Gay Marriage and the Joy of Living 195

I received an email from someone called Kevin accusing me of having refused to state my position on gay marriage. I have never been asked, but am in fact entirely in favour. I think human relationships are essential to human happiness, and I am not in the least concerned about the gender combinations or sexual practices in which people find happiness. Nor am I obsessed with the number two. I have no objection to polyandry or polygamy (or the gay equivalent) either. The key thing is that people enter and leave relationships entirely consensually, once of an age to consent. I do not believe in matters of tax, immigration or any other governmental sphere, any combination of family life should be favored over any other.

My own family life is “conventional” and very happy, but I do not make the mistake of believing one model fits all.

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195 thoughts on “Gay Marriage and the Joy of Living

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  • Phil

    Nevermind 14 Oct, 2012 – 10:53 am
    “…or for long journeys in space…”

    Of course, gay astronaut sex! Is there a video on the internet? I mean, the money shot would be…slow.

  • Commesick Commesark

    Casting PC aside, can someone scientifically inform the forum if the so called gay accent is innate or it comes about as a physical change from being poked in the pooper or comes about as a physical change from poking the pooper or any other reason, deep throat, etc. Then the debate can move further forward on a scientific basis.

  • CheebaCow

    Wow this thread has really managed to depress me. Numerous times I have tried to write a reply, but keep giving up half way through because there are just too many false assumptions and so much bigotry to correct. I don’t actually know what’s more worrying, the outrageous homophobia or that the homophobes are dressing up their bigotry as being free thinking truth seekers. Somehow an oppressed minority is being blamed for all the faults of heterosexual families, how does that even work? I don’t see how gay people impact on heterosexual relationships at all. If you feel that only laws and social pressure are preventing you from acting on gay impulses, I got news for you, you are living in the closet. I celebrate gay relationships, but I have never been attracted to cock, I’m just not wired that way. Why do people that claim to hate gays spend so much time thinking about the specifics of gay sex?

    I can’t fathom how people convince themselves that there is a secret gay agenda being pushed to undermine society (seriously, who even worries about Fabians anymore? do you still check for reds under the bed?), it’s just so stupid I don’t even know where to begin. Somehow fighting for the church and state to continue denying gay people equal rights is righteous and brave in the eyes of homophobes. It totally ignores the centuries of oppression that gay people have suffered through. All this teeth gnashing about the sanctity of marriage and it’s timeless nature, only speaks to a great ignorance of history and the constantly changing nature of marriage. Did you know that men can actually be charged with raping their wives now! Another outrageous government intervention into marriage.

    I don’t really think I accomplished much by writing this post, but at least I don’t feel like I am betraying family and friends by staying silent while people push this hateful shit. I was raised (liberal) Catholic and Quaker, it didn’t seem weird to me at all that my god mother is a lesbian and my god father is gay. Neither fiddled with me, and in fact I’m very confident that both would have risked their lives to stop anyone from fiddling with me.

    Katz, great post. I was thinking about the issue only a few days ago, and came to a similar conclusion. Until recently it was not possible to live an openly gay lifestyle, so many men had to hide/deny their feelings. I guess that this would make joining the priesthood and being celibate relatively appealing to gay people. Instead of being celibate only due to fear, they got a great excuse to explain the lack of women in their lives and also gain social stature. Funnily enough, denial, self hatred and a reluctance to deal with reality had very negative consequences for priests and the young boys around them, who’d have thunk it? I think there is a lot more to the issue of sexual abuse and priests than just celibacy. Buddhist monks make very similar lifestyle choices and the issue of child abuse isn’t nearly as relevant for them.

  • Katz

    Thanks CC, I enjoyed your post as it did characterise some glum tendencies in this thread.

    History and institutional arrangements will continue to have a major influence on marriage laws.

    I live in Australia, which has a written constitution. Under that constitution, the Federal Parliament has the responsibility of administering marriage. No institution, whether religious or secular could perform marriages legally without a licence from the Federal Parliament. Under the Marriage Act, there was no mention at all of the gender of the persons to be married.

    Then this amendment was passed in 2004, at the instigation of PM John Howard:

    Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
    Certain unions are not marriages. A union solemnised in a foreign country between: (a) a man and another man; or (b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.

    Australian conservatives used to look to the British upper classes for their models of appropriate behaviour. Now they look to the US Tea Party. This is pathetic and infuriating, but also popular. Virtually no one goes to Church in Australia. Organised religion is closer to death here than virtually anywhere else on earth.

    Yet people of conservative bent are terrified of change, as if removing one brick in the edifice will bring down the entire structure. The Right makes use of this fear to instil discipline and compliance. And it works. The cultural ferment of the 1960s terrified many people. They don’t want to go through anything like that again. Better to cling to dead gods that to admit that they never existed.

