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  Reply # 665933 2-Aug-2012 10:23 Send private message

Seeing that gay marriage is more about getting legal recognition of an existing situation and that we live in a secular society, why do people feel the need to involve religion in a discussion?

I read The God Delusion and it makes exactly this point in the first chapters. It seems religion is such a taboo that people use it as a trump card when discussing things.

Here's an interesting excerpt:


A widespread assumption, which nearly everybody in our society accepts - the non-religious included - is that religious faith is especially vulnerable to offence and should be protected by an abnormally thick wall of respect, in a different class from the respect that any human being should pay to any other. Douglas Adams put it so well, in an impromptu speech made in Cambridge shortly before his death, that I never tire of sharing his words:

"Religion . . . has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, 'Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? - because you're not!' If somebody votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it.

If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday', you say, 'I respect that'.

Why should it be that it's perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows - but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe . .. no, that's holy? . .. We are used to not challenging religious ideas but it's very interesting how much of a furore Richard creates when he does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be."

...

I have previously drawn attention to the privileging of religion in public discussions of ethics in the media and in government. Whenever a controversy arises over sexual or reproductive morals, you can bet that religious leaders from several different faith groups
will be prominently represented on influential committees, or on panel discussions on radio or television. I'm not suggesting that we should go out of our way to censor the views of these people. But why does our society beat a path to their door, as though they had some expertise comparable to that of, say, a moral philosopher, a family lawyer or a doctor?

Seventeen years ago, I was one of thirty-six writers and artists commissioned by the magazine New Statesman to write in support of the distinguished author Salman Rushdie, then under sentence of death for writing a novel. Incensed by the 'sympathy' for Muslim 'hurt' and 'offence' expressed by Christian leaders and even some secular opinion-formers, I drew the following parallel:

"If the advocates of apartheid had their wits about them they would claim - for all I know truthfully - that allowing mixed races is against their religion. A good part of the opposition would respectfully tiptoe away. And it is no use claiming that this is an unfair parallel because apartheid has no rational justification. The whole point of religious faith, its strength and chief glory, is that it does not depend on rational justification. The rest of us are expected to defend our prejudices. But ask a religious person to justify their faith and you infringe 'religious liberty'."

Little did I know that something pretty similar would come to pass in the twenty-first century. The Los Angeles Times (10 April 2006) reported that numerous Christian groups on campuses around the United States were suing their universities for enforcing anti-discrimination rules, including prohibitions against harassing or abusing homosexuals. As a typical example, in 2004 James Nixon, a twelve-year-old boy in Ohio, won the right in court to wear a T-shirt to school bearing the words 'Homosexuality is a sin, Islam is a lie, abortion is murder. Some issues are just black and white!'

The school told him not to wear the T-shirt - and the boy's parents sued the school. The parents might have had a conscionable case if they had based it on the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech. But they didn't: indeed, they couldn't, because free speech is deemed not to include 'hate speech'. But hate only has to prove it is religious, and it no longer counts as hate. So, instead of freedom of speech, the Nixons' lawyers appealed to the constitutional right to freedom of religion. Their victorious lawsuit was supported by the Alliance Defense Fund of Arizona, whose business it is to 'press the legal battle for religious freedom'.

The Reverend Rick Scarborough, supporting the wave of similar Christian lawsuits brought to establish religion as a legal justification for discrimination against homosexuals and other groups, has named it the civil rights struggle of the twenty-first century: 'Christians are going to have to take a stand for the right to be Christian.'

Once again, if such people took their stand on the right to free speech, one might reluctantly sympathize. But that isn't what it is about. The legal case in favour of discrimination against homosexuals is being mounted as a counter-suit against alleged religious discrimination! And the law seems to respect this. You can't get away with saying, 'If you try to stop me from insulting homosexuals it violates my freedom of prejudice.' But you can get away with saying, 'It violates my freedom of religion.' What, when you think about it, is the difference? Yet again, religion trumps all.




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  Reply # 665934 2-Aug-2012 10:23 Send private message

BraaiGuy:
kyhwana2:

As I said above, how is equal marriage destroying this so called "optimal structure for raising children"?



Ummm.. 2 gay men bringing up young girls? I don't think so... Girls need their Moms, especially when they reach pubity. Can think of similar consequences for a boy being brought up by two lesbian women. Not saying it can’t be done, but its not in the child’s best interests. End of story.


+1

The discussion a focuses on the rights of gay people. One thing that seems to be forgotten is that one persons rights stop when another persons rights are being infringed.  Every child has the right to a mother and father, not two mothers only or two fathers only.  Legislating to provide for gay people to adopt infringes the rights of any children that may end up being adopted as a result of such a law change.

