that laws defining marriage as a relationship between the sexes are akin to past common-law restrictions on marriage between different religious confessions or races. But, again, not only does he not present an argument which shows that these restrictions are similar -they’re not – he completely misses the point that Jews, Catholics, Protestants, whites, or blacks could marry among themselves and that they were recognized as marriages by all. The analogy is simply not there. And the simple fact that they could marry among themselves suggests that any restrictions on marriage between Catholics and Protestants, and so on, had nothing to do with the nature of marriage itself at all.

To put it bluntly, DL’s argument is incoherent. Its plausibility depends upon a sustained equivocation about what marriage is by repeatedly referring to various incidental changes to marriage that give the illusion that marriage itself has changed over time or was different fundamentally in certain places. Truth be told, DL is not concerned with marriage at all, he is concerned simply with relationships; he is noting that historically and culturally there have been different forms of adult relationship.  And there have been, who would deny it? But so what? Moreover, what else explains his reluctance to define marriage? What is at issue here is not whether there have are different types of relationship, but whether the changes he provides as examples, or the change he proposes, changed, or will change, marriage?

If, as I suggest, marriage has always been an exclusive, permanent relationship between the sexes orientated towards unifying the couple and the children that may arise therein, then the answer is that the examples he provides are all compatible with the form and purpose of marriage as outlined, whereas the alteration he proposes is not. If marriage is not a relationship between the sexes then it is not orientated towards children and therefore there could not be an in-principle reason that it be permanent and exclusive. DL remains silent on what marriage is and this silence means that he can provide no in-principle reason why he proposes this alteration alone but not one that also extends the number of persons in a marriage to more than two, and so on. It is as if he never asked himself the question, What is marriage?

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336 Responses to Guest Post: Dover_Beach – What is Marriage? A Reply to David Leyonhjelm

  1. Aristogeiton

    And by the way, your implication seems to be that sex, like consent in relation to contract, is an essential characteristic of marriage. So are you just amplifying my argument?

  2. Your post makes many, many references to sex. And can we please stop referring to marriage as a “contract”. It is *not* a legal contract.

    And that counts as an obsession when talking about marriage? And I never said marriage was a contract; contract was employed there as an example.

  3. Aristogeiton

    dover_beach
    #1387297, posted on July 19, 2014 at 6:47 am
    [,,,]
    Now lacking the orientation towards children, it ceases to be, intrinsically, a sexual relationship. Please don’t respond by saying that they would, of course, still have sex; the point is that the sex will only be incidentally related to the relationship itself.

  4. srr

    Simple solution: FORBID MARRIAGE all together, for everyone, and continue to expand selling the rights to buy children produced on the open market by Stock Market Listed IVF Companies.

    Sure, there’s some ancient and wise warnings against this, but modern man is very proud about rejecting all the wise advice from That Source (despite how destructively foolish it keeps proving to be), so may as well tick off all the Forewarned Against acts of human arrogance…and let God get on with hiding and preserving those who don’t reject Him and Just Life.

  5. Aristogeiton

    Testify, srr. Testify!

  6. .

    dover_beach
    #1387139, posted on July 19, 2014 at 12:21 am
    dot:
    The conclusion is true but the reasoning is specious. Education ans schooling are not analogous. A topic for another thread.
    John Snow, you know nothing. Analogous means similar. School here means a place of learning, not a physical building that might keep you dry in storm. I’m starting to think that some people are incapable of arguing fairly.

    That’s right, schooling and learning are not analogous. This however is a topic for another thread.

    You proved how clever you were by changing “schooling” to “school (building)”.

    FFS. How does this prove David Leyonhjelm “isn’t concerned with marriage at all”?

  7. .

    I’m starting to think that some people are incapable of arguing fairly.

    You can’t even convince some conservatives here of your own position, Dover.

    It might be time you checked your premises.

  8. .

    Alfonso
    #1386228, posted on July 18, 2014 at 10:31 am
    It’s easy, the LDP doesn’t think cultural values matter……see marriage and immigration.
    It’s their greatest obstacle to attracting conservatives.

    A great majority of people are for gay marriage.

    What gives you a right to dictate culture, Alfonso?

    You sound like a multiculturalist.

  9. Gab

    A great majority of people are for gay marriage.

    You cannot say that becuase you don’t know that to be true. A ‘great’ majority? Really? How many would that be? You have no evidence. A poll by WWF is not evidence.

  10. Senile Old Guy

    Fisky:

    But that’s not really what we’re talking about is it? We are discussing where the % of marriages might rise by about 3% on the margins if gays got married at the same rate as heteros at the most. I’d say the impact would be more like 1-2%, which will have no negative effect at all.

    Wrong. Look around. Gays marry and then demand that a business that does not agree bakes them a wedding cake. Activist gays deliberately target people, or companies, that do not agree and get the state to monster them.

    As I said up thread, recognition of gay “marriage” results in government policies being rewritten to replace wife and husband with “partner” and mother and father with “parent”.

    Your 1-2% are dictating how the 98-99% are defined and referred to. In. Official. Government. Policies. And. Documents.

    I have no objection whatsoever to homosexual relationships or having them recognised.

    I have major objections to a tiny percentage of the population using the apparatus of government to dictate how those relationships are described and recognised, especially when that recognition involves changing thousands of years of traditional usage.

    * The opinion poll results are useless. Getting valid results requires asking specific questions and getting honest responses. Both parts are difficult. Try asking this question: “If gay marriage is recognised, all official documents will be changed to refer to you as a partner, not a wife/husband, and a parent, not a mother/father. Do you agree?” The 70% will plummet because it is mostly built on a “feel good, do the right thing” notion. Just like action on climate change. Anyone who has any experience of opinion polls knows that there are two things that are very different: (1) the percentage of people who agree with some “feel good” notion; and (2) the percentage of people who would actually do something (or pay, or experience hardship) in support of that notion. As evidence, note the popularity of hashtag activism.

