Tag Archives: Marriage

Non sequitur

This article from my local paper is about the Labor candidate for the federal seal of Indi. It’s a political free swing for the candidate, because it’s on same sex marriage (SSM), where opposition is forbidden.

The candidate’s opponents might be grumpy about the easy run he gets, but I am more interested in the incoherent argument. The conclusion in no way matches the points made: a classic non sequitur. It runs like this:

  • Eric (the candidate) has two mums. These mums have been together since 1980
  • One mum, Roslyn, was turned away from IVF in the early 1990s
  • Consequently, Roslyn went to Canberra for IVF, having to lie to get in. She had twin boys
  • The family was nervous about schooling, but “right through school there was never any issue”
  • Nowadays, things have changed and same-sex couples do get into IVF locally
  • The two mums don’t want to marry
  • THEREFORE Eric thinks the campaign for SSM very important

One of these points is not like the others.

The whole article makes it clear that the situation today, as understood by this lesbian couple, is accepting. Medicine, school, and society provide the safety they need. They are not in danger, nor excluded, but fit in well.

So, I would expect, the conclusion is that there is no need for changes in marriage law. Redefinition of marriage – which I argue is a great risk – is simply unnecessary.

But no.

On the basis of everything being fine, legal change is necessary. Couldn’t there be just one question from the journalist testing the strength of argument? Obviously not.




That’s a promise

… for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health …

No prize for guessing the source of these words. Their significance is that they form part of the promises many men and women have made in marriage. These are not words of explanation – they are a serious commitment.

As I was pondering them today, I realised something that I did not quite grasp when I made my promise, nearly 20 years ago.

But first, something I did know. Take ‘sickness and health’, for instance. I knew my promise was that an unwell Catherine is no excuse to love her less, and that a healthy wife would be no reason to neglect her ‘because she’s doing OK.’ On the other hand, I am thankful for Catherine’s promise to love me in any physical state, healthy or suffering. What a reassurance!

This is what I have (finally) understood: the promise also applies to my love for Catherine when I am the sick or healthy one. And that’s not only physical health/illness. It even includes this: ‘When my love for you is sick and weak, my promise is to love you instead of giving up.’ When I am afflicted by selfishness or evil and couldn’t be bothered to love, I will keep on in love.

This is my solemn vow and promise.



We must, we Must, we MUST be progressive

Following journalism on the Labor Party’s same-sex marriage policy is an exercise in watching blindness.

Those purporting to be journalists are so enmeshed with the ‘progressive policy’ that they can see nothing else, nor appear to understand those with whom they disagree. And so they move from reporting to lobbying.

Here’s an example from today. It’s by The Age‘s national affairs correspondent, Katharine Murphy. She calls the push for policy change ‘the enlightenment’ – somewhat grandiose, no? She places all the opposition to the view under the convenient title of religion.

Image: Salvatore Vuono

Plenty of the disagreement comes from Christians, and other faiths. But it’s not unanimous within churches or other faiths. And not all criticism of same-sex marriage issues from believers. (The reality has been covered much better by the ABC’s religion page, with far more understanding of the shades of points of view. Check out this screen grab for a range of views in the titles. Well done to them!)

Murphy, in dissecting Julia Gillard’s view of same-sex marriage, looks (to me) to genuinely want to assume the best of the PM. That I can certainly commend. Here, however, Murphy twists into knots and effectively says, ‘I will be so generous to the PM that I will call her a hypocrite.’ Murphy’s words:

I’m going to give her [Gillard] the benefit of the doubt and believe she believes it [same-sex marriage] in any case.

Hmm. ‘I’d love the PM to be a lying hypocrite – much better than believing that marriage is between a man and a woman!’

There’s the whole gamut of accusation against those – like me – who continue to hold that marriage is a man-woman thing: ‘the sanctity of their prejudice’, anti ‘equality’, ‘state-sanctioned discrimination’, being against ‘fairness, consistency and decency’. It’s the usual heavy-handed stuff.

But Murphy can’t hide the fact that there is more nuance in this, despite her withering dismissals. She mentions that the Howard government held to man-woman marriage and allowed superannuation inheritance for gay couples. Don’t wait for her to note that this disproves the silly arguments of prejudice.

Unsurprisingly, I’m still convinced that the legislative description of marriage is useful for caring for people. Also that changing it will soften our collective resolve to persevere in (real) marriage. Such change will hurt many people, men and women, straight and gay, kids and adults. I’d long for Murphy to have engaged this real concern!

If the laws change, it won’t hurt me. It won’t be the end of the world – no one has argued that it’s that important. But it will hurt people, and therefore be unloving to our neighbours.



When marriage isn’t marriage

Should the state define marriage? Is it OK for attorneys-general to say that two blokes can marry each other?

And will Christians be inevitably cast out of society for thinking that what some define as ‘marriage’ is no marriage at all?

I can easily answer the last question. Here’s a section from the Anglican marriage service in the Book of Common Prayer. Though printed in 1662, a form of these words continues in present use.

The minster addresses the couple, and says:

I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgement, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why ye may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, ye do now confess it. For be ye well assured, that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God’s Word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful.

Quite a serious warning!

These words make the Christian position clear: a marriage may be accepted by people while not accepted by God. Since there will be a judgement, God’s opinion is the one that counts.

What it means for me: even if the state defines non-marriage as marriage, marriage itself is not destroyed.

I know it would be unhelpful, and it would hurt people. Yet I do not need to speak of this as if it’s the end of the world. Christians already have centuries of living successfully in a world that includes pseudo-marriage.