  • Jon

    @Phil – fair enough, but comparing people who wish for gay oppression to end as worse than fascists nevertheless takes the biscuit. Can I get half my claim for nearly breaking that law? 😉

    CheebaCow, yes – great stuff.

  • doug scorgie

    Oddie 1:30am
    The subject of climate change needs a thread of its own and is a bit off topic here but I feel a need to enlighten you.

    Climate change denial: constructing a counter-narrative.

    Climate change denial is rampant in the media (especially in the USA) partly because climate change or global warming as it is usually called, is controversial and feeds the minds of conspiracy theorists (sells newspapers) and also because powerful interests are threatened if global warming is real.

    And it is real as even the Daily Mail admits in the penultimate sentence of the article:
    “Yes: global warming is real, and some of it at least has been caused by the CO2 emitted by fossil fuels.”
    Also: “This ‘plateau’ in rising temperatures does not mean that global warming won’t at some point resume.”

    However it is the hyperbolic headline:
    “Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it” that will be picked up and remembered by gullible readers.

    In that article is this paragraph:
    “At last week’s Conservative Party Conference, the new Energy Minister, John Hayes, promised that ‘the high-flown theories of bourgeois Left-wing academics [what?] will not override the interests of ordinary people who need fuel for heat, light and transport – energy policies, you might say, for the many, not the few’ – a pledge that has triggered fury from green activists, who fear reductions in the huge subsidies given to wind-turbine firms.”

    John Hayes is the minister at the Department for Energy and Climate Change. In his first statement at the department he said:

    “I am proud to answer the Prime Minister’s call to assume the role of Energy Minister at such a crucial time both for our energy security and for tackling climate change.”

    But in an earlier Guardian article:

    “He was quoted by the BBC in 2009 as saying, “renewable energy needs to pass the twin tests of environmental and economic sustainability and wind power fails on both counts”.

    The Daily Mail concurs:
    “Your bills are going up, at least in part, because of the array of ‘green’ subsidies being provided to the renewable energy industry, chiefly wind.”

    The Daily Mail has a long history of climate change denial.

    Read and understand the science and the scientific method then you will be in a position to see through the fog that corporate vested interests produce.

  • CheebaCow

    Katz, woo Australia represent 😉 I’m a Melbournian myself, but not currently living there. Thankfully I haven’t experienced many Australians imitating tea baggers, but then I tend to avoid conservatives like the plague. I’m a big fan of Australia’s atheism, its the old school mind your own business type of atheism. Dawkins and Hitchens adopted the US hyperbolic style of atheism which definitely rubs me the wrong way.

  • Katz

    I’m in Melbourne right now. Melbourne isn’t really Australia.

    Trams go ding-ding.

    My electorate returned a Green.

    Shock jocks starve for want of an audience.

    It’s a good roost from which to watch the Rest of the world go mad.

  • MJ

    “Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”

    You’d be hard pressed to find a clearer or more succinct definition of marriage. Note that sexuality is not an issue but gender is.

    As far as I am aware the Civil Partnership Act confers all the legal rights/duties of married couples onto same-sex couples. I would like to know why this is considered inadequate.

  • Clark

    MJ, that isn’t inadequate. What is wrong is that there is an institution called marriage, which carries a lot of respect and prestige in society, and it is only available if the participants self-proclaim the heterosexual nature of their relationship.

    Sorting people into gender definitions is no business of state or church. If I wish for the respectability that comes with marriage, I shouldn’t have to have my body examined so that a gender can be assigned to me, and I shouldn’t have to submit to any rules about what sort of sexual activity I’ll be engaging in. It is simply no business of the state’s.

    Regarding your earlier point:

    “I find it very odd that, a few months ago, Cameron and Obama both came out in support of gay marriage within a few a days of each other. What a coincidence. It set the alarm bells ringing in my neck of the woods.”

    Yes. If they’re singing from the same hymn-sheet, it would be helpful to identify the authors.

  • Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    Mark; ” Thus reward is antithetical to survival” Yes ,actively seeking the reward screws up the.dynamics of genuine virtue. It is it’s own reward.

    Mary; We do what we can without feeling guilt about what we cannot.

    Phil; Komodo recently touched on that. My theory around those who feel strongly opposed to same-sex unions have the same inclinations as those who are lower-classes but vote conservative, against their own interests because their candidate, putatively has the same social values.

    Clark; Been busy? Good to see you.

  • CheebaCow

    I’m inclined to allow churches to define marriage any way they like. I think the state should avoid passing laws on religious/spiritual beliefs as much as possible. However I agree with Clark that the state should not make a distinction, a secular state marriage to define the rights of the couple should not label them any differently if they are hetero or not.

