Monday, August 6, 2012

Lucia Countering Rodney Hide on same-sex "marriage" [UPDATE]

Yesterday, an opinion piece by Rodney Hide on same-sex marriage was published in the Herald on Sunday.  Mr Hide's article presumes that Parliament can create our reality and that in this recreated reality where marriage, a major social institution, is redefined by the whim of a few Parliamentarians will have with no deleterious effects to our way of life.  Most of his article is a history lesson on marriage and homosexuality in New Zealand, but curiously enough, the breakdown of the family, and the increasingly high cost of maintaining fatherless children through all these changes have not been included in Hide's piece - as if there is no connection.

Hide starts with very bold statements on who has the authority to determine marriage.
It's Parliament that decides who we can and can't marry. It's not decided by a committee of clergy. Or handed down by Holy Writ.
So, marriage is whatever Parliament says it is? 

Yet, marriage pre-dates the State, and thus comes to the State already defined.  While Parliament may "decide" what the State will and won't recognise as "marriage", and enforce penalties against those who break it's rules, Parliament can't change the nature of we call marriage.  For example, Parliament could say that all cats are dogs, and make everyone call their pet cat a dog and even register it, but we'd all know by looking at each animal just what they really are, and sooner or later reality would reassert itself.  So it is, and will be with marriage.

The regulation of marriage in New Zealand began with an ordinance in 1842 and the first Marriage Act was passed on the establishment of Parliament in 1854.
Married couples came to New Zealand before the first ordinance.  All the ordinance did was recognise what everyone already knew as marriage.
Our present Marriage Act dates from 1955. It sets out the rules for who can and can't marry. For example, the act prohibits a man marrying his former wife's grandmother or his daughter's son's wife. It's fortunate that Parliament thought of such possibilities and prohibited them.

Our present Marriage Act has already been gutted, so it's not the original 1955 act.  At some point, the consummation requirement to make a marriage valid was removed from the law, thus further reducing the State's understanding of what marriage actually is.  From a Catholic perspective, every uncontracepted marital act (and we all know what marital act means!) is a physical restatement of the marriage vows.  Every contracepted sexual act is a negation of the vows.

The Marriage Act 1955 doesn't say I can't marry a man or that a woman can't marry a woman.
It doesn't say you can't marry your dog either, I guess because the writers of the legislation back in 1955 did not think they were writing for morons.  Some things just should not need to be spelled out to those with a common morality and tradition.

But the courts have ruled that it wasn't Parliament's intent to enable same-sex marriage and that it's up to Parliament, not the courts, to declare whether same-sex marriages are lawful, not the courts. It's a fair call.
Ok, so some people have taken their desire to be "married" a person of the same sex to the courts and they said they didn't have the authority!
Back when the Marriage Act was enacted, homosexual activity was a crime carrying a maximum of life imprisonment. It's a safe bet that parliamentarians then weren't envisaging they were passing a law that would enable two men to apply for a marriage licence.
No kidding!
But even then the law had softened towards homosexuality.

Parliamentarians in the early days were hard core and set the penalty for homosexual activity as death. The death penalty for buggery was removed in 1867.

The 1893 New Zealand Criminal Code was still discouraging: "Everyone is liable to imprisonment with hard labour for life, and, according to his age, to be flogged or whipped, once, twice or thrice, who commits buggery either with a human being or with any other living creature".

The flogging for buggery was removed in 1941 and hard labour removed in 1954.

The 1961 Crimes Act reduced the maximum sentence for sodomy between consenting adult males to seven years' prison.

The big change was in 1986, when Parliament voted by a narrow margin to decriminalise homosexual activity. Consensual sex between men was no longer a crime.
Nearly thirty years ago homosexuality (actually, buggery) was decriminalised.  I wonder if those voting for decriminalization ever thought that by doing so, that men would be demanding to get married to each other in NZ in 2012?  If anyone had even brought that up as a possibility at the time, they would have been laughed at the way the media commentators are laughing at anyone that brings up polygamy coming next, now.  But there is a saying that you should never take down a fence if you don't know what it is for.  In 1986, Parliament took down a rather large fence with a sense of moral superiority over those that had put it up in years gone past, without really understanding why it was there in the first place, and those that knew, didn't care.
Consensual sex between women was never illegal in New Zealand. Early legislators thought such a thing impossible and didn't like to think about it and so never criminalised it.
Probably because women doing stuff to each other is not as invasive as buggery.

