Lying for Traditional Marriage – Part 1

The rather inaccurately-named Scotland for Marriage organisation has on its website a manifesto claiming to sport 10 reasons that the legalisation of same-sex marriage would be disastrous to modern civilisation. However, I have reason to doubt that allowing people with matching junk to get married in a church will cause the horses to turn and begin eating each other, and so I wish to take a closer look at the bogus arguments offered for denial of civil rights to a sizeable minority of citizens.

Reason 1: It will undermine marriage.

“Evidence shows that redefining marriage actually undermines support for marriage in wider society. In Spain, after gay marriage was introduced, marriage rates across the whole population plummeted. In the Netherlands too there has been a significant fall in the marriage rate since marriage was redefined. Same-sex marriage does not promote marriage.”

Marriage Rates per 1,000 inhabitants

Country          1960     1970     1980     1990     2000     2009     2010     2011

Spain               7.8        7.3       5.9        5.7       5.4       3.8        3.6       3.4

Netherlands      7.7        9.5       6.4        6.5       5.5       4.4        4.5       4.3

U.K.                 7.5        8.5       7.4        6.6       5.2       4.3        4.5       …

France             7.0        7.8       6.2        5.1       5.0       3.9        3.9       3.7

Germany          9.5        7.4       6.3        6.5       5.1       4.6        4.7       4.6

Italy                 7.7        7.3       5.7        5.6       5.0       3.8        3.6       3.4

Same-sex marriage was legalised in Spain on 3 July 2005, and in the Netherlands on 1 April 2001, and indeed we find a drop in marriage rates in both of those countries ever since. However, same-sex marriage was emphatically not legalised in the U.K., France, Germany or Italy, and those countries have experienced a comparable rate of decrease in marriage rates over the same time. In fact, all of these countries have had a drop-off in marriages in recent decades, with nary a ring-bearing sodomite in sight. Scotland for Marriage, correlation is not causation. Support for equal marriage rights also correlates with increased life expectancy, but  I doubt you would recommend support for LGBTQ rights as an elixir of life. Point 1: UTTERLY DEBUNKED.

2. Marriage is part of our history.

“Marriage between a man and a woman is not a recent social invention. Everyone knows that marriage predates law, nation and church. It goes back to the dawn of time. Yes, matrimonial law may have been tweaked over the years, but the law has never fundamentally altered the essential nature of marriage: a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. Same-sex marriage would rewrite hundreds of years of legal tradition and thousands of years of cultural heritage.”

This is an example of one of my most loathed kinds of argument in support of anything: It’s traditional, and therefore good. You know what, traditionally women were treated as the property of her father until she was married off, at which point she became the property of her husband. Their definition of marriage as “a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman” is historically inaccurate in many different ways, and the “tweaking” that the law has done has already rendered this definition utterly false. In the U.K., before Henry VIII, not even a king could divorce, but since 1973 (1976 in Scotland), divorce has been freely available to us peasants as well, provided that we tough it out for a year. So much for a “lifelong commitment”. Consistency demands that Scotland for Marriage must also campaign for the abolition of divorce laws too. As for “one man and one woman”, a rudimentary knowledge of history shows that this is absurd. Polygamy, usually polygyny, has been a fairly common form of marriage throughout history, whether in China, Greece, or among the Church of Latter Day Saints in 18th and 19th Centuries. For Christians who want to defend “traditional marriage”, please account for Abraham, Jacob and David in the Old Testament. The idea that marriage has been one thing for thousands of years is both parochial and inaccurate, and even if it were true offers no support for denying marriage rights to same-sex couples. Point 2 – INACCURATE AND IGNORANT.

TO BE CONTINUED – Just reading this stuff is starting to depress me. I need to do something more uplifting…

Sources

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Marriage_and_divorce_statistics

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1973/18/part/I/crossheading/divorce

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