BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME.

"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

My Photo
Name:
Location: Australia

I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.

"DIFFICILE EST SATURAM NON SCRIBERE"

Beepbeepitsme has been added to The Atheist Blogroll. You can see the blogroll in my sidebar. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts.

Subscribe to BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME

Monday, June 18, 2007

"What Sort of Marriage, What Costumes, What Physiology and Phrenology..?"


The topic of gay marriage is hot on the press again and being discussed on a few blogs around the ridges. After listening to quite a few arguments concerning the subject of marriage, it seems to me that there is a great deal of discussion about the definition of marriage itself. What it is, what it is not and why. Talk to a variety of people and each seems to have a view of what a marriage is and what it is not. Many people seem to have a view of marriage which derives from their religious beliefs, but to assume that marriage is only that which confirms our complies with our religious beliefs, is to only acknowledge part of the larger picture.

To assume that marriage throughout history is derived from a specific religious belief, flies in the face of history. My understanding of human relationships and history suggests strongly that marriage is not specifically aligned with the advent of either judaism, christianity, hinduism, buddhism or islam. That various religions have formulated their version of what a marriage is and goes on to claim that ALL marriages must fit their religious precepts, is an indication of religions trying to redefine what marriage is and the history of it.

In other words, marriage predates judaism and as such it predates christianity. If one wants to pretend that the only kind of marriage is one formalized through a specific religious construct, then all I can say is that the revising of history has been successful in this case.

"Although the institution of marriage pre-dates reliable recorded history, many cultures have legends or religious beliefs concerning the origins of marriage." - Westermarck, Edward Alexander (1903). The History of Human Marriage. Macmillan and Co., Ltd., London. ISBN 1402185480 (reprint).

Marriage as a concept, existed prior to judaism and consequently christianity and islam. One only needs to look at Ancient Egypt to see this. And certainly pagan marriages, (those who were not one of the big 3), existed prior to these religions and during the expansion of these religions.)

In other words, neither jews nor christian, nor muslims created marriage. They created a concept of marriage which fitted their religious precepts and then went on to claim that marriage under all circumstances must comply with their religious precepts. If you want a "christian marriage" - go right ahead. If you want a "jewish marriage" - go right ahead. If you want a "hindu marriage" - go right ahead - but don't try and pretend that you invented the concept of marriage and that all marriages must fit your religious precepts.

Marriage existed prior to the jewish version, the christian version or the islamic version. Religions do not OWN the concept of marriage. They have just formalized a natural process of pair bonding into their respective religions and tried to convince us that no other type of marriage except the ones they espouse, are allowed to exist.

The marriage contract, as we in the west know it, involves consent which is why it is restricted to those who are able to give consent on their own cognisance. This rules out marrying your goldfish if you believe that it looks at you in that "special way", as it is not capable of responding in kind to your declaration of love and marriage. The issue of consent or consensual sex is also what makes paedophilia wrong whether you have a religious belief that it is wrong or not. Paedophilia is illegal because a contract for sex cannot be made without consent. Children are unable to give consent on their own cognisance, so paedophilia is sex without the legal consent of one of the parties. Sex without consent is rape. Easy to see why it is illegal and a crime. The same goes for bestiality or people in love with their goldfish. The issue of a contract requiring mutual consent is what keeps paedophilia and bestiality illegal.

Surely one would agree that the important issue in a contract of any kind is that of mutual consent. The ability to give consent on one's own cognisance is the underlying feature. Unless, of course, you support the marrying of children as child brides at the age of 9 or 10 - regardless of their ability or willingness to consent? Now, where did I read about instances like that? Oh yes - in so-called holy books.

So, Christianity gets to say what a christian marriage is. Judaism gets to say what a jewish marriage is and islam gets to say what an islamic marriage is. However, they don't get to dictate to those OUTSIDE of their specific religion what a marriage is. If, however, the only reason you can give for not marrying your goldfish or your cat, or perhaps your favourite teddy bear, is a scriptural one, or one associated with your religious beliefs; where in passage and verse does it say that you are not allowed to marry your underpants?

