Considerations AGAINST same sex marriage
On the 18th Sept we hosted a debate on legalizing same-sex marriage.
Here is one RSS member’s considerations against.
“If marriage is important, an understanding implicit in State recognition, we need to be clear about what it is. Those who believe that all relationship types should be equal in the eyes of the law ought to promote not same-sex marriage, but rather the abolition or privatization of marriage. Some will say that the current move is just a first step to a wider reinvention of the institution, while it is also claimed that the proposed shift could only strengthen marriage in NZ – but these cannot both be true. I suggest that marriage is rationally limited to male-female pairs, and that no compelling alternative view of marriage is on offer in the public debate.
“Marriage is a pre-political institution that arises across the world in a range of slightly different forms as a result of the biological realities involved in producing children. In NZ it is shaped by norms of monogamy, fidelity, and love, as a result of the universal intrinsic link to children and our culture’s belief in the equality of the partners. Only a pair from the opposite sex can share life together fully (socially, economically, physically) in a union that can result in children. Extending marriage fails to recognise why the institution currently has the form it does. In jettisoning the biological family unit as its basis, along with biblical statements which reinforce the relevant norms for many in NZ, we are left floating in a relativistic soup.
“The primary public good of marriage is families, including children; it is a good for children to be raised by their biological parents where possible and the State may appropriately choose to provide benefits to the kind of union where that can occur. But there are ancillary goods too, which helps to explain the legitimate inclusion of many couples without children. It is a good to have models of the kind of union that in many cases produces the primary good. It is good for society for members of the opposite sex to share life together fully, with commitment. The government is not interested in the fertility of individual couples but does have an interest in promoting opposite-sex parenting as the ideal. Not recognising the value and form of this institution shaped around children’s wellbeing would be a failure by the State.
“The proposed law discriminates against a number of relationship forms; 15 are listed in Schedule 2 of the Bill. Having divorced marriage from both biology and biblical norms, justifying the particularly contours seems left to tradition or accidents of history – poor bases for law. It also has the potential to discriminate against those whose religious beliefs do not allow recognition of unions between people of the same sex as a ‘marriage’, as explained in the legal opinion of Ian Bassett, available online. Some support the Bill on the basis that society has changed, and that democracy requires the shift, even if there are inconsistencies. If you believe that, let your MP know that you want this issue put to a national referendum, and let the debate play out in public.”