Allan Takes Aim Blog

Forget marriage: introduce wedding contracts

Posted on: 18 April 2013

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Forget marriage: introduce wedding contracts

Although I do not believe in God but because I am an opponent of what is described as same sex marriage not only am I described as agnostic but homophobic. Not only do I object to the latter description, so do many other people in Canberra of the same disposition.

What gets lost in the arguments about same sex marriage is the claim by its proponents that it is a human right. The fact is, since time immemorial, marriage has been seen as a contract between a man and a woman and nor can I find any reference to it as human right. That religious groups decided to make marriage a rite does not validate it as a human right.

Supporters of same sex marriage also talk of it as an issue of equality. Indeed the idea of same sex marriage could be likened to some kind of Utopian philosophy which, like every Utopian philosophy in history will end up a successful failure. That is not to say that no good comes of trying to get these philosophies accepted.

In any case, what is equality?  For me equality is an abstract quality that cannot be defined because what is equality for one person will be seen as inequality by another. Equality, in fact, is like a colour spectrum with infinite stages and a spectrum on which hetero sexual unions and same sex unions occupy different places.

Much of the debate about same sex marriage has centred on religion, particularly the various brands of Christianity with many Christians citing the bible as the defining authority on marriage. The bible, unfortunately, is a collection of stories that, although I do not believe in God, nevertheless have valuable lessons to teach us. However when marriage pre-Christianity is mentioned, it is described as being between a man and a woman. I suspect too, that even in the days of the Neanderthals when a man and a woman got together as a family their union also was called marriage.

That said, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I find the absence of sex in the same sex marriage debate more than passing strange. I have no qualifications in psychology but I feel safe in saying that sex is the underlying attraction of a man for a woman; in many, if not most, cases love comes in second and union with the possibility of children, even if not in every case, comes third. Yet the mantra of the same sex lobby is that love is the attraction.

Having been married for 54 years and having the joy of one living daughter from a family of three, I think qualifies me to say the life of a male and female couple is infinitely different to that of the lives of two men and two women. Strangely too, I hear LGBT couples talk of ensuring the future of their children as if through their sexual coupling they had procreated. Sad it may be, but no matter what law of equality is introduced, that will never be the case.

And yes I know they can have children as individuals but if they have children they came because of third party intervention. This does not apply to couples who having married and become fathers or mothers clearly thought that being in love with a reflection of themselves was better than the opposite.

Is there a solution to this complex question? I believe there is and also believe it a better solution than merely covering LGBT unions under the Marriage Act. Not to offend anyone but doing so is like trying to mix oil and water or trying to put square pegs into round holes.

My solution: scrap the current Marriage Act and create two separate acts covered by contract law: The Hetero Union Act and the LGBT Union Act will create contracts of union that couples will have to sign. Both contracts will spell out the differences between hetero and same sex union based on how each can be affected by host of societal issues.

The contracts will grant each couple the same legal rights with the latter group having to accept that nature has never seen their union as equating to hetero unions nor will it ever do so. Churches can, if they wish, bless the contract as has been done in days gone by.

As a last paragraph, the words same sex marriage has become a marketing slogan iterated by many people who know nothing about it or the people involved. Indeed I think many of them say they support same sex marriage because they think it makes them radical and up to date.

Comments welcome.


4 Responses to "Forget marriage: introduce wedding contracts"

Just recently in Missouri a gay man named Roger Gorley was handcuffed and removed while trying to remain at his partners bedside after the hospitalized mans family objected to his presence. This was despite the fact that Mr. Gorley had Power of Attorney over his partners medical decisions as his partner was psychiatrically compromised. According to reports the nurse on duty refused to verify the PoA status even though the information was readily available in the hospital computer system and despite the patient having been in the unit several times. The family also obtained a restraining order from the court prohibiting Mr. Gorley from seeing his partner of 5 years. All of this despite President Obama issuing an order that all hospitals receiving Government subsidies to allow patients to decide who has visitation rights. The Hospital denies this version of events however it is at least plausible as Kansas City in particular has a reputation for more than average homophobia.

I cite this incident as an example of why it is important to have gay unions be called marriage. It is precisely because marriage has such weight of history and so important a place in society that anything less or even just different will not carry nearly the weight of acceptance marriage does.

No legal protection will ever be perfect. There are always ways around a law for the creative. No societal acceptance will ever be perfect either as you allude to in your Utopian comment. But that doesn’t mean we should not try our utmost to be fair.

As for the argument regarding marriage being a contract not a right I am quite certain that the reasons for it being a contract have nothing to do with love but the in the absence of law, before a law could be created, people most assuredly pair bonded and no Right, however long it may be clothed in the garments of judicial process and procedure can ever be diminished by a mere law. You said “That religious groups decided to make marriage a rite does not validate it as a human right.”I would say ‘That the legal system decided to make marriage a contract does not INvalidate it as a human right”.

You are correct in that you cannot legislate equality (except equality under the law) anymore than a farmer can legislate a field of corn into being. But like the farmer we can create the conditions in which equality can flourish.

Perhaps the legal entity of the Partnership is appropriate, so Partner Partnerships might suit.

The contracts will grant each couple the same legal rights with the latter group having to accept that nature has never seen their union as equating to hetero unions nor will it ever do so. Churches can, if they wish, bless the contract as has been done in days gone by.

Why? Why do we have to make them accept nature as it not equating to the same thing? Procreation is not an important detail. Why can’t we just give them the same legal rights as a straight couple and call it good? I find it interesting you would say it’s a successful failure as well…. You know, the storm on this matter is coming. I know plenty of straight couples that have never reproduced either.. . Should the rules be different for them too? Why penalize the children on this matter as well?

Whether people accept the idea or not, it’s inevitable: They will be given equal rights in the end. I do find your idea to be intriguing on the other hand. I mean, marriage isn’t even really the end goal for them. It’s being able to have the same legal rights as everyone else of that status.

That still feels like discrimination to make them have to understand they are not the same thing as a hetero marriage. That simply doesn’t make any sense to even need to define that difference.
Also one point I wanted to point out: In the bible a marriage was typically a man and many women, or a woman with many men. The “traditional” thought didn’t begin until we formed the constitution actually.

The United Methodist Church forbids blessing same-sex unions, which has inspired ecclesiastical disobedience, church trials and much debate. United Methodists concluded their General Conference on 4 May 2012 without voting on gay clergy or same-sex marriage , a surprising end to a disappointing week for gay activists.

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