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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Unisexual Marriage—Philosophical Musings Over an Oxymoron

by Michael Zebulon (May 2013)

“If we take a horse’s tail and call it a leg, how many legs will the horse then have?
“The correct answer is four.
“You see, gentlemen,” Mr Lincoln went on to say…
“…you can call a horse’s tail a ‘leg.’ 
“But that does not make it a leg.”
-- Traditional        

What is it, precisely, about same-sex marriage that fails the smell test? more>>>

Posted on 04/30/2013 9:29 AM by NER
11 May 2013
Send an emailMichael Zebulon

Michael Zebulon replies to Mr Joyce:

You seem to be building a case on blind or unexamined assumptions and simple straw men. You state that I "want to be able to see [my] heterosexual partnering as superior..."

--- What makes you so sure that I am even 'partnered' at all? I neither said nor implied anything to that effect.

You assume that the only reason one could conceivably have for denying the proposition of 'same-gender marriage' is a need to feel superior. An independent love of truth, and the gumption to follow wheresoever it might lead, couldn't possibly factor into the works? Very well, believe what it suits you to believe. There's a line from Francis Bacon about how men (viz., persons) prefer generally to believe what they prefer to be true.

But first things first: Notwithstanding your lead-off assertion, Sir, I did not set out to prove "that there can be no such thing as an essential marriage between two gender-identical beings." And why would I? --- It goes without saying (or ought to) that such things are not subject to proof (or disproof).

They are, however, subject to common observation, simple discernment, and illustrative depiction. I say what I see --- what I perceive. If you don't see it, then you don't. But no matter; others will.

And even if they didn't --- even if not a solitary soul saw it--- even that wouldn't be, of itself, sufficient to invalidate the observation. The truth or falsity of a matter is not a function of its popularity. It is what it is. And your claim that what I perceive is "concocted" is itself subject to the identical charge.

But let's be candid, Mr Joyce: Your objection is surely not to the fact that I 'failed' to prove what I never presumed (let alone, proposed) to prove. Your objection is simply to the fact that my remarks were made --- and that, having been generated and put out there, they planted a seed (or nurtured an existing one) of contrary possibility, and therefore of conflict, in the assumptions your own ego has come to rely on. For you, this insouciant nonconformity with the program is downright unforgivable.

You say, "It matters not a damn [that the USA citizenry will never confer honour on homosexual unions], for all that is being demanded by homosexuals is equality before the law" --- and that the expectation that the citizenry won't honor their unions is some species of "canard." Equality may be all they presently purport to want. The time was, however, and not that long ago, when "all" they purported to want was the privacy to indulge their sexual compulsions without fear of criminal pursuit. Well they got that --- and promptly upped the ante. So your claim --- that "all" they want is "equality" --- is subject to a healthy skepticism. One would have to conclude that you are either disingenuous or have difficulty seeing the forest for the trees.

In any event, I showed early in my essay that, as individuals, homosexuals have legal equality now, and have had it for some years. What they plainly DO want these days --- indeed, crave --- is the dignity that no law can ever provide. The stark, unembroidered reality --- no, not a canard but perceivable reality --- is that, as a group, homosexuals (and that includes homosexual activists) are strikingly without dignity.

What's more, notwithstanding their persistent and self-conscious appropriation of the word, they aren't 'gay' either, except in the most superficial and escapist of ways. In fact, the most one can honestly say about gaiety with respect to homosexuals generally is that their insistence on using the term to identify themselves (to the point of virtually wrecking it for any other contemporary usage throughout the popular culture) represents not objective reality, but wishful thinking.

Gay means "cheerful, carefree" --- yet homosexuals are anything but. If the names people chose for themselves were a suitable designator of their general disposition and demeanor, homosexuals would call themselves not "gay," but grim. And nothing in the law --- present or future --- will change that either. Gaiety will continue to elude them even as dignity does.

As to your own unproven averral that marriage is "whatever a society chooses it to be," I must say, with all due respect, that you'll have a hard time establishing the proposition that society even preceded marriage --- let alone, that it determined or defined it (or that it has ever done so). In fact, one strongly suspects that a persuasive --- indeed probative --- case could, or will, in time, be made for quite the REVERSE proposition: that marriage not merely preexisted society, but moreover, created it and actually made society possible

It certainly is clear enough as to what happens when the traditional matrimonial institution dies out in society. Civilization proceeds to fail --- and then collapses. And you can rest assured that I didn't 'concoct' that perception. The History Section of any half-assed library in the land will tell you the same sorry story.

But don't shoot the messenger; I don't presume to make the news (less yet, 'prove' it). All I've been doing on this page is reporting it. If you find the read less than congenial, you can always turn the page. Nobody will boycott you, or try to get you fired from your job, or truck you off to those reeducation camps they call "sensitivity training" centers these days. There are no Thought Police on this side of the argument.

