Homosexuality


Note: Because this has attracted nearly a hundred comments, and is one of our most active threads, we have decided to stick it back to the front page. SIG

by D.J. Webb

HOMOSEXUALITY

Homosexuality is in many ways an awkward subject to write about. In the old days, such things were not mentioned in polite conversation. Even today, the continual discussion of sexual orientation can grate: surely such things are meant to be intimate and private? However, conservatives do not set the tone of public debate, and for good or ill homosexuality has become a high-profile topic of political discussion.

First of all, it is worth pointing out that homosexuality has not been recently invented. There always have been men who were attracted to other men. While strict homosexuality is found among a very small minority of the population, it is likely that the numbers of men who have been attracted to some other men, or who have experimented along those lines, is much larger than the core homosexual demographic group. It is difficult to cite accurate figures, as not everyone is sure of his own sexuality, let alone confident in discussing it with researcher. The Kinsey Report compiled in 1948, entitled “Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male”, claimed that 46% of the men interviewed reacted sexually to another male at some point in their lives (the methodology that informed the report, including the selection of the pool of interviewees, has been questioned by some). Yet a government survey in the UK in 2010 put the “gay” section of the population at just 1.5%. This is a long way from being the statistical norm, leading some conservatives to conclude that “abnormality” makes homosexuality a “perversion” or even an illness, but the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973. From a strictly psychiatric point of view, a phenomenon often combined with high intellectual ability and otherwise normal functioning in society should not be regarded as a mental disorder.

Furthermore, it is fair to say that homosexuality is so widely found in human societies and across the ages that, while not being the statistical norm, it must be described as a natural phenomenon. Societies need to be reproduced, and should not be based purely around sexual urges, and so homosexuality cannot be thought of as a potential building block of society, but homosexuality is a human foible that will always exist in society. It is an interesting question whether a more open social attitude towards homosexuality will lead to its greater prevalence, as people who would otherwise repress their urges do not feel the need to do so.

The reason why some men—and homosexuality seems to be much more prevalent among men than women—are attracted to other men is ultimately unclear. The “gay” movement seems to have adopted the line that it must be genetic, backed up by somewhat bizarre arguments about occasional homosexual behaviour among animals. But in fact no one really knows: it is as likely as not that current social policies that encourage marital breakdown lead to confused sexuality among boys, brought up without father figures. Some combination of reasons could also be in play, not least because some men have gone “gay” in later life, raising questions over how stable sexuality is throughout one’s life.

Cultural factors

The Christian church has long railed against homosexuality, whilst being a notable organisation in which homosexual activity has always flourished. Before the Christian church embedded itself into the culture of Western Europe, homosexual behaviour was much more widespread in ancient Rome and ancient Greece, tending to show that genetic factors are not the key to understanding homosexuality, and that social and cultural factors are the main drivers of human sexuality. I tend to believe that the genetic instinct gives us the sexual urge, without specifying in detail the kinds of human beings that are to be regarded as sexually attractive.

Of course, referring to homosexuality as a cultural phenomenon fits easily into the prevailing left-wing narrative concerning “cultural diversity”, which attempts to unpick the social and cultural norms of Western society to justify multi-culturalism, apparently with the aim of creating a society of people who no longer have cultural connections with each other, but are in the main clients of the state. If the way things have been done for centuries in the West has not always been the way, or is not the way in all societies, it is argued that our culture is worthless, or its worth is ultimately subjective, and so the norms of society should be shunted aside in favour of a more generous, “liberal” approach.

There are many ramifications of this, but I wish to stick to theme of homosexuality here. Greek and Roman homosexuality appear to have been connected to the warrior culture: homosexual attraction was not seen as unmanly. It would be incorrect to impose modern notions of “gay identity” on the ancient world. There was no gay identity, and it is interesting to see that the main form that homosexual relations took in ancient Greece was of relations between an older warrior and a adolescent of 12-17 years of age. Such relationships between people of different age groups are not really the intention of modern laws decriminalising homosexuality, where adolescents under 16 years of age are not seen as capable of giving consent to sexual activity (despite being almost universally engaged in it).

Clearly, relationships between men and older youths in ancient Greece were not unmanly; neither did they detract in any way from masculinity. There was nothing “camp” or “queenie” about Greek homosexuality. But if it was possible for one society to interpret human sexuality in a radically different way from the present, then couldn’t one argue that all cultural norms are essentially arbitrary?

There is a problem for conservatives here, in that England was traditionally a free country in most respects, and so we generally call for a restoration of our traditional cultural norms, and yet it is undeniable that the Christian narrative on sexuality had a deep impact on English culture. One could argue, however, that despite the mainstream nature of heterosexuality throughout English history, some degree of homosexuality was part of the social norm. There always has been an undercurrent of homosexuality, and any attempt, legally, to create a society where all men adhered to heterosexual norms would in itself be a rejection of the realities of traditional England. Quite apart from homosexual attractions in the upper echelons of society (Richard the Lionheart, Edward II and James I spring to mind), there has for centuries been widespread practice of homosexuality among public schoolboys. Maybe this is why Roger Scruton in his England: An Elegy spoke of the homosexual nature of English culture.

It would be a gross misunderstanding to state that homosexuality has always been accepted, but England would not have been England without its undercurrent of relationships or sexual activity between men. Given that the Christian church is widely seen, even by its supporters, to have erred in many of the details of its teachings (e.g., on the Creation), I am wondering whether an English traditionalist approach could be devised that accepted the niche role of the church, and its architecture, liturgy and music, as a valued part of our culture, while also seeing that prohibitions against harmless private behaviour need to be downplayed, especially where state sanctions are involved.

Decriminalisation

Whatever eventually emerges from genetic search on the reasons for homosexuality and whatever the rights and wrongs of church teaching on the subject, libertarians could not support the criminalisation of homosexual acts, giving the state, as it would, the right to investigate what is going on in private bedrooms and behind closed doors. Laws against “sodomy” were repealed in 1967 in the case of participants over the age of 21, with the age of consent reduced in 2001 to 16. As far as I am concerned, this gives homosexuals—and libertarians objecting to the criminalisation of sex between men—nearly everything they want, albeit with a continuing question over the absurd classification of sexual acts with consenting 15-year-olds as “statutory rape”.

Another question that libertarians could take a stance on is laws against “public indecency” in gay cruising grounds, such as Hampstead Heath in London. In George Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith was able to escape the eyes of Big Brother by having sex in the woods, and in any free society, unless the state proposed to place cameras on the branches of every tree, sex in the woods is simply something that is going to happen. It is not necessarily something a cultured person would engage in, but we are talking about the laws of a free country here. Sex behind bushes in known gay cruising grounds is not at all the same thing as similar behaviour out in the open in a way that would offend most people.

It is interesting to note that England did not always have laws against homosexual acts. Before the 1533 Buggery Act, which criminalised anal sex, but not all homosexual acts, and specified hanging as the punishment, cases of “buggery”—as it was charmingly known—were handled by the ecclesiastical courts, with little evidence of any serious attempt to stamp out homosexual acts. Of course, in mediaeval times, people depended on their children in older age, and in a largely agrarian society without pensions and other modern financial instruments, homosexuality as a public lifestyle, in contradistinction to furtive acts conducted by people who otherwise adhered to the general norms of family life, was unthinkable.

The number of people put to death for buggery was necessarily small, as evidence would generally have been lacking. The death penalty for buggery was abolished in 1861, and an 1885 Act of Parliament extended the sanction of imprisonment to all homosexual activity between men and not just sodomy. Not all English conservatives seem to realise that homosexual acts (the broader definition thereof) were only illegal for 82 years, and so there is nothing really traditionalist about regretting the demise of the 1885 Act.

It is sometimes claimed that one cannot be a libertarian without supporting homosexuality. Is that really so? I don’t think one can be libertarian without opposing the criminalisation of homosexuality, but that is another thing entirely. Surely libertarians should oppose attempts to criminalise homosexuality and vocal opposition to homosexuality in equal measure. The right of others to deprecate homosexuality was mentioned during the Parliamentary debate on decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, where the Earl of Arran, a sponsor of the bill, said

I ask those who have, as it were, been in bondage and for whom the prison doors are now open to show their thanks by comporting themselves quietly and with dignity. This is no occasion for jubilation; certainly not for celebration. Any form of ostentatious behaviour; now or in the future any form of public flaunting, would be utterly distasteful and would, I believe, make the sponsors of the Bill regret that they have done what they have done. Homosexuals must continue to remember that while there may be nothing bad in being a homosexual, there is certainly nothing good. Lest the opponents of the Bill think that a new freedom, a new privileged class, has been created, let me remind them that no amount of legislation will prevent homosexuals from being the subject of dislike and derision, or at best of pity. We shall always, I fear, resent the odd man out. That is their burden for all time, and they must shoulder it like men—for men they are. [Hansard, 21 July 1967]

Adoption and civil partnerships

Decriminalisation did not mean that homosexuality was to be promoted in all arenas of life, much less than opposition to homosexuality was to be criminalised. Yet the gay agenda has developed along more or less extreme lines that Lord Arran indicated would have made the sponsors of the 1967 Bill regret their actions. Not only can homosexual couples—or, worse, lone homosexual individuals—adopt children today, opposition to such adoptions from the biological parents of children who have been taken into care is also ignored. Civil partnerships were a further development that seemed to chip away at social norms, and now the government is talking about introducing “gay marriage”, as if marriage were not originally a religious concept in the first place. Much of this appears to many to be intent on creating a minority of people privileged by the state by dint of their statistically deviant behaviour.

How should libertarians view these matters? As far as the adoption of children is concerned, the forgotten subjects of state intervention are the children. There is little evidence that raising children in novel and innovative household units is good for them: I am not denying that where one parent dies, the surviving spouse often remains a good parent. But to go out of our way to create family units where adopted children have a lone parent seems quixotic in terms of public policy. Given that men and women are different, and fathers and mothers bring something different to the family and the child-rearing process, I pity the child who is adopted by order of the state by two men or two women, simply to make a political point. Many of these children will grow up with no ill effects, but it seems more sensible to give all adopted children the natural family environment of a father and a mother. There is nothing libertarian about extremist policies to the contrary.

As far as civil partnerships are concerned, it is argued that taxation and inheritance systems treat married couples differently from single people, and so men in long-term relationships need ways of avoiding being treated as single people. I think libertarians can be sympathetic to the idea that any committed people—including two sisters and communes of many individuals—should be able to register as “fiscal units”, although our main approach is to eliminate personal taxation, which resolves most questions of this type. Consequently, the civil partnership arrangement should stay, although “ceremonies” organised by the state that appear to mimic marriage should end: civil partnership should be a simple application form in the post, and if the individuals concerned wish to have a party, then it would be up to them to organise it.

The problem is partly the state’s view of marriage. Once marriage was taken out of the hands of the church and made a preserve of the state—which is what civil marriages in registry offices amount to—arguably, heterosexual marriage was downgraded to the status now occupied by civil partnerships. For marriage is not about becoming a “fiscal unit” for the purposes of state revenue collection; in Christian theology, a man and a woman become “one flesh”. Although not originally related to each other, matrimony makes them one flesh, relatives of each other, a suitable state in which to approach the bearing of children. Two men cannot become “one flesh” in this way, precisely because they cannot have children together. Similarly, marriage is a vow in the sight of God. Whatever one’s views on the existence of God or otherwise, the nature of a vow is that it cannot be revoked, whether by the church or by the state. A solemn vow binds the individual for life (and I include here the Coronation Oath and judicial and political oaths of office). To claim that the state can “divorce” a couple makes a mockery of the vow, and means the couple were not really “one flesh” all along: civil marriage is therefore just civil partnership.

The reason why I oppose “gay marriage” is that the state cannot make anyone “one flesh”. It is a detail of Christian theology that the sacrament of matrimony does accomplish this in the case of a man and a woman, and this theology is backed up by the biological reality that a man and a woman do become related to each other (“one flesh”) by their joint relationship to and through their children. Even if the state hands out certificates saying two men are “married”, they cannot be married, any more than UK passports handed out to Africans make them truly British. I would like to abolish divorce too and go for a dual-track approach: if you wish to get married in church, to take solemn vows, which may or may not mean anything to any Supreme Being that may exist, then the state cannot declare those vows defunct; but if you wish merely to get married “in the eyes of the state”, then a man and woman should be able to send a civil partnership application form to the government in the way I outlined above or enter a civil partnership at a registry office, in the same way that two men can. Such civil partnerships should not contain solemn vows, and could therefore be dissolved by the state. I will later in this article argue, however, that libertarians should not officially take a position against gay marriage for tactical reasons.

Crushing dissent

One area where libertarians must take a clear view is the use of state power to crush opposition to homosexuality, which seems many times more determined than the rare use of the law against homosexual acts before 1967. People must be free to express their views on homosexuality. Yet the spread of notions of political correctness appears to turn people into “tolerance machines”, people whose views have all been decided for them by the state, and who have no business other than to repeat the views intoned in the media and the education system. For this reason, I am reluctant to say that libertarians “should” feel favourably or unfavourably disposed to homosexuality. People, including libertarians, who are instinctively averse to homosexuality, as I am to lesbianism, should feel no compunction about saying so, although, as stated above, support for state sanctions for homosexuality is another issue entirely, well beyond any reasonable turf for any real libertarian.

All laws designed to “enforce” acceptance of homosexuality should be abolished. Not only do people have to be careful at work nowadays how they express themselves on the subject—the authorities are only too eager to destroy the careers of those who step out of line—laws against freedom of association are also being used to crush dissent. In 2011, two gay men won £3,600 in damages after being turned away from a bed and breakfast guesthouse in Cornwall and a number of similar cases have come to light. Such “discrimination” is illegal, and it seems gay men have a licence to cash in where they know the owners of a B&B are Christians.

Anti-discrimination laws are a fundamental plank in a coercive approach to creating a multi-cultural society. Nevertheless, particularly in the case of family-run businesses, the owners have the right—the moral right, not the legal right—to offer their services to customers on whatever basis they choose. It is undoubtedly more than a little petty for B&B owners to lay down rules on who can sleep in double beds, but their religious or political beliefs may be strongly held, and it is not for anyone else to tell them they may not act upon them. In the case of large hotels or other non-family-run businesses, I think the principle still applies, that the owners of the business have the right to specify who they will serve. But in the case of large companies, it should be the shareholders, at an annual general meeting, who decide, and not some little Hitler of a manager who doesn’t even own the company. I think it highly unlikely the shareholders of any company would demand discriminatory policies, as companies have an interest in expanding their customer bases, and so the issue only really crops up with small family-run businesses, giving the lie to the claim that laws against discrimination are required to enable gay men and other favoured minorities to function in society.

Finally, equality before the law should be re-established. This means that laws labelling certain crimes as “hate crimes” and imposing stiffer penalties on them should be abolished. This is not the same thing as supporting hate crimes—I don’t support them—but surely it makes sense for the law to criminalise assault and battery of all members of society to an equal degree, without distinction.

Join the Navy! Feel a man!

An interesting question is homosexuality in the armed forces. As male-dominated organisations, the armed forces are, like the church, a historic focus of homosexual employment. Homosexual activity between sailors is nothing new. What should the official policy on homosexual employment in the armed forces be?

Firstly, I think it important to state that, in extreme situations, such as wartime, all members of society have to be prepared to defend that society. That is what membership of society means. Maybe some libertarians would claim that conscription should not be implemented in a free society. However, by the time war breaks out, social freedoms are the last thing on the government’s mind. Warfare, especially when the nation is under attack, and not attacking other countries, is an extreme event, and many of the social niceties disappear overnight. Consequently, I am opposed to allowing conscientious objectors to absent themselves from the armed forces while others are being conscripted. But, by the same token, homosexuality cannot be a sufficient reason to avoid the draft either. It is absurd for any society to hold that gay man cannot fight for the country: in wartime, there may be little choice.

However, I see no reason why military discipline should not require decorum of members of the armed forces, and “camp” behaviour or constant ribald discussion of gay sex in army barracks in a way likely to give rise to offence, should be deemed to contravene military discipline. Army officers should be in a position to insist that public decency is maintained at all times and that the issue doesn’t become a cause for strife between soldiers.

I will address ecclesiastical homosexuality in passing here. As the church, if it is to be a church, and not just a conveyor belt for political propaganda, has to be faithful to its teachings dating back millennia, I see no why priests should publicly proclaim their homosexuality without being defrocked—if they are gay, why are they trying to subvert the church by joining it in order to flout its commands? The preaching of homosexual rights from the pulpit should lead to the rapid defenestration of the vicar. Nonetheless, a realistic acceptance that many priests are gay is appropriate in the context where many of the church’s teachings are no longer sustainable as historic or scientific truth. This means we shouldn’t poke around in a vicar’s private life to find out if he is gay, and if it becomes known that he is gay without his seeking to flaunt himself, then a logical approach would be to ignore it. As with the armed forces, if public decorum is maintained, there is little reason to launch witch-hunts.

Metrosexual lads

Interestingly, as sexuality becomes politicised, it has also become more fluid. The women of England seem to be getting less feminine as the men of England become less masculine. One example of this is the metrosexual phenomenon, of which the football player, David Beckham, is one example. Young “straight” men today worry about their appearance more than before, have more creams and potions in their bathroom cabinets, and even engage in what I regard as the unmanly habit of shaving their body hair. When I was a teenager, such things would have been seen as effeminate. Looking around my local gym, it is clear that many of the younger men are rather feminine, or even effeminate, in appearance.

The days when heterosexuality meant raw masculinity are long gone. One could argue that a supine population that allows the state to determine their views on race, culture and sexuality is less manly that what went before. For this reason alone, I think libertarians could lament the decline of masculinity. Would “real men” have allowed their primary-school-age children to be bombarded with propaganda on anal sex?