I think that if a referendum was held in Australia today concerning gay marriage that it would pass. However, the conservative government and conservative "christian prime minister" that we have now decided to rewrite the definition of a "marriage" so that the door to marriage for gay people is shut. I believe that this is a case of him inflicting his personal religious beliefs on the rest of the population. He has the right to his own religious beliefs, he does not have the right to impose them on others.

As I have mentioned previously, you also have the right to believe according to your religious position, that homosexuality is wrong, but it is an insufficient and irrelevant reason for those who do not share your religious beliefs and by demanding through law that it be banned, you are in effect demanding that I object to gay marriage because of religious beliefs I do not hold. It is tantamount to saying - "My religious beliefs will decide for you even if you don't share them."

This isn't good enough.

"I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewellery." - Rita Rudner

The Kinks - "Lola"

Link

31 Comments:

Blogger Keebo said...

Beep:

As one who has put forth the argument that marriage is, by nature, a religious institution, I would like to be the first to say that you are absolutely right.

We HAVE let religions claim the concept of marriage as their own.

It's balderdash!

Societies have recognized the truly committed couples within their ranks since there have been societies!! Marriage predates religion.

I, for one, believe that it is only a matter of time before the fair-minded people of this world recognize that gays should be allowed the right to marry.

If one argues that everyone already has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex, one is arguing that society should continue to encourage gays to hide, and to marry straights. This is not a situation that works out in anyone's best interests. (including the future children of the future divorce)

It is about time that society recognizes the existence of gay people as law-abiding, tax-paying members of society, who deserve this right that belongs to everyone else.

18/6/07 5:47 pm  
Blogger Dikkii said...

When I re-started my blog last year, I did a series on gay marriage.

The funny thing is, that I've been to far more secular weddings with civil celebrants than church ones.

I think that the claim that religions have to marriage as an institution is dead and buried, and as such, I don't think that they should be pushing the prejudices of the religious institutions on to us any more.

The really scary thing is that I got married last year, and I don't even believe in the institution of marriage. If you really want to spend the rest of your life with someone, why do you have to "formalise" it?

Was a good excuse for a piss up, though.

18/6/07 9:27 pm  
Blogger Eek said...

Lol @ Dikkii. We just got married too - two days ago.

A piss up, yes.

Also a good excuse to:
1. get your nails done
2. buy new jewellery
3. catch up with your oldies, grandparents etc, before they, well, you know
4. have a hen's night! Yay!

18/6/07 9:51 pm  
Blogger Dikkii said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18/6/07 10:13 pm  
Blogger Dikkii said...

Congratulations, Eek. Hope that your day went well for you.

And they're four more good reasons, I guess. Must've forgotten those. :-)

18/6/07 10:15 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

My feelings on the subject are that governments need to get out of the marriage business altogether -- that governments should have no powers at all to tell people with whom they should associate with, or how, so long as the association has consent. I think marriage should be an entirely religious and personal issue.

19/6/07 4:23 am  
Blogger Intergalactic Hussy said...

Marriage is still heavily pushed by religions, though it may have come first. I just don't see the point. I'm in a long-term relationship where my boyfriend would gladly marry me. I haven't decided for certain that I won't get married but as of right now... it just doesn't mean a damn thing. When my gay friends can marry, then maybe I'll change my mind. I think the term marriage has become ugly...and we should all (straight, bi, gay, trans, etc) just get civil unions!

The anti-gay stance partially comes from no sodomy (any "unnatural" act which could mean hetero blow-jobs)... another way they try to outlaw enjoying sex! LOL

19/6/07 8:35 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

chris

RE: leaving marriage to religion

I think this would be a mistake as it assumes the ownership of marriage to religious bodies.

Marriage, lft in the hands of religious bodies, means that they would dictate the terms of marriage - what is legal and what isn't.

That would potentially have the efffect of removing all secular legal progress concerning marriage and possibly mean that marriages would once again revert to ignoring minorities and removing secular rights from women within the marriage contract.

19/6/07 11:01 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

keebo

As someone who does not recognize the churches right to dictate who should be alowed to marry whom, I think that it will be left to the state to provide a marriage contract for gay people outside the beliefs and requirements of religious institutions.