  11. Tel

    A great majority of people are for gay marriage.

    I’m not “for gay marriage” but I am pro-freedom, which necessarily implies that other people have the right to make living arrangements without government interference. I used to think that a referrendum would settle the matter, but now I’ve come around to understand that the majority have no business giving livestyle instruction to minority groups.

  12. .

    That’s simply not true Gab and as time goes on, this will become inevitable.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recognition_of_same-sex_unions_in_Australia#Polling

    You can make criticisms of the polls, but a poll in 2009 that polled 16 year olds and had support skewed in the lower age bracket means in 2014 – that these people vote. The younger demographic gets over 80% support for gay marriage.

    There is no reason to assume the next few cohorts of young electors are going to buck the trend.

  13. .

    The opinion poll results are useless.

    You will be mugged by the demographics.

  14. Tel

    Wrong. Look around. Gays marry and then demand that a business that does not agree bakes them a wedding cake. Activist gays deliberately target people, or companies, that do not agree and get the state to monster them.

    Good point, and the mainstream gay community should be dropping those activists and having nothing to do with them. Gays have no more claim to use of state violence than anyone else does… but let’s be clear amongst ourselves the real problem is state violence itself and the temptation of one man using it against his fellow. All identity politics is bad, including gay identity politics.

  15. Gab

    It is untrue to say “a great majority of people” believe/support X. It is a poll. It is not the “great majority of people”.

  16. Aristogeiton

    Tel, I agree…

  17. Gab

    Gays have no more claim to use of state violence than anyone else does…

    They have every “right” to do so while discrimination laws remain in place.

  18. Aristogeiton

    Gab, surely a poll is at least some evidence of agreement?

  19. Gab

    Gab, surely a poll is at least some evidence of agreement?

    I’m sure there are people who are in agreement but to stipulate that based on a poll it produces “evidence” the majority of the population is in agreement is disingenuous.

  20. Aristogeiton

    Gab, surely it’s better evidence than for the counterfactual?

  21. Aristogeiton

    Tel, great article.

  22. Tel

    Simple solution: FORBID MARRIAGE all together, for everyone, and continue to expand selling the rights to buy children produced on the open market by Stock Market Listed IVF Companies.

    Are those designed babies or just regular? I’m not buying coach class, that’s for bloody sure.

  23. Demosthenes

    distinguishing incidental from essential characteristics of marriage

    What you consider essential is not shared by everybody. There are legitimate differences of opinion. Since these differences of opinion have no impact on the other’s situation, it is immoral for the state to impose a one-size-fits-all option.

    Until people can point to actual harm or actual risk, the default position in all policies must be “live and let live”. Anything else is illiberal.

  24. Tel

    Tel, great article.

    Ari, good to see you have sobered up this morning ;-) (I just started drinking), but thank the author of the article not me. I disagree with Bob on a bunch of points, including pacifism, but on that occasion Bob got it right and I admit that many of the things I said before I read Bob’s article showed my lack of understanding.

  25. Ivan Denisovich

    Gab, surely a poll is at least some evidence of agreement?

    Not necessarily:

    The debate has also been driven by misinformation and the artificial urgency of inevitability.

    We were told last week, for instance, that the majority of Australians, 62 per cent, are in favour of same sex marriage, according to a Galaxy poll of 1050 voters, and that this figure has been rising inexorably over time.

    But the poll, commissioned by advocacy groups, Australian Marriage Equality and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, arrived at its conclusion by asking a leading question.

    “A number of countries allow same-sex couples to marry. These include Argentina, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa and Spain, as well as parts of the United States and Mexico. Do you agree or disagree that same-sex couples in Australia should be able to marry?”

    Why the preamble? Obviously, asking the question in the way Galaxy did implants the idea that same-sex marriage is so commonplace and widely accepted in reasonable countries that to disagree would be perverse.

    In 2008, when Californian voters overturned gay marriage, the rage unleashed by the losers was frightening. Churches and houses were vandalised, religious services disrupted, people bashed, windows broken and restaurants blackballed. Such intolerance is different only in scale to the sorts of eruptions we see in the Islamic world over perceived blasphemy in a cartoon, say, or a book.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/portia-de-rossis-gay-campaign-does-nothing-for-marriage/story-e6frfifo-1225957355204?nk=c4d1886bb950365849399eafdb28b07e

  26. Gab

    IF you believe that then you would believe the results of ABC polls, Ari and then say the majority of Australians believe X based on that poll. A poll is not evidence of what the majority population of Australians believe/support. It is an indication only of how a sample population votes on a matter.

  27. Demosthenes

    to stipulate that based on a poll it produces “evidence” the majority of the population is in agreement is disingenuous.

    As long as the sample size is big enough and random enough, polls are excellent predictors of mass preferences.

  28. Senile Old Guy

    I’m not “for gay marriage” but I am pro-freedom, which necessarily implies that other people have the right to make living arrangements without government interference.

    Everyone can.

    End of discussion.

  29. Senile Old Guy

    As long as the sample size is big enough and random enough, polls are excellent predictors of mass preferences.

    Wrong. Depends entirely on the question asked. As Gab, and Yes Minister, demonstrates/d.

  30. Senile Old Guy

    Until people can point to actual harm or actual risk, the default position in all policies must be “live and let live”. Anything else is illiberal.

    In places where gay “marriage” has been introduced, official policies and documents have been changed to remove the words mother, wife, husband and father. This is vandalising the language and millennia of history. Gab has cited examples of violence and vandalism. Gay activists deliberately target conservatives who disagree and subject them to lawsuits.

    This is not “live and let live”. It is illiberal to the core.

    I don’t give a sh*t who f*cks who. But 2% of the population should not dictate what the other 98% do.

