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The trouble with gay marriage

In most public discussions, the issue of same-sex marriage is posed as a simple question – for or against? – where to be for or against is to be, more or less, for or against gay people. Although it doesn’t…

The terms on which the broader public conversation is taking place are remarkably narrow. Robyn Ramsay

In most public discussions, the issue of same-sex marriage is posed as a simple question – for or against? – where to be for or against is to be, more or less, for or against gay people. Although it doesn’t get much airtime beyond queer counterpublics, there is an adamantly left-wing, progressive and pro-gay perspective that suggests same-sex marriage is not a necessary good.

As Leader of the Opposition, and now Prime Minister, Tony Abbott has consistently opposed the legalisation of same-sex marriage, so far refusing to allow MPs a conscience vote on the issue. In late October and despite the fact that such marriages had no legal standing in Australia at the time, Christine Forster, Abbott’s lesbian sister, announced her engagement to her partner, Virginia Edwards, via a photo-spread in New Idea.

darcyandkat

Events – as we know – have moved swiftly since then. The ACT passed laws legalising same-sex marriage, which will be effective from today, although within 24 hours of the legislation’s successful passage the federal government had lodged a writ in the High Court challenging the constitutionality of the new legislation.

Days later, a pan-political working group introduced to the New South Wales parliament a bill allowing same-sex marriage, which will be debated this week. Like a consciousness-raising plot twist in a socially progressive soap opera, the Tony/ Christine narrative offers a familial inflection to a set of political issues currently being played out at national and international scale.

Yet the terms on which this broader public conversation is taking place are remarkably narrow.

Since the 1961 Marriage Act, the definition of marriage in Australia is:

the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

A lot of attention has focused on that opening phrase — “the union of a man and a woman” — but we need to look as carefully at the rest of this almost entirely fanciful definition. Defining marriage in terms of exclusivity and permanence is, at best, a wishful description; it’s an idealised account of how we, individually and collectively, hope marriage might work.

The credibility gap between the soft-focus idealisation of marriage and its grittier realities suggests something of the scale of bad faith implicit in public discussions of marriage. Lesbian and gay communities, and the feminist communities with which they have historically overlapped, have long celebrated the values of sexual diversity over the sexual conformity represented by marriage and the ethical importance of sexual straight-talking rather than the double-standards so frequently observed in marriage’s vicinity.

Gay men and lesbians can sneak around with the best of them, of course, but marriage, as it is legally defined, generates conditions for dishonesty, disavowal and sexual hypocrisy.

WehoCity

There’s a tendency among its proponents to represent same-sex marriage as the final chapter in the story of gay acceptance, “the last civil right” as it has sometimes exaggeratedly been called. But marriage today has been strongly shaped by the social and sexual everyday life experiments of those groups of people who, across the long 20th century, have chosen or been required to organise their sexual and social lives in post-traditional ways outside the institution of marriage.

It is in large part because of feminist and gay innovations in living that marriage today is increasingly understood not as a religious but a social relation; characterised not by male domination but equality and mutuality between the sexes; valued not in terms of its contractual basis but in terms of its ongoing contribution to a person’s sense of well-being; and maintained not until death-do-us-part but for as long as both parties find satisfaction in it.

Rather than admit lesbians and gay men to marriage as currently conceived, we should avow more fully the range of options that characterise a lot of our lives and living arrangements. Why not support and recognise the alternative intimacies that gay communities, among others, have been developing for decades?

To extend the conformist embrace of marriage to same-sex couples is to lack imagination.

The UpTake

The argument in favor of extending legal marriage to same-sex couples depends primarily on wanting to extend the benefits and privileges of marriage to lesbian and gay couples. But it must be recognised that this comes at a cost. Allowing gay men and lesbians to marry will not stop marriage from being exclusionary.

That’s because marriage is not a private matter. Despite the fact the decision to marry — like the desire to marry — is experienced by most people as an intensely personal one, marriage is in fact a public institution and has significant implications for those outside its circle of privilege and recognition.

In recognising some gay and lesbian relationships as marriages, same-sex marriage emphasises the continued illegitimacy of other sexual arrangements and the continued exclusion of other social actors. The legalisation of same-sex marriage has risky consequences that exceed the good intentions of many of those arguing for it.

August Allen

Therefore, the recognition of same-sex couples through marriage is not a wholly benign or even a neutral act because, like the historic form of marriage itself, it recognises the worth of some relationships by valuing them more than others.

Outside the newly enlarged circle of social approval and privilege afforded by same-sex marriage stand those whose erotic lives are not organised around the values symbolised by marriage: coupledom, monogamy, permanence, domestic cohabitation.

Unmarried mothers, for instance; adulterers; the devotedly promiscuous; sex workers; the divorced; the bigamous and polygamous; those who are not strangers to the august traditions of the dirty weekend or the one-night stand; single people.

Now this ragtag bunch might not seem as worthy of social protection and prestige as the loving, caring, long-term gay and lesbian couples that are the shiny new poster boys and girls for same-sex marriage. But it reminds us to ask something that advocates of same-sex marriage, in their eagerness, forget to ask: why should marriage continue in the 21st century to be a primary mechanism for the distribution of social recognition and privilege?

Important questions of social justice, equity and social belonging cannot get worked out across such an absurdly constrained and increasingly irrelevant category as marriage. Presenting itself as a magical solution while only distracting us from the real and unaddressed conditions of social inequity, marriage is a red herring for the 21st-century pursuit of social justice.

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  1. Warren Mills

    Director

    Dear Annamarie

    Your suggestion that marriage is an outmoded unworkable set of rules is true only if you never experienced love and have given up hope in human dignity.

    My experience of the one partner for more then 50 years and marriage for more then 45 years is the highest degree of enjoyment and satisfaction, far beyond what I expected, especially the experience of grandchildren and the mutual support and encouragement that I enjoy every day. None of this is a direct result of following rules although they helped to avoid making mistakes initially, it is entirely the result of receiving back what I have given away.

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    1. Matthew Ford

      PhD Candidate

      In reply to Warren Mills

      That's great for you Warren and congratulations.

      But why do you seem to feel that everyone else should wish to or be obliged to act in the same way in their relationships? Is there only one pathway to happiness, the pathway you have fortuitously found? What do you know of other people's wishes and desires, and what puts you in a position where you think such things can be dictated to others, moulded simply around your own personal experiences?

      Give people the freedom to be happy in whatever way they choose, without harming others.

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    2. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Annamarie, what a load of confused waffle! The only valuable part was the quote from the Marriage Act.

      Like Warren Mills I met my wife 49 years ago and married 3 years later in 1967 - six years after those words above were recorded as the definition of marriage. In those my honest and simple times - that is what everyone understood what marriage was including homosexuals whose lifestyle excluded them.

      Meeting my wife and the decision to commit to each other for ever was the best thing that…

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    3. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      God bless you Terry - in times of uncertainty you are the true believer.
      The rock from which is born the soul of self righteousness.

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    4. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Matthew Ford

      Dear Matthew

      I know several people including gay (in my family) and hetro (also in my family) who talk about love but have no experience of it as far as I can tell from the way they conduct their relationships.

      I don't condemn them but I imagine that they would prefer to have had continuous peaceful enjoyment with those to whom they are legally, biologically, emotionally, financially and socially attached.

      It seems to me that some who condemn marriage have no idea of what it is and are…

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    5. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry, although I've been gay now for 20 odd years, I still remember asking my ex-wife "would we be doing this if we had kids?". We were going down the lift of the Family Law Court. Her answer was a flood of tears and a NO. The Family Law Act, introduced by Whitlam and Murphy, has a lot to answer for.

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    6. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Great sentiments.........marriage or partnership is not a competition, it's supposed to be about love.

      A tragedy for those who marry in haste and repent at leisure.

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    7. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Warren Mills

      I have to call up a problem with the argument that the only reason for marriage is having children. Based on this definition, people who are infertile should not marry, and no woman past child bearing age would be allowed to marry. Likewise any one, who found themselves single (either through divorce or death) could not marry again if they had chosen to undergo a sterilisation procedure.

      It sounds like you have had a lovely life, and I congratulate you. Unfortunately, when people are lucky in life, they sometimes take for granted the conditions that enabled that. Not everyone will be lucky enough to have children, grandchildren, the same spouse for decades and to therefore say that the other people are entirely to blame is ...... well, there are many words I could use to finish this sentence but I'll let you use your imagination.

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    8. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      Mike, I don't understand your post. I've read this to mean that you were getting divorced because you were gay. What has that got to do with the Whitlam/ Murphy family law act?

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    9. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Gillian Cohen

      Gillian not all adults WANT to have children.

      Let's get over the attitude that adults NEED to procreate.
      There are enough people in the world as it is.

      As the song goes - "All You Need Is Love".

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    10. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Stephen, I don't understand the relevance of your response to me? I know not all people want children - me included. My question to Mike was that his post was not about children, but about the fact that perhaps him being gay was the reason they were getting a divorce.

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    11. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Gillian Cohen

      Sorry Gillian - i was not having a go at you - just re-inforcing the idea of children not being the raison d'etre of existence for SOME people.

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    12. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      That's cool Stephen, couldn't agree more, hence my post to Warren above. Cheers

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    13. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Gillian Cohen

      Dear Gillian

      Marriage serves many functions which is one reason why I think it is superior to every other relationship between two people. More then one couple of my married friends are childless and have the same experience of enjoyment and satisfaction as me as far as I can tell. I don't know if they wanted children because not being my business I never asked.

      I don't think my marriage has much to do with luck. It may have initially to a small degree in that we got together, but even the…

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    14. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Dear Warren,
      I'm truly pleased for you in your successful lifelong marriage. And I realise that even with luck, lifelong relationships take work, and need to go through good and bad. So, I genuinely don't understand why you would want to deny this to other people. I read your post to indicate that gay marriage could not be the same as straight marriage because of the lack of children. As you've agreed, children are not necessary for a successful marriage - so then, what is reason for not wanting gay marriage? Or did I take this all the wrong way, in which case I apologise.

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    15. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Gillian Cohen

      Gillian - I was straight throughout my short married life. Sexuality didn't come into it as I became gay after it. My point was that "no fault" divorce has a lot to answer for. Under the old state matrimonial causes act (not sure of precise title) one party generally had to commit adultery or bash the bejezzus out of the other party - both good grounds for divorce.

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    16. Damian Hayden

      IT Professional

      In reply to account deleted

      How does religion fit into this debate?

      Legalizing gay marriage does not mean the governments are going to make it illegal to deny gay marriage. You do understand the difference right?

      You really didn't put any thought into what you were typing, did you?

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    17. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to account deleted

      Strange that you should mention gays forcing churches to marry them. It's already the law in Denmark. If the bishop wont marry them, then he can be jailed. And lots of gay activists in the US have stated they want same-sex marriage so they cause its destruction.

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    18. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Gillian Cohen

      Dear Gillian

      I have no idea whether gays can experience a continuous peaceful, enjoyable satisfying life. An increasing number of hetro couples do not because they have not worked our the basics and never will because they are stuck in their bad behaviour.

      I would be keen to see an example of an enduring, productive homosexual relationship that is kind, encouraging, peaceful and satisfying measured against any reasonable standard of what is widely experienced as I have claimed. All the homosexual…

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    19. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      I'm divorced, many years ago, and when the breakup occurred, I agree that I felt there should be more "fault" assigned to divorce - after all, one person can't make a marriage, so I understand that it is not always a joint decision and that involves pain from the realisation of different values.

      But there is a much longer history of inequity that is being addressed by no fault divorce, which is not the topic here (unless anyone wants to ask why anyone would want marriage at all). But basically…

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    20. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Warren Mills

      So because someone is not lucky enough to experience some kind of ideal, durable relationship they are therefore harming others?

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    21. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Warren Mills

      So, striving to maintain a marriage is a noble endeavour but any other kind of experience, including failure in such an attempt, is evidence of absence of effort?

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    22. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Gillian Cohen

      If you had ever experienced the misery visited on divorcing couples in the Supreme Court under the old "Marital Causes Act" where all their dirty washing and more was spelt out and argued over by titillated barristers, much of it just lies, you would never want to go back to that dehumanising system.

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    23. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      Mike, rather than beating around the bush arguing and misunderstanding, why don't I just say that your comment about no fault divorce versus infidelity/violence is complete and utter crap.

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    24. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      So, we are subject to Danish law in Australia? We are subject to the wishes of some gay activists in the US? Last tim eI checked, we are still relatively free to enact our own legislation and nobody has proposed to make it compulsory for anyone to celebrate any marriage they don't wish to.

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    25. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Is being left-handed a huge selfish social experiment, Warren?

      And you are so grossly misrepresenting what Dan Savage said (and the fact that he was specifically asked to articulate a dangerous idea) that I wonder if we watched the same show.

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    26. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Gillian Cohen

      ...anyway, who would really want to stay married to the kind of wastrel you describe?

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    27. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Dear Felix

      No, I don't see any problem with being left handed.

      What did Dan Savage say that I missed?

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    28. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      ''The only valuable part was the quote from the Marriage Act.'' says Terry - viz:

      ''Since the 1961 Marriage Act, the definition of marriage in Australia is:the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.''

      Sexual orientation aside, how realistic is this definition in its application across the spectrum of Australian marriages?

      If one can legally be in a marriage that is not ''to the exclusion of all others'' and is not "'voluntarily entered into for life'', why should the ''man and a woman'' condition be compulsory?

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    29. Anne Powles

      Retired Psychologist

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I could not agree with you more, Terry. One case still haunts me . I acted for a caring woman who claimed she had not deserted her husband but left because of his emotional abuse. After a hearing, which confirmed her need to have left the marriage, she wept and said that she wished she had committed suicide rather than had to give the evidence she gave. It was a barbaric system.

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    30. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Damian Hayden

      ''How does religion fit into this debate?''

      Here is my suggestion:

      Give the term ''marriage'' to the religious institutions, to be conducted and regulated by whatever means and according to whatever conditions they choose.

      In parallel, the civil equivalent of what the religions call ''marriage'' could be called something different (like "Civil Union''), and available to any couple of consenting adults.

      Every couple who wanted to be recognised in law would obtain a Civil Union. Those who also wanted a religious marriage could also obtain one, as they currently do.

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    31. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      I'm quite happy with the outcome - but at the time, it was very painful, and I made the decision not to stay married to a wastrel - and I'm really pleased I had that right. I agree with your other post about how dreadful the "Marital causes act" was, and the associated social shame associated with it all. We may not have it perfect, but at least people are not forced to stay married.

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    32. Damian Hayden

      IT Professional

      In reply to account deleted

      Thanks for those links. I understand where you are coming from now.

      To best of my knowledge, both the Denmark and British cases are unique cases, not really applicable here.

      The key difference is they are both "state churches", ruled by their monarchy.

      It might be possible that a similar scenario could apply to the Anglican Church of Australia, but I'm only guessing there and find it unlikely.

      If you carefully read those articles you will see they mention that other churches are protected from being forced to conduct gay marriages, but the exception is the state church.

      Read these two links to help understand what makes these cases unique.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_England

      http://www.churchofengland.org/our-views/marriage,-family-and-sexuality-issues/same-sex-marriage/same-sex-marriage-and-the-church-of-england-an-explanatory-note.aspx

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    33. Sean Manning

      Physicist

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren,
      Your argument: "I'm very satisfied with how things are so you should be too" has very obvious flaws. I don't think you are adding much to this conversation.

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    34. Sean Manning

      Physicist

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Well Warren like you I'm married with children. I also love my wife and kids and life. But unlike you I think the arbitrary definition of marriage that our society holds onto is too narrow to allow all members of that society to fully express their love for each other. Also, unlike you, I don't hold condescending, ignorant views regarding homosexuals. Your "I have gay male friends" is just laughably similar to the old "I have black friends" line spouted by racists.

      So you have your opinion and I have mine. The difference is that my opinion is not to the detriment of other members of our society.

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    35. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Sean Manning

      Dear Sean

      Just trying to be objective about relationships and seeking to know how you would determine what is good.

      Do you have any suggestions other than personal insult and political opinion?

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    36. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Gillian Cohen

      Gillian, oh dear. So many wrong ways to read others, all in the same post!

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    37. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      Why would ANY body - gay/straight/whatever - WANT to be married by an authority who only does so under the threat of the law!? You'd have to be some weird sadist.

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    38. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Gillian Cohen

      Gillian, I think it is probably inevitable that the generation immediately after such a radical change in law and culture - no fault divorce - would find the new "freedom" to be a bit more complicated after all, and more of a roller-coaster ride than they'd have liked. Perhaps three to four generations after that radical legal change, people's experience of it will be less fraught. I don't have the stats at hand (or whether they applied to Australia as well as Scandinavia), but apparently the divorce stats are slowing down.

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    39. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, yes, still haunted by stories of older cousins being roped in to conspiracies to alert their father, who sent in the goons hired to knock down the bedroom door, and photograph their mother in flagrante delicto with another man, all passed around the family court!

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    40. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      An excellent idea which happens in Singapore. I went to my Chinese mate's wedding to an Aussie girl over there. They got married in the Registry Office but them came back to Howes' parents place for the traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony where husband and wife pay obeyance to the parents.

      Then the reception that night with 450 people where there is one table of gwaelos (whites) where the only friggen thing we could understand was "Lee Kwan" who seemed to get a mention every minute in the speeches in Cantonese. Howe's dad was high up in the PAP.

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    41. Sebastian Poeckes

      Retired

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren, I live next door to a gay couple who have been in a stable relationship for 35 years. Now a sample of one isn't worth much, but it at least it shows that not all such relationships are dysfunctional, untrusting, short term, etc. On the other hand, I have known gays who live totally un-tethered lives with no enduring attachments to anyone other than themselves. A bit like some straights really. No accounting for folks is there?

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    42. Tim Allman

      Medical Software Developer

      In reply to Warren Mills

      I'm happy that you found a wonderful relationship that has lasted. However, you confuse the polyamorous behaviour of your gay acquaintances with a standard for gay marriage. There is no reason that a same sex couple could not find the happiness and stability you have found in a monogamous relationship and I'm sure many do.

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    43. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Tim Allman

      Dear Tim

      In the interests of evidence based science, can you please provide a real living example of a homsexual person whose life would demonstrate lasting peace, enduring good relationships and a generally joyful productive experience rather than just the possibility that is so much implied by the concept of a gay life that has shed its shackles of harmful constraint?

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    44. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Dear Warren

      I can't speak for Tim, but surely Michael Kirby (and his partner's complicit) autobiographical account is evidence enough of this.

      From reading it, it appears no more nor less fraught with evidence of life's existential crises and also its pleasant domesticated pleasures, as indeed some contented, married and 'exclusive' heterosexual couples report.

