Monday, 19 August 2013

Marriage Equality

Today’s the day equality of marriage becomes law. Time for a quiet celebration—the day when loving couples of whatever sexual persuasion can formalise their relationship and ask for the state to recognise their contract.

It should hardly be controversial, should it?

After all, how is it anybody else’s business who you love?


  1. See After all, how is it anybody else’s business who you love?

    Shows how you libertarians are not very deep thinkers, it is of course nobody's business "who you love"

    This new thing has just made it the Government's business with a nice government issued bit of paper and a bigger bureaucracy needed hopefully to administer all the extra bits of paper involved

  2. @Andrei: Sorry, which extra bits of paper are these?

    And hadn't govts already made marriage contracts their business?

  3. @Andrei: Anyway, very pleased to see you acknowledge it's nobody's business who you love.

  4. I think what Andrei is saying (and sorry if I have this wrong, Andrei) is that the government really has no place in marriage at all.

    While I completely agree with that, if you have a legal recognition of a certain status granted by the state, then that status must apply equally to all who seek it, surely?

    So yes, while the "correct" answer would be to strike all mention of marriage from all legislation, it's a hell of a lot easier to just redefine the term to be less bigoted, isn't it? It ain't perfect, but surely it's better?

  5. If that was the end of the wailing and gnashing of teeth on the part of gays and their supporters I think I'd almost accept it despite thinking its being pushed by people who don't much care for it. But, I suspect its not the end.

    The church I attend has changed its rules to ensure that it doesn't have to marry same sex couple - there's choices elsewhere. Of course those won't be enough - you must have what you don't and despite thinking that churches a dens full of irrelevant sky fairy nonsense we must be married in one and it must be the one that doesn't want to allow it.

    I agree with Peter that its no body's business who you love but there are very long standing rules the state doesn't endorse relationships in the nature of marriage between siblings and some classes of relatives. At some point there will be a line that most clearly won't want to go beyond. I suspect it was here but, go beyond it we will.

    I see preventitive detention can have what I thought was, in the circumstances, a short non parole period of 7 years. I hope that's not a sign of a time frame for the next great enlightenment.


  6. "Today’s the day equality of marriage becomes law."

    No, it's nothing more than rules. Parliament is fundamentally corrupt, calling their rules "law" only serves to endorse the corruption.

  7. the drunken watchman19 Aug 2013, 20:39:00

    this reminds me of Andrew Dicken's interview of Richard Dawkins on Sunday

    Andrew suggested that God to some people simply means "good", or "hope" or something. Richard Dawkins pointed out that in that case, why call it something that it isnt, better to call it what it is. God is by definition after all a supernatural all-powerful being, while hope by definition is simply that, hope. I think, anyway.

    Notwithstanding my not giving a rat's arse whether two men love each other, or even whether a man loves his pet sheep (as long as the sheep comes back willingly for more), when did "marriage" come to mean a same-sex arrangement?

  8. I agree with Andrei. The government should just leave gays and lesbians to sodomize each other wherever and whenever they want. The government is just making more unnecessary laws that's gonna increase bureaucratic bullshit.

  9. the drunken watchman19 Aug 2013, 22:25:00

    @ Grieg

    so while you are at it, why not apply some consistency to your "all who seek it" bit, and extend your largesse of definition to polygamists, etc...

    I mean, the assumption of monogamy is a little conservative, wouldn't you say?

  10. @Greig, you said, "I think what Andrei is saying ... is that the government really has no place in marriage at all."

    If marriage is a contract (which, at least in legal terms, it is) and it is amongst government's legitimate roles to register and enforce contracts (which it is), then government's place in marriage is affirmed--not to decide *which* adults should be allowed to marry, but to register the contracts of those who do.

    @Ugly Truth, you said, "Parliament is fundamentally corrupt, calling their rules 'law' only serves to endorse the corruption."

    Wishing away their 'rules' doesn't in any way take away their force of law.

    @Drunken Watchman, you asked, "when did 'marriage' come to mean a same-sex arrangement?"

    When those of the same sex wished to marry?

    @Christian Libz, you claimed marriage equality, "is just making more unnecessary laws that's gonna increase bureaucratic bullshit." If you're opposed to increased law and bigger bureacracy, you have much bigger fish to fry than this. Because this has neither increased law nore created any new bureacracy. Quite the reverse.

    @Drunken Watchman, you said, "while you are at it, why not apply some consistency to your 'all who seek it' bit, and extend your largesse of definition to polygamist?" No argument here.

  11. the drunken watchman20 Aug 2013, 10:30:00

    @ PC

    When those of the same sex wished to marry?

