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« What is 'one nation conservatism'? | Main | No, Mr Clarke: You didn't always want the Old Lady to dance alone »

Comments

malcolm

You chaps are far too subtle for a simple boy like me.That's probably why I'm leaning towards supporting Ken Clarke at the moment.

Blimpish

A Tsar, James - that's just what we're looking for - with a direct line to the Prime Minister. Maybe the Tsar could look to set a National Strawman Strategy within his first 100 days?

Selsdon Man

"They don't oppose marriage, Selsdon, but they may well think that the state shouldn't give it privileged status (and thus imply that alternative lifstyle choices are less valid)."

That suggests that if you do not support the state giving the church privileged status (e.g. seats in the Lords) you are an atheist.

Why should single or widowed people subsidise marriage through the tax system? To oppose such subsidies is not to support alternative lifestyles - to use your euphemism for gay lifestyles.

James Hellyer

I see you're part of the straw man task force, Selsdon. Being gay isn't the only alternative to marriage, you know, and it isn't my euphemism.

As for why marriage should be subsidised through the tax system: it's a social stabiliser and as such the preferred vehicle for raising children.

malcolm

James, you might want to read the article Alice Miles wrote about this subject in todays (21st)Times.I thought it quite interesting and sympathise with her view.

James Hellyer


But Malcolm, there is a difference between trying o encourage one type of behaviour, and actively attacking the character of people who choose another mode of life. The points she makes are largely related to the 90s, where it the character and morality of single mothers was assaulted. You can encourage and support marriage without doing that.

malcolm

Whether the points she makes largely relate to the 90's in your opinion or not that is the image the Conservative party has.

James Hellyer

Point is Malcolm, her false perceptions are not relevant to the policies under discussion. Unless people are going to stridently tell us that single mothers are evil, then such opinions are straw men in urgent need of a burning.

Miles seems typical of the Soho/Times crowd, in that because she can afford to fund her lifestyle she ignores the fact that the majority of single parents cannot do likewise. Her tolerance merely adds to the sum of human misery.

Midnight Blue

Aside from bringing up children in the best environment (and it isn't always), can anybody explain why marriage should be supported?

Why should I as a single gay man be expected to pay to support a lifestyle I am forbidden to participate in, and why should I feel that the party I belive in looks down on me?

I know the majority of you don't but comments by the likes of Edward Leigh and his cornerstone group do isolate (and often insult and hurt) people who don't or can't fit in with the lifestlye they so aggressively promote

James Hellyer

I'd suggest this post from the socially Conservative think tank Civitas:

Why the American Electorate was Right to Reject Gay Marriage

Among the various results of Tuesday’s elections in the United States, of only slightly less significance than George Bush’s victory over John Kerry was the decisive rejection by the American electorate of ‘gay’ marriage. In eleven states, voters were given the opportunity to vote for or against amendments to their state constitutions confining marital status to unions between members of the opposite sex . In not a single one of them did voters do other than register their support for such an amendment, often by huge majorities.

In the same week as that in which the political elites of Europe made it plain no European could expect to hold high public office there if prepared openly to call homosexuality a sin, the American public made it plain no Americans could expect to enjoy the benefits of marital status unless prepared to join in union with a member of the opposite sex.

In rejecting the idea of gay marriage, were American voters simply giving vent to an ugly ill-informed form of homophobic bigotry of which, clearly, the majority of MEP’s consider anyone to be guilty who considers homosexuality a sin? Or were they merely registering their discernment in heterosexual marriage of a social value that cannot be replicated by homosexual unions, a value that would be threatened were homosexual unions granted a similar status to those heterosexual unions in which the parties choose to marry?

Homosexuals say that any positive human values, such as devotion, intimacy, and even good parenting, capable of being instantiated by heterosexual unions can also be exhibited by homosexual ones. Hence, so they argue, any legal privileges conferred on heterosexual couples who marry and denied to homosexual couples, through being unable to marry, can only be unjust to the latter.

There is, however, one important property heterosexual unions possess that homosexual ones do not and cannot, no matter how monogamous and caring they are. The form of sexual act that consummates heterosexual unions is the unique one through which procreation can and does take place naturally. Each child is born of some woman in consequence of the sperm of some man having fertilised one of her eggs. Typically, these acts of conception result from heterosexual intercourse.

In so far as children and their mothers benefit from receiving the care and support of the fathers of these children, marriage between heterosexual couples secures an environment for parents most likely to lead to such paternal care of children and spouses. For in such circumstances, the mothers know their sexual partner has undertaken to care for any children they might have, and the male partners can expect any child their partner has to be his.

In according legal privileges to those prepared to make such reciprocal commitments, society registers its approval of heterosexual couples who make them. It does so because of the value such reciprocal commitments bring to the children they have and thereby to the wider society of which they form part.

Whatever social benefits might accrue from homosexual couples being faithful to one another rather than promiscuous, since all forms of such relations are necessarily non-procreative, none of them can ever possess the same social significance as those which are procreative, potentially at least. This difference would remain, even if, in consequence of undergoing some special ceremony in which the parties to it pledged themselves to each other, homosexual partners became entitled to exactly the same legal rights and privileges as heterosexual couples acquire upon marrying.