      And while I can't claim this as scientific evidence, it is enough for me as a Roman Catholic, that he enjoys the friendship and…

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    45. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Dear Michael

      i agree that your example is not very scientific, nor is Michael Kirby's relationship with Gerard Brennan very convincing for the same reason that my friendship with homosexuals or hetrosexuals says nothing about the quality of their other relationships, other than I remain their friend for my own reasons.

      I have no idea what is implied by 'gay life' except that I have seen no evidence of what might be reasonably expected by the term. I admit to being limited in my understanding to Barry Humphries claim to have had several "very successful" marriages.

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    46. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Dear Warren

      You asked a question that I answered from public information available in a published autobiography and from evidence further tendered to confirm those claims from others in the public sphere from which the example that you asked for is prominently drawn.

      Since Humphries's unusual standards for marital success are unlikely to be the measure by which most married people and some other unmarried celibates are likely to agree and while Kirby's entire argument rests upon his fidelity…

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    47. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Dear Michael

      I don't suggest that Kirby's sexuality has anything to do with his professional competence. I was just asking for an example of one homosexual's intimate personal relationships that are as good as hundreds of hetrosexual relationships that I am aware of personally and could describe in great detail.

      I am not convinced that you have proven your case as what you have given me is only at best, reasonable speculation.

      Even if you had convinced me, it would be an example of one…

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    48. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Warren Mills

      There are logical inconsistencies in what you say, Warren. My dearly beloved mother had 1000 people at her funeral in Perth in 2001, and the most enduring commitment she had all her life was to her gay son.

      You asked for an example and I gave it to you. That's it! It may well be that there are gay relationships that do not meet your criteria for what is virtuous but there are also straight ones that fail those same standards.

      As a rule of thumb, one should always judge persons by the same standards otherwise we discriminate and fairness is the standard by which the law ideally must apply to all.

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    49. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Dear Michael

      I think you are relying a bit more on journalistic flair than you are on academic rigour. Are you suggesting the your Mother was not also kind, loving, faithful and a good wife, friend, aunty, neighbour and friend to many others apart from you?

      I agree that we should be consistent in the criteria that we apply to relationships. That is why the personally observable enduring human qualities of faithfulness, love and accountability to each other, as against the strident assertion of individual rights are the only useful measures of what is good, otherwise we end up with the incomprehensible garble that we have seen in this debate.

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    50. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Dear Owen

      Thanks for the kind comments about Mum but they miss the point that one cannot extrapolate from the particular to the general.

      This debate has from the start been set up in terms that describe those, whether straight or gay, and who hold marriage in high regard, as conservative and those who reject marriage on grounds of its restrictiveness on personal freedom - again regardless of gender - as radical.

      Framed in such terms, I agree that conservative people usually demonstrate the…

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    51. Jennifer Duke

      Journalist

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren, let me clear a few things up for you. Perhaps you should come over for dinner and see a working homosexual relationship in practice. My girlfriend and I are very devoted to one another. Yes, we have had our arguments, problems, etc, but no different to any other couple - I don't think it could plausibly be referred to as dysfunctional, or any of those things. I have many friends who are also in loving same-sex relationships and have been for a long time. I also have many heterosexual friends…

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  2. Paul Prociv

    ex medical academic; botanical engineer

    "Important questions of social justice, equity and social belonging cannot get worked out across such an absurdly constrained and increasingly irrelevant category as marriage. Presenting itself as a magical solution while only distracting us from the real and unaddressed conditions of social inequity, marriage is a red herring for the 21st-century pursuit of social justice."
    So, instead of advocating for or against same-sex marriage, you're almost suggesting old-fashioned marriage should be dumped…

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  3. Shava Nerad

    anti-obscurantist

    Perhaps you are mistaking a gay wedding -- the sanctioning of the sexual-social union -- for marriage, the secular recognition by the state of the formation of family.

    As a gay or lesbian couple in the US in a state without marriage equality, a same-sex couple is denied rights to parental, adoption, hospital visitation, contract sharing, inheritance, benefits, and any number of legal rights available automatically to their heterosexual counterparts. Some of these rights, such as adoption, may…

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    1. Correllio

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Shava Nerad

      Shava
      There is no Australian federal law - zip, nada, zilch - that discriminates against GLBT. And marriage is covered by federal law in Australia and under federal law all are equal. Noone, gay, married, straight, or with a penchant for dogs can marry a same sex person, someone already married, their sister, a child or nope not even their dog. I would respectfully ask that you go whine to someone in America who cares.

      As for Annamarie, frankly I'd fail any undergraduate who came up with such mindless drivel. Her argument boils down to: "I'm victimier than you. Waaaaaaaaaaaah. Noone wants to marry me so I don't want anyone to be married Waaaaah"

      FFS someone defund this university if this is the pathetic standard that passes for academic discourse.

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    2. Paul Benson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Correllio

      Correllio, you can protest all you want. But the fact of the matter is that a heterosexual couple can get married and a same-sex couple can't. So the current arrangement only allows GLBT people to marry someone they don't love.

      Also, your comparison of same-sex relationships to bestiality and incest is just ridiculous.

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    3. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Shava Nerad

      Actually, the Australian Marriage Act does NOT discriminate against "gays". Being "gay" is not one of the demands of the Act. The legislation tests only for male/female.

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    4. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Shava Nerad

      Shava Nerad and Jennifer Duke your arguments about happy gay relationships and default protection benefits that married couples get here or in the US are sideline issues.

      My daughter lives in a stable happy gay relationship with their own home in Salt Lake City Utah and it is a sheer pleasure to stay with them as it is a pleasure to have dinner and socialise with close male gay friends here in Melbourne one of the partners who is in his seventies, has had a stroke but is well looked after by his…

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    5. Jennifer Duke

      Journalist

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Hi Terry, agree is a sideline issue - my comment was made in response to Warren who doubted the existence of these relationships. Clearly, not true.

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  4. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    I do agree that "marriage" as an institution is based on an old and mainly religious precept. As a gay man I can't for the life of me see what the attraction is for gay peeps.

    BUT as an instrument of "equality" it is perhaps not so much a red herring, but more a Trojan horse.

    And hopefully it makes the public at large think about more than gay equality, but also the broader context of equality - women, diverse ethnicity, etc.

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    1. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Stephen - I don't hear anyone proposing to make marriage compulsory. Those who prefer not to marry - of whatever orientation or circumstances, can still opt not to, no?

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    2. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Stephen, from my pretty broad circle of family/friends/acquaintances (FFA), I'd say gay marriage is supported by a larger percentage of my straight FFA than gay FFA. Not by much, but still.

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    3. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, there is an argument that if gay marriage is legalised, then ALL gay relationships will be treated in the reductionist gendered way that ALL straight relationships are. A lot of gay people are pretty libertarian with this issue, especially when no children are involved. A lot of gay men and lesbian women do not want their relationship to be judged assuming the same dynamics/gendered inequities of straight marriages, especially when it comes to financial issues if they split up.

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    4. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Hi, Andy - that makes sense, but it;s not exclusive to gay and lesbian couples - there are lots of hetero couples who reject the conventions of marriage.

      Hence my comment ''It;s not compulsory''. If legal marriage were simply a legal union between two consenting adults, then couples who desired it could access it, and those who didn't want anything to do with it could reject it. Or have I missed something?

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    5. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Yes Sue, but its not simply a legal union between two consenting adults as you well know. Its between "a man and a woman".

      You are not missing anything - you simply cannot accept that this is both common law and act of Parliament in Australia and most other places throughout the world.

      All we read about here is about "gays rights" - what about someone writing about "gay responsibilities" to Society and the long held values that sustain it.

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  5. Baron Pike

    logged in via Facebook

    Much ado about relatively nothing. Ugly, deformed, retarded, criminal, and psychopathic people can get married as long as they're not gay. What's wrong with that surreal picture?

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  6. Vince Moore

    Retired

    I have been married for 45 years, with all the ups and downs that go with such a commitment over that time. I believe in marriage.
    I have relatives that have been in a continuous committed relationship for 51 years. They have endured far more ups and downs during that time than u because they are gay and do not believe in marriage. Who is right? Both of us have endured over a considerable time, with both systems quite successfully coming to the same result. Perhaps, just perhaps, it doesn't really matter

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Vince Moore

      I can see your point. But is it the actual piece of paper or the ceremony that kept them together?

      Or is it because they LOVE each other?

      Marriage is not love, and love is not marriage.

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Vince Moore

      ...kind of agree, Vince...in which case, why don't we just give LGBT people the same options as straight people and stop wasting our time and money arguing over a pointless restriction?

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  7. Michael Bartlett

    PhD Candidate at ANU

    You know, it's entirely possible to believe in increased social recognition and equity for unmarried parents, divorcees, single people and widowers, but to still want to make a personal pledge of commitment to one person so that the two of you can maintain an emotionally stable relationship.

    All the gay marriage lobby is really asking are that the words 'husband', 'wife', 'marriage' and 'wedding' can be extended to any couple who want to use them as a symbolic demonstration of their commitment to one another.

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  8. Jack Ruffin

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    Annamarie, your article opens a few doors and may shake free some of the cobwebs surrounding marriage and what it means both in the social and religious contexts. Thanks for the humour and clarity with which you present us with a view of how we structure discussion of equality with marriage as a main institution linchpin.
    Mmmm Yes, it's a wider view worth considering. Thanks

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  9. Mike Farrell

    Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

    Well Annamarie, your very first paragraph was biased and inaccurate. You state "In most public discussions, the issue of same-sex marriage is posed as a simple question – for or against? – where to be for or against is to be, more or less, for or against gay people."

    I oppose gay marriage. I support civil unions. I vote National Party generally (when I live in the country). I am GAY !!!!! I have lots of gay friends that onlyn support civil unions. The gay "hate" preachers of the left/progressives/ALP do not speak for all gays.

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    1. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      No Mike - 'they' don't speak for all gays.

      They speak for the ones that want to get married.

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      ...and the ones that don't, like the priests who wouldn't want to marry them, don't have to!

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    3. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Michael, I think you should look up Anthony Mundine's 'informed' cultural comments regarding homosexuality and aboriginal culture - the hatred is palpable there.

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  10. john tons

    retired redundant

    Spot on! Almost fifty years ago we chose not to marry - and experienced first hand the confusion that this generates. We had to demonstrate that we should be able to care for our child - being born out of wedlock at a time when kids were still taken from their birth mothers was an experience in itself. The double standards of the bureaucracy - when it came to the benefits that married couples had we were excluded. But when it came to their obligations the bureaucracy classed us as married. Hence I have always been somewhat bemused at the demand for gay marriage. Our priority should be social justice without being distracted by the particular ways people choose to live their lives.

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    1. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to john tons

      'Almost fifty years ago we chose not to marry' John, you chose. This is not an argument about gay marriage, it is an argument about human rights. News item:

      ' A recent research report has found that people with the genetic inheritance of red hair are 40 times more likely to break their marriage vows than other groups. For that reason, we announce that from January 2014 people with red hair will not be permitted to marry.'

      Absurd? Not really. Others with a genetic inheritance - homosexuality - are not allowed to marry. Why? Apparently because somebody's invisible friend has said it's wrong.

      Some of my gay friends who are working for marriage equality have no desire to get married. But they do have a desire to see human rights extended to them.

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    2. Paul Benson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to john tons

      You chose not to marry. Good for you. My partner and I can't choose not to marry because we can't get married.

      That's the difference.

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    3. john tons

      retired redundant

      In reply to Paul Benson

      Paul my point was that as the article indicates giving you the choice to marry only papers over the inadequacies of the current legislation regarding marriage. My personal position is that the law should have no role to play in determining how a couple chose to celebrate their commitment to one another. So if you and your partner want to marry then I feel you should be entitled to do so - as long as no one decides that it becomes compulsory as it virtually became for hetrosexuals.

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to john tons

      But how does extending marriage to LGBT people prevent us from doing the very worthwhile things you are talking about?

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  11. Catherine Ayres

    Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at Australian National University

    Thanks for such a fantastic article. I think the same sex marriage debate is a fantastic example of deeply engrained habits of dichotomous thinking. Gay couples being excluded from marriage is undesirable for a multitude of reasons, so we leap to the conclusion that allowing same sex marriage is the best way to fix that undesirable circumstance.

    It's one way to go, sure, but I think what the author is trying to do here is open up some breathing space in between those two options to look at some of the other problems at work here. Despite the opening paragraph, some comments here suggest they've interpreted this critique as a position against marriage, when clearly the argument is for wider appreciation of potential effects of perpetuating marriage (whether same sex or straight) as the most desirable form of sexual/social unions, excluding the 'ragtag bunch' that don't fit the marriage mould.

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  12. Anne Powles

    Retired Psychologist

    I agree that there are many other ways to celebrate loving unions other than marriage. But when we look at the history of marriage from a legal perspective in Australia, marriage has been rather more of a system of exclusion rather than inclusion.

    When I was married it was really only available in a church ceremony and people, even non believers such as myself, had to go along with that. The aspect of marriage as being between a man and a woman was not included as an actual definition in Commonwealth…

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Anne Powles

      Anne, Registry Office civil marriages were around in WW11 and common. How old are you?

      Marriage has never been a system of exclusion as you argue. A 90 year old male can marry a 21 year old female or vice versa. Blind or handicapped male and female couples can marry. Black can marry white or Asian. You can have an expensive wedding or a simple registry office one at virtually no coast.

      All you gave to do is to marry someone of the opposite sex and if you find that repugnant, you exclude yourself. Your choice!

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      No, Terry, it ISN'T 'your choice'!

      You don't choose to be LGBT, you just turn out that way (much like I turned out to be left-handed and, ultimately, roughly as irrelevant to most things in life other than sex). But if you do turn out to be that way, you are legally excluded from making the choice.

      See Paul Benson's pithy comment above.

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    3. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Sound like a system of exclusion to me Terry.

      As you said, if a 91 year old man wants to marry a 21 one year old woman he can do so. But if a 91 year old man wants to marry a 21 year old man, he is excluded from doing so.

      Ergo - a system of exclusion.

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    4. Anne Powles

      Retired Psychologist

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry, you will note I said "really only", as the only way to have a purely civil marriage was at a Registry Office. There were no celebrants then. However, I did not want to go into the negative aspects of the implementation of sacraments then but we chose a minister of religion who did not care about my beliefs or the fact I was not confirmed in any religion but who focused entirely on the financial side of the transaction including two shillings and five pence for each choir BOY. This typicalf interaction of the time provided an elegant wedding but did little for the philosophic basis of relationships, of the sacrement or indeed the human participants.

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  13. Michelle Bourke

    logged in via Facebook

    In case any of this post is misconstrued, I am strongly pro gay-marriage.

    The trouble I am having with this article is that unlike many great articles I read here, this is really mostly opinion and doesn't link to any research or facts in support of the authors views. For instance, what are the real facts and research about:
    1. Society not needing the outmoded institution of marriage? I'm sure there is lots of research (perhaps both for an against), but regardless of the tradition of marriage…

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    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Michelle Bourke

      Michelle, you have touched on some absolute crackers!

      Perhaps it is worth a thought of where the institution of marriage, in its present form in our society, has its roots. Marriage was always about property, and more specifically, the transmission/ succession of said property. Even in polygamous or polyandrous society, the preservation of property, especially land, perhaps the primary objective ( argued), but definitely the outcome.
      The Sherpa, of Nepal, come to mind. The Sherpa were predominantly polyandrous. This served two purposes, the limiting of population growth, and the preservation of usable land, from a small amount available. This would seem to agree with your premise that social institution/ convention evolved from a requirement to survive.
      As to your last paragraph, many tribal societies (primitive, hah) had a situation where every child called every woman mother and every man father. Gee, I'm so glad we got civilized.

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    2. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Michelle Bourke

      Michelle, well said. The whole article reads like a letter to the editor of Ms. Magazine circa 1972.

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  14. Jarrod Booth

    logged in via Twitter

    This article would have been better if it had attempted to frame conventional, lifelong, happy marriage as one of a broad suite of available relationships. Clearly that isn't the case at the moment - marriage is an idealised relationship state that millions of people mislead themselves into thinking is for them every year.

    I love that my community has helped break down marriage as the only conceivable form of relationship. I think sexual freedom in the broader community is better for we gays…

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  15. Tim Allman

    Medical Software Developer

    We have had gay marriage in Canada for about a decade an the sky hasn't fallen, at least no more than it would have otherwise. I think that if you are going to give legal legitimacy to marriage then there is no question that partners should be free to choose each other however they want to.

    That being said, why should two people living together, married or not, be given all sorts of financial and other advantages under the law? Those who choose to live alone or just happen to be in that situation already have extra costs to cover. Those who are not 'married' are expected to subsidise those who live together through the tax system. This is unfair.

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Tim Allman

      Great sentence, Tim: 'the sky hasn't fallen, at least no more than it would have otherwise.' - pretty much sumarises the risks of allowing LGBT marriage as an option.

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    2. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Greed, Felix. As long as religious bodies retain the right to refuse to marry gay couples if they feel it offends their beliefs, who gets harmed - no-one.

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  16. Jena Zelezny

    research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

    To the Editor - Paul Delgarno.

    The theoretical basis for this article comes from Judith Butler, 'Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual', which appeared in A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, Spring, 2002.

    It's a shame that Jagose did not reference this material - clearly she has read Butler. But then isn't it up to the editor to monitor such oversights and "gaps".

    Why for instance, did you not ask Jagose to prove the following? "It is in large part because of feminist and gay innovations in living that marriage today is increasingly understood not as a religious but a social relation; characterised not by male domination but equality and mutuality between the sexes; valued not in terms of its contractual basis but in terms of its ongoing contribution to a person’s sense of well-being; and maintained not until death-do-us-part but for as long as both parties find satisfaction in it."

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  17. Robert Moschione

    Bludger

    Disclaimer: I'm Annamarie's neighbour and she's really nice, so I'm biased.

    Annamarie has made a good point, there is more to the debate than is normally ventilated by the usual suspects.
    Another point is, why are people trying to extend a patriarchal institution? The patriarchy is on its last legs anyway, so what reason is there to try to prop up the concept of marriage by extending the arrangement to gays?

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  18. Dennis Altman

    Professorial Fellow in Human Security at La Trobe University

    thanks Annamarie: as you know, we agree on this, and I am constantly dismayed at the failure of the "GLBT" press to cover those of us who don't see"marriage equality" as unambiguous and a distraction from more difficult issues of marginalisation and, in too many parts of the world, active persecution

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  19. Jim Latta

    music therapist

    No-one thinks things through anymore. No-one thinks they're going to die. No-one thinks they may end up in aged care with dementia. No-one thinks, mentions or even talks about sodomy. No-one thinks, mentions talks about consequences of children. No-one thinks.... period.

