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Should Australia hold a referendum on gay marriage?

Despite several Galaxy polls indicating that a majority of Australians support same-sex marriage - and it receiving the support of former prime minister Kevin Rudd - recent proposals for a referendum on…

Recent polling suggests a majority of Australians support same-sex marriage, but should the issue be taken to the people in a referendum? AAP/Dean Lewins

Despite several Galaxy polls indicating that a majority of Australians support same-sex marriage - and it receiving the support of former prime minister Kevin Rudd - recent proposals for a referendum on the issue at the next election have not been greeted with much enthusiasm by members of the gay and lesbian community.

However, figures as diverse in outlook as Tony Windsor, Fred Nile and Gerard Henderson have all welcomed the idea.

Is it only a coincidence that those receptive to a referendum have been opposed to marriage equality, or noncommittal at any rate?

Actually, the pattern might have been predicted, and is not unique to Australia. Conservative Party figures in Britain demanded a referendum on the issue after prime minister David Cameron threw in his lot with marriage equality in 2012.

Let’s be clear about what a referendum in Australia is meant to resolve. Party discipline has so far been foisted upon an issue which many would consider to be a matter of conscience.

If a conscience vote were allowed across all parties, a bill amending the Marriage Act would very likely pass both houses of parliament. In the absence of a conscience vote - and confronting what looks to be an impasse in the national parliament - a referendum is meant to side-step the process altogether by submitting the issue directly to the people.

Why then might those who stand most to benefit from a referendum be opposed to one? And, conversely, why would those who stand to lose their present advantage be in favour of one?

Prominent gay rights advocates have raised concerns about the effects a negatively charged “no” campaign could have on the mental health and wellbeing of young gay and lesbian people, particularly those still coming to terms with their sexuality.

It is feared that old prejudices will resurface that have long been outdated, with divisions, animosities and misinformation rife. It is also argued that direct democracy is typically reserved for constitutional amendments, and should not be necessary when the simplest of amendments to an existing act of parliament would suffice.

These mental health concerns are not misplaced, and should be taken seriously: so too should the anxieties surrounding extremist partisans stoking irrational fears and hatreds.

But there’s a deeper reason why a referendum should not be the method of choice for resolving important social questions of this nature. The answer here goes some way to explaining why the pattern of those for and against a referendum falls the way it does.

For those who see this issue as concerning basic human rights and citizen equality, a successful referendum cannot confer any more legitimacy upon the right than it has already. All kinds of matters might be put to a court of public opinion, but the rights of minorities to fair and equal treatment before the law and access to the same civic institutions as everybody else are simply not matters fit for public approval.

For example, if the public declined to return a vote in favour of some basic human right for a certain minority, the result could not be recognised as decisive of that minority’s rights. While this might sound anti-democratic, it is nothing of the sort.

Referendums are usually reserved for constitutional amendments. AAP/Dean Lewins

All genuine liberal-democracies are premised on self-determination, maximally compatible freedoms, equal say, mutual tolerance and inclusion. All genuine liberal-democracies are attempts to form a kind of social compact, what the philosopher John Gray has called a modus vivendi between different ways of life.

No bloc majority of citizens can remove or withhold the basic rights enjoyed by all those included in the citizenry, since these rights are, as the legal philosopher Jeremy Waldron has explained, the preconditions of a social compact being formed that melds so many different ways of life together.

All of this explains why opponents of same-sex marriage would only be too willing to submit the issue to a popular vote. Many might not be opposed to civil unions, or in any conscious way seek to delegitimise gay and lesbian relationships.

But the question of same-sex marriage is not, for its opponents, a question concerning basic human rights and equality. To them, same-sex marriage lies outside the class of rights and freedoms that are non-negotiable, and unsurprisingly, therefore, is an issue suited to resolution by popular vote.

In the end, the stance against a referendum can only be maintained consistently - and without insult to democracy - if the issue of same-sex marriage is viewed as one in which basic civil rights and freedoms are at stake.

A referendum is not the best way to proceed in a matter where majorities cannot have the final say. Of course, this is not to concede that elected majorities, like parliaments, should have the final say.

It merely appreciates that parliamentary deliberative processes, on the whole, are likely to be less divisive and inflammatory than alternative methods of collective decision-making.

Join the conversation

155 Comments sorted by

  1. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    "No bloc majority of citizens can remove or withhold the basic rights enjoyed by all those included in the citizenry, since these rights are, as the legal philosopher Jeremy Waldron has explained, the preconditions of a social compact being formed that melds so many different ways of life together"

    The question is: is state recognition of marriage a basic right? Traditionally marriage was partly about controlling the sexuality of the partner - usually the male controlling the female - at least…

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    1. Cameron Wheatley

      Student

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean, marriage might be an outdated idea, but some people still regard it as a hugely important social symbol of lifelong commitment.

      I don't think it is appropriate in an advanced society like ours to deny any committed couple the right to decide for themselves whether or not they want to marry.

      I think the idea of marriage belonging to the Church is ridiculous though. Marriage may have strong ties to religion, but I don't have a religious bone in my body...but I can still get married if…

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    2. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Cameron Wheatley

      "Sean, marriage might be an outdated idea, but some people still regard it as a hugely important social symbol of lifelong commitment. "

      And there is nothing stopping those people making up any ceremony they wish to embody that belief or commitment. I believe Bob Brown is doing some excellent work in this area.
      http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/content/2012/s3521967.htm
      Personally, I don't see how the State can either add or subtract from the particular worth of a relationship.

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    3. Citizen SG

      Citizen

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      mmm... is it true that: 'i have the right to be married to x' where x is any combination and quantity of genders?
      I agree that right is too strong a word. And marriage is too loaded with historico-religious baggage.
      The mutual contract idea makes some sense. the state should only intervene on the basis of a citizen requiring need, not some specious concept of a 'married couple'.

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    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Have to agree with you -

      "hand this piece of arcane, superstitious, traditional, repressive mumbo-jumbo back to the Churches where it belongs."

      I can see the push for equality by many gays and others, but as you say a contract should be available to everyone who doesn't want the sanctity of the religious bodies, but wants to be "attached" legally to another person.

      And I think the whole marriage thing is a last bastion of the anti-gay troglodytes, who feel smugly superior because they can avail themselves of marriage.

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    5. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean, the state doesn't necessarily add or subtract from the worth of a particular relationship, but they can implicitly devalue the worth of a *type* of relationship (insofar as a same-sex relationship is a type, which itself implies it is in some way different).

      In any case, if you don't see how the State can either add or subtract from the worth of a relationship, then it would make sense that those outside the relationship more broadly would not be able to add or subtract from the particular worth of the relationship, yes? (Assuming they are not directly intervening in the relationship or harassing its members). From that, allowing same-sex marriage will not add or subtract from the particular worth of an opposite-sex marriage. Thus, why not allow same-sex marriage?
      (Of course, you are welcome to present arguments my statements in that final paragraph).

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    6. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Why not give the term "marriage" to the religious organisations, allowing them to administer it as they will, but let the law have the term "civil union", available to any two adult human beings who wish to undertake it. Everyone would need to get a civil union to be recognised in the law, but not everyone would get married (unless they had a religious rite).

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    7. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Good suggestion - I think both sides of the debate seem to be hung up on the word "marriage", when equality is actually the bottom line.

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    8. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Hi Sue,

      I think that is a really interesting suggestion. It isn't one I'm necessary very comfortable with, but that certainly doesn't make it is right or wrong.

      It would certainly be very interesting to see what the public (or more accurately, the pro- and anti-same-sex-marriage) groups would have to say, and potentially reveal more about what is underlying arguments on either side. Particularly on the anti-same-sex marriage side, because a subset of that group currently uses defence of the…

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  2. Mike Swinbourne

    logged in via Facebook

    A referendum should not be necessary. Our politicians should simply act in the best interest and in accordance with the wishes of the electorate.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      And of course they would know what that is when they can be so criticised for other decision making by usually somewhere near half the population.

