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June 03, 2011



Well of course, we know that there is no such state as "Gay Marriage". Civil partnership is the status quo, for better or worse!


"...[t]his is most obvious in the ongoing federal lawsuit brought against California’s constitutional provision defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman, a suit that has no other object but equal recognition of—that is, equal public status or honor for—homosexual relationships.

## And why should they *not* have equal status with the other ?

"Accordingly, if homosexual conduct really is, as its natural law critics contend, a perversion of human desires and capacities, a wrenching of them away from their natural purposes, then such conduct will be a source of frustration and unhappiness regardless of whether society bestows its “recognition,” and hence its approval, on it. On this view, there is nothing of substance to be gained from same-sex marriage even for homosexuals. Indeed, if traditional natural law theorists are correct in their assessment of homosexual conduct, then same-sex marriage would be not only pointless but positively damaging, to the extent that it could mislead people to their own harm by bestowing a spurious respectability on an objectively disordered way of life.

REPLY: The false psychology that sees gays as wrenching sex away from its natural heterosexual expression shows the Neanderthal character of this appeal to natural law. "

There is a third possibility, if not more, that:
1. natural law can be appealed to as valid; and
2. being gay is not a perversion - therefore,
3. same-sex marriage can be accommodated in natural law arguments
4. as something that promotes human flourishing.

To criticise natural law arguments is not the same as to "deny the truth of the traditional natural law critique of homosexual conduct"; truth is welcome, or should be, whatever its source. Finding a critique unconvincing, is not the same as denying there is truth in it. To say that "proponents of same-sex marriage hold that this natural law critique is, despite its philosophic pretensions, a mere prejudice with no basis in nature or reason" may be true of some or many, but it is too sweeping to be true of all.

This was interesting:

"Given the substantial—unprecedented, in fact—toleration and freedom that homosexuals already enjoy, and given the inevitable sense of grievance that a victory through litigation will produce in the defenders of traditional marriage, ..."

## "Sense of grievance" ? But why ? How does allowing the marriage of two gay people in any way devalue, take away from, harm, or otherwise spoil marriage for two straight people ? Are straight people being refused a liberty they have, or denied access to a church or its ministrations ? How does allowing to others what they have already give "the defenders of traditional marriage" cause for complaint ? I really do want to understand this POV, because I can't see what wrong is being inflicted on them.

"...the proponents of same-sex marriage should ask themselves whether it is really worthwhile to exert themselves so much, and to so roil the politics of their country, in the pursuit of absolute equality of recognition."

The argument in that sentence boils down to this: you homosexuals are being jolly well treated as it is, so don't expect to be treated any better, and stop being such a nuisance.

Why should we *not* be granted "absolute equality of recognition" ? Why can we not have equality, rather than almost-equality ? By the writer's logic, Negroes should have been jolly grateful they were allowed to form the NAACP - Rosa Parks were obviously being very "uppity", in not being content to be very nearly equal to them white folks. The writer's position comes to this: those uppity homos are to be treated as second-class citizens, and not as the absolute equals of straight folks. Equality of treatment is not identity of treatment.

As for his Socratic argument, point taken; but it proves too much. It's an argument for ignoring all rights, because as long as people are sure of their position, they don't need external props like laws, or even being treated well. Pressed far enough, it becomes an argument for absolute independence & autarchy; which would amount to the dissolution & atomisation of society. A Cynic philosopher might not mind such a life, but what other people are asking for that ?

"REPLY: The sense of grievance referred to will prevail among the dwindling group of the disgruntled in any case. The entire essay reeks of a distancing and condescending attitude to gays, to say the least, as if the author had never met a gay individual."

## I'm in two minds about what to think. OTOH, I agree, definitely - OTO, if one is an external observer, it is easy to think of others with whom one has nothing in common as being alien, incomprehensible, even malign. It can be very difficult to take them seriously as human beings like oneself, if there is nothing in one's "mental furniture" & experience to allow one to do so. I don't get the impression that the author knows gays, except as abstractions or ideas.

Spirit of Vatican II

The idea that "standing up for one's rights" is some kind of sassy, selfish, trouble-making behavior is one of the distortions the article exhibits. In fact, people are generally slow to perceive their own rights and those of others. Rights campaigners usually are not fighting for their own advantage but for the advantage of an entire community. Their campaign is on a moral plane from the start. and to treat it as sub-moral means to close off understanding and reasoned argument. Rights claims may be contested or relativized by meeting them on the ground of moral argument. The summary dismissal on the ground of some jejune notion of Natural Law does not meet the criteria of such moral engagement. For a long time people scoffed at the moral case for gay marriage; now they are discovering that this does not work any more and they are ill-prepared to snswer the case. I note, incidentally, that many gays also scoff at gay marriage as a bourgeois sham; what are we to make of that?


"I note, incidentally, that many gays also scoff at gay marriage as a bourgeois sham; what are we to make of that?"

## Maybe some of them are Marxists, & arguing on specifically Marxist grounds; rather than taking that position because they are gay. A position I'm far more aware of is the rejection of natural rights argumentation *in toto*. It may be just me, but I have serious difficulty seeing how there can be such a thing as an ethics-free right - the notion seems to be a contradiction. So any talk of rights is AFAICS talk of something for which a moral content is claimed; even if the claim is unfounded.

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