The gay marriage

A private member’s bill legalising gay marriage has just passed its first reading in the New Zealand parliament. It has enjoyed wide support and should become law some time next year. In this essay I will present my view on the issue of gay marriage and where thing are likely to go from here.

I am not in the least bit interested how couples (or larger cohabitating groups of individuals) arrange their intimate affairs. There may be some potential issues around asset splitting or inheritance but those involved can sort things out themselves (or else the lawyers will do it for them). Marriage is only socially relevant in the context of bringing up children. The preferred model of a family should be the one which tends to lead to successful outcomes for children. As a party bank-rolling social spending the state may decide to recognise the favoured model of  family as a marriage. Other setups, known to produce inferior outcomes for children (like incestuous or underage relationships), will not enjoy the same recognition.

As extensively discussed in my previous essays:

https://da-boss.com/2012/05/31/236/

https://da-boss.com/2012/06/27/507/

the institution of a traditional family understood as a man and a woman, in matrimony and living together, is effectively dead. The alternatives like single parents, step-parents, shared parenting arrangements or surrogacy have varying degrees of success when it comes to turning children into well-adjusted adults. Single parenting, statistically, is a disaster but from what I understand gay couples are actually doing just fine – married or not. Based on this I have no issue with recognising a union of any two keen adults as marriage. However, there is something we should all be aware of as the gay marriage bill is winging its way though the New Zealand parliament. Things will not stop here and sooner or later polygamy will become legal. The change will happen in two steps.

The weakness of the Western societies is that all boundaries are constantly pushed using the leverage of human rights. The current proposal is presented as an equality issue. The bill’s sponsor, Louisa Wall, has repeatedly referred to it as “marriage equality” bill. Her point is that all people should have equal rights to matrimony, regardless of their gender and sexual orientation. From the viewpoint of human rights this is a perfectly valid argument. To refuse someone the right to marry purely because of their gender is discriminatory. But let us take things a step further. If two women are in a committed relationship they will soon be able to register their union as marriage. But what if the number of women committed to facing the challenges of life together is not two but three?

An argument equally convincing as Louisa Wall’s can be mounted in support of a marriage involving three individuals of the same gender. Marriage should not be about the headcount but rather about the depth of the emotional bond. It is getting rare these days for two people to commit to a marriage so if three are single-minded about it there must be something really special going on between them. And who said there can only be two participants in a marriage? It would be judgmental to impose the obsolete Judeo-Christian values on those who do not want them. If we are allowed to choose the number of offsprings we bear why can we not choose the number of partners we marry? Also, when it comes to looking after children three parents have got to be more efficient than two. Those living in two-person relationships know too well how desperate things get when children are scrambling to leave for school in the morning or need to be put to bed at night. An extra pair of hands would help. I see no good reason why three people keen to get married should be denied the privilege. Of course, they would have to be of the same gender, to avoid committing polygamy. With this restriction, i believe that a marriage of three consenting adults will be a shoe in to pass into law.

Ok, so a few years down the track the definition of marriage is extended to include three (or more) people of the same gender. Then, one day, another Louisa Wall comes up with a new proposal advanced in the name of equality. That three people of the same gender can marry but a trio of mixed gender cannot is discriminatory. To restore equality the definition of marriage will have to be further extended to include anyone at all who wants to get married. It is only a matter of time.

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2 Responses to “The gay marriage”

  1. Nick Says:

    Very interesting point, as usual. All of this is actually a bloody good plan to wipe the rest of the rotten “western civilization” out of this planet.

  2. da-boss Says:

    You must be the only regular reader of da-boss!

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