  • Jon

    MJ, yes; the rights in the UK are the same. But I’d say sexuality is an implied issue, since the combination of genders in a two-person arrangement specifically relates to sexuality.

    Civil partnerships were broadly welcomed when they were instituted, but nevertheless they are a “separate, other” category that still set gay people apart. As such they were always discriminatory, even though they were a net progressive gain. Allowing any two consenting adults to specifically marry, rather than to “civil partnership”, is the next step on the equality scale.

  • Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    Not a few have been broaching the nature/nurture argument. I remember years debating this issue before my first-born arrived. I was right in there with the chores as well as the fun. One morning I was changing his diaper and I looked down at that ornery face and had an epiphany. He didn’t learn it, he was born with it. A quarter-century hence and many ruminations later I have compiled sufficient anecdotal evidence to conclude the lion’s share of not only physical characteristics are genetic, but psychological/emotional as well. Although I believe some homosexuals make a cognitive choice, by far, the vast majority are genetically inclined. I have no scientific evidence for this, just my observations.

  • CheebaCow

    Phil, unfortunately there is no gay sex in space video, but there is a hetero(?) 0 G cumshot video floating (sorry) around the net. It’s from a porno named ‘ The Uranus Experiment part 2’. If that wasn’t strange enough, the soundtrack was actually composed by Liam Howlett from The Prodigy and Robert Del Naja from Massive Attack.

  • Jon

    I found this interesting – a transgender, bisexual Tory. She claims she’s received a great deal less discrimination in the Conservative Party than she did in Labour – she complains specifically about radical feminists, who ought to be the least likely to exhibit homophobia.

    There was evidently no room in the article to point out that being a Blairite makes it much easier to cross over to the right wing, but I suppose that wasn’t the point of the piece!

  • CheebaCow


    I remember the first time I personally saw the rad fem anti trans phenomenon (btw the rad fem was a lesbian, verbally attacking a trans lesbian for not being a woman). I was really taken aback and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There is a certain section of radical feminists who are nasty pieces of work indeed and their visceral hatred of men definitely colours their view of transexuals. Male to female trans equals male scum in the eyes of rad feminists while female to male are traitors and self hating.

  • Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    Dissatisfaction with relationships of the opposite gender sometimes is the trigger for choosing the other path, but I think it is a minority within that gay lifestyle.

  • Clark

    Jon, I once read an interesting article on the psychology of politically Left and Right tending people, about which values each considered important. The Left and Right lists included many of the same values, but ranked in a markedly different order. I can no longer find the article.

    Privacy and respect for privacy were both higher in the Right’s list than the Left’s. So maybe your average Tory cares less about an individual’s self-proclaimed sexual orientation than your average Leftie.

    This doesn’t necessarily carry over into how the Right treats non-heterosexual orientation in society. It just means that in dealing with an individual, a Tory may be more likely to regard the individual’s sexual orientation as a private matter.

  • Clark

    Jon: “didn’t know until today! See here.”

    Enforced divorce! Unbelievable! People’s obsession with what other people do with their genitalia knows no bounds.

  • Jon

    Clark, interesting dilemma. So those on the right would be less likely to cast aspersions on an individual for their private life, but more likely to be in favour of legislating against them. And in view of the Pink News article, and Cheebacow’s post, perhaps vice versa for some parts of the Left?

  • Jon

    @Clark: enforced divorce; yes, that characterises it. We rarely if ever hear about such an injustice because of how unusual it is, presumably. But if the amendment for gay marriage goes through, presumably that would no longer apply.

  • Clark

    Something like 3% of the population claim to be asexual, never feeling any sexual motivation at all*. Best be on the safe side and ban them from marrying, I suppose.

    (*come to think of it, a lot of married couples seem like this.)

  • Clark

    Which leads me to ask the anti-Gay marriage lobby: are you concerned that such partners will be doing something they shouldn’t with their genitals, or not doing something they should?

  • Jemand

    I wonder how relevant gay marriage will be in the future when gene therapy, applied prenatally after routine genetic profiling for disease and other “attributes”, will erode the population of homosexuals until they are either non-existent or too small to muster political influence. Is anyone naive enough to say that technology is not heading this way, or that heterosexual parents will not favour knowing and responding to information regarding the propensity of their child to be born homosexual? Would this be a kind of genocide?

    I also wonder then, whether gays would counter a decline in homosexual population by instructing willing therapists to implement or activate gay genes in their offspring thereby creating a virtual ethnic group that uses advanced technology as an essential part of their reproductive capacity. Will the law permit genetic conversion one way and not the other, or will it equate the two and outlaw changes to those genes to prevent a eugenics war?

    Personally, I think we are witnessing some of the last generations of born-homosexuals. Technology will give people options, and people will follow their true, natural, preferences.

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