About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

08 October 2006

Ho Ha about Gay Marriage?

There has been so much debate on the legitimacy of the proposed Civil Union bill, which have set me thinking (which, as a self confessed idiot could be dangerous) and so this post is very much a mind dump. But first a bit of quick background.

Firstly, it has been criticised by some in the Gay and Lesbian community, because it is a separate act; and is different from the current marriage act. Thus they argue; it is different and discriminatory. The government argues that it needs to be; because the marriage act is primarily based around religious and traditional ceremonies; and since the new bill is independent of religion; it requires different treatment.

On the other hand, there is the criticisms from the religious, and virtually every homophobic person, on how gay marriage is against nature, and against every religious belief; and thus immoral. In fact, the government was really pushed to write this bill; because the Constitutional Court ruled that the current Marriage Act is unconstitutional; so it is obliged to change the law. And like the death penalty - referendums on the matter will not help. To change the legal position on either; there needs to be a change in the constitution; and even a simple 2/3 majority is not sufficient to do that!

So either way; like it or not, gay marriage will be legalised; and there is effectively nothing that the opposition can do. This off course raises a few very important issues and problems. First and foremost - in a constitution that separates the church and the state distinctly; is there a need for a marriage act, other than to recognise marriage can be performed under religious and traditional ceremonies? In that scenario; other than recognised state machinery to register and dissolve marriages; why is there a need to have separate acts governing them?

Secondly, and more interestingly in my opinion: why should marriage be between two persons (as dictated by the last Constitutional Court judgment on the issue)? Why can a marriage not be between more than two persons? And it is not a new thing in South African culture anyway - quite a few cultural groups, like the Zulus, recognise polygamy. And so do some religions, including Islam. So, if it is religiously and culturally ok to have more then two persons in a marriage; why should a civil marriage be any different? Why should it not be possible to have marriages involving multiple persons, of different genders? Do we really have any right to regulate people's love and sex lives - as long as every one in the relationship is a consenting adult?

Gay marriage controversy ... wait till the polygamy controversy starts :P

1 comment:

Eric Savage said...

Because divorce messes people up. It messes kids up and you end up with all kinds of relationships that leave a sour taste and people you don't want to meet in a street. Healthy marriage=healthy people=healthy society. So you say: why have marriage? Because when you have the loose in and out relationships of Europe, it comes as no surprise that you have a massive drinking problem, because the culture has unravelled and people have lost their sense of purpose and long-term continuity. It seems like gay marriage is all fine and well, but it's also short-term - it addresses short term love and lust, and doesn't build a society in the long-term because it can't propagate. The critics are right: it's not natural and won't ever be.