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Old 15th March 2011, 04:30 PM
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Default theists: stupid or disingenuous? #1

It increasingly seems to me that theists seem to feel that things like truthfulness, facts, logic, reason, or fairness do not apply when arguing their cases in the public space. Do they care? It seems not. Here we have Frank Brennan as an example. Brennan’s actually a smart guy and a person of good will whose talents are wasted and warped by religion.
Anyway:

http://www.psnews.com.au/BooksFeaturespsn2562.html

Quote:
States should recognise same-sex unions

By Frank Brennan

The messy same-sex marriage debate continues in Australia and in the United States. I remain of the view that we should not extend the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions; that we should legislate to recognise same-sex unions; and that we should leave questions about the legal availability of new technologies for the creation of children by same-sex couples for determination at a later date.
Why bring up the irrelevant and inflammatory issue of IVF for same sex couples here?

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In Australia, the issue is focused in the Parliament; and in the US in the courts. Here the Prime Minister has committed her party to consulting with the public while deciding how to deal with the Greens on the issue.

There the President has decided his Administration will no longer argue for the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in court proceedings.


For many same-sex marriage advocates, the debate is a matter of equality and non-discrimination. A person should be allowed to marry the person they love whatever the gender of the partner.

The trouble with much human rights discourse is that it is too readily reduced to assertions about individual rights and non-discrimination.
Gack! Choking on coffee. That’s what human rights are: rights of individuals, particularly in relation to non-discrimination!

Quote:
Human rights discourse needs to be more subtle when it comes to a conflict of rights situation, or when the law is having to consider the public interest or the common good as well as individual liberties.
Brennan appears to be asserting that marriage rights for same-sex couples would somehow interfere with the rights of others, and that issues of public interest and common good will be engaged. Let’s wait and see what these conflicts are. However the first order issue for rights remains the rights of individuals, notwithstanding sometimes they have to be weighed against other rights or public good.

Quote:
Historically the state had little interest in recognising and enhancing the place of marriage as a social institution just for the good of the couple.

The state interest in marriage is just as focused on the rights of the children and the need to provide support for the social structure most suited to the rearing and nurturing of children.

Though there has never been an ideal time when all children were born into a marriage, we have maintained marriage as the ideal institution for the raising of children by their biological parents.
Utter nonsense. The para “The state interest…” is entirely and completely false; among heterosexual relationships, the state gives absolutely no rights or privileges to married as opposed to de-facto couples. The idea that marriage has its origins, or has any status, as the best place to raise children is a breathtakingly unsupported assertion which has been invented for the present debate.

There no evidence that married heterosexual couples provide the best outcomes for children. There is good evidence that children of low SES families have worse outcomes. If family structures are to be dictated to by outcomes for children, then, those who oppose same-sex marriage should be advocating limitations on the ability of lower income people to marry - if they don’t want to be hypocrites.

That all leaves aside the point that non-married people have children now …

Quote:
In Australian civil law, we recognise de facto relationships as well as marriages. Marriage is covered by Commonwealth law, while de facto relationships are largely governed by state and territory laws.

Marriage should remain a Commonwealth matter. If the Commonwealth Parliament were to attempt legislatively to expand the common law definition of marriage to include a union between two persons of the same-sex, there would probably be a High Court challenge to determine whether such an attempt was constitutional, given that the Commonwealth Parliament has a restricted power to make laws “with respect to marriage”.


Under our Constitution, the Parliament cannot increase its powers just by legislatively redefining the constitutional heads of power.
Some cherry-picking of views going on here. The matter of whether or not the Constitution implies marriage as being between a man and a woman has been seized upon as another reason not to change Commonwealth legislation to allow same-sex marriage. There have been some views expressed by the High Court that suggest, if you squint enough, that in the past some Justices might have thought so. There have been other views that suggest the opposite, and overall position the High Court doesn’t have a view. FWIW, The Hon Michael Kirby doesn’t see any obstacle.

Found after 15 seconds of googling: http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/r...-02/02rn17.htm

It would be churlish of me to make the point that it is only inevitable that there would be a challenge because of hate-filled dicks …

Quote:
To take a very different example, the Commonwealth Parliament has power to make laws with respect to “‘lighthouses, lightships, beacons and buoys”.


It cannot willy-nilly define lighthouses to include tall inner city buildings and then make laws governing those buildings. Just as the states and territories deal with de facto relationships, the best way to proceed is for the states and territories to give recognition to same-sex civil unions.
That is an entirely fatuous parallel. A better one might be, say given that the Constitution contemplated manned lighthouses, can the Commonwealth now legislate in respect of fully-automated lighthouses?

Quote:
That way we can accord equality to same-sex couples in their relationships without changing the nature of state recognised marriage.
Circular reasoning: we shouldn’t change the nature of state recognised marriage, because we don’t want to change the nature of state recognized marriage, therefore we shouldn’t change the nature of state recognised marriage.

That said, it is not entirely clear how the “nature” of marriage is changed by same-sex marriage in any manner that is relevant to non-bigots?

Quote:
While some human rights activists think this approach unprincipled, there are many Catholics who wonder how a Catholic priest can approve even civil recognition of same-sex unions.