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  3. Anthony Nolan

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    No, the issue should not be put to referendum for the simple but strong reason that the extension of rights to any minority group in a liberal democracy is a matter of legal recognition of rights. Putting the issue to a plebiscite makes recognition of rights potentially hostage to the tyranny of the majority. That is, a "no" vote would be incorrectly seen to legitimize the withholding of rights.

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Not only that it has nothing to do with anyone else at all.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Tyson Adams

      If you think about what you have suggested for a moment Tyson, on one hand because change is being sought on something that many different people will have different views on about a change of recognition in regard to our social structure, you are saying that we should not do anything different and just leave it to politicians with no change to be considered.

      That's aside from the great lack of faith that is often expressed for politicians.

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    2. Tyson Adams

      Scientist and author

      In reply to Greg North

      What? Suggesting our public officials do their jobs? That is not asking too much and it also stands as a reason for them to lose their jobs at the coming election if they mess up.

      Also, you can't really have differing views about stopping discrimination against a section of the community. You can either be right or wrong and those who object are in the wrong as they are discriminating against the LGBT community.

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    3. Colin Clarke

      Professional cock sucker at SPURT PRIVATE MENS LOUNGE

      In reply to Tyson Adams

      Well said Tyson & so true.

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  4. Frank Black

    Fitter

    Here is a genuine question - but I admit it may be divisive. I know too that it is often trotted out - but please bear with me.

    Marriage is a social institution (among other things) that confers moral grace to those that are married. Any man here married will know this is true - for example I'm now allowed to left alone with friends' children, something that never happened before I was married.

    Society has right (I think) to say what are the good ways of living - the ways of life we want our…

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    1. Citizen SG

      Citizen

      In reply to Frank Black

      I've seen opposition to same sex marriage use both the slippery-slope fallacy and strawman fallacy in stating that it will lead to state recognition of polygamy and bestiality.
      Neither of those are pertinent to or a necessary consequence of legalisation of same sex marriage.
      These require separate consideration. I don't know that it is a human right that: 'i should have the right to be married to x'. But it is equable that a citizen should be able to access the same benefits if they are in a mutual loving cohabitation with another citizen.

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    2. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Frank Black

      I think what is happening here is that two issues are being conflated: a social one, and a legal one. The social one relates the 'moral grace' you attach to the term marriage, and the legal issue is that of legal recognition of marriage for same-sex couples in the same way it applies to opposite-sex couples. This conflation is a significant problem, because it allows people to argue against the legal recognition of same-sex couples on the basis of "traditional values" and "that's not what marriage…

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    3. Frank Black

      Fitter

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Thank you for engaging with what I wrote. I think if people can't engage with the ideas I've put forward, especially as I share your same agenda, there is very little chance they can contribute to an actual debate.

      I think you've expressed it very clearly. There is a legal issue and a social one. The legal one should not be put to a referendum - it is a matter of human rights. Perhaps the social aspect could be...

      People are allowed to have an opinion on what our society should be like - the principles that they feel would make our society better. It is not unreasonable that such directions or principles be voted upon either - especially if the legal dimension is dealt with.

      To say otherwise disenfranchises those who have a valid opinion about the values they want for our society. Taking the word marriage from them would be extremely divisive - it is one that many hold dear and value.

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    4. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Frank Black

      I'm happy to be able to engage.

      With regard to the social use of the term 'marriage': when I say that is a social issue what I mean is that I think it should be solely in the social norm sphere - i.e. removed from legal rules. What that means is that people who object to same-sex couples being called 'married couples' would not have to refer to them as 'married' (and indeed could argue with others about whether the couple was 'really married' to their heart's content). Those who are in same-sex…

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    5. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Frank Black

      Marriage is only one of many many social institutions. Do heterosexual couples who have lived together for a decade or more not have the "moral grace" you speak of.

      Perhaps (and I say this with respect) your friends not wanting to leave you alone with their children says more about you than the institution of marriage.

      A document signed by a priest/minister/celebrant who may have only met you a fortnight before the ceremony does not make you an upright "moral" person.
      The ceremony itself…

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    6. Frank Black

      Fitter

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Stephen, are you serious? You imply that I can't be trusted around children, but respectfully??!!!

      Would you say something like this to someone's face? Why do you think it's appropriate here?

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    7. Frank Black

      Fitter

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Thanks for the clarification.

      Just to check that I understand you: you are suggesting that in law we don't use the term marriage, but "legal union" or something like that for everyone (gay or hetro).

      Then then term "marriage" can be argued about in public - but it has no legal weight.

      If that is what you mean, I like this idea - I would support it, just as I support gay marriage.

      For many conservative people, think of their view gay marriage as akin to "I abhor what you say, but I would…

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    8. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Frank Black

      Frank,

      Yes, that is precisely what I was suggesting. (i.e. have 'legal unions' and let people fight out the use of the term marriage in public).

      I think you have clearly put the position of some conservatives, i.e. that that believe legal recognition of same-sex couples equivalent to that of opposite-sex couples is a right, but are squeamish about the use of the term 'marriage' for same-sex couples. That group, I think, also support what you suggest they do. I'm not sure I'd say that point…

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    9. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Frank Black

      My point is from the perspective of being considered "moral".

      You say that only after you were married were you considered "eligible" to be alone with you friend's children.

      That infers it was ONLY the act of marriage that judged you to be a MORAL person, suggesting that there was the perception you weren't before your marriage.

      When I was 15 and 16 I was baby-sitting the kids of my parents friends. There was no moral judgement made because I wasn't married. I find it a strange phenomena that the point of judgement in this issue is the act of being married.

      There would be a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that many cases of child abuse is from married men (and women).

      If you had made the same statement to my face I would have had the same reply.

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    10. Frank Black

      Fitter

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I have reported your comment as abuse as I believe it was. At this point though, I'd like you to please stop discussing aspects of my character.

      If you want to discuss any of the ideas I've raised, please go right ahead.

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    11. Frank Black

      Fitter

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Thanks very much for this. I had been feeling a bit uneasy about denying a referendum to people, because I was worried about the mixing of the social aspect of marriage with law.

      Now I'm in agreement with you. The idea of an act which uses the term "legal union" or something for all couples, regardless of their sexual make-up seems like a good solution.

      Conservative politicians would still use the word marriage only in the context of hetro couples, but that is their right. Time would show them to be on the wrong side of history.

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    12. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      In view of the fact that you have challenged me on this thread, Simeon, please allow me to return the favour and point to something that you have overlooked in your discussion here. Its the most important thing, actually. Children. Marriage is a social institution which has evolved because of children, not merely as a special right for heterosexual couples. It's the only social institution we know of which ensures that children are tied to their biological father and mother, and which commits fathers…

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    13. Eric Glare

      HIV public speaker & advocate

      In reply to Frank Black

      Frank your idea of 'gay life-style' is as silly as I saying all people called Frank should not get married because I do not like their lifestyle, not to mention that lifestyle of people who have trained as fitters. Being gay and in love with someone is more like which flavour of icecream you prefer than a lifestyle - it is about brain chemistry. Isn't your sexuality? I met my first partner whilst in a fundamentalist Christain cult that frowned on the lifestyle of people who played sport, watched TV or drank alcohol. My lifestyle has evolved since then but which were you referring to?

      GLBTI are united by the abuse we have experienced from the majority of society that would get to vote on us in a referrendum. Like sexual abuse victims, we do not have the same lifestyle. Why should we need permission to marry from our abusers when they should be minding their own business?

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    14. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Dania Ng

      You play the children card..............another card in YOUR house of cards.

      Marriage does not automatically equate to children.

      Divorce is rampant - the Family Courts are inundated with hostile parents, many using their offspring as bargaining chips.

      There are many many thousands of single mothers (and fathers).

      Many married couples these days are choosing not to have children.

      Every child probably does deserve a mother and father, but it doesn't always happen.

      And who is to say evolution hasn't been waiting for the day when we can move onto a freer concept of parenthood - two mothers or two fathers ?

      When you say "We dissolve marriage as we know it, and the whole social fabric is rendered meaningless,", what evidence do you have?