  31. Aristogeiton

    Senile Old Guy
    #1387438, posted on July 19, 2014 at 10:16 am
    [...]
    I don’t give a sh*t who f*cks who. But 2% of the population should not dictate what the other 98% do.

    This just in: homos stop Senile Old Guy from fucking.

  32. Senile Old Guy

    This just in: homos stop Senile Old Guy from fucking.

    Thanks Ari. I was wondering whether you or Yobbo would be the first to abuse me. Question answered! I’m a bit put out because I thought Yobbo would be first.

    To others, note that Ari’s remark has absolutely nothing to do with anything I said. When Ari and Yobbo can’t respond, they simply abuse.

  33. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    I’m happy for gay people to organise things their way, using their own system, and to not re-define mine. Fair enough?
    ——————
    If gays get married, your marriage is not devalued. (Dot)

    I think it is.

    Marital ‘partners’ not husband and wife?
    Parent 1 or Parent 2, not mother or father?
    Socialisation in schools and homes ‘normalising’ (encouraging?) homosexual behaviour?
    ‘Gender-neutrality’ being enforced upon children and adults?
    A child’s biological origins being downgraded or outright denied?

    To me, that’s devaluation. Making something, in this case marriage, worth less than it was.

    There has also been mention up-thread that no society is without marriage.
    It is the case, however, that many ‘utopian’ communal endeavours have tried to do away with it, and with biological parental ties, in favour of a ‘group’ upbringing and, often, ‘free sex’ or ‘group sex’.
    ALL HAVE FAILED.
    In the end, men and women have sought out their own biological children, and left.
    Or have been destroyed in the process. Funny that.

    I’m finished with this thread now.
    Dover and Dr. BG, I’ve enjoyed reading, and agreeing, with your recent comments here.

  34. Mrs Beardsley

    Lizzie: I am concerned with school children being groomed for sex by their ‘educators’. Look at what is happening in a major public school in Toronto, Ontario and in the United States. It is disgusting.

    Children graduating from private schools in Queensland have somehow got the idea that homosexual activity is no more dangerous than heterosexual activity.

    I had to spell it out for her, citing physiological facts that won’t be repeated here in present company.

    I would urge David Leyonhjelm to read “Strained Relations” by Bill Muehlenberg, which lets some sunlight into the dark corner of the gay lifestyle, the militant gay lobby and the danger to young people who are being sold ideas that could have serious consequences for them. One of my family members was ‘hit on’ by an older gay man at the tender age of 17. There is danger in promoting such a promiscuous, dangerous and abhorrent lifestyle. Let the children alone, I say. No amount of lies can ever equate a gay couple with a hetero couple. None.

    If I had children, I would home school them, for this reason alone.

  35. Combine_Dave

    I’m happy for gay people to organise things their way, using their own system, and to not re-define mine. Fair enough?
    ——————
    If gays get married, your marriage is not devalued. (Dot)

    I think it is.

    Black power activists, white supremists, Japanese nationalists etc… probably feel the same way about mixed race marriages.

  36. Combine_Dave

    I don’t give a sh*t who f*cks who. But 2% of the population should not dictate what the other 98% do.

    Agreed. But the 98% equally have no right to use the power of the state to dictate to the 2%.

  37. Senile Old Guy

    But the 98% equally have no right to use the power of the state to dictate to the 2%.

    In Australia, they don’t, as has been pointed out numerous times.

  38. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Black power activists, white supremists, Japanese nationalists etc… probably feel the same way about mixed race marriages.

    Yes, they probably do, because they can’t bear the thought of legal mixed-race sexual relationships and the legitimated children that will result from them. It is a different issue to accepting that two men together or two women together can be married, as the long and serious discussion on this thread indicates if you care to address the key arguments. To conflate opposition to gay marriage with the worst of race hatred just shows how far you are prepared to go along the abuse spectrum to counter legitimate arguments against same-sex marriage.

    I said I was finished with this thread but I cannot allow you to get away with this sort of slur without pointing out how the issues differ. If you can’t see this, then I am sorry for you.

  39. Diogenes

    Mrs Beardsley

    One of my family members was ‘hit on’ by an older gay man at the tender age of 17. There is danger in promoting such a promiscuous, dangerous and abhorrent lifestyle. Let the children alone, I say. No amount of lies can ever equate a gay couple with a hetero couple. None.

    Have you considered for even 1 moment that had that man been in a loving relationship (dare we say married) to another he might not have not “hit on” your family member ?

    And “hit on” – oh how terrible. In my early teens I was sent to a western european country by my parents for a year. The couple (married) I stayed with BOTH had sex with me, as did many of their friends male & female (including mostly married couples) over much of that year. Actual penetrative sex, not just “hit on”. So based on my experience we should ban heterosexual marriage there are too many perverts ! Let me add that I do not feel damaged by this experience – and have absolutely no interest in young girls (or boys) as sexual partners, mind you some of their mums and grans yum yum (like Jimmy Carter I stray only in mind never in deed – unlike some, I take my vows very seriously) ….

    Over the last few years the concept of defacto has bastardised the concept of marriage (ie removed the meaning) that apart form a few laws relating to property they are virtually indistinguishable. The only role “the state” has is to ensure, as it does now, that “marriages” are freely and willingly entered into by ALL parties and I do not discount polygamy or polyandry.

    The flip side of this is that no one can be compelled to act against their beliefs and provide services (therefore ALL anti discrimination legislation must go as well)

  40. struth

    What is the corrct discription of sex. Seems to me anything passes as sex when maybe it’s just mutual stimulation. Are gays actually having sex? …….

  41. struth

    Sexual intercourse is defined as what?

  42. oldsalt

    I’m a fairly conservative Catholic, I don’t see gays or gay marriage as a threat. Gays are a small minority. The threats, very real ones, to our social fabric come from the increasingly selfish and irresponsible hetero majority, abortion, divorce etc and the damage they do to children while pursuing their own happiness.