    "stupidity is on the rise in our age of enlightenment" Professor Barry Jones.

    The understatement of the last two decades...

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  20. Attila Nagy

    Anaesthetist

    Not quite true:

    "Since the 1961 Marriage Act, the definition of marriage in Australia is:

    the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life"

    This specific wording was adopted in August 2004 as part of the Marriage Amendment Act 2004, under John Howard/Philip Ruddock. ( To get in quick and keep the pooftahs out.) Prior to that, "man and woman" not specified.

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    1. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to Attila Nagy

      Yep! The 'common law' definition that was adopted in the 2004 in the Amendment bill came from the judgment of Lord Penzance ...from 1866! (And from another HC judge, who referenced it, in 1991).

      There were two 'threatening' cases that went to the High Court in the early 2000s that meant that the then conservative government fast-tracked the 2004 amendment.

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  21. Andrew Jakubowicz

    Professor of Sociology and Codirector of Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre at University of Technology, Sydney

    I fI remember my Engels, the critical issue about bourgeois marriage is the capacity it has to define the property rights of the participants, not only those in the 1:1 union, but their respective familial resources. One of the key historic drivers for gay marriage, leaving apart the romantic and the erotic, has been the securing of the reciprocal rights of the partners to inheritance and separation entitlements against all other claims. In the world perspective of Dr Jagose, this element seems to…

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    1. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Andrew Jakubowicz

      "I am confused as to the opposition by conservatives and defenders of capitalism to allowing gay people access to these property rights. It would have to come down to some sort of visceral rejection of the idea of being gay (or any one of the other polysexual possibilities) - so it's emotion versus ideology"

      couldn't agree more.

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    2. christopher gow

      gainfully employed

      In reply to Andrew Jakubowicz

      Well said Andrew, talking about capitalism these days seems verboten in polite discourse but the legal institution of marriage became a popular and probably necessary process to protect people's property and inheritance rights
      I really struggle with the thesis of Dr Jagose's article, unless she thinks that the institution of marriage should be abolished then not extending the right to same sex couples remains discriminatory.
      And whether us survivors of the 60s and 70s like it or not, to young people…

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    3. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Andrew Jakubowicz

      Andrew, I'd guess the answer to your question is that you do not understand why defending capitalism has nothing to do with "conservatives" (whoever they are).

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    4. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Andrew Jakubowicz

      Let me give you a hint. Check out what the Russians and Chinese think of gay marriage. ;)

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Rodney E Lever

      Congrats on the day to the both of you........

      Life is what you make - for better or worse.

      Go for it R E L .

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    2. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Rodney E Lever

      Congratulations Rodney, you are a rich man.

      Are you suggesting that the two men in the photograph getting "married" have a snow flakes chance in hell of getting the life riches out of their relationship with your marriage partner, that you have?

      No one is denying them happiness. Also, the can buy and sell property, bequest it, do as they like. The law fully protects those rights. When in Australia has someone had to state whether they are gay or not for purchase of assets, getting a job etc…

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    3. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Rodney E Lever

      Good on you Rodney!! Marriage is wonderful. Recommend it to all who wish to be married. Marriage as an institution is nothing, but marriage as an act of life-long commitment to each other is a priceless gift. It is also about loyalty, trust, sacrifice, joy, little battles, companionship, and LOVE. If gays, too, want to be married, why deny them this human experience.

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry, can you provide any rational, evidence-based reason to believe that the two men are INNATELY unable to get those riches?

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    5. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry, most relationships have a snow flake's chance in hell of achieving what Rodney speaks of, but why not let gay people at least have a shot at the title?

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    6. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, I suspect not unless you replace "rational, evidence-based" with "baseless, prejudiced" in which case Terry will be all over it.

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    7. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to David Bentley

      I think you misunderstand what I meant as life's riches. Mike and Steve can sodomise "vegemite valley" for ever but are not going to produce children and grandchildren - the main reason for marriage - and go through the hardships that almost every couple with children go through in life that bonds the extended family they create. Let me put it this way, David, there is an innate sexual difference between man and woman, and man and man and woman and woman. Didn't your mum give you a book on the birds and the bees. This is a dimension in the subject of marriage that clearly escapes you and many gay commentators on this new "we are all the same" battlefield for you. If gays were not different they would be called heterosexuals, not gays. You are different and deserve a different nomenclature to your relationship that fits the bill. Find a new word, or steal another old word like gay.

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    8. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Ah, the children are the central reason for marriage whopper. Problem is Terry that your rationale still doesn't work given that as a society we allow people to marry who have absolutely no intention (or for that matter the option for various physical reasons) of having children. Given that, it doesn't make any sense to deny gay people the right to participate in this institution.

      Also, thanks for the sex ed. I get it - my mum was a biology teacher so we had plenty of awkward discussions. Given that I'm more inclined to see sexual orientation on a preference spectrum, rather than a binary choice, I could make the argument that we are all hetrosexuals - ie. each person's sexual orientation is hetrogeneous and specific to that person.

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  22. TONI SCHOFIELD

    ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR

    At last! Thank you for the best piece I have read on the current debate.

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  23. Sean Perera

    Research Fellow, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at Australian National University

    Thank you Annamarie for this article. I agree with your opinion - "To extend the conformist embrace of marriage to same-sex couples is to lack imagination." In short, why should same-sex relationships be modelled on and shaped by 'marriage' that conforms to traditions that benefit and celebrate hetero-sexual relationships?

    It is simply the adoption of a convenient model in the absence of genuine acknowledgement about what it means to be gay/lesbian. Thus "Presenting itself as a magical solution…

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  24. Darryl Carlton

    Research Director APAC at Gartner, Inc

    THE TROUBLE WITH RELIGIOUS LAWS:
    the underlying "problem" is not one of gay marriage, it is a problem of religious zealots hijacking sectarian policy. This country is founded on a principle of separation of church and state. If another country were to advocate the imposition of sharia law, and to dictate marriage laws based on their interpretation of the koran we would protest loudly, and the American's would consider an armed invasion to protect the oppressed citizens being subjected to religious…

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    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Darryl Carlton

      Interesting that you mention religious law, and religious zealot hijacking sectarian policy!

      Here is an interesting conundrum to consider. In his letter to the Corinthians, St Paul advises that to select an elder for the early christian church, that the candidate, should be husband to ONE wife. The question arises, why the need for the distinction? Weren't they all, monogamous Christians?
      In fact, it was the Romans that were monogamous. Early Christianity, evolved in a polygamous society.

      Perhaps it was more sectarian hijack of religious policy? Paul was a Roman.

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  25. Paul Benson

    logged in via Facebook

    "In recognising some gay and lesbian relationships as marriages, same-sex marriage emphasises the continued illegitimacy of other sexual arrangements and the continued exclusion of other social actors."

    How?

    "The legalisation of same-sex marriage has risky consequences that exceed the good intentions of many of those arguing for it."

    What are they?

    This article isn't an argument against same-sex marriage. It's just an argument against marriage, or rather it's an argument for taking marriage…

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    1. Russell Hamilton

      Librarian

      In reply to Paul Benson

      Paul. I think your exactly right in identifying the flaw in the article. The author offers an "adamantly left-wing, progressive and pro-gay perspective that suggests same-sex marriage is not a necessary good."

      She can argue that marriage is not a necessary good, but she is certainly not progressive or pro-gay in suggesting that gay people can de treated differently to others in these matters. The progressive stance is to give the same option to gay people that is available to everyone else - what they choose to do with that option is their business. If they marry, they can participate with others in changing the fast-changing concept of marriage. Exclusion is not progressive.

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  26. Paul Benson

    logged in via Facebook

    Incidentally, I'm fairly sure it was the 2004 amendments to the 1961 Act that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Your article isn't exactly wrong, but it does seem a little misleading in that regard.

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Paul Benson

      Paul, Attorney General Phillip Ruddick introduce the amendments to the Marraige Act 1961 on 27 May 2004 as the Marriage Amendment Bill to incorporate the "common law definition" of marriage as meaning "the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others and voluntarily entered"

      It specifically confirmed that: "Certain unions are not marraiges":

      - Polygamy;
      - Prohibited relationships: Direct descendants or siblings. including adopted (by law) relationships;
      - a union solomised…

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    2. Paul Benson

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      You quoted the Marriage Act and then blithered something about Arabs and Canada. Not really sure what your point is.

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  27. Kate Sommerville

    logged in via Twitter

    Annamarie, I agree with you and have said so in other discussions on "The Conversation" but not so eloquently!

    As far as I know, in Australia, there is no current legal right that gay and lesbian people do not have apart from the right to enter a legal 'marriage'.

    I have always felt that 'marriage' itself needs reviewing. The religious and patriarchal foundations of marriage are fast dissolving. What remains are the legal rights and obligations which gay people already have in this country…

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  28. Damian Hayden

    IT Professional

    The main point of this article seemed to be that allowing gay marriage won't help those still excluded from marriage because they don't conform to the traditional definition of a single life-long partner?

    Could someone enlighten me with some examples of what the author is referring to he?

    A man/woman with 3 women life-long partners still cannot marry them all simultaneously? Is that an example?

    So the "trouble with gay marriage" is that it won't include people with such life-styles, and thus further exclude them by making them an even smaller minority (since all the traditional gay couples would now be included)?

    Seems a weak argument to make. How about we look at it as baby steps, and instead of trying to rewrite the entire marriage system we make a 'simple' change to include same-sex marriages under the current model? After that, society can look towards further amendments to include other marriage arrangements.

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    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Damian Hayden

      I think, Damian, that the author was more pointing out the pandora's box possibilities, rather than the argument of further exclusion, that you see.

      I do see the redefinition of marriage ( I am in favour) as just that. At what point do we stop? For example, you make the case of multiple marriage. I personally am in favour of just that, if that is what people want to do.

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  29. Richard Fox

    Policy development

    As a straight man who has been married for over 30 years, I admit to being a recent convert to supporting gay marriage. Perhaps surprisingly to others, the catalyst for me was an explanation that Julia Gillard in opposing gay marriage was being consistent in doing so, because she did not really support the concept of marriage anyway.

    And this made me think of my views on euthanasia. Why should someone to whom this is important be blocked by the conscience of others? Why should someone have to suffer so someone else can have a clear conscience?

    So, in my view, any gay or lesbian couple that want to get married should ignore Annamarie, however well intentioned she may be. Why should they be denied what is important to them for the sake of the conscience of someone else?

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  30. Chris Colenso-Dunne

    logged in via email @hushmail.com

    '... the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.'

    Under section 12 (see below), in exceptional circumstances, two sixteen-year-olds, of the opposite sex of course, may legally get married. A man and a woman - at sixteen? I don't think so. At sixteen they're just kids. Nonetheless, in 'exceptional circumstances', with the permission of a judge or a magistrate, they can get married. It used to be much younger of course: just twelve years old…

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    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Chris Colenso-Dunne

      " Further, all those who choose to live in stable milti-person households also deserve the same tax breaks as married couples of whatever sex" Could not agree more. Here is why;

      For most of the last decade, I cared for my brother, a physically able but intellectually disabled man. I could not have done this without the assistance of my long suffering partner. If one looks at the relationship of my partner to my brother and I, it was of multiple spouse in every aspect except the sexual.

      this is a common occurrence in our society today.

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    2. Chris Colenso-Dunne

      logged in via email @hushmail.com

      In reply to Chris Colenso-Dunne

      On the other hand, this document [1] gives a somewhat different picture:

      '2.5 From Federation in 1901 until 1961, each state and territory was responsible for regulating marriage. This resulted in a fractured system where each state and territory had its own marriage law, meaning that the legality of one’s marriage could change when crossing a border. Sir Garfield Barwick, then Attorney-General, wrote in 1962 that:

      "At present there are nine separate systems of marriage law in the States and…

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  31. Eva Cox

    Professorial Fellow Jumbunna IHL at University of Technology, Sydney

    While we retain marriage as a mix of civil/legal rights and celebration, same sex couples should have the same rights to it. however, if we abolished marriage per se for all, and replaced it with civil unions for all, we could rethink the confused social celebratory side and redo its significance and values.

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    1. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Eva Cox

      Dear Eva

      I agree that the religious and the legal aspects of marriage are increasingly irrevlant and abused by many, but what would guide anyone as to the purpose and possibilities of any formalisation of a couples relationship other than what already exists; not just the ideal of marriage, but the real world experience of millions throughout history and huge numbers today, as against the demands of a few to run the experiment?

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    2. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Eva Cox

      Eva, why do you think you could come up with something better than what that has served mankind so well for so long?

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    3. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      This is a broad statement. Has marriage served mankind so well for so long, truly the case? Does our society in general have a good record of sticking with it? I think not. Serial monogamy seems more the order of the day, for a very long time. And since the family law act of 1975, seems more the case.

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    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Well it probably served men well enough - as for women. seriously doubt it - but that's not for me to say.

      In Australia up to the 60s a woman couldn't get a passport w/o hubby's consent. (or is that an urban myth?)

      Woman had been considered more or less property for many centuries, and all with the various religions' blessings.

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    5. Darryl Carlton

      Research Director APAC at Gartner, Inc

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      @Terry - in what society has same sex monogamous marriage served humankind so well for so long? not the chinese who have always had polygamy, as do the muslims. Your comments take a very narrow, dare I say it, white anglo middle-class view of the world and proscribe these as "the norm"

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    6. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I am pretty sure that Gillard while Prime Minister argued from an old fashioned feminist stance that marriage was patriarchal and saw no need to extend that. She argued there were other ways around the discrimination meted out to gay relationships and their children in the form of discrimination imbedded in over 80 Commonwealth laws and that these had been subsequently removed from areas such as social security, workers compensation, superannuation, child support and Medicare. The impression I…

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    7. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Whilst I am not a fan of gay marriage per se, I was VERY disappointed with the way it was handled by JG, She did not seem to articulate any sensible reason for opposing it. I think she wanted 2 bob each way, and fearful of upsetting the conservative (read religiously inclined) voting public.

      She lost a lot of her appeal with me and many of my friends over her seemingly obtuse stand - all things considered.

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    8. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      It is still a fact of life that under most civil law, that a wife does not have a responsibility to support a husband, but that a husband has a legal responsibility to support a wife, children or no.

      the legalizing of SSM comes down to a legal redefinition of the term Marriage. The implications for contract, property, social security and succession laws are huge.

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    9. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      "Woman had been considered more or less property for many centuries…"

      Still so in many parts of the world. That is why education of the female gender is most meaningful, more so than the so called"equality". Education and the awareness of the self are tied together.

      Now back to gay marriages!!

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    10. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      She was a politician focused on staying in power at all cost! Credibility was not her strength. She is gone, lets rejoice.

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    11. christopher gow

      gainfully employed

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      You've got your wish, time to leave her alone.
      And you and you ilk having got your wish would seem to make this whole conversation redundant.

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    12. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, you misunderstand me. YES, the removal of discriminatory regulation is good, and desirable.

      My point is that the debate/ discussion is distracted from the problem of the legal nightmare that a redefinition of the term, marriage, makes in our laws. To some extent the rights of same sex couples, and even multiple spousal relationship households, have been addressed by such legislation as the property relationships act.

      The discussion needs to focus on a way to draft legislation ( if we have it at all) in such a way that the basis of our legal system can be preserved. The law is about property, transmission, contract, succession....but, property.

      the fabric of our societal system is based in the mum, dad and 2.4 children and every one pays the mortgage bullshit, and to redefine the basic unit of this system is very tricky.

      I am fully in favour of complete overhaul. But, lets all understand exactly what the implications are.

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    13. Paul Prociv

      ex medical academic; botanical engineer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Are you suggesting Julia should have married Tim? What could she have possibly seen in him?

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    14. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Paul Prociv

      No, lol not at all. But just conceding that there are two people in the relationship and it could well be Tim himself who is not the marrying kind. I never really got any inkling of what Tim is like so I can’t answer the eternal.

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    15. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      "I am pretty sure that Gillard while Prime Minister argued from an old fashioned feminist stance that marriage was patriarchal and saw no need to extend that."
      I doubt that very much. Too complicated. She simply saw no votes in it.

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    16. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      I think she saw lost votes in it.......another bad mistake made by her.
      I don't think it was the only time she sold out for votes in her term.
      But that's for another time.

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    17. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Then again, maybe the right wing Catholic trade union machine convinced her that she'd lose THEIR votes, if not the electorate's. I can't think of anybody who would have changed their vote against Labor over gay marriage. Can you?

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    18. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Well, I know it has become very fashionable to be skeptical of 'Ju-liar', although it is debatable that she in fact did lie and there was nothing on her plate to match the lie of Howard into taking us into Iraq and resulting in hundreds of thousands of people being killed; but I guess they were only Iraqis. But if we would like to take the approach that someone is believed until it is proven otherwise you might like to remember this happening just recently and although the journalist is implying a certain duplicity on Gillard's part, the explanation to my mind is not too far off this planet.http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/10/01/comment-logic-gillards-opposition-same-sex-marriage or, if your prefer http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-02/kean-julia-gillard-and-same-sex-marriage/4993640

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    19. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, OK, just so we're all clear here, your point is that the trouble with gay marriage is that Howard lied about Iraq? OOO-KKKAY.

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    20. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      I don't have a problem with gay marriage. I think religious believers may have a problem with it if churches are forced to marry gays in their conventional religious ceremonies, but that's one for them. I have trouble with people who want to continue the myth that one particular politician is not trusted to speak the truth when all others and included in that number a PM who lies to take a nation to war are believed for what they say.

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    21. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Darryl Carlton

      SO where's your argument that polygamy has served the peoples you mentioned better than marriage? Show how marriage has served us poorly and please ditch the "white anglo mddle class" bullshit.

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    22. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to account deleted

      Dear Mike, I'll do my best to give my view.
      1. You may well argue that Mike, your freedom, your right. It would be just as equally my right to view the situation as an example of a highly rational woman inciting outrage because she replaced one emotional man to the position of PM via peer vote and beat another emotional man to it in an election.
      2. If the changes had been considered controversial I feel sure the then opposition would have trumpeted that we should ‘ditch the witch’ because of…

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  32. Felix MacNeill

    Environmental Manager

    Much as I agree with pretty much the whole of this thoughtful article, I'm not sure it's true to suggest that many people see same sex marriage as some kind of ultimate recognition or solution (I certainly don't) - the dilemmas of marriage per se will, as Annamarie wisely reminds us, continue to rattle away - but simply extending the OPTION to take up publicly-recognised marriage to LGBT citizens is surely just an extension of choice - I can't really see how it makes the problems of standard marriage any worse or limits the growth and recognition of alternatives to marriage.

