Tuesday, October 26, 2004

being pragmatic over gay unions

David Young has blogged what I think is an excellent piece on civil unions. (found via DPF). Go read it. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I do agree that what has passed as "debate" on this bill has made me frustrated and angry as well. Like David, I too talked with Tim Barnett about the bill and he told me that it was a pragmatic decision to have this bill. That is, gay marriage would never be passed by Parliament as it did not have the support.

Perhaps support for civil unions - both inside and outside Parliament - has grown because the increasing supporters include those who are against gay Marriage, rather than for it. However most people do not want civil unions - they merely approve of civil unions either because it is a step towards equal rights, a step towards gay marriage, or because it is seen as a better (pragmatic) option than gay marriage.

Those hard -core opponents of the bill tend to be those opposing gay marriage, any legal recognition of gay relationships, or those - like David Young, Nigel Christie and Marilyn Waring - who support gay marriage only and see civil unions as a backward step.


Anonymous said...

Hey, Dave- guess what? Bush supports (US)civil unions,
and disagrees with Republican Party policy that lumps it in with same-sex marriage!

An interesting development, wouldn't you say?


Anonymous said...

Interesting indeed. Guess that makes his decision to go into Iraq OK? That's debatable.

George Bush's decision that he "supports" the right for individual states to legalise Civil Unions could be seen as liberal vote garnishing 6 days out from election. Either way, it still doesn't make it right.

jarrod said...


You're absolutely correct. George Bush's endorsement of Civil Unions does not make them right.

What makes them right is the opportunity they will allow for you and I to formalise our relationship in the eyes of the law. I've already organised a jazz band for the reception - I hope you don't mind. My dress is coming along very well, too. I'm going to look so pretty!

Lots of love,


PS: I've never been too clear on what, supposedly, makes Civil Unions wrong (assertions by David W Young, et al, of it being a half-arsed solution notwithstanding). If someone could inform me what precisely the problem is I'd love to know.

Anonymous said...

go to www.masteringlife.org

you'll find all you need there.


jarrod said...

Right. Thanks for that, Anonymous. Just as I thought.

Now, any thoughts from someone who doesn't think that gay people can be deprogrammed? Anyone?

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone,
I would appreciate it if people want to post anonymously with links to fundamentalist or anti/pro gay websites that they put their name to their post - just as I have put my name to this. Furthermore, if you are against any recognition of gay relationships at all, then come out and say so.
Then I know who I am disagreeing with.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying it's not cynical or exploitative,
and it was rather interesting reading the
conservative Christian lobby's angry nein-
rhetoric about their own absolutist stance.

And actually, I'm ambivalent about Iraq. I
oppose the Iraq War, but Saddam Hussein was
a genocidal mass murderer who gassed 30,000
innocent civilians in Halabja and Salmaniyya
using chemical weapons in the eighties, mostly
Kurdish elderly and children. I'm not exactly
sorry to see him deposed- I just wish that the
Iraqi people had been the ones to do it.


Anonymous said...

and just how did you think they were going to do it Craig ?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip, I went to that website and thought it good.
so much so I'm going to use some of the material as tracts on the street and websphere.

I don't agree with the deprogramming remark as I think Homosexuality is a behaviour choice.
I can understand wanting to have a name to a post though, good point.

Right wing?
I think you've got that wrong and it very common lazy thinking..

to elucidate, There's anarchy on one wing and total control on the other.
The website advocates choice, the choice to change.
that's not either.

jarrod said...

"I think homosexuality is a behaviour choice."

Mike, I'd be very interested to know why you think that. For example, are you basing this on some sort of scientific evidence? Is it a religious position? Just a gut feeling? Maybe it was something you've been told by an authority figure? You've made your views clear, please defend them.

Why anyone would choose to be discriminated against and vilified is somewhat beyond me...

Anonymous said...

If homosexuality is a "behaviour choice" ( and most people who think this think that homosexuality is sinful, often based on religious convictions), and given that orientation is not behaviour, where do people who have a homosexual orientation but have not enacted that orientation with a same sex partner fit into the picture?

I thought homosexuality was an orientation, not a behavoural choice. This "choice" comes from that orientation.

could someone please clarify.

Anonymous said...

..sorry,that last comment was from me,

Anonymous said...


Look at the male and female.
they are designed for each other.

male and male
female and female isn't designed for each other.
you can see that in their form and therefore what their design is for.

This debunks the "orientation arguement"
Environment does play a part in our choices

As we have a will/mind and therefore can choose our behaviours, certainly more so than animals.
It is logical to see from design what our orientation is.
male to female.

this isn't religion nor authority figures advice.
it's plain common sense.

The use of animal world illustration of same sex behaviour is a canard as animals rape too and no one would state that rape is normal and acceptable on that basis.

unless you're a rapist of course.

jarrod said...

Or perhaps humans evolved in such a way as to effectively pass on their genetic material. We're not the only species to have hit upon this method of reproduction; conversely this method of reproduction is not the only one available. And over a long enough time scale, it's not inconceivable that we might not be stuck with it (sperm counts are declining globally - if the trend continues, men might become irrelevant from a reproductive sense).