Intriguingly, and with an eye on ancient Greece where homosexual relationships were not seen as diminishing one’s masculinity, this opens up the prospect of a redefinition of masculinity. If many of the “straight” lads are a good deal more effeminate than some of the gay men, then who are the real pansies? It was while I was thinking along these lines that I came across Jack Donovan’s website, where his books on “androphilia” and masculinity are listed. Apparently, Jack Donovan is an American androphile—a man who likes men—who does not identify with the “gay” culture. The “gay” word is problematic for me, as it is politically loaded as an earlier attempt to “rebrand” homosexuality, and the gay culture that has been created around it seems to categorise gay men as soft, soppy, sissyish, something that homosexual acts were not associated with in ancient Greece.

But a glance at the gay club scene also turns up dungeons, leather and chains, and one could also question whether anal sex (not the only form of gay sex, it should be added) is really sissyish at all: arguably, it is sex at its most primeval, sex in the animal sense; not really effeminate at all. Jack Donovan explained his ideas thus:

The word gay has never described mere homosexuality. Gay is a subculture, a slur, a set of gestures, a slang, a look, a posture, a parade, a rainbow flag, a film genre, a taste in music, a hairstyle, a marketing demographic, a bumper sticker, a political agenda and philosophical viewpoint. Gay is a pre-packaged, superficial persona—a lifestyle. It’s a sexual identity that has almost nothing to do with sexuality. Androphilia is a rejection of the overloaded gay identity and a return to a discussion of homosexuality in terms of desire. The gay sensibility is a near-oblivious embrace of a castrating slur, the non-stop celebration of an age-old, emasculating stigma applied to men who engaged in homosexual acts. Gays and radical queers imagine that they challenge the status quo, but in appropriating the stigma of effeminacy, they merely conform to and confirm long-established expectations. Homosexual men have been paradoxically cast as the enemies of masculinity—slaves to the feminist pipe dream of a ‘gender-neutral’ (read: anti-male, pro-female) world. Androphilia is a manifesto full of truly dangerous ideas: that men can have sex with men and retain their manhood, that homosexuality can be about championing a masculine ideal rather than attacking it, and that the “oppressive construct of masculinity” despised by the gay community could actually enrich and improve the lives of homosexual and bisexual men. Androphilia is for those men who never really bought what the gay community was selling. It is a challenge to leave the gay world completely behind and to rejoin the world of men, unapologetically, as androphiles, but more importantly, as men.

I don’t know how far Jack Donovan’s ideas on masculinity and androphilia will spread, but I think it is at least possible that the relationship between homosexuality and effeminacy (or, conversely, between heterosexuality and masculinity) is breaking down, and it would be interesting to see the outcome. As sexuality seems more fluid—I could well believe that 46% of men have felt attraction to a man at some point (the unattractiveness of the average British female may play a role in this)—more young men may be interested in an androphile alternative than in becoming gay per se. And a resurgence of masculinity in society would be a good thing. I haven’t yet had chance to buy Donovan’s book, so I don’t know if AIDS is mentioned therein. But I would argue that turning the gay “community” into a vehicle for AIDS propaganda and the distribution of condoms represents part of the effeminate culture of gayness. Real sex, whether between men and women or between two men, is without intervention of rubber.

Another point I don’t know whether Donovan makes is that in order to become masculine, gay men must stop sliding into a kind of gingerbread group for political correctness. Real masculinity includes applauding the expression of real views by real people. Calling on the state to solve your battles is unmanly, and it would tend to paint all gay men as a group of extremists lobbying for more intervention by the technocracy. In fact, prejudice against homosexuality would appear to be largely justified in England today on political grounds, given the way that leading gay activists appear on our television screens calling for more laws against discrimination and for sterner punishment of dissenters. Libertarians may well feel inclined, if not to support criminalisation of homosexuality, then to see the official gay movement and its spokesmen are enemies of a free country. Yet, curiously, most gay men I have ever met have opposed gay marriage and the adoption of children by homosexuals. Jack Donovan has also spoken out against gay marriage in an interesting article on the Alternative Right website:

Same-sex marriage, however good its proponents believe it might be for homosexuals, is essentially an attempt to subvert the cultural primacy of the reproductive family. Gays will not allow themselves to consider the fact that this spells death for civilizations, and that society has a rational interest in promoting big, patriarchal families above all other arrangements. The idea that somehow, without any cultural apparatus to encourage or foster it, men and women will naturally take on the burden of raising a large family at any cost is simply absurd and proven wrong by below-replacement-level birth rates in Europe. Cultures that don’t place the highest value on reproductive families die out, and their numbers are replaced by cultures that do. It’s happening in Europe, and it’s happening in the US. While alternative relationships need not be openly scorned, and they may deserve some sort of reasonable accommodation, it isn’t in the best interest of Western Civilization—or any civilization—to morally or institutionally equate reproductive and non-reproductive sexuality. Reproductive sexuality is an indispensable building block of civilization; it serves society as a whole. Non-reproductive sexuality is, in the big picture, basically a “feel-good”.

A libertarian response

There is some truth in the idea that homosexuality was symptomatic of the downfall of ancient Rome. There is no direct connection between the two, but Romans lolling about in bath-houses engaged in sex were leading too soft a life, and unsurprisingly fell at the hands of the barbarians. Bread and circuses—and sex—created an image of debauchery that Christians have down the centuries condemned. Arguably, our societies today have fallen victim to the same effete, effeminate social trends. Welfarism, family breakdown and divorce, the compensation culture and the sexualisation of mainstream culture all form part of our social decline and I don’t see how libertarianism can accomplish any of its goals by supporting these trends. These trends all lead to greater social intervention to repair the inevitable social problems thrown up.

One could argue that homosexuality has degraded the wider culture, by creating the goal of no-strings-attached sex. Now nightclubs are full of men and women in their 30s and 40s trying to play the field still, where once they would have been looking after their children at home. Clearly, this is an option for gay men, with no children, but for men and women with children to attempt to behave in the same libertine manner has many negative social consequences. I would respond by removing all government subsidies for family breakdown, including welfare for unmarried mothers. If people have children, they must accept the responsibility that entails.

However, just as Roman debauchery was only a problem in the closing days of the Empire—sex between men was hardly the direct cause of the fall of the Empire, and was at one point a factor in strengthening society by promoting relationships between older and younger members of the warrior class—so it would be inaccurate to see homosexuality as always leading to the decline of a society. Our societies are too soft. The decline of masculinity has many causes, but homosexuality per se is not emasculating.

So libertarians should broadly support the right to gay sex, while focusing their condemnation on the illiberal attempts to close down dissent and enforce acceptance of homosexuality. I have made clear my distaste for gay marriage, and indeed my preference for abolition of divorce and other policies designed to prevent family breakdown. However, there is always a hierarchy of policies of greater or lesser importance to political movements, and laws that impinge on 1.5% of the population, with the numbers taking up the chance to “marry” in registry offices likely to be only in the hundreds, need to be seen in perspective. Consequently, libertarians need to adopt a strategic approach. The really big issue for libertarianism is the panoply of multi-culturalism that is the real driver behind the loss of our freedoms. There is a distinct possibility that appearing obsessed on the gay issue would prevent a wider hearing for our ideas on social freedom. For this reason, while libertarians will have a range of opinions on the subject of gay marriage, the libertarian movement itself should adopt a neutral stance on the issue.

Oddly enough, just as many gays, feeling, as they are in many ways, like social outsiders, became a Trojan Horse for political correctness, there are a number of well-known homosexuals, including the British historian, David Starkey, who will push the boundaries of what can be said on the race issue. Homosexuality, until the late 1980s at least, used to have a considerable aura of daring about it, bringing down social taboos and transgressing social norms. The reinvention of homosexuality as just another strand of the state’s attempt to create a cowed population has taken the audaciousness out of the homosexual experience: is it any wonder that men who like men sometimes take the lead in a politically correct society by saying the unsayable in other areas?

Clearly people like David Starkey have something to contribute to the advance of the libertarian movement in the UK, and so the contours of masculinity and support for state intervention have become confused and could become even more so in the future. Let’s have fewer young men depilating their groins and putting gel on their hair, and more young men of all sexual orientations insisting on their right to say and think what they like. A free country would be a country for real men!

111 responses to “Homosexuality

  1. I stopped reading after you mentioned Kinsey. Kinsey was a pervert.
    http://www.illuminati-news.com/alfred-kinsey2.htm

    The left has hijacked homosexuality in order to destroy the institution of marriage and ban any criticism of this clearly perverted “life” style. I have no problem if men wish to live in sin, so be it. But when the shrill apologists for sodomy (notably the feminists who created the homosexual movement) tell me they will teach small children that men buggering each other is normal and an alternative life style then it is all out war.

  2. Kinsey may have been not entirely orthodox in his personal life. I also understand that his research was flawed. This does not, however, invalidate his claims about human sexuality. These appear to have been the product of personal introspection, and may stand independent of his own attempts at empirical proof.

  3. A couple of points: – Much of the Victorian sexual behaviour legislation was brought in to stop the spread of venereal disease. For example suspected female prostitutes were liable to be medically examined if they tried to enter Aldershot. It was an attempt to stop the soldiers from becoming infected, remember there wasn’t a cheap medical cure for VD. Lawrence of Arabia describes how the majority of captured Turkish soldiers were debilitated with anal VD. Much, if not all of the Victorian legislation may have been dressed up in morals but it was enacted for practical purposes – public health – don’t be too hard on them

  4. David, another good article. Couple of thoughts-

    . Once marriage was taken out of the hands of the church and made a preserve of the state

    This is I think an error. Historically, marriage was always a civil contract. The Christian Church did not invent it, and struggled for centuries to get a monopoly on it. In old England, a marriage was simply a declaration by two people, hence we have witnesses to confirm they made that declaration. Later, people went to Church subsequently for a “blessing” by God, and it became normal to have the actual marriage “at the Church door” (I believe Chaucer among others mentions this) before proceeding inside for the blessing.

    Marriage is not unique to Christians. Every culture does it; Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Shintoists, “pagans”, primitive animists living in jungles. It is simply a commitment before procreation to create a family unit. We can reasonably presume that this pair-bonding was occurring between our distant ancestors before they were even “fully” human.

    So it is an error to say that marriage has been “downgraded” by not being exclusively in Church. It never was!

    On a second point, I agree with your view (as I understand it) that homosexuality is not genetic. We have the most general of sexual drives. Who we want to have sex with is something we learn. Hence there are numerous opportunities for that learning process to go awry; we call these things, generally, fetishes. Nobody believes there is a gene for being aroused by shoes, urination[1], sadomasochistic violence, cuddly toys, animals, Ann Widdecombe, etc.

    There seems to be a common error that people on all sides of this argument believe that sex has one particular purpose when, like many humna activities, it performs several purposes- just as marriage is not just about a permanent sexual partner, but also companionship, economic practicalities, etc. So people say, “sex is only about procreation” or “only about fun” or whatever. One of the few ideas the feminists got sort of right (but wrong in their subsequent conclusions) is that the sexual act represents a power relationship. Humans are addicted, like most higher animals, to power structures. Being the recipient of the penetrative act is inherently physically submissive; being the perpetrator naturally dominant. Thus, Core Feminists reject the act entirely and retreat into faked “lesbianism”; that is lesbian feminists are not women attracted to women, they are women rejecting men. (Interesting biology; hyenas have a very strong female dominance structure. The alpha females’ clitoris is shaped like a pseudo-penis, and low ranked females lick it to display submission. Draw your own conclusions).

    Humans routinely refer to penetration- particulary anal penetration- as an act of dominance/submission. When somebody has been, er, done over, they have been “fucked”. We say, “bend over and spread ‘em!” jokingly to refer to such power situations. Dominant public schoolboys and prisoners rape lower ranked males apparently not because they are “gay” but to impose power. This seems to me to be a very clear biological drive; the sexual act as a power discriminator. Hence, dominant alpha “warriors” have submissive boys to bugger in your examples of societies which allowed homosexuality. Indeed, there does not appear to be much precedent for “equalist” homosexuality on the modern model in other times and cultures. Having typed a lot there, what I’m getting at is that this may explain why gay culture divides quite clearly into two groups of “butch” men with a cartoonishly hyper-masculine image, and effeminate “queens”- one group to play each dominance/submission role- and a very strong cultural emphasis on sado-masochism and power play.

    A third point is that, in my view, we must recognise that the current “left” is almost entirely American in creation; everyone in the West is following American invented political discourse and has since the 1960s. This is true on other issues such as race. The American construction of Civil Rights is specific to their constitutional system, and the current campaign for gay “marriage” is simply an echo of the American one, as is the “born gay” narrative. The latter was formulated purely to make gays eligible as a protected group under their legislation and Supreme Court decisions. You can’t get civil rights in the USA for simply a lifestyle choice.

    At the moment, everyone is blindly getting sucked into this American discourse. I think a major step forward would be for us all to recognise that. The only reason we have this “gay marriage” row going on is that the Americans are having it, just as our Left, enviously emulating Americans, had to construct a corresponding “racial” problem and our discourse on race has copied theirs ever since.

    Just my tuppence ha’penny in the old money, you know.

    ___
    [1] Fabian sexologist Havelock Ellis was impotent until, late in life, discovering that he was aroused by urolagnia[2]

    [2] If you see this on an Italian restaurant menu, avoid.

  5. djwebb2010

    Ian B, you are incorrect! Marriage was originally not required to be in church – people with children were assumed to have contracted a common-law marriage – and the marriage ceremony just made their “contract” public and became required from the mid-1500s onwards. If a civil marriage were just a forum for couples to take their vows – which were originally deemed to have been made in private – with no possibility of divorce, your argument would have some merit. It is the state’s right to quash the vows that downgrades marriage. Holding the marriages in registry offices appears to change the nature of the ceremony – the vows are made before the state and not before God – but if it were clear all along that the vows could never be quashed, it would still be a valid marriage. Marriage is a religious concept, because it is a vow. And vows are meaningless without belief in God.

  6. djwebb2010

    Ian B, I have now read the rest of your response. Pair-bonding has always happened – but marriage is not just a pair bond!!! Civil partnership is a pair bond! Marriage is an unbreakable vow before God that you will never foresake another person, cemented by the bearing of children, which relates one to the other. Pairing is just pairing up. What do I think of Chinese marriages? Well, as a member of the Church of England, I value our culture – and so in my eyes the marriages in those cultures are solemnized before the state, and not before God – they are ultimately civil partnerships because what the state has put together, the state can put asunder.

  7. David, I’m not quite sure what of what I said you think is wrong. As I said before, “common law” marriage is the oldest form of marriage in these islands. It had nothing to do with the Church, and predates Christianisation, as does marriage all over the globe.

    Marriage is a religious concept, because it is a vow. And vows are meaningless without belief in God.

    This is nonsense. Vows are a normal form of human contract which long predate Christianity or any of the modern forms of religion that have arisen over the past 2000 years. Marriage is not a religious concept, and neither are vows and contracts. Christianity is the Johnny-Come-Lately in this context. Simply put, people all over the world were getting married 3000 years ago, when God was just one tribal god in Canaan and nobody else had ever heard of him. Do you think the Pagan Romans didn’t get married? The Saxons? The Mesopotamians? Do you think they were all standing around saying, “well, I’d love to promise you something, but I can’t because nobody’s invented God yet”?

    Come on.

  8. ^^^Above comment was written before David’s second comment.

  9. So effectively then David, Mr and Mrs Patel who run my corner shop, they’re not actually married then? They’re just civil partners? You sure about this line of reasoning?

  10. djwebb2010

    Well, my sole point is whether the state can break the marriage contract. Bear that in mind.

    If Mr and Mrs Patel have children – then they can be deemed to be common-law spouses, “one flesh” by dint of their relationship to their children. That would be a valid marriage in any Christian theology.

    But the point I am making, which you are overlooking, is whether the vow can be broken by the state. The Church of England never accepted the validity of divorce (accept for kings and the occasional rich person, which required Acts of Parl) – the CofE was a historical take on Christianity – bearing in mind that Jesus Christ specifically stated in the gospels that divorce was acceptable in cases of adultery – a point not really accepted by classical Anglicanism.

    Mr and Mrs Patel are in the same situation as Mr and Mrs Smith next door – the state claims to be able to break all marriage vows. Which downgrades all marriages, including those in church, to the status of civil partnerships.

    My argument isn’t really about other cultures – they can do what they like – but about England. Various cultures have different takes on it – the Chinese don’t believe in God, but until recently divorce was difficult as it required the permission of the work unit (ie the Communist party-state). Muslims enter a marriage contract, but one that can be easily broken by saying I divorce thee three times. So it makes no sense to sit in England proclaiming a stance on other cultures and their marriage practices.

    I didn’t say “pair bonding” had to be for life – I specifically stated that registry office marriages should contain no “life long vow” wording and should be snappable by the state. But for those who choose to enter a life long vow conducted in church as a sacrament, the state should not jump in to claim the right to dissolve it. I expect that if we introduced these rules, the number of church weddings would fall sharply.

    Anyhow, you seem to have veered away from the topic of homosexuality.

  11. djwebb2010

    I meant “except” where I wrote “accept” just now…

  12. You veered first David. I wrote more about homosexuality in my first comment than about marriage.

  13. djwebb2010

    Ian B, have you taken a look at Jack Donovan’s website?

  14. David, i haven’t really time now, but I’ll make a point of perusing it later.

    I just want to clarify that my own position is in favour of gays being free to make whatever contracts and arrangements they wish, and that where it comes to the State I agree that-

    I think libertarians can be sympathetic to the idea that any committed people—including two sisters and communes of many individuals—should be able to register as “fiscal units”

    -indeed I have argued myself in many places that for instance two spinsters living together should be entitled to some State recognition for legal purposes (e.g. inheritance, next of kinship, etc), i.e. these relationships should not be tied to a sexual presumption. I am opposed to the idea of gay “marriage” though for cultural/historical grounds which is the point I was trying to make in my comment but which perhaps got lost i.e. that the word “marriage” is a human universal description of the committed, contractual male/female pair bond for family purposes.