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  33. Philip Impey

    Architect+Urban Designer

    Why aren't a good proportion in support of homosexual marriage?
    Because the federal law which says that marriage is
    "the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life."
    There are two parts to that statement of which only one gets the attention.
    Part 1
    "the union of a man and a woman" is proposed to be deleted by SSM activists, but, it is contended these same activists will also seek repeal of Part 2 of the law.
    Part 2
    "to the exclusion of all…

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    1. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Hi Philip,
      just to correct you on one point - Australia has no fault divorce and adultery is not illegal.

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    2. Michael Hay

      retired

      In reply to Gillian Cohen

      The only problem we have with same-sex-marriage is the word 'marriage'. If our law-makers changed the wording of the Marriage Act to something like Civil Union Act and then incorporated all the rules and regulations, benefits and inheritances presently included within the Marriage Act, the Churches and Civil Celebrants could use the term 'Marriage' to apply to their beliefs and mores, knowing that the union they are blessing has the same legal protections as does any other union of two people.

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    3. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Phillip, I for one do see that the redefinition of marriage does open the door to polygamous relationships. In fact, I fail to see how it would be preventable.

      please note, I do not necessarily see that as a bad thing.

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    4. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Michael Hay

      Yep, why not- something gets too complicated, press the delete button- problem solved or politely change the definition.
      So lets change the definition of, say, murder and completely eliminate the incidence of murder. Its a matter of semantics isn't it?
      Just like the subtle redefining of the word "climate change" by adding the theoretical "which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity" to achieve a partisan political end.
      So, here's a really dangerous idea, lets not change to Constitutional…

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    5. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Phillip, your point about redefinition was an interesting and, I think, valid one. I was just thinking back to the redefinition of the word 'misogyny' by the Macquarie dictionary just days after Ms Gillard made her speech in support of Peter Slipper.

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    6. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to John Phillip

      John, as I recall Julia Gillard did not speak in support of Peter Slipper outside of saying he was fulfilling the speakership well, which he was. When his old mates in the Coalition turned viciously on him as I recall her support was limited to saying she will wait for the Court process to take its course and rely on its judgement.

      So far it Slipper one - opponents zero. Looks as though Julia Gillard was the only adult in the debate.

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    7. Michael Hay

      retired

      In reply to Philip Impey

      You have taken my suggestion to the extreme - my point was a thoughtful one and, I think, deserved a more thoughtful reply.
      The point you miss is that the term "Marriage" is a religious one which has been borrowed by the legislature, not the other way around. It follows that if the legislature was to use a different terminology which applied only to legislation, then the alternative religious term for a union of two people would revert to becoming exclusively religious once again. Any religious organisation is open to placing whatever restrictions it wishes on the term "two people" and the populace would have the option of choosing whichever style of terminology it wished to accept - on its own terms and not those imposed by an ideology.

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    8. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Michael Hay

      The term marriage is actually a derivation of the sanskrit - mari and maryo for young lady and a you man. Thus originally not a religious term.

      It was then "borrowed" by religion and then adopted in legislature.

      BUT I do agree that it may be useful (as a pragmatic matter) just to use a different word without that lineage and that only people who are joined by the church should be "married" and we could change the word "marriage" in our legislation to something else, and the broaden that definition such that it is only between two consenting adults. In practice, would be incredibly difficult though given the integration of the term within a lot of other legislation. CTRL-F perhaps?

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    9. Michael Hay

      retired

      In reply to David Bentley

      Thank you for your explanation. I must admit to having wondered where the term came from - I thought it was Latin !
      Given a sense of determination, it would be no more than a computer exercise to eliminate the term 'marriage' and change it to 'union' in any and all legislative references.
      As regards the term which we could use, cohabitation is too clumsy so union becomes the word of choice - and, of course, it would refer to the union of TWO people only.
      I cannot see the sense in creating problems. Surely we should focus on solutions. And we do not need to try to fix things for everyone else - just comment on what we, individually, think would suit our individual standards.
      The 'borrowing' of that maligned term must have happened early in the piece - it is in the original writings from early Christian times, so I suppose it must be regarded as somewhat fixed in its connotation.

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    10. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Michael Hay

      The term marriage is actually a derivation of the sanskrit ..........Thus originally not a religious term. We do not know that at all.

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  34. Rodney M Shearing
    Rodney M Shearing is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Writer, driver, guardian of plants. at Lutana Webwriters

    I was married for 13 years and have now lived in a partnership for 13 years. Really for me there is no difference between the two states, legally and morally, apart from the other person involved of course. I think 'marriage' as a legal creation is pretty much a waste of time and I can't really understand people fighting for the right to be part of an out-dated sexist institution but that is their business and who am I to dictated how they should live. As the article says it is a pointless vow because who is going to follow it anyway. I support gay rights as a matter of human rights but certainly don't share their thoughts on the institution.

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  35. Rene Oldenburger

    Haven't got one

    And articles like these are just the reason as of to why Australia is such a social backwater on social issues.

    Ever thought of the notion that if gay's and lesbians want to get married that it is NONE of you business

    Your world won't collapse, I can assure you

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  36. Dianna Arthur
    Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Environmentalist

    "Gay men and lesbians can sneak around with the best of them, of course, but marriage, as it is legally defined, generates conditions for dishonesty, disavowal and sexual hypocrisy."

    Indeed it does and we are witnessing it here from those 'more righteous than thou' types waffling on about how their (insert number of years) marriage trumps all other human relationships.

    "My marriage is better than single/defactpo/gay/calathumpian because it is enshrined in the 1961 Marriage Act...blah, blah, blah... and we aren't gonna share this ritual with anyone else who differs from us in ANY way... blah, blah, bloody blah..."

    Dump marriage from the Act - especially that of the sanctimonious types - that will equal the playing field.

    Cheers everyone.

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    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Hello Dianna, slightly off topic, but you will love this.

      i was recently arguing the case for multiple spousal relationships on Facebook (for fun) when a lady i know said this; "I don't care how many people marry how many people of what sex or what religion, or whatever rows their boat. So long as they love each other"

      Oh, I thought, how christian.

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    2. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dear Dianna

      Being one of the ignorant sanctimonous types, I wonder if you would help me with some objectives or standards that are assessable with vidence based data regarding what relationships are suppopsed to be about?

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    3. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      How christian?
      Your understanding of the faith appears somewhat limited.
      "Love your neighbour as yourself" Christ commanded, yes but there was also the precursor of "loving God with all heart, mind and soul"- the second commandment follows the first and is dependant on it. And loving God means have an awesome respect for Him which also means following his creative plan. That procreation shall be between a man and woman in the context of a monogamous, life-long partnership which Christians call…

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    4. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Warren Mills

      I will have a crack at it for you Warren, and by the way your marriage, and your happiness with it is your business and good fortune.

      Many years ago, I read a book titled "Sexual Variations'. This was a serious study of rubberites, the Mackintosh society, considered by most pretty "out there". The authors were forced to the conclusion that whatever brings people together in fellowship is normal/ healthy/ good. Whatever drives people apart is not. Simply true, I think.

      For some, this is monogamous, long term, heterosexual marriage. For others, it may not be.

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    5. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Warren, early Christians were not monogamous. Please understand the difference between Christian and Pauline Christian. Roman catholic Christianity is vastly different to the zealot Christians of Christ.

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    6. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Dear Les

      Thanks for the effort. I think your definition is OK but I would really like some evidence that wearing raincoats makes for an enduring relationship.

      So far the discussion has been about politics, rights, history, law , none of which I would have thought of as the things that make arelationship good, and no-one has challenged what I have said about the quality of relationships in an objective way, other than those who have agreed with me, and those who have tried the personal attack of accusing me of being self righteous and sanctimoneous, which I won't disagree with.

      My imperfections aside, I would really like someone, maybe you Les, to tell me what are the things that bring peole together, what are the things that produce real satisfaction, real joy, real sustainability, real peace, real hope and as much sex as you want, more or less.

      Or is it me that is deluded and has mistaken all of these things as being good, when actually they do drive people apart?

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    7. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      While I have no issue with the lady you quoted, I am unsure as the the level of christianity contained within.

      Ask yourself, would Jesus approve?

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    8. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren

      You may well disagree, however I do believe that relationships have as their basis; love and respect.

      If there is a dearth of evidence, then only we (all people) are to blame. Instead we legitimise relationships on anachronisms as exclusionary as such as marriage.

      @ Stephen John Ralph

      Thanks. Have been in a cone of silence - like Tony.

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    9. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren,

      I am married, and have been to the ONE woman for many years. As you seem to be. This relationship status that we have, and doubtless enjoy is one that we chose, and continue to choose. It is a personal choice.
      Sexual fidelity is also a personal choice. This is what makes our relationship with our respective spouses the fulfilling one that it is.
      To get married, and have a family, is what I wanted to do.

      I do not see how my personal choice should be made mandatory for any one else…

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    10. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Thanks Les

      I have had only one wife but please notice that I have not specified monogamy, fidelity and tolerance or even hetro sexuality as being indispensible to good relationships. I have been asking for someone to define what a good relationship is and so far, no takers.

      My view is that faith, hope and love implies monogamy, fidelity, patience, kindness, tolerance and yes, fear of God etc but I do want someone to come up with alternative performance based criteria that can be shown to be the outcome of alternative values or behaviours, including equal rights or anything other than my list.

      I imagine you know for sure what does not work.

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    11. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Actually Dianna, I think he would. His first and most important admonition, was, love one another. After this everything else is only academic.

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    12. Michael Hay

      retired

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren, a 'good relationship' is founded on mutual respect. Nothing more. All the appendages of love, fidelity, trust, and all the rest come from that one profound feeling. It is not necessarily earned - sometimes it just happens, And when it does, you will probably recognise it.

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  37. Warrick Glynn

    Communication Officer

    A nice reflection about what marriage is and isn't and whether it excludes other forms of human union as legitimate. BUT let's not cloud the issue of equality. Can we gather around the concept of equal rights for all and THEN debate the nitty gritty of the value of marriage? After all, that is not a gay issue, it's a question for all of humanity to ponder.

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    1. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Warrick Glynn

      Well said Warrick.

      Commentary on the value of marriage or on the rights conferred by this or that aspect of legislation rather misses the point I think, which is ultimately whether we as a society support the concept of equality. The troubling thing is that despite the rhetoric, I'm not sure whether our broader society does wholeheartedly support this concept.

      It's a classic comment "I support equality, but......."

      If you support equality, there is no "but....."

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  38. Robert Tony Brklje
    Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

    retired

    It seems people really need to learn to separate the four core activities of relationships, realise their different natures and understand the true impacts.
    The first and what seems to cause the most problem, is the release of a range of brain chemicals and hormones through physical stimulation. There are many methods of physical stimulation, which will achieve the desired release of brain chemicals and hormones and in reality the only ones which should be of concern are those that cause actual…

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  39. MItchell Lennard

    Researcher - Distributed Energy Systems

    Thanks to Annamarie for a thoughtful article and thanks to everyone else for a bit of civilised reflective comment

    Initially I though this was a trivial issue not worthy of the public debate. Over time I came to realise that for many people, being excluded in this very public way is not just discriminatory but hurtful, and as a consequence I can now see the need to act. I think Annemarie's thought that we will just end up with another group of excluded people is worth thinking about carefully…

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    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to MItchell Lennard

      I agree with you almost entirely. The definition, from a legal point of view. is the problem. And this is a lingering sore from antiquity, when the right over status of personal relationships, was hijacked by the church, when the church was the state.

      The personal relationship of you or me, with any other, is none of Tony Abbott's business.

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  40. Peri Strathearn

    Journalist

    But: denying same-sex couples the legal benefits of marriage would not automatically solve the social issues to which you refer. In fact, I can only imagine it leading to higher levels of angst and an increased, not decreased, focus on marriage. If you oppose the idea, consider it not a red herring but, at the least, a distraction to be got out of the way.

    Resenting the idea that same-sex couples should be allowed to "join the club" - to access the assumed social privilege that marriage confers - can't help the "ragtag bunch", nor even could the abolition of marriage altogether. Popular attitudes would need to change before single mums, divorcees, sex workers and so on would be granted equal social status to hubbies and wives in the minds of every average Joe. (In my opinion, they're all equally valid already.)

    Disclosure: yes, I'm married.

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  41. C Allan
    C Allan is a Friend of The Conversation.

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    There are two fundamental ideas here.

    1. Same sex couples should not be denied access to the legal and social status afforded by marriage.

    2. The idealistic view of marriage, however, is not a true reflection of the reality. Therefore, marriage itself should be seen for what it is and no more - it's a convenient way of legalising relationships for the purpose of social organisation.

    The most important issue is acceptance of all meaningful relationships people form in our complex society. People who don't fit the norms in their choices or inclinations are as valid as those who do.

    Sadly, though, I think that as a society we're a long way from this utopia of true equality.

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    1. Michael Hay

      retired

      In reply to C Allan

      If you were to replace the word 'marriage' in your input to 'union' do you not think that it would make more sense of the discussion ?

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  42. Comment removed by moderator.

  43. Chris Rudge

    PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

    What a thoughtful and well put piece from my head of school. My only note is that it might be worth considering that the statutory definition of marriage between 'man and woman' is only about nine years old (as per the 2004 amendment bill(s)). Arguably, the statutory law, which calls on Lord Penzance’s legal definition of marriage from Hyde v Hyde and Woodmansee (1866) (reaffirmed by McHugh J in a 1991 case) could have quite easily been altered in a High Court case (and looked as though it was about to be in the early 2000s), and this is precisely why the common law definition was put into statute. Many of you will know this, but I think it bears repeating.

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    1. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to Chris Rudge

      To clarify: my remarks above are not intended suggest that I thought that the statutory definition had to be changed, but rather to reveal (to those unaware) how recently assented and politically motivated it is.

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    2. In reply to Chris Rudge

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to account deleted

      Of course, the presuppositions in your final paragraph above is that children will have a determinable biological parent. It is already the case that many children do not have one or sometimes two identifiable biological parents, and this in most cases has nothing at all to do with marriage.

      As for the first points, I'm not a constitutional literalist, and I do not therefore think that the Marriage Act should be interpreted today to mean what it meant at the time of its original drafting and…

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    4. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Chris Rudge

      A few comments on some of your statements.
      1. "That is not a political (left versus liberal) view"- agreed,but it seems the self-titled politically "progressive"parties (Greens and ALP) have taken this issue on as a favourite. Social conservatives (not all, grant you) tend to be of the political right (what is it about "in" the right and "of" the right politically?)
      2. "I believe Australia has a lot of modernising to d"-why, to suit the self-titled politically "progressive"?
      What about those who…

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    5. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Thanks Philip for the attentive responses; all thoughtful comments. Perhaps you're right re: the contest of ideas that society 'should be [this] but isn't' -- but, again, here it seems is the tendency to bifurcate the debate -- to put it into a yes/no structure within this overarching division between progressives and conservatives.

      Why strip it back? Take one example: like all sites of specialist practices (law firms, architecture firms, religious institutions, etc.), universities can be seen…

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    6. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Chris Rudge

      Its been 13 years since I attended university. I did my undergraduate degrees in the 1970s, and my observation was at the time, that the arts/humanities departments were disproportionately represented by the left-wing of politics. I also mentioned deliberately that there were only some institutions "known" for their political leanings. I have also lectured at a university and have been witness to a few heated debates in the after-hours haunts of academics and it was difficult to express an alternative…

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    7. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to Philip Impey

      I hear your points Philip -- and hear your association to marriage (I have far less a successful association -- neither my parents' nor their parents' marriages survived) -- but I just want to answer your question about what is the reference point of the legal perspective: it's the judiciary, the judges. Only they are able to determine whether the politicians have enacted laws that are constitutional. That's what I mean about it being a legal question. The doctrine is sometimes called the source and stream doctrine (a stream cannot rise above its source) -- it's got a long history too, although probably not quite 2000 years.

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    8. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Chris Rudge

      The judges?- could ex-Justice Kerby be dispassionate on judgements on the issue of the constitutionality of SSM laws?
      Sorry, when I think that the likes of Justice Lionel Murphy and other political appointees to the judiciary,I don't share your faith in their intellectual objectivity.

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    9. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to Philip Impey

      It's not about objectivity, it's about empowerment. I'm just saying that they're the ones who are legally empowered to decide on this -- that's the rule of law. I'm hardly expressing a 'faith' in judges either -- I'm only saying that they're the carriers of weight in this question -- and they are rule-bound. You know, Ruddock, then AG, had this same suspicion when he put forward the 2004 amendment. It's all based on a fear of judicial authority bearing upon Church traditions.

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    10. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Philip, why would you question Kirby's dispassion, but not any of the straight married judges? Or current lesbian High Court Justice Virginia Bell?

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    11. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Philip Impey

      The rules are those established by earlier judgments, by justices at common law. The rule of common law is ever growing, and requires very sound argument to find a different view than those established earlier.

      Some rules, of the common law, are adopted by the court, even tho'the Justice quoted was in dissent with the majority at the time of judgment. Justice Kirby, was especially brilliant, even tho' in dissent.

      The entire Judgments, of the high Court of Australia, are available for you to peruse/read at Aust lL. Go to High court and follow the links

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    12. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Also Phillip, if one reads the judgments of Justice Kirby, he is surprisingly conservative in many of his views, and often takes the 'safest for society view".

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    13. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      And Kirby J's a monarchist, which is interesting. (Especially in this conversation -- about religion and law -- and when one thinks of the old 'divine right of Kings' doctrine [to which I'm sure Kirby J wouldn't subscribe, but I really wouldn't know].)

      Yes -- so High Court Judges are ruled by precedent -- past judgments are usually talked about in terms of their ratio and obiter -- binding rules and commentary -- but, more than this, there is an enormous number of rules of procedure, administration, interpretation, etc.

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    14. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Chris Rudge

      This is true, Chris, Kirby, i always felt came under enormous criticism, for his personal life. I always considered that Justice Kirby, based on the evidence of his balanced, rational and legally correct findings, was Justice 1st, and personal man 2nd.

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    15. In reply to Chris Rudge

      Comment removed by moderator.

    16. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to account deleted

      OK, Mike, an eye for the details, I like that. Looking at your first point, gay parenting, which they say is already happening. lets examine this then.

      If a lesbian woman wants to have children, and conceives naturally with a male "accomplice", or a gay male convinces a woman to bear his child, for him to raise the child, are you suggesting that these people should not be allowed to do this? And do we legislate to prevent this happening?

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    17. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les, Mike Quinlan gave a sound and reasoned argument with valid points. His posts are very good!

      You respond with a childlike argument which is similar to the arguments of so many of those commenting in favour of homosexuals seeking to hijack the word "Marriage" to delude themselves that their anal sex is akin to hetero virginal sex and outcomes are the same. Not bloody likely!

      Any woman that has her own child, no matter how conceived and whether a lesbian or not has the right to parent that…

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    18. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      SO, Terry, if a lesbian woman wants to marry a gay man, then you agree that they can marry. I think the only way you could be any sillier would be to insist a child molesting catholic priest performs the ceremony.

