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A debate about the definition of marriage

Discussion in 'Serious' started by supermonkey, 5 Mar 2014.

  1. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    So this topic came up during the Russian invasion thread. I rather enjoy reading the discussion about the situation in Ukraine, and I felt that the gay marriage debate was a stirring enough topic to warrant its own thread so as not to detract from the other thread. I took what I thought were the most relevant posts on the topic and provided them here as quotes so that they point back to the original comments.

    So that's the general idea.

    Should marriage remain defined as a union between a man and woman? Does that cultural distinction truly exist as argued by e.g. walle? As specofdust asks, if there is a cultural distinction, does that mean society can never question and ultimately alter that distinction?

    To provide an interesting side-bar to this topic, there currently is a bit of news coming out of Arizona where state legislators approved a bill that would allow business owners to deny service to customers on the basis of whether the owner feels that his or her religious beliefs would be affected. Although presented in fairly general terms, the proposed law was reported as a means for businesses to deny gay customers. The legislation passed, but was ultimately vetoed by the governor after a lot of criticism against the bill.

    Speaking out against the veto, Iowa Representative Steve King argued that homosexuality is "self-professed behavior" and can't be independently verified." I think this is part of the problem in the gay rights debate. Influential people such as Steve King have a platform from which they can issue such patently ignorant claims with no real worry about being held accountable for their statements.

    I'm actually of two minds on the proposed Arizona law. I don't really care about a person's sexual orientation; people are people as far as I'm concerned. However, I do somewhat support the right of a private business to deny service to anyone for any reason. One of the oft-cited examples is legislation proposed for the ballot this year in Oregon (with similar cases appearing in other states. In addition to possibly allowing gay marriage, a related ballot measure would allow businesses (e.g. photographers, cake decorators, and florists) legal protection to deny customers based on religious grounds. As a photographer, I wouldn't have an issue photographing a gay wedding. But as a photographer, I should have the right to deny a customer for any reason at all. It might make me unpopular, it might make me look antiquated and bigoted, and I may even lose business because of it. But it's my right to look stupid.
     
  2. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    On your point of refusing service. It seems the US have a protected class, of which you are not allowed to discriminate against. I would assume that includes refusing service to those class members

    Which makes sense. You can refuse service to anyone but not for silly bigoted reasons.

    On the gay marriage thing. I have no idea why anyone would try to impose their ideology on anyone else. It just doesn't make sense in my head. I don't see why one group should try and stop another from getting married.
     
    Last edited: 5 Mar 2014
  3. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    Who decides which reasons are silly and bigoted? You?
     
  4. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    Perhaps it's people who are capable of empathy. Perhaps it's the victims of silly bigoted discrimination.

    In the case of the wiki link above it was the US federal government.
     
  5. Cthippo

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    I would prefer to see legal and religious concepts of marriage seperated. Why not civil unions with all the legal benefits for everyone, regardless of genders, and if you want some church to call it a marriage then so be it?
     
  6. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    This is exactly what I meant by the quote above. Two People should be (and mostly are) able to live together and have that recognized by the state, gain all the legal rights and obligations etc.

    However I cannot see what homosexuals wish to gain when they demand to be married by a Christian church as the bible condemns homosexuality itself (First Corinthias 6:9, Romans 1:26-27 src: google). Why should a Religion have to act against its' own believes?

    Oh and a necessary disclaimer appearently after reading through the other thread: The church's view on homosexuality is not my own. But I respect their wish to act based on their own. Next thing I know I am proclaimed homophobic due to the view stated above. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: 5 Mar 2014
    Tyinsar likes this.
  7. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    I think that I have sufficiently pointed out that not all cultures do, not all people and even not all people in this society.

    You already have the right to turn away business. You don't need a law for that --or if you do, it can simply be: the right to turn away business, for any reason; religion does not have to be dragged into it.

    The problem with Arizona's bill however would have been twofold. One is that it extends to vital or essential services. Church hospitals could turn away patients on religious grounds. A police officer would have the right not to serve gay members of the public. The second is illustrated by landlords, and restaurant owners hanging up the "No Blacks" sign again. While this may seem a businessman exercising his right to turn away business based on personal beliefs, it is not just about business and personal beliefs. This law would constitute state-sanctioned discrimination --back to the good ol' days of segregation. Is that really where the US wants to be going again?

    The Bible condemns a lot of things that are now accepted, even in the church. But if their special club doesn't want girls gays in their tree house church that's fine with me. However some other churches are fine with it.
     
    Last edited: 5 Mar 2014
  8. Bede

    Bede Minimodder

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    This is more about the separation between Church and State, or lack thereof. In the UK we have the Church of England, which (believe it or not) is the national church. It has bishops in the House of Lords, and crowns the monarch at their coronation. 'Gay marriage' in the UK is a cluster**** because of this - constitutionally it's all a bit confused, and while the CofE would like to be independent from the state to make its own laws it's quite difficult for it to do so.

    In other Christian religions it's pretty simple. Christianity predates Britain as a nation by several hundreds of years. Attempting to fit contemporary political morality onto it seems a bit stupid to many Christians.

