Fisking Kevin Myers: “Why I believe same-sex unions can never be called a marriage”

Thu 18 May 2006

Note

This could’ve been written better, but I still stand by just about everything in it. I’ve vague recollections of just hammering the thing out and posting it. Myers was and remains somebody who ought to have been a wankstain on his father’s underpants. I’m glad we consigned this to history’s dustbin. The original post is here.

Sigh. There’s nothing I dislike more than poor logic, and Myers, as always is a veritable font of the stuff. More awfulness in the Bindo this morning (registration required). Mind that I’m not expressing an opinion for or against such unions, just that Myer’s logic is flawed. It’s a long one, but let’s fisk this mother:

What decent person…

I.e. somebody that thinks like the good Colonel…

…did not quail in abject terror when “The Rights of De Facto Couples” was published last week?

I did: terrible title for a report, isn’t it? Such an abuse of the English language.

It marked yet another intrusion by lawyers into our lives, …

Yeah, it’s awful living in a common law country, isn’t it Kevin.

…and another recitation of the governing matra of our age: rights.

More nasty stuff there, Kevin. Could be worse: they could be talking about democracy. You know, that strange political system where people the right (there’s that awful word again) to express their opinions on things, and worse yet: work to convince others of their point of view. Thank goodness we don’t have any of that democracy rot here.

Thus, one of the co-authors, Fergus Ryan wrote: “International law does not require that the various states permit same-sex marriage, however it does say very clearly that if you exclude same-sex couples from marriage, and you reserve most of the rights and obligations to married couples, then you have sexual orientation discrimination.”

Well, I’m glad that international law doesn’t—-quite yet, anyway—-require us to permit homosexual marriage.

I’m glad you see it that way. It’d be terrible if you realised that means that there simply isn’t a direct requirement, but an indirect requirement, because not recognising such unions is discriminatory and therefore… wait for it… illegal!

Equally, I’m glad it doesn’t oblige us to swim underwater to Holyhead with a cement-mixer on our backs, or have sex with molten lava, or pluck the eyelashes from wild bears, or anything else that is impossible.

Excellent strawman. You see, these are all things that nobody in their right mind would attempt, and yet aren’t illegal: if I was suitably enamoured with some magma, there’s nothing legally stopping me from making sweet, sweet love to it.

Same-sex marriage is not the same: it is one of these things that needs to have legal recognition to be legal because marriage itself is a construct of law. So, Kevin, your argument doesn’t quite hold water.

For I simply don’t accept that a homosexual union is merely a mirror image of a heterosexual marriage, or that it even qualifies as marriage.

Notice how Colonel Myers doesn’t explain why he considers this so, or how a heterosexual union is different. Of course it’s different: you’ve got two people with different sets of sex-determining chromosomes in a relationship in one, and the same set in another. The other difference is that a heterosexual couple can have reproductive sex whereas a homosexual couple can’t.

But wait… there’s nasty edge cases here. What about couples where one or both of the people involved is sterile? What about men with female chromosomes (aka XX male syndrome), or women with male chromosomes (and both exist)? Or hermaphrodites/intersex people? Tell me Kevin, what about these people?

Now, before the screeching hullabaloo starts, …

The Colonel believe that any opinion that differs from his own is a “screeching hullabaloo”.

…a homosexual union is not of necessity intrinsically worse than marriage, for I know some terrible heterosexual marriages, and some terrific homosexual relationships, but it is intrinsically different. A swift is a swift, not a swallow. The only people who can actually get “married” are men and women, to make a husband and wife. And whereas same-sex couples should should certainly be able to enjoy civil unions, with inheritance and pension rights and so on, that union cannot be called a “marriage.”

Myers believes that marriage has this certain ineffable quality, so utterly beyond description that he fails to even allude to what it might be aside from oblique metaphor.

Best I can tell, his argument boils down to the fact that the state should get out of the marriage business and leave that up to religious bodies, instead recognising the marriage contract as being the same as a civil union.

You don’t have to agree with my opinions here, …

But if you don’t, you’re not a “decent person”.

…but I trust that you would both allow me to think them privately and express them publicly, without leading me to the stocks and pelting me with rotten sheep’s eyes.

Yes, Kevin. You have a right to your opinions. There’s that horrible word again! Run away!