  43. Combine_Dave

    Yes, they probably do, because they can’t bear the thought of legal mixed-race sexual relationships and the legitimated children that will result from them. It is a different issue to accepting that two men together or two women together can be married, as the long and serious discussion on this thread indicates if you care to address the key arguments.

    Disregarding the fact that gay ‘parents’ can and do adopt children without gay marriage, is there any evidence at all that gay ‘parents’ are harmful to their children (however they are acquired)?
    If there’s not then the point obviously stands.

    [disclaimer: Lizzie is obviously not a member of the KKK or what not, please do not take my earlier comment as evidence of such.]

  44. Combine_Dave

    What is the corrct discription of sex. Seems to me anything passes as sex when maybe it’s just mutual stimulation. Are gays actually having sex? …….

    Google is your friend.

  45. struth

    Ha ha…..
    Google the answer for all.
    I am just raising the point that only a few years ago sexual intercourse was thought of as the act as performed by a couple of the opposite sex and a penis penetrated a vagina.
    Until then it was only first second or third base !
    Now sticking your finger in someone’s …….ear?…….
    I make fun be because it is all rather sad.

  46. stackja

    struth
    #1387786, posted on July 19, 2014 at 5:18 pm
    Ha ha…..
    Google the answer for all.
    I am just raising the point that only a few years ago sexual intercourse was thought of as the act as performed by a couple of the opposite sex and a penis penetrated a vagina.
    Until then it was only first second or third base !
    Now sticking your finger in someone’s …….ear?…….
    I make fun be because it is all rather sad.

    Homosexuality is sad indeed. And getting sadder by the day.

  47. Combine_Dave

    Now sticking your finger in someone’s …….ear?…….
    I make fun be because it is all rather sad

    Turn off your safe search and try that search for gay sex again (not safe for work, not suitable for children).

  48. stackja

    Combine_Dave
    #1387798, posted on July 19, 2014 at 5:25 pm
    Now sticking your finger in someone’s …….ear?…….
    I make fun be because it is all rather sad

    Turn off your safe search and try that search for gay sex again (not safe for work, not suitable for children).

    Homosexuality is portrayed as normal. Sad.

  49. MacHaggis

    Can we get back to some basics? The constitution gives the Clth power to legislate in respect of marriage. What is marriage? Has marriage ever included homosexual union? If so can I be enlightened. If not will the High Court acknowledge that the power to make laws with respect to marriage can be defined as laws with respect to anything the parliament likes to define as marriage e.g. Union between man and sheep (sheepage), union between local municipalities (townage) – silly ideas of course but if the commonwealth can do anything it likes by redefining words what else can it do? Maybe define asylum seekers as terrorists or indigenous persons as Caucasian – it’s only words and words can mean anything we like …can’t they?

  50. Clam Chowdah

    And “hit on” – oh how terrible. In my early teens I was sent to a western european country by my parents for a year. The couple (married) I stayed with BOTH had sex with me, as did many of their friends male & female (including mostly married couples) over much of that year. Actual penetrative sex, not just “hit on”. So based on my experience we should ban heterosexual marriage there are too many perverts ! Let me add that I do not feel damaged by this experience – and have absolutely no interest in young girls (or boys) as sexual partners, mind you some of their mums and grans yum yum (like Jimmy Carter I stray only in mind never in deed – unlike some, I take my vows very seriously) ….

    Your “early teens”. That would be 13, 14…? So you were raped by a group of adults and are flippant about it, and want to reassure us that it was all okay and you are just dandy. Your views on this or any other social issue should be considered normal?

    Your experience was not normal or representative of heterosexual marriage in the main. It is a typical moral equivalence fairy tale: “I experienced one weird (criminal and despicable) married couple therefore all married couples are weird and so we can allow a little (LOT) more weirdness and let’s all just sing a happy song”. The fact that you think this is all normal and is a good argument to promote gay marriage is the sort of glib dismissal of the tradition of marriage that induces alarm in the mainstream. Good job.

    Again, I think gay relationships should have legal force but their own monicker. But you’re not helping.

  51. Combine_Dave

    Again, I think gay relationships should have legal force but their own monicker. But you’re not helping.

    Maybe call it ‘Gay Marriage’ or ‘Same Sex Marriage’? But while I don’t oppose gay marriage in anyway I do believe (and this is where I think Yobbo goes astray) that we need to either deregulate marriage or provide legislation that gurantees freedom to object to it (aka churches shouldn’t be pressganged to provide gay marriage if they are against it) before it can be allowed.

  52. Fisky

    I think the idea of actually recognising gay marriage as a distinct entity might have legs. It could get around the problem of gender derecognition.

  53. Aristogeiton

    Senile Old Guy
    #1387497, posted on July 19, 2014 at 11:07 am
    [...]
    Thanks Ari. I was wondering whether you or Yobbo would be the first to abuse me. Question answered! I’m a bit put out because I thought Yobbo would be first.

    Sorry, where’s the abuse? In fact you weren’t abused. All I did was gently point out the unintentional humour in your post.

  54. None

    Great post and defence Dover. I don’t think some here get how marriage is ordered towards children (with the bodily union of the male and female; and that it doesn’t mean we get people to pass fertility tests in order to get married or that they they cease to be married if they become infertile by illness or accident or simply don’t have kids etc etc)

    Worth a read too: http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/same-sex-marriage-coercion-dolled-up-as-civil-rights/14967#.U8pgCkAkKSq

  55. Aristo:

    Now lacking the orientation towards children, it ceases to be, intrinsically, a sexual relationship. Please don’t respond by saying that they would, of course, still have sex; the point is that the sex will only be incidentally related to the relationship itself.

    Again, where is the obsession with sex?

