Ms Lisa Pryor had a tedious, vacuous, fallaciously-argued opinion piece in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald. She began with a brief two paragraphs on recent survey findings on Australian popular support for gaymarriage, and then in her third paragraph got stuck into gaymarriage’s opponents:
The stance Rudd and Turnbull are taking [against gaymarriage] may be unpopular, but not everything in politics is about popularity. Obviously they have decided in this case it is more important to protect the persecuted minority of Australians who identify as bigots, a minority whose lifestyle is under attack.But opposition to the insanity of same-sex ‘marriage’ is not a matter of unthinking prejudice against something which one doesn’t even understand; it’s a matter of applying one’s natural reason, giving a rational consideration to the question of whether or not the proposal suits the natures of the individuals involved.
Continuing with the sneering tone with which she began, she then says
Sorry, I shouldn't use "bigot"; apparently that's not politically correct these days. I'll be rapped over the knuckles by the thought police. I'm sure they prefer to be called something euphemistic like "People Living With A Need To Exclude Other People From The Institution Of Marriage Because It Makes Their Own Marriages Seem More Special".By erecting this straw man, Ms Pryor suggests that she has failed to perceive the crux of the matter: the crux of the matter is whether or not the very definition of marriage is applicable to same-sex pairings. Or, from another angle: does marriage have its basis in natural law, or is it just the product of positive law? Now the definition of a thing is that which signifies its essence, and essential to marriage is the conjugal union—it isn’t just some kind of long-term Platonic union of two friends; it needs to be consummated. But two individuals of the same sex are physically incapable of any kind of conjugal union with each other, and the pseudo-conjugal means by which they simulate—or rather, by which they parody—real conjugal relations defy natural reason. So it is quite absurd to speak of two individuals of the same sex ‘marrying’ each other. Presumably, though, part of the problem for Ms Pryor and those of her ilk is that they have fallen for the Sodomites’ League’s strategy of focusing on gay identity rather than gay behaviour, and so when they are reminded that there is certain behaviour that is intrinsic to the institution of marriage they are ill-equipped to defend what they advocate. (And of course they can’t plausibly try to downplay the significance of physical marital relations: somehow I think that what the Sodomite’s League is advocating involves more than just cuddles and deep and meaningful conversations!)
Then Ms Pryor says
Even though laws have been tweaked to remove many forms of discrimination against gay couples, neither major [political] party is willing to go all the way. They are not prepared to follow the radical lead set in godless, radical jurisdictions such as Belgium, Canada, Spain and the US state of Iowa …Clearly Ms Pryor intends to sound sarcastic when she speaks of “godless, radical jurisdictions”, but although I don’t know about Iowa, I know that Spain has a Socialist government which is busy trying to expand ‘abortion rights’ (even to the extent of allowing expectant under-sixteen-years mothers to procure abortions without the involvement of their respective parents—see here), and, as horrifying news stories from a few years ago indicated, Belgium is a hotbed of paedophilia, and as for Canada, three letters should suffice: MgS.
Ms Pryor invokes the following analogy for the offering of same-sex ‘civil unions’ in lieu of same-sex ‘marriage’:
The philosophy is something akin to saying: "Hey, gay people, you say you want some chocolate? Have some delicious no-frills carob drops. I don't want to eat them myself, but I'm sure they taste just like the real thing."But if one wants to have some chocolate, one inserts it in the proper orifice—namely, the mouth—and lets the proper bodily system—namely, the digestive system—perform its proper functions. If sodomites want some chocolate, then they are free to purchase it and use it in the same manner in which heterosexuals use it; but obviously it defies reason to insert chocolate into bodily orifices other than the mouth, and while the State might have to tolerate such evils—evil being that that does not suit the nature of the thing desiring it, and clearly only the mouth is suitable for the use of chocolate—if it expects prevention of them to produce even worse evils, it can’t very well legislate for and participate in what elementary natural reason condemns.
Now we see Ms Pryor’s wit reach its climax (presumably that’s what it’s meant to be, at least, since it was the portion which the Herald selected as a preview on its Contents section on page 2, and it forms the centrepiece of the article):
It may just be possible to find a solution which respects the values of both the majority and the minority in this debate. And to this end I would like to propose a novel legislative solution: what if the Government introduced gay marriage as an option - but didn't make it compulsory? So that you don't have to have a gay marriage unless you want to? So that if you believe in marriage only between a man and a woman, you only have to enter into a marriage with someone of the opposite sex?Mmmm, not terribly clever; perhaps one had to be there as she triumphantly added those italics. Interesting, though, that Ms Pryor has confined herself to same-sex ‘marriage’ when her proposed solution would be equally applicable to remedying the grievous injustice—presumably that’s what she thinks of it, if consent is all that matters for her—of people being forbidden to marry their respective parents. Or could it be that Ms Pryor is a closet incestophobe? Is there a latent ‘bigotry’ of her own here?
Later on she has another gem:
Some will still be concerned that allowing gay marriage will erode "Christian values" in our society. This concern is wrongheaded, as it assumes most Christians are bigots, and I happen to believe that most are not. Most Christians, I would like to think, see love and acceptance as the most important elements of the Christian message.‘Love’ means desiring the highest good for another, and the good is that which suits the nature of the thing desiring it. Buggery and the various natural-law-defying things on which same-sex ‘marriage’ is founded don’t suit anyone’s or anything’s nature. And as for ‘acceptance’: tolerance is virtuous only when it involves tolerating the least evil in a range of evils, and gaymarriage is pretty high up on the list of evils in the West today.