Because it’s not just a matter of freedom of speech. Once you declare a homosexual union a marriage, then then you give that couple adoption and fostering rights, …

Think of the children! Being around gay people might turn them gay too!

Now, if you extend this line of thinking to its logical conclusion, this means that somebody who’s bisexual in a heterosexual relationship shouldn’t be allowed near their own children or adopt or foster children, or that gay people shouldn’t be allowed employment as child minders, and that homosexuality is something you get from your environment. After all, the only way you could possibly arrive at this opinion is if you think that gay people are somehow less capable of caring for children than straight people.

To let my own opinion intrude, I’d much prefer see children being taken care of by parents in a loving, stable relationship than parents who are not, be they bent as an Irish road or straight as Roman one.

…to be enforced by our old enemies, the equality courts, …

How are they our enemies? There was me thinking the courts were their to enforce the law and nothing more. Tilting at windmills…

…manned of course by lawyers, …

No, judges accountable to the people. Lawyers (solicitors in the lower courts, barristers in the higher) are employed by plaintiffs as skilled legal advocates to argue their case in front of the court, but beyond that have no power in the judgement.

for whom no illogic is too outlandish, no egalitarian nonsense too fatuous, no fine point too microscopically infinitesimal.

The good Colonel has a lot in common with them then, aside from his lack of a grasp of the legal system.

Now, I don’t say that homosexual couples should never be allowed to adopt, merely that they should not possess the same legally-enforceable adoption rights as heterosexual couple.

Last time I looked, the closest you got to adoption rights for heterosexual couples was that they had to stringently prove that they could provide a stable, loving environment for the children in question, and were capable of providing for any special needs the child may have, and that they wouldn’t abandon the child.

Those aren’t rights: they’re obligations.

Again, for this point to ring true, Myers needs to show how homosexual couples are less capable of taking care of children than heterosexual couples. No sign of that happening any time soon.

The fact that two lesbians are not legally “married” should not of itself preclude them from raising children, as do many lesbian mothers, who have become pregnant: and if the circumstances are right, and they have proved their parental merit, then there’s no reason why an adoption agency shouldn’t give them children.

His first cogent, if convoluted, statement in the whole piece. Give him a pat on the head.

But as for male couple being given babies for adoption? Oh, please

So maybe his point is that men are worse parents than women. As a man I find this deeply offensive.

Yet we cannot in law differentiate between men and women. Why? Because of the obsession with “equal rights”, the TB of our times, transmitted through the unpasteurised milk that is the legal profession.

And our constitution too! Let me quote Section 1 of Article 40 (Fundamental Rights):

Áirítear gurb ionann ina bpearsain daonna na saoránaigh uile i láthair an dtí (All citizens, as human persons, be held equal before the law).

Pretty clear cut, don’t you think?

For it is lawyers who have hammered home the ideological myths of equality, …

Like Daniel O’Connell and the Catholic Enfranchisement movement. Or maybe being Protestant makes you a better person and therefore entitled to better treatment before the law. Or maybe giving women the right to vote and reach their potential as human beings was wrong, or maybe the colour of your skin is a reflection of the quality of your heart and mind.

My point being, if you’re to restrict the freedoms of an individual or group, you have to have a good reason. What is your reason, Kevin?

…lawyers who have invented an entire range of human rights, lawyers who define them, …

No, politicians did that.

…lawyers who judge their alleged infractors in their lawyer-only rights-enforcing forums.

You mean, courts of law? Are you saying we should get rid of the courts? Yay for vigilante-ism and lynch squads! Who needs these forums where people can hammer out the facts.

No question of whether these “rights” are right: no TB or not TB.

Groan!

The companion-disease to the rights affliction is the doctrinaire liberal conformism…

Which is to say that if you’re one of those people who thinks parsimoniousness in law is a Good Thing, you’re a bad, bad person.

…which is now so triumphant that it is close to stifling the voice fo the Catholic Church on moral questions.

The Colonel seems to be a little confused here: he confuses the church hierarchy with the church itself. A common error, but a bad one.

And remember that this is after decades of the church hierarchy stifling any opinions within the church as a whole that differed from their own.

But that Catholic Church is the Catholic Church.

That it is.

It is not the Phoenix Park Rent Boys Association or the Sapphic Society for Sizzling Sex.