    Reading your comments I wondered if you thought that I was trying to argue that marriage is nothing special and thus anyone can do it, whereas I was in fact trying to argue the opposite. The practise is so deep-rooted in human cultures (it is one of the few constants of human existence across time and geography) that to declare something else- in this case, two men together- as “marriage” simply makes no sense. Words have to have bounded meanings, otherwise it is as if the government can declare that anything that comes from a cow is cheese, if you see what I mean. The government can declare that milk is cheese, or that beef is cheese, but it still won’t be cheese.

    That’s my take on it.

  15. djwebb2010

    Well, Ian B, part of my purpose was to explain that “gay” men should avoid being used as the shock troops of extremist statist politics, which is what the official spokesmen of that movement are becoming, with support for anti-discrimination laws and the like. Most ordinary gay men don’t want to get married – and it would be more logical for gay men to attempt to fit into society than for them to expect society to adapt round them. If they don’t do that, I think there would be a very justifiable reason for vitriolic opposition to homosexuality: ie because the gays themselves were against social freedom and too statist in their outlook.

  16. djwebb2010

    In my version of this file I have changed the wording to say: “A resurgence of masculinity in society would be a good thing, for men of all sexual orientations, and as sexuality seems more fluid—I could well believe that 46% of men have felt attraction to a man at some point (the unattractiveness of the average British female may play a role in this)—more young men may experiment with sex with men than end up becoming gay per se. ” This is to avoid suggesting I am forecasting a wholesale adoption of androphilia – I am not – but merely suggesting that more straight men do experiment than before and they experiment more in terms of just trying sex with men than adopting the gay identity, which is offputting to many.

  17. I’ve written a long response to this essay on the LA-F list. In short the essay is a load of pompous conservative/religious hand-wringing and angst, and nothing to do with libertarianism or a genuine respect for liberty. There are some aspects with which i can agree but a lot of it is religious irrelevance (irrelevant from a libertarian perspective), confused and narrow minded miscomprehension, and a bizarre set of arguments for why “society” should be structured as the author wishes it should be.

  18. I’ll post my long reply here if there is demand but I won’t discuss it here since this environment is not conducive to long conversations. If you want to discuss it, best to come to the LA-F list.

  19. Do please post. Others will discuss.

  20. djwebb2010

    What is the LA-F list?

  21. I agree with much of what IanB says (except his quoted part actually discriminates against non-fiscal units) but don’t think he goes far enough.

    D.J. Webb has produced a piece of ill-considered, badly researched anti-factual tripe masquerading as libertarian writing.

    “homosexuality is a human foible”
    A foible is a weakness, or certainly a pejorative term so this is the start of his judgemental writing.

    “homosexuality seems to be much more prevalent among men than women”
    Not much more, slightly more.

    “[the cause of homosexuality] is as likely as not that current social policies that encourage marital breakdown lead to confused sexuality among boys, brought up without father figures”
    This is just church-based propaganda, scaremongering people to be against divorce and gay adoption. Unless you show some strong studies (and I’ve challenged religious people on this before) then the best I can say is that you’ve been duped by a bigoted group.

    “social and cultural factors are the main drivers of human sexuality”
    You’ve already said “[the reason men] are attracted to other men is ultimately unclear.” So which is it? Does it have ANY biological component? Science is unclear on this, do you have some insight?

    “Not only can homosexual couples—or, worse, lone homosexual individuals—adopt children today, opposition to such adoptions from the biological parents of children who have been taken into care is also ignored.”
    There is no evidence that homosexual couples are worse for the child than the average heterosexual couple. Your comment about lone homosexuals (male, I assume) adopting makes one think that we are placing a lamb into a lion’s cage. This is, without evidence of actual harm/danger, easily read as borderline bigotry. Generously one could interpret it as lone homosexual adoptive parents being poor for the child, but even that requires evidence.

    I’ll allow IanB’s comments on marriage to stand, only adding that most cultures (not people) have been polygamous (occasionally polyandrous). So much for the ‘nuclear’ family unit.

    You’re Christian (or Abrahimic, at least) privilege is in full sight when you talk of “one flesh” when the vast majority of marriages in history have never had such a ridiculous term since it comes from Genesis 2:21-4.

    “the nature of a vow is that it cannot be revoked”
    Which is the most un-libertarian thing you wrote. Imagine an employment vow (rather than contract), this would make one a slave.

    The state can dissolve a marriage because it is the state that enforces contracts, and that is all a marriage is.

    I do agree with some points you make, but the text surrounding it, in particular the parts I quoted, makes me question your reasons and makes me think that, on this issue, you’d be a poor champion of libertarian thought.

    • Peter W Watson

      This is a classic example of where Libertarians fail and fall into the neo-fascism of the “liberals”. Where’s the live and let live extended to those of us who do worship the God of Abraham? To me homosexuality is aberrant at best and certainly a perversion. Sneer at the Bible all you like but for health reasons alone certain sexual acts should be avoided. This is one place where we Bible believers are not going to shut up about something unnatural and sinful being presented as an equally valid lifestyle choice. Where do you draw the line? Bestiality? Pedophilia? What action is beyond the pale or are you actually libertine and not Libertarian?

  22. I’m really bored with more-libertarian-than-thou arguments. However, a word on numbers: We don’t know what percentage of any population is inclined to or practising any sexual act except those that produce a registered birth. Because sexuality is a matter on which there is endemic and probably wise lying, all figures are guesses, and are usually wishful guesses.

  23. djwebb2010

    Peter, the discussion could become insalubrious were we to discuss certain sexual practices in detail, and that is what I want to avoid. But I will just point out we are talking about homosexuality here – which is the attract of a man to a man – may I suggest that it is more likely than not that you have been attracted to another man in your life. Look, any “sexual acts best avoided for health reasons”, if I understand you right, are likely to be those that are practised in the heterosexual community too. I hate to shatter your world, but sodomy is practised between men and women!

  24. My answer is fairly simple. Consenting adults should be left alone unless what they do harms others as reasonably measured. That rules out paedophilia. It probably rules out much bestiality. But it covers homosexual acts. If this means some people get sent to hell, that must be their concern. Unless you believe that the acts of individuals bring punishment on the whole community, there is no argument for legal intervention.

  25. Peter W Watson

    djwebb – surely salubrious!? No I have not been attracted to a man in a sexual way. I like Clint Eastwood and Jason Statham but prefer Eve Green…. sin is endemic in the human race, we agree. My attraction to Libertarianism is in defence of the individual against an intrusive overbearing and more often a fascist State. I have discussed this with Sean and I revert to Philip van der Elste’s paper “A conservative critique of Libertarianism” – I am a conservative libertarian (shades of we have been here before) and conclude none of us will be happy under the current choices of government. The point at which the individual and the State depart is in my philosophy differentiated from where the individual and God do. I probably should toddle off as I do not think we are starting from the same presuppositions and I have a job to do. My world is not shattered by the way, don’t worry about it,.

  26. Peter,
    Where I meet your personal views is exactly where I meet homosexuals’ views, do as you please as long as you don’t harm any non-consenting adults (or non-adults).

    So believe what you want, preach it, research it, fund others to research it, do anything except try to use the power of the state (or others using force) to impose your world-view on others.

    The line is rather sensibly drawn at anything alive that can be harmed and is unable/unwilling to give informed consent. Which rules out paedophilia, date rape, much (if not all) of bestiality, but not necrophilia…

    Not drawing a line is not the same as being a libertine. The fact I do draw a line does not mean I am willing to go anywhere near that line myself, it merely shows where I (or others acting on my behalf [a state]) would intervene when I see others go beyond. I readily accept that this line will be different for various people but all arguments you propose to have the line (undoubtedly) further towards the mainstream than I would like are based on illogical (Biblical) or illiberal (consenting adults inflicting health risks/pain on each other should be stopped) arguments. That doesn’t mean you’re wrong, just that your arguments won’t have much sway in the non-religious parts of the libertarian community.

  27. djwebb2010

    Peter – you don’t seem to have noticed, but I am also on the conservative wing of libertarianism.

  28. @keddaw
    > D.J. Webb has produced a piece of ill-considered,
    > badly researched anti-factual tripe masquerading
    > as libertarian writing.
    [...]
    > I do agree with some points you make, but the
    > text surrounding it, in particular the parts I quoted,
    > makes me question your reasons and makes me
    > think that, on this issue, you’d be a poor
    > champion of libertarian thought.

    Well said to this and to the rest of your message. My own reply (originally posted on LA-F) says much the same things, albeit rather more long-windedly.

  29. @Dr Sean Gabb
    > Do please post. Others will discuss.
    It’s a really, really long message for the blog comment format but ok, I will post it. Discussing it here will be really clumsy (blog comments just aren’t made for that kind discussion) so I encourage people to discuss it on LA-F if they can.

    @djwebb2010
    > What is the LA-F list?
    LA-F is the “Libertarian Alliance – Forum”, a long-running discussion mail list (founded in 2000) hosted on Yahoo Groups. You can read it either via Yahoo’s web interface (which isn’t very good in my opinion) or by email. I definitely recommend email for ease of viewing, threading, and quoting. You can join via Yahoo’s web interface here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/libertarian-alliance-forum

  30. This is the response I wrote on LA-F earlier today. Sorry it’s so long. Apologies also for any formatting issues or typos.

    (For a much shorter message saying effectively the same things see keddaw’s message above dated 9 May, 2012 at 3:25 pm).

    —————————–

    Why did I say “Pompous tit”? Here’s why.

    > Furthermore, it is fair to say that homosexuality is so widely found in
    > human societies and across the ages that, while not being the
    > statistical norm, it must be described as a natural phenomenon.
    > Societies need to be reproduced, and should not be based purely around
    > sexual urges, and so homosexuality cannot be thought of as a potential
    > building block of society, but homosexuality is a /human foible/ that
    > will always exist in society.

    This comes across to me as remarkably arrogant and pompous: So “society” (whatever the author intends to mean by the term) is defined by reproduction, in the author’s view. That’s a bit narrow-minded. What is
    this society of which he writes? Why should its members not define their
    purpose for themselves? We here are libertarians and so we concern
    ourselves with the choices and preferences of the individual. Not all
    individuals, homosexual or not, wish to reproduce.

    Thus it seems to me that active homosexuality is as much a legitimate
    building block of “society”, i.e. a personal preference of individuals,
    as is active heterosexuality or even (homosexual or heterosexual)
    abstinence. Both homosexuality and heterosexuality are something that
    people in “society” (I understand the term to mean people in the
    population at large) feel as a personal preference and thus they are
    both, de facto, building blocks of “society”.

    To consider homosexuality a “human foible” is to consider all personal
    preference (or even conscious choice) a “foible”. That is the socialist
    way of thinking, that is the politically correct way of thinking: It
    classifies some things as “correct” and others as “incorrect”. Whilst,
    as a libertarian, I fully accept that individuals are of course free to
    hold such an opinion, it’s not something that I think libertarians could
    agree with. Libertarians surely do not make judgement for or on behalf of other
    people.

    > and homosexuality seems to be much more
    > prevalent among men than women

    What gives the author that idea?

    > it
    > is as likely as not that current social policies that encourage marital
    > breakdown lead to confused sexuality among boys, brought up without
    > father figures.

    Holy good gravy. When was this thing written? 2012 or 1812?

    > I tend to
    > believe that the genetic instinct gives us the sexual urge, without
    > specifying in detail the kinds of human beings that are to be regarded
    > as sexually attractive.

    An interesting observation. (No, not a pompous or arrogant one this
    time. ;-) ).

    > There is a problem for conservatives here

    This does seem to be written with a rather repressed, non-libertarian
    audience in mind.

    > so we generally call
    > for a restoration of our traditional cultural norms

    I am sure they aren’t the same for me as for the article author!

    I only call for the state to get out of my affairs so I can create my
    own “cultural norm” as I see fit.

    > there has
    > for centuries been widespread practice of homosexuality among public
    > schoolboys.

    An interesting generalisation. It wasn’t widespread in my own public
    school experience. It was pretty rare, actually. But I accept that my
    experience is one person’s experience only and in two ‘public’ schools only.

    My own impression about homosexuality in public boys’ schools is that it
    was mostly more to do with perception than reality. I am sure it
    happened and still happens but I rather think it’s less prevalent than
    people might like to think.

    > It would be a gross misunderstanding to state that homosexuality has
    > always been accepted, but England would not have been England without
    > its undercurrent of relationships or sexual activity between men. Given
    > that the Christian church is widely seen, even by its supporters, to
    > have erred in many of the details of its teachings (e.g., on the
    > Creation), I am wondering whether an English traditionalist approach
    > could be devised that accepted the niche role of the church, and its
    > architecture, liturgy and music, as a valued part of our culture, while
    > also seeing that prohibitions against harmless private behaviour need to
    > be downplayed, especially where state sanctions are involved.

    Why should we care? What’s this got to do with reality today?

    > libertarians could not support the criminalisation of
    > homosexual acts, giving the state, as it would, the right to investigate
    > what is going on in private bedrooms and behind closed doors.

    Naturally I agree with this (and I am glad to see the author say it) but
    I can’t help feel that the intended audience of this article (which I
    infer from the overall style of disapproval of the article) would be
    shocked to see this.

    > It is not necessarily something a cultured person would engage
    > in

    LOL! Oh the naive presumption, the pomposity, the self-centred
    disapproval, for the author to think he can define what is “cultured”
    like this.

    Again, clearly the author is, as is everyone, welcome to define
    “cultured” as whatever he wants for himself. But for him to write in
    such a presumptuous way in an article published in a libertarian
    environment is surely to invite ridicule.

    > but we are talking about the laws of a free country here. Sex behind
    > bushes in known gay cruising grounds is not at all the same thing as
    > similar behaviour out in the open in a way that would offend most people.

    Despite the author’s pomposity above, I can surely agree with this as a
    libertarian.

    > It is sometimes claimed that one cannot be a libertarian without
    > supporting homosexuality. Is that really so?

    Who claims that? Surely a libertarian supports only the right for each
    and every person to think and act as they wish without harming others
    against their will.

    Thus a libertarian, to my mind, does not need to support homosexuality
    in others and can even be against homosexuality in others but will
    obviously not attempt to prevent others from engaging in consensual
    homosexual acts, nor will they support any law that seeks to prevent
    people from engaging in such acts.

    > I ask those who have, as it were, been in bondage and for whom the
    > prison doors are now open to show their thanks by comporting themselves
    > quietly and with dignity. This is no occasion for jubilation; certainly
    > not for celebration. Any form of ostentatious behaviour; now or in the
    > future any form of public flaunting, would be utterly distasteful and
    > would, I believe, make the sponsors of the Bill regret that they have
    > done what they have done.

    Ah, the cliché of the repressed Brit. Not everyone, gay or straight,
    needs to be so boringly straight-laced! Let people celebrate if they
    want, for any reason they want!

    I wonder if he got or intended the bondage joke.

    > Homosexuals must continue to remember that
    > while there may be nothing bad in being a homosexual, there is certainly
    > nothing good.

    Doh, just like heterosexuality then. If it’s ok to celebrate being
    alive, being heterosexual, or getting a new watch, then it’s equally ok
    to celebrate being gay.

    Stop trying to be a boring conservative, telling people when and where
    they can or can’t celebrate. Instead be a libertarian — leave people to
    decide when, how and *why* they celebrate!

    > Lest the opponents of the Bill think that a new freedom, a
    > new privileged class, has been created

    So he thought that celebrating the liberty of one’s sexuality represents
    “a new privileged class”. I bet he was a fun guy at a party…

    Celebrating doesn’t represent being a “privileged class”. It represents
    happiness and pleasure, a feeling which all humans are surely free to
    enjoy and express.

    > Yet the gay agenda has developed along more or less
    > extreme lines that Lord Arran indicated would have made the sponsors of
    > the 1967 Bill regret their actions.

    I really don’t see this, other than that some people see things in terms
    of a conservative fear of liberty for others.

    > Not only can homosexual couples—or,
    > worse, lone homosexual individuals—adopt children today, opposition to
    > such adoptions from the biological parents of children who have been
    > taken into care is also ignored.

    That does not seem to me to represent an unfair advantage for
    homosexuality. It is simply what one would reasonably and fairly expect,
    surely.

    > Civil partnerships were a further
    > development that seemed to chip away at social norms

    What “social norm” is this? Surely, in a nation where the state grants
    advantages to certain types of relationship, it is only to be expected
    that homosexual relationships could obtain the same advantages? Why
    would it be otherwise?

    The ideal libertarian approach, of course, would be to remove any advantage conferred by the state for *any* type of relationship. But we’re not the ones making the decisions here.

    > and now the
    > government is talking about introducing “gay marriage”

    If the state recognises “heterosexual marriage” then there certainly
    seems to be no substantive reason why it should also recognise “gay
    marriage”. As a genuine libertarian I can see no real difference.
    Marriage is marriage, surely.

    Of course, as above, as a libertarian I’d prefer it even more if the
    state got its nose out of people relationships entirely but, in a world
    where that is not going to happen, it is surely more libertarian and
    more ethical to cease differentiating artificially between different
    sorts of marriage and simply treat marriage as marriage.

    It is surely not for the state to define what is a politically correct
    marriage and a politically incorrect (and thus disallowed) marriage? As
    libertarians we should always be against political correctness and so
    should support the right and ability of people to live as they choose
    and, if the the state insists in continuing to stick its nose in, then
    it should not stand in the way of people living as they choose.

    > as if marriage
    > were not originally a religious concept in the first place.

    Even if true, the world has moved on. Right now in the state in which we live, marriage is defined by the state. Whilst, as I said twice above, I’d
    like to see the state get out of defining relationships and conferring
    special status or advantage on some, while it does this it does seem to
    suit the cause of liberty for the state to recognise marriages between
    homosexuals.

    Note that this is the case even if you disapprove of homosexuality! A
    libertarian, even one who disapproves of homosexuality, will recognise
    that liberty has been increased and applied more broadly when the state
    recognises all marriages, rather than just some. Sure, that same
    libertarian, like me, might prefer it if the state got out of the
    relationship business but while it’s in the relationship business this
    is going to be an improvement.