The other argument in favour of a law change is a Civil Unions are not recognised in some countries but a marriage is.  Well I not sure changing the law will fix this problem either.  It is my understanding that some marriages aren't recognised between some countries now.  I don't remember the exact details but I heard of a New Zealand couple that were married overseas and had to reaffirm their marriage back in New Zealand in order for the marriage to be recognised here.




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BDFL
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  Reply # 665935 2-Aug-2012 10:25 Send private message

Technofreak:
BraaiGuy:
kyhwana2:

As I said above, how is equal marriage destroying this so called "optimal structure for raising children"?



Ummm.. 2 gay men bringing up young girls? I don't think so... Girls need their Moms, especially when they reach pubity. Can think of similar consequences for a boy being brought up by two lesbian women. Not saying it can’t be done, but its not in the child’s best interests. End of story.


+1

The discussion a focuses on the rights of gay people. One thing that seems to be forgotten is that one persons rights stop when another persons rights are being infringed.  Every child has the right to a mother and father, not two mothers only or two fathers only.  Legislating to provide for gay people to adopt infringes the rights of any children that may end up being adopted as a result of such a law change.


I know a gay male couple raising a girl, from dad's previous marriage. The marriage (man and woman) fell apart. He kept custody of the girl. The girl is now a teenager and she seems very happy with the arrangement.






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  Reply # 665940 2-Aug-2012 10:29

I'll point out that there is no evidence that parenting by heterosexual couples who are married is any better than, for example, heterosexual couples who are in a de facto relationship.  There difference between these two groups?  A marriage certificate.  I also see no evidence that child-rearing by homosexual couples is any worse than heterosexual couples.  The majority of studies that have been quoted in this debate have been regarding children who are adopted (and not specifically to heterosexual or homosexual couples).

Furthermore, whether or not you personally believe that the right to have children should be solely for those who are heterosexual and married, it is fundamentally not your right to impose those beliefs on others.  If you wish to make those restrictions for yourself, then that is completely fine - but to interfere in another individual's civil rights is both unfair and frankly quite sad.

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  Reply # 665943 2-Aug-2012 10:31 Send private message

KevinL: Furthermore, whether or not you personally believe that the right to have children should be solely for those who are heterosexual and married, it is fundamentally not your right to impose those beliefs on others.  If you wish to make those restrictions for yourself, then that is completely fine - but to interfere in another individual's civil rights is both unfair and frankly quite sad.


Spoke like a true man!

People have to remember that their rights end where someone else's rights begin. Being offended by someone else's rights is not a reason to fight over.

A good reason to fight is being offended by someone else not having rights.





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  Reply # 665944 2-Aug-2012 10:33 Send private message

Technofreak: Every child has the right to a mother and father, not two mothers only or two fathers only.  


That argument makes no sense?  It's a privilege not a right.

You do realise there is a large amount of solo mothers, and fathers?  And that a lot of the time children have no right to chose over whether they have a mother and a father?

People die, people run away, people put themselves into mental health facilities.  There are just too many other factors to consider.  




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

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  Reply # 665946 2-Aug-2012 10:33 Send private message

Those that reckon only heterosexual couple can bring up their children, please do bear in mind that there are many broken (heterosexual) family out there that aren't functioning well as a safe family/couple for their children. Some couples are completely clueless of correct parenting and yet they have more "rights" than other more caring homosexual couples?

Have a think about.




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  Reply # 665948 2-Aug-2012 10:34

Technofreak: The discussion a focuses on the rights of gay people. One thing that seems to be forgotten is that one persons rights stop when another persons rights are being infringed.  Every child has the right to a mother and father, not two mothers only or two fathers only.  Legislating to provide for gay people to adopt infringes the rights of any children that may end up being adopted as a result of such a law change.


In that case every solo parent and divorced couple are infringing on the rights of these children - perhaps we ought to ban solo parenting and divorce?

You are assuming that having a mother and father is a superior arrangement than having two mothers, or two fathers - or as often the case with surrogacy/donation two mothers and a father, or two fathers and a mother.  The situation is not black and white, and whilst you may have strong personal convictions that one is better than the other, this is not borne out in the evidence.

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  Reply # 665950 2-Aug-2012 10:36 Send private message

Technofreak:
BraaiGuy:
kyhwana2:

As I said above, how is equal marriage destroying this so called "optimal structure for raising children"?



Ummm.. 2 gay men bringing up young girls? I don't think so... Girls need their Moms, especially when they reach pubity. Can think of similar consequences for a boy being brought up by two lesbian women. Not saying it can’t be done, but its not in the child’s best interests. End of story.