    That’s right, schooling and learning are not analogous. This however is a topic for another thread.

    You proved how clever you were by changing “schooling” to “school (building)”.

    FFS. How does this prove David Leyonhjelm “isn’t concerned with marriage at all”?

    Firstly, you obviously don’t understand what analogous means. Secondly, the change from ‘schooling’ to ‘school’ is immaterial. A school is not just a building, it is a place of learning. Thirdly, how? Because he isn’t. Words point to things, buddy. If Novak’s definition reflects DL’s position – remember DL was loath to actually provide one! -the definition provided radically alters the relationship.

    Tel:

    I’m not “for gay marriage” but I am pro-freedom, which necessarily implies that other people have the right to make living arrangements without government interference. I used to think that a referrendum would settle the matter, but now I’ve come around to understand that the majority have no business giving livestyle instruction to minority groups.

    I agree. And yet being against gay ‘marriage’ does no mean providing “lifestyle instructions”. It just means that this relationship is distinguishable from the marriage relationship. Both can exist, practically and legally, side by side, and each can be afforded the rights and obligations appropriate to each as a matter of law.

    Demosthenes:

    What you consider essential is not shared by everybody.

    Dear oh dear. Firstly, which is it? Everybody? Or every particular marriage? Or as I’ve argued the institution? Secondly, you cannot distinguish the essential and incidental aspects of marriage qua marriage by means of what is shared or not shared by every purported marriage because you would have to have some idea of what marriage is in order to being the process of identification and comparison. Those aspects arise when you attempt to distinguish marriage from other types of relationship.

    Since these differences of opinion have no impact on the other’s situation, it is immoral for the state to impose a one-size-fits-all option.

    Until people can point to actual harm or actual risk, the default position in all policies must be “live and let live”. Anything else is illiberal.

    And yet, here you are asking that we redefine marriage, whereas we could just as easily simply add a uniform arrangement of civil unions that incl. gay relationships and affords them the rights and obligations appropriate to such a relationship. That is better than a “live and let live” arrangement.

    Combine_Dave:

    If gays get married, your marriage is not devalued. (Dot)

    I think it is. (Lizzie)

    Black power activists, white supremists, Japanese nationalists etc… probably feel the same way about mixed race marriages.(Combine_Dave)

    What a sophomoric response. You might note that in each of those instances no one doubts they can marry. Not a one, and therefore the discrimination arise not from marriage itself.

    Disregarding the fact that gay ‘parents’ can and do adopt children without gay marriage, is there any evidence at all that gay ‘parents’ are harmful to their children (however they are acquired)?

    If there’s not then the point obviously stands.

    Actually, it doesn’t. Gay relationships are infertile per se. The fact that they can acquire children from elsewhere is immaterial. Your response to Lizzie was a non sequitur.

    Maybe call it ‘Gay Marriage’ or ‘Same Sex Marriage’?

    How about civil unions? It’s in use, and avoids the confusion of the qualifiers above. Qualifiers usually denote a thing narrower than what is being qualified; red hair is still hair.

  56. Corrections:
    Sorry, second quotation above is dot, not Aristo.

    And following sentence should read: “And yet, here you are asking that we redefine marriage, whereas we could just as easily simply add a uniform arrangement of civil unions…

  57. Combine_Dave

    What a sophomoric response. You might note that in each of those instances no one doubts they can marry. Not a one, and therefore the discrimination arise not from marriage itself.

    This is true now. But at various times in the past and in a variety of places the law (legal definition of marriage if you will) prevented mixed raced marriages from being formed; http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interracial_marriage#Legality_of_interracial_marriage

    In future people may say the same thing about gay marriage.

    Disregarding the fact that gay ‘parents’ can and do adopt children without gay marriage, is there any evidence at all that gay ‘parents’ are harmful to their children (however they are acquired)?If there’s not then the point obviously stands.

    .

    So there is no evidence that such marriages are harmful to children?

    How about civil unions?

    If it’s marriage with all the rights and responsibilities that entails why not call it a marriage? What’s in a word? If you’ve given them this one why not go that one further step? A gay marriage is still marriage.

    Actually, it doesn’t. Gay relationships are infertile per se. The fact that they can acquire children from elsewhere is immaterial

    If think other posters have covered this point in depth earlier; if the purpose of marriage was the creation of children, it no longer is today with the masses of children created out of wedlock and large numbers of well off middle class kids getting married and not having kids (and those that do having greatly reduced numbers of kids).

    Does this mean if your definition were to be strictly enforced that the marriages of the elderly and the infertile should be annulled, the prospect of children being as unlikely as that experienced through gay marriage.

  58. This is true now. But at various times in the past and in a variety of places the law (legal definition of marriage if you will) prevented mixed raced marriages from being formed

    Yes, but my point is that no one doubted that mixed race marriages were marriages; the problem in each of those instance had nothing to do with marriage itself. Let me know if you don’t understand the point I’m making here and made to begin with in the post.

    In future people may say the same thing about gay marriage.

    And? In future people might say that the 2nd amendment is dreadful, actually they’re saying that right now, so?

    So there is no evidence that such marriages are harmful to children?

    We’ll, the evidence is equivocal, too early to call. The point is, however, that children have to be imported to such marriages since they never can produce them on their own.

    If it’s marriage with all the rights and responsibilities that entails why not call it a marriage? What’s in a word? If you’ve given them this one why not go that one further step? A gay marriage is still marriage.

    Because I never said they enjoy the same rights or obligations; I said they were owed the rights and obligations appropriate to each.

    If think other posters have covered this point in depth earlier; if the purpose of marriage was the creation of children, it no longer is today with the masses of children created out of wedlock and large numbers of well off middle class kids getting married and not having kids (and those that do having greatly reduced numbers of kids).