Your observation that the Land of the Free is free only "for some" says nothing. Freedom is never absolute and universal, and I quite assure you, Sir, that, after a moment of the most perfunctory reflection, even you would not wish it so. However, if you experience your life as other than 'free' because of your sexual proclivities, then I would submit, Mr Joyce, that this is far less a factor of law than the inevitable consequence of compulsiveness:  as generated by the reversed polarity that your long-ago traumatized consciousness has since persuaded itself to constitute some species of 'normal.' Well, of course it feels unfree; how could it be otherwise?  

Far worse, however, that society itself should be enshackled in order to accommodate that polarity reversal. As a homosexual you had a problem long before society ever entered the picture for you, and your demanding that society liberate that problem from its inherent limitations represents a misplacing of proper focus and a palming-off of internal responsibility onto your external environment.

Your problem is, I submit, emotional --- and, by extension, metaphysical. To try fitting it to a "civil rights" template is --- at best --- an utter and thoroughgoing distraction. Quite candidly, Mr Joyce, I sympathize --- most earnestly, no joke --- with your predicament, as I do with those of other victims. But unlike as in the case of most of those others, it is not society that victimizes homosexuals --- certainly not, in the main, the society of today's Western world. Homosexuals are, and have always been, victims, first & foremost (albeit quite inadvertently), of the families in which they were raised:  whence sprouted and grew their identities to begin with.

You have serious work to do, Sir, on uncovering the resentments which set in motion the compulsiveness that animates (and I daresay, dominates) your existence --- and you are wasting what valuable time you have been given in this life on pressuring society to accommodate your mishegasse when you could be using that same time far more profitably:  to uncover and dissolve those long-hidden resentments --- the building blocks of rage (and the consequent producers of trauma) --- which made your compulsiveness inevitable. But then, how serious are you anyway about wanting truly to be free?

Finally (for the moment), if you choose to regard the prospect of tolerance as "patronising," fine --- give it whatever name you like --- what it IS is a good deal better than you'll get from some. Speaking for myself (and I daresay, large numbers of others as well), limiting oneself to the basic courtesy of tolerance is about conscience, not bigotry.

All-the-same though, it's hardly surprising that one who identifies with the political pretensions and sheer presumptuousness of the homosexualist mind-set and its activist movement would view as "patronising" the principled refusal to extend anything beyond an arm's-length & circumspect, yet courteous & proper, tolerance toward the viscerally experienced and mentally arresting unseemliness of homosexuality. To offer more would be to assault our own consciences.

If you truly don't like pretending, then you should have no trouble appreciating that neither does anybody else.

There's plenty more to be said by way of reply to your remarks, Sir, but this is already overlong for a post, so the rest will have to wait.

5 May 2013
Send an emailMichael Zorn

It's often argued that proscribing same-sex "marriages" is an abridgement of rights.  This is patently false, as they have the same rights as everyone else, namely, to marry anyone of the opposite sex who willput up with them.

But they are not content with everyone else's rights.  They want more.

Mr Joyce maintains that Marriage is whatever a society chooses it to be”. That implies that anything is whatever a society chooses it to be, and that leads to chaos. If we are to judge by prevailing societal opinion, the majority of us – as evidenced by state after state voting that way –we  choose to define marriage as it has been defined since the dawn of recorded history. Even the variants, such a s polygamy, held that there was a definite male/female connection, and that polygamy was not instituted so the wives could cuddle.

Further: " Homosexual people couldn't care less about those who do not wish to confer honour on their unions". If that is true, why do so many take to the streets in protest; contribute heavily to defeat or endorse proposed laws and candidates; bring lawsuits against wedding photographers who would rather not document such affairs (when in fact there are many professionals who would gladly do that).

No, the truth is that they do care, and care so intently that they will not stop until the rest of us succumb to their attacks.

"...  equality before the law ..."  It already exists.  Everyone is free to marry anyone of the opposite sex.  If some want to be more equal than others, and will stamp their feet and hold their breath until they turn blue, that's their affair.

5 May 2013
John B

What a magnificent exposés of clarity among all of the noise and flack...why is it so difficult to be simple?! Michael is a master of clarity in a world of chaos.

4 May 2013
Frank S

In other news...

The Pennines have been renamed The Himalayas to enable determined hill walkers to be recognised as Everest climbers.

30 Apr 2013
Send an emailJohn M. Joyce

You merely make a series of assertions that you say 'proves' your primary assertion that there can be no such thing as an essential marriage between two gender-identical beings. However, your assertions only serve to prove that you are adept at making assertions and that your primary assertion - that a homosexual marriage is not essentially a marriage - is merely your own belief.

You assert what you believe to be the defining point about what marriage is - that it is about reconciling differences - but the point that you make is merely one that you have concocted, and then asserted, in order that you may continue to assert your beliefs about homosexual unions - prejudice is, I'm afraid, quite easily recognisable as prejudice no matter how you might choose to dress it up.

Marriage is whatever a society chooses it to be - legally, morally and in terms of acceptance. Whatever it may have been in the past may, or may not have been, is not necessarily a useful guide as to what it should be now. I suspect that it isn't, simply because a society has to function in the world in which it finds itself so it will, perforce, reinvent itself and its institutions as much as is necessary in order to survive. Marriage, as a societal institution, is not excused from that process simply because someone makes a series of unprovable assertions that merely serve to bolster his, or her, own prejudices or beliefs.