    > much of this
    > appears to many to be intent on creating a minority of people privileged
    > by the state by dint of their statistically deviant behaviour.

    That is a clearly inaccurate assessment. What perverse logic did the
    article author use to come this conclusion?

    If heterosexual couples can get married and be recognised by the state
    then it is not a “privilege” for homosexual couples to do exactly the
    same. In fact there is no “privilege” whatsoever for either heterosexual
    or homosexual couples in this. They are both on the same footing.

    > I pity the child
    > who is adopted by order of the state by two men or two women, simply to
    > make a political point.

    I quite agree, if the aim is to make a political point. But of course
    placing a child with a heterosexual couple “simply to make a political
    point” would be just as bad.

    The thing that one should not lose sight of is that two particular men
    or two particular women might (or might not) actually, in reality, make
    good parents, just as any particular heterosexual couple might (or might
    not) make good parents. It all depends on the individuals concerned
    (both wouldbe parents and children) and their personal dynamic mixes. As
    ever as libertarians, we should surely see that it is the individuals
    that count and not base our opinions on generalisations.

    > There is nothing
    > libertarian about extremist policies to the contrary.

    I wholeheartedly agree. Who would be in favour of placing any children
    with any parents, regardless of their sexual orientation, for mere
    extremist policy.

    That’s why I, as a libertarian, think that it is the individuals, all of
    them, and how they get on that matter. If a child fits best with
    male-male parents or male-female or female-female parents then so be it.
    As a libertarian, even if I was one who disapproved of homosexuality, I
    could not honestly make any presuppositions about what would be best for any particular child. It would have to depend on the individuals.

    > As far as civil partnerships are concerned, it is argued that taxation
    > and inheritance systems treat married couples differently from single
    > people, and so men in long-term relationships need ways of avoiding
    > being treated as single people.

    Who argues that? Do you take them seriously? That seems absurd to me.

    > I think libertarians can be sympathetic
    > to the idea that any committed people—including two sisters and communes
    > of many individuals—should be able to register as “fiscal units”

    Seems good (as a less good alternative to the state getting out of the
    relationship business, of course).

    > although “ceremonies” organised by
    > the state that appear to mimic marriage should end

    Who cares. If the state is involved it will do what it does.

    > civil partnership
    > should be a simple application form in the post, and if the individuals
    > concerned wish to have a party, then it would be up to them to organise it.

    By the same token, so should heterosexual marriage. There seems to be no libertarian basis to differentiate. I.e. Let people choose what they
    want and how it should appear, and keep the state out of it as far as
    possible.

    > heterosexual marriage was downgraded to the status now
    > occupied by civil partnerships.

    No, there is still a difference, albeit one that is minor.

    > For marriage is not about becoming a
    > “fiscal unit” for the purposes of state revenue collection

    Who says? It certainly can be in reality. Again, as a libertarian I can
    have no objection to people marrying for this reason. I might personally
    disapprove of marrying for such reasons (in fact I do disapprove) but I
    cannot object to it in general or say that it is not the purpose of
    marriage, since clearly other people disagree and have every right to
    choose their own path.

    > in Christian
    > theology, a man and a woman become “one flesh”

    That’s no longer relevant in the context we’re discussing (and certainly isn’t relevant from a libertarian perspective).

    > Although not originally
    > related to each other, matrimony makes them one flesh, relatives of each
    > other, a suitable state in which to approach the bearing of children.

    Ohhh, very conservative. Whilst, as ever, you are entitled to your
    opinion, it’s not one that can be applied to other people. Any attempt
    to do so is not compatible with libertarianism.

    > Two men cannot become “one flesh” in this way, precisely because they
    > cannot have children together.

    In which reality do you think this matters?

    Clearly to you it matters but, if you are a libertarian, you will not
    apply this reasoning to others. If two men wish to define themselves as
    “one flesh” and be married then that is surely their right. You can
    disapprove but, as a libertarian, you stand up for their right so to do.

    > Similarly, marriage is a vow in the sight
    > of God.

    I don’t believe in god and thus cannot make a vow in “his” sight, but I
    could still get married. Whilst, as I always say, you are entitled to
    your beliefs, it does seem to me that they are getting difficult to
    reconcile with a genuine belief in personal liberty.

    > Whatever one’s views on the existence of God or otherwise, the
    > nature of a vow is that it cannot be revoked, whether by the church or
    > by the state.

    Ah, very old fashioned. However, vows are a form of agreement and as a
    libertarian I recognise that agreements can be rescinded by mutual
    agreements between the parties. A “vow” is nothing different in this
    regard. A “vow” is not a form of magic. It really is just an agreement
    that stands unless and until a new agreement takes it place.

    > A solemn vow binds the individual for life (and I include
    > here the Coronation Oath and judicial and political oaths of office)

    No. I fundamentally disagree. If you make a contract you should always
    be able to unmake it.

    > To
    > claim that the state can “divorce” a couple makes a mockery of the vow,
    > and means the couple were not really “one flesh” all along: civil
    > marriage is therefore just civil partnership.

    You seem to take it all way too seriously.

    Furthermore, on this basis, it seems clear to me that there is no good
    reason why marriage as defined by the state and civil partnership as
    defined by the state should not be merged. Neither one is any more
    special than the other.

    Let people who believe as you do get married in church (with or without
    state recognition, as they wish). But none of this is any reason to
    preserve special state privilege for heterosexual marriage.

    > The reason why I oppose “gay marriage” is that the state cannot make
    > anyone “one flesh”.

    But it doesn’t propose to. In your mind this is clearly important but to
    most people it seems like an irrelevance. Whatever you think of the
    issue, there seems to be no good, substantive or real reason to stand in
    the way of greater liberty: I.e. Allowing homosexual couples to have the
    same state recognised relationship as heterosexual couples. The current
    situation of special privilege for some is not morally sustainable. The
    issue of “one flesh” is nothing to do with it as far as the state is
    concerned.

    > It is a detail of Christian theology that the
    > sacrament of matrimony does accomplish this in the case of a man and a
    > woman and this theology is backed up by the biological reality that a
    > man and a woman do become related to each other (“one flesh”) by their
    > joint relationship to and through their children.

    Fine for churchgoers but wholly irrelevant for everyone else and
    certainly irrelevant in this context.

    Why does this bother you? Are you a libertarian or a christian? It seems
    that your beliefs are in conflict over this issue.

    You cannot support greater liberty for all (i.e. through equalisation of
    state-issued privilege) if you also believe that the greater liberty
    should only be applied to special cases because of what are, to be
    honest, arbitrary considerations.

    If you purport to believe in liberty, in other words if you claim to be
    a libertarian, then you must believe in it without limitation, even at
    the same time as disapproving of certain people who have that liberty.

    > Even if the state
    > hands out certificates saying two men are “married”, they cannot be
    > married

    If it says so then they are, to the state’s satisfaction. That is the
    aim. That is the point here. Why do you have a problem with that? It
    would be an improvement on the current situation at least since the
    liberty to be married (as the state sees it) would be more widely spread
    than at present. As a libertarian I can see no way to be anything other
    than pleased with an increase in liberty and a reduction in special
    privilege. (Of course, I’d still like the state to get out of such
    things entirely but, as I said above, in a world where that is not going
    to happen, any movement towards greater liberty by the state is to be
    appreciated).

    Sure, you can disapprove of gay couples being called “married” and you
    can personally prefer to think of them as “not married” if you want, but
    you still seem to be intent on applying your personal views over other
    people! Be a libertarian: Accept that other people will consider
    themselves married where you will not.

    > any more than UK passports handed out to Africans make them
    > truly British.

    If someone holds a UK passport then they are, by definition, British.
    What more is there to it? Britishness via passport is a status that is
    wholly defined by the state, as things stands. Indeed, it has no other
    definition that I can think of.

    I am guessing here that you will talk about “culture”. So go on, define
    what cultural or other traits make a person “British” as you see it.

    I’ve got to say that I suspect that the answer is very unlikely to be
    one that most libertarians would be willing to put their name to.

    I also suspect that you might accuse me of having fallen for political
    correctness, specifically that I have been taken in by the alleged idea
    that cultural connections have no meaning. Not so. I recognise that
    there are cultures and that they can clash and that some don’t get on.
    However, to go from this and try to define some sort of “British
    culture” is equally silly as claiming that there are no cultures or that
    people’s cultures don’t matter. I simply do not think it is meaningful
    to define “Britishness” by a person’s culture because there is, and
    never has been, any fixed or consistent way of perceiving what is
    “British” and what is not. One can, at best, look at generalisations and
    stereotypes and clichés but to think of these as really defining
    anything in detail would be, to my mind, a triumph of arm-waving
    desperation and desire for something that seems lost but never really
    existed over a pragmatic observation that, for libertarians at least, it
    is individualism that counts and what each person makes of their own
    perception and reality of their own culture.

    > I would like to abolish divorce too and go for a
    > dual-track approach: if you wish to get married in church, to take
    > solemn vows, which may or may not mean anything to any Supreme Being
    > that may exist, then the state cannot declare those vows defunct; but if
    > you wish merely to get married “in the eyes of the state”, then a man
    > and woman should be able to send a civil partnership application form to
    > the government in the way I outlined above or enter a civil partnership
    > at a registry office, in the same way that two men can.

    I have to say that, despite my previous criticism, that sounds
    reasonable, as far as it goes. But if we’re making suggestions for
    substantive change then let me suggest:

    1) That the state should play no part whatsoever in recognising or
    providing special privilege for any relationship of any sort by anyone.

    2) That marriage in church should be solely a matter between the
    individual participants and their church and the rules that they agree
    on. (Note also that there are many sorts of church, so there are
    churches that will recognise homosexual marriage, polygamous marriage,
    and so on. All these have equal validity as I see it).

    > Such civil
    > partnerships should not contain solemn vows

    You seem to persist in thinking that “solemn vows” are somehow different
    to any other sort of agreement. To me that looks like a belief in magic
    or superstition! Surely a “vow” (“solemn” or otherwise) is
    in reality indistinguishable from any other kind of agreement and is thus
    dissoluble if the original parties to it agree,

    Nevertheless, I recognise that you would like there to be some sort of
    agreement that lasts forever where the parties genuinely agree to such a
    term. As a libertarian I naturally take the view that you are free to
    form such agreements with like minded others but, of course, I can see
    no reason for you to support imposing such an agreement on those who
    don’t want it. Let them choose or form a church that allows them their
    own variety of agreement, and you can choose your church.

    I suppose the issue I have with your writing is that you seem to be
    implying that everyone should work in a manner to suit your particular
    religious beliefs. I don’t think that’s very libertarian. What would be
    more libertarian would surely be to write in a manner that makes it
    clear that your suggestions are only intended to apply to those people
    who willingly choose to share your specific beliefs. It would only be a
    subtle change but it would stop you very often looking like a
    conservative writing for a conservative audience, and make you look
    rather more like what I understand you to claim to be, a libertarian.

    > however,
    > that libertarians should not officially take a position against gay
    > marriage for tactical reasons.

    Nothing to do with reasons of libertarian principle then? I.e. The
    improvement and expansion of liberty (within the environment in which we
    exist).

    > People must be free to express their views on homosexuality. Yet
    > the spread of notions of political correctness appears to turn people
    > into “tolerance machines”, people whose views have all been decided for
    > them by the state, and who have no business other than to repeat the
    > views intoned in the media and the education system.

    I agree.

    However, and this is an important semantic issue, I’d say that
    “tolerance” is precisely what we as libertarians advocate. I.e. You can
    “tolerate” whilst disapproving, disliking, or even disrespecting.

    The politically correct state and its supporters instead seek to turn
    people into “respect machines”, people who “respect differences”. This
    goes further than mere tolerance: It requires people to “take on board”
    differences and even to celebrate them where one does not wish to.

    Tolerance = libertarian
    Respect (enforced if necessary) = political correctness

    In my view we should be careful about these words as we can fall into the trap set my those who support political correctness.

    > For this reason, I
    > am reluctant to say that libertarians “should” feel favourably or
    > unfavourably disposed to homosexuality.

    Indeed. A libertarian does not say what others “should” do or not do or think in this context other than, of course, that all libertarians
    should leave others to think and act as they please.

    > People, including libertarians,
    > who are instinctively averse to homosexuality, as I am to lesbianism,
    > should feel no compunction about saying so, although, as stated above,
    > support for state sanctions for homosexuality is another issue entirely,
    > well beyond any reasonable turf for any real libertarian.

    Yes, fully agreed.

    Have you thought through how your christian beliefs seem, from some of
    what you have written, to conflict with these libertarian precepts?

    > All laws designed to “enforce” acceptance of homosexuality should be
    > abolished.

    I agree. Equally, all laws designed to enforce non-acceptance of
    homosexuality or to offer special privilege any group should be
    abolished, e.g. laws that offer special privilege based upon certain
    types of state-recognised relationship. If we are to be libertarians we
    can’t have it one way and not the other as well.

    > Not only do people have to be careful at work nowadays how
    > they express themselves on the subject—the authorities are only too
    > eager to destroy the careers of those who step out of line—laws against
    > freedom of association are also being used to crush dissent. In 2011,
    > _two gay men won £3,600 in damages after being turned away from a bed
    > and breakfast guesthouse in Cornwall_
    > and
    > a _number of similar cases have come to light_
    > .
    > Such “discrimination” is illegal, and it seems gay men have a licence to
    > cash in where they know the owners of a B&B are Christians.

    I agree. That was absurd. I fully agree that everyone should be free to
    run their lives and their businesses as they wish, even on a prejudiced
    (however one defines that) basis.

    > Anti-discrimination laws are a fundamental plank in a coercive approach
    > to creating a multi-cultural society. Nevertheless, particularly in the
    > case of family-run businesses, the owners have the right—the moral
    > right, not the legal right—to offer their services to customers on
    > whatever basis they choose. It is undoubtedly more than a little petty
    > for B&B owners to lay down rules on who can sleep in double beds, but
    > their religious or political beliefs may be strongly held, and it is not
    > for anyone else to tell them they may not act upon them. In the case of
    > large hotels or other non-family-run businesses, I think the principle
    > still applies, that the /owners/ of the business have the right to
    > specify who they will serve. But in the case of large companies, it
    > should be the shareholders, at an annual general meeting, who decide,
    > and not some little Hitler of a manager who doesn’t even own the
    > company. I think it highly unlikely the shareholders of any company
    > would demand discriminatory policies, as companies have an interest in
    > expanding their customer bases, and so the issue only really crops up
    > with small family-run businesses, giving the lie to the claim that laws
    > against discrimination are required to enable gay men and other favoured
    > minorities to function in society.

    I agree. The key point is: It should not be for the state to decide
    these things.

    > Finally, equality before the law should be re-established. This means
    > that laws labelling certain crimes as “hate crimes” and imposing stiffer
    > penalties on them should be abolished. This is not the same thing as
    > supporting hate crimes—I don’t support them—but surely it makes sense
    > for the law to criminalise assault and battery of all members of society
    > to an equal degree, without distinction.

    Well said. I can see no moral justification for pretending that harm
    caused through hatred is somehow worse than the same harm caused by some other motivation. It seems to be an example of that left wing idea of
    “sending out a message” that some things are worse than others in the eyes of the state.

    > Firstly, I think it important to state that, in extreme situations, such
    > as wartime, all members of society have to be prepared to defend that
    > society.

    An interesting statement to see from someone who purports to be a
    libertarian. As a libertarian, I am only willing to support or defend a
    “society” that a) I actually recognise, and b) that I wish to survive. I
    do not recognise any general obligation to defend any particular “society”.

    Your use of language is potentially dangerous as I see it. Why? Because it looks like you could be making the authoritarian error or defining how otherpeople should act. It’s up to them, surely.

    > That is what membership of society means.

    To you, maybe. But please don’t generalise or suggest that others should
    see it your way, merely because you say so. Which “society”? What do you mean by “society”? I could easily be a member of a “society”, as I see
    it, that I would be happy to see dissolved or fail. There is no
    presumption in this.

    > Maybe some
    > libertarians would claim that conscription should not be implemented in
    > a free society.

    Indeed. Conscription is incompatible with liberty.

    > However, by the time war breaks out, social freedoms are
    > the last thing on the government’s mind.

    What government? The government is not “society”.

    > Warfare, especially when the
    > nation is under attack, and not attacking other countries, is an extreme
    > event, and many of the social niceties disappear overnight.

    It depends whose side you’re on, if any. Seriously, you are making all
    sorts of presumptions about how people should act in particular
    circumstances. Your presumptions carry no validity outside of yourself
    and those who choose to think like you. I wish you would not write as if
    they do. If you are writing about your own personal opinion which you
    have no expectation of anyone else adhering to then it would surely be
    better to write in such a fashion as to make this clear.

    > Consequently, I am opposed to allowing conscientious objectors to absent
    > themselves from the armed forces while others are being conscripted.

    Ah, so you are really not a libertarian at all. You really do wish to
    impose your view of right and wrong over others. You do realise that
    this is wholly incompatible with what most people recognise as
    libertarianism, don’t you. Any state that does this is an enemy, no matter what the emergency!

    > However, I see no reason why military discipline should not require
    > decorum of members of the armed forces, and “camp” behaviour or constant
    > ribald discussion of gay sex in army barracks in a way likely to give
    > rise to offence, should be deemed to contravene military discipline.

    From what I understand of the armed forces, it doesn’t take
    anything even remotely gay for “camp” behaviour and constant ribald
    discussion (of anything and everything) to occur in army barracks!
    Seriously, if all this is what worries you then it’s already too late
    (and has been for centuries).

    > Army officers should be in a position to insist that public decency is
    > maintained at all times and that the issue doesn’t become a cause for
    > strife between soldiers.