Interestingly enough, there's recent evidence that homosexuality itself is a reproductive strategy - according to the authors of a recent Italian study, “The same factor that influences sexual orientation in males promotes higher fecundity in females.” The study found that female relatives of gay men had more children on average than female relatives of straight men.

But you're right, we're now intellectual beings. We can make choices about what we do and don't do. A great number of people, for example, choose not to have children (regardless of their sexual orientation). It might be possible for someone to ignore their orientation (though this would most likely fuck them up or force them into celibacy) - but if you're not hurting anyone, then what's the frickin' difference?

Which leads me to your rape analogy. Homosexuality is an orientation, not an "act" such as rape. However even if we restricted ourselves to discussing the physical expression of homosexuality, we're talking about consensual acts between consenting adults - where no-one gets hurt (unless they want to, that is). And if no-one gets hurt, where's the moral problem?

Rape, on the other hand, is an act of violence and is clearly wrong for that reason. Your analogy is false, my friend. But feel free to try again.

Anonymous said...

It stopped you using the crappy arguement about homosexual behaviour in the animal kingdom though didn't it.

However you ignored the facts.
But then I expect that because you don't want to debate on this point do you.

Our design shows what we are made for.
It's logical.
dead simple, isn't it.

So what if some male/female couples/marrieds/whatever choose to not have children.
that's got nothing to do with it.

Homosexuals choose to go against the design of the human species.
Their design.

and then the specious arguemnt is that it is the way I'm made, therefore it's my orientation.

The natural orientation is to male and female as that is what will evolve the species.
anything else doesn't meet design specifications.

when you add all the other points you bring into the table, all you are doing is moving off into socio psycho constructs which doesn't have any influence nor affect the basic design.

what you doing is choice not evolution.
apart from evolution being an unproven theory that has as many flaws as creationism.
Homosexual behavioural choices doesn't fullfill the basic need of society as the species design shows.

Some of the advances in choas theory and the ancillary maths means that some of what we have held dear is coming into question with regards to time/space and even exolution.

but I digress which is what you want me to do as then I don't stay on the design of the human SPECIES.

Which is clear, male/female not male/male or female/female.
This is logical whether one accepts a creator or evolutionary theory.
The creator arguement leads into metaphysics and personalities and who's God is the right one and the evolutionary one leads to death of the species.
which isn't what our design is meant to do is it?


jarrod said...


You keep using this word "design". Design assumes some sort of designer - but it's not at all clear that we've been designed at all. Just because something works well for a given purpose doesn't mean that it's designed for it (by the same token, many things designed to work a certain way don't).

However even if we are "designed" for heterosexual relationships (and I certainly don't concede the point), I still don't see the moral problem with homosexuality. Even if every gay person at some point made a rational choice and decided to be gay, that would be their decision. A decision which hurts no one else. Unless you can show me how it does?

By the way, I congratulate you on your success at preventing me from using an argument which never would have crossed my mind in the first place. Nice one.

Anonymous said...

"Intelligent design" is a euphemism for creationism.
It largely seems to rely on William Dembski's statistical probability measurements and has failed to
develop its own elaborated theoretical frameworks that have explanatory scope sufficient to fit evidence from geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, biochemistry and physics.

I think my best advice would be to ignore this, as it defies the principles of Ockham's Razor and doesn't advance a minimalist framework that attempts to resolve logical and empirical conundrums.

Wired has an excellent article on the ID creationist movement- "The Plot to Kill Evolution." Incidentally, I remain a neo-Darwinian.


Greyshade said...

I cannot remember ever choosing to be heterosexual. I just am - and as far as I can tell was born that way. I'm sure most other heterosexuals would feel the same. I guess that means we were born "obligate heterosexuals". I find it quite reasonable (although outside my personal experience) to accept that other people have been born "obligate homosexuals".

There may be some individuals that are born with "optional orientation" who subsequently choose to be homosexual but if this is a choice there should be a comoarable number of "optional orientations" who chose heterosexuality. Perhaps fundamentalist anti-gay groups should poll their straight membership as to whether they consider themselves heterosexual by nature or by choice.

Even if there are no "obligate homosexuals" those "optional orientations" who chose homosexuality are perfectly entitled to argue that they didn't choose to be born "optionals" but since God saw fit to grant them that choice they chose to exercise it.

People of all orientations have a "lifestyle" choice" between active sexuality or celibacy but that choice entails a sacrifice we have no right to ask of anyone. If a person freely and positively chooses celibacy from religious, philosophical or other conviction that is their right but if they are coerced into it by a false sense of shame or guilt or by fear of persecution then that choice is a truly "unnatural act".

jarrod said...

The point I was trying to make was that even if everything Mike is saying is true (which it isn't - and I think the vast majority of current scientific thinking backs me up on this) it still wouldn't make homosexuality intrinsically bad or immoral.

This is another useful website. Not specific to this discussion, but good from a evolutionary perspective.

Anonymous said...

Homosexuality/heterosexuality is an infantile object choice, and thus is practically hardwired in our minds. I can't recall a time when I wasn't attracted to blokes. Much denial goes on, as well as repression of LG object choices. However, because it is hardwired, it is not subject to therapeutic intervention.