    Umm, no. How does that ‘cover’ the point I made? All my point suggests is that gay couples whether cohabiting, married, or whathaveyou can always infertile. The fact that people increasingly have children outside of marriage doesn’t dissolve marriage’s orientation towards children.

    Does this mean if your definition were to be strictly enforced that the marriages of the elderly and the infertile should be annulled, the prospect of children being as unlikely as that experienced through gay marriage.

    No, read my comments above.

  59. .

    Firstly, you obviously don’t understand what analogous means. Secondly, the change from ‘schooling’ to ‘school’ is immaterial. A school is not just a building, it is a place of learning. Thirdly, how? Because he isn’t. Words point to things, buddy. If Novak’s definition reflects DL’s position – remember DL was loath to actually provide one! -the definition provided radically alters the relationship.

    You have to stop this nonsense where “not agreeing with DB’s ideas” means that you can tell other people who disagree with you that they don’t understand words they are constructing their arguments with,

    You have reached the height of arrogance with this thread.

  60. Combine_Dave

    Hi DB,

    So if we strip away your objections to gay marriage:

    * It’s not formed by intolerance to gay persons nor the ability for such to form gay unions.

    * It’s not based on the assumption that the purpose of marriage is the production of children (as many legitimate marriages in the West do not result in children).

    * It’s not based on a traditional view of marriage as historically the state wasn’t in the marriage business (as it is now) and the many forms of modern marriages (aka mixed race) were taboo or illegal with many historically legitimate marriages (think guys with many wives) are now illegal.

    * It’s not based on a ‘won’t somebody think of the children’ justification and we have no evidence that gay parents are bad for children (which is good, as I hate the way the left concern troll with this).

    So unless I missed any others your sole remaining justification for opposing gay marriage is in the use of the word ‘marriage’? You’d prefer they had civil unions or some other arbitary arrangement which would give them what they want but keep them from using the word ‘marriage’?

    [I don't have an issue with this, anymore then I'd have an issue with someone,however bizairely, preferring Pepsi over Cola.]

  61. Tel

    I agree. And yet being against gay ‘marriage’ does no mean providing “lifestyle instructions”. It just means that this relationship is distinguishable from the marriage relationship. Both can exist, practically and legally, side by side, and each can be afforded the rights and obligations appropriate to each as a matter of law.

    Of course a gay relationship is distinguishable from a hetrosexual relationship, else we would never be having this discussion. Point is that it is NOT the job of government to make this disctinction. You may privately make the distinction, so do I, so do many people. Government however, has no place in the bedroom, none at all. Government should rightly treat all individuals as individuals and nothing else.

    Christians should have the right to decide amongst themselves whether they beleive in gay marriage, just as Atheists should have the right to decide whether they want to believe in God.

  62. Helen

    I’ve come around to understand that the majority have no business giving livestyle instruction to minority groups.

    This is rubbish. Of course lifestyle instructions are given, through the laws of the country to minority groups. For instance where the minority group wants to marry children or have sex with (consenting/sarc) children, or with animals or their children or FMG on children and so on.

    I would sincerely hope that you are not advocating all minority groups can fuck or marry or chop clitorises off children willy nilly?

  63. Peter

    Of course a gay relationship is distinguishable from a hetrosexual relationship, else we would never be having this discussion. Point is that it is NOT the job of government to make this disctinction.

    Tel…

    1. The government is not creating the distinction. The distinction is – as you rightly note – pre-existing. Therefore all that government currently does is to recognise the distinction.
    2. If it is not the job of government to write a distinction into law, then it is even less the job of government to write into law that there is no distiction.

    All….
    I listened to DL on 2GB the other night and noted the same thing that has been said here about his maiden speech. Given an opportunity to articulate the basis of Libertarianism and why it is good for society, he failed to do so. As it was noted, he repeated slogans; appealing to groups who are already convinced on the subject of their own special interest, but giving the general voting populace no convincing argument as to why Libertarianism is good for them.

  64. Demosthenes

    Of course lifestyle instructions are given

    Yes, to protect the rights of others. No rights are infringed by gay marriage.

  65. dot:

    You have to stop this nonsense where “not agreeing with DB’s ideas” means that you can tell other people who disagree with you that they don’t understand words they are constructing their arguments with,

    You have reached the height of arrogance with this thread.

    No, I’m simply stating a fact. Attend to the argument rather than having a sook.

  66. Combine_Dave:

    So if we strip away your objections to gay marriage

    Why would you ‘strip away’ my objections? So that you wouldn’t have to argue against them?

    * It’s not formed by intolerance to gay persons nor the ability for such to form gay unions.

    I’ve never raised this so how could it be my objection?

    * It’s not based on the assumption that the purpose of marriage is the production of children (as many legitimate marriages in the West do not result in children).

    How about using the words I used? I said marriage is orientated towards unifying the couple that may produce children. Now, the fact that some marriages do not because of some failure produce children does not alter its orientation.

    * It’s not based on a traditional view of marriage as historically the state wasn’t in the marriage business (as it is now) and the many forms of modern marriages (aka mixed race) were taboo or illegal with many historically legitimate marriages (think guys with many wives) are now illegal.

    Again, I don’t think you’re listening to the argument being made. How do you know anything about the form of marriage so that you can say it has had or has this or that form or that given certain changes marriage per se simply was absent or dissolved? You’re just equivocating.

    * It’s not based on a ‘won’t somebody think of the children’ justification and we have no evidence that gay parents are bad for children (which is good, as I hate the way the left concern troll with this).

    That is only because gay relationships never actually produce children so it fails to be an argument against civil unions. The problem re marriage is that given that marriage is orientated towards children, the may be ceded the rights and obligations we provide therein to those who are married.

    So unless I missed any others your sole remaining justification for opposing gay marriage is in the use of the word ‘marriage’? You’d prefer they had civil unions or some other arbitary arrangement which would give them what they want but keep them from using the word ‘marriage’?