    Quite so, but this is not an issue that is limited to homosexuality.
    Indeed, the army has enough problems along these lines regardless of
    homosexuality. Seriously, homosexuality is not the problem here.

    This is a trait I have noticed from wannabe-libertarian conservatives:
    They get very worried about the effect of homosexuality in certain
    quarters but fail to realise that the things that worry them are a
    problem *regardless* of homosexuality. They ascribe to homosexuality a
    significance and effect that it does not have (other than inside their
    own heads).

    > Interestingly, as sexuality becomes politicised, it has also become more
    > fluid. The women of England seem to be getting less feminine as the men
    > of England become less masculine.

    I really don’t think is true. It seems to me more of a generational
    thing: The complete and utter lack of comprehension of one generation by
    another.

    Painfully I too am now beginning to see this, as I enter middle age. I
    see it especially in the younger generation’s choices particularly in relation to computer technology. Consumerisation and content-consuming rather than content-creation, mobile and lightweight over more static and more capable, is the thing for the younger generation. I don’t like it and I fear where it is leading and I think I know better, but here is the
    truth: I am now of an older generation and the new generation know (or
    think they know) better. Like it or not, they are going to win.

    > One example of this is the metrosexual
    > phenomenon, of which the football player, David Beckham, is one example.
    > Young “straight” men today worry about their appearance more than
    > before, have more creams and potions in their bathroom cabinets, and
    > even engage in what I regard as the unmanly habit of shaving their body
    > hair.

    ROFL! Quite… you read into generational differences far more than is
    really there. To you, these things seem to have certain meanings. To the
    people who do them, they do not have the significance that you attach to them.

    > When I was a teenager, such things would have been seen as
    > effeminate.

    But not now. Indeed, they are not effeminate. They just *look* *like*
    *it* *you*. You fail to comprehend a generation of which you are not a
    part. I don’t say that as an accusation: It is a part of growing older
    which we all must do, if we’re lucky.

    But it is worth recognising it in oneself in order to see how one’s
    opinions might be seen as absurd and painfully out of touch by others…

    If you aim to bring about change then it helps to be aware of this.

    > The days when heterosexuality meant raw masculinity are long gone.

    Did it ever, really, at least for very long? Trends come and go. What
    about the dandies of the 18th or early 19th Centuries? What about the
    celebration of the (rather effeminate to my eyes) male form in ancient
    Greece? There are all sorts of examples and counter-examples. What this
    suggests to me is that you may well be mourning for a loss of something
    that either never really existed or, if it did exist, was not as
    significant as you perceive it to be. Certainly, as I see it, other
    things matter more.

    > I think libertarians could lament the
    > decline of masculinity.

    Nah, that would be really small minded. It would be missing the point.

    > Would “real men” have allowed their
    > primary-school-age children to be bombarded with propaganda on anal sex?

    Depends on how you define “propaganda”. To my mind, “real men” carefully question people who refer to information they don’t seem to like as “propaganda”…

    > If many of the
    > “straight” lads are a good deal more effeminate than some of the gay
    > men, then who are the real pansies?

    This entire question and line of thought is… how can I put
    it… utterly ridiculous. You do realise that this question long since
    ceased to have any real meaning. In order to ask it you have to have so
    many implicit preconceived notions and prejudices that it is difficult
    to know whether you mean it seriously are are writing a self-parody.

    > and the gay
    > culture that has been created around it seems to categorise gay men as
    > soft, soppy, sissyish, something that homosexual acts were not
    > associated with in ancient Greece.

    Again, this does not reflect the reality that I am aware of. From what I
    know of it, “gay” culture covers a vast range of lifestyles, from the
    incredibly masculine to the “sissyish” that you perceive. There’s a
    whole lot in between. To say that “gay culture [...] seems to categorise
    gay men as soft, soppy, sissyish” is wholly incorrect as a generalisation. You are viewing something of which you know little through a very narrow field of view. Your generalisations seem to me to be erroneous.

    What I wonder is why, as a purported libertarian, you want to generalise
    about something which should really be of no concern to you. It’s none
    of your business, even if you disapprove of its existence!

    > But a glance at the gay club scene also turns up dungeons, leather and
    > chains

    Actually so does the heterosexual club scene. There is nothing even
    remotely unique to homosexuality about BDSM! BSDM is a very widespread motif amongst all sexual genres. If you haven’t seen this then you’re not looking in the right places.

    > and one could also question whether anal sex (not the only form
    > of gay sex, it should be added) is really sissyish at all

    Hmm… Depends how it’s done, surely!

    > The word gay has never described mere homosexuality. Gay is a
    > subculture, a slur, a set of gestures, a slang, a look, a posture, a
    > parade, a rainbow flag, a film genre, a taste in music, a hairstyle, a
    > marketing demographic, a bumper sticker, a political agenda and
    > philosophical viewpoint.

    All of those, yes, but fundamentally also none of them. Like the word
    “libertarian” or “liberal”, different people (whether homosexual or not)
    define it in different ways. It has so little meaning that to get worked
    up about it in general is utterly meaningless. Deal with individuals and
    specifics; don’t generalise.

    > Gay is a pre-packaged, superficial persona—a
    > lifestyle.

    Well, no. or, at least, not in general. Maybe for some, not for others.
    Stop bloody generalising! It’s not helping you.

    > It’s a sexual identity that has almost nothing to do with
    > sexuality.

    Er… whilst it means many different things to many different people, it
    is usually dependent on being homosexual, you know. That is one
    generalisation that er… generally holds true. ;-)

    > The gay
    > sensibility is a near-oblivious embrace of a castrating slur, the
    > non-stop celebration of an age-old, emasculating stigma applied to men
    > who engaged in homosexual acts.

    Hmm… Are you actually gay? Is this how you see yourself?

    > Gays and radical queers imagine that
    > they challenge the status quo, but in appropriating the stigma of
    > effeminacy, they merely conform to and confirm long-established
    > expectations.

    Are you presuming to speak for a group that you see to have little real
    awareness of, or are you in fact a “gay” or “radical queer” questioning your own sexuality?

    > Homosexual men have been paradoxically cast as the enemies
    > of masculinity—slaves to the feminist pipe dream of a ‘gender-neutral’
    > (read: anti-male, pro-female) world.

    Where do you get these generalisations from? From this “society” of yours?

    > I don’t know how far Jack Donovan’s ideas on masculinity and androphilia
    > will spread, but I think it is at least possible that the relationship
    > between homosexuality and effeminacy (or, conversely, between
    > heterosexuality and masculinity) is breaking down, and it would be
    > interesting to see the outcome.

    What you perceive as breaking down may never have really existed in the
    way you think of it. You seem to have very particular views on things
    from a very particular angle that have little to do with how I have
    experienced the world. What country do you live in?

    Why all the angst about what it means to be “gay”? Are you thinking of
    coming out?

    > Real sex, whether between men and women or between two men, is
    > without intervention of rubber.

    Is that a view inspired by superstition?

    > Same-sex marriage, however good its proponents believe it might be for
    > homosexuals, is essentially an attempt to subvert the cultural primacy
    > of the reproductive family

    What “cultural primacy of the reproductive family”? Really, what the
    hell are you on about? Are you a libertarian or not? If you are, then
    stop fretting about these irrelevancies of mass “culture” and get on
    with supporting anything which enhances liberty (as far as it can be
    enhanced within the existing system). Extending state recognition of
    marriage to homosexual couples is surely a step in that very direction.
    I really do not recognise what “the cultural primacy of the reproductive
    family” even means. Can you explain it?

    > Gays will not allow themselves to consider
    > the fact that this spells death for civilizations

    So let’s be clear here: You are actually saying that the state
    recognising marriages between homosexuals, as it currently recognises
    marriages between heterosexuals, will spell death for civilisation?

    Are you taking the piss? Seriously… come on… this is a parody, isn’t it?

    Good grief man… this is a simple issue of liberty. If one group has a
    special privilege available to them, then so should all groups (if
    special state-endorsed privileges are to exist at all, which ideally
    they would not). Stop making it into something it’s not.

    Yes, you are naturally free to disapprove but if you’re going to call
    yourself a libertarian then stop fretting about it because it’s not
    compatible with your particular idea of christianity!

    > and that society has
    > a rational interest in promoting big, patriarchal families above all
    > other arrangements.

    Does it? Who says? Where? Why? Which “society”?

    Surely the interest that any particular “society” has in promoting a
    “big, patriarchal family” depends on the environment in which it exists.
    In the case of the west, big families are not necessarily an advantage
    and “patriarchal” is not, and never has been, as simple as you seem to
    want to make it sound. Conventional families are an interplay between
    opposing forces and can be seen as having patriarchal and matriarchal
    qualities. It’s nowhere near as simple as you want things to be.

    And get this: Things almost certainly never were as simple as you think.
    You are mourning for something you feel is lost but which never truly
    existed as you feel it did.

    You cannot re-create the past. All you can really do as a libertarian is
    to play your part, to the extent that you wish, in making sure that, as
    far as possible, the present and the future are as free for as many people
    as possible. So, in that light, stop finding spurious reasons why gay
    people should not be recognised as married by the state!

    > The idea that somehow, without any cultural
    > apparatus to encourage or foster it, men and women will naturally take
    > on the burden of raising a large family at any cost is simply absurd and
    > proven wrong by below-replacement-level birth rates in Europe.

    No one has proposed such a thing. People are having fewer children for
    all sorts of reasons: Economic conditions, preference, and so on.

    You seem to presume that people should reproduce at a certain rate. Why? What if they don’t want to? Shouldn’t you, as a libertarian, accept that people make their own choices in this.

    > Cultures
    > that don’t place the highest value on reproductive families die out, and
    > their numbers are replaced by cultures that do.

    Fine. That’s competition for you: Market forces. I see no problem with
    that (sad though it might be).

    > While alternative relationships
    > need not be openly scorned, and they may deserve some sort of reasonable
    > accommodation, it isn’t in the best interest of Western Civilization—or
    > any civilization—to morally or institutionally equate reproductive and
    > non-reproductive sexuality.

    For you to blame lack of reproduction, as you see it, on homosexual
    relationships or marriage is utterly, utterly bonkers.

    It seems clear to me that the reasons for declining western population
    are to do with issues with are hugely complex but which are nevertheless
    almost entirely unrelated to the sexual preferences of what is, as you
    have pointed out, a rather small percentage of the population.

    Furthermore, many of these “effeminate” young men to which you have
    referred seem to have no trouble in reproducing with females.

    Seriously, there is no threat to (western) civilisation from
    homosexuality. Get over it!

    > Reproductive sexuality is an indispensable
    > building block of civilization; it serves society as a whole.
    > Non-reproductive sexuality is, in the big picture, basically a “feel-good”.

    Fine. This seems to bother you. I attach no emotive label to it.

    > *A libertarian response*

    A libertarian response to what?

    You do realise that in this long essay you have identified no problem,
    none whatsoever, that can in any way require a “libertarian response” as far as I can see.

    You main concerns seem to be centred on a) the lack of respect for your
    particular brand of religion/superstition by both the state and other
    people and b) the decline of population of the west. The former is not a
    libertarian issue and the latter, whilst of interest, is not an area
    where libertarianism can provide an answer (if there is genuinely a
    problem): Reproduction must surely be a personal choice (as in fact
    it is in reality).

    > Arguably, our societies
    > today have fallen victim to the same effete, effeminate social trends.
    > Welfarism, family breakdown and divorce, the compensation culture and
    > the sexualisation of mainstream culture all form part of our social
    > decline and I don’t see how libertarianism can accomplish any of its
    > goals by supporting these trends.

    Personally I’ve always seen “sexualisation of mainstream culture”, which
    I understand to be mean a reduction in sexual repression, to be a wholly
    desirable goal, and one that is fully compatible with libertarianism.

    As for welfarism, I agree it is a major problem (and I do in fact think
    it holds back the progress of civilisation!) but it’s nothing to do with
    homosexuality or “effete, effeminate social trends”.

    As for the “compensation culture”, this is actually an improvement on
    what went before, where real harm could and did go uncompensated. We as libertarian should be pleased that it exists, even though it threatens
    to go too far (i.e. begins to compensate people for their own stupidity,
    rather than the negligence of others). But compensating people for their
    own stupidity is a trait of welfarism, not of fair compensation for
    negligent acts. It is what happens when deregulation (good) meets the welfare state and political correctness (bad): An improvement for liberty is perverted into support for the stupid. But, even so, none of this is really about homosexuality or anything effeminate. Indeed, you yourself noted that homosexuality does not need to mean “effeminate” and does not promote feminisation of “society”.

    > These trends all lead to greater
    > social intervention to repair the inevitable social problems thrown up.

    As above, it’s not that simple. As I noted, some trends are beneficial
    but have been perverted by the politically correct and ever more
    meddling state. The problem, as ever, is the state. Let’s focus on that.
    Let’s not fuss and fret about trends that social conservatives like
    yourself get upset about but which are, in reality, beneficial to liberty.

    > One could argue that homosexuality has degraded the wider culture, by
    > creating the goal of no-strings-attached sex.

    Homosexuality did not create any such goal. Perhaps in the world which
    you perceived to have existed in the past it seemed that way but, rest
    assured, such a goal has always existed (both in desire and widespread
    reality) independently of homosexuality!

    > Now nightclubs are full of
    > men and women in their 30s and 40s trying to play the field still, where
    > once they would have been looking after their children at home.

    But this is nothing to do with homosexuality. This is a reaction to many
    things, from a greater perception of personal liberty (something that
    all libertarians should fully support, even if they disapprove of the
    expression of it!) to economic issues. Whilst the causes are undoubtedly
    complex, it’s pretty obvious that homosexuality has nothing much to do with it.

    > Clearly,
    > this is an option for gay men, with no children, but for men and women
    > with children to attempt to behave in the same libertine manner has many
    > negative social consequences.

    Your point being? Have you noticed that men and women with children do, in fact, tend not to go out so much? There are practical reasons for
    this, you know.

    > I would respond by removing all government
    > subsidies for family breakdown, including welfare for unmarried mothers.
    > If people have children, they must accept the responsibility that entails.

    I wholeheartedly agree. But I don’t agree due to your frankly
    anti-libertarian social control and manipulation desires! I agree
    because I believe in the principle of reduction of the state and removal
    of subsidies for *any* *and* *all* private activities. And yes, I agree
    that people should accept responsibility for their actions.

    > so it would be inaccurate to see homosexuality as always leading
    > to the decline of a society.

    Aren’t you contradicting yourself a bit here? Or is it only homosexual
    marriage that destroys civilisation?

    > The decline of
    > masculinity has many causes, but homosexuality /per se/ is not emasculating.

    I still don’t see this decline in masculinity that you perceive. As I
    said, I think your perception is more to do with utter non-comprehension
    of generations, rather than anything substantive.

    Nevertheless, I admit that there is a problem with the state but I
    perceive it as being primarily to do with the modern neo-socialist national-state, its bureaucracy and government, and the power that it takes for itself, and its supporters.

    > Consequently, libertarians need to adopt a strategic
    > approach.

    A good first step would be to throw away (or at least compartmentalise)
    the effectively anti-libertarian beliefs that hold some people back,
    yourself included in some areas from the looks of it.

    > The really big issue for libertarianism is the panoply of
    > multi-culturalism that is the real driver behind the loss of our
    > freedoms.

    Interesting. I think multi-culturalism is pretty much an irrelevance.
    It’s an unwitting way for wannabe-libertarian conservatives to get hung
    up and misdirected. Such people fret about loss of culture but they are
    fretting about something that never really existed in the way they think
    it did. if anything, what is different about the past is that cultural
    assumptions were not questioned. Now they are questioned. But now that
    they are questioned, it is found that the answers were not and are not
    really there. No one can really define “British culture”. And who is to
    say that culture cannot and should not change?

    Thus the problem to my mind is not multi-culturalism, per se, but the
    politically correct driving force behind it which requires “respect” for
    other cultures rather than mere acceptance of tolerance. And we should
    be clear that in practice “respect” means “taking on board” and even
    diminishing one’s own preferred cultural norms (as one personally sees
    them) in favour of some new, ill-defined, happy-clappy new culture where
    everyone will magically live peacefully side by side.

    Now let’s be clear: I am not bemoaning a loss of some imaginary past,
    homogeneous “British culture” (because it didn’t exist in the way that
    many people wish or feel it did; it simply wasn’t questioned): I am in fact cautioning against a new, equally non-existent, new homogeneous “multi-culture” that is as impossible to reach as what many people feel existed in the past.

    Indeed, the very attempt to reach it, the very attempt to enforce it on
    people, the very attempt to enforce “respect”, causes friction. This
    friction creates more problems than any singular enforced culture can
    ever solve!

    And that is why I am a libertarian: Because I believe in individuality,
    in each person choosing their own culture and perception of culture for
    themselves. That way they merely need to tolerate other people’s
    cultural choices, and there is no need to “respect” them, to
    “understand” them, or “like” them. There is merely non-harmful coexistence.

    > There is a distinct possibility that appearing obsessed on the
    > gay issue would prevent a wider hearing for our ideas on social freedom.

    Err.. yes. You do realise that this is exactly how you appear?

    > For this reason, while libertarians will have a range of opinions on the
    > subject of gay marriage, the libertarian movement itself should adopt a
    > neutral stance on the issue.

    Surely the “libertarian movement” (is there really such a unified thing)
    should fully and unequivocally support anything that maximises liberty.
    The recognition of gay marriage by the state (yes, even though it is a
    state activity!) is a step in the right, liberty enhancing, direction.
    If we are neutral then we are not libertarians.

    I am a libertarian. I support maximal liberty. Whilst I’d like to see
    the state get out of private relationships, I must accept that it is
    involved for the foreseeable future. And, if it is involved, I
    automatically support any step in the direction of greater liberty for
    all. Therefore I automatically support gay marriage being recognised by
    the state and being given the same privileges currently available to
    heterosexual marriage. I support this even if I disapprove of marriage
    simply because it increases net liberty (within the current system).