After all, Pope Benedict, before he became pope, taught constantly the immorality of all homosexual acts.

He also spoke against state recognition of same-sex relationships when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
Who cares what the Church thinks? We’re talking about what the secular state should be doing vis a vis marriage. If you Catholics don’t want to have same sex marriage, go ahead, don’t.

Quote:
more theological irrelevancy, snipped

Quote:
There are homosexual persons who enter into loving, faithful and committed relationships.


These persons should be able to live in society free from discrimination, without state interference and with state support and approval.


They should enjoy the same state protection as de facto couples enjoy under existing state and territory laws.
How kind. Actually, on closer examination, not so kind. There should be no discrimination … except where we want to discriminate, by restricting same-sex couples to de-facto relationships only.

Quote:
It is very difficult to characterise such a law giving this non-discriminatory protection to same-sex couples as “so harmful to the common good as to be gravely immoral” as Benedict has previously done.


It is at least contestable whether such a law would be harmful to the common good. Not everyone who opposes same-sex marriage is a religious bigot or enemy of human rights.
And that’s where the argument lands: the Pope says so. And we have an answer to the question: what rights conflict with the rights of potential same-sex married couples? A: the rights of Christian Pharisees who are offended by the existence of same-sex relationships, and who have to cover their heads with their cloaks to avoid seeing the sin around them.

I suppose, by the way, that as well as religious bigots and enemies of human rights, there are people who have not thought about the issue, or are stupid. Or be unprincipled vote-hungry politicians. Otherwise, I haven’t heard any other arguments against same-sex marriage than those in this article. I keep being told there are other, non-religious arguments. Where are they? I think that what we are seeing is hand-waving by bigots and haters who just hope we will nod and keep going.

Quote:
We need to keep an eye on the rights of all persons, including future generations of children, and on the maintenance of a social institution which is about more than the couple.
Bollox, for the reasons set out above.

Quote:
We should continue to distinguish marriage from other relationships in the law whether they be de facto or same-sex.
How, Fr Brennan, does a person of your intellect and morals sleep at night after writing an article like that?
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Last edited by wearestardust; 17th March 2011 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 15th March 2011, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: theists: stupid or disingenuous? #1

WAS, I think you're missing the words "do not" in your opening sentence.

And to answer the question posed by the thread title, I answer "quite often both"
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Old 15th March 2011, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: theists: stupid or disingenuous? #1

You know, TLR, WAS.

All this is bullshit. They have equal marriage in other countries. Rather than continuing the self-serving pretence that we last bastions of marriage discrimination are all there is, and hypothesising on what the possible social consequences may be, why not just look at the Canadian or Scandinavian experience?

Oh, that's right - because it supports the argument Frank is opposed to.
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Old 15th March 2011, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: theists: stupid or disingenuous? #1

Society has moved on so much from this kind of argument. Brennans argument is a kind of gish gallop, clutching at anything to justify a bigoted world\societal view. The more they look for a response, the more silly, out of touch and bigoted they come across. Time to grow up guys, the world is moving forward and you are not.

Nice dissection WAS.
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Old 15th March 2011, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: theists: stupid or disingenuous? #1

For the record, my response to the opinion piece:

"Frank Brennan is a very clever man in the service of great dishonesty.

He postulates on what the possible social consequences of marriage equality may be, all the while pretending marriage equality is some sort of hypothetical beast, yet to be brought into some sort of troublesome existence.

True enough if our backyard is all there is in the world, but it completely ignores the fact that people of the same gender can legally wed already in a number of countries around the world.

Why ignore this, Frank? Is it because the actual outcomes in these countries are contrary to your predicted strife and worry?

And whose rights, exactly, are being impinged by granting equality? My marriage (secular, non-church) has absolutely no impact on you, Frank, or anyone else, so why does it matter whether I marry a man or woman?

Is it because you personally don't like it? Well gee, Frank, who do I go to to complain that my rights are being impinged by the supermarket's insistence on carrying Broccoli, despite my distaste for it?

Not good enough Frank, not good enough by half. And you know better than this."
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Old 15th March 2011, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: theists: stupid or disingenuous? #1

He's just taken the general them of the article John Dickson wrote on the ABC site the other week and run with it.

The response I posted to that artilce could just as easily have been applied to Brennan's. Loosely stated, I wanted them to answer these questions:

Currently, do gay people have the same rights as heterosexual people when it comes to marriage?
Will the marriage of two adults affect (the author) personally in any way?
Will the marriage of two adults affect (the author's flock) in any way?
Will a change to the law change anything for religious couples who want to get married in a church?

I then suggested that when they figure out that the honest answer to all four questions is 'NO' then they should realise that their argument is illogical and boils down to "I don't like the gay!"
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Old 16th March 2011, 01:31 AM
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Default Re: theists: stupid or disingenuous? #1

I've thought of a fifth question:

Will the marriage of two adults affect the authorís ability to worship or pray to his chosen god in any way?
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Old 16th March 2011, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: theists: stupid or disingenuous? #1

Quote:
Praxis said View Post
WAS, I think you're missing the words "do not" in your opening sentence.
oops, fixed.
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