    ... last I heard, marriage involved a husband and a wife. Same way carbon monoxide involves 1 x carbon atom and 1 x oxygen atom.

    "When those of the same sex wished to marry" is like saying God became synonomous with hope when those who claimed that claimed it.

    Doesn't mean that they do not have their definitions screwed up.

    Unless of course we all just call whatever we like whatever we like.

    For example, can call carbon monoxide carbon dioxide it you want to. This might be acceptable to you, even to me, but only with the proviso that it is a "little bit silly" (to paraphrase Dawkins on God and hope)

  12. @Drunken Watchman: Call it whatever you like. Because even if you're right about the word itself, a dictionary is no argument against the right of two people in love to have their relationship recognised in contract law, if they wish to.

  13. the drunken watchman20 Aug 2013, 11:22:00

    @ PC "call it what you like"

    yep I call it silly on one level, manipulative and social engineering on another. Subterfuge sucks.

  14. @Drunken Watchman: "Silly"? In what way? Is it silly that loving couples of whatever sexual persuasion can formalise their relationship and ask for the state to recognise their contract?

    "Manipulative"? Of whom? How is it anybody else’s business who you love and choose to formalise a relationship with?

    "Social Engineering"? Who's being engineered?

    "Subterfuge"? What's being concealed?

  15. the drunken watchman20 Aug 2013, 11:35:00

    @ PC
    "a dictionary is no arguemnt"

    isnt the correct use of words central to a complex legal system like we got.

    I doubt you would defend "taxation is not theft" on the same forget-the-dictionary basis.

  16. the drunken watchman20 Aug 2013, 11:45:00

    It can be silly to deliberately use a word which does not decribe something correctly.(like Dawkin's example of God being used incorrectly to describe hope). Howeer, there is nothing silly about same-sex couples loving each other.Just as there is nothing silly about an old woman loving her poodle - but i think you might baulk at calling that marriage :)

    However, with the possible exception of God=hope brigade, changing the meaning of a word is unlikely to be a random act of silliness, and often more likely to be reflective of a deeper purpose.The latter would be manipulative.

    If the manipulation is designed to shift perception of something by stealth, then that is subterfuge.

  17. I think it's telling that a topic like this provokes so many responses along the lines of "I'm not against gays but I'm against gay marriage" - and then try to defend their position along pseudo-libertarian lines. Sorry, but I don't believe you. Every day there are laws enacted that personally affect you more than this. I don't know what it is exactly, but something else is going on. If you really had no problem with gays and the issue meant nothing to you, I doubt so many would bother to comment.

  18. @Peter:

    "Wishing away their 'rules' doesn't in any way take away their force of law."

    Right. And calling yourself sovereign doesn't give your rules force of law either.

  19. the drunken watchman20 Aug 2013, 21:12:00


    if by any chance you are including me in your little lecture, then save your breath.

    Your little self-righteous speech reminds me of the MSM refrain of "racism" every time Obama's policies are criticised.

    I already said I do not give a rat's arse what consenting people do with each other, and you have no rational basis on which to question me.

    Stick to your day job, and leave psycho-analysis to the experts :)

  20. Some of these comments are so incredibly funny you would almost think they were made by American 'conservatives' - the people who talk about 'liberty' and 'rights' and 'freedom' and "capitalism is incompatible with collectivism" 'till the cows come home.

    Go to their website - and you will see!

    What they actually mean is "Freedom for people we like" or "freedom only applying to people like me" and "collectivism is bad - except for that billion dollar government contract to my company".

    Libertarians believe that liberty applies to everyone, and often the test is whether it applies to those you don't like very much.

    Libertarians are notable by their lack of hypocrisy.

  21. @PC - yep, of course it should be a private contract, but not some special definition of one in which the government gets to set the terms! :) So I maintain, the government has no part in marriage. Feel free to add "beyond enforcing it like any other contract".

    @DW - yep, in case you couldn't tell, I have no problem with any contract any two (or more!) consenting adults wish to enter in to!

  22. the drunken watchman21 Aug 2013, 10:31:00

    Mr Lineberry

    pity you and Mark cant be a little more specific about whom you are targeting with your comments.

    If it includes me, then you need to read what I wrote, instead of merely assuming I must be homophobic, or opposed to homosexual relationships (which would be a very silly thing to say considering the lengths I have gone to to point out that I am not even discussing that subject.)

    I dont care about any of that stuff. Just don't care - got it? Mark can psycho-analyse me (if it is me he is referring to) as much as he likes, but he would be wrong, and not very clever.