    The religious arguments you have brought up have absolutely no relevance to the libertarian support for liberty.


    Mark Rousell

    PGP public key: http://www.signal100.com/markr/pgp
    Key ID: C9C5C162

  31. djwebb2010

    Not everything is worth commenting on in Mark’s post – much of it is the same dreary synthetic outrage we have become used to in the form of PC.

    1. “We here are libertarians and so we concern ourselves with the choices and preferences of the individual.” Actually, we are in a society. We are not Robinson Crusoes engaged in lone battles with nature. It is incorrect to see libertarianism (the struggle for a FREE SOCIETY) as totally negating society. When Rousseau wrote “l’homme est né libre, mais partout il est dans les fers”, he should have added that only a man born outside any human society – a baby deposited by its mother in the desert and then abandoned – is free of social chains.

    2. “Libertarians surely do not make judgement for or on behalf of other people.” – any real person has views on other people’s life choices. It is one thing to support their freedom to make them, quite another to become cardboard cutout of a person who literally has no views on life whatsoever. There are bound to be libertarians who take a dim view of sadomasochism – I wince at the thought – while supporting the right of consenting participants to engage therein.

    3. What gives me the idea that homosexuality is more prevalent among men? The UK government survey showing bisexuality more common among women that full lesbianism. I can’t remember the source – but do a Google search on the 1.5% and it is there.

    4. “it is surely more libertarian and more ethical to cease differentiating artificially between different sorts of marriage and simply treat marriage as marriage.” – two men can’t get married. It is a biological fact that they can’t become “one flesh” (as in the joint relationship to children), and so gay marriage, unlike straight marriage, is just an artificial creation of the state. You would have to be pro-state to support it.

    5. “Britishness via passport is a status that is wholly defined by the state, as things stands. Indeed, it has no other definition that I can think of.” Well, I can: membership of the British nation, as defined by ancestral descent from the Angles, Saxons, Celts and Vikings.

    6. Sexualisation of culture – I don’t object to this either, as long as parents fulfil their duties to their children (which is the key point).

    7. You seem to have confused Jack Donovan’s words, where I quoted them, with mine… Not that I find anything wrong with JDs views.

    • @djwebb2010 | 9 May, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

      I’ll reply to this on LA-F. I find nlog comments are too clumsy for a proper discussion.

  32. Oops, “nlog” should have been “blog” of course.

  33. djwebb2010

    OK! Your forum isn’t open to the public, but those who are on the forum will no doubt benefit from your posts!

  34. MarkR,

    You were good, but made a fundamental mistake (this is for your benefit, some others will ignore it), you said: “[gay marriage] would be an improvement on the current situation”, no it wouldn’t!

    Gay marriage allows gays to enjoy the state sanctioned benefits of marriage they have been denied. But.. should ANY relationship have state sanctioned benefits over other kinds of relationships in a free state? I think not. And not only that, any state benefits that are extended to more people places an even greater burden on those not in that situation (singles, polyamorous etc.) You are making the discrimination worse by increasing the majority that enjoy it at the expense of the majority!

    So while I detest the bigotry against any group, I detest even more the favouritism of the state for groups, as this actually forces the discriminated against group to pay to benefit the favoured group.

  35. @D.J. Webb
    “we are in a society”
    1. Indeed, but that is a pragmatic concern, the disagreement we have here is fundamental. It is basic to the whole philosophy of what we should be ultimately pushing for. So, two gay people should not have the rights of a straight couple? That brings into question what rights a straight couple SHOULD have over a single person and why?
    4. Religious nonsense. Could be correct, but has no evidence.
    5. Nationalism which is, in my opinion, as stupid as supporting Blackburn.
    6. Parents have duties to their kids? Where do these obligations come from? We actually don’t disagree with this one at all, I am just really interested in your answer.

    (Mark, sorry if I stole your conversation, or, god willing, your thunder on this. but DJ’s points happened to resonate.)

  36. djwebb2010

    Keddaw, this is just the same extremist rhetoric we get from the PC left everyday, streamed into our living rooms by the BBC. Marriage – the relationship between a man and a woman who come together to have children, whether a common-law marrriage or a church wedding – is just a biological fact. The reproduction of society in terms of bearing the next generation is one of the key goals of society. So the biological family is not the creation of the state, but the result of nature.

    Anything else that is stated by the state to be a “family”, but which cannot lead to the reproduction of society is just extremist intervention along Marxist lines. Marriage is not a privileged setup, but part of the natural setup.

    It would be quixotic for any society, influenced by extremist philosophies, to try to insist on the equality of natural reproductive arrangements and artificial non-reproductive arrangements. There is nothing libertarian about trying to do so. Quite the opposite in fact, as doing this produces so many problems in terms of social breakdown that the state triumphantly rides in to handle the consequences.

    Of course, I don’t wish to be forced to pay for other people’s children through the tax system, which is why I don’t believe in personal taxation. But it is nonsense to say that the single, the polyamorous, serial abandoners of children etc should all be given equal state encouragement where state encouragement is given to marriage, simply because those setups are encouraged in order to foster state control.

    You said:
    1. “two gay people should not have the rights of a straight couple?” – well it depends what those rights are. This is just the boring synthetic outrage of the extreme left. Of course 2 gay people (read “gay men” – gay people is just a politically correct term) do not and should not have all the same rights as a married straight couple. For example, they should be prohibited from adopting children.

    2. Parents have duties to their children – well if it is not accepted that they do, then the state becomes the parent of the child instead. A look at the feral chav culture shows that many parents are not bothering to discipline their children – but the result is not “more freedom” (for children to behave badly), but in fact “less freedom” (as the state gets even more involved as a result).

  37. djwebb,
    I fear you have temporal myopia. You are assuming what currently is, and recently has been, (in the Christian dominated west) is the norm for humans. Not only does this betray some weird appeal to nature, it is also factually wrong. As I said previously, the vast majority of human cultures have been polygamous. Yet you state that one man one woman is the norm/natural way for humans to raise children. How do you reconcile the facts with your opinion?

    Marriage is NOT a biological fact. Marriage is a legal and/or religious institution created by humans in a society, not by nature.

    I think I get part of what your problem is – you see the potential (and possibly likely, given the state of people today) problems with implementing certain parts of libertarian ideals and think that today’s state would ride in to the rescue, further destroying our freedoms. This is a common misconception, if libertarian ideals were in place then there would be no state with the power/right to come riding in to the rescue, the state would be limited to doing the necessary functions while providing individuals with the maximum freedoms possible.

    You also have some funny ideas about what the goals of a society is/should be, but that’s tangential to whether the state should force group A to subsidise group B because group B live in a situation you morally agree with and might produce babies. And this is the case regardless of personal taxation, just to pre-empt that possible attempt at a get out clause, the state can subsidise legally, medically or financially. Or all 3, as is currently the case.

    Incidentally, adoption isn’t a right. And your assertion that gays (always with the men…) shouldn’t be allowed to adopt requires a reason rather than a bald assertion. Then that reason requires evidence.

  38. I think some of you are too keen to attack David’s overt conservative stance and in the process missing his point. I have myself argued furiously with David in the past over conservative values, because I am not myself a social conservative. Neither am I religious. Approval or disapproval of homosexuality is not the issue regarding “marriage”.

    It is certainly true that the most common form of marriage historically- particularly outside the lands that became Christendom, and which we now call Europe (and pretend is a continent)- was polygamous. In the normal primitive tribe, girls are married off early, often right after puberty to much older alpha males. Younger males form themselves into warrior castes and divert their frustrations into violence, with few sexual options outside the use of force. Hence, “rape and pillage”. This is the “state of nature”.

    However every culture has developed some form of marriage, a state recognised by the rest of the tribe as being exclusive. It is inherently tied to reproduction, placing on a formal basis the ownership of and responsibility for children- who are the marriage’s issue. In most cultures family bonds are very strong and unbreakable. Family members are held directly responsible for one another. The violence of the tribal structure forces entire families, bound together unbreakably, to act as units. Families are bound together by blood- both the sharing of it and the shedding of it. The production of children is central to the marriage concept, by officially describing blood ties. Fathers are held responsible for their issue, and their issue are their property. Hence the fury against cuckoldry. A woman who secretly conceives a child with another man is perpetrating, under marriage systems, an extreme and fundamental fraud, by tying a man to a child who is not of his blood. Marriage is, as David says, all about children. If we did not reproduce sexually, we would not have marriage. Or, indeed, two genders. We can romanticise all this as about love and higher emotions, but it comes down to basic biology- and indeed we have the emotions we do in order to satisfy the needs of that biology.

    You may point out that infertile couples, under this definition, need not marry. This is actually true, in a harsh way. Lack of issue- or lack of consummation of the marriage- were traditionally grounds for dissolution of the marriage. A woman who could not produce a child was in a precarious situation. A woman who refused to attempt procreation was deemed to be not carrying out her proper role. Nowadays we are rather kinder about all this. We have a much better medical understanding of reproduction, not least that we know now that it may well be the husband firing blanks. And generalising the principle of marriage to couples beyond reproductive age has always happened of course. Technically, it’s pointless them getting married, but in previous social systems where women needed to be part of a family unit for reasons of simple safety, it made sense for them to marry even if no children could result.

    But homosexuals and lesbians are not, by definition, reproductive units. They are intrinsically not participating in the reproductive systems of society. They have overtly and deliberately rejected that. Nobody has ever stopped them getting married. They are refusing to do so.

    So to extend a faux “marriage” to gay couples is extending an extremely ancient reproductive system to those who not only do not reproduce, but who refuse point blank to do so. The word “marriage” simply does not cover the way they live, any more than a lonely spinster can marry her cats, however much she loves them. As said above, there may be many couples and groups in society who it would make sense to treat as fiscal units, for instance heterosexual spinsters living together. Let’s let anyone who desires to be recognised as a fiscal unit by the State be allowed to do so.

    But it isn’t, and should not be, called “marriage”. Marriage describes, as I said above, at its most fundamental level, blood relationships, which as a class gays cannot participate in, by their own choice. The government does not own the lexicon. It can call a same sex relationship a marriage if it likes, but a marriage it can never be.

  39. Well said, Ian B.

  40. IanB,
    A libertarian state should be concerned with individuals and their rights. The unit of a libertarian state has to be the individual not the family unit.

    This means the state either ignores marriage completely or opens it up to all. I would rather have it ignored, but djwebb wants to limit it to units that he finds morally and socially acceptable, and have the state reward those units at the expense of others. With the Orwellian justification that: “The reproduction of society in terms of bearing the next generation is one of the key goals of society.”

  41. Keddaw,

    We don’t live in a libertarian state. Not even close. This issue is a matter that has come to a head now, not in some future libertarian society.

    To say that marriage should be “open to all” is meaningless. “All” can’t particpate in marriage, because it intrisincally requires at least one of each gender, just by definition. It would be a far smaller step from the current situation to allow polygamy, concubinage and incestuous marriage, all of which have at least historical precedent somewhere in the world, but nobody is demanding them, are they?

    The driver for this false “issue” is not libertarianism, but political manouevering by statist activists. It is rather naive to see it as a libertarian issue at all. In particular, it is a construction by American activists (the “Western” political discourse since the 1960s has been basically an American one). They commonly use a stategy of smearing out definitions of words into new areas (think of the perversion of their Constitution’s interstate commerce clause, for instance).

    For instance, the word “tuba” means a particular wind instrument, and “cornet” means a different one. They are both brass tubes one blows through to make sounds. But the dictionary defines them differently. If somebody picks up a cornet and says, “why can’t we call this a tuba?”, the only answer one has is “that is not what the word ‘tuba’ means”. There is no other answer.

    Likewise, the word “marriage” has never applied to two (or more) men, in any culture, in any time period, anywhere in the world. When gay men have married, they have married women, such as Edward II or Oscar Wilde. That is because that is what marriage is, and always has been. Likewise, cultures such as ours that do not recognise polygamy legally have still used the lexicon of marriage to describe polygamy in other cultures- the word itself, and “wives” etc. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, or whatever it was. Never has the word been used to describe same sex relationships, however close. In any culture. Ever. David and Johnathan were just ‘good friends’.

    The government may choose to declare that a cornet is a tuba. It still won’t be a tuba though.

  42. Ian, what you are defending is the definition of a word. You are using dubious historical data over what has always constituted marriage. And you are wrong:
    (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1569248/Indian-man-marries-dog.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage#Ancient)
    Which, forces you to take a step back and define marriage in terms of children…

    Where, pray tell, in the marriage ceremony is the mention of children? It may be implicit, but the actual words and, in djwebb’s word, vow relates to the two people actually there. Thus, infertile couples, those with no wish for children and elderly people can all be married.

    Personally, I couldn’t care less about marriage as an institution, but if someone wants me to subsidise those who do it then they’re having an argument, especially if they also want to ban others from doing so on illogical, and factually incorrect grounds.

    However, djwebb goes further, and without any data to back him up, asserts that homosexuals are mainly men and that homosexual couples shouldn’t be allowed to adopt and, god forbid, a single homosexual (man!) definitely shouldn’t be allowed to adopt. This raises a few questions: Are there enough heterosexual couples willing and able to adopt such that we never need to use homosexual couples? If so, is there any difference in the outcome for the child? Is there any evidence that a single parent family is worse for the child (assuming no financial worries), and is it worse than being in an orphanage? And, most pressingly, why is it so bad to have a child adopted by a single, gay man?

    NB. “…but nobody is demanding them, are they?” I am!

  43. djwebb2010

    Firstly, the marriage ceremony does mention children. I mean the 1662 book of common prayer service – which was the only form used in the CoE until recently, and indeed before civil marriages were the main form of marriage in England. The 1662 BCP is still the official liturgy of the CofE although used in only a few services now, as Parliament in ca. 1975 specifically forbade the CofE from abolishing the prayerbook. See: http://www.eskimo.com/~lhowell/bcp1662/occasion/marriage.html:

    “DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
    First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
    Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.
    Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.”

    Secondly, it is totally false to say that libertarianism is solely to do with individuals and not families. There is no such thing as a society which consists of lone individuals. A certain type of SOCIETY tends towards liberty – and it is not a society where everyone can do what he wants regardless of the impact on others (we have that now, and we can see that that is a significant prop to state intervention in fact!!!!!)

    I don’t think this discussion is really going anywhere.

  44. djwebb, you might be right about the direction of the conversation and frankly I don’t care about marriage, it’s an horrific institution that should be abolished from society, unfortunately some people seem quite attached to it.

    Children are included in religious ceremonies, my mistake. I was at a friends wedding last month and there was none of that in the civil ceremony.

    But, before you go, could you please let me know why you are so vehemently against a gay man adopting a child, assuming there were no other options other than a state orphanage?

  45. djwebb2010

    “But, before you go, could you please let me know why you are so vehemently against a gay man adopting a child, assuming there were no other options other than a state orphanage?”

    Look, this is not a very intelligent conversation. If there were no one in society who could possibly adopt a child other than a gay man, then it would probably better than being in an orphanage, but of the 42m+ adults in this country, around 41.5m are not homosexual, and there are many people who would adopt a child – some of whom are fat or smoke or otherwise transgress political imperatives… So your question is absurd – the whole discussion we’ve been having is absurd. You can’t abolish marriage (in the minimal sense of common-law marriages) without abolishing procreation. Extreme left-wing politics inform your views, and ultimately justify state power.

  46. Keddaw, your links only support my case. The modern indian man “married” the dog because an astrologer told him to. Man/dog marriage is not a normal civil institution in Indian society.

    The Chinese ceremonies described are not marriages. Two mad Roman Emperors (Elagabalus in particular was deranged) had pretended marriages to men, neither recognised under Roman Law, and possible because Roman Emperors were absolute and could do pretty much anything they liked until they pissed off enough of the ruling class that somebody assassinated them.

    And so on. None of these constiute historical support for gay marriage. They are desperate clutching at straws by those looking for an historical justification where none exists.

    As I think my posts make clear, I am not, like David Webb, concerned with particular religious formulations. I am simply stating that marriage is a human universal, as a means of formalising family structures, and it only exists because of the nature of human procreation. If we did not reproduce sexually, and if our children did not require many years of parental care, and if we were not social creatures who treat genetic/blood kin preferentially, it would not exist. But it has always existed, in every culture, because we are. Relatively modern religious systems, such as Christianity (which has existed for a mere 2,000 years of a human species perhaps 100,000 years old) incorporated the pre-existing institution of procreative pair-bonding, not the other way around.

    So yes, I am defending the dictionary definition of a word. Because all of this argument is about a word. Militant gays are not happy with one word (er, two) “civil partnerships”. They want the word, “marriage”. But by its definition, the word “marriage” does not include what they wish to do. That really is the end of the argument.

  47. I’m also a little surprised by the phrase “it’s an horrific institution that should be abolished from society”.

    “Horrific”? That’s a pretty strong term there. What is the “horror” experienced by married people, or, what is the “horror” perpetrated by them?

  48. Ian, marriage as a legal concept IS defined by the state, there are rules in place over who can and cannot be married to each other. You may be correct that this is an historical definition but that in no way limits the state from opening up the institution to whomever it pleases. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the state has used nonsensical terms (e.g. Ministry of Defence, War on Terror etc. etc.).

    If this is all about the children then have the term “marriage” (and the financial benefits!) only kick in when children are born and end when the last child reaches maturity. At all other times it can be a civil union – I’m all for that.

    However, as it stands, there are legal, as well as social, differences between marriage and civil unions, that is why many people want so-called marriage equality. This is obviously much more of an issue in the US than the the UK but even here I believe there is an issue with gay people having more issues should they ‘marry’ a non-EU citizen, as well as issues while abroad where marriage is understood but civil partner is not – leading to situations such as not being allowed to see someone in hospital or make medical or financial decisions on their behalf.