See how he tries to make his point by making gay people somehow less morally capable than the high-and-mighty hierarchy by casting foundationless aspersions and making blanket remarks? That’s a cheap trick.

It has always taught hat sex outside marriage is wrong, regardless of the imperfections of its teachers.

Fine if you’re Catholic, and fine if you think Catholic doctrine is something the state should be enforcing. Maybe the good Colonel would feel more at home if he converted to Islam and joined the Taliban.

I’m quite puzzled though as to how this relates to the article.

But now dogmatic liberal conformism is trying to outlaw the possession of even privately held Catholic opinion.

Dogmatic liberal conformism”: how’s that for cognitive dissonance!

And he seems to confuse the idea that the state is not in the business of enforcing the dogma of any particular religion with the idea that because of that, you can’t hold a particular belief system. Where is his proof that these are one in the same thing?

Ruth Kelly, the first Irish Catholic in the British cabinet, is now under attack because she refuses to say what her unspoken thoughts are on homosexuality.

Last time I looked, the UK was a separate jurisdiction from the Republic of Ireland. However, I agree that people should be judged on their actions and not their words or thoughts.

Peter Thatchell, the homosexual activist, declared fatuously, …

He does love that word, doesn’t he. Heres the definition: Fatuous adj. very silly, idiotic.

So while he was doing it, he jumped up and down, running his fingers across his lisp and rasping?

Her appointment suggests that the government does not take lesbian and gay rights seriously. Tony Blair would never appoint someone to a race-equality post who had a lukewarm record of opposing racism”.

And maybe he’s right. Maybe she doesn’t have the experience for the post. Maybe she has “I hate fags” in a mural painted onto the side of her house. And maybe Thatchell is full of crap. But rather than actually explore the accusation and whether it has a foundation, the Colonel paints it as part of a vast liberal conspiracy.

There you have it, to perfection; the illogical but typically liberal confusion between involuntary condition and voluntary deed.

A confusion the Colonel appears to share when it comes to the fitness of men to adopt or foster children.

No-one can help their orientation or their race, but neither is a sure guide as to how one behaves.

Gender too, Kevin.

Or is Peter Thatchell saying that black people behave in a certain way because they are black? He apparently is saying much the same of homosexual men and women.

There’s been so many strawmen in this piece so far, Myers could start a business selling them to farmers.

No, you see, he’s saying that people behave a certain way towards black people, and in some people this manifests itself as racism, and that if somebody was appointed to an anti-racism post, it would make sense to ensure they weren’t racist themselves.

Or Thatchell could be committing the logical fallacy that being Irish and Catholic necessarily entails that you hate gay people. But that’s inconvenient for the Colonel to consider.

Indeed, such a perception has even entered the legal culture in Britain, to the point where that the “right” of homosexual men to have casual sexual dalliances with strangers in public parks at night-time in London is now widely accepted, even by the Met.

Right” my arse. It’s illegal under public decency laws, but such laws are largely ignored. The Colonel fails to point out that they’re largely ignored when it comes to heterosexuals too.

In the world of “gay rights”, it is now apparently wrong for and Irish Catholic who privately believes in traditional Catholic teaching on sexuality to be permitted into government in Britain.

But OK, if you’re all-but-Catholic like Blair is. The question is, would that person enforce the law of the land, or would they enforce religious doctrine.

All right, it’s not quite the penal laws: but equally, for half of the gay population it could be said to be the penile laws, and the other half it’s absolutely the non-penile laws?

Myers needs an editor to clip out awful copy like this.

So, far from the thought police emanating from the right and the left, as they did in Orwell’s 1984, today they try to enforce their dogmas of doctrinaire secular liberalism.

As opposed to doctrinaire religious conservatism, right? Or maybe people aren’t capable of thinking for themselves and questioning the opinions of others.

And maybe appropriately, for George Orwell himself was viciously anti-Catholic, so perhaps even he would have approved of such thought-police. And that, now, would be truly Orwellian.

It took some amount of mental gymnastics, but he Colonel would appear to be implying that George Orwell would have thought gay marriage to be a good thing because it would bring about the kind of thinking he warned against in his books. Wait, that makes no sense whatsoever. And he gets paid to right this incoherent nonsense? I’m in the wrong business!