In her penultimate paragraph Ms Pryor says that
All gay marriage will do is further erode the role of biblical literalism in our society, the same biblical literalism which, if we were serious about it, would allow us to own slaves, as long as we bought them from neighbouring nations such as New Zealand and Indonesia, as allowed in Leviticus chapter 25, verse 44, and compel us to execute anyone who pops into the office on a Sunday, as is the intention of Exodus chapter 35, verse 2.and thus reinforces the impression that, like gay activists like the nominally-Catholic Mr. Stephen Hough, she has failed to grasp that marriage is a matter of natural law, not just positive law, whether of God or of the State. As a matter of natural law, one must devote a certain portion of one’s week to lifting one’s mind to God and refraining from servile labour, but in the absence of positive law, the question of whether that portion of time be Sunday, Monday or another day is a matter of indifference. And as for slavery, if by ‘slavery’ one merely means the sale of one’s lifetime supply of labour, then there is nothing in that to contradict natural law.
Ms Pryor concludes thus:
For those who are still concerned, here is a better dilemma to ponder: what is so Christian about an institution which lets in straight atheists and even Satanists, but excludes gay Christians?For the last time: marriage originates as a natural institution, not a positive, Christian one. Given that it is the conjugal union which is the essence of marriage, and only a man and a woman can unite themselves thus, any one man and any one woman of whatever religion may unite themselves in marriage (though I’m not sure that a Satanist’s pledge of undying love would be terribly plausible), and so may a gay man and a lesbian woman (though that’d probably be an offence against prudence, if not, strictly speaking, against justice). But obviously a man and a man or a woman and a woman can’t marry each other—that’d just be silly!
For further reading, Mr. Muehlenberg has a good post on Ms Pryor’s rubbish:
In the letter which he has submitted to the Herald he hits the nail on the head:
Ms Pryor resorts to the usual gutter tactic of not actually addressing the arguments of her opponents, but simply smearing them instead. Attacking the person is always a lot easier than dealing with the argument. So guess what: we learn in this piece that everyone who disagrees with her is a “bigot”.Nobody likes a bigot—even the word is unpleasant-sounding—and Ms Pryor’s use of this word is just an ad hominem tactic, as Mr. Muehlenberg rightly notes.
And unlike Ms Pryor, he gets to the heart of the matter:
Marriage has always been a social institution concerned with regulating human sexuality and rearing the next generation. If people don’t like the inherent limitations of marriage, redefining it out of existence is not the answer.Mr. Chris Meney, Director of the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Life, Marriage and Family Centre, has an excellent letter—published as the lead one, would you believe it—in today’s Herald:
Another letter-writer starts off well but then, as you’ll see, goes off track:
Redefining marriage on a whim is not the state's job
June 23, 2009
Lisa Pryor fails to appreciate that marriage does not belong to government ("Here's an idea: what if the Government introduced voluntary gay marriage?", June 20-21). Marriage is a social institution that predates nation states and was inherited by government. As such, all government can legitimately do is reaffirm why marriage warrants recognition and support.
Marriage is different from other relationships. The social benefits of committed, exclusive heterosexual unions include the generation of children and the raising of future citizens; a safe environment for the nurturing of those children; two complementary parents who can provide appropriate gender role modelling; parents who are biologically connected to their child and who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of that child; and a vital intergenerational connectedness within families and societies.
Such unions provide a mechanism for more effectively connecting children to their fathers - to satisfy children's longing for their father and to ensure a more equitable distribution of the parenting burden. State interests have never been based on the extent of private affections. We all have emotional ties in which the state has no interest. The reason marriage matters to government is what heterosexual couples offer as a social type.
Most marriages have the capacity to conceive children and all children have natural rights, including the right to know and be raised by one's biological mother and father. Such rights do not originate from the state. However, the state has an obligation to ensure biological parents fulfil their parental duty to the fullest extent they are able.
That is the proper role of the state - not to redefine marriage to accord with transient societal whims. If every relationship has the capacity to be a "marriage", the true understanding of what marriage is will be obscured and undermined. This would damage children and society.
Chris Meney director, Life, Marriage and Family Centre, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
Marriage has underpinned the fabric of society for generations. Watering it down is not about eroding "Christian values" in society - it is about eroding society. The Government has rightly altered almost 100 pieces of legislation to remove unjust discrimination against same sex couples, but considering that fewer than 1400 same-sex couples have registered with Centrelink to take advantage of the new legislation, I am not sure that a case to change the Marriage Act has been established ("Same-sex couples wary of changes to benefits", June 20).I’m not aware of any “unjust discrimination” being directed at homosexuals before the recent social security reforms (reforms for which the Sodomites’ League had lobbied but about which now, with typical cynicism and ingratitude, the degenerates are whinging—see my next post). How can someone fail to see that if one gives the gay contingent an inch it’ll soon be asking for a mile?
Rhonda Murray Calwell (ACT)
And if you’d like more on the topic, see also my rebuttal of the arguments of a pro-sodomite commenter in the combox to the previous post at this blog.