I’ve found the most brain numb argument against marriage equality yet

IMG_0150

First a quick recap on the current state of marriage equality in Australian. While there appears to be a majority of MPs in favour of marriage equality in federal parliament, the number in favour within the ruling coalition is a minority. This could be solved by having a ‘conscience’ vote but the ruling party had a manifesto commitment to a referendum. The referendum is basically a way of avoiding a split between the centre-right and conservative wings of the Liberal Party – the confusingly named main right-leaning Australian party. Unable to get their plans for a referendum through the Senate, the government settled on having a non-binding, postal “survey”. The survey has a simple Yes – No format with “Yes” being the marriage equality option.

The postal survey/vote is now well underway.

On my wanderings through rightwing SF/F arenas I came across this post on Facebook:

Jason Rennie is the Australian-based SF writer/editor associated with Superversive, and formerly the editor of ‘Sci-Phi Journal’.

The argument essentially boils down to saying that if libertarians support marriage equality (i.e. giving a section of society the freedom to do a thing that most other people can do) then they’ll be taking away the freedom of the people who don’t support marriage equality to not recognise some marriages. In other words, if libertarians support freedom for group X then that infringes the rights of those who don’t want group X to have that freedom.

I think he may have just killed libertarianism – and it was already looking unwell.

He’s worried about the “massive expansion of state force” that will arise when…the state protects the rights of its citizens against those who think they shouldn’t have those rights? Which, correct me all if I’m wrong, used to be the one function of the state that libertarians at least claimed in theory to support.

He doesn’t take the logical step into the obvious corollary of his argument: that therefore banning even more groups from getting married would somehow make everybody freer. I would if we would volunteer a group with which he identifies to be a starting point of this bizarre root to greater freedom?

I suspect we’ll never find out. Anyway, if you are Australian and haven’t voted yet then don’t forget to do so!


25 thoughts on “I’ve found the most brain numb argument against marriage equality yet

  1. Let’s not forget the main thesis of SJWs Always Lie::

    1: Disemploying people for their personal values is bad.
    2: SJWs want to disemploy people for their personal values.
    3: Ergo, people whose personal values are “SJW” should be disemployed.

    What we have here is a variation:

    1: Radicals want a repressive state.
    2: Radicals want gay marriage.
    3: Therefore, gay marriage is a step towards a repressive state.

    Considering what a flexible concept “SJW” is, you can imagine how the basic argument can be further adapted to suit a range of purposes. If you ever wanted a libertarian justification for curtailing personal freedom, here it is, neatly packaged…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Regarding the flexibility of the SJW concept, when a party listed its non-negociable points after the election, points like “ecological progress” or “social justice”, my Dad said, “That’s just phrases that could mean anything. What precisely is ecological progress? What precisely is social justice?”

      Me: “Well, according to certain people on the fringes of the SFF community, social justice means liking Ann Leckie and N.K. Jemisin and I’m a social justice warrior.”

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I think this really calls for the quote from Billy Madison:

    “What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have a question, Camestros. Why is government involved in marriage at all?

    Governments are supposed to enforce contracts, keep the general peace in the country, and provide for the defense of the nation against foreign threats.

    Marriage is a religious ceremony. There is, or should be, nothing at all of law or government about it.

    Try examining “marriage equality” in that light. See what notions crop up.

    Like

    1. “Marriage is a religious ceremony. There is, or should be, nothing at all of law or government about it.”

      You need to study more history, phantom. The first recorded marriages were CIVIL CONTRACTS, not religious. And the Christian church didn’t consider marriage to be a holy sacrament until about 1000 years after Christ.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Anyway short answer: marriage has contractual and multitudinous legal implications not only for the pair who are married but for their children (and yes, same-sex couples can have children). Those laws and legal implications aren’t all in one neat place but have accreted over centuries. That’s why the only way of ensuring legal equality is to recognise marriages of two people of any gender as legal marriages.

      Now if you or libertarians in general would like marriage to become purely ceremonial and have no specific legal recognition and no state involvement then that is…well ‘interesting’. Such a campaign to not only win popular support for the proposal but also to create the legal framework to unravel all the legal implications of marriage, would take decades assuming that it was possible at all. Seems unlikely that you’d convince everybody who currently likes marriage on the left and right but…in the meantime such a quixotic adventure is no reason to deprive others of the legal benefits of marriage.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have another question. Why do you and all other Gay Marriage proponents insist on conflating Marriage, the religious entity, with the legal ramifications of the civil union provided by government? These are two different things.
        Marriage, as I said above, is a religious ceremony. Civil union is by definition a matter of law.

        Incidentally, I have no interest in depriving others of the legal benefits of a civil union. However I am interested in seeing that Christian religious organizations are not forced into doing things that are anathema to their beliefs. Not that I have a dog in the fight, as I do not attend, myself. My concern is that sort of thing tends not to end well. Historically speaking, its a bad idea.