+1

The discussion a focuses on the rights of gay people. One thing that seems to be forgotten is that one persons rights stop when another persons rights are being infringed.  Every child has the right to a mother and father, not two mothers only or two fathers only.  Legislating to provide for gay people to adopt infringes the rights of any children that may end up being adopted as a result of such a law change.

The other argument in favour of a law change is a Civil Unions are not recognised in some countries but a marriage is.  Well I not sure changing the law will fix this problem either.  It is my understanding that some marriages aren't recognised between some countries now.  I don't remember the exact details but I heard of a New Zealand couple that were married overseas and had to reaffirm their marriage back in New Zealand in order for the marriage to be recognised here.


I am just going to mention 2 points:
1- Not every parent is a good parent, you might end up with 2 parents, a mum and dad who abuses the $%#@ out of you. Some have 2 good parents (lucky ones) and some have 1 good (or alive) parent, and some don't have any parents at all or both bad. Question here is, does gender in this case matter at all?? A good parent is a good parent (even if it was a Gorilla for fudge's sake! Remember Tarzan, there have been many real stories about Feral children and they were just fine).

2- Think of kids in orphanages, NO parents whatsoever. Don't you think they are better off with at least 1 (hopefully more) good parent?? Regardless of gender, or sexual preference. They have very strict rules to make sure the adopting couple are as good as possible to(and for) the kid, so I don't think any nature of  the parents matter as long as they are good. Black, white, Asian, gay, heterosexual, old, young, bold, with body hair, religious (not beyond the nuts checkpoint) or gender. Just focus on the parent being a good parent.

When you think of the goodness of a parent as a judgement point, you can see a bigger picture, gender or sexual preference doesn't really matter in this case.

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  Reply # 665951 2-Aug-2012 10:38 Send private message

KevinL: In that case every solo parent and divorced couple are infringing on the rights of these children - perhaps we ought to ban solo parenting and divorce?

You are assuming that having a mother and father is a superior arrangement than having two mothers, or two fathers - or as often the case with surrogacy/donation two mothers and a father, or two fathers and a mother.  The situation is not black and white, and whilst you may have strong personal convictions that one is better than the other, this is not borne out in the evidence.


Parent(s) that adopt children as their own aren't the biological parent(s) either (for whatever reason be it)... surely with @Technofreak's "idea of marriage and parenting" then those looking into adoption are may as well not eligible for the criteria.




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  Reply # 665954 2-Aug-2012 10:40 Send private message

For those arguing they object to this on the basis of 'protecting children's rights' I suggest you put your energy into trying to make a difference to the tens of thousands of kids in New Zealand suffering as the result of poor decisions on the part of their heterosexual parents.

NZ has a proportionally high number of single mothers, teenage mothers, high rates of child neglect and child abuse.

Allowing same sex couples to marry isn't what is or will cause harm to the kids of New Zealand.

IMHO, the 'won't someone think of the children' argument doesn't belong in this debate. The discussion is about changing recognition of a marriage in law - A law which currently doesn't have any mention of the way in which a family unit can or should be made up (and rightly so).




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  Reply # 665955 2-Aug-2012 10:40 Send private message

ajobbins:
surfisup1000: Did you read the linked article above? 


Perhaps not.


Yep. I read it a a couple of days ago and just again now. It doesn't answer my question at all. I'd like your response anyway, not some foreign journalist.

Also, Please point out where in the NZ Legislation (Marriage Act 1955) it refers to Marriage being for procreative purposes? It is the law we are 'redefining' - and the law doesn't say it currently!


 
Quoted ...
"Marriage, in principle, involves the two elements by which the human race reproduces itself, namely, men and women. But it does not require that particular couples reproduce. For each married couple to be required to reproduce would essentially require people to prove themselves capable of producing offspring before allowing them to marry. This is absurdly unrealistic. Many couples have difficulty getting pregnant at first, but are able to after a while. So they would fail such a test, even though they would be capable of producing offspring. And as for people who choose not to have children, well, they may change their mind later. Again, the perpetuation of the human race requires men and women to reproduce, and the family is the best setting for this reproduction to take place in, but it does not depend upon particular couples reproducing."


Point being, it is impractical for people to prove fertility and/or intentions to have children before marrying. Medical technology is always evolving allowing once infertile couples to produce children. And, people change their minds all the time. 



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  Reply # 665956 2-Aug-2012 10:41 Send private message

menabassily:
Technofreak:
BraaiGuy:
kyhwana2:

As I said above, how is equal marriage destroying this so called "optimal structure for raising children"?