      We should change the name of the conversation to the battle of the trolls.

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    19. christopher gow

      gainfully employed

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Yes Les, and some of those living under the bridge seem obsessed by virginal sex (whatever that is) and seem to believe anal sex is the sole preserve of homosexual men and that all gay men have anal sex. And they also consider childish slang for certain sexual activities to be a sign of wit.
      As so often happens in The Conversation, the comments start out being polite and friendly and germaine but eventual those with a hobby-horse and lots of free time take over. The curse of the internet really.

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    20. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to account deleted

      Mr Quinlan, if you have actually read my posts, you would clearly see that I have continually raised my concern as to the legal implications of the redefinition of the term "marriage".

      I do not have a passion for ssm!! I actually do not bloody care. My concern is now, as always, that the redefinition of marriage has huge implications throughout our entire law.

      I also understand, which it seems you do not, the difference between a civil union, essentially a private contractual arrangement, and a union sanctioned by statute, or made to be under the provisions of a statute law.

      Under a civil union, as it stands, the participants do not have the same rights OR responsibilities as under a union by statute.

      And for your small mind to really spin out, I am actually strongly in favour of multiple marriage.

      Start waving crucifixes now!!!

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    21. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les, the law allows a gay man to marry lesbian woman. My point is they are free to marry and therefor are not discriminated against.

      The law was written to suit over 99% of the population who are heterosexual and is not going to be changed for a small minority of the already 1% minority. Namely some gays who want same sex formal unions to be called "marriage".

      Gays can have a formal union with a sibling or a legally adopted parent or basically whoever they like and no one cares as long as…

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    22. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to account deleted

      Hi Mike,

      Re: right of child to know parents, I didn't actually mean that 'this is already happening' with respect to parents in same sex relationships; I had in mind those who do not know their biological parents for other reasons -- they are adopted, in vitro fertilised through a donor, etc. Any legal policy against same sex marriage on the basis of children's rights would seem to be inconsistent with the legality of these practices.

      On the constitutional point, I am expressly not talking…

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    23. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to account deleted

      Thanks for that info Mike, I was unaware that there had already been a documented positive result, a useful product like a conflict resolution model, as a direct consequence of a polyamorous relationship.

      We obviously need more of this kind of thing, goodness, more conflict resolution models could only help our troubled world, don't you think?

      As to the law not being meant to inflict sociological change, you better tell johny Howard, that baby bonuses are out, sorry buddy.

      Well, must run, I hear the bell. Its calling the faithful to virtual night club, and the usual cavorting with the sisters of perpetual indulgence. ALL WELCOME!!

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    24. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Purely hypothetical of course as he is no longer on the high court, but if his was the deciding vote in the case of recognising say the constitutionality of the ACT's SSM laws,could you honestly say that his sexual orientation would not influence his casting vote?
      From what I know of the nature of humanity, (including the members of the legal fraternity)- no offence but I would not be confident of his impartiality.

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    25. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      "free to marry and therefor are not discriminated against""
      "no one cares as long as we don't have to have it rubbed in our face"
      "perversion of what most heterosexuals find as a sacred act"

      Yep, keep going Terry. Party like it's 1955!

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    26. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Chris Rudge

      Chris, on your constitutional point, you have mentioned previously some threatening cases, does the HC have a clear precedent here in this, or is it strictly in doctrine and legal theory that a decision will be made?

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    27. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les I think there are two, but the one that is thought to have triggered the 2004 Amendment (by legal scholars) was a Family Law Court decision -- Attorney-General for the Commonwealth v Kevin and Jennifer Full Court of the Family Court No. EA 97/01 (http://www.wallbanks.com/PDF/Re%20Kevin_FullCourt.pdf) -- in which a (female to male) transgender person's marriage to a female person was challenged by the AG. The AG lost, and then the same-sex law was proposed by him, and then came in. In that judgment, the Full Court of the family court wrote:
      "It seems to be inconsistent with the approach of the High Court
      to the interpretation of other heads of Commonwealth power
      to place marriage in a special category, frozen in time to 1901.
      We therefore approach the matter on the basis that it is within
      the power of Parliament to regulate marriages within Australia
      that are outside the monogamistic Christian tradition." (see: http://goo.gl/NME1MZ).

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    28. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Chris Rudge

      Thank you, thus is very interesting. the possible arguments here are fascinating. I shall read the judgment.....................les

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    29. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Hi Les,

      The other judgment, I now am reminded when reading AG v Kevin, is the 1999 HC case of Re: Wakim. Here (at 553) Justice McHugh said:

      “The level of abstraction for some terms of the Constitution is, however, much harder to identify than that of those set out above. Thus in 1901” marriage" was seen as meaning a voluntary union of life between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. If that level of abstraction were now accepted, it would deny the parliament of the Commonwealth of power to legislate for same sex marriages, although arguably marriage now means, or
      in the near future may mean, a voluntary union for life between two people to the exclusion of others.”

      Little wonder the 2004 amendment was voted in by both Labor and the Coalition, eh?

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  44. Jo Harrison

    PhD

    Thank you Annamarie for a greatly appreciated piece. As an Australian and a 78er I share your view and find it reprehensible that the approach of the marriage campaign here has been largely to isolate, silence and if necessary, attack viciously, those who see marriage for the completely conservative assimilation-driven waste of time, resources, and thought that it really is. Dare to attempt to offer a broad critique from a liberationist perspective in this country and you and rendered 'anti-gay…

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  45. Paul Prociv

    ex medical academic; botanical engineer

    All the matters raised here indicate we should to “go back to the beginning”, as it were, for a clearer view. Formal marriage seems to have been set up by the institutionalised religions, no doubt for the convenience of early cultures, as a directive for the distribution of property (and its inheritance). Of course, homosexuality was a mortal sin, so it did not even get a look in. Early on, the woman was subordinate in marriage: the man owned everything in the partnership, including his wife (as…

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Paul Prociv

      Paul, we did not get property rights under British Law until 1691. So I don't know when the beginning started for you but like most of read from gays pushing this further encroachment into heterosexual norms, it all seems based on bullshit!

      All this nonsense of a wife being the property of the husband, not for many generations in my family where they were equals. I don't recall speaking to any older person in the fifties as a teenager that suggested that women were ever the property of husband…

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    2. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Paul Prociv

      "At the end of the day, the essence of a marriage contract, be it civil or religion-based, is ownership of the combined assets". If that's so, why the hoo-ha? Just sign a legally-binding co-habitation contract prepared by a lawyer, signed in front of a JP and thats it. Why bother with the "marriage" bit at all- and its appears, there are not an insignificant number of homosexual couples who agree and don't want the restrictions of "to the exclusion of all others". So the question remains, why the…

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    3. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Philip Impey

      With due respect Phillip, in reference to your idea in your first paragraph, of a legally binding cohabitation contract, this cannot be done.

      One may NOT, negotiate privately, out of ones statutory obligations. If the statute says you shall not, then you shall not. There are no private contracts that cannot be overturned by due process under statute law.

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  46. Andy Cameron

    Care giver

    "there is an adamantly left-wing, progressive and pro-gay perspective..."
    I am so glad you recognise this, as far too many people think they are synonyms. They are not.

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  47. Kathryn Clarke

    Administrative Officer

    Thanks Annamarie, I agree with you. About 9 years ago I crawled out from under my rock and blundered into a GLBTI activists' meeting, where I hoped to get involved with some like-minded people and help in the fight to end discrimination. I was somewhat baffled by the fervour with which those present were campaigning for same-sex marriage, and in discussion, I said so - my reasons were essentially the same as yours, although I expressed them far less eloquently. I found only one supporter in the…

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    1. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Kathryn Clarke

      Kathryn, while I generally agree with you, there are societal advantages to encouraging/nudging long-term committed relationships (even if not strictly monogamous relationships), rather than, for example, the "so many men, so little time" culture; especially when rearing children is involved.

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  48. Gabrielle Deakin

    musician

    This argument is age old and is used and abused in all sorts of contexts: why make this particular change when we should reassess the whole business from start to finish? Its much more reasonable for gay people to start with the relatively simple business of getting on the same footing as the rest of us than to lay the whole business of relationship reform at their door. )f there is a need to reassess marriage, widening our conception of it is clearly a good first step. Gay people, whether or not they choose to marry, stand to benefit from society giving them permission to do so. There were many flaws in the democratic system when women got the vote-- but would we really argue that it would have been preferable to reform the whole system BEFORE we granted this right to women?

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  49. John Cook

    Retired

    "In recognising some gay and lesbian relationships as marriages, same-sex marriage emphasises the continued illegitimacy of other sexual arrangements and the continued exclusion of other social actors. The legalisation of same-sex marriage has risky consequences that exceed the good intentions of many of those arguing for it."
    Do same sex marriage laws include gay biologocal twins wishing to marry? (Yes, they do exist). How about gay siblings who are not twins who wish to marry? (I don't know of any, but I reckon they exist too).

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    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to John Cook

      Aaah, John, someone with an eye for the details, at last, Very good question, and does it matter?

      It is the devil in the details of a redefinition of "marriage" that we need to look at very carefully.

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  50. John Harland

    bicycle technician

    Many thanks, Annemarie.

    Warren writes about love and about marriage and appears to conflate them. Has there ever been a close correlation between the two?

    It used to be that you had to go through that stuff to live with the person you loved, but that has not been the case for a generation or two.

    It also used to be necessary when raising children, or suffer strong legal and institutional discrimination,, but that is no longer the case, either.

    For those who regret the death of the Whitlam divorce laws: how could anyone be so stupidly ignorant? My own divorce bridged that change; that belated exit from the Medieval.

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    1. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to John Harland

      Dear John, Annemarie and all other correspondents;

      A "conflation?" " Has there ever been a close correlation between love and marriage?" Oh dear!

      I am happy to admit my complete ignorance and utter naiveity about what is wrong with marriage, because I cannot find anything to to say.

      I only know what works and has provided me and my wife with the most enjoyable and satisfying experience that I can imagine.

      I must be a freak. If so, I am happy to submit to any testing that might be helpful to science to discover such a strange beast.

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    2. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Warren Mills

      I don't think you are a freak Warren, endangered species perhaps! And as such an indictment of our society in general, I think.

      Yesterday you asked a question as to "what relationships are supposed to be about"and the availability of evidence based data to support the conclusion. I gave this considerable thought and researched some ideas last night.

      There does not appear to be a definitive answer, as the parameters of such a study are too large, and the main restricting factor to human surveys…

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    3. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Dear Les

      At the risk of making any masochists who have continued to follow this discussion sick, thank you for your kind wishes.

      I suggest you check out Abraham Maslow's work on Self Trancendance and his findings on "Transcenders".

      If that makes any sense to you, you might want to read the beatitudes and parables of Jesus, and see if there is any correlation.

      If there is and if Christian churches are totally repugnant to you, then you might read some historical findings as attributed to the wisest man of anchient times who influenced Jesus recorded in Ecclesiastes and see if you find any similarity to what you have been reading during the last couple of days. If that is not enough, let me know.

      Good luck.

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    4. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      A cogent argument on the surface Les until you start to see the internal logical inconsistency of your argument.
      For a start, I do not, from my world view, subscribe to the theory which espouses what happens in the animal kingdom can be transposed to and an indicator of human behaviour. We're not the same, as simple as that.
      Secondly, your theorising seems to have materialistic overtones, where our existence is a result of time+chance+matter. And yet you then refer to "good" and "bad" relationships…

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    5. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Mr Impey, I don't know what you read or where you read it. I do espouse an argument. I merely answer the cogent question of Mr Mills, with the information I was able to find.
      If you read carefully, you may note I do not apply the animal kingdom to humans, there is no transposition, it is stated as an "also".

      I form no conclusion except that which is ambiguous, and personally individual.

      I do not mention equality. I am not interested in debating the question in the context of equality as everyone…

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    6. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      I cannot disagree more strongly with your view that it is simply a matter of changing a legal definition. "Or" is a small, but highly significant word from the Christian world view. The definition of marriage,which, as we all know, is held as sacred by Judeo-Christian religions (and others no doubt) so one can't simply ignore their heritage in redefining the law. By doing that you dismiss the opinions of a large section of our community and Australia's founding heritage. Ignoring it doesn't mean…

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    7. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Philip Impey

      We live in a society which has been secular since its inception. Thus whilst the Christian church should never be forced into doing something that it is not comfortable with, the law should be established from a secular viewpoint.

      Given that the majority of Australians would appear (based on a multitude of surveys) to support SSM, then I don't see any good reason why it shouldn't be adopted.

      Contrary to your repeated assertions, such a change does not actually impinge on any rights of Christians and does (or at least should) not change their personal view of marriage.

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    8. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Bentley

      One more thing

      "the secular world has hitched a ride on the God-given concept of equality" What a complete load of hogwash. Seriously....you believe that? God has nothing to do with a few of equality. It is an absolute and a philosophical constant which has nothing to do with God.

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    9. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Philip Impey

      No, Mr Impey, a democratic society respects your right to believe whatever you choose, and defends your right to that belief. It does not defend a particular belief.

      The most famous quote on this matter; "I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it".

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    10. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to David Bentley

      I would go further David. There has been no force in history, more detrimental to the equality of mankind that organised religion in all its forms.

      Quote "A wife shall be in subjection to her husband" The bible.

      "Slaves, be obedient to your master" St paul. new testament
      "Convert, by the bookor the sword" Mohammed

      The caste system of the hindu, etc etc, the list is endless.

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    11. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to David Bentley

      "Thus whilst the Christian church should never be forced into doing something that it is not comfortable with, the law should be established from a secular viewpoint."
      I agree with you- but the nature of a democracy is the rights of the minority aren't trampled on by the majority and a pluralistic society must respect the culture and traditions of is members. As I said to Les earlier- most Christians find the idea of SSM to be sacrilegious and blasphemous. So any laws which impinge on that belief…

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    12. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Mr Impey. Your belief is entirely your right.

      My philosophy regarding the belief of others, is simple. I do not require it be true, proven or even readily or widely accepted, This is not my right.

      I have heard your view, and I understand your point of contention. Good day.

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    13. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to account deleted

      Thankyou, Mr Quinlan, I see from your second last paragraph we have reached a common ground. In my post above I put forward exactly that the definition in the act need not be altered, that an amendment may be made, to set the rights and responsibilities of gay couples, choosing to marry, in statute, while preserving the rights and responsibilities of heterosexual couples.

      the appropriate wording of such an amendment, is beyond the legal know how of you and I, one presumes to think.

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    14. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      I thank you for your understanding-its a struggle to get the message across without being abused. May my God bless you.
      Cheers

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    15. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to David Bentley

      David,
      Humor me David for a moment.
      How does logic (the process of reasoning conducted according to strict principles of validity) establish the natural existence of "equality"?
      Assuming the common rules of logic apply and "equality" is defined as:
      Equality before the law: the principle under which all people are subject to the same laws of justice
      Social Equality: access or provision of equal opportunities, where individuals are protected from being discriminated against.
      Shall we start at…

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  51. Jay Daniel Thompson

    La Trobe University

    At last, some nuanced commentary on the issue of same sex marriage - and from one of this country's finest sexuality theorists. I'm glad the critique of marriage as an outdated and frankly conservative institution is being voiced outside the narrow confines of 'queer counterpublics'.

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    1. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Jay Daniel Thompson

      Just for your info Jay, Judith Butler published 'Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?' in 2002. Some of that theory appeared much earlier - from 1990 onward. The critique of marriage itself goes back even further and formed part of the debate on sexual freedom during and after the Russian Revolution. That is, it was inherent within feminist debate long before it was part of queer debate.

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    2. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to Jay Daniel Thompson

      ^Yes. I'm a huge fan of Jagose's thinking through some of these matters -- what struck me above was the way in which our relations might be structured as erotic configurations (seemingly) before otherwise they are so.

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    3. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Chris Rudge

      I have a long held interest in the dynamic of human relations, sort of a hobby I guess, and it seems to me that it is slowly becoming a realization ( if you will) that a relationship may be intimate, whilst not sexual, or even erotic.

      The opposite, that is, that a relationship could be sexual or erotic, but not intimate, appears to have been easily accepted. It seems to follow that generally, many people automatically attribute a sexual/erotic aspect to a relationship, and even expect one should exist as a validation (I 'spose) of a relationship, and for it to fit into their "reality".

      Interestingly, our legislators, have been moving in this kind of direction for several years. The definition of relationship (even spousal) applicable to the property relationships act(s) recognizes that a sexual aspect to a relationship, is only one aspect in many, with each aspect having equal weight in the evaluation of the depth, and hence value of the relationship.

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    4. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena -- Have you read Jagose's Routledge book 'Lesbian Utopics' of 1995? Or her 'Inconsequence...' of 2002? She's a compatriot of Butler, no doubt, but certainly a standalone thinker. Plus: head of my school!

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    5. Jay Daniel Thompson

      La Trobe University

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Hi Jena, thanks for your contribution here. I was well aware of the Butler essay (and the earlier debates about same sex marriage). My point was thus: That this article is one of the few examples where a queer objection to the small l-liberal 'let the gays get married' argument appears outside a strictly 'queer' context.

      (Which is to say: the work of Butler, plus other queer critics of gay marriage - important though these all are - rarely appear in such 'public' (for want of a better term) forums as this website. As Jagose rightly points out, the 'same sex marriage' debate has frequently been framed as a case of 'for and against'.

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    6. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Jay Daniel Thompson

      Yeah, thanks Jay and you are right in pointing out that the article has been ignored in favour of rants against homosexuality itself rather than marriage and the legitimising patronage of small l-liberal.

      Frankly I'd prefer to read Butler, her interlocutors, and adopt the stance that there are many ways to conduct political activity.

      Do you think the argument for same sex marriage has been advanced by this piece? The sensationalist headline in particular has me worried. I suspect that some of the people who have commented here did not read the article, but responded to the words "trouble with same sex marriage".

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    7. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Chris Rudge

      OK Chris yes I have read Jagose - Don't think I like the word "compatriot" and I have not come across Jagose as an interlocutor of Butler's. Moira Gatens (also U. Syd.) and Elizabeth Grosz (ex U.Syd) yes. This is not to denigrate Jagose in any way but she does not have Butler's thorough background in philosophy to be at the same level scholastically.

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    8. Chris Rudge

      PhD Candidate at University of Sydney

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Sure -- just wondering if you were familiar. As for interlocutor/compatriot: depends how you/we mean. Jagose works with 'Gender Trouble,' in 'Inconsequence...', as well as at other times.

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    9. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Chris Rudge

      Yes Chris, but by interlocutors I mean Zizek, Laclau, Cornel West, Wendy Brown et al ie., the people she actually speaks to and refers to in her work.