        Also, there seems to be this undue focus on same-sex unions, while loudly ignoring the other type of non-standard union, polygamy. The red-headed stepchild of the “equality of marriage” argument, which will coming along into the tent with the rest of the camel, as it were.

        Inquiring minds want to know how any of this is making life better for Australians, because to a lot of us it seems like a very bad idea.

        Here in Canada our wonderful Liberal government has already done everything you want with the marriage thing. First thing that happened was same-sex divorce. So uplifting.

        Next up, they intend to end inheritance. No, really. They want to take it all when you die. Also the family farm, definitely ending that. Be looking for those coming soon in your future. I’d say the “legal implications of marriage” are a lot more easily unraveled than you may have previously thought. In Canada, anyway. Australians may surprise us.

        Like

      2. “Why do you and all other Gay Marriage proponents insist on conflating Marriage, the religious entity, with the legal ramifications of the civil union provided by government? ”

        It is the law not just “Gay Marriage proponents” and has been for a very long time. I’m surprised you don’t know that.

        “Marriage, as I said above, is a religious ceremony.”

        That is not currently the case. This is a simple fact Phantom. Lots of people get married without a religious ceremony but nobody in Canada, US, or Australia gets married without a civil recognition of the marriage.

        This is a basic fact. You may wish that these facts were different. You might wish to change things so marriage was only a religious thing (although how would you stop people in that case getting married non-religiously?) but currently marriage has a civil legal aspect to it.

        “My concern is that sort of thing tends not to end well. Historically speaking, its a bad idea.”

        Historically some changes to marriage law that conflict with religious scruples have not always ended well I guess. Henry VIII comes to mind. However, in modern times reforms to marriage laws have had no undue consequences to religions. The Catholic Church retains its position on divorce despite the legality of divorce.

        “while loudly ignoring the other type of non-standard union, polygamy”

        Polygamy is necessarily different. There is no way to make polygamy the same legal entity as marriage as currently consituted – certainly not in the same way that marriage equality across gender can be enacted.

        Take a marriage of three people. Who is married to who? The former Mormon approach to polygamy as that B and C were married to A (where A was a husband and B and C were wives) but B was not in turn married to C. Consequently A,B & C did not together form a single marriage but rather A had two separate marriages (even if A, B & C all lived together). To establish legal polygamous marriages would require complex new legal instruments clarifying who was married to whom and also what permission were needed for A (or B or C) to enter into another marriage AND what arrangements would be made if A (or B or C) wished to dissolve the marriage (e.g. would divorce dissolve the whole A,B,C arrangement or just have one party leave it). Such instruments would not neccesarily therefore cover the full range of legal consequences of the status of ‘married’, which, as I’ve pointed out are potentially many and complex.

        Hence the two situations are not comparable. Marriage equality allows one simple legal change to extend marriage to all people regardless of gender. Polygamy requires by its very nature new laws and indeed choices of model for polygamous marriage.

        Of course, if anything, marriage equality makes polygamy harder to implement. The ‘traditional’ polygamous models are based on an assumption of patriarchy – the man gets to marry multiple women and acts as head of the household and makes the decisions. That model is not legally institutable in a modern nation with gender equality laws (although people might voluntarily act along those lines without legal force).

        However, in YOUR world where marriage is ONLY a religious ceremony over which government has no say…
        …well Phantom’s version of ‘marriage’ implies not just legal polygamy but also appalling things such as child marriage.

        Luckily we live in a more civilized world than your vision of ‘marriage’ governed only by priests.

        “First thing that happened was same-sex divorce. So uplifting.”

        If people can get married then they can get divorced. Not sure what point you are making here? Are you saying divorce should be illegal?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. @phantom —

        “Marriage, as I said above, is a religious ceremony. ”

        No, actually, it isn’t. You can keep insisting on your version of reality, but your insistence doesn’t actually alter reality.

        Millions of people get married every year with no religious ceremonies whatsoever. Ipso facto, no, marriage is not “a religious ceremony”.

        “However I am interested in seeing that Christian religious organizations are not forced into doing things that are anathema to their beliefs.”

        Please name any Christian religious organization that has ever been forced to perform a same-sex marriage.

        “Also, there seems to be this undue focus on same-sex unions, while loudly ignoring the other type of non-standard union, polygamy.”

        What Camestros said.

        Also, harm. All rights in the US are limited by considerations of harm. We have free speech — unless that speech involves credible threats of harm. We have free travel — unless we are trespassing on someone else’s property. And so on. Anti-LGBT lawyers across the country tried very hard to come up with evidence that same-sex marriages caused a greater risk of harm than opposite-sex marriages. They all failed, in court — and that’s a big part of the reason why the courts now recognize same-sex marriage all across the USA. In stark contrast, it is very easy to provide reams of evidence that polygamy DOES cause a greater risk of harm than opposite-sex marriages. I have lots of resources on that subject, and I’ll be happy to supply pointers to some of them on request (but I won’t burden Camestros’s blog with them unless specifically requested to do so).