I certainly don't expect that the state can force churches to marry people against their creeds, but there is no reason that I can see why a state endorsed legal contract between 2 gay people cannot be called a marriage and where the state can ensure the legal and financial rights of those who enter into that contract.

19/6/07 11:06 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

dikki

I agree. It's different in Australia. Or seems to be. Many people have marriages outside the church and marriages without ANY religious overtones and they are called marriages nonetheless.

To me a marriage is basically a legal contract between 2 consenting adults. If one makes it a religious marriage, it becomes a legal contract between 2 consenting adults who are probably going to be of different genders and who have religious beliefs.

I haven't heard any Australian call their marriage a civil union just because it occurs outside the church or without religious imput.

It remains a marriage.

19/6/07 11:10 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

hussy

I think that marriage has a lot of things going for it especially the legal and financial rights which go along with the contract. That doesn't mean that I believe that EVERYONE should be married, but I think that those legal and financial benefits shouldn't be denied to people because they are gay.

I am not gay, BTW, but I do believe in trying to champion gay rights.

They deserve the right to be able to stuff up their lives like the rest of us. ;)

19/6/07 11:14 am  
Blogger Dikkii said...

Beep:

I think that marriage has a lot of things going for it especially the legal and financial rights which go along with the contract. That doesn't mean that I believe that EVERYONE should be married, but I think that those legal and financial benefits shouldn't be denied to people because they are gay.

Whilst I agree that gay couples should get the same legal and financial benefits that straight couples get from being married, I don't agree that being married should entitle anyone to legal and financial priveleges.

This is discrimination against single people, pure and simple.

Being the hypocrite that I am, I'm milking being married for all it's worth.

19/6/07 1:20 pm  
Blogger Plonka said...

It was 18 years for me on the 10th of this month. I think I can safely say that marriage is not an institution, it's a relationship (or is that incarceration? I never could tell the difference)

19/6/07 2:29 pm  
Blogger Jester said...

I have never really understood the religious arguments that my marrying my boyfriend will in someway cheapen or lead to the downfall of the institution of marriage.

I think like many other religious arguments, it all comes down to vocabulary.

We should call ALL married couples "domestic partners." Only those who participated in a religious ceremony can have a "marriage." (And they should have permission from their church to dissolve it!)

For all those lowly people who went to Vegas or a Justice of the Peace, we can treat our 'marriage' like the legal agreement that it really is.

Thanks for being a straight champion to gay rights!

19/6/07 8:01 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

dikki

I agree. Some of those rights do discriminate against singles. The rights I am thinking of are those like next of kin, beneficiary and superannuation rights.

20/6/07 10:54 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

ted

Good for you mate. Glad to see there are some out there who manage to make it work.

jester

Yes, there seems to be a problem with the term "marriage" - I don't have it, but many religious people do.

20/6/07 10:56 am  
Blogger Plonka said...

Thanks Beep. It's had it's moments, of that there's no doubt, but as a general rule, Elliot Ness was right when he said in that movie: "It's nice to be married..."

20/6/07 7:27 pm  
Blogger Eugene said...

Hi. My name is Eugene Gershin. I'd like to welcome you to Obadiah Shoher's blog, Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict.

Obadiah is a pen name of a politician. He writes extremely controversial articles about Israel, the Middle East politics, and terrorism.

Obadiah advocates political rationalism instead of moralizing. He is economic liberal and political conservative.

Google refused advertising our site and Amazon deleted reviews of Obadiah's book. Nevertheless, Obadiah’s is the largest Jewish personal blog, read by more than 100,000 people monthly. 210,000 people from 81 countries downloaded Obadiah’s book. The blog was voted the best overall in People’s Choice: Jewish and Israeli blogs Awards, received Webby Honoree and other awards.

Please help us spread Obadiah's message, and mention the blog in one of your posts, or link to us. We would greatly appreciate your comments at www.samsonblinded.org/blog



Best wishes,

Eugene Gershin

Jewrusalem.net – Israeli Uncensored News

21/6/07 8:19 am  
Anonymous Maiden said...

Beep: Off-topic, but I wonder if you'd be interested in posting your thoughts on this:

"What is torture, and is it necessarily immoral?"

I'm asking this of bloggers I read and respect, and will link to all their responses.

Thanks a million!