      I think you being alarmist to suit your own purpose.

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    15. Eric Glare

      HIV public speaker & advocate

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Obviously we already have this distinction of social and legal definitions but clearly we are only talking about that referred to in law as the social ones are diverse. Fundamentalist Christians such as I grew up in believe that in the eyes of their god you are married to the first person (opposite sex) you have sex with until they die or you commit adultery if you have sex with anyone else - they didn't believe in church wedding ceremonies. Many other people think it has something to do with children…

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    16. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Eric Glare

      Eric:
      I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you're saying.

      I don't actually think there is currently a clear distinction of social and legal definitions, and I think that makes the legal issue of same-sex marriage much more intractable than it needs to be. I do think that the legal recognition needs to be equivalent - that is, the law shouldn't be using 'marriage' for opposite-sex couples, and some other term for same-sex couples.

      By moving the term 'marriage', along with its baggage, from law it ceases to be necessary to change the baggage people cart around to their families and churches which relates to the specific term 'marriage'.
      That's my feeling, anyway.

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    17. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Frank Black

      De facto herero couples have legal recognition , and so do gay couples now. What is the big difference conferred by a marriage certificate( apart from symbolism),could someone enlighten us? Divorce laws presumably apply - so is that important? Is it important to retain bigamy as a crime - presuming it still is?

      The argument about "human rights" sounds fair enough but is it only the right to a ceremony and certificate , or to more than this?

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    18. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Citizen SG

      What are the benefits they are missing out on - haven't heard de facto herero couples campaigning for missing rights.

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    19. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Frank Black

      Lots of long term hetero couples are not married - labelled de facto - but they don't seem to complain about any loss of entitlements etc....and live in long-term loving relationships, bring up their kids well etc... How is this argument not about a ceremony,a word and a piece of paper? ( If people want to dress up and have a party as well no-one will object)

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    20. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Dania Ng

      But , Dania,unmarried hereto couples with children have the same means tests,legal rights and obligations are married couples with families , don't they? Or am I completely wrong about that?

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    21. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to wilma western

      Yes, of course they do. You're absolutely right, Wilma. But this is not the same in other countries. Marriage is not simply a certificate, it is a social institution which has developed independently of the state, and has shaped the norms of society and so the very nature of the state since time immemorial. It stands as a recognition that the most important function of any community, which is to bring up children, is primary to a community and hence to the state. Of course, in Australia you don't…

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    22. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Wilma:
      If there is no difference of consequence between being de facto and legally married, then it would be reasonable to assume that the complete elimination of marriage law would not be objectionable. If it makes no difference, then it doesn't matter.
      If such a removal of existing marriage law would be objectionable, that necessarily means there is a difference between being de facto and married for heterosexual couples. In the absence of a clear argument for why this would be different for…

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    23. Eric Glare

      HIV public speaker & advocate

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      I can't see why you think it is easier to take marriage out of the law and put it solely into a myriad of social contexts that no one can agree on. At the moment, the law of marriage is the only commonality that extends through families and friends for generations, not just in Australia but world-wide - and it is simple. It is weddings that have baggage and ambiguity (virginity, misogyny, adultery, fertility, religion, culture, etc) not the law of marriage. People can manage their own baggage but…

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    24. Eric Glare

      HIV public speaker & advocate

      In reply to wilma western

      See my latest message above and in addition we want legal recognition when we chose, not dumped on us by a time period. We want the ceremony that everyone is familiar with and the connections to family and formation of family that involves. And we want the religious freedom to marry that the mainstream churches have stolen from us and from numerous other churches. This is not just the freedom to marry but it is our freedom for our religious and moral belief in the moral good of our sexuality, our…

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    25. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Simeon, when you feel like substantively addressing the points I am actually making, rather than selectively decontextualise some to suit what you want to say, I may feel like considering engaging with you in a detailed discussion. I said quite clearly, "Marriage, however, establishes the cornerstone of HOW we view and act upon the relationship between genders so that, as a principle, the nurture of children to adulthood is ensured ...Marriage is a template...", which it is the crux of my response to Wilma's question.
      You have provided your response, so let's leave at that.

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    26. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Eric Glare

      Thank you for being honest in respect to what you want, Eric. I support most of your aims, with a couple of exceptions. I will never, never support the sexualisation of children. I understand how children develop and are socialised, and so I know that the way homosexualists want to 'educate' children in schools will harm them. That means harm to all children, including those who will identify as homosexual.
      The actual gay agenda can be found in a number of documents produced by the gay 'liberation…

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    27. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Eric Glare

      Eric,

      I don't see why you think retaining the word 'marriage' in law and allowing same-sex couples to get married would change the social attitudes relating to same-sex couples. You can *want* all of the social baggage that goes with the term 'marriage', but I don't think a change in law will itself provide that. You can't force people to like same-sex marriage, or consider it equal to opposite-sex marriage. What can be achieved is legal equivalence.

      That is to say: those who support same-sex…

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    28. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Dania,

      You say:
      "Marriage, however, establishes the cornerstone of HOW we view and act upon the relationship between genders so that, as a principle, the nurture of children to adulthood is ensured."
      I say:
      That implies marriage enforces gender roles. It did in the Victorian era; that time has passed. Marriage can be a template for relationships intended to be life-long, caring and intimate. It depends on what you consider to be the important aspects of the template. I wrote about that in my…

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    29. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Hi Simeon

      you have been exemplary in taking on the opposition (so to speak).

      It's interesting to note that even though there is a somewhat tacit acceptance of homosexuality from the trio, the religious and even moral precepts continue to seep through that thin veneer.

      But in reality, homosexuality and "religion" are not a good mix - even though there is the modern religious view to embrace it, the fact remains that it is taboo in nearly all (if not ALL) religions.

      If there has been one shining example of the duality of sentiment in this issue, it has to be the term "vegemite valley". Love it - I've never heard that term before (and I'm 63)...but it made me giggle on one hand, and on the other said it all.

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    30. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Frank Black

      It is correct that there are social issues as well as legal ones and though there are likely still some laws around that do discriminate, quite a few of the states have got around to recognising sam sex relationships, as of a few years ago it was the ACT, Vic. and Tasmania with NSW about to make the change and I suspect may have, perhaps other states by now too.

      Federal immigration laws reflected that and accept a certificate of union or whatever gets issued as equivalent to a marriage certificate…

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    31. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Greg North

      I wonder if there is such a term as "alpha female" - or even "beta male".

      Ultimately it should be up to a whole of community to decide these issues (not necessarily by referendum), and it does seem to be apparent that there is a majority tick for same sex alliances.

      Let's leave "marriage" out of the equation to soften the blow to naysayers.

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    32. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Stephen:
      I think one of the big challenges in discussing same-sex marriage is that so many other issues do get mixed in. For example, the issue of how unpleasant some people find the concept of homosexual sex gets raised, although it is already legal. Also adoption by same-sex couples, which while an interesting issue is not actually the same as same-sex marriage. It *is* closely related, though, and arguments for/against one can sometimes inform the other.

      I agree that religion and homosexuality…

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    33. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      "Wittman, who happened to be a gay rights activist, didn't like marriage in the 1970s" .... there was nothing 'gay' about this homosexualist. His life is an example of the tragedy which the lie that was his life represented. He left his wife for a promiscuous homosexual lifestyle, established a 'free love' farm where countless people got infected with HIV, and committed suicide when he couldn't suffer his symptoms any longer.
      Elsewhere, I provided you with a second link to a contemporary view…

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    34. Eric Glare

      HIV public speaker & advocate

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Simeon, you are saying what I said except you have missed "Marriage won't deliver all that but it is certain that equality will not be delivered with out it."

      Inequality of sex (intersex), gender (transgender) and sexuality (GBT) is a crime on humanity and like any other crime, laws do not completely prevent but they make prevention possible.

      Can you imagine inviting you parents and your siblings to your wedding when your relationship hasn't been a acknowledged by them, your partner's name has never left their lips and your right to do so has been stopped by the state and other people's churches? As it is now, weddings stir up family connections.