        Especially since you’re in Canada, you should do some Googling on the 2011 Polygamy Reference case (it was a Constitutional Reference Case, something that we don’t have here in the States, meaning that a provincial supreme court is specifically asked to rule on a given constitutional question). It took place in British Columbia, and was decided by Chief Justice Baumann of the BC Supreme Court. In his decision he upheld the constitutionality of Canada’s polygamy ban, and his decision leaned heavily on the harms caused by the institution of polygamy. In his decision, he wrote (along with many other things): “This case is essentially about harm. … This includes harm to women, to children, to society and to the institution of monogamous marriage.” “Polygamy’s harm to society includes the critical fact that a great many of its individual harms are not specific to any particular religious, cultural or regional context. They can be generalized and expected to occur wherever polygamy exists.” “There is no such thing as so-called ‘good polygamy.'”

        “Inquiring minds want to know how any of this is making life better for Australians, because to a lot of us it seems like a very bad idea.”

        Equality is never a “bad idea.”

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Actually I would claim that we already have polygamy but we call it “divorce.” Traditionally, polygamy allowed a wealthy man to take a new, younger wife when he got tired of his first one, but it didn’t free him of his responsibility to support the first wife. With divorce, he gets all the benefits of polygamy but without the need to keep the old wife around.

        The number of people interested in any other kind of polygamy is so tiny that it’ll never be an issue.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. @Greg —

        “Actually I would claim that we already have polygamy but we call it “divorce.””

        No, that would be serial monogamy. Some parallels between them, but divorce also allows the wife to take a new husband.

        “With divorce, he gets all the benefits of polygamy but without the need to keep the old wife around.”

        But he has to pay alimony, when appropriate. 😉

        And not all the benefits. With divorce, he only gets one wife to bed at a time, and one wife to make babies with at a time. You won’t see the old patriarchs with 50 kids as you sometimes do with polygamy.

        “The number of people interested in any other kind of polygamy is so tiny that it’ll never be an issue.”

        I disagree there. I do agree that in the US it’s not likely to be a huge issue, but it’s a big deal elsewhere — and there are enough indigenous and immigrant groups (fundamentalist Mormons and Muslims, for instance) who practice it that it’s something to watch out for here as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. To my knowledge, no religious organisation anywhere has ever been forced to perform a same-sex marriage. Some liberal congregations offer religious marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, but you do not need a religious ceremony to be considered legally married. The civil ceremony is sufficient for that and that should be open (and is since yesterday in Germany) to all couples.

        Regarding polygamy, I wouldn’t mind if it were legalised, as long as all parties are legal adults and consent to the poly-marriage. Of course, legalising ploygamous unions would require more extensive legal changes than legalising same sex marriages, because of all the issues Camestros mentions.

        Coincidentally, polygamy and also marriage of minors have suddenly become hot topics in Germany, because of the influx of refugees from countries where polygyny and child marriages are legal. The German state does not recognise polygamous marriages and our parliament recently voted to raise the marriage age to 18 (it was 16 before) and to annull marriages of minors made abroad. I’m in favour of this change, though I find it cynical that a married 16-year-old Syrian is cause for concern, while no one minds a married 16-year-old American.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. I would actually be in favour of governments keeping out of people’s private lives and committed relationships. Care for children will still need to be assured, but that’s separate from marriage.

      However, I don’t see my or any other government stopping to recognise marriages (and indeed the german constitution places marriage and family under the specific protection of the state). And while we have state-sanctioned marriages and the associated privileges, I want that them for every couple, regardless of gender composition.

      Like

    4. The initial counter to “Marriage is Religious Ceremony” is of course, the simple “No, that’s not factually correct.” which should end things right there. (People do get married outside of the purview of the Church, and they’ve done so well before the Government was significantly involved in it.) But if we were to continue then it would be easy to point out that if Government has no business at all involving itself in Marriage than the result would be the same. Either Marriage is (from the point of view) a legal contract (more or less) and therefore the Government has every business getting involved, and furthermore has every business to allow Gay Marriage due to equal protection under the law OR if Marriage is strictly a Religious Ceremony then NO ONE has the legal or moral right to tell Gay folks they can’t get married. Of course, Churches can’t be forced to preform Marriage ceremonies, which is no different than what we have now.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. That may have to be added to TV Tropes Insane Troll Logic page. I think I’ve actually sprained my brain trying to wrap it around that. Or it might be the whisky.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Look, you try arguing for an untenable position sometime, okay? It’s not like there are a bunch unused good arguments against marriage equality just sitting around. They don’t exist.

    Although I am impressed that he’s managed to find one that contradicts the core principle of his stated political philosophy. That takes some clear thinking.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. So if marriage equality means that the state can crush dissenting (rightwing) opinions and full same sex marriage becomes legal in Germany on October 1, does that mean we can start crushing the rightwing extremist AfD now?

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.