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Monday, December 17, 2012

Reactionaries against gay marriage

The Telegraph reports that almost 60 members of the Commons and Lords have signed a letter accusing the Coalition Government of acting without a mandate on the issue of gay marriage.

The letter says that 'as parliamentarians from different political parties and none, we are united in supporting the institution of marriage defined in law as a union between a man and a woman. We recognise the value of a loving and committed relationship and we respect civil partnership, but affirm the distinctive value of marriage reflecting the complementarity of a man and woman often evidenced in parenthood.'

The letter concludes rather bizarrely that the signatories 'understand some parliamentarians support freedom for same sex couples to marry, but we support a freedom from the state being able to redefine the meaning of marriage.'

Quite how you can have a freedom predicated on such a semantic and abstract distinction is difficult to grasp. This is especially so as the state has redefined the meaning of marriage on a number of occasions and has not shied away from doing so ever since the reign of Henry VIII.  Maybe they should just come out and say what they really mean, that they don't approve of gay people.

What is interesting is that although this letter is described as cross-party its signatories come from the statist side of the political spectrum, namely Conservative, DUP and Labour. There are no signatories from the Liberal Democrats or the nationalist parties.

I have said for some time that the real divide in British politics is not left-right, but Libertarian versus statist, and that this divide crosses party boundaries. The letter underlines that point.
I think you're standing on your head Peter, maybe because you've been blogging too long.

It's the so-called 'reformers' who want the state to re-define marriage. True, it's been regulated by law for centuries for a number of reasons, but the law has always accepted the traditional and cultural view that it is an union between a man and a woman, linked to the concept of procreation.

It's a bit like redefining a colour, like calling 'red', 'green'. Marriage would mean something quite different thereafter, which would be to no-one's gain.

Married heterosexual partners AND same sex partners would be 'married' in a different sense, the essential meaning of marriage having been set aside. That will be to everyone's loss.
I have no problem with the state redefining marriage, it has done so before and it should do so again. My point is that the state's view of marriage has adapted in law to meet changing circumstances and that this change is a natural progression of that. It is those who are opposing this change who are defying history.
Marriage has always been a static unchanging thing and has never been redefined before. That's why polygamy is legal, women are the property of their husbands, black people can't marry white people and divorce is illegal. Oh, wait...
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