    In other words, you misunderstood my argument completely. There is nothing in my argument that suggests that my problem is simply lexical.

    [I don't have an issue with this, anymore then I'd have an issue with someone,however bizairely, preferring Pepsi over Cola.]

    A good example of you missing my argument, since the argument I’ve made is that one, to use your analogy, is James Boags, while the other is Pepsi.

    I’ll clarify the movement of the argument later today or tomorrow.

  67. Tel:

    Of course a gay relationship is distinguishable from a hetrosexual relationship, else we would never be having this discussion. Point is that it is NOT the job of government to make this disctinction. You may privately make the distinction, so do I, so do many people. Government however, has no place in the bedroom, none at all. Government should rightly treat all individuals as individuals and nothing else.

    Christians should have the right to decide amongst themselves whether they beleive in gay marriage, just as Atheists should have the right to decide whether they want to believe in God.

    I think Peter gave an excellent rebuttal to your first point, but some additional points can be made. It might be worthwhile not repeating slogans in an argument, making this distinctions does require the government getting into the bedroom; they can do as they please therein. Further, the government doesn’t just treat people as individuals, it treats individuals as officers of incorporated associations, or as litigants in a claim, it never treats individuals as individuals but as individuals in some capacity or in some relation to the government. As to your last point, why then doesn’t the government just leave it to the individual to decide what counts as a contract, corporation, person, murder, rape, car, bicycle, building, courtyard, and so on?

  68. Aristogeiton

    Sorry, d_b, but this thread has just demonstrated to me that my own objections to gay marriage were not well founded. Your argument seems to be that one needs to provide a monolithic definition of “marriage” such as to exclude other possible unions. Otherwise “marriage” is meaningless. Of course the High Court recently considered the meaning of the word in a juristic sense and expressed the opinion that it includes gay unions. Many others agree that it does. We’re not talking about giving solemnised bestial relationships recognition, or legalising polygamy; we’re talking about gay marriage. All I’ve heard in rebuttal is pedantry and nonsense. Read Novak’s comment again; I’m not going to argue about David L’s formulation. In relation to the rest, the common law provides a definition of contract, one of murder and rape where criminal codes have not been enacted &c. I submit that if it was left to the common law, then we would already have gay marriage. All you’ve managed to establish is that you don’t like this fact.

  69. Aristogeiton

    Julie, if you’re reading, thank you very much for your comment.

  70. Your argument seems to be that one needs to provide a monolithic definition of “marriage” such as to exclude other possible unions.

    What would be a ‘non-monolithic’ definition of marriage? Wouldn’t that just continue the equivocation?

    We’re not talking about giving solemnised bestial relationships recognition, or legalising polygamy; we’re talking about gay marriage.

    But why? You’ve given no in-priniple reason.

    Read Novak’s comment again

    She’s provides a definition that cannot distinguish friendship from marriage.

    I submit that if it was left to the common law, then we would already have gay marriage

    Possibly, but so what? We might also have had polygamy and polyamory too.

  71. Aristogeiton

    dover_beach
    #1389430, posted on July 21, 2014 at 4:05 am
    [...]
    She’s provides a definition that cannot distinguish friendship from marriage.

    Rubbish. Friendship is determinable at will and without petition. As I noted. None of the legal incidents of marriage apply, and are seen as appropriate (in relation to probate, agency and tenancy, for example).

    Possibly, but so what? We might also have had polygamy and polyamory too.

    Sorry. No. We wouldn’t and don’t.

  72. Combine_Dave

    Thanks DB,

    I can’t help that feel that rather than posting any additional support info or clarifying your argument through simplification to aid understanding you’ve just doubled down and re-asserted your original points without considering the counter points.

    For instance your argument appears to hinge on the idea that modern marriage is orientated toward children and that the definition of marriage at a particular point in history (ignoring various past definitions and the posibility of future changes) is the true definition of marriage.The evidence to date seems to suggest modern marriage has moved (perhaps unforetunately) away from familiy creation/child production and that Australian, despite the relative small numbers of gays, society appears to support a redefinition of marriage to include them or at least the creation of a distinct ‘gay marriage’ to placate them.

    The fact you seem to be okay with Same Sex Civil Unions (as long as they don’t use that word) leads me to believe your problem is lexical.

    Based on yr comments above, is there any reason why the state (I’d prefer they simply deregulate marriage but that’s a diff story) couldn’t simply add a distinct but similiar entity called ‘gay marriage’ or ‘same sex marriage’ in which there is no assumption that the marriage is orientated automatically toward the production and support of children? Technically this would also protect the crumbling edifice that is traditional marriage by creating a distinct and separate ‘marriage’ for gays. Your thoughts?

    This thread is pushing me to abandon my earlier position which was no gay marriage without a complete deregulation of marriage, to considering an expanded definition of marriage with the creation of a similar sounding but legally distinct entity of gay/same sex marriage.

  73. Combine_Dave

    I would sincerely hope that you are not advocating all minority groups can fuck or marry or chop clitorises off children willy nilly?

    At the risk of going OT, what makes you think this is not happening now anyway? For certain groups these are cultural norms which are more important (to them) than our Aussie sense of morality or our laws.

    In terms of gay marriage the slippery slope argument holds no water, ~ else anything and everything could be forbidden on this basis.

    Why not continue to outlaw bigamy and beagle marriage until a case can made by their supporters for legalisation (I’d suggest such doesnt exist; both supporters nor a sufficient case to support legalisation).

    I also think in the interests of tolerance and inclusivity that Australian gays should do their best to ‘convert’ a mufti to their cause. I fear our Muslim brothers are not getting as involved in our SSM debate as they should be. After all once SSM is legal they’ll need to crack open those mosques and allow gay entry..

  74. johanna

    First, can I just thank DB and subsequent commenters for what has been a mostly respectful and very enlightening discussion.

