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Why do we need same sex marriage?

Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:38 pm
by thereisonlyscience
I have never understood why exactly gay marriage is desirable.
I am married, but that is a civil contract and can be better understood as civil union. We should keep separate out “marriage” as a religious event and have civil union as the legal arrangement. I feel that the state has no role to play in marriage but should stick to the legalities. If you want to commit your life to one individual then it should be through a legally binding contract and it should not matter what gender each person is and it certainly doesn’t need a marriage ceremony.
If you want to get married then book a church- It’s a meaningless ceremony anyway.
Let the church prevent same sex marriage all it wants. The rest of us can get on with committing ourselves to the one we love.

Hopefully my point is understandable. We all deserve to have equal treatment under the law but we shouldn't need to call it marraige.

Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:07 pm
by Ygern
I'm moving this out of the Announcements section of the forum.

Of course, a lot of gay & heterosexual people would tend to agree with you. But I think this has become an issue not so much because every gay person wants to avail themselves of it; but because at the moment they are denied the right purely on the basis of their sexuality. That's blatant discrimination on an utterly indefensible ground. In my opinion.

Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:02 am
by lostexpectation
thereisonlyscience wrote:I have never understood why exactly gay marriage is desirable.
I am married, but that is a civil contract and can be better understood as civil union. We should keep separate out “marriage” as a religious event and have civil union as the legal arrangement. I feel that the state has no role to play in marriage but should stick to the legalities. If you want to commit your life to one individual then it should be through a legally binding contract and it should not matter what gender each person is and it certainly doesn’t need a marriage ceremony.
If you want to get married then book a church- It’s a meaningless ceremony anyway.
Let the church prevent same sex marriage all it wants. The rest of us can get on with committing ourselves to the one we love.

Hopefully my point is understandable. We all deserve to have equal treatment under the law but we shouldn't need to call it marraige.
your dead right, it is just a misuse of words by all involved.

any future law will be called civil union, its just a matter of getting the same rights(from that state) as marriage.

your dead right, apart from this 'Let the church prevent same sex marriage all it wants. The rest of us can get on with committing ourselves to the one we love'

im sure gay religious people will fight their own battle with the church on that if they want to have a religious marriage like everyone else


but i think it does cross over into our concern becuase of various social services the church provides.

Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:20 am
by UDS
Are we getting hung up on what label to use here?

Whether we call it “marriage” or “civil union” or something else, aren’t we really talking about the same thing? We’re talking about a particular kind of relationship, one in which a couple give commitments to one another, they give those commitments in public, they ask the community at large to recognise and accept that those commitments have been given, and they ask for support in fulfilling those commitments.

Relationships of this kind, by whatever name, are pretty well universal. Not that everybody marries, but every society, every culture, recognises some variation on this relationship. Every society, in other words, has “marriage” or “civil unions”, even if they don’t use those specific terms. The details may vary – in our culture marriage is exclusive, but in other cultures polygamous marriages are permitted – but the basic concept seems to be universal.

The point is that marriage/civil union is not something created by churches/priests/shamans, and it’s not something created by laws/the state. It’s a basic social reality which preexists both the state and the church. Churches, etc, generally recognise it and accept it and invest it with varying degrees of significance, and governments generally recognise it and accept it and invest it with varying degrees of significance, but neither of them can ever really control it.

They can both try to influence the social reality. The state, for example, can pass laws saying how old you have to be to marry, or on what grounds you can divorce, and to some extent society’s views on when you should marry, or when you are entitled to give your spouse the flick, will be influenced by those laws. Similarly churches can take a position on if, or when, they will accept a divorce, or the remarriage of a divorced person. But the extent to which any of this really influences social views is, to be honest, limited. Ultimately, to the extent that the church or the state refuses to accept the social reality that is marriage, it is the church or the state that suffers, by making itself irrelevant.

When it comes to gay marriage, I agree with thereisonlyscience and Ygern. There is no justification for discriminating between the commitments made by gay partners, and those made by straight partners, and I would like to see not only the state but also churches accept and celebrate them both, under whatever name you like. I don’t, on the whole, favour the use of different terms by the state and the church; we are, after all, talking about just one relationship, not two. Also, the state backing off the term “marriage” and leaving it to the churches implies that there is a domain out there, called “marriage”, which the churches control, and where the state should recognise church control.

I don’t think the state needs to wait on the churches to recognise gay marriage. But it may have to wait on society at large because, as I said, if the state moves too far ahead of society on this, the views and laws of the state become irrelevant. The state has to accept the social reality of marriage, even if it’s a social reality that I don’t particularly like.

Is society ready for gay marriage? Well, in the circles that I move in, yes, no question. But maybe my (middle-class, university-educated, liberal) circles are not representative of the nation at large on this point. I wouldn’t like to see the state, by taking a progressive stand on gay marriage, make itself irrelevant in the way that the Catholic church, by taking a regressive stand on divorce, makes itself irrelevant. Yes, it is imperative to work to remove anti-gay discrimination, but on this issue it may not be effective – yet – to try to do that by changing laws. We may need to work harder to change social attitudes first.

Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:16 am
by Hobbesian World View
Churches should be stripped of their role as marriage registrars. Every married couple should have to register their civil union at a registry office. If some couples want to do a church ceremony in addition to that, that would their own choice. But churches should not be legally endowed with functions that other organisations are denied.

The church ceremony should merely be an optional extra, just like the reception party. A piece of theatre to give people a day out. No legal significance whatsoever.

Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:40 pm
by Scorpio
thereisonlyscience wrote:I have never understood why exactly gay marriage is desirable.
I am married, but that is a civil contract and can be better understood as civil union. We should keep separate out “marriage” as a religious event and have civil union as the legal arrangement. I feel that the state has no role to play in marriage but should stick to the legalities. If you want to commit your life to one individual then it should be through a legally binding contract and it should not matter what gender each person is and it certainly doesn’t need a marriage ceremony.
If you want to get married then book a church- It’s a meaningless ceremony anyway.
Let the church prevent same sex marriage all it wants. The rest of us can get on with committing ourselves to the one we love.

Hopefully my point is understandable. We all deserve to have equal treatment under the law but we shouldn't need to call it marraige.
Well said.. there is no real significance in marriage besides the legal side of it to avoid unnecessary stress.. simple really..

Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:30 am
by UDS
Hobbesian World View wrote:Churches should be stripped of their role as marriage registrars. Every married couple should have to register their civil union at a registry office. If some couples want to do a church ceremony in addition to that, that would their own choice. But churches should not be legally endowed with functions that other organisations are denied.

The church ceremony should merely be an optional extra, just like the reception party. A piece of theatre to give people a day out. No legal significance whatsoever.
See, that’s just silly.

If a couple, intending to marry, exchange formal marriage vows in public, in the presence of witnesses, and if they do that in a fashion which means that they now consider themselves married, their families consider them married, their friends consider them married and the community considers them married, why on earth would the state throw a hissy fit and insist that they are not married until they go through a ceremony again, in a place that the state chooses, in a second ritual which may have no meaning for the couple, their families and their friends? What compelling public purpose is served? At best this is childish, at worst oppressive. Births get registered without the state insisting that everyone has to be born in the registrar’s office; likewise deaths. So I see no need for a big deal about marriages not happening in a registry office.

Hobbesian, in another thread you described yourself as a “realist”. What’s realistic about refusing to accept the reality of marriage?

Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:24 am
by DollarLama
Two points: Marriage came into existence when hunter-gathering was replaced by farming, 13,000-odd years ago. With a surplus of production and specialisation of roles came the concept of women as chattels. A man paid a dowry to have (some degree of) a guarantee to exclusive sexual access to a particular woman. (Today, it's traditional for the bride's family to pay for a large chunk of the cost of a wedding - effectively a dowry.)

UDS fails to recognise that the purpose of marriage as we know it is to secure inheritance of the resources of a given couple. Remember the inheritance rights which illegitimate children had, until recently.

regards
Ben

Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:41 am
by DollarLama
UDS wrote: See, that’s just silly.

If a couple, intending to marry, exchange formal marriage vows in public, in the presence of witnesses, and if they do that in a fashion which means that they now consider themselves married, their families consider them married, their friends consider them married and the community considers them married, why on earth would the state throw a hissy fit and insist that they are not married until they go through a ceremony again, in a place that the state chooses, in a second ritual which may have no meaning for the couple, their families and their friends? What compelling public purpose is served? At best this is childish, at worst oppressive.
Frankly this is bullshit. A couple "intending to marry, exchange formal marriage vows in public, in the presence of witnesses, [doing] that in a fashion which means that they now consider themselves married, their families consider them married, their friends consider them married and the community considers them married" has absolutely no legal standing whatsoever. I could set up such a ceremony under a 100 year old oak tree; that ceremony has no legal value. Consequently the assertion that "a ceremony [...] in a place that the state chooses [is] oppressive." has no merit.

Currently, church weddings conflate the religious ceremony and the civil ceremony; in a church wedding, the legally binding ceremony takes place out of public view in a small side-chamber.
UDS wrote: Births get registered without the state insisting that everyone has to be born in the registrar’s office; likewise deaths. So I see no need for a big deal about marriages not happening in a registry office.
This is utterly disingenuous; births are not registered in churches.

Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:52 pm
by Hobbesian World View
UDS wrote:See, that’s just silly.

If a couple, intending to marry, exchange formal marriage vows in public, in the presence of witnesses, and if they do that in a fashion which means that they now consider themselves married, their families consider them married, their friends consider them married and the community considers them married, why on earth would the state throw a hissy fit and insist that they are not married until they go through a ceremony again, in a place that the state chooses, in a second ritual which may have no meaning for the couple, their families and their friends? What compelling public purpose is served? At best this is childish, at worst oppressive. Births get registered without the state insisting that everyone has to be born in the registrar’s office; likewise deaths. So I see no need for a big deal about marriages not happening in a registry office.
I just checked what the law is here. Churches do seem to favoured somewhat by the process. Every marriage must be witnessed a person who is on the Register of Solemnisers. You can download the Register here. http://www.groireland.ie/Register_of_Solemnisers.xls
Notice how every single organisation but one, on the list, is a religion. The only other organisation approved to oversee marriages is the HSE. So in other words, religious organisations are being granted special powers in the area of marriage that other private organisations arent granted.

My impression is that the law is designed to protect the earnings of churchs and hotels. Other venues and organisations are kept out of the market. Look at the list of requirements for marriage venues here. It seems designed to direct business towards hotels, and away from free venues. Youre not allowed to get married outdoors, ie a park or garden. Youre not allowed to get married at home or at someone elses home. Youre not even allowed to get married in a church, unless its a religious ceremony! You really only have three choices, a church, a hotel, or the registry office.