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    35. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Dania:
      1. And so?

      2. Imagine, if you will, that you tried to submit a paper for publication. Imagine title of the paper is 'homosexualism and the real gay marriage agenda'. Imagine that you were claiming that 'homosexualists' wanted to do some terrible thing to marriage (that wasn't just legalise same-sex marriage). Now imagine that, of all the content in the world from 1970 until now you presented as evidence two pieces of evidence (three if we include the other article you mentioned which noted…

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    36. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Eric Glare

      Eric:
      First, I can't imagine what you describe in the final paragraph. It sounds awful.

      With respect to the "marriage won't deliver all that" - what I have been trying to suggest (and you're totally welcome to disagree with me on this) is that if the word marriage can be removed from law - and thus the same, new, term can be used for both opposite-sex and same-sex marriage in law, it may be much more achievable. Furthermore, those who *are* accepting of same-sex couples will be free to use the…

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    37. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      On another note, I really wish that The Conversation site had a better comments system; one that made clear logical argument easier, rather than having the same arguments repeated time and time again across four different comment threads. It makes it frustrating to follow, and even more frustrating to actually try to engage in real rational argument.

      Not that I necessarily have a better idea for a comments system. Well, I did, but I think it would be too complex.

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    38. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      So Simeon, your argument is that same sex couples are discriminated against because they can't choose to be married , whereas hetero couples can . Fair enough , but really doesn't that mean they don't have the choice of getting a marriage certificate, witnessed etc, after taking some sort of oath or affirmation? Nothing else that they aren't already entitled to is at stake , as far as I can see - leaving aside the issue of children ,which some unmarried same sex couples have already arranged…

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    39. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to wilma western

      Hi Wilma,

      Thanks for the clear response.

      In response to your first paragraph: in the most practical sense, it does mean same-sex couples don't have the choice of getting a marriage certificate, witnessed, etc. That, and they don't have the legal ability to 'shortcut de facto' - that is, marriage is immediate whereas de facto takes a period of time. This means that an opposite-sex couple can live apart, then marry and move in together having immediate legal recognition of the relationship. A…

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    40. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      1. And so ... what? Rather: Do you see any merit at all in what I have said? A starting point for further discussion, perhaps? Are you asking me to reference my comments here? A list of references perhaps? How about asking these people: http://www.beyondmarriage.org/signatories.html whether they see any purpose in maintaining the status quo in how we understand marriage? How, the, would you like me to join the dots for you? In glowing, pulsating pink?
      2. Imagine that you provide a comment in a discussion…

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    41. Colin Clarke

      Professional cock sucker at SPURT PRIVATE MENS LOUNGE

      In reply to Frank Black

      My sisters friend didn't trust me around her or other kids at my sisters 50th im gay but my sisters friend didn't know that,anyway she said something smart to me as she walked passed me so I waited til we were all at the table with her husband & kids & others plus my boyfriend she kept starring at me as if I was a creep so I let the cat out of the bag...I said listen here bitch im gay not a catholic priest & its not you,re children you have to worry about around me its yo,re husband you have to watch im more interested in him not your kids...well you could hear a pin drop plus mouths.

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  5. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    I support gay marriage.

    But I think Gerard Henderson (at the link) makes a good point. Some prominent advocates of gay marriage were condemning marriage as an oppressive institution only ten years ago.

    You can see why some punters feel uncomfortable agreeing to radical change when the movement itself is new and apparently fickle.

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  6. Colin MacGillivray

    Architect, retired, Sarawak

    Referenda are simply costly, poor, unscientific market surveys. The sample is those who show up and the question is always tricky. (Remember Howard's Republic question?)
    The legal element is perhaps the most important aspect of gay marriages. Stories of a survivor of a long gay partnership being wrongly treated after the other dies illuminate the need.
    With France, UK & New Zealand having legalised gay marriage, Australia might just see that it's the way to go, in due course.

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  7. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    A referendum on homosexual's using the term "marriage" for a legal binding relationship would fail badly.

    I received an email from a 78 year old gay male friend this week in Melbourne who said he has been actively asking around all their gay male friends about what they thought of it and he said they all thought it was ridiculous and the object of a noisy minority. Moreover, he felt the call was initiated by female homosexuals who wanted to be able to be a bride like heterosexual women and some…

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    1. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Where to begin...
      Beginning at the end: I'm not sure what you mean by the concept of same-sex marriage being fully 'debated'. What particular debates you think need to be had?

      "That is why gays are seeking to pressure political parties to get it through without going to the electorate."
      Those sinister gays? From this statement, I can only conclude that either you don't see same-sex marriage as a human rights issue (which would be consistent with much of the rest of your post), or that you don't…

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    2. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Simeon after reading your post I get the impression that you confuse personal "indulgence" with "rights". You get more freedom in Australian than any country on earth but it is never enough.

      What about talking about the responsibilities of gays as the other side of gays demanding to able to use the exclusive heterosexual term "marriage."

      You seem to confuse the indulgence of a gay couple going to artificial lengths to organise a child to embellish their relationship via third party cells to…

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    3. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Hi Terry,
      I'll just respond point-by-point again.

      "I get the impression that you confuse personal "indulgence" with "rights". You get more freedom in Australian than any country on earth but it is never enough."
      I think it is more likely that because you don't see same-sex marriage as a 'right', you see it as an 'indulgence', and thus because you assume you are right you infer everyone else who considers same-sex marriage a right is incorrect. Whether we get more freedom in Australia than any…

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    4. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Simeon, God bless you are clearly passionate about being able to get "married". If it was a right for homosexuals to marry why is it after forty thousand years of ancient cultures that they seem to all have marriage ceremonies for a man to wed a woman and which ones adopted your approach of man marrying another man and calling them a family unit or something akin to that?

      Why is it that this need for gays to marry has suddenly appeared like the lasts rock culture? Do you know of homosexuals from earlier period campaigning for marriage?

      As much as I am fond of my homosexual friends the concept of them marrying and calling one Mum and one Dad is laughable and a bit creepy. Just like Ellen de Generis when in Melbourne recently referring to her young female partner as her wife.

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    5. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry if you look at womens rights, it has only been in the last hundred years that women have been given the vote. As late as the 1960s a women who got married had to leave the Public Service, and apply for a part time job. My mother could not get a passport without her husband's authority.

      In terms of your 40,000 year timeline, a hundred years is a blink of the eye.

      You say if it was a RIGHT for homosexuals to marry.............your gay friends must be very tolerant of your paternalistic and superior views.

      Thank goodness your views will be consigned to the history you quote so much.

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    6. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Actually Terry, I'm not gay.
      First, you've missed the beginning point that just because something has been one way doesn't mean it should be or should remain that way.
      Furthermore, to my knowledge we don't have records of any marriage ceremonies forty thousand years ago. We do have some idea that 5000-odd years ago brides were probably kidnapped and 'married', but I'm not sure if you'd really like to group that in with marriage in the modern sense.
      We also have the issue of polygamy, which appears…

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    7. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Very well articulated, Terry (as a grandparent, I feel the reality of everything you said as well :`)). Don't worry about what some of the comments here keep on pushing, you have the experiences you have so generously shared here, and that's what makes you different. It is not (yet) a crime to be different.
      Marriage is, indeed a human right. Homosexuals have it as well. They can marry someone of opposite sex of legal age and with informed consent. No one is denying it to them. What they want is…

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    8. Eric Glare

      HIV public speaker & advocate

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry it could be a bloody bath between lesbian daughters and their families like yours if we become aware, if we aren't aready, that we are not treated with equality and equal respect within our own family -that our real family is not the one of our birth. Many GLBTI people like myself do not have anything to lose and we will fight.

      You are incorrect re pensions -we are treated the same as defactos and it outed a lot of old GLBTI and led to a sudden drop in income that would usually have been prevented by a grandfathering clause - rather meanly implemented.

      And remember the Repulic option put to a referrendum was a dog because it allowed a popularly elected president by the middle majority after the model was chosen by the debate of the popular middle majority.