    “So to extend a faux “marriage” to gay couples is extending an extremely ancient reproductive system to those who not only do not reproduce, but who refuse point blank to do so.”
    Many gay people actually DO have children.
    The fact gay people can’t currently have children together, which is probably the point you were probably getting at, is limited by time. In a few years this will no longer be the case, will this alter people’s views? Or will those religiously opposed to “abominable” gay people simply refuse to accept that any child born of it be real, as they did with IVF, and try to have the practice outlawed?

  49. I can only answer that by quoting John Cleese in The Life Of Brian. “You haven’t got a womb. Where the foetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?!”

    You don’t seem to be grasping the point here Keddaw. The word “marriage” refers to heterosexual unions for the purposes of reproduction. Everyone here is agreeing that couples of any kind- gays, cohabiting singletons or brother and sister, or anyone else, should be able to gain appropriate recognitions from the State as regards their needs. What you can’t do is call it marriage.The word just doesn’t bloody well mean anything else but what it already does.

    Look, the basic problem here is that there is no general campaign for improving the relationships of diverse living units with the State. As stated above, many new and “non-standard” arrangements could do with some or many or all of the marriage benefits. But nobody is discussing that. This is purely about gays. Why?

    It’s all about trying to force everybody- the State and every citizen- to agree to believe something which makes no sense, which is that heterosexuality and homosexuality are equivalents. They are not. Homosexuality is a divergence from the normal. That doesn’t mean gays should be persecuted, or insulted, or degraded. But it is not, and never will be, normative. Why?

    Homosexuality- as gays use it- does not mean “man attracted to man”. It means “man not attracted to women”. People overlook this. Everyone here seems to be in agreement that manlove is commonplace. The oddity is the revulsion towards, or rejection of, women. That is what stops gays getting married and procreating. They have a sufficient eccentricity that they cannot participate in the basic function of life, which evolution laid down for us, since they reject the very act of reproducing the species. You can use whatever word you like for that. A foible, an eccentricity, a disability, a perversion, a mental abnormality, a pathology. Whatever word you use, it is a divergence from the normal.

    The State cannot make up for that. No amount of special pleading can alter it. This campaign is purely about trying to make everyone pretend that gays are something which they are not, by trying to steal an institution which is part of normative culture for a group who by choice exclude themselves from normative culture.

    So, a person is gay. That’s fine. Good luck to them. But they are reproductively abnormal and, as such, simply cannot participate in marriage. I can’t think of another way to explain it to you. The word “marriage” does not cover two blokes bumming each other. It never has. It just doesn’t mean that.

  50. Ian, again with the “males are the only gays” meme? Many gay relationships involve two wombs. Many gay relationships don’t require wombs because they can use surrogates. Many gay relationships already have children from previous relationships – if marriage is all about children’s well-being (which, admittedly, you probably don’t think but many do) then the legal protection available to those families from civil unions (which you haven’t argued against, but this sentence is not for your benefit anyway) or gay marriage would be of use.

    “[Marriage] just doesn’t bloody well mean anything else but what it already does.”
    Point taken, you want words to mean what they have always meant otherwise what’s the point of language, we cannot have fluid meanings or language evolving otherwise where would it all end? Women priests? Women chairmen? Non-landowning voters? Female soldiers?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_change
    Plus, you are ignoring one dictionary definition of marriage which already exists: “any close or intimate association or union” which can include ideas, words, corporations etc.

    “The word “marriage” refers to heterosexual unions for the purposes of reproduction.”
    In which dictionary are you looking? I have tried a few, some mention that it is between a man and a woman, others are less gender specific, some meanings, as above, detail common usage not necessarily related to people at all, but none refer to children. Here are some:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/marriage
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marriage
    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/marriage
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/marriage

    Please, point me in the direction of a definition of marriage that explicitly states that reproduction is the purpose.

  51. “Homosexuality- as gays use it- does not mean “man attracted to man”. It means “man not attracted to women”. People overlook this. Everyone here seems to be in agreement that manlove is commonplace. The oddity is the revulsion towards, or rejection of, women. That is what stops gays getting married and procreating. They have a sufficient eccentricity that they cannot participate in the basic function of life, which evolution laid down for us, since they reject the very act of reproducing the species. You can use whatever word you like for that. A foible, an eccentricity, a disability, a perversion, a mental abnormality, a pathology. Whatever word you use, it is a divergence from the normal.”

    Sorry IanB but you are talking out of your arse on this one. The determinant of who is “gay” is a desire for sodomy not dislike of women (quite possibly justly acquired through bitter experience). One can desire womens packaging and still think little of the vast majority of females in terms of their nature and behaviour and want nothing more to do with them.
    It is also not a pathology not to devote ones life to looking after poxy and ungrateful offspring who are a bloody pest and will turn out to be unselfish and ungrateful scum who won’t even visit you in whatever shithole old folks home you may be stuck in.

    • Peter W Watson

      Submissive Homosexuals are not revolted by women, they love them because they don’t represent a threat. At least that is what my daughter tells me – otherwise why are there so many homosexual hairdressers and clothes designers? Dominant homosexuals however don’t go tread that path. They become politicians and actors…

  52. The activism movement itself distinguishes gays, lesbians and bisexuals (LGBT). Even before “LGBT” they routinely talked of “gay and lesbian issues”. Gays are not lesbians, defined by being male. Gays are not bisexuals, defined by rejecting women. Both bisexual males and gays desire sex with males (which may or may not be sodomy), but only the gays reject sex with women.

    Lesbians have too many wombs and not enough testes. Any child gestated by one partner cannot be the child of the other partner, but must be that of a third (male) party.

  53. I think there is a failure to communicate here.

    Catholic priests (even the non-paedo ones) reject sex with women. Does that make them gay?

    No it doesn’t

    Rejection of women–unless motivated by desire for some sort of “physical contact” with the same sex –does not = gay. As the poison of feminism creates more and more angry and embittered men the number of “rejectors” is set to grow.

  54. So, in my view the Libertarian approach would be to do what David has already said in his article-

    Consequently, the civil partnership arrangement should stay, although “ceremonies” organised by the state that appear to mimic marriage should end: civil partnership should be a simple application form in the post, and if the individuals concerned wish to have a party, then it would be up to them to organise it.

    Make everyone “partners”. The term is already in common usage by many people to describe married partners, common law partners (living together), and so on. Anyone- a husband and wife, a man and man, woman and woman, siblings, anyone, regardless of their romantic and sexual ties, will thus be “partners” for the purpose of interaction with the State. Abolish State recognition of the ceremonial, and leave ancient words like “marriage” to the private sphere, including the decision as to whether the word “married” applies to other people to personal choice. A progressive may wish to consider a gay couple “married”. A conservative may not consider them “married”. What they both agree on is that such people are, legally, “partners”.

    It will thus easily allow for flexibility and extensibility. As said several times above, there are good reasons to extend partnership under the current (and unlike to disappear soon) Statist regime to non-romantic partners- spinsters, bachelors, the brother and sister who live as a couple, and so on. I cannot see why anyone would object to such a reformulation of the legal aspects.

  55. Ecks-

    Catholic priests (even the non-paedo ones) reject sex with women. Does that make them gay? No it doesn’t

    Now you’re being silly. They’re celibate, which is another entirely different category of human sexual behaviour.

  56. “Lesbians have too many wombs and not enough testes. Any child gestated by one partner cannot be the child of the other partner, but must be that of a third (male) party.”

    Scientific ignorance does not an argument make.
    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2001/07/12-01.html
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4061477.stm
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2012/01/09/baby-monkeys-have-cells-from-up-to-six-parents/
    http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/236102/ethical_furore_as_british_scientists_plan_to_fuse_two_womens/

    So, sure, we’re not there just yet, but the field is advancing and there is no reason to think there is some special reason why it won’t work (either fusing two eggs, or using an empty egg and a surrogate mother and fusing two sperm) at some point in the future. Whether that is a ‘good thing’ or not is a whole other argument…

  57. “The oddity is the revulsion towards, or rejection of, women”.

    Your definition not mine.

  58. djwebb2010

    I’m amazed at some of the comments here. Firstly, too much discussion of sexual practices is distasteful, but no one grows up gay out of a desire for sodomy! An 11 year old boy who suspects he may be that way inclined has probably never even thought of that act – he just feels a yearning for men. If people didn’t see porn videos on the Internet, they might not even realise all the various sexual practices exist. Secondly, what is this about submissive and dominant homosexuals? This is basically nonsense! I don’t think gay men really like women – they just talk to them about men – but in reality they wouldn’t care if all the women on the planet dropped dead overnight – but Peter Watson’s obsession with “submissive homosexuals” seems odd. Who are these? Where are they? A quick look at any gay dating site shows that the majority of gay men list themselves as doing anything (“versatile”). I would in particular not like the libertarian movement as a whole to become “fixated” on “submissive homosexuals” in the way that Peter is.

  59. Peter, I was referring to revulsion or rejection in a sexual sense. Maybe revulsion is too strong a word, but in my time interacting a great deal with gays and on the gay scene, some of them certainly expressed a revulsion at the thought of women in a sexual sense, in the same way that straight men are revolted at the thought of sex with a man.

    In general, human are driven by revulsion and, um, what’s the opposite word, “delight”? We want to do the things that delight us and avoid the things that revolt us, and this is particularly true in sexual practices.

  60. I’m also still wondering about what Keddaw thinks is “horrific” about marriage.

  61. Ian, I was waiting for my previous comment to make its way out of moderation, but since you asked specifically:

    Horrific was obviously hyperbole, but…
    Marriage is one of the most onerous, most complicated and most limiting legal contracts you could ever sign. It so restricts your rights as an individual, tying you financially to another person even beyond the term of the contract in amounts that are not determined until the termination of the contract.

    So we have this enormously complicated legal document(s) and we give it the least thought of virtually any legal document we sign. We should have lawyers poring over it, making changes all over the place to protect your interests (beyond a simple pre-nup) but because it is a boiler plate contract we just sign it, often at a stage of our life when we are stupid (young) and when we are not in a fit state of mind to make such an open-ended agreement (love). And why? Tradition! An obligation of this magnitude should take more than a withdrawal of sex because one partner dreams of a white wedding or a pregnancy to enter into.

    Also, I don’t want my wife making medical decisions for me, I love her but she isn’t a doctor, my best friend is a doctor, why can’t I elect him to make my medical decisions if I am unable – he knows my opinions as well as my wife? We have separate finances, for good reasons, if I am incapacitated why does she get to use my money as she sees fit? Why can’t I place the money in trust and have an executor of a living will use my money in my, and my family’s, best interests? Oh yes, because it’s a boiler plate legal agreement and you’re actually not allowed to do many of the things with people other than your spouse.

    Because marriage is based on the ownership of women? Almost all of the objectionable parts* of this have been removed but that’s where the institution came from. Sure, now it might be seen as a meeting of equals, but that’s not the historical context.

    So, in my opinion, we’re better off getting rid of marriage, or leaving it to the religious institutions but as a purely religious rite with no legal standing. The legal part can be split up and various parts entered into separately, if both (all?) parties agree. Perhaps entering into more of them as the relationship progresses and when, or if, children come along.

    Finally, it is horrific because it coerces people into legal contracts. It is horrific because it makes those who don’t, or can’t, enter into that contract subsidise those who do. In modern society there is no reason why a married couple with children (we don’t care about those without for this argument) would stay together longer than an unmarried couple with children (partially due to common law marriage) so there is absolutely no point incentivising marriage through taxation, the legal system, employment law, and/or medical policies.

    Hope that clears it up for you.

    * “love, honour and obey” is still in many ceremonies.

  62. For the avoidance of confusion, David and I are not moderating comments. Some comments, however, go automatically to moderation, and only get posted when we notice there is a queue. If we could switch off moderation entirely, we would.

    Our policy is not to moderate, but to take down comments that are commercial spam or that might get us into trouble with the authorities. Anyone who starts posting long and irrelevant quotes we deal with as and when.

    Of course, no one posting here comes into any of these categories. I am following this generally good-natured debate with interest. Apologies if any comments get held up.

  63. Sean, it’s fair enough, it will be because I included 4 or 5 links in my post (to dictionary definitions) with what is probably way too little surrounding text for the spam filter to accept.

  64. Relevant to this discussion, His Grace the blogger Cranmer has the Advertising Standards Authority wing of the mutaween on his back for having an ad on his website asking people to sign a petition against gay marriage which is, apparently, “homophobic and offensive”.

    Really, any libertarian supporting this proposal is in Cloud Cuckoo Land. It sure as hell isn’t being promoted by people in favour of liberty.

  65. djwebb2010

    Ian, the gay marriage proposal is designed to create a culture war or to cause trouble. Whether conservatives rise to the bait over an issue that will affect a handful is another question – Peter Hitchens takes the view that we shouldn’t – but of course, when it comes to the Advertising Standards Authority trying to stop people from commenting on the gay marriage proposal, then libertarians, of whatever view, have to oppose that. The trouble with all these things is that they are designed to foster a culture war and to lead to a struggle against the conservatives, and so even if conservatives chose to ignore the odd battle, they will find someone to crack down on…

  66. Ian, am I correct in summarising your opinion (or your view of djwebb’s opinion) like this:

    There is a word that has always meant X. People are trying to make it also mean Y which is an oxymoron to my understanding of why it meant X in the first place. I am not happy about it. I demand that it never be allowed to mean Y.

    If so then there has been an awful lot of pointless words written, speaking past each other, and you are a little bit pedantic for no good reason.

    NB. Gay marriage and gay rights do not solely refer to homosexual men.

  67. Pointless words such as truth?

  68. What truth Peter? Oh, you mean Truth!

    Words change their meaning over time, why is this one special? Why make the stand against gay marriage but not awful, which is the opposite of awesome, yet they share the same root of awe? Is there something special about this one term that supersedes reasonableness?

    • Peter W Watson

      Words change over time. No. The understanding of some words might from time to time but not with repercussions for society… Truth however does not change. Moral relativism is underpinned by the demand that no truth is ultimate truth. Yet that very statement is itself presented as inviolate. I suspect our fundamental presuppositions and world view are so different that we simply will have to disagree on the matter. Homosexual marriage is a perverted idea and evil. In the true sense of the word. If you can’t agree on the meaning of words how can you ever expect to dialogue with anyone and come to meaningful conclusions when your world is like Humpty Dumpty’s?

  69. Peter, your argument is fundamentally different from Ian’s or djwebb’s in that you see the idea of homosexual marriage as wrong in a visceral way, whereas they see it (or argue the point here) as merely definitionally impossible.

    The problem I have with their view is that we are not redefining blue as red, we are taking a concept which already has a non-reproduction based meaning and extending that to include a union between two people who happen to be the same gender. There is nothing inherent in the word ‘marriage’ that implies children, we happily use the term to refer to two entities joining together to form a new legal one – both in traditional marriage and a corporate marriage – with no loss of meaning. Adding homosexual people to the list that can do this does not fundamentally change the definition of the word, neither does it materially alter what people understand by marriage, nor does it entail a complete, or even partial, loss of meaning when sentences that include the word marriage are used.

    • Peter W Watson

      I view it as being wrong in a moral way. The pro homosexual marriage lobby is far more visceral in its views than I. There is indeed nothing implicit in the word marriage that necessitates children. However your definition of marriage is used loosely when it suits you. Let me be specific and define my definition of marriage. The joining of one man and one woman in either Holy Matrimony or by Common Law (living together). My definition does not extend beyond this because My God clearly declares it to be so.

      Matthew 19
      Marriage and Divorce

      19 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings, that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.

      3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

      4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’[b] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?[c] 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

      7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

      8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality,[d] and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

      Logically and consistently I do not support divorce on the grounds of anything other than adultery, in case you want to know.

  70. djwebb2010

    I suppose it is always worth engaging in debate, although in view of state propaganda, it is always likely we are going against the prevailing ideological trends. Keddaw is a case in point: the constant reiteration of state propaganda, dressed up, quite wrongly, as libertarianism. This is not a difference of point of view – it is worse than that; it is a difference in terms of political support for extremist state projects designed to reconfigure society.

    Marriage reflects the biological fact that men and women create the next generation. Two men fumbling with each other has nothing to do with that. Why should the state promote that as an equivalence of marriage? Well, it reflects the Marxist inspired culture wars, an attempt to create a series of extremist interest groups in society – gays, women, ethnics, even the disabled – who will vocally support technocratic rule. In the 1980s I did not think the loony left idea of a rainbow alliance of minorities would work, but it has – only because it has the backing of the state, which sees its own advantages therein.

    Men who fiddle with men are almost totally irrelevant to the state, except insofar as they can be used to argue for state cultural engineering. Heterosexuality is a natural precondition for society – and so it is quite wrong to see it as a social construct. Two men can no more be married than can a parent and his child get “divorced” from each other, as has happened in the US. By changing the basis for relationships from the real family, with children – lifelong relationships based on till death do us part – we have temporary relationships that are designed to fail, relationships based on sex or finance and not real families. Family breakdown is an ideology that creates an atomized citizenry. Of course it is based on people’s desire to do what they want without ties of duty to each other – but then we are bound together purely by the state bureaucracy.

    Keddaw will respond with reams and reams of state propaganda, but it is likely that many individuals will prefer to regurgitate state ideology than to think for themselves.

  71. And does your god also say that it cannot be used in relation to companies? Ideas? The marriage of words and music in a song? The king and queen of the same suit in some card games?

    No? Thought not. So how about society gets to use the word for secular things it thinks the word is fitting for and your religion gets to use it for the narrow purpose it chooses and doesn’t have to have anything to do with all the other uses if it doesn’t want to?

    I mean, do Catholics get all upset when someone uses the word “communion” when it doesn’t relate to the Eucharist or the body of the church? Or when someone says Gospel truth when not referring to the Gospel? Or broad church when not actually referring to the Anglicans? Or… you get the picture.

    The difference is that you are obviously opposed to the rights that gay people would have if civil unions granted what they should (i.e. equal rights to marriage) because of your religious belief, and that’s fine as far as it goes, but to try to make it about the word “marriage” would be deceitful at best. Whereas Ian and djwebb were not opposed to such rights being granted, merely the use of the word marriage to define such a legal and social arrangement.