22/6/07 9:46 pm  
Blogger Lexcen said...

beep, you've forced me to think hard about this one and in the end I have to agree with you "a marriage is basically a legal contract between 2 consenting adults".

23/6/07 7:07 am  
Blogger BEAJ said...

Beep Beep

24/6/07 8:49 am  
Blogger breakerslion said...

"I think that marriage has a lot of things going for it especially the legal and financial rights which go along with the contract."

Strangely enough, the post I am struggling to finish right now is an invitation to debate on the topic of marriage. Religious institutions glom onto every aspect of human life and development in an attempt to own (and get paid for) life's defining moments. Marriage is no different in that respect, except that modern secular society has also decided to champion the family unit for its own self-interested purposes. The legal rights you speak of are an incentive, but if you think about it, they could be secured by other contractural means. At least, they could if various governments weren't prone to siding with blood relatives out of habit in the case of inheritance. Such habits quash any competing systems and maintain the status quo.

I think that neither the legislative branch of government nor the religious authorities belong in the business of marriage. What does it say about me that I need their seal of approval to get married/unmarried? I think the whole thing should be handled by the judicial branch, like any other legal contract. You mentioned mutual consent, I say put it in writing and to hell with mummery and public opinion. Marriage or any other form of partnership is a private matter between two or more parties, as you rightly point out, capable of giving consent.

24/6/07 11:45 am  
Blogger homo escapeons said...

The government of Canadistan is not as uptight about legalized pairbonding betwixt 'two fellers' as the blustery self righteous Theocracy of the US of Amnesia.

I blame this whole schmozola about letting anybody marry whoever-the-hell-they-want to squarely on Adam & Eve and their incestuous boys.

First of all, we are losing sight of the fact that has been honored by men as gospel for Millenia, that everything, including gay marriage, is EVE's fault!

That 'womb-man' brought sin into the world in the first place. 'Try this apple" she says. Some helpmeet?

Our species was doomed from the getgo because Adam & Eve let their sons marry their sisters and the inbreeding sarted 'begatting'. Sheesh!

If only god had created evolution back then instead of creation?

25/6/07 1:47 am  
Blogger IsThatLatin said...

Sorry to do this, but I must tag you with this useless meme:
http://goldbricker.blogspot.com/2007/06/tagged.html

Have fun!

26/6/07 11:43 pm  
Blogger BEAST said...

Marriage is a tripartite contract, but god is not involved in it.

Its a contract signed between you and your spouse, with the state as a witness and eventual arbitrator, should you decide to (gasp!) divorce.

By the way, I have just meme-tagged you. Check out my post at:

http://atheisthaven.blogspot.com/2007/06/atheist-haven-has-been-tagged.html

Regards
Beast

27/6/07 12:56 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

You have been tagged. Exciting, isn't it? :)

27/6/07 4:27 pm  
Blogger Simon said...

Good post Beep. as you know we have had gay marriage in Canada for a few years...and despite all the dire predictions society hasn't collapsed...and so far people aren't marrying their dogs...However it is kind of funny. The other day a story came out saying that only ONE gay Canadian couple had got married this year in Toronto where I am presently living. And that all the hundreds of other gay marriages here were all visitors to Canada.Which made me feel almost guilty about having lived common law for almost ten years and NOT having got married!!But that didn't last. Although the only marriage I would consider is civil,it's still so associated in my mind with religion and possession that I don't really want it. If your love doesn't hold you together what stronger force could? A nice candlelight dinner at home...or even better a camp out in the woods....as long as you have a comfy tent ...is still so much better...:)

6/7/07 10:28 am  
Blogger Daniel said...

I guess I'm totally wired for heterosexuality. The idea of dinner by candlelight with another male or a night in a tent with one just leaves me cold. And I mean cold!

Horses for courses I guess.

6/7/07 6:07 pm  
Blogger Simon said...

Well that's YOUR problem isn't it Daniel? Just don't make it MINE....

8/7/07 5:10 am  
Blogger -K- said...

Love this song and haven't heard it in years. Thanks

27/8/07 1:41 pm  
Blogger toomanytribbles said...

beep! do you have any thoughts on marriage between cousins or siblings?

17/9/07 11:54 pm  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home