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    9. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      May I suggest, Simeon, that it is usual to practice what you ask someone else to do? Nothing, but nothing you have said so far has any rational basis. Let me give you one simple example. That a woman calls another woman 'dad' is irrational, indeed. When we find something is irrational, we may express it as 'creepy'. Or perhaps as unnatural, which it is. So it is quite rational to say, "It is creepy for a woman to call another woman 'dad'". Irrationality is creepy. Like someone saying the sky is green - it's so irrational, that it's creepy.

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    10. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Dania,

      You feel that I haven't been making a rational argument? That's fine, here's one:

      1. There is currently a legal framework for officially recognising one-on-one opposite-sex relationships.
      2. The important aspect of a relationship (or marriage) is the feelings and intentions of the members towards each other.
      3. The feelings and intentions of members of a same-sex relationship who want to get married are not different to the feelings and intentions of the members of an opposite-sex…

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    11. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      All this is just regurgitated old, and now tiresome homosexualist stuff, sorry. I am not going to waddle through it in detail. It will obviously not lead me anywhere with you, judging by the comments you have made thus far. If you like, I can link to some eminent rebuttals of the things that you have argued. For the time being, let me take up just one example from what you said, to demonstrate how irrational your arguments are.
      QUOTE:'' "Because every child deserves a mother and a father."
      How…

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    12. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Please do link some eminent rebuttals, if you will not present them here.

      I am saying that your claim that 'every child deserves a mother and father' is nonsense. I am saying it is nonsense is because what a child 'deserves' is not a mother and father, but rather the care, love, and support which is idealistically associated with having a mother and father.
      The statement "Why a mother and father, rather than simply two parents?" indeed does point to my political stance, just as clearly as your…

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    13. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Oh, I forgot to write:
      Dania: feel free to respond to the argument I presented as well as the postscript to it.

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    14. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Simeon, your arguments would have fitted well into George Orwell's book "1984". I can imagine the future lines of babies being produced like chickens in a factory and distributed out for raising in love farms where workers who have totally lost any idea that we are like animals and birds and have females and males who go to trouble to win the acceptance of a mate and procreate naturally, raise them on strict unions hours with artificial love.

      Imagine living in someone's ideal society of unisex…

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    15. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry: I think you're confusing George Orwell's "1984" with Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World".
      In addition, you're blatantly setting up a straw-man position, leaping from "... what a child 'deserves' is not a mother and father, but rather the care, love, and support which is idealistically associated with having a mother and father" to "future lines of babies being produced like chickens in a factory".

      The point of your second paragraph is unclear.

      Your third paragraph is irrelevant, not to…

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    16. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Simeon, you are right it was Aldous Huxley. Horrible book I read five decades ago!

      Thank you for the marking my paper like a secondary English teacher which I suspect you are. Most of your comments revolve around the same thing, what you consider is or is not relevant as if you are some sort of TC arbiter. I usually don't have any trouble getting my point across.

      If you are not gay, what is the point of you arguing so vehemently and long windedly for gays to use the term marriage in formalising a relationship when not all gays support the idea. Perhaps you are a divorcee and hate marriage because yours failed? I have a brother who has had four marriages and numerous de facto relationships. It is people like him that distort the statistics on marriage and enable gays to argue about heterosexuals not considering marriage has value, so why shouldn't they be able to use the term.

      Thank you for your comments Simeon and you to Dania.

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    17. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Simeon, it is obvious that we operate from different ontologies, in which case some of the concepts in use here will be completely foreign and nonsensical to you.
      However, I can only comment on the basis of what I know. For example, what I know is that it is impossible for a child not to need their biological mother and father, as you claim when you state that they merely 'deserve' care and love. Why I am saying this? Because there is scientific evidence which tells us that children and biological…

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    18. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I actually quite enjoyed the book, although it is certainly not a world that I would aspire to having.

      The simple reason for my arguing vehemently and long-windedly (I prefer the term comprehensively) in support of gay marriage is that I do see it as an issue of rights and equality. I would like to think I would argue equally strongly on another rights and equality issue which involved a different group in a different way. In short, having the argument is living by my values.

      The reason for…

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    19. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Dania:
      Perhaps we do operate from different ontologies. The inconvenience of that would be that ultimately, the same law applies to people irrespective of their ontology.

      Let's talk briefly about the Primal Wound, working from the 'primer' you presented. First, the argument relates to the developmental bond between mother and child. Thus, it:
      1. Applies equally to any form of adoption, whether it be to an opposite-sex or same-sex couple
      2a. Does not apply to a same-sex couple where one of the…

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    20. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      The response here indicates no desire to actually engage in constructive debate. The point I made regarding the 'primal wound' was to briefly exemplify a broader statement about chemical and other processes which happen to help tie the child, mother, father together into what we refer to as a bond. The actual point is that biology (Nature, if you like) has ensured this exists for this kind of relationship, only. It does not exist in this form for homosexual couples who adopt through surrogacy, for…

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  8. Peter Campbell

    Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

    I agree that a referendum would give licence and legitimacy to a lot of very ugly arguments. Far better that parliament decides as it does on many other matters. Tony Abbott could allow his party a conscience vote on this tomorrow if he wanted to actually be 'liberal'. I don't see why this has to be a party-political matter.
    On the arguments raised against gay marriage:
    Some say it 'undermines or threatens marriage'. I can't see how a homosexual couple being married has any effect on my heterosexual…

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Dear Peter, 70% of marriages throughout the world according to the UN are arranged marriages. Just how many do you think Mrs. Abdul says to her neighbour Mrs, Mohammed, I would like to arrange for your son to marry my son? None! That is 70 million marriages a year. There are about 100 million marriages a year all between a man and a woman. This has been going on for time immemorial for humans essentially every one of the numerous cultures on this planet.

      In 1984 Deng Xao Peng replaced the failed…

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry, what does anything you've said here have to do with Peter's simple, lucid arguments?

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    3. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, I thought I made myself abundantly clear in nice simple terms. It was Peter who challenged my post.

      If you disagree, say what you mean!

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry, Peter's post was an original, not in response to yours. He may have disagreed with your opinions, but he did not challenge your post. You seem to be as confused about the process of discussion going on here as you are about trhe whole question posed.

      As to saying what I mean, try this: everything you said is entirely irrelevant to the question at hand and largely arbitrary and meaningless.

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    5. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, it seems I must be really hitting the mark as you have resorted to attacking me rather than providing an intellectual response to the positions I have put. There can be no intellectual argument for "gay Marriage". It is solely emotional and me tooish!

      I could have been crude too and suggested that the vast majority of people find the idea of a man shoving his penis into "vegemite valley" as equating to the wholesome, natural beauty of a women's vagina designed by nature expressly for procreation…

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    6. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry please keep making comments as often as you like........you are a greater gay activist than most.

      Keep up the good work.

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    7. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry,

      It appears that the discussion has fractured a bit, so in the interests of retaining our main line of discussion I'll only respond briefly here.

      1. The history of marriage does not determine what marriage *should* be, and the history of marriage is not as perfectly aligned to the modern conceptualisation as you may imagine. Even at the most facile level, divorce is now an option.

      2. The success or failure of China fiddling with the family structure says essentially nothing about this…

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    8. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      I find Terry's posting very relevant to the topic. It says much about the nature of marriage, and its function as a social institution. Please go on, Terry.

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    9. Eric Glare

      HIV public speaker & advocate

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry, were did you pluck 1%? We are talking about all GLBTI not just gays and you need to know who we are if you are going to debate fairly. Transgender are at least 2% but the suicide rate is thought to be 40-50% but there isn't good data on that because they kill themselves due to stigma. We are seeking marriage equality not same-sex marriage because TI are not well accommodated.