    My comments are only about the misuse of the word according to its dictionary meaning. And about my suspicion of those who might deliberately misuse language, or indulge in chicanery or subterfuge etc, for any purpose at all.

    Since telling other people what they really mean, rather than taking them at their word, appears to be the flavour of this thread, I might make a few observations of my own about the psychology of those who see only what they want to see ... but I won't :)

    (oh, except to quote whoever it was that said most people do not see the world as it is, but as they are :)

  23. Mr Drunken Watchman - I never said you were homophobic; much as you never said you are against homosexual relationships *wink*

  24. the drunken watchman21 Aug 2013, 11:16:00

    Mr Linebarry

    As I said perviously, it would if you guys actually read what WAS written, rather than seeing things you merely WANT to think was written.

    I didnt say you "said" I was homophobic. I said, if you were aiming your comments at me, then you are "assuming" I am against homosexual relationships.

    This assumption appears to be borne out by your silly little "wink" thing - with that give-away, you are merely confirming what I said about you :)

    Really nothing more I can add if you insist that I am not telling the truth.

  25. Mr Watchman

    To be clear, I paraphrase you for clarity, not to put words in your mouth, so feel free to correct any misunderstanding:

    Your position seems to be that word marriage has or should have a different definition to the one newly applied to it.

    However, I would put to you that the very purpose of this law was to change the definition of the word (in the legal, if not colloquial sense). Therefore your argument that the definition is invalid is absurd on the face of it, as a legal term is defined by the relevant law, and in this case the definition has now officially changed.

    You ask for example: "When did marriage come to mean same sex relationships" the answer of course is simple: with the passing of this law.

    You claim that this is subterfuge, that the definition is changed by stealth, to which I will respond with the name of the bill: Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013. See, it's right there in the title. Nothing hidden, no conspiracy. We are changing the definition of the word to what most of us agree it should mean.

    This is by no means new thing either, the meaning of words evolve all the time, either redefined by law, or through a process of etymology. Sometimes the one leads the other, but in this case, if the legal sense is ahead of the colloquial it is not by much. People of all orientations have been using the term freely in everyday life for a while now.

    So apart from having to update your dictionary, which is a rather trivial problem, what seems to be your problem with this law?

  26. Dolf

    Finally, someone who can refrain from a baseless personal attack.
    I do recognize the dynamic nature of language, but is it normally done through legislation?

    I know the purpose of the law is simply to change the definition of the word and it is this function of legislation that I am wondering about (the Civil Union legisalation took care of the contractual side of things, didn’t it” (or have I got this wrong?).
    So that I can rest assured that this, as you suggest, is commonplace, and seeing you appear to know much more about it than I do, can you please give me some other examples of where laws have forced a meaning change on commonly-used household words? Although I am surprised to learn that this is common, I will be happy to accept that there are many instances, and I will rethink this.

    Consider the “taxation is theft” analogy again. Let’s say there was a bill put forward to change the definition of “theft” so as to not include taxation. Someone then says “But that is not what taxation means”. Ha ha - derision all round – conspiracy theorist! etc. No doubt if the legislator was female, they would be called sexist etc. And good old Mr Dolf, he points out to the critics of the new law that that is simply one of the legitimate functions of government - to force changes of dictionary meanings, and from now on taxation is no longer theft BY DEFINITION.

    Just a hunch, but I suspect your “overwhelming popular support” argument probably wouldn’t be enough to silence many people on this website, and I for one will not be attacking them personally for not wanting the government to tell them what their words now mean from one day to the next.

    Anyway, look forward to your examples of legislated-for dictionary changes.

    Thanks Dolf

  27. the drunken watchman21 Aug 2013, 12:53:00

    (whoops, that was me, the drunken watchman)

  28. the drunken watchman21 Aug 2013, 13:06:00

    oh, Dolf

    before the floodgates open, I mean definitions passed by laws whose SOLE purpose was the defintion change of a commonplace, household word, not for technical purposes, only for the purposes of "reflecting" a change in popular acceptance of the new meaning as you say the case was in this marriage definition law.)

    I do not mean ancillary stuff, bits and pieces in the definitions section of a local govenment plan, etc.


  29. Hi DW,

    When a law sets a definition it does so in a legal sense. Therefore if I use the word "Company" in court, it refers to a company as defined by the Companies act of 1993 and it's various amendments. This then becomes a valid use for the word, although possibly not the only use. Therefore, the marriage act changed the legal sense of the word Marriage, and created a viable definition for the word.