      I also work with Gender Trouble and all of the other books + articles as much as I can but I would not call my self Butler's interlocutor.

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  52. Jena Zelezny

    research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

    Yet another comments page that has been highjacked by conservative males.

    The weirdest aspect of christianity for me is the marriage of young women (called nuns) to a long dead person known as Jesus. I believe there is also a wedding ring. If someone could explain this bizarre ritual to me I'd be interested. Also why is it that Priests do not have to marry anyone? If there is no possibility for sex or reproduction why does a virgin have to marry a stone cold statue, icon or piece of stained glass…

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    1. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena, I don’t know a lot about your question but it was presented to me that nuns forgo family and devote themselves to Christ; prayer, good works and sacrifice/mortification of the flesh. The ring and ceremony serves a dual purpose of confirmation by the nun community that the applicant has been accepted and that the applicant has betrothed herself to Christ and the community; a bond only broken in extremity and a bond renewed on occasions somewhat like the eternity ring in marriage. To them Christ…

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    2. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena,
      You say:
      "Yet another comments page that has been highjacked by conservative males"
      How could they? What, their opinion is not valid? So the argument is about the side, not the subject?
      The arguments put forward by these so-called "conservative males"is not valid because- they're conservative or male or both? Either way, thats rather a misandrist statement isn't it?
      "I consider that christians bully everyone into subservience to their faith"
      The verb- to bully
      -use superior strength…

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    3. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Thanks for this Chris. Much appreciated. Just one more question. If nuns were known as the brides of christ, what were priests called - i.e., what was the relationship between a priest and Jesus, or a priest and Mary?

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    4. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to account deleted

      Mick,
      Atheism is a belief system, just as surely is Christanity or Islam.
      Consider the following conversation:
      Atheist: There is no God
      Christian: You sure? Can you prove it?
      Atheist: I don't need to, its obvious.
      Christian: Well, humour me, prove it.
      Atheist: Well, I can't prove it with certainty. But its the best opinion.
      Christian: I see. So what you're saying is that you can't prove that there is no God-but that you believe the non-existence of God is the most likely option.
      Atheist: Correct
      Christian: So atheism is a belief then.

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    5. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Oh Philip you must know if you propose an identity e.g. God, it's up to you to prove it, not for someone to disprove it.

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    6. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Again it's something I don't think I have gotten my head around: that is, the priest's relationship to the church. You probably know that orthodox churches in Russia, Greece and possibly the Ukraine are still allowed to be married. The ruling against marriage was only for the western Roman empire. Of course priests were the original religious and the nuns appeared some centuries later. Before that the Church was often described as the bride of Christ. The priesthood in the Catholic Church, and…

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    7. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Come on Chris, you must know surely that the existence of God cannot be proved just as His non-existence cannot be proved, but as that renowned humanist philosopher, Kai Nielsen said:
      "All the proofs of God's existence may fail, but it still may be the case that God exists".(Reason and Practice, Harper and Row NY, 1971).
      And what burden of proof can be used to "prove" God's existence?
      The scientific method?
      "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century…

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    8. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Philip Impey

      A satisfactory ending to a controversial debate in which the lead author was outed as being a plagiarist and therefore dubiously worthy of sustaining a position based on social justice and equity.

      It may also be appropriate to comment that in a final argument to do with justice there is nothing impious about Philip Impey, as all positions on so serious a question ultimately go to matters of conscience and judgment by a Higher - albeit an unseen - Court.

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    9. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Philip Impey

      No Phillip, it was you who wanted the atheist to prove the non existence of your deity. You see that’s the difference, you need the reassurance of an entity’s existence by having everyone else profess their faith in it, or the proof that he/she doesn’t exist. The atheist needs neither. They need neither to accept nor to deny. They just need to be let be.

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    10. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      If only; the mere mention of religion in these columns is enough to unleash an unstoppable flow of condemnatory evangelical atheistic invective that I have yet to see on other academic websites.

      Indeed, it would appears that there are few if any intelligent agnostics who might care to comment overhere, which I would have thought - in a virtual academic community that valued scepticism, parsimonious speculation and accuracy - would not be the norm.

      Impey's empirical reasoning, coupled with your lack of evidence, appears as tight as it is unassailable.

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    11. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      It always seems to me Micheal, that the fervent atheist, is as committed to proving the non-existence of God, as the fervent believer is to proving the existence of God. A kind of faith versus faith contest.

      One must always come back to the god paradox. If there is a God, omnipotent, all powerful and all knowing, if said God does not want to be proven, to exist or not, then God shall not be. So Phillip's question ( and Mr Impey is on fire), of proof of existence, where the question puts as fact…

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    12. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      "They need neither to accept nor to deny. They just need to be let be"
      Not sure of the last sentence? "Let it be" perhaps? Sounds very Lennonesk -if we can all just "imagine-eh?"
      "They need neither to accept nor to deny":- isn't that an agnostic statement or maybe a place where life's good and there's more to do than ponder such matters. The Sydney 2000 New Years celebrations featured the graffito tag of one Arthur Stacei "Eternity". Something those of us who are well into our second half-century…

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    13. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      You might like to read the thoughts of Dr Geisler.
      He defends his faith with the following steps. (might I add I may not totally understand and/or agree with his writings, but I put it out there to ponder)
      1.Some things undeniably exist.
      2.My existence is possible
      3.Whatever has the possibility not to exist is currently caused to exist by another
      4.There cannot be an infinite regress of current causes of existence
      5. Therefore, a first uncaused "cause" of my current existence exists.
      6. This uncaused "cause" must be infinite, unchanging, all-powerful. all knowing and all perfect.
      7. The infinitely perfect being is appropriately called "God"
      8. Therefore, God exists.
      9. This God who exists is identical to the God described in the Christian Scriptures
      10.Therefore the God described in the Bible exists.
      The writings of Prof. Dallas Willard are also worth a peek, if you're interested.
      Have a good weekend.
      Bye

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    14. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Point 4 is an assumption and not a logical truism. Everything after that falls over.

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    15. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Yes, ignoramus is correct although only if you applied it in the first person. Your assumption that agnostic means that it is one who doesn't know is a misstatement. It is one who doesn't believe that knowing about a particular subject is possible. Very different.

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    16. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to David Bentley

      David, point six brings you back to the paradox.

      This uncaused "cause" must be infinite, unchanging, all knowing, all powerful and all perfect.

      It follows therefore, that imperfection is impossible. Paradox once again.

      One cannot, with pure reason, prove the existence or non-existence of god.

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    17. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Why does Dr. Geisler need to "defend" his faith Philip? With such pompous arrogance i wonder that anyone so grand needs to defend anything. Having "faith" and owning it i.e., "his faith" does not entitled anyone to propagandise or preach or convert.

      Here's some reading for you - Edmund Husserl on infinity. Try it.

      and if you're interested in cause maybe you should read something on ideality and ideology.

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    18. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Indeed, Les and those that try (on both sides of the debate) are bound to failure. That Philip tries to use this weird trail of baseless assertions which he calls logic, is telling. It's also a reason that I'm not a big fan of the Dawkins approach to atheism.

      Just saying that belief in a particular deity has no sound basis in logic based on our current knowledge of the universe does not make the existence of the deity impossible....just incredibly unlikely.

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    19. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      The "academic" linguistic fictions that beguile you don't give you the ground to assert that "faith" is both "empirical" and "unassailable" Michael.

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    20. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      The lead author was not "outed as a plagiarist" Michael. That's an unworthy assumption on your part. Jagose has not stolen the ideas of Butler and presented them as her own. I was merely reminding people that Butler has published a critique of marriage a while ago and that the critique of marriage has been around quite a long time perhaps dating from pre 1917.

      For an academic Michael, your logic and your ability to draw false conclusions is regrettable. I wonder how you survive in an academic environment.

      The value of Jagose here is her contribution to the present context for marriage as an outmoded institution much in need of serious reconsideration.

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    21. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Goodness me Michael, another assumption/misreading. I was not referring to your credentials, I was referring to your use of academic language as a disguise for what you are presenting - i.e., an unsubstantiated fiction. Fictions such as faith cannot be framed as unassailable or empirical.

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    22. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Thanks Chris for your kind and informative responses.

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    23. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      No wriggle room here, Jena, as the record speaks for itself. You challenged my right to speak as I do in the context of my academic standing. As it happens I have a PhD and you do not (and some would argue from rather a better university than yours).

      When you have one, given the terms in which you express your ideas, I would be the first to recognise and test the quality of your theories, opinions and ideas, which have no bearing at yet on your announced doctoral candidacy.

      As it happens I advanced no religious theories and as a disaffected but practising Catholic person who also happens to be gay, you have taken me to task on a matter in which your competence, as opposed to your prejudice, is yet to be established.

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    24. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Just a small point, Micheal, if I may be so bold as to question an eminent academic, as I am not one, but unless you know something that I do not, I believe that you may be in error, above,

      You state, in reference to Jena Zelezny, and I quote, "As it happens I have a PhD and you do not".

      My understanding is that Jena Zelezny is currently studying for a 2nd PhD, and is currently a Doctor of Philosophy.

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    25. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      I very much doubt it as she wouldn't have described herself as a PhD candidate. And in any case the issue of rank was introduced by her in her post about my use of language in the context of my university position. The best way to establish whether your role in being an apologist for her rants is to address your question to her directly. Without that your speculation is as meaningless as her remarks.

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    26. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Dr Furtado, I have addressed my question to Jena, indirectly, a quick look at her profile, which is something I routinely do on this site, which is how I am aware of the fact that you are an eminent academic (your profile), shows Jena lists a PhD from the university of Melbourne, 2011.

      I hasten to add, I was not apologizing, nor advocating, for any one, merely pointing out that you MAY be in error.

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    27. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      My first PhD was awarded by The University of Melbourne Michael. UMelb's world rating is way above UQ and is without doubt the best university in Australia.

      My current PhD work is at LaTrobe, and I chose it because my supervisor has an international reputation in her varied fields of expertise.

      I am surprised that you have the attitude that you present here. I have not challenged your right to speak and I do not exhibit prejudice. I am well qualified to speak on gender and sexuality.

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    28. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Just click on my name Michael. You'll see my profile, my current research and my past research. Isn't it a bit rash to assume my credentials without checking?

      I defy you to prove that I introduced the subject of rank. You have already apologised to me once Michael for misreading a post. Rank and title do not mean much to me when it is not backed-up by scholarship.

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    29. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Thanks Les. As it happens I have a few other qualifications that I have not mentioned. I'm not in the habit of arguing on that basis. Scholarship has nothing to do with the maintenance of ego.

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    30. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      And of course if the argument is pathetic, and mostly from authority, rank and title and even scholarship are somewhat meaningless

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    31. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      I was referring back to Michael's "Impey's empirical reasoning, coupled with your lack of evidence, appears as tight as it is unassailable." which was the beginning of this thread.

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    32. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      What, no apology? How's the "wriggle" room for you there in the deep north Michael? (btw isn't it wiggle room? not wriggle room?)

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    33. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to account deleted

      Dear Mike

      No proble with inventing your own defintions, but the ordinary meaning of sprituality is essence. Sprituality can be life-giving or malign, which is where the idea of evil spirits comes from. It is the same with a purpose higher than ourselves, self trancendence which you confuse with sprituality, this also can be good or evil. Regardless of the protests about judgement, we are required to judge for ourselves what is good and evil on the basis of what is life-giving and what is not, and to choose life.

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    34. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Dear Warren

      Another Mike here, if I may! The opportunity to add to what is essentially not just a spiritual thread but also a religious and moral one appears justified, given the blanket opposition to gay marriage expressed by Christians on this blog. I particularly respond here in the context of your welcome use of the term 'life-giving'.

      In doing this I share with you the published response of a pastor to the new Pope's questions that Catholics (and some others of good will) are currently…

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    35. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Dear Michael

      I am deeply touched by you perplexing question. Just to get the context right without wanting to be defensive, I am no literalist.

      Having been brought up in a loving fundamentalist/literalist home, I sought out the paradoxical mysteries of the sermon on the mount
      from a young age and to quote Bono, "and I still havent found what I'm looking for", not because of any disatisfaction on my part but because after 50 years of adult experience of faith, hope and love, plus a few diversions…

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    36. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren that was well put and I share your position.

      Michael is clearly a great wordsmith and intellectual but unless you have had grandchildren and the joys and grace they bring you will never understand.

      Similarly, taking the risk of marrying a woman or a man those people take on a journey through life that requires timeless devotion, forgiveness, personal sacrifice, endless worry, going without, but if your are blessed with children and grandchildren it is an experienced not to be lightly…

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    37. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Dear Terry

      The real nuance which cannot be expressed, is in the unexpected dimensions of enjoyment that come from not just persuing a conceptual ideal of a man and a women, but sticking at it long enough to have 3 generations of family including my daughter inlaw say "I love you".

      I have experienced no greater compliment, reward or pleasure than to have my 4 and 3 year old grandsons squeal with delight over the phone when I tell them I am coming to pick them up.

      This is not to say that many other relationships cannot produce the same result, of course they can. But if they are selfish, short term or an assertion of rights, they do not enhance life and they slowly steal the possibilities of life away, leading to the other extreme of despair and death.

      Kind regards

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    38. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren, it is a real contrast to read what success, happiness and joy in what you, Mike and I have to say in the thread of your posts compared to that of Jena, Linda, Dianne, Rena and David and their accusative melancholy tone.

      Whereas with Michael Furtado it is sheer and enjoyable intellect speaking. His post are always well worth reading and considering.

      In have read Jena's last three postings and choose to ignore her. I have not lied in fifty years and not going to start now at this late…

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    39. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Dear Terry

      Thank you. I do think we need to speak about real experience as you have just done rather than never ending abstractions as important as they are, with all of the grace that we have experienced.

      I have noticed a lack of reality from the other side, apart from one offer of dinner and Michael Furtado's good questions.

      I am a 30 years reader of Ecclesiastes which I think has much to offer the current debate about ideas V experience.

      I am constantly reminded that all idealogies such as we are seeing expressed here, when taken to their logical conclusion make no sense at all unless they are held in tension against some competing idealogy, such as justice V mercy. The single exception is love, which if properly understood and experienced, does not need to be retrained or counterbalanced at all.

      Kind regards

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    40. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to account deleted

      "Ghengis Khan , Alexander the Great and Adolf Hitler all rejected spirituality and the desire to feel a spiritual connection with life on the planet". I really am interested to know how you know this. Alexander The Great came from a culture very interested in these things and Hitler was well known for his interest in the spiritual (perhaps not to your own narrow definition) as for Genghis does anyone really know?

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    41. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Hi Terry

      There are two quite separate and mutually exclusive discourses here from my reading of it. Firstly, there is one based on a critique of marriage - whether for straight or gay people seems beside the point - promising better and more varied alternatives, whatever they are; the other based on a defence of marriage as between a man and a woman and invariably a Christian one at that.

      My puny intervention was based on opening up a stream that might enable a genuine dialogue between the…

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    42. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Michael, the lengths to which you will go to reinstate yourself are incredible. You have had the temerity to question my qualifications, have maligned my discipline, and have in a typically sexist way either patronised me or dismissed my comments (as above). All of this is unprofessional, and unethical academically.

      Terry Reynolds and Mike Quinlan are also sexist and, further they are abusive. Terry has had one of his abusive comments removed from this page. He doesn't care that he lies. Terry likes to present himself as a political strategist while using the tactics of a school years bully (or a parliamentarian). He doesn't care about argument, he cares about shouting down others until they are silenced (or bored to death). Some one who uses phrases like "vegemite alley", and is "disgusted" by two males kissing is not going to be a reasonable interlocutor.

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    43. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Oh my - The boy's club back rubbing. The vein of sexism that runs through this page is phenomenally awesome.

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    44. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena, its not just your (as yet lack of) an appropriate qualification in the field that I questioned. Your identification of Performance Studies as your discipline prompts me to note that it occupies a critical and obscure corner of a much larger discourse on gender studies, human morality and social justice. Its logical application is within the framework of a much broader discussion of the field called Creative Industries.

      Simply because, until I appeared on the scene you persistently bullied…

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    45. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      I realise you think you are attempting to help Jema to a clearer perception of the social dynamics of this discussion, but she has made earlier comments revealing an acute observation of these dynamics although more generalised, shorter and less personal and of course of a different view to yours. Michael can you please just stick to the subject?

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    46. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Thanks for your intervention, Chris; but it wasn't my problem with Jena, since there's no separating the personal from the political here - on all sides, I might add. I also value the expression of views different to my own. My main concern is that she has kept them off this page and attracted instead a conversation that is mired in attack dog issues that make no progress towards a possible new way of looking at gender equity. Chief among these has been her blistering attack on religion and in particular Christianity, without apparently understanding the extent to which some small concessions would advance the discussion. On an issue like this, a victory on either side would be impossible, with only dead bodies to show for it. There has to be a better way.

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    47. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Yes, I really can see your point of view Michael. I think possibly there is growing irritation not just among the gay community, but in every ordinary day heterosexuals, that Christianity is always invoked when marriage is discussed. Christianity although forming the dominant culture in Australia is diverse and I think that eventually they will come to see that they did not invent marriage and they do not own it. However, to even get the attack dog arguments up together with the countering unkindly…

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    48. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Théâtre et Philosophie : perspectives anglo-américaines
      Location of event: Paris, France
      Dates: June 26 - 28, 2014
      Organizers: Anna Street, Flore Garcin-Marrou, Liza Kharoubi
      Confirmed participants: Judith Butler, Alfonso Lingis, Catherine Malabou, Jon McKenzie, Martin Puchner

      (Ask Bree Hadley about the relevance of this conference. She's at QUT I think in creative industries (sic), and used Butler for her thesis.

      I will not have someone like you demean Butler. Don't care what you say…

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    49. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena

      Do theologians really study biblical texts? I doubt our self declared hetero Christian brothers have. Either way - why do Bible Studies/Classes never ever really question said texts?

      Anyway, after all your hard work, I am sure you will find the following video a cathartic release:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhswjyJ7qhY

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    50. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to account deleted

      Dear Mike

      I think that most talk about "spirituality" is nonsense.

      The only way I can make sense of spirit is to define it as the essence of a reality, rather than somthing that just exists in another realm.First the natural, then the spiritual, as Paul says.