      As for anal intercourse, it is practised by more women (about 9%) and by more heterosexual men (17%) than men in…

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  9. Dania Ng

    Retired factory worker

    My goodness, the Conversation is back to publishing political pamphlets. I though that this is a publication focused on scientific and scholarly knowledge and issues, not an activist platform.
    The very first phrase in this article presents a politicised factoid. The Galaxy poll it cites was actually 'commissioned' a year ago by the Australian Marriage Equality, a misleadingly-named secretive activist organisation. The article then proceeds to formulate an argument that marriage is a 'right' that…

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    1. Jim Robertson

      Dispute Resolution Officer at Ombudsman

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Hello Dania,

      I understand that you have been a victim of harassment from a gay man in the past. From what I’ve read of yours, it sounds as though he abused his position of power over you in a professional environment and I don’t countenance that sort of behaviour. However, I’ve taken notice of your comments on previous TC articles about subjects similar to this one and, as a gay man myself, I admit they’ve angered me. Although it looks as though you take care to direct your criticisms to what…

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    2. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Jim Robertson

      Hello Jim
      Thank you for your comment. Homosexualism is, indeed, activism. It is not representative of all homosexual people, but of a radicalised minority among that community. As such, it has developed a particular ideological framework, and has identified political adversaries and enemies which it seeks to harm and even destroy. It has developed a particular propaganda strategy, which incorporates half-truths and lies, and that has become a real concern for me.
      I have spent some time researching…

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    3. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Dania:
      I'm afraid that the term 'homosexualism' is a nonsense term which exists only to provide some imagined group at which a finger can be pointed when claiming some grand conspiracy.

      This is made abundantly clear by the fact that the only apparent occurrence of the term 'homosexualism' which is defined differently to 'homosexuality' is in Metapedia, which defines it as follows:
      "Homosexualism is a psychopathology and subsection of Sexual Bolshevism which encourages human males to participate…

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    4. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Dear Simeon
      Thank you for your comment. Interesting points you make, however I see no evidence backing your argument, whatever that is. Yet you're asking me to do the opposite.
      Don't be afraid, homosexualism is a real word, whether you like it or not. I don't care what you think, I am still going to use it. Often.
      If you look into my previous comment, I said quite clearly that I had spent some time researching homosexualism. So I feel that I do know what I am talking about. Please note that I have no patience for slogans and misrepresentations, and I will take them to bits. Quite harshly, as lies and deceptions merit.
      As for the link I posted previously, perhaps this one may be of better 'assistance'?
      http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/gay-activist-masha-gessen-speech-for-viral-gay-marriage-is-a-lie-and-calls-for-end-to-marriage-58250/

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    5. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Diana I suppose you would agree heterosexualism is not representative of all heterosexual people.
      Whatever that means.

      The house of cards you speak of is gaining momentum globally. The conspiracy is becoming a reality.

      And anyway isn't everything a house of cards eventually in an existential sort of way.

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    6. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Stephen - the momentum you speak of may be there, in a world where indifference has darkened conscience and rationality. However, all it will do eventually is to awake a sleeping giant. (Wanna see what a giant that I am speaking of looks like? Here's a glimpse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G99jpTVKlX0). When the 96% of the world will realise they have been disenfranchised, methinks you'll see what real momentum is.
      Have you seen any of the the rallies against abortion-on-demand in recent years…

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    7. Eric Glare

      HIV public speaker & advocate

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Hi Dania you again at your usual trolling - you don't defend your use of 'homosexualism' but you have "no patience for slogans and misrepresentations, and I will take them to bits. Quite harshly, as lies and deceptions merit." One way street

      Look at her history people..

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    8. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Eric Glare

      Yes, please look at my history, I have nothing to hide. Thanks Eric for providing this plug.
      I am sorry you see the need for me to 'defend' the term homosexualism. For your benefit, I will simply say that it is used in the same sense as communism, feminism, nazism, and so on. It isn't a term I invented, but one which has been used for quite some time by those resisting the movement. It refers to activism on the basis of an ideology which seeks to change society in radical ways.
      I am curious as to the objections you and others might have to my use of the term.

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  10. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    Stephen, I am starting to get the impression my stand against the absurdity of homosexual "marriage" and arguments used are winning this phoney childlike war you support. I have no issue with homosexuals per se, just ones that are so insular and self absorbed to try and steal the long established and eminently successful concept of "marriage" by heterosexuals essentially for the protection of the women and the offspring.

    I think the arguments put by Dania Ng on this matter are well researched, balanced and would be endorsed by most Australians. A referendum on "homosexual marriage" in Australia meaning people would be forced to consider I the arguments, would be an absolute disaster for the proposers.

    It is so easy to attack politicians one by one to weaken their resolve but not to the nation. We are still a nation of ANZACS, not soft cocks..

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      With countries such as The U.K., France and New Zealand having legalised gay marriage, it will only be a matter of time before it is legalised here, and probably without a referendum I surmise.

      I'm only at war with attitudes like yours that on one hand appear to have a benign endorsement of homosexuality, but on the other hand display a very Catholic attitude to it.

      As a gay man I would not avail myself of a gay marriage because I have no wish to emulate what I see (as does Sean) as an entrenched and prejudiced religious ceremony that really serves no purpose that a contract could not.

      But irrespective of whether gay marriage is legalised or not in this country, it has certainly heightened a "gay" awareness and created a global whirlwind of support.

      And it has also brought into the open attitudes such as yours which also helps to strengthen other peoples resolve.

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  11. Sue Ieraci

    Public hospital clinician

    "Should Australia hold a referendum on gay marriage?"

    No - let's just make it possible, but not compulsory.

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  12. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    Sephen Ralph, you talk of a world looking for new kinds of parenthood, two fathers or two mothers. No it's not! The US goes to great trouble to ensure renegade Mormons do not indulge themselves with more than one wife and we in Australia, like every other western nation call it the crime of bigamy, you duffer.

    The trouble for the gay marriage lobby is you cannot see things in the simple beauty in which they formed over along time from the natural processes of human reproduction and the measures…

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      We are obviously looking at the world from two different perspectives.......as we are entitled to do.

      Having read your reply to Dania, I see you have a lived a very different life to mine, and your opinions are borne out of that life.

      As Sue has pointed out, much of the issue stems from the use of the word "marriage" - personally I be happy if gays left that word right out of the equation and choose another to describe the union between partners of the same sex. It seems that the word has specific connotations to both of us.

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  13. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    Dania, I read that item you referred to me in your post. The author expresses the situation exactly as I see it and I thank you. I will send it on to my friends.

    I am an ex Special Forces commando (Army Reserve() and a retired banker/merchant banker/finance executive. I always took the tough roads and as a result are able to share the wisdom gained to assist other out of terrible situations as I have been doing for over twenty years.

    I help train my grandsons to be strong healthy males and…

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    1. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      First or second company? I guess first if you're located in Sydney?

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    2. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      It's charming that you and Diana can have your little I'm-right-you're-right back and forth, and mutually reinforce each other's views without actually having to provide rational arguments for your position.

      The link which was posted by Dania was interesting, but in the context of this conversation actually responding to it would be a waste of time.

      Terry - you're religious, and you think homosexuality is dirty, and all your other views on the issue are probably rationalisations of those two…

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    3. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Just to note here (because having two threads with overlapping content makes actual discussion messy): I have responded in another thread with a longer (and more structured) post.

      It is under Terry's first comment to this article (which begins: 'A referendum on homosexual's using the term "marriage" for a legal binding relationship would fail badly.')

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    4. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      I suspect you're also referring to me, Simeon, though by the wrong name.
      I don't 'need' to do anything for your benefit or that of anyone else. I am unconvinced by the arguments you're adhering to, and regurgitating here from the standard homosexualist propaganda pamphlets. I have simply pointed out the misrepresentation of facts in the article above, its activist premises and intent. It is then up to you to show how it is otherwise, and how I am wrong.
      To summarise, I say a referendum is called…

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    5. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Yes, sorry, I did mistype your name.

      You're right. You don't need to do anything for my or anyone else's benefit. The need for you to present a cogent and convincing argument is entirely contingent on you wanting to actually try to support your position. If you don't want to support your position, you don't need to do so.