Long term homosexual relationships are based on the same things that long term heterosexual relationships are based on: love, sex, commitment and partnership. You may choose to assert, as you did, that these are irrelevant and not, in any case, of any use in deciding whether or not a relationship can be a marriage, but that is your own invented point of view and not one that is generally recognised by society at large.

It seems to me that you merely wish to be able to feel, in your heterosexuality, superior to homosexual couples - that you wish to invest heterosexual marriage with a superiority that it does not necessarily have. Homosexual marriage will, naturally, function in a different way from a a heterosexual marriage, but to forbid it on the grounds that it cannot be a real marriage because you have invented some new and spurious test for what constitutes a real marriage is simply ludicrous. If a homosexual union were to pass your test then you would simply invent another test that would then be, according to you, the real definitive test of what a marriage is -- and so on ad infinitum.

Basically, it seems that you want to be able to look down on someone, anyone, as inferior. It seems as if you want to be able to see your heterosexual partnering as superior and that you are prepared to invent any number of spurious reasons in order to bolster your fragile sense of superiority. Why? Does that satisfy some complex or other? Is it necessary for your mental wellbeing to exclude an entire group of people from some institution or another of society so that those within that institution can feel that they are better than those who have been denied access to that same institution?

Your ridiculous asertion that "that homosexual ‘acceptance’ has no more place within the bailiwick of civil law than homosexual behavior has within the province of criminal jurisprudence." is simply that - an assertion not founded in logic (just like most of your other assertions). Civil law may, if the lawmakers wish it in a society that so wishes it, pay attention to absolutely any issue that it chooses.

As for the citizenry conferring honour on homosexual unions - that is a canard. Homosexual people couldn't care less about those who do not wish to confer honour on their unions, as you phrase it, any more that heterosexual people could give a flying fig for those who despise heterosexual marriage. What does it matter if some folk despise what you have? It matters not a damn, for all that is being demanded by homosexuals is equality before the law - not equality in the eyes of whoever is watching over the yard fence.

"Be content with tolerance", you say. Why? Why should I be content with your patronising tolerance? Minority groups throughout history have been told that they must content themselves with mere tolerance - Catholics in England, Jews everywhere, Huguenots in France (and England), blacks anywhere outside Africa and women everywhere down the ages, Christians in any Mohammedan country. Women, of course were seen as as mere chattels and the others were frequently accused of the most heinous of practices -- the Jews, in particular, still suffer from the blood libel. Today, people just like you speak the most arrant nonsense about gay people, and you, of course, string together a disconnected series of illogical assertions and pass them of as fact in order to reinforce your own pre-existing prejudices.

The land of the free, huh? it's only free for some, is what your saying. Fortunately, you will be proved wrong and your prejudices, and the illogical assertions that you use to bolster them, will be forgotten. Societies do change, and the USA is no different in that respect than any other society.

Sadly, just a few weeks ago, I attended an event at which I was told that homosexual people couldn't, by definition, be on the right-wing of politics because, by definition, the homosexual brain was incapable of understanding freedom and capitalism. I have subsequently seen that same assertion, in different forms, made in some on-line right wing publications. It seems to me that the right-wing wishes to exclude homosexuals, and their relationships, simply because they are homosexuals and have homosexual relationships. It is becoming apparent to me that homosexuals' demands for equality before the law are a line in the sand for some on the right. I cannot share that particular definition of freedom - and I do, I assure you, understand freedom and capitalism. Fortunately, that attitude has not penetrated the NER and I am proud that I am allowed to write here and to exhibit my right-wing philosophy.

I, and any partner I may be lucky enough to have one day, will demand equality before the law - not your patronising and unwelcome tolerance, not some pathetic honour which you may choose to extend or withhold, not your acceptance, or otherwise, of my relationship, but full equality before the law. Not some equal but different c--p such as civil unions, but full and proper equality. I am not a second class citizen and any relationship that I may lovingly committ to is not going to be a civil partnership ('marriage lite') but marriage before the law.

“Enough already,” you must be told—“get over it. And get over yourself. Never be content with anything less than equality before the law.”

For freedom is indivisible and equality before the law for one's loving, sexual, committed partnership, and for oneself as a member of society regardless of one's sexuality, in a democratic and capitalist society is, in my opinion, a prerequisite freedom.

30 Apr 2013
Send an emailCiccio
I have only one question. Non-consumation of marriage, infidelity or failing to support your spouse and children has always been considered grounds for divorce. Forget about infidelity and non-support for the moment but picture being sued for divorce for failing to consumate the marriage. Do they get a proctologist rather then a gynocologist as the expert witness? Is there going to be an argument about who was going to do the deed? If it is not going to be considered any more it will have to be abandoned for all traditional marriages lest they sue for discrimination. Just think of all those poor Muslims living in our society whose wives can then - legaly - say they just married him because they like his house but don't want anything to do with sex.