Ummm.. 2 gay men bringing up young girls? I don't think so... Girls need their Moms, especially when they reach pubity. Can think of similar consequences for a boy being brought up by two lesbian women. Not saying it can’t be done, but its not in the child’s best interests. End of story.


+1

The discussion a focuses on the rights of gay people. One thing that seems to be forgotten is that one persons rights stop when another persons rights are being infringed.  Every child has the right to a mother and father, not two mothers only or two fathers only.  Legislating to provide for gay people to adopt infringes the rights of any children that may end up being adopted as a result of such a law change.

The other argument in favour of a law change is a Civil Unions are not recognised in some countries but a marriage is.  Well I not sure changing the law will fix this problem either.  It is my understanding that some marriages aren't recognised between some countries now.  I don't remember the exact details but I heard of a New Zealand couple that were married overseas and had to reaffirm their marriage back in New Zealand in order for the marriage to be recognised here.


I am just going to mention 2 points:
1- Not every parent is a good parent, you might end up with 2 parents, a mum and dad who abuses the $%#@ out of you. Some have 2 good parents (lucky ones) and some have 1 good (or alive) parent, and some don't have any parents at all or both bad. Question here is, does gender in this case matter at all?? A good parent is a good parent (even if it was a Gorilla for fudge's sake! Remember Tarzan, there have been many real stories about Feral children and they were just fine).

2- Think of kids in orphanages, NO parents whatsoever. Don't you think they are better off with at least 1 (hopefully more) good parent?? Regardless of gender, or sexual preference. They have very strict rules to make sure the adopting couple are as good as possible to the kid, so I don't think it matters.

When you think of the goodness of a parent as a judgement point, you can see a bigger picture, gender or sexual preference doesn't really mater in this case.


You a parent?

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  Reply # 665959 2-Aug-2012 10:44 Send private message

freitasm: Seeing that gay marriage is more about getting legal recognition of an existing situation and that we live in a secular society, why do people feel the need to involve religion in a discussion?

I read The God Delusion and it makes exactly this point in the first chapters. It seems religion is such a taboo that people use it as a trump card when discussing things.


In what sense do you see it being as a trump card? I see it being used in the opposite sense to the quote, that if someone is opposed to gay marriage for example, it is becuase they are religious and therefore whatever arguments they present are invalid. Not in the sense that, 'it is my religous belief that gay marriage is wrong therefor you can't argue with me'.
No one in New Zealand seems to have any qualms attacking Christianity.

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  Reply # 665963 2-Aug-2012 10:46 Send private message

BraaiGuy:
menabassily:
Technofreak:
BraaiGuy:
kyhwana2:

As I said above, how is equal marriage destroying this so called "optimal structure for raising children"?



Ummm.. 2 gay men bringing up young girls? I don't think so... Girls need their Moms, especially when they reach pubity. Can think of similar consequences for a boy being brought up by two lesbian women. Not saying it can’t be done, but its not in the child’s best interests. End of story.


+1

The discussion a focuses on the rights of gay people. One thing that seems to be forgotten is that one persons rights stop when another persons rights are being infringed.  Every child has the right to a mother and father, not two mothers only or two fathers only.  Legislating to provide for gay people to adopt infringes the rights of any children that may end up being adopted as a result of such a law change.

The other argument in favour of a law change is a Civil Unions are not recognised in some countries but a marriage is.  Well I not sure changing the law will fix this problem either.  It is my understanding that some marriages aren't recognised between some countries now.  I don't remember the exact details but I heard of a New Zealand couple that were married overseas and had to reaffirm their marriage back in New Zealand in order for the marriage to be recognised here.


I am just going to mention 2 points:
1- Not every parent is a good parent, you might end up with 2 parents, a mum and dad who abuses the $%#@ out of you. Some have 2 good parents (lucky ones) and some have 1 good (or alive) parent, and some don't have any parents at all or both bad. Question here is, does gender in this case matter at all?? A good parent is a good parent (even if it was a Gorilla for fudge's sake! Remember Tarzan, there have been many real stories about Feral children and they were just fine).

2- Think of kids in orphanages, NO parents whatsoever. Don't you think they are better off with at least 1 (hopefully more) good parent?? Regardless of gender, or sexual preference. They have very strict rules to make sure the adopting couple are as good as possible to the kid, so I don't think it matters.

When you think of the goodness of a parent as a judgement point, you can see a bigger picture, gender or sexual preference doesn't really mater in this case.


You a parent?


Not yet mate, but I have parents, friends with parents, close family members who are parents and have parents of their own, friends with bad parents, friends with no parents and friends trying hard to be parents.


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