Have your say
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 10:38
I have rarely felt moved enough to comment on anything I have read in The Journal. However this article is utter bile. I am embarrassed that the magazine of my profession has given over so many column inches to it.
Thursday August 16, 2012, 01:56
There appears to be no place in this essay for the concept of "love".
It is, to put it shockingly bluntly, crudely even, about legalised fucking.
In times past, marriage was indeed about legitimacy of bloodlines, no more, no less.
In recent times - since the 17th century - the pair-bonding component has become more important, and is now pre-eminent. Many children are born out of wedlock; many married couples do not have children. While there is evidence that children do particularly well when both parents are pair-bonded, there is no evidence that bloodlines matter. Adoptees do as well as other children in such circumstances.
Moreover, in these days of dual-incomes being very financially advantageous, of shopping hours and business hours being so synchronised that single people have great difficulty getting time off work to get licences renewed, all the bureaucratic impedimenta that was once only the problem of the ruling class (who had servants to do that kind of thing), stable pair bonding is very much in the interests of the state, at least as much as preservation of inheritance rights was centuries ago.
If we are to argue on the basis of "natural law", a law above the fashionable and faddish regulation of states, then the natural phenomenon of love must be recognised. Not merely eros, but agape. It's more than just economics and bloodlines. That's been recognised in the past.
In the 12th century, Héloïse attacks marriage, understood as purely an economic transaction, arguing that a woman marrying for money or position deserves “wages, not gratitude” and would “prostitute herself to a richer man, if she could.” In place of this economic relation she praises love, understood on a Ciceronian model of friendship: the “name of wife may seem more sacred or more binding, but sweeter for me will always be the word friend (amica), or, if you will permit me, that of concubine or whore” (Abelard and Héloïse, Letters, ca. 1133–1138, 51–2).
As that great Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson defined it 150 years ago: "Marriage: A friendship recognised by the police".
Such a natural pair-bonding is obviously not confined to mixed-sex relationships.
Natural law argues for legal recognition of such pair-bonds.
As a postcript - this also deals with the problematic cases where someone's biological sex cannot be classed as either male or female. They too are Natural. To deny them marriage is a most egregious example of "a triumph of arbitrary power over the objective reasonableness of justice", but is all too common, and justified by "Natural Law".
Thursday August 16, 2012, 09:59
J Deighan states: “Marriage has always been of public interest in all societies, however primitive or advanced, because of the plain reality that sexual relationships produce children."
This is manifestly untrue. Whilst it is true to state that children are produced (usually) as a result of a sexual relationship, the converse is not true. There is no reason why a sexual relationship should produce children.
It is the failure to separate the act of sex from procreation which underlies this misunderstanding.
“It is the simple reason why it is that type of relationship that had a privileged status, until the advent of radical freedom had individuals demand that they should get the same recognition despite not being in the same type of relationship.”
Many heterosexual marriages do produce – for varying reasons – children and I would like to know why Mr Deighan thinks that they differ from a homosexual relationship.
“It is ironic that our human rights instruments recognise marriage as a relationship between a man and woman, yet human rights is used as a basis for demanding the change.
I agree that this is ironic but surely the fault here lies with the poor wording of the act.
“That would be a triumph of arbitrary power over the objective reasonableness of justice”.
No! It would be the exact opposite!
Thursday August 16, 2012, 12:54
Readers may also be interested in the blog posted by Helen Dale, author of the prize essay also published in this issue, commenting on the intellectual background to the debate: http://skepticlawyer.com.au/2012/08/16/a-plea-in-law-for-equal-marriage/
Tuesday August 21, 2012, 14:05
I can only echo a previous poster's comments. I am ashamed that I am a member of an organisation that allows such tripe to be published.
In order to have a reasoned debate about these matters, far from seeking the views of the religious community we should be seeking to remove them. Let the people have their own voice through their elected representatives. As Mr Deighan alludes to, it is these people who we have entrusted to govern.
Wednesday February 6, 2013, 17:52
It would appear that, for over half a century, I have been labouring under a misapprehension that the democratic process in Scotland begins with the presentation for approval by the Scottish people of a series of legislation proposals by the various political parties in the form of manifestos from which the individual voter can select as being nearest to his/her preferences, resulting in the election of a party or coalition with a democratic mandate to carry out the intentions advertised in their manifesto documents.
To the best of my knowledge (which is based solely on common logic, my having no academic political qualifications), election of a Government does not confer a right to introduce legislation by ministerial dictat in respect of matters extraneous to pre-election manifestos unless exceptional and unforeseen events can be shown to necessitate such dictat.
Failure by the Scottish National Party to indicate, expressly or implicitly, in their manifesto an intention to introduce to Parliament a Bill concerning same-sex marriage renders invalid a post-election attempt to introduce legislation on which the electorate has been denied the opportunity to vote.
The Government consultation carried out as promised in the manifesto resulted in a comprehensive rejection of the ministerial preference, mentioned for the first time in the introduction to the consultation, that same-sex marriage be legalised.
Should my understanding of the democratic process in Scotland be erroneous, I would welcome pointers as to where I have misunderstood.