Once homosexual acts were decriminalised in 1986 the inability of homosexuals to marry was an obvious anomaly and inequality. Homosexuals can have consensual sex; they just can't get married to do so.
Men who experience same-sex attraction, and act on those attractions have always been able to marry, as long as they follow the same rules of marriage as everyone else.   And women, who as Hide says, were never criminalised for sexual activity between themselves weren't clamouring to be able to marry each other.  They were more likely to be condemning marriage as an outdated artifact of a repressive, patriarchal society that they would prefer to see destroyed rather than expanded to those of the same sex.
In 2005 Parliament fudged the issue by allowing civil unions.

A civil union is everything a marriage is - it just has a different name. The crucial difference is that same-sex couples can have a civil union.

The thinking at the time was that civil unions legislation might succeed in Parliament but allowing homosexuals to marry would not.

The civil union law passed by 65 votes to 55.

Since then, 2000 New Zealand couples have tied the knot through civil union. One in five were heterosexual couples; nearly half were female plus female; a third were male plus male; 83 civil unions have been dissolved.

Importantly, the sky has not fallen. Certainly civil unions haven't proved "destructive of the very foundations of society as we know it" as the critics feared. And now MP Louisa Wall's Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill has been drawn from the ballot.
The sky has not fallen, true.  But here we are, seven years after the passing of the Civil Unions Act debating changing  marriage so that it can be between two people of the same sex, something that wasn't supposed to happen because civil union was supposed to be enough.  Except, same-sex marriage will not be enough and men who want to be able to marry more than one woman at a time will be crying discrimination.
The way the ballot works is that Parliament sets aside limited time to consider legislation put up by MPs. Ordinarily it's only government ministers who can introduce legislation. Which members' bills get considered is determined by ballot.

That's how Louisa Wall's bill has arrived before Parliament. It was her call, and the luck of the draw.

Her bill is a simple one: it amends the Marriage Act to declare that "marriage means the union of two people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity".
Louisa Wall's bill may be simple, but the effects won't be.  Her bill will change marriage from being a fundamental societal institution, which is most likely to give the children born to parents who have married the best chance of a good start in life, to something more airy, fairy, so that it can cater to adults who feel left out.  No more husband and wife, instead we'll have partner and partner.
The bill will be subject to a "conscience" or free vote. Each MP has a vote and it is up to each of them individually how they vote.

Conscience or free votes are allowed to stop caucuses ripping themselves apart trying to reach consensus on controversial issues that engender strong religious and moral concerns.

That makes the final vote hard to predict and there will be intense lobbying of individual MPs.
I would really love to see a referendum on how conscience votes should be treated.  They tend to be used when Parliament wants to tear down traditional moral values, and so far, I have not seen MP's consciences to be of a particularly high, moral standard worthy of such a weighty decisions.
I have enormous respect for conservative values and traditional ways of doing things. But here's the question for those pushing traditional values against same-sex marriage: what tradition do you want our Parliament to push back to? The death penalty? Flogging? Hard labour? Life imprisonment? Seven years' jail?
I'm not seeing any evidence of Hide's enormous respect for conservative values and traditional ways of doing things!  The respect seems to be higher for the right of Parliament to redefine what it wants to redefine.

My answer to Hide's question as to what traditions I want our Parliament to push back on, is traditions that work.  Marriage has been severely weakened by no-fault divorce, therefore  I would get rid of no-fault divorce and make the person who is at fault in the breakdown of a marriage walk away with nothing.  Basically, if you leave your spouse because you don't feel like working on your marriage any more, then you deserve to suffer for it.  Marriage vows should not be seen as temporary, and abandonment of a family should not be seen as no big deal.  If National really wants to save money on the family courts, they really ought to look at returning fault to divorce.
Our Parliament has a sad and sorry history in its treatment of two adults who just want to love and be with one another.
Our Parliament has a worse history in recent times in pandering to every liberal causes that rolls up and disregarding the effects on the children.  It's generally just all about the adults, or children independent from their parents, not about the intact family unit.  Changing marriage from a framework for children to just a romantic partnership turns children into unnecessary additions to marriage rather than being an intrinsic part of it.
Let's hope with Louisa Wall's bill that history is finally made just that: history.
Only by rejecting Louisa Wall's bill will history be made.  Parliament will have shown some backbone, which is sadly lacking right now.  However, in changing the law, the State will enact it's own demise over time, because it's only with strong families as it's backbone that states can survive.

