This is a repost from Brendan Malone from The Leading Edge, a blog based out of New Zealand, expressing his thoughts on legislation making its way in that country’s parliament.
Let me start by putting all my cards on the table.
I think that Labour MP Louisa Wall’s bill to redefine marriage in NZ (a bill which is proposing the biggest change to marriage and marriage laws that has ever taken place in this country) is a really bad piece of ideologically driven legislation that has no sound basis in reality, and as such it should be rejected by our parliament.
Holding such a view about Louisa Wall’s bill does NOT make me a bigot, anti-gay or make me guilty of discrimination.
It simply makes me someone with a view that is opposed to the personal views of Louisa Wall and those who support her bill to redefine marriage.
One thing that I have grown sick and tired of in the seven months since the introduction of this bill is the way in which various supporters of this bill – including some journalists who have decided to trade in their journalistic balance for a biased ideological leaning (just look at the URL address for this article and you’ll realize that the original headline never contained the word ‘marriage’), and, sadly, even our MPs on the supposedly impartial select committee receiving submissions about this bill – have chosen to slur the supporters of the natural biological view of marriage (woman/man) rather than actually engaging with the arguments we are putting forward.
Here’s the rub – the fact that I do not think that ANY two people should be able to legally marry each other does not mean that I think any less of the persons proposing the opposite view to me, or that I am guilty of any sort of unjust discrimination for firmly committing myself to such a belief.
I also believe that 25 year old vehicle license holders should be allowed to drive cars on our roads, while at the same time I hold to the firm belief that 13 year old’s shouldn’t legally be allowed to do the exact same thing. This belief doesn’t make me guilty of youth-ophobia or unjust discrimination, instead it makes me someone who has clear ideas about what road safety is and isn’t, and someone who draws a line in the sand because of that understanding.
Claiming something as a ‘right’ doesn’t make it so – not even for two heterosexuals of the opposite sex who want to rush into a marriage (like two 14 year old students who are desperately ‘in love’ with each other and who believe that no one else has a right to prevent them from marrying each other).
The reason I oppose Louisa Wall’s bill to redefine marriage is because I think that there are some things that are more important than people’s personal wants – and in this case one of those things is protecting, in legislation, a sound, reality based vision of human marriage, rather than imposing subjective personal whims upon an important pre-existing institution.
Marriage has a specific nature, and in order for marriage to exist, there has to be a heterosexual union present to actually bring that authentic nature of marriage into existence – without a heterosexual union between a male and a female spouse authentic marriage can’t even be brought into existence.
This isn’t just a competing version of marriage (as supporters of Louisa Wall’s bill would like to claim), it is something far more fundamental than that – it is the traditional understanding of marriage that has existed since year zero, and it is an understanding based in the biological complimentarity of the heterosexual union, and it’s potential to create new human life.
(The procreative potential of heterosexual unions is also the only thing that actually makes sense of the state’s involvement in marriage – without this what you have is the state regulating your personal romantic friendships, something that it has no need or business doing.)
The fact that ONLY the pairing of a male and female can produce children is a truth that is self-evident in the lived bodily reality of the human species – it’s as obvious as the laws of gravity.
Now at this point supporters of the bill usually retort with something along the lines of “marriage can’t have its basis in procreation, because infertile couples still get married.”
To paraphrase my good friend Dr. Matthew Flanagan: if this argument is true, then the fact that people who don’t love each other still marry must also mean that marriage isn’t actually about romantic love either (by arguing against marriage as an exclusively heterosexual union, based on the presence of infertility in some heterosexual couples, supporters of Louisa Wall’s bill have ironically ended up logically undermining their own ‘marriage is merely about romantic love’ view of marriage – by virtue of the fact that some heterosexual marriages are also devoid of love).
I make no apologies for holding the view that marriage has to be grounded in a biological reality of male/female complimentarity – and neither do I have to, for mine is the traditional understanding of marriage that has existed from its inception.
I have nothing to apologise for, and I shouldn’t have to put up with childish public ridicule and vilification (especially from journalists who are supposed to be reporting facts) merely for proposing this traditional biological reality-based understanding of marriage.
It is those who wish to propose a complete change to this original definition of marriage that have an obligation to provide a logical basis for completely redefining marriage (and no, claims of discrimination and bigotry are not actually a logical argument, they are merely emotive pleading).
I hold the views I do because I think that marriage is far too important an institution to be interfered with and completely redefined in such mass social experimentation as that which Louisa Wall is proposing.
Now supporters of this bill will probably respond by saying “but what about all those social harms caused by bad heterosexual marriages”?
To which I reply: stop trying to justify your social experimentation on the basis of failed executions of an institution that is a massively important social good, and which, when it works, produces some hugely important benefits for society.
Just because some people are already making a mess of marriage, it doesn’t mean that we should open the floodgates and let every Tom, Dick and Harriet have a crack at social experimentation with marriage, thus creating even more harms.
If anything, failed heterosexual marriages are NOT a justification for the social re-engineering of marriage, just the opposite; they are actually a wake-up call that we need to focus more time and resources into supporting and growing good marriages.
At the end of the day, one of the hallmarks of a truly free and open democracy is a robust and open public discourse on important issues. Therefore it’s time that we grew up and started acting accordingly by ceasing the childish and illogical name-calling with labels such as ‘bigot’, ‘anti-gay’ and ‘discrimination’ for those who support the traditional biological complimentarity understanding of marriage.
As my grandmother used to say ‘if you haven’t got something constructive to contribute, don’t say anything at all’.