      Also, you haven't shown any such thing. You've made claims without evidence, and 'arguments' without rational structure (by and large - the counter-argument on the discussion…

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    6. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      My aim here is not for you to take me seriously, Simeon. It would be a bonus, but it isn't my reason for being here. This is a platform where I have mostly encountered disrespectful, aggressive, partisan, hateful and biased responses to my postings. I am primed to be dealing here with hostility, because I am on one of the 'turfs' occupied by the homosexualists in the public discussion arena. I am here as a presence. I am here as a voice for those who are marginalised and vilified in the public discussion…

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    7. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Dania,

      I'm afraid that you probably get a lot of resistance here because, much like claims that the world is controlled by the illuminati or the chatter of 9-11 'truthers', conspiracy theories don't readily gain traction.

      I'm not terribly concerned about you trying to use my comments to support your cause. I don't imagine you'll be convincing anyone who doesn't already share your views.

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    8. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      I adhere to 'conspiracy theories'. If you say so. You adhere to a theory that is better, I take it. The one that says that the homosexuals have been purposefully oppressed through the heteronormativation of society and culture by terrible individuals who operate from a malestream Christian view of the world, I take it? I suppose that, in such a world, rights just simply exist with no reference to anything but the wants of those who seek such rights.
      Yes, I am prepared to take the risk that no one will be convinced unless they share 'my' views.

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    9. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      I didn't say you adhered to 'conspiracy theories'. I said you adhere to *a* conspiracy theory. And I said that typically, conspiracy theories don't get much traction.

      I didn't claim you believe that the illuminati control the world governments, or that 9-11 was an inside job.
      Just that you believe there is a secret conspiracy by 'homosexualists' across the world who have infiltrated their way into society (and presumably political and academic structures) to destroy the concept of marriage, and than the first step in this plan is to achieve homosexual marriage. Somehow, achieving legal recognition of homosexual marriage will server as a springboard for the 'homosexualists' to disassemble marriage into... I don't know... something that isn't marriage.

      That's all.

      (Note: there are more than two ways of viewing something. I don't subscribe to the one you described above either).

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    10. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      It's certainly not a secret conspiracy. I highly recommend a book titled 'After the ball:How America will conquer its fear & hatred of gays in 90s' (1989) by Marshal Kirk and Hunter Madsen, published by Plume. On the back cover you can read a telling review, claiming that the book, "...outline[s] a boldly original battle plan for conquering bigotry by exploiting the mass media ... lays vital groundwork for the next stage of the gay revolution". Not my words. Theirs. Kirk died (of AIDS), Madsen is a high level merkaeting executive, still working for Yahoo, I believe.
      When you read it, get back to me to explain how there is no systematic movement based on certain principles.

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  14. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    Thank you Diana. I am certain those homosexuals being a minority in a further tiny minority (1)%) of Australians will get absolutely trounced if there was a referendum on the absurd question of homosexual marriage. Probably 99.8% against it. Their argument has only got traction because they keep it to childlike questions on shows like Q and A where only a select panel of five get a chance to respond and are soon cut off by Tony Jones if they argue against it.

    In a real referendum like the Republican…

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  15. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    Dania, No 2 Commando in Melbourne - 1964 to 1968. Highly trained as special forces commando and had to agree to active service anywhere around the world (or go into the draft). Our family have always been volunteers. it was the time of the Vietnam War and I eventually joined the anti-war movement, as I soon came to understand the war was based was on a false premise. A bit like the flawed premise of "homosexual marriage". I with my father (a WW11 hero) where present at the original meeting at Richmond Townhall in Melbourne with 40 or so others, surrounded by about 100 police that initiated the first Moratorium march against the war that attracted over 100,000 protestors to the Melbourne CBD, including my wife and I.

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    1. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Great stuff, Terry. A bit before my time. In the early 1970s I visited No 2 Coy, as a counselor-in-training - can't remember whether it was in Altona or Williamstown, though. Around the same time I did some work at the school of army health in Healsville. My English was not great then (especially pronunciation), and the guys were having some great fun at my expense :`)

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  16. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    Simeon, when you argue that gays would use the same vowels as heterosexuals your argument becomes even more comical and surreal. John stands at the alter and solemnly says to Steve, "I take you to be lawful; wedded wife or husband". What, do they draw straws or toss a coin to decide who will be mummy and who will be daddy. The they rush off after the wedding breakfast with the guests all cheering fertility chants as they to a room somewhere to the second leg of the marriage rites to consummate…

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    1. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry,

      I imagine what would typically occur with the vows is that each partner would use the gender-specific term for their partner, unsurprisingly like current weddings. I imagine they would also choose, like consenting adults, how they have sex. Not that it matters.

      I don't care that you were raised Presbyterian, and in this context don't care what 'life has shown you' outside of your ability to formulate it into a coherent and rational argument on the issue at hand.

      I made no comment…

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    2. Eric Glare

      HIV public speaker & advocate

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I find your comments in the first paragraph childish and I do teach sexual health in secondary schools and have never had such in my 9 years - they know how to show ethical consideration to this level at least. What is it to you what we call our partners other than titilation and fodder for disrespect? It depends on the gender of the people, not their sex, and how they want to fit with social norms or not. Some of us would rather not say husband or wife due to the mysogyn and mostly-contrived gender…

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    3. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Eric Glare

      Let me get this right, Eric. You are, as your publicly-available bio (http://www.plwhavictoria.org.au/downloads/Speaker_Bios_Testimonials.pdf) describes it, HIV positive (apparently due to having a 'fundamentalist Christian' family of origin, rather than to one of your untested previous homosexual partners). Then you tell us here that you are also teaching 'sexual education' to children in schools? Do you not understand the hypocrisy of telling us that you see terms such as husband/wife as misogynistic, whilst also declaring that you're teaching our children 'sexual education'?

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  17. Peter Campbell

    Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

    Just to lighten the mood a bit... The inability to edit one's post does lead to some unintended comedy.
    One person complained about "...when you argue that gays would use the same vowels as heterosexuals your argument becomes even more comical and surreal." Surreal indeed. How dare those homosexualists use the same vowels!
    Elsewhere (can't find the quote), one of the antis made reference to 'the gay me' in a sentence that almost suggested he conceded the possibility of a more liberal alter-ego.

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Peter, it was me that typed "vowels" instead of "vows". I imagine all others readers were intelligent enough to see it as a typo. Perhaps, my arguments were more pungent against homosexuals hijacking the heterosexual term "marriage" than I thought. Your argument about human right disparity for homosexuals not being able to get marred is rubbish. If they marry a heterosexual of the opposite sex they call it "marriage". That is what "marriage" is Peter.

      If you wish to delude yourself that two men…

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    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      "vegemite valley" - gets me every time - you're a scream Terry.

      But at least your true colours have shown through. I can imagine you in the pub (with little wifey at home with the kids) giving gays a thorough tongue-lashing (and won't they love that).

      If you have sons I can imagine that they will have been put through all of that "be a man" stuff, never being allowed to forget that they will grow up to be a real man, with none of the nancy-boy about them.

      Your type of attitude has not only scarred gay men over the years, but any less than macho heterosexual males.

      Good work as usual.

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    3. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Dear Stephen, let me just inform you that I am a teetotaller, spent all my time and energy on my wife and children, have been happy with the same one woman in my life, my wife of 46 years, never interested in straying, have my close gay male friends that go back to my teens, all of whom think the concept of gay "marriage" as nuts, spent a lifetime defending the weak against bullies, and the community against your sort of self serving "bullshit". I don't want my grandchildren to be homosexual. but…

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    4. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I agree that most readers would have been intelligent enough to see it as a typo. I think most readers would also have been intelligent enough to realise I knew it was a typo. I have been frustrated by the inability to go back and correct typos when I have made them myself.
      In among your offensive stuff, I just found your unintended sentence funny. But at least now you are being a good sport and playing along: "...entirely effeminate gay males bludgeoning us with their phony lisps". Indeed! All that lisping of their consonants yet now these camp guys want to use the same vowels as the rest of us straight-speaking macho types. Outrageous hypocrisy!