Do I think the sky is falling?  No, because I believe in God and believe that good will be salvaged from evil, even if we are hurtling towards another dark age that to those of us in the midst of it, is very difficult to see if you don't know what you are looking for.  I do worry for my children, and for the children they will have, as the world they will grow up in will not be as easy as the one that I was raised in.

Related link: Rodney Hide: Wed for better, not worse

Previous Posts worth reading:
Same-sex marriage will devalue women in society
What will be undermined by same-sex marriage
Giant pratfall: Our culture slipping on a banana peel
Should Same-sex Couples be allowed to marry

UPDATE 7 August 2012, 10:30am:  Hi FaceBook people.  Can you please let me know who has linked to me from FaceBook!  Just leave a comment.  Thanks.

13 comment(s):

Oswald Bastable said...

Rodney use to show rare signs of intelligence in the house.

Looks like a worm got into his head and ate his brain...

Alison and Daniel said...

Surely two people who desire God's blessing on their partnership should be allowed to seek it? Because as a believer, you also know that God made us all in his own image, not just some of us, and that God hates nothing that he has made. The rest is just semantics.

libertyscott said...

Homosexual Law Reform Bill didn't just legalise buggery, it removed a series of same sex offences that applied to men but not women. Indeed the law before then criminalising men buggering women too. It was wider than what many claim it was.

However, it's curious you think the state should dictate grounds for divorce by saying "if you leave your spouse because you don't feel like working on your marriage any more, then you deserve to suffer for it". Oh so if she or he is a serial philanderer, or likes to whack you about a bit, or constantly gets into debt (and so both of you), you have to pay because you say "enough, I've had it with your behaviour", or have to prove to some third party that all of this occurred?

Mind your own business. How dare you demand people "suffer", just because your religion celebrates people suffering as something glorious. Suffer as much as you want in your life, don't get the state to do your work for you.

My mother got a divorce because she caught her first husband with another man. Of course had he denied it, she'd have to go to court to let a bunch of strangers decide who was lying. They had no children so why should it be any one else's business? Why should she suffer more to placate someone of a different religious denomination to her own?

The reasons people divorce are their own. Get the state out of marriage so people can define their own marriage contracts, freely entered into, so YOUR marriage can be the way YOU want it. The state can then enforce these contracts as they are written.

You can freely express your view about what marriage should be between people and they can decide whether they agree with you, or not. Shout as much as you like about what you want, but leave the state out of it and support getting it out of it further.

Ciaron said...

Oh, the irony!

Lucia Maria said...

Alison and Daniel

"Surely two people who desire God's blessing on their partnership should be allowed to seek it?"

Only if that partnership is not harmful to either of them. Intrinsic to marriage is sanctification of the spouses, where the needs of the other is placed before the self. It's a long, learning process for most people, but if marriage is approached in the right way, both come out of it much better people than they came in.

"Because as a believer, you also know that God made us all in his own image, not just some of us, and that God hates nothing that he has made."

Absolutely, and so for each of us He wants us to live up to our potential. When God made man, He saw that man was alone and this was not good, so He made a fit helper for him. That wasn't another man, it was a quite different being, a woman. Woman could be thought of as a gift from God to man. Made last as the crown of creation, capable of bearing life, but weaker and needing the protection of man and complementary to him.

Men and women who try to recreate that complementarity with a person of the same sex is just missing out on so much.

"The rest is just semantics."

We have language and words and brains for a reason, and part of that reason is to discern that which is good for us from that which is bad. Just because a person wants something doesn't mean that it is good.

Lucia Maria said...

LibertyScott,

Serial philanderers are those that should suffer, not their spouses. In the case of fault divorce, adultery on the part of the philanderer would mean they lose everything. Sure, a bunch of strangers would have to decide on the veracity of the claims, but strangers decide on a heck of a lot of things in our lives. Marriage is a social institution, and if it breaks down, then it is society's business.

My cousin recently left her husband after having an affair with another man. She got to walk away with half the house proceeds (because the house had to be sold) and the children. The vows they made to each other when they were married meant nothing to her. If we had divorce with fault, she would have been able to walk out but would have had to leave the house and children to her husband. What is wrong with that?