    My view, as I have said before, is that I don’t care who marries whom. It is admittedly a rather lazy approach, but then again, that’s because I don’t see the issue as very important in the big picture.

    In the end, it seems to be about who owns the word “marriage”, as DB is not opposed to civil unions for gay couples which otherwise have all the legal and social trappings of a marriage between a man and a woman.

    Pragmatically, most Australians seem to share my view about this. Many of us know gay couples of long standing, whose relationship is more like than unlike than that between couples of opposite sexes. The pairs of old queens and dykes that I know are suburban, quite often politically conservative, and regard the agitators who persecute those who disagree with them as nutcases.

    It seems to me that the attitude of DB and his supporters is all about symbolism. We live in a society where the concept of “illegitimate” children has thankfully been abolished – kids at their parents’ weddings are not only un-remarked on, they are celebrated. That horse has well and truly bolted. The divorce rate is another indicator that the stable doors are swinging in the wind.

    In this context, the denial of the term “marriage” to couples who happen to be of the same sex just comes across as mean-spirited and bigoted. I am not saying that DB is either of those things – indeed, all the evidence is to the contrary – but if all you’ve got left is semantics, I’m afraid that it’s all over, Red Rover.

  75. Peter

    Why not continue to outlaw bigamy and beagle marriage until a case can made by their supporters for legalisation (I’d suggest such doesnt exist; both supporters nor a sufficient case to support legalisation).

    And we should, but the same argument applies equally to gay partnership..

    It is fundamentally and consequentially different from marriage and it’s supporters should be required to make the case for legislative recognition and support on its own merits too.

    The argument that gay partnerships are the same as marriage relies on the same type and level of fallacious reasoning that supports polygamy and bestial marriage.
    - it relies on the opposite error to pedantry, that of widening definitions to the point that they become meaningless or without utility for the purpose.
    - it relies on the fallacy of arguing that Similar = The Same. (A horse has four legs, my cow has four legs, therefore my cow is a horse…)
    - it relies on applying or excluding arguments on the basis of whether you like the results not on whether the logic is sound.

  76. rebel with cause

    I think much of the discussion here reflects the views of Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke. Both Burke and Paine were capitalists and in favour of markets, but Paine essentially saw society as made up of individuals and the state, whereas Burke’s view was that life was about what happened in the space between individuals and the state – in the family, in the community, in civil society. If the problem couldn’t be solved in the market, then Paine took the view that it was best solved by the state, whereas Burke would look to the many other institutions of civil society that had developed to solve these non-market problems.

    There is a ‘shallow’ branch of libertarianism that comes out of the Painean school that sees society as individuals and the state, and whatever problems cannot be solved in the market should be solved by the state. In the Painean school, those non-government, non-market institutions that society has developed, such as the family, marriage and organised religion, are seen as being ‘illegitimate’, as non-elected power centres that place moral and social constraints on the individual. Paine would see human freedom as being improved by removing these constraints.

    Burke would consider marriage not as a restriction on freedom, but to be a legitimate solution to many of the problems that arise from procreation and the rearing of children; as a non‑government solution to many of the manifest problems that would otherwise arise. You cannot simultaneously hold the Burkian view of marriage and see the definition of traditional marriage as a restriction on freedom.

    Leyonhjelm appears to be taking the narrow view of liberty in this sense, with no appreciation for why marriage exists and of what problems it exists to solve that cannot be solved in the marketplace. He sees the constraints around marriage as a constraint on the individual, rather than as elements necessary to allow marriage to fulfil its role in civil society. It is ironically this view that leads to statism – if you only rely on two institutions to solve society’s problems (the market and the state) then the state will invariably take on a large role in life. Ultimately this view argues that anything that individuals can’t do, government ought to do.

    If the LDP wants to win more of the conservative vote then it needs to show that it respects and regards those institutions, outside of the market, that exists to provide non-government solutions to society’s problems. This must include marriage, the family, religion, charity etc. How does the LDP plan to allow these institutions to flourish?

  77. Aristogeiton

    rebel, I too think David L is barking up the wrong tree presenting this as a liberty issue; it isn’t. On the other hand, I don’t now find the arguments advanced against extending marriage to same-sex couples compelling in the slightest.

  78. Combine_Dave

    it relies on the fallacy of arguing that Similar = The Same. (A horse has four legs, my cow has four legs, therefore my cow is a horse…)

    But a horse is a 4 legged mammal, as is a cow (while both being distinctly cow and horse), much like gay marriage is gay marriage and marriage is marriage? Both types of marriages but with clear differences between the two?

  79. .

    dover_beach
    #1389416, posted on July 21, 2014 at 2:39 am

    No, I’m simply stating a fact. Attend to the argument rather than having a sook.

    No. That is just your opinion. My understanding of the definition of “analogous” is completely fine.

  80. notafan

    I just want to be an economic libertarian. Ssmarriage seems outside the gambit of that.

  81. Aristogeiton

    notafan
    #1389832, posted on July 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm
    I just want to be an economic libertarian. Ssmarriage seems outside the gambit of that.

    I remain unconvinced that this is a libertarian issue. When David L has to use terms like ‘discrimination’ to establish his case, then I think there may be some problems with the argument…

  82. Zean

    God, the ‘referendum’ people again.

    One: the Marriage Act is not in the Constitution, therefore does not need a referendum,

    Two: Most people say no to referendums because they tend to have very wide reaching consequences or effects and the question that one must answer with either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Such limited influence of something so wide reaching will make people say no. See Monarchy/Republic referendum.

    It is therefore fallacious to be using it as an option to win the argument for these two reasons, and probably more, if I had the will to write them all down.

  83. Gab

    Given the Constitution grants the government of the day powers over Marriage and divorce (s51xxi and s51xxii), then a referendum is not out of place in the matter surely.

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