      Spirit, then, can be good or ill, which is often overlooked. I think you can sense the spirit of an entity. If the tangible reality is good, the spirit will be good. I think abusing children and covering it up to protect the church…

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    51. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to account deleted

      Mike your kind description of Jena I think could match many of us. Jena is more colourful than most and her appearance on this thread has been like a whirlwind; a whirlwind that I have enjoyed and one which from time to time I think we all need to blow away the cobwebs. I for one get sick of my own thoughts; new ones are welcome. As to Freud I have not spent university level study on him, but have read his works. I gained the impression that because women were not out in the world, don't forget…

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    52. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to account deleted

      If you are a rebel, or in disagreement then you sound and look to the general population as emotional. Just think student unrest, anti Vietnam rallies, green protests and sit ins in the wilderness, anti war in Iraq march and so forth. Protestors are presented as taking on the forces of state and antagonistic to the population in general; out there shouting and raising their fists; resisting arrest. You have probably been involved in a least one of these movements so you know that nupe, just ordinary…

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  53. Linda Seaborn

    Workforce Development Project Manager at Health and Community Services

    I agree with your comments about the 'legitimisation' of some relationships and not others. One example of this is the the idea that couple, heterosexual relationships as the only valid environment in which to raise children, despite many children being successfully raised in different family structures, of which same-sex couples is only one.

    You give a selection of examples of alternative 'erotic' lives/choices including unmarried mothers. As an unmarried mother, I found that very odd. My decision…

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Linda Seaborn

      So Linda, you made the decision that your joint offspring would not have the benefit of a male role model in the household. I wonder what your kids thought of this, because for the vast majority of us, we put the needs of the children first. It doesn't mean that you cannot get buy as a sole parent. The home is the most important influence on a child's life and their outcomes.

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    2. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Dear moderator:
      By implying that Linda did not consider the best interests of her children prior to whatever separation she may have gone through (none of which are easy or done lightly), the above comment by Terry Reynolds is a clear, underhanded and egregious attack on an individual's personal decision and has no bearing on this discussion whatsoever. Please remove this comment.

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    3. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Dear Terry
      You have finally shown yourself for the person you truly are. Not a Christian in the proper sense, indeed not even close, but a closed minded, self righteous bigot of the highest order.
      My sympathies to your wife and children.
      David

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    4. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Mr Reynolds,
      I understand that there is a position vacant, for a witch burner, in the High Holy Office of the Grand Inquisitor.

      I would be happy to write you a reference, if you chose to apply.

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    5. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Linda Seaborn

      What on earth is a political decision not to marry?

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    6. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Just wondering what sort of politics they could be

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    7. Linda Seaborn

      Workforce Development Project Manager at Health and Community Services

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      By political I mean I chose to exercise a right that was won for me through political means. The right to live free from abuse by leaving a relationship that was damaging for myself and my child and to raise her in a safer and more stable environment to give her the best possible chance of a good life. I am thankful to the feminists who came before me who made that possible. I believe that also addresses the rubbish spouted by Terry whatever his name was. As David has pointed out, this doesn't really have anything to do with the actual topic....... Back to my original point, being an unmarried mother is not really and 'erotic' choice ..... And I think whatever point is being made, would be more accurate if it included both parents, not just the mother ...

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    8. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Linda Seaborn

      Good for you Linda, and please never feel that you need to justify your actions to any terry whatsa names.

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  54. Jena Zelezny

    research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

    I find it amazing and amusing that within all the so-called debate on this comments page, the subject seems to be christianity and not 1) marriage, separation of powers, the legal context for the constitution, and moral absolutes.

    Strange that the christians have no sense of humour about the fact that a nun can "marry" a statue, icon or piece of stained glass and wear a wedding ring, or that priests are not allowed to marry and sometimes end up abusing young children. These are the values, principles and practices that GLBT couples are supposed to emulate in order to be legitimated? You've got to be kidding!

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    1. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      It sort of makes sense that it descends into a discussion on Christianity, or religion in general, because without this religious context, it would become so patently obvious that the current system is flawed and discriminatory that it would be immediately changed.

      Religious belief in this debate provides a cloak of false legitimacy to the current discriminatory situation, although it has no basis in reality, since no one is asking people of religious persuasion to conduct marriages that they don't believe in. Thus no one would be impinging upon the rights of christians or anyone else by allowing gay people to marry.

      Just look at all the hoo-haa kicked up by religious groups who want to maintain the "right" (if you can call it that) to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexuality, their sex or their race.

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    2. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      But of course it makes sense to oppose same sex marriage because it is a patriarchal institution - now that is really laughable

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    3. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to David Bentley

      I don't think that it does make sense for the discussion to centre upon the ties of religion or christianity to marriage.

      The fact that religion, especially christianity, claims marriage, as its own special little ritual, does not mean that marriage actually belongs to them.

      Marriage was around a long time before christianity. The ancients had marriage, but not a bible. Marriage was used as a political tool before it became religious. A way of ensuring peace with a neighboring tribe was inter-marriage.

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    4. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Agreed Les. I guess I was only making that point because it would seem that the major (loudest and most fervent) forces opposing same sex marriage are of a religious persuasion who are claiming the institution for themselves, despite your well made point that it is not fundamentally a religious construct, but one which has been usurped by the church to cement its power in people's lives. They're a canny bunch.

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    5. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to David Bentley

      it is an age old power struggle, between the chieftain and the medicine man, The chief has hoodoo, the medicine man voodoo, and he has a diety, that only he can talk to.

      Our society is at a crossroads in history, and about bloody time.

      have a good week end

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    6. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      From someone who professes to be an academic I find this a distortion and the kind of mistruth that cannot pass legitimacy simply through use of inverted commas. Nuns simply don't 'marry' anybody and you should apply the same stringent standards of ethical commentary in this regard as you apply to others.

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    7. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      I don't oppose same sex marriage Rene. You've misconstrued once again. I oppose marriage as an institution and I think it needs some serious re-consideration as a model. BUT if same sex couples want to be married I can't see a reasonable argument against it.

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    8. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to David Bentley

      That's why I have no hesitation in naming this behaviour by christians as bullying.

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    9. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Is it any wonder that as Michael puts it “it would appears that there are few if any intelligent agnostics who might care to comment overhere”. These are just the things I was called not because I claimed to be an atheist, an agnostic or religious but because I had the temerity apparently to question Phillip loading the burden of proof for his deity onto atheists which seemed to my mind some type of glorious absurdity: by implication or otherwise Michael’s (un)intelligent atheist, “an unstoppable flow of condemnatory evangelical atheistic invective” and Phillip’s Lennonesque, agnostic, liar, materialist, radical anti theist, ignoramus. Such are the god-botherers and they perhaps wonder why people duck when they see them coming. Indeed if they are aware or reflective enough to wonder anything.

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    10. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      But you said Julia Gillard did.

      Legalising same sex marriage is a no brainer, marriage is purely a legal term under law and that was the entire argument used in The Netherlands to legalise it.

      Here it really becomes some seriously bizarre discussion about religion, the institute of marriage it self and putting people in boxes

      Reality is, more than enough atheists oppose it as well for various reasons, so bringing religion into it is rather stupid.

      And marriage it self doesn't need re modelling. If you don't agree with it, don't do it, very simple

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    11. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to David Bentley

      David maybe it is because the churches the only ones taking the undermining of the established concept of marriage seriously.

      Very few hetero sexuals outside of church organisations would have given the recent gay attempt at hijacking of the concept of marriage any serious thought for its implications.

      That is why when you seek to make such a monumental cultural change to our very successful society that it needs a referendum of all Australia's enrolled voters.

      From what I am reading the…

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    12. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      "It seems to me with most activist gay males that sexual eroticism is their man driver"

      An ad hominem argument if there ever was one.

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    13. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to David Bentley

      Dear David, isn't it the reverse of your clumsy argument. It is about people who choose to discriminate about having sexual relations with members of the opposite sex for whatever reason that elect to lock themselves out of the ageless and timeless concept of marriage. The system of marriage we have welcomes everybody.

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    14. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Now it's the "sexuality is a choice" argument. You're ticking all the boxes today Terry.

      It genuinely astounds me that there are still people in this world who hold these opinions Terry. Keep up the good work....you're a dying breed.

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    15. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena, no there not! You are talking about the limited concepts in you mind. Doing a PhD will probably make you even more constricted. There are 7 billion people on tis planet most of whom will marry and there respective cultural rules and only one billion subscribing to Roman Catholicism and not all of them believe everything it rules. You need to apply adult clear fact based thinking to entertain us, otherwise you read like a biased bore.

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    16. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry, forgive me but what on earth does "no there not!" mean?

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    17. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      "But you said Julia Gillard did" - excuse me Rene, but to what do you refer?

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    18. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Rene, with due respect to you who chose to abandon the Netherlands for our wonderful Anglo Saxon culture here in Australia - the happiest people on the planet according to a recent OECD survey, I am surprised at you highlighting the Liberalism of the Netherlands when it made the country the drug capital of Europe. It is hardly a nation that world figures hold up as an example to the rest of the world as you keep doing.

      Marriage has never been "just a legal term in Australia" - it is a well understood…

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    19. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to David Bentley

      David, on the contrary. Gays by definition are the dying breed. As a heterosexual I have three children and seven grandchildren. All my gay friends have none. There gene line dies with them.

      I am not arguing the sexuality is a choice. I am arguing how you choose to use it and live your life is a choice.

      A gay man may not get the same pleasure from having sex with a woman but there is a chance of his genes living on. There is none with him having sex with another man is there.

      That is the real choice when it comes to marriage. Older formerly married heterosexuals may have a form of marriage because of the departure of a spouse and to assist with sharing family responsibilities. Few would do it just for the sex component.

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    20. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry

      You might want to sit down before you read this:

      Heterosexual couples are the ones whose children turn out either gay or straight - that's right straight people are breeding gays.

      Gays consistently represent about 10% of the population. They are not "dying out" (chortle) unless humans stop breeding altogether.

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    21. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Well you don't actually take those sort of OECD serious do you?

      Australia the happiest in the world, then why this constant whinging and whining from certain types of women, doesn't compute with that title now does it?

      So if you believe those surveys, then you also would have found that Dutch children are the happiest in the world

      Other reports state that Dutch women are the happiest in the world.

      And it doesn't hold up?

      Well it did legalise same sex marriage as the first country, so you're already more than 10 years behind - so it's a bit slow here

      Euthanasia - one day, you might grow up here as well

      Decriminalising cannabis, doesn't actually mean it becomes the drug capital and drug use there is less than here.

      And marriage and what it constitutes is a legal term

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    22. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      On another subject here on TC you stated that Gillard opposed SSM because it was a patriarchal institute

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    23. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena. I was replying to your earlier post about Christian bullying on marriage. I say they don't bully anyone. All of us are free to join or leave any church group on even if we remain a member - not have to subscribe to everything the teach. The churches and lay people are entitled to express and opinion or a view marriage when asked. It is gays that I have to suffer endlessly and aggressively pushing this issue on Q and A and other public forums and mocking anyone in disagreement. They are the bullies!

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    24. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I think bullying of Christians is pretty well much the norm in the debate about SSM and not the other way around.

      Reality is, many atheists oppose same sex marriage as well.

      But as an atheist, I'm getting a bit tired of these "progressive atheist" having a go at Christians all the time

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    25. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dear Diana. Copulating heterosexuals are the only ones breeding - two gays copulating cannot. Yes heterosexuals occasionally produce a gay in their offspring, as I did with mine and who I love and treasure dearly and loves me.

      All the Australian and US evidence is that gays represent 1% of the population - not that fictitious 10% you claim. Google up the research - it is there for all who want the facts to read. Let us please just stick to the facts. It is getting like listening to the Liberals talking, there is so much deceitful propaganda in gay arguments.

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    26. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      No Rene, I did not say this.

      Quite frankly I think you would argue the opposite of anything that I say. That has been your form so far and at times it has been insulting, bullying and offensive.

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    27. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Dear Tery.

      We can disagree over percentage of population that the LGBTI community make up of the general population. I can google (Duh) and can find stats to confirm both my claims and yours.

      Fact is LGBTI people are born by the same sexual act that created you.

      Why this is of such an issue for you, I do not understand. Banning LGBTI from choosing marriage is no different from banning blue-eyed people from marrying - to do so is basic discrimination.

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    28. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Well you did say that, so stop pretending to be a victim of something

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    29. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Australia is not a successful society Terry. It is white and wealthy (mostly) but this does not mean that white and wealthy equates with just, wise, fair, or compassionate, quite the reverse.

      Australia is also a hetero-normative society - which means principles, practices, rules, structures and systems are based in the fiction that heterosexuality is the only way to be (as in your comments).

      btw, I am 62 and definitely not wet behind the ears. Nor am I a zealot. I am by preference, gay, but I have also been in a heterosexual marriage. Marriage (as it is now defined) does not suit me and I am so glad that I did not decide to have children.

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    30. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry how can any realistic and accurate statistic be ascertained in the social context of gay bashing and institutionalised homophobia. in other words there are any number of undeclared sexual preferences (closeted), bi-sexual interactions and those who refuse to be determined or classified to the exclusion of all possibilities. There are no reliably absolute facts Terry.

      For your information lesbians also choose to name themselves as gay sometime and there are quite a lot of children being raised in same sex families.

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    31. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry you've dumped yourself in it now!

      "our wonderful Anglo Saxon culture"?

      This is not only inaccurate, it is bigoted.

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    32. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      well you did, end of story

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    33. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Dear Jena

      I hope it goes well for you in your decline when all you have left to give you comfort and to maintain your hope is the relationships you have built over a lifetime.

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    34. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Sorry Rene, I think you have Jena confused with some one else. I have looked back thru Jena's posts, and Jena most definitely did not make this statement. Can we drop this now?

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    35. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Been deleted and "moderated", I don't know how that "moderating" system works on here, but it is rather dubious to say the least.

      Did she say it, no doubt about it, one or two others made the same comments regarding Gillard.

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    36. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      So explain compulsory homosexuality is a crime against women

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    37. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Good day, to you Mr Mills. I smiled when I read your post, It reminded me of my son chiding me that I have to be nice to him. After all, he picks my nursing home!

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    38. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Many years ago my wife pointed out to me that if I wanted to have an ongoing relationship with my children, that I had to treat my elderst daughter's very unsuitable boyfriend with kindness.

      I did very reluctantly and that eveny changed the way I relate to everybody, even those who disagree with me, of which there are an increasing number.

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    39. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena the problem for anybody that seeks to look at the call by some activist gays to have the definitive heterosexual "Marriage" term applied to their relationships is the amount of childlike tantrum throwing to try and get an outcome by bluff.

      A 2003 phone survey of 19,000 Australians showed that 1% were gay which is no different to a survey in Britain in 2010 of 236,000 people which also showed slightly under 1% being gay. They are reliable facts but not the statistics that suit your ill-foundered…

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    40. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      I am disappointed that you say you don't usually disagree with me. I invariably agree with your posts and the pure intellectualism you kindly bother to share with us. Your students at the University of Queensland are very lucky. You don't have to put PhD after your name. It is obvious your deserved one.

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    41. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Not interested in your wild youth or your diatribe Terry.

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    42. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Rene you repeatedly misinform through your inability to read and understand the language. I'm not going to answer to a misconstrued demand.

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    43. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Wasn't deleted Rene because it doesn't exist. You invent things to suit yourself OR you misread them. It's one or the other.

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    44. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Sorry Michael, source exactly what? This page has become so convoluted and out of sequence I have no idea what you mean.

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    45. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Warren Mills

      I am perfectly content thank you Warren. No need to worry yourself - oh but I see, it was sarcasm wasn't it?

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    46. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      It was and you said it.

      And since you're a student in Social Sciences can you for once admit that patriarchy, hetero normativity theories are defunct since the time this was invented.

      Just walk out the door and you see it's a hetero world out there, the animal kingdom included

      Gay, lesbian is an exception, an overwhelming tiny minority.

      You think you're the only doing or has done Social Sciences

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    47. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Rene, humans are part of the animal kingdom. Human animals have the power (if they choose) to recognise others and the instrument of that power is The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

      I think you perhaps have your rants and raves with that organisation rather than persecute me with your distortions and misinformation.

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    48. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      The United Nations Declarations of Human Rights doesn't actually differentiate between Anglo Saxon and English speaking countries and others.

      So I'm quite curious, how come you feminist here always carry on about Anglo Saxon and English speaking countries in your research?

      So explain compulsory hetero sexuality is a crime against women because that certainly doesn't appear in The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

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    49. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Not bluff Terry. There is nothing wrong with Googling but it hardly provides an in-depth or broad based body of knowledge. And I repeat that statistics are subject to variables that are not accounted for in sweeping surveys, polls, or census collections.

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    50. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      When you Google up "percentage of gays/homosexuals to the overall community" for Australia, the US, and Britain the various independent surveys all show circa 1%. None show the "gay lobby's" self serving percentage of ten times that at 10%.

      If you cannot even be factual on that Jena, then like a clock that chimes thirteen times, the thirteenth chime discredits the thirteenth chime and every chime before it.

      All I am saying to the Gay Lobby, if you want to convince your fellow Australians over to your demands that "marriage" be broadened to same sex relationships, it is best to be honest and responsible at every step. If there is a referendum your will get murdered on the questionable and emotive arguments you rely currently on. Don't blame the rest of us if we don't buy them!

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  55. mel otto

    home duties

    Why is this such an issue?
    Love is love, if gay people want to marry its not going to harm anyone.
    Don't agree with same sex marriage? Dont have one - simple.
    Just because 2 men or 2 women want to be married doesn't mean your marriage contract will be shredded up or mean less
    Yes I said contract, as I dont buy into the christian take on marriage

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    1. In reply to mel otto

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to account deleted

      And so perhaps you might now see, Mike, why this argument of your's against libertinism plays right into the hands of those, such as the author of this article and her supporters, who, on exactly similar libertarian grounds, though critical of marriage as a conservative and illiberal institution, argue against equal marital rights for gay people!

      'Heads' we gay people in favour of marriage lose, and 'tail's both conservatives and radicals opposed to such a thing win!

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    3. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to account deleted

      Mike from my perspective, you are moving too far ahead, too fast without due examination. I can't quite get my head around bestiality as a natural progression of allowing gay marriage. As for surrogate children from exploited Indian mothers and sex changes prescribed by an hysterical or wise mother, you really need to see them as separate issues involving both medical and legal considerations quite apart from the social and psychological needs of the child concerned; at least for your own sanity. To view any change as the opening of a Pandora's box is to deny that these things existed whether inside Pandora's box or outside being a moot point. And of course you need to remember the end of the myth, and that was the releasing of hope which really was the point of the story: a consolation by the Gods to the experiencing by humans they created to the harmful things.

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    4. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      I find it interesting that you should hold this view Michael that the author “though critical of marriage as a conservative and illiberal institution, argue against equal marital rights for gay people!” My impression, and it could be terribly in error, was that given that marriage is not inclusive, and is patriarchially dominated, shouldn’t it be time for us to look at it somewhat closer and perhaps consider some other institution which is.