Totally disagree that we should get the State out of marriage. The State picks up the pieces when relationships go wrong, therefore the State needs to be in marriage, whether you like it or not.

Prioripete said...

Sex equality is the Homosexualisation of society. It promotes positive discrimination in favour of women, gay, and lesbians at the expense of men. Affirmative action seeks to compensate for minority groups based on class discriminations. The latter is non existent as the majority culture dictates for own advantage.

But this positive discrimination is a failure because women, gay and lesbians depend upon an available platform for blame in order to relieve their frustrations. Notice it's men's faults blah blah for women and gays struggle! In this case, men endure denigration of their self esteem, mana, and psyche to deteriorate the rate of their testosterone hence performance. It is evidential of the fact that the All Blacks failed to win a World Cup in the series during the rise of feminist ideology.

Women, gay and lesbians success is more or less handed over in a plate. Because they didn't struggle in the development of their skills to maintain leadership, they continue to conquer and rule rather than lead. And as a result, the testosterone gets thinner with decimation of the male species until extinction and that is the end for real men.

Meantime, women would have to conquer and rule other women because they don't have the leadership gene, you know lead by example from the front, and not generating character assignation, personal demonization, and psychological abuse...

Lucia Maria said...

Hi Prioripete,

Have to disagree with you when you say that sex equality favours women. It doesn't. It may appear to, but, part of it's requirements is that women act more and more like men. We need to contracept ourselves so that we don't have children, but be sexually available. We shouldn't expect men to marry us and look after our children - that is what the state is for. We should work fulltime and put our children in care because being a wife at home is oppressive and doesn't help the economy.

You might want to read this post about the real dangers of homosexualisation of society to women.

Prioripete said...

Hello, I've just posted an essay on Homosexualisation of society

If sex equality is a concept promoted by woman, then it would be contradictory if it's counter beneficial. To act more like men sounds like a lesbian idea which is anti-children pro career and sexually available.

It makes for state dependency, the children of the state while men are legislated out of the family in the name of oppression.

In reality, oppression is an economic role where women are restricted to the cleanliness of the house and whiteness of the clothes, you know staying thin and looking pretty;) it is Capitalism itself, and not men.

But as a Christian, you can transcend all that by liberating your 'self' from the psycho attachments of materialism.

That's what evangelisation is about, in the here and now of integrated being.

Cyrus_NZ said...

The State is the new god who makes the rules and defines right and wrong.

Women got away with homosexual adn bestial relations?

Life is so unfair, I'm glad God isn't so unjust by excusing women from their sins like men and women often do.

Less invasive?
I'm sure they would use objects like female paedophiles do - often nasty cruel objects.

-----

Lucia , the system is more against men and boys.

see this: (2nd article)
http://www.kiwisfirst.co.nz/index.asp?pageID=2145845330

But what is done to one gender affects the other.


With the educational, economic/employment, and legal discrimination against males, and also just by increasing the size of the workforce with female employees (which of course decreases the acerage wage), a man is less capable of single-handedly supporting wife and kids than before.

Less woman have the option of being a hausfrau, and that number will continue to decrease. There are a lot of wives and mothers who would prefer to stay at home, but see it as unaffordable. (and so keep up filling those job postions)

This is turn means it's harder for a young, inexperienced man like me to get a job, which would of course mean I am pretty much completely incapable of supporting a wife and children.

And of course being a single mother can be quite rewarding in western countries. In fact finding a husband first is quite unnecessary for economic well-being. But alas, the children are more likely to end up worse. Girls will be more likely to be very loose (like mommy) and the boys more likely to become criminals/hooligans/ thugs out of a misdirected sense of masculinity or more commonly a total passive, spineless, mangina, who is taught adn believes the way to get women to like you and to keep relationships healthy is to always, always do what they want and never, ever ever be so awfully, awfully sexsiss as to tell their woman want to do ever!!!!

Instead of taking up their what is their natural authoritative role.

And with great authority comes great responsibility.

Lucia Maria said...

Cyrus,

It's certainly a mess.

Lucia Maria said...

PrioriPete,

I had a read of your post. I found it a little difficult to understand, both visually because the shading, and content-wise, as it was just a little too esoteric for me.

Prioripete said...

The truth is always a little too shady to accept. What gets me is people are willing to give, but are not always open to receiving the same in return.
I think there's a name for it.

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