    I would agree with an argument that this falls out of the valid scope of government, but we are where we are and I have to work from there. This is also PC's original point that a contract is a contract and a good government will merely enforce the definitions stipulated therein.
    This still leaves us with the possibility to define marriage (contractually) as an agreement between two men, so it does not solve your problem.

    Regarding which words the Government can or have arbitrarily redefine/d includes (but is not limited to):

    Architect, Barrister, ECE teacher, psychologist (or any other profession where membership to a body is legally required)Company, Place of business, full time/part time, employee, Debilitating injury, workplace, etc. In fact every law written will have an addendum of definitions of terms used. it just makes it easier to argue in court if we all have the same definition.

  30. Ah, we cross posted so I have to answer your latest post.

    Marriage is a technical term, and the law in no way strives to change the "Household definition" of the term.

    You still get to use the term to mean anything you want, much like Humpty Dumpty.

    The only obligation this law creates to you, is that you have to accept a Government issued certificate containing the term Marriage as equivalent to all other similar certificates.

    You are not even required to call them married, as the law states no penalties for failure to do so. You can call anybody anything (within the constraints of other laws of course)

    This in no way diminishes your rights. It merely adds to others options as to the terminology they can use on legal documents.

  31. also regarding you "Sole purpose" charge:

    There are various amendments, much less publicized than this, that has as sole purpose to redefine a term. Being Neither Kiwi, nor a lawyer, I do not have any specific examples at hand, However in the late nineties several amendments came through with the sole purpose of redefining business terms in order to include online/cyber equivalents.

  32. the drunken watchman21 Aug 2013, 19:42:00

    @ Dolf "I would agree with an argument that this falls out of the valid scope of government"

    Well that's a start :)

    As for the rest of it, thanks Dolf
    I appreciate the efforts you have gone to. I get the point you are making, although I am not sure it really helps me.

    Your list of words whose definitions have been interfered with by statute seems pretty much limited to changes which have been necessary in order to interpret and apply the law. For purposes of practicality, for workability etc. I cannot spot any changes in your list which appear likely to have been made to “better reflect” changing mores. I know that obviously there must be many definitions which must be fiddled with in order to make the law work, but was this definition of marriage one of them?

    I haven’t looked at all deeply into this legislation, but on the face of it, it doesn’t appear to serve any particular purpose other than to change the definition. Does it? Do you know if it changes the type, or degree or scale or whatever you like to call it, of the contract a homosexual couple can enter into with each other?

    I also already understand that at this stage, at least, there is still the freedom to refuse to use the new definition. At this stage. However, I didn’t think it would have to be me that pointed out to the PC readers that Hate Speech laws might find a convenient bedfellow in a government-controlled vocabulary. On almost any other subject, I would be far from alone in calling such government meddling “social engineering”.

    I put in the “sole purpose” proviso (I am sorry you missed it, I posted about a minute after the first post), because I only want to know what sort of precedent there is for THIS kind of legislation (which seeks to change a definition only for the sake of it). Unfortunately, as you say, you don’t have any examples to give me - and this leads me to think this kind of thing is rare. And that it should be watched carefully, that’s all.

  33. the drunken watchman21 Aug 2013, 19:49:00

    @ Greig

    nope, I realise you are a free-thinker.

    Just surprised you hadn't openly popped in a plug, while you were about it, for all the forgotten polygamists out there.

    Pity to champion freedom, only to restrict your spoken scope to what the government agrees to.

  34. the drunken watchman22 Aug 2013, 12:48:00

    @ Dolf “DW, I have tried to have a reasoned argument with you, and to be fair, I put quite some effort in.

    You have now proven your irrationality, and that you are fundamentally dishonest.

    I am quite disappointed, actually.”


    The above cut-and-pasted comment was off-thread, attached as it was to PC's latest post about climate change models and associated propaganda.... but anyway...

    I didnt expect you to resort to "irrational" and "fundamentally dishonest". I could say the same thing about your argument, but I wouldn't lower myself.

    I mean, for goodness' sake, you said that you actually agreed with me. Was that a typo?

    Yeah, disappointment, well I am also diappointed that a libertarian blog has so little say about such government meddling. I get a horrible feeling there is an element of expedience in all of this; i.e government meddling is ok as long as it suits ME.

    You will remember, I asked you for some other examples of definitions being changed by "sole purpose" legislation in order to simply reflect changing mores, but you couldnt give me any except to say there were many :(

    So I guess the disappointment cuts many ways.