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  56. Ben Manning

    logged in via Twitter

    A great article. However, a very poor choice of headline in my opinion (unless the *only* aim was to get clicks). 'The problem with marriage' or 'The problem with the gay marriage debate', sure, but 'The problem with gay marriage' is misleading.

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    1. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Ben Manning

      I agree Ben. When I first read the title I was alarmed and thought it was going to be a diatribe against same sex marriage. That changed only when I noted it was written by Jagose.

      i suppose it was an editor's choice and I definitely believe it was a lure - to attract attention and hits.
      It certainly has attracted all the homophobes out of their closet.

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  57. Kevin Bonham

    logged in via email @tassie.net.au

    "Rather than admit lesbians and gay men to marriage as currently conceived, we should avow more fully the range of options that characterise a lot of our lives and living arrangements. Why not support and recognise the alternative intimacies that gay communities, among others, have been developing for decades?"

    The major problem I have with this article (and likewise with similar if less fleshed out comments by Julia Gillard) is that this is a completely bogus dichotomy. There is absolutely no…

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  58. Chris Saunders

    retired

    So, traditionalists who believe marriage has only ever been about a male/female relationship say we must protect tradition. Howard was not just protecting tradition, he was mummifying his perception of it back in 2006 or whatever. Progressives, on the other hand, claim that equality and community inclusion are what it is all about. Why not just undo Howard’s changes?

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    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, undoing Howard's changes would be a good start. And, what I am about to put to you may come under the head of equality or inclusion, but it is a legal point.

      Allow me to pose a hypothetical for you, which is framed in the actual working of the law, especially state law.

      A same sex couple live as a couple, for a long period of time. They have shared assets. Neither have children, but both, of course, have extended family.One of the couple dies without having made a will. ( and it can…

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    2. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les

      Your anecdote reminded me of my mother's upset when her great-aunt left her entire estate to her female companion. A companion who had been with her for over 60 years, travelled with her and was always part of any family gatherings, she also cared for my great-great aunt when age took her independence and health and finally her life.

      Mum (who was having her own financial difficulties at the time) was very frustrated, even after I pointed out that her aunt's companion actually was as important as any family member, more like a spouse than anything else. This information was anathema to my mother back then (mum did actually develop a far more nuanced view of humanity the older she became) but at the time was very upset. However, my great-great aunt's will was not contested and her estate (with the exception of a few special keepsakes for family) went to my aunt's life-long companion. As it should.

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    3. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Hello Diana, hope you are having a good day.

      Thankyou for this post, The situation of your great aunt and her companion serves very well to highlight the possible complexities of human relationships, and also that a relationship, that is basically spousal, in all but the aspect of sex and sexuality, can, and I believe, often does exist. It follows, therefore, that if sex or sexuality is not a requirement for a relationship to be, spousal, then the sex or sexuality of the members of that relationship…

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    4. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les

      Thanks for picking up on my reference to "spouse". Whether my G-G Aunt was a lesbian and actually had a sexual relationship with her lifelong partner, is quite irrelevant. I do not know - it is none of my business.

      As others have illustrated not all couples have an active sex life or produce off-spring - nor should it be anyone else's business - except, for some reason, when discussion turns to same sex couples - then what they do, how they do it, whether they produce offspring (apparently…

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    5. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      There is a very simple reason why SS should have equality in every aspect of our society, and it comes from the simplest philosophy, of ancient and simple people, It is an ancient African tribal belief called, Ubuntu. Its basic maxim is "How can I be happy, if others are sad?".

      Good luck with The CSG issue, I hope yo frack 'em!!

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  59. Jay Daniel Thompson

    La Trobe University

    Oh, the irony - one of the few nuanced contributions to the 'same sex marriage debate' has provoked an onslaught of personalised jibes and frankly bigoted statements. Seems engaging with the issue at hand has come second to kicking another respondent when they're down. And, of course, the rights of LGBTI people disappear further into the background.

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    1. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Jay Daniel Thompson

      We could re-start the argument by recognising the following:

      "The terms on which the broader public conversation is taking place are remarkably narrow."

      Robyn Ramsay (caption above under photograph)

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  60. Tara Marion

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Yes, marriage is conservative - so are most people, gay or straight.

    Face it - radicalism appeals to not many people. The kind of 'progress' most people want is expanding conservative institutions to encompass previously excluded minorities, providing for social justice. Marriage equality is just that. That's why marriage equality is popular.

    The ideal future is the 1950s, but with inclusion and social justice, and no sexism racism or homophobia. This is my ideal, and it's shared by many.

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    1. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Tara Marion

      I don't believe that one can justify calling innovation/re-consideration radicalism or that one can rationalise conservative views through regressing to the 1950's. Conservatives do seem to want to hold back change though don't they. Is this fear of the unknown?

      Surely inclusiveness means being able to define and configure one's relationships rather than having someone else do it, and then impose the rule on others.

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    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Tara Marion

      Tara I lived through the 50s - if you want conservative then that is the deacde for you.

      Very homogenous and white bread.
      Probably the dreariest and unimaginative decade of them all.
      You didn't want to be different in the 50s - no square pegs in a round hole.

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    3. Tara Marion

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Trust me, the 50s with the bigotry removed would be great for people, gay or straight.

      But let's get back to the point. Conservative doesn't mean bad. Conservatively bigoted is no good - but David Cameron's conservatism is quite good, isn't it?

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    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Tara Marion

      It's a moot point anyway.

      I wasn't talking politics in terms of conservative. I was talking way of life. I was gay in the 50s and believe me I would NEVER go back.
      People didn't even talk about homosexuality - ever.

      And yet if you were "gay" (and that word wasn't around) in a small town - heaven help you.

      Don't know if you've seen the movie "Pleasantville" - that's what the 50s was like. A sitcom with all the bad bits hidden behind closed doors.

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    5. Tara Marion

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I am talking about a version of the 50s without the bigotry, remember

      So it would be a version of the 50s where gay people could get married and live in a white picket fence situation like everyone else

      I think that's a very good outcome indeed

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    6. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Tara Marion

      May as well wish for the moon..........I think you've overdosed on too many 50s sitcoms (or something).

      But dream on.

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    7. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Tara Marion

      Dear Tara

      The majority of god-bothering, bible-bashing people that I know are radically comitted to conserving the elements of life that make it precious, dignified and satisfying. They desire just, merciful and compassionate relationships for themselves and others as they believe that this reflects the God that loves them.

      Most of these people who are so often called bigots are the exact opposite and persue liberty for all, at some cost to themselves. I also find that they generally experience what they passionatly seek in terms of graceful, humble, joyful and peaceful relationships with the wider community of workmates, family, friends and neighbours.

      If that is what conservative means, lets have more of it.

      Kind regards

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    8. Tara Marion

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Look, everyone can have their personal beliefs, but the law should treat everyone equally. And that includes marriage equality.

      Conservatives can support marriage equality. I am a social conservative who supports marriage equality, and so is David Cameron.

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    9. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Warren Mills

      It's not for you to dole out the "liberty" to all Warren. You don't own it. It is the reverse of humility to preach that just because you have a fantasy about some big daddy in the sky who loves you, it is OK to determine how others should live.

      In other words, there are those who want to explore their own lives, intellect, ideas, abilities and capacities without interference from or adherence to a particular dominant (dominating) brand.

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    10. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Tara Marion

      OK ha ha - read the profile ...

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    11. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Dear Jena

      I thought this was a discussion about ideas and real experience.

      Your charge of my dispensing liberty fails because liberty is not mine to give as it is exclusively yours to recieve.

      As for false humility, I have plenty of falsehoods to be humble about so you are probably right about that.

      I have said nothing about how you should live other than the suggestion that you should consider the effect of your ideas and intellect on others, which I see no evidence of homosexuals doing.

      The homosexual demand for liberty and equality gives no account to the effect that your experiment will have on the common good and is therefore irresponsible.

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    12. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Warren Mills

      "The homosexual demand for liberty and equality gives no account to the effect that your experiment will have on the common good and is therefore irresponsible"

      OK, so perhaps my imagination is faulty, but maybe Warren you could provide some thoughts as to the "effect of this experiment" (and I presume you mean the adverse effect) on say the life and liberty of ordinary people and our general way of life?

      Personally I can't think of any harm that the provision of equality and liberty to gay people could possibly have on your everyday man.

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    13. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren, I'm sorry but you are contradicting yourself!

      Your last two sentences are the evidence of this claim The point is that you do say a lot about how others should live. (With reference to the effect of the ideas and intellect of people who do not define themselves as exclusively heterosexual … try Leonardo, Michelangelo, Foucault, Butler, Grosz, Merleau-Ponty, Bernstein, Horne, Wittig … do you want a comprehensive list of artists, poets, politicians and philosophers? just google it) You really should educated yourself about the contribution of others.

      Further, don't you realise that it is offensive to name someone as irresponsible when you are arguing from a position of ignorance about the subject matter, i.e., alternatives to heterosexuality?

      And finally, there is no such thing as the common good. There are competing universalities and one way of coping with competing universalities is recognition of the other.

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    14. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to David Bentley

      Utter confusion regarding gender roles for a start.

      Plus the outspoken preference for sexual liberty over against the wellbeing of children and families influenced by promiscuity and faithlessness.

      Sexual expression has a small but important part in human existence. Loving, enduring relationships between men and women are essential for life.

      When sexual freedom and rights are elevated to become to an important defining characteristic of a person either homo or hetro, all other considerations are improperly prioritised for the wellbeing of society.

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    15. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Dear Jena

      No such thing as the common good? It was inevitable that the discussion would end here to accomodate your view. Criminals would agree with you. Good is defined by what is life giving, which homo sexuality by definition is not.

      The merits of competing universalities are resolved by their sustainability, not by their idealogy.

      Your list of artists reflects the reality of human life, but I am keen to know how their sexual behaviour improved the quality of their work.

      Finally, there are some things worth defending such as human dignity, truth, love, mercy etc at the risk of being offensive.

      Kind regards

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    16. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Warren Mills

      I'll take your points sentence by sentence.

      1. There is no determining law regarding sex, gender and sexual preference, therefore "confusion" is not only a narrow reading, it is a misrepresentation. As there are no core identities there can be no confusion, just preferences.
      2. This is a false and offensive assumption. I don't see the word trust in any of your posts Warren. Good relationships, be they fixed and immutable or constant with variations, or based on varied interaction, are built on trust and emotional intelligence.
      3. The sex act is an integral function of human-ness. To deny one's sexuality is to deny oneself.
      4. As you do recognise sexuality is an important function of human-ness.

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    17. David Bentley

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Failed on all points.

      1. confusion of gender roles. Said like a true middle class white man, for whom the current gender roles work perfectly well. We (society at large) are currently striving as society to break down these gender roles, not entrench them. Thus, society disagrees with you that gender roles are valuable to society.

      2. Outspoken preference for sexual liberty over the well being of children. There is no evidence for this whatsoever. Adoption and surrogacy laws will continue…

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    18. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren, you have not understood the concept of competing universalities. For me competing
      universalities describe a situation where groups, nations, religions all believe that their formulation for the well being of the human can define a universal principle and that this universal principle should be put into practice by all.

      For me there are no universals. Everything is a negotiation based on recognition that others are different to me.

      I have no ideology and I have not mentioned ideology. "human dignity, truth, love, mercy etc"? Do you hold the patent on these attributes? That you think you do is the offensive attitude.

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    19. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Dear Jena

      The fact that there is no law regarding sexual preference does not mean that it fits the criteria for a "life giving good".

      Interesting you should mention self denial. Jesus, the ultimate law-giver said “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it."

      For the record, Jesus also condems all forms of adultery, by which he means irresponsible sexual behaviour including impure thoughts, of which I am gulity.

      I suppose you will find this to be irelevant and/or offensive, but that is the real difference between those who trust the concept of the ultimate common good to which we are accountable, or not.

      Kind regards

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    20. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Dear Jena

      You are right. I have not understood your argument at all.Much too hard for a white mifddle-class male.

      Your taking offence is much too precious as this tatic is used stifle any opposition to your preference.

      Lets just agree to disagree, please.

      Kind regards

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    21. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Agreeing to disagree is part of my understanding of competing universalities, as is recognition of others, acknowledging difference (in itself) and respect. I enjoy good argument too much to want to stifle it in others.

      It is offensive to suggest that you and only you (and your breed - a Terry term) have the patent on kindness, goodness (do you mean Plato's description of goodness, Plato the Greek philosopher who lived before jesus), and respect? Maybe jesus wasn't the inventor of such concepts Warren. Some philosophers say that goodness is part of the condition that is human - Levinas for instance.

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    22. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Warren Mills

      I thought that I was clear about the fact that I am not a christian Warren. I don't mind you being a christian however and I would appreciate it if you gave me the same respect instead of naming me as promiscuous, irresponsible, adulterous, etc.

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    23. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Dear Jena

      You can have the last word because this is my last, I promise.

      No-one (that I know of) says that Jesus has the sole rights to goodness, or invented the concepts as there are plenty of precursors to him, but no-one else had any credible claim to be the son of God or had such an effect of history as he did, with such a well integrated story ( read Rodney Stark) that depite the worst and best attempts of both the religious and irreligious, continues on in the lives of his present day followers, who continue to do good life giving things in his name.

      Amen and kind regards

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    24. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Warren Mills

      John Fitzgerald Kennedy had many disciples too and a media machine that structured his image. Jackie Kennedy and Robert Kennedy protected his ongoing legend by denying the fact that he was an addict and had many many affairs while in office.

      The followers of jesus did the same - i.e., structured a legend, a fiction, a phantasy ideal.

      with respect to you Warren as a fellow human

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    25. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Oh, I think it slightly more sinister than mere devotees, following a larger than their life figure.

      Pauline Christianity, the finest and most durable product of social engineering that the Roman Empire ever devised. Delivered to the doors of the masses, and spoon fed at the point of a sword.

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    26. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren. Don't take up the dinner offer please. I feel it will be ugly!

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    27. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Dear Warren

      Not to answer for Jena, with whom, as a Christian and homosexual myself, I do not agree. (Her putative second doctorate has, in my view, done nowt to improve either the moral or indeed the intellectual force of her ideas as circulated here. I find them obtuse and her depressing project for gay people seeking marriage is to consign them to an amoral universe in which there would be no love and still less hope). However.....

      Why would homosexuality lead to impure thoughts and sinful…

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    28. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Dear Michael

      I promised not to reply to any more taunts, so this is private between you and me. I have judged no-one as it is the sole prerogative of Jesus to judge the nations. Regardless, whether Jesus' command re being non-judgement trumps his prohibition of adultery, I will leave you to explain to him. I am happy to give account for my sins which he already knows are many.

      Kind regards

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    29. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      If you check you'll find that my wriggle is bigger and better (by which I mean more etymologically correct as well as far more satisfying, arresting, persuasive, moral, appropriate and effective) than your wiggle.

      Perchance that's because, despite the fact that we're both gay, there's precious little that we have in common, including, I'm not shocked but disappointed to say, the notion of the common good.

      A while ago in the context of writing a review essay I checked your above preachy and…

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    30. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      1. On wiggle/wriggle? Despite your personal use, the term most often used is "wiggle room".
      2. On the concept of competing universalities, I take Butler's use from her essay "Competing Universalities' from the book Contingency, Hegemony, universality, Contemporary Dialogues on the Left, Verso (2000), written as a dialogue between Zizek, Laclau and Butler.
      3. Butler's critique of Foucault (who died in 1984 and as such is not familiar with contemporary politics and conditions) is published in her…

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    31. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Hi Les. Isn't it amazing how imaginative these Christians are. They must be so repressed sexually - so much so that they fantasise about people being promiscuous, adulterous and irresponsible all the time. The sight of two guys kissing also sends them wild.

      Does Warren imagine that I have time for a life of bed-hopping while doing a PhD and other work?

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    32. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      I am pleased that you got 'round to answering this, Jena.
      I do not have scholastic qualifications, so I refrain from comments in respect of experts.

      I have a new maxim, though, which is, never allow my prudence to become subordinate to my vanity.

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    33. Philip Impey

      Architect+Urban Designer

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Repressed sexually?
      If you mean "holding our sexuality in check"? Yep, its private- and you point is?
      "Fantasising about promiscuity"-no don't need to. Thirty-five years of monogamy gives you
      all the sexual satisfaction you need- you want to try it sometime- if you haven't, your point doesn't mean anything.
      The thought of and witnessing men having sex- yep,disgusts me and its all a result of my mother preventing me form playing with faeces as a child. Forgive me,if that makes me "homophobic…

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    34. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Philip Impey

      Impulse control and repression of sexuality are two different forms Phillip. The former is conscious and the latter is unconscious.

      Your disgust is simply that, i.e., yours. Glad you own it.

      Must admit, the mental image (and the connotations) of you 'on your knees" is rather funny. I meditate but I don't think of you.

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    35. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Btw I hope Clare O'Farrel is aware of the way in which you are using her. I am sure your account of my comments on this page were given without prejudice and that they were not merely interpreted.

      I actually question your integrity here Michael with regard to Clare and with regard to my qualifications, and with regard to your denigration of the discipline in which I choose to locate my work.

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    36. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      1. The phrase "wriggle room" gives 2 million results on Google. "Wiggle room" gives 140 thousand suggesting that both phrases are valid English, except that you corrected me, Jena.

      2. You forget that your supposed pith, which is usually in your PS, opens up what you may intend as a polite correction to be read as a provocation. You have done this persistently, both in your dealings with me and with others, initially in your reference to my current academic position, which you know nothing about…

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    37. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      The only thing that interests me in this long, verbose and pompous post is your failure to read Butler as I suggested.

      re: 6. You said "I checked your above preachy and condescending reference to this topic with a former colleague of mine, Clare O'Farrell, who is an expert on everything 'post', including in the original French, in which my fluency is not quite as au fait as her's." Apart from the misuse of "au fait" in this context, this quote does not imply that you merely looked up a previous…

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    38. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      1. Jena, quite a tirade. I checked the sum total of your contributions here: they're about a hundred times more voluble than mine.

      2. I checked your correction of my use of 'au fait'. To what alternative? 'Aux fait'? Qui fait quoi et ou?

      3. Mes excuses! I meant Freud, not Jung, like you meant 'are' and not 'a'. So bloody what? As far as Warren is concerned, an Owen would smell as sweet-tempered as a Jena, if she tried, except that she's here for the biffo.

      4. Butler is Jewish. So what…

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    39. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      For me it's all about recognising difference. Have you heard of the term displacement? As in Archimedes? Although I am not using the theory for the same purpose, I like it because it describes this practice of recognition. If the bath (a body of knowledge) does overflow, does it mean that there is excess (unwanted) water, or does it mean that the bath that contains the water is too small? I go for the view that posits the bath as too small.

      I think your nose is out of joint for a reason other…

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