    Ultimately gays are best served by civil unions right now. 'Marriage' as a term, no matter what shitty arguments you may present about its history, has been a religious concept in the UK for centuries. The state has intertwined itself, for no good purpose, with marriage, but the ceremony is still at its core a religious thing.
     
  9. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    I'd argue the reverse. Marriage has existed for millennia before the main religions came along to formulate their own dogma around it. The earliest written records of marriage are 5000 year old Sumerian laws concerning the institution (which essentially sanction the kidnapping of the bride and marriage without her consent. The Romans thought that was a bit uncivilised and made a condition of marriage the consent of both parties). The very earliest marriage certificate was found in a bundle of Aramaic papyri, some 2,500 years old. It was found in the ruins of a Jewish Garrison, that had been stationed at Elephantine in Egypt. It's more of a contract than a marriage certificate, as it documents that the groom landed himself a healthy 14 year-old girl bride in exchange for six cows. Which gives you a bit of an idea of the status of women in marriage.

    Practices and rituals for same sex unions were recognized in Mesopotamia. In ancient Assyria, there was nothing wrong with homosexual love between men. The Almanac of Incantations contained prayers giving equal standing to the love of a man for both a woman and a man. At least two of the Roman Emperors were in same-sex unions; the first Roman emperor to have married a man was Nero. Emperor Elagabalus referred to his chariot driver, a blond slave from Caria named Hierocles, as his husband. He also married an athlete named Zoticus in a lavish public ceremony in Rome amidst the rejoicings of the citizens.

    These same-sex marriages continued until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. A law in the Theodosian Code was issued in 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans. This law prohibited same-sex marriage in ancient Rome and ordered that those who were so married were to be executed.

    In the Middle Ages a same-sex marriage between the two men Pedro Díaz and Muño Vandilaz in the Galician municipality of Rairiz de Veiga in Spain occurred on 16 April 1061. They were married by a priest at a small chapel. The historic documents about the church wedding were found at Monastery of San Salvador de Celanova. In ancient India same-sex marriage was more common. One example being a Princess named Shikhandi (born Shikhandini) who was married off to another princess by her father King Drupada. According to traditions in South India, Krishna married Iravan to fulfill one of his three last wishes.

    The Siwa Oasis in Egypt had an historical acceptance of male homosexuality and even rituals of same-sex marriage — traditions that Egyptian authorities have sought to repress, with increasing success, since the early 20th century. The German egyptologist George Steindorff explored the oasis in the year 1900 and reported that homosexual relations were common and often extended to a form of marriage.

    So, we can safely assume that marriage, gay and straight, existed before Christianity, and even outside of any formal religion, mmmokay?

    It's certainly not a religious concept for me. My wife and I are both atheist and were married in a registry office. We do not have children and did not intend to have any. We do not share traditional complementary gender roles in our marriage; we both work, we both cook and clean. Many people have the same marriage, and guess what: it is recognised as marriage and called by that name in UK society.

    Christianity doesn't own the patent or copyright on marriage. Last time I checked, marriage was here first.
     
    Last edited: 5 Mar 2014
  10. longweight

    longweight Possibly Longbeard.

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    Marriage is definitely not a religious thing to many people, it's a happy bond between two people and homosexuals definitely have an equal right to that.

    It's about being treated equally, civil unions are not viewed in the same light as marriage so I can fully understand why it should and will be open to homosexual couples.
     
  11. Kovoet

    Kovoet What's a Dremel?

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    Where I come from being gay is illegal, but since coming to this country the birth place of my parents I have changed my views and everyone to themselves. But marriage to me is special as I was lucky enough to have a second chance with my partner. But gay marriage in a church is a no no but have no objections if they get married where I got married twice and that's in a registry office. Am I religious hell no total opposite but cannot stand hypocrites. Marriage to me is to spend the rest of my life with partner and share everything with her and she is the most special thing ever to happen to me.
     
  12. longweight

    longweight Possibly Longbeard.

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    What makes them hypocrites?
     
  13. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    Maybe I'm slightly homophobic (Which would be odd) but I smegging well hate the label "homosexual", but I'm moving to the edge of the topic of conversation...

    My thoughts:

    Marriage should be a recognition of the bond between consenting adults, without any tax / financial or legal benefits to any party. There should be no laws dictating who can or cannot engage in a marital union.

    It should not matter if those engaged in the union are male, female or one of both.

    It should not matter if one woman wants to marry two men or any other number / combination.

    It should be possible to remove oneself from a marital union without any fight.

    It should be possible for anyone to facilitate a marriage ceremony as long as the paperwork is complete and has been witnessed correctly.

    Marriage should not be allowed to have an influence on immigration. We need good checks, but "Are they married" is not fit for purpose.

    Individuals should have the right to refuse to act as facilitator to a marriage in conflict with their beliefs (Gay etc), but institutions are not granted this get-out. A minister can say "No, I won't do it", but the couple should be able to find their own person / minister to marry them in the same place of worship if they so choose.

    The ONLY two purposes of marital bonds (If we still call them marriage) should be:

    1) Support the spouse being given the power of attorney in the event of their partner's death or incapacitation.