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    5. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      From Google:
      ar·gu·ment
      /ˈärgyəmənt/
      Noun
      An exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one: "I've had an argument with my father".
      A reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.
      Synonyms
      dispute - discussion - controversy - debate - disputation

      I think that the second definition, rather than the first, is the one we're looking for, everyone. The one with synonyms 'discussion' and 'debate'.

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    6. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Terry: I should note I'm not targeting just you with the preceding post. Yours just happened to be the last in the thread.

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    7. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      But this only indicates that the hypothesis regarding keratin content is null, Peter. It does not discount Terry's broader statement. I note that the researchers conclude thus: "Keratin layers alone are unlikely to explain why uncircumcised men are at higher risk for HIV infection". So Terry was right, broadly speaking, about who is at more risk, but in error about one of the possible causal factors. He is a non-scientist, and so he most likely misinterpreted the finer details of the science behind…

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    8. Eric Glare

      HIV public speaker & advocate

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry the vast majority of HIV has been contracted by heterosexuals and more than 80% through vaginal sex - the chief causes have been lack of education, belief in religion over science, listening to 'nurses' over scientists, lack of access to condoms, inability to change behaviour and the lack of power for women to demand condoms or say no to sex.

      Langerhans cells, particularly abundant in the foreskin, take up HIV and deliver it to the immune system without killing the virus. Keratin is present…

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    9. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Eric Glare

      Eric, thanks for that and Same to Dania.

      I learned of the keratin claim from a Four Corners program some years ago. The nurse that made the claim that there seemed a marked difference in AIDS contraction rates amongst African tribes where she worked between those males that had been circumcised and those who had not. Four Corners showed an eminent scientist mocking her saying it is akin to a claim that people who watch black and white TV's will get AIDS more than people who watch coloured TVs…

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    10. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I wasn't meaning to be 'bitchy'. I genuinely thought it was a funny mistake to see in the context of a lot of ugly prejudice

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    11. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Peter, the problem with the discussion about the use of the long established heterosexual term "marriage" for homosexual unions is that your either for us or against us.

      If you don't agree with homosexual activists getting everything they demand, then you are homophobic. In any discussion with homosexual activists in the media soon turns "bitchy" from the activists.

      My argument against homosexuals has nothing to do with my regard for homosexuals, my early religious protestant upbringing, or political stance.

      As far as I am concerned homosexuals and anyone for that matter can enter into any partnership they like as long as it is lawful. Just don't call it a "business marriage" when it is just a business partnership or marriage when it is not a heterosexual partnership.

      Find another word that fits but leave the heterosexuals and their term marriage for their timeless arrangement out of it.

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  18. Leigh Burrell

    Trophy hunter at Trophy hunter

    "Last July, in the journal Social Science Research, Mark Regnerus published a large-scale study comparing children raised by homosexual couples and those raised by married parents. It found many significant differences between the groups, with outcomes for the former rated "suboptimal" in almost every category...

    Compared with children of intact biological families (IBF), the children of homosexual parents (a lesbian mother - LM - or gay father - GF) have much lower educational attainments. They…

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      That study was funded by the Witherspoon Institute -

      The Witherspoon Institute is a conservative think tank in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded on religious principles, the group is opposed to same-sex marriage, embryonic stem cell research, and abortion.
      (from Wikkipedia)........

      say no more.

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    2. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter at Trophy hunter

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      More from the Australian article:

      "Published in tandem with Regnerus was a paper by Loren Marks analysing 59 previous studies of lesbian or gay parents and their children.

      Most were what is politely referred to as advocacy research by activists. Almost all of them lacked large, random, representative samples either of same-sex parents or married parents and their respective offspring. Only four of the studies met the American Psychological Association's own standards by "providing evidence of statistical power".

      Regnerus and Marks have withstood predictable, ideologically motivated attacks..."

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    3. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Whilst the information you have provided about research into children from same-sex partnerships may or may not be valid, the issue here is not any children, but the union itself.

      I do not know any gay couples with children so am not able to offer any personal opinion.

      It is a discussion of an entirely different thread, so best left out of this discussion as it muddies the waters.

      This discussion is about the validity or otherwise of legalising gay marriages.

      I've said all I wish to on this issue as the whole discussion seems to be turning in on itself.

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    4. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Hi Leigh,

      I was interested in this study because it was published in a reputable scientific journal (which some of the 'research' in this area is not).

      I don't think that the simple fact the paper was funded by the Witherspoon Institute is cause to ignore it. It does mean there is an increased risk of bias (which is a problem with funding by groups with a particular agenda) but that simply means it needs to be read with a wary eye.

      In any case, you might find this article interesting:
      http://chronicle.com/blogs/percolator/controversial-gay-parenting-study-is-severely-flawed-journals-audit-finds/30255

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    5. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      One other thing about the paper I failed to point out:
      it compared intact biological families with families that had a 'lesbian mother' or 'gay father' (defined in the paper as the parent having any same-sex partner for *any* duration at *any* point after the birth of the child).
      What that means is that the groups for comparison were:
      1. Intact Biological Family (i.e. non-broken home with opposite-sex parents)
      2. Family (broken or not) in which a/the parent at *any* time after the birth of the…

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    6. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Actually, Stephen, there's a bit more to the funding than this simplistic 'wink-and-nod' stuff. Most of the homosexualists are, likewise, funded by politically-motivated sources - such as homosexualist think-tanks and organisations. The problem for homosexualists, despite ongoing drives to discredit the Regnerus study, is that it has been done properly and within ethical guidelines by a scholar working at a prestigious US university, the data was collected and analysed by a reputable independent…

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    7. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Simeon, what you say here is largely incorrect. You should read the original article (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000610), not interpretations offered by biased critics. Regnerus does not simply compare "intact biological families with families that had a 'lesbian mother' or 'gay father' (defined in the paper as the parent having any same-sex partner for *any* duration at *any* point after the birth of the child)". This is what most of the homosexualist publications…

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    8. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Yes, I should read the original paper (and will when time permits).
      I'll largely reserve further judgement on the study itself until then.

      I can't believe that for a 'balanced article from an impartial journalist', you're referring me to the Weekly Standard.

      And I see from the comments on that blog that although you're very comfortable with concepts such as 'homosexualism' you're seemingly uncomfortable with 'biblical fundamentalism'. That, and you continue to enjoy using single cases as if they are representative (i.e. your links from the comment on that site).

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    9. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Whatever; and, I am not (un)comfortable with the use of the term biblical fundamentalism, actually I don't agree with fundamentalist Christianity to thus describe all Christians, and I speak against it when relevant. What I disagree with is using the term inappropriately, just as I will not use the therm 'homosexualist' to describe those who are of same sex attraction, but who dislike the homosexualist agenda just as much as I do.
      As for the publication I linked to, you mayhap expect one from a…

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    10. Simeon J Morgan

      logged in via email @digitalfeed.net

      In reply to Dania Ng

      I imagine your and my standards on what constitutes religious fundamentalism may be as different as what constitutes 'homosexualism'. Much like our opinions of what is 'liberal' vs 'neoconservative'. I think the Weekly Standard is skewed hard to the right. Clearly you disagree.

      You point me to a Chronicle article, but you may have missed that I never said Regnerus conducted scientific misconduct, simply that several commentators had said the study was very flawed.
      I'll quote the article you linked…

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    11. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Simeon J Morgan

      Sure. Let's leave it here. As a parting comment, I would point out though that, in my view, you are once again wrong in almost every point that you have made above. For instance, once again you quote stuff out of context, with obvious misunderstanding of the whole. So regarding the quote you plucked out of context the quote regarding the study being flawed, the report didn't say that it is flawed, it said that it doesn't mean that it isn't so. Understand the difference? Besides, if you understand…

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  19. Darren Yorston

    Student @ UQ

    It has probably been said however I find the concept of a referendum on many issues to be analogous to some sort of sporting competition. That the views of the majority are correct and the minority are not.

    Personally I do not feel that relationships, in the sense of "marriage", should be subject to Government involvement.

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