    Aside: What you quoted is more against divorce and adultery than gay marriage.

    • Peter W Watson

      I believe I made just that point. Perhaps you should read my reply again. Jesus did not teach about bestiality either – it was taken for granted that those who practised it were damned. So you avoid the blindingly obvious that God Incarnate defines marriage in a heterosexual biological sense. But then you already have your beliefs lock in and are not interested in the truth. You carry on as you wish. But don’t ever say you were never told the truth.

  72. djwebb has an obviously rose tinted view of the past (a social conservative I would guess), but no matter, for a libertarian the past was much better than the present, and the foreseeable future.

    My state propaganda is that there should be no arrangement of people that should have preference from the state. The state should be the minimum size possible and if you want to prefer gay marriage over polygamy, or heterosexual marriage over singledom then use your own money to help them out, don’t use mine. And don’t use the power of the state to stop any of them either.

    If the state is granting rights to couple A, with no regard to couple A’s ability to produce children, then there is no logical reason to deny such rights to couple B. I detest such rights (at least the ones single people cannot have) but there is no logical reason for denying such rights to homosexuals if we are granting them to heterosexuals.

    However, the objection djwebb is using is ridiculous, his argument screams naturalistic fallacy, apparently ignoring the fact that homosexuality is a part of nature too. It then devolves into what I would describe as conspiracy theory (because the state has for the longest time been very much against it) but might have some validity – but even if true the issue here is one of equality and to deny the use of a word, a use that sits nicely beside the existing uses, is churlish.

    • Peter W Watson

      Does it escape you that the world around you is unequal in many ways? Is this a bad thing? Why? There simply is no moral equivalence to the marriage of one man and one woman to the concept of a homosexual marriage. Where does your definition of morality come from? You already know where mine originates. How could all relationships be morally equal when morals are set as guideposts to differentiate between right and wrong?

  73. Peter, I am not attaching a moral element to it, except insofar as I want the state to treat all of the people in it equally.
    You think heterosexual marriage is a ‘good thing’ and that’s fine. You think homosexual relationships are a ‘bad thing’ and that’s fine too. But what you don’t get to do is use the power of the state to enforce that view on those who disagree. If you think it’s a ‘bad thing’ for the rest of us, make your case (as djwebb may try to do with his social engineering idea) tell us why it’s bad for those of us who don’t share your certitude on the veracity of the Bible. Let us know what’s bad about it in terms we understand, in real facts, in positives and negatives for the society, the state and, most importantly, as individuals. Don’t point to your big book of morality, most people don’t follow it, and even if they did that’s no reason for the state to follow it. The argument should be, if possible, stated without reference to religion. If you can’t do that then you’re nothing but a theocrat and any pretence at libertarianism is a sham.

    • Peter W Watson

      Are you suggesting that Libertarians may not be Theists, or Religious in any way? Hardly all inclusive, tolerant and promoting equality now is it? I personally do not believe the State should involve itself in marriage but it does involve itself in every aspect of sexual conduct from contraception to abortion to child care to child benefit. I wonder if we all started with a clean slate, who amongst us would be the most eager to have State control and regulation permeate our lives and to what degree. I suppose looking at the situation dispassionately, Holy Matrimony should be conducted in a religious setting and be between a man a woman and God with some type of recognised officer of the Church or religious Institution presiding. But then again I don’t believe in organized religion so let me just say a Minister. As for what the world does, that is the world and it will have its fate. But keep homosexuals away from the Church or any other pretence which seeks to get the approval of God as POTUS did this week. It is something he will come to regret.

  74. Off topic, but since you ask, I am a moral error theorist when it comes to big morality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_skepticism#Moral_Error_Theory) however individuals can have morals, but they are simply the weighted values of their thoughts and preferences. You have your big book of morality and that’s fine for many topics, but you’re still cherry picking from it when looking for guidance on many issues (although not this one, it’s fairly clear on that).

  75. Keddaw-

    If so then there has been an awful lot of pointless words written, speaking past each other, and you are a little bit pedantic for no good reason.

    The whole argument is about the word itself. Nobody is objecting to civl partnerships. We already have them. So this whole argument comes down to whether the word can be applied to gays. It is purely an argument about words. So it is hardly pedantry to discuss the word in the way I have.

    Marriage is ancient institution. Let those who still respect it as that keep it as they know it. Let everyone else get on with sorting out practical matters of fiscal and other recognition by the State. There is simply no reason at all to force this argument about “marriage”, except for pure machiavellian humbug, which is the actual root cause of this current argument.

    Gay activists want the word “marriage”. There is no rational argument that says they are entitled to that word. It really is an argument about words, and only words.

  76. Ian, why would you give a flying fuck about what the government’s definition of marriage is? Apart from a grammar nazi view, why do you care, at least as much as you propose to do in this thread?

    I am more against gay marriage than anyone here, but when it comes to the logic of gay vs straight marriage it is what it is – you either make the kids argument or you make that naturalistic fallacy argument – or you follow Peter’s view which is not applicable outside of the bible.

    No-one is reducing the ancient institution that allowed 6 year olds to marry to be diminished in any way, it is simply opening it up to people who like each other and want the benefit but are not in love with the correct people as you see it. Straight people can still do their thing, what’s your problem?

    “Nobody is objecting to civl partnerships.” (And rightly so in his worldview.)
    Pretty sure Peter is… That’s why I was trying to get at the heart of what you meant.

  77. Awww, Peter, are you doing the whole religious people are picked upon thing? Let me make my point more explicit:

    If you have a rule or restriction that the state has a part in then you have to have a reason behind it that appeals/occurs to more people than have read your magic book of objective morality.

    Even if your religion is true, you still have to convince the rest of us idiot in ways that don’t simply invoke the truth of X, you have to show how it’s better in the here and now.

    • You really are a very objectionable man (I assume you are male). I EXPECT to be mocked and scorned and if such a thing is to happen, to be crucified by you as you are an unbeliever. Why? Because the Bible tells me to expect this. I won’t bother quoting chapter and verse of a book you obviously scorn but at least I am logically consistent. And I don’t need any sympathy, quite the contrary, it is an honor.
      Equally I find your need to mock the book I believe is God’s instruction manual to the human race, to be somewhat intolerant in a supposed Libertarian.
      How better? Homosexual marriage is a biological impossibility and a perversion which, if consumated, will lead to an increase in STDs and damaged children if the Alistair Crowley inspired petrie dish incantations and chemistry take place.
      If you can’t see normal marriage is better then you are very odd considering your claim to oppose homosexual marriage more than anyone else. Thus far you have evidence no opposition to it at all and appear to be simply a contentious man playing word games.

  78. Well done Peter, you’re making progress. The point wasn’t to denigrate your holy instruction manual (as fun as that might be) but to allow you to see that quoting it chapter and verse is pointless as it has no authority outside whatever clique you belong to. But you did good, you made actual claims that apply in the real world:
    1. Homosexual marriage will lead to an increase in STDs.
    2. Children with homosexual parents will be damaged (either by medical advances allowing purely gay parents or by allowing gay adoption)

    These are great. These are real, secular reasons to ban gay marriage (if true) and should be the type of reason you use when trying to convince people of what the country should be doing and, if true, also add weight to the claim that your book of divinely inspired morality is what it says it is.

    Now the problem with 1 is that if marriage has any point it is to reduce promiscuity which means it will reduce STDs in any community. In fact, this is more an argument for outlawing homosexuality in general, and male homosexuality specifically, which may or may not be your contention, but a libertarian would allow consenting adults to engage in risky activities should they so desire.

    If 2 is true then I’d love some facts. Can you provide any links that show children brought up in a non heterosexual environment suffer in some way? If you can, and the damage is significant, you may well convince me.

  79. Peter, you intentionally misrepresent what I said, say homosexual marriage is evil, and claim to know the will of the creator of the universe, but I’m obnoxious?

  80. Keddaw-

    Ian, why would you give a flying fuck about what the government’s definition of marriage is? Apart from a grammar nazi view, why do you care, at least as much as you propose to do in this thread?

    Because the state’s definition is backed by the force of the State, which the State has shown itself eager to use. This is not a matter of “allowing” anything, it is about imposing something. Once this goes through, the church exemption will become the target of activists who will call it a homophobic anachronism. Criticism of gay marriage will be declared homophobic and subject to criminal law sanction. There is a large, well funded activism movement who are itching to have more laws to attack their fellow citizens with. Taking this “issue” at face value is phenomenally naive.

  81. “the church exemption will become the target of activists who will call it a homophobic anachronism”
    And I will attack that as illogical, illiberal and none of their business.

    “Criticism of gay marriage will be declared homophobic and subject to criminal law sanction.”
    I don’t see how. You can currently criticise any lifestyle you want without fear of criminal reprisals, can you not? Why would the term marriage being applied to “the close or intimate association or union”* of people of the same gender change the law on this?

    “who are itching to have more laws to attack their fellow citizens with”
    Undoubtedly, and I will attack them at every step. What I will not do is believe that gay marriage is some sort of beachhead for a movement desiring to remove my rights. They already exist, they already have most of them, and making this issue the line in the sand is as illogical as it is futile. People, like me, who are on your side for 99% of issues and share your concerns for liberty will oppose you on this because it is illiberal, pedantic, historically dubious, linguistically incorrect, harmful to any movement you claim to be part of and, more than anything, the wrong fight to have.

    People against gay marriage, rightly or wrongly, will be labelled as homophobes and bigots and their other points will be ignored regardless of their validity.

    * Google this phrase.

    • Peter W Watson

      “You can currently criticise any lifestyle you want without fear of criminal reprisals, can you not?”

      What planet are you living on? The persecution of Christians who dare speak out against this sinful practice has been taking place for years.

  82. Peter, if so then calling it marriage will not make any difference, if not then will calling it marriage make criticising it illegal?

    • Peter W Watson

      Your thinking escapes me. You implied there will be / is no persecution of Christians who oppose this particular sin. A simple Google will evidence there is. It is not a matter of what something is called, it is a matter of State oppression of individuals who oppose any conflation of Holy Matrimony with unholy buggery. And yes, the State, pressured by Common Purpose 5th columnists and militant homosexuals will make criticism of it illegal. Vide California this past week where it is proposed to make it a criminal offence to counsel homosexuals. You may not perceive the Force behind this but others thankfully do.

  83. “counsel homosexuals”?
    Conversion Therapy I believe it’s called. Practised pretty much exclusively by Christians and has been found (or so they claim) to be harmful. Shouldn’t be illegal, the case against it is weak (not as weak as the case for it) and I am hopeful it will not pass Constitutional muster even if legislators pass it. But don’t try to frame it in such blatantly dishonest terms.

    The persecution of Christians for preaching against homosexuality has been mostly for harassment. Or over-zealous police officers, which none of us like.

    “A street preacher wrongly arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin has won substantial damages as police chiefs issue new guidelines telling officers to be more thick-skinned.” Daily Mail (emphasis mine) 2010

    “Police have been ordered to pay compensation to a Christian street preacher who was hauled off in handcuffs for saying that gays will go to hell.

    A judge condemned the arrest of Anthony Rollins, who quoted the King James Bible on the subject of the ‘effeminate’ as he preached in Birmingham.” 2010 Daily Mail

    Okay, googling done. Persecution is by police (no change there then) and the courts are throwing cases out with compensation being paid. Chief police officers are giving guidelines on not arresting preachers.

  84. I agree with Ian B that some of the pressure for gay marriage is from people who are already planning a legal assault on the churches. Re Keddaw’s point about the view taken by the courts of the anti-Christian persecution that we already have – the process is the punishment. The courts will uphold your rights, so long as you have the money and force of character to get your case into court. Otherwise, you’re stuffed.

  85. Peter, on that we have no disagreement.

    Sean, I know the process is the punishment in many cases but I was rather more encouraged by the awards (tiny, unfortunately) being paid out to those wrongly arrested and also that the top officers were issuing guidelines telling officers to … only arrest people breaking actual laws.

    Isn’t it something when that is what I am encouraged by?

  86. When the plod must be instructed only to arrest people for breaking the law, there is a problem. This is especially so when there are now enough laws to make everything a crime. Also, you don’t really have rights when you have to uphold them by an expensive process of law that itself amounts to punishment.

  87. I’d like to thank you all for giving me such a good laugh.

    Ian B said:
    The word “marriage” does not cover two blokes bumming each other. It never has. It just doesn’t mean that.”

    …poetry.

    Mr Ecks said:
    “Catholic priests (even the non-paedo ones) reject sex with women. Does that make them gay?”

    …it probably doesn’t make them straight. I’m of the view that the priesthood started out gay and used celibacy as a cover-story.

    On religion, Christianity is the gayest religion that I am aware of, it is a source of constant amusement that such an effeminate religion is so intolerant of the people it is most attractive to.

    On masculinity, lifetime marriage in-of-itself is hardly macho, real men shag around. Marriage is there because women want it, isn’t that obvious?

    djwebb2010 said:
    “Ian, the gay marriage proposal is designed to create a culture war or to cause trouble.”

    I have no doubt this is true and I’m amazed that others can’t see it. Cameron must want trouble on this issue as part of his ongoing effort to “decontaminate the brand”.

    Thank-you again, I’ve enjoyed this little foray into the conservative past, but I must go, I’m just raring to “marry” a couple of the chaps at my local dogging site…

  88. Plod may be losing his grip on our thoughts…

    http://order-order.com/2012/05/16/unlikely-bedfellows/

    The repeal of section 5 of the public order act is gaining momentum.
    http://www.reformsection5.org.uk/

  89. westernesse

    Leviticus says to reject men who lay with a man as with a woman.

    But that is biologically impossible, unless it rejects men who practice anal intercourse with women (which I doubt).

    So much of the confusion over this subject stems from biological ignorance. Reproduction was thought to take place by the male planting a “seed” in a woman’s “fertile” womb, where the seed grew into a baby. Observation of manure instilled the idea that “seeds” might grow in the back passage. Such misunderstandings have been prevalent throughout history.

    Tony

  90. djwebb2010

    I’m glad to see Sean can’t keep me off the front page of his site!

  91. djwebb2010

    I have been sent a PDF of Jack Donovan’s book, and would like to write a review over the weekend and post it – more on “masculinity”.

  92. The State needs to get out of the institution of marriage altogether. Marriage ought to be treated like any other contract (here the Islamic understanding of marriage is very sensible and attractive), with the same framework of offer and acceptance, and termination (divorce). I would allow solicitors to draw up and validate this contracts, as any other, and the wedding ceremonies to be held anywhere, conducted by any suitable registrar (including religious officials).

    If a lawyer is happy to create a marriage contract between two men, two women, five women and a man, or three men to three women and a post-op transwoman, and the registrar is happy to perform the ceremony, it is nobody else’s business. Simple as that. There would be no obligation, of course, on Catholics and Anglicans to marry homosexuals when they consider them to be abominable sinners, but nor should Quakers and Conservative Jews be prevented from marrying them merely for deviating from mainstream theology.

    Easily irritated social conservatives rue this ‘redefinition’ of marriage, but this ‘argument’ really is invalid: firstly, as libertarians, we reject the authority of the State to define marriage at all; secondly, even if the government did have this legitimacy, why is marriage immune from redefinition? Rape, for example, is not, and neither should marriage.

    Libertarians should be advocating for maximum freedom for consenting adults wherever we can get it under our illiberal government.

  93. L. Georgiou, 3 men and 3 women can dance and the woods and proclaim their love for each other as a joint marriage if they wish – nothing stopping them. But that is not a family – and not an appropriate setting for the raising of children. Traditional marriage is the best way of stopping state intervention in families – your weird and wonderful formats are a direct path to social worker interventions.

    Marriage is not necessarily immune to redefinition, BUT libertarians cannot pretend to ignore the facts revealed by social scientists that novel relationships are highly correlated with sexual abuse, physical abuse, crime, delinquency, welfarism, etc. The real world still exists, even if we don’t choose to acknowledge it.

  94. If two consenting adults wish to be together and get married then so be it. At least in my country we have separation of church and state meaning the church has and should not have any role in the state. Fine you’re Christian, fine you disagree with homosexuality and equal marriage because you believe it’s a “sin”, fine you decide to follow some stupid old book that also condones stoning your child to death for cursing at you, blaming a woman because she got raped, you get the idea… you have a right to believe these things as absurd and scientifically ungrounded as they are. What you don’t have the right to do is to stick your noses in other people’s lives and tell them what they can and cannot do.

    “Even if the state hands out certificates saying two men are “married”, they cannot be married, any more than UK passports handed out to Africans make them truly British. I would like to abolish divorce too…”

    Well yes they are married under the state. We don’t get two flying hoots what Christians and churches say. You must realise that society is becoming less religious and that’s a good thing. Most of the most heinous acts have been committed by religion. So farewell!

    Well somebody who was born in Britain to African parents, raised there, went to school there, etc. is British. The hypocrisy of English people baffles me that they can justify taking over half of Africa and using the people there as slaves and messing up their countries but the minute these people come to Britian it’s like “you’re not welcome here”.

    So a woman in an abusive relationship with a man should be forced to remain married to him because “god” says so? Thank god crackpots like you are a minority and not in power…

    • Peter W Watson

      When a society describes a perversion as not only acceptable but morally equal to the norm, it is going to die. How much this offends anyone I neither know or care. I am tired of being offended by the perversion of language. I suggest anyone who does not think we are heading into the darkness of a spiritual abyss reads this, and anyone who thinks they are not really too comfortable with homosexual “marriage” but needs some ammunition to blow it out of the water read it also.
      http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles2/PragerHomosexuality.php#.T7FZOLE1bRo.facebook

      And in your hubris, please do remember you can not say you were not warned of the future you wish to bring upon yourself and the rest of society.

  95. Mr Harry Price

    I think getting away from wedlock all together is the best idea, seen the size
    of these divorce settlements lately. I now a few people who have been cleaned out.