    2) Assisting in resolving support / maintenance / pensions disagreements. ("Yes you still have to support him, you were married for twenty years and you supported him all that time. You can't just dump and run now." or "You gave Sue a pension that covered her spouse, Sue got killed by an IED so pay her pension to Mary")

    With legal protection for preventing forced marriages and ensuring those involved are able to give informed consent we don't need a complex system prone to abuse and exploitation.

    None of this different grades of "Marriage" (Civil Union). None of this different regions recognising some unions but not others.

    Surely if two consenting adults say "We are married" that should be enough? Back it up with a bit of paper to tighten up the paper trail, and job done.

    Everything else... leave well alone.

    But there's so much that needs fixing (Removing?) in family law and it's not going to happen.

    For example did you know that if I wanted to have the same legal protection for my right to access my kids as everyone else, not only would I have to adopt them, but my gf would have to adopt them (She carried them) and my kids would permanently give up their right to a birth certificate and would forever "Be adopted kids". Crazy.
     
  14. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    One thing I do know is that if I had been raised in a religious environment where said religion espoused a firm belief that homosexuality was evil/wrong/punishable in the eyes of whichever god(s) I was supposed to be worshipping, and then I "discovered" I was gay, I'd be out of there pronto.

    It's not gay couple's desire to be married that confuses me at all - I can separate marriage and religion with no issue. It's their desire to subscribe to a religion which specifically abhors them for something they cannot change, and then to take one of that institution's archaic ceremonies and try to change it to suit their own ends.

    Life is most confusing of all from the standpoint of complete neutrality from a religious/tolerance perspective. You can see logic passing people by at every turn, and yet nothing will convince them otherwise.
     
  15. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    It's not that simple with people, I'm afraid. A lot of people have grown up in a particular religious community and may feel very at home there. It chimes with most of their cultural and moral values, all their friends and family are within that community, it is their home since childhood. Then you grow up and find that you are gay, and that this is not OK within your community. What do you do? At first you fear rejection. Then you seek acceptance. When that is not forthcoming, you are faced with a choice: conform or be outcast. It is hard to give up a community where you felt that you belonged because you won't be accepted anymore for who you are. Most people just conform to group pressure. It takes a strong person to be able to resist, walk away and build a new sense of belonging somewhere else.
     
  16. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    Exactly, but I'll warrant that they are some of the happiest of all, in the truest sense of the word.
     
  17. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    But as Nexxo has so eloquently said, marriage came before the archaic ceremonies. Even Christmas was stolen by the church and turned into something different.

    But why do some people still want to be in and accepted by an organised religion that attempts to oppress them? I've no idea, logic can't come into this. If you start applying logic to this you end up an atheist.

    It's impossible to remain fully logical and believe in god. You can believe that you believe, but no more. So when you take god out of the discussion, and accept the bible is words written by men (It's always the men), you see that it's not the best work to base your entire life from*

    The bible has a few things to say about being gay, and a few things to say about marriage, but it has things to say about lots of things such as:

    Yet we've reasoned this this out of our day to day lives. Some reason all sorts of beliefs out of the bible in the same way some reason things INTO the bible verses.

    * So if you can't base your life on the bible, what can you? Well I say based on the words alone you'll make a better person trying to be a Gryffindor than a Christian. At least in the Harry Potter holy trinity one of them was female, well respected and allowed a decent education.
     
  18. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    Very true, as I say I can easily and logically separate marriage and religion. What I can't separate is Christian* marriage (i.e. in a church, by a vicar), from Christianity.

    As you say, logic evaporates as soon as empiricism is abandoned, but I can see the psuedo-logical standpoint of Christians that same sex marriages should not be allowed to take place in a Christian setting. That's very different to being opposed to same-sex marriage, because as you say marriage itself isn't intrinsically tied to any religion. I don't like the Christian standpoint, but they're entitled to it by law as we am entitled to ignore/rebuff it.

    Being a gay person in a religion that doesn't tolerate gays is akin to being in an abusive relationship - until you walk away and leave it all behind you will never find true happiness.

    Having spent half a lifetime "doing philosophy" I find myself in my thirties no longer caring quite as much about who's right and wrong. But most people are wrong :p

    Misanthropy is my middle name.


    *I've used Christianity as an example, substitute the religion/ceremony with one of your choosing.
     
  19. hyperion

    hyperion Minimodder

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    If they genuinely believe in the religion it wouldn't really be possible to walk away though. Even if they distanced themselves from the church they would still be left with the internal conflict of being gay and believing in a religion that condemns gays. I think that one reason they want to get married in a church is because they might need acceptance from others in order to resolve this internal conflict. In other words, if other christians could accept them as both gay and christians then they would know that it's ok for them to accept themselves.
     
  20. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    I agree, and religion has morphed a huge amount over the the centuries. I'm sure in a few more centuries the archbishop of Canterbury will be a flamboyant queen with a harem of young twinks. Gotta do something to keep attendance figures up.

    I also understand that the reality for most non-confirmists is much more difficult than just walking away, just look at the way gay or bisexual folks are treated in the majority of the non-Western world.

    Peace and tolerance all the way :(
     

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