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Searching for a decent argument.

I was going to skip the search term post this month. There was nothing new, nothing we hadn’t seen before, so I didn’t see any point in parading it around.

Then I logged in to blog about something else this morning and saw that somebody had searched for the entire first argument presented by Peter Saunders in his list of ten reasons not to legalize same-sex marriage in Britain. It’s a marvelously weird morning when you log into your dashboard and see this in the recent search terms bar.

throughout history in virtually all cultures and faiths throughout the world, marriage has been held to be the union of one man and one woman. marriage existed thousands of years before our nation began and has been recognized in our laws as the ‘voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life’ (hyde v hyde 1866). the un declaration of human rights (article 16) recognizes that the family, headed by a man and a woman, ‘is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state’. it is not up to governments to redefine marriage – but simply to recognize it for what it is, and to promote and protect it as a unique institution.

Yes. I blogged about this last May, and seeing it again inspired me to take another look at it, not the whole list but just this one argument. Looking up his references makes me wonder if Peter Saunders has actually read the documents he is listing in support of his claims.

Read the rest of this entry

Saunders’ List

Let’s take a look at Peter Saunders list of Ten reasons not to legalise same-sex marriage in BritainI won’t be quoting his full arguments for the whole list, because this is already doomed to be a very long post.

1. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman

Throughout history in virtually all cultures and faiths throughout the world, marriage has been held to be the union of one man and one woman. Marriage existed thousands of years before our nation began and has been recognised in our laws as the ‘voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life’ (Hyde v Hyde 1866). The UN Declaration of Human Rights (article 16) recognises that the family, headed by a man and a woman, ‘is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State’. It is not up to governments to redefine marriage – but simply to recognise it for what it is, and to promote and protect it as a unique institution.

Wow, factually wrong right out of the gate. Throughout history the most common form of marriage has been polygamous. It’s even in the Old Testament of the Bible, according to 1 Kings 11 king Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, though I suspect he may have inflated the number while bragging.

Check out the basic point here, though. Saunders appears to be saying same sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed because right now it isn’t allowed. So we shouldn’t change the rules to allow it because right now it isn’t allowed.

I’m getting a headache already.  Read the rest of this entry

Redefining?

Yeah, this is another gay marriage post. I’ll keep writing them until equality is taken for granted, and then I’ll probably still keep writing them to remind people that it wasn’t always so.

In my internet wanderings this morning I stumbled over this post titled Ten reasons not to legalise same-sex marriage in Britain and was struck by how often the author, Peter Saunders, refers to “redefining” marriage. I’ll address his ten points in a bit, but I think the definition thing is more important so I’m going to talk about this first.

Imagine, if you will, a local sports league, let’s say baseball, that’s been men-only since it was founded years ago. If it changes the rules allowing women to play, is it redefining baseball? If the couples-only three-legged race at the state fair declares that same-sex couples are welcome to participate, does this redefine three-legged races? When the schools were desegregated in the American South, did that redefine education? When women were given the right to vote, did that redefine democracy?

Is it really such a dramatic change to a social institution to welcome those who were previously excluded?

We say “same-sex marriage” or “gay marriage”, but when you get down to it we’re just talking about marriage. The distinction between “a man and a women” and “two people” is trivial. We’re not talking about changing how people do things or what rights and responsibilities they have within a marriage contract, we’re literally talking about being a little more inclusive and nothing else.

In fairness, Saunders is British and talking about Britain, there may be other aspects to the British perspective that I’m not aware of. But I kind of doubt it, because his list of ten things contains nothing that I haven’t already seen in arguments here in the United States. I’ll take a look at that list in my next post.

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