  35. @drunken watchmen: I'm not targeting or trying to psycho-analyse anyone. I'm also not gay so have no skin in the game whatsoever. I simply observed that I can't reconcile the number of heated comments on this topic with the fact it has no consequence of any significance for someone that's not gay. It's over to you to explain why the definition of 'marriage' and how we should arrive at this definition is so important to you.

  36. the drunken watchman22 Aug 2013, 15:13:00

    @ Mark "It's over to you to explain why the definition of 'marriage' and how we should arrive at this definition is so important to you."

    I was not aware that I was obliged to explain myself to you. (But just so you do not think I took your bait, I will tell you it is not important to me. Except in the sense that I agree with Richard Dawkins, who thinks it is a little silly to say that God = hope)

    There are lots of things I show interest in, and never do I feel obliged to explain myself over those, either, at least not to a nosey-parker like you. Hey, I follow rugby, ok.... you got to know the reason for that, as well?

    After my first one-off comment (the first I have ever made on the subject anywhere), the reason I continued talking about it, on this thread, was only because of the personal attacks by people like you, and because of the indifference/ hypocrisy/inconsisteny shown by some others usually resistant to government meddling.Now, those ARE things which are important to me.

    Meantime, as I said, criticise Obama, you will likely be called a racist. Criticise Julia Gillard, you're a misogynist. And now, it seems, criticise the Marriage re-defintion law, then you're obviosuly a homophobe.

    It beats me why this is the case, but I am not about to demand an explanation from them, as you seem to think you can do with me. You can be as unintellectual as you like, I couldn't care less.

    You may feel obliged to tell me you are not gay. But you know what, if you haven't been readng what I wrote, I couldn't give a flying rats arse about your sexuality, and nor should you about mine.

    So go and make your demands of someone else who gives a shit.

  37. @DW - Your hostility is misplaced, as is your paranoia. I have better things to do than set "traps" for homophobes, nor do I care whether you are one or not. I mentioned I'm not gay only to counter your suggestion in one post that supporters of the law are unprincipled, and if it didn't benefit them personally they too would be against the law change like you are. The law has no personal significance for me, and I'm not against it - so there goes that theory.

    When I said it's "over to you" to explain why this was such an important issue, I was simply making the point that the onus to present a rational argument in support of your views rested with you - because so far you'd failed to present any convincing reason why we should be against it. In the absence of any rational explanation, the thinking (or lack thereof) behind your rants is something I don't give two hoots about.

  38. the drunken watchman23 Aug 2013, 13:48:00

    @ Mark "hostility, paranoia, rants "

    First its “homophobe”, “fundamentally dishonest”,irrational”, “conspiracist”, “silly” ...

    Now, I got “hostile”, “paranoid” and “ranting” :)

    fundamentally dishonest

    There may have been more, I cant remember. All because, for my part, I simply posted that I thought it is a bit silly to be using a word out of context. As the thread developed, I also pointed out that not only did I think it was silly, but that I did not think it was the government’s job to legislate for such silliness. I pointed out that the first refuge of the desperate (illiberal) liberal is name-calling, and I pointed out that I was surprised that some of the usual critics of government meddling were silent on this one, and as such, this particular meddling must suit/ please/ satisfy (or otherwise have no effect on them) them for some reason. Instead of calling me “irrational”, I would have thought, instead, you would have accused me of stating truisms! It obviously must suit them!!!! Duh!

    Dolf pointed out to me that it was common-place for governments to pass legislation to change dictionary definitions. Oh yes, old Dolf came on as quite the expert, but when I asked him to provide me with other examples of where a government had done this (changed the definition of a word for NO OTHER REASON than that the government figured the new definition would better fit the changing mores of society), good old Dolf couldn’t provide me with any, except to say that there many. And we’ve all that before. (Strangely, Dolf had also said he agreed with me, that passing such legisalation should be beyond the scope of government, before going on to say that I was “irrational” and “fundamentally dishonest” – so go figure!)

    And yes, I think you are very nosey to be poking your nose into my private affairs. Because, as you must well know, the presentation of a rational argument does not require an explanation of why the subject is of interest or importance to the presenter. Richard Dawkins does not say to someone who claims that God is the same thing as hope “Now, not only do I disagree with you, and think you are a little silly using the wrong word, BUT the onus is also on you to explain why this was such an important issue to you”.

    So not only do you tell me that the onus is on me to tell you why I made the comments I did, you also tell me that I am hostile, paranoid and ranting.

    I would say that I am entitled to get a little annoyed, wouldn’t you?

  39. Well I never, seems there is at least one other even more fundamentally dishonest, hostile, silly, conspiracist, paranoid, irrational homophobe than I !


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