In rejecting gay marriage, therefore, the American electorate need not necessarily be construed as having intended to express any form of moral disapproval of homosexuality. They need merely be construed as having giving expression to their recognition that heterosexuality has a social significance and value that homosexuality can never have.

Those advocating gay marriage do so because they recognise human sexuality can and should be harnessed to work in support of love, rather than just be a source of mere physical titillation. They must also surely admit that only heterosexual activity can naturally of itself issue in the procreation of children.

All it takes beyond recognition of these two facts to justify confining the legal privileges of marital status to heterosexual couples willing to enter into marriage is recognition of two further facts. The first is that, other things being equal, children benefit from receiving the care of both their parents and the parents of any benefit from being able to care for, and to give to and receive from their children love. The second is that society has a legitimate interest in wishing children born into it to grow up in the most favourable conditions for them possible.

Since marriage between the parents of any child provides for that child, other things being equal, the optimum possible conditions in which to be brought up, it follows society has a legitimate interest in encouraging couples liable to have children to marry.

Parties to unions who cannot become joint parents, therefore, have no just cause to complain if society refuses to accord them the same status as it willingly accords heterosexual couples who choose to marry. This is because unions of the former kind are incapable of serving the same positive social function as justifies heterosexual couples willing to enter into the marital bond being accorded by society such a privileged status relative to all others who are not.

http://www.civitas.org.uk/blog/archives/2004/11/why_the_america.html

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Aside from bringing up children in the best environment (and it isn't always), can anybody explain why marriage should be supported?"

That is like asking 'aside from defending national interests, can anybody explain why armed forces should be supported?'. You cannot dismiss something simply by choosing to ignore the most important reason in favour of it.

"Why should I as a single gay man be expected to pay to support a lifestyle I am forbidden to participate in, and why should I feel that the party I belive in looks down on me?"

I very much doubt that I will be having children at any point, but I don't make a fuss about my taxes funding the school system. Sometimes we have to discard our own selfish concerns in favour of the greater social good, Midnight Blue.

Midnight Blue

"heterosexuality has a social significance and value that homosexuality can never have"

I know I'm taking a small quote from a large article but that implies that me, my sexuality, my love, my relationship is worth less than an equivalent heterosexual man - not a very nice thing to have implied about you, and I can promise you, the sort of remark that discourages people from voting Conservative, and has contributed to the party being 3rd choice amongst 18-24 year olds

The article focuses mainly on the welfare of children. Whilst I recognise that a stable 2 parent family is the best way to bring up children, it is not the only way. Are we seriously saying that the state thinks you should stay in a married situation, and if you are unhappy in your marriage and choose to leave it, then the state will penalise you financially by removing benefits?

I just can't see why the state in the 21st century should have any role at all in the form of relationship between 2 people

Midnight Blue

Daniel:

I certainly dont mean to make a fuss, and if I thought it would contribute to the greater social good I would have no problem with it, I just don't believe that. I don't believe that paying people to follow a lifestyle is the correct way or encouraging it, nor is it the way to treat people who feel differently

"that implies that me, my sexuality, my love, my relationship is worth less than an equivalent heterosexual man"

Only in so far as different forms of relationships have differential effects on society. It doesn't invalidate a sexuality or a form of relationship, or question the morality of the people therein, it's simply looking at outcomes.

"Whilst I recognise that a stable 2 parent family is the best way to bring up children, it is not the only way."

Yes, but the point is that if you accept its the best way, it therefore becomes the means you want to support most or penalise least.

"Are we seriously saying that the state thinks you should stay in a married situation, and if you are unhappy in your marriage and choose to leave it, then the state will penalise you financially by removing benefits?"

So penalise means the state removes benefits?

In any case, this idea of marriage being a prison is false one. What the state can do, as has been done in the US by Dr Wade Horn's programmes, is to invest in pre-marriage counselling as well as crisis counselling for those who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Stop problems before they statr, as it were.

"I just can't see why the state in the 21st century should have any role at all in the form of relationship between 2 people"

... because the state is still expected to pick up the tab if somebody cannot suppport themselves or their children; because children from broken homes or single parent families are more prone to criminality, for example, which has its own ongoing cost to the state and society...

James Hellyer

"I don't believe that paying people to follow a lifestyle is the correct way or encouraging it"

We already pay people to follow lifestyles. That's the problem.

eileen

I couldn't agree more with Dr. Fox. I feel that unless there is foetal abnormality or the mother's life is in danger in which case an abortion should be legal at any time, then the maximum delay should be 12 weeks as it is in France.While I still believe as I did as a student (I am now 48) abortion is a very serious and traumatic experience and should not be decided either by religion or politics, and every woman who opts for an abortion should first receive a form of psychological consultation before being granted the right to abort her unborn child before the 12 weeks. It is often something you think you are doing for the best when young then regret for the rest of your life, regardless as to whether or not you are able to conceive in the future. you should be made aware of the stage of the embryo and its development and unless it is evident that the future mother will suffer physiological or psychological trauma which could harm the development of the baby once born then an abortion should be refused and alternative help given. Abortion should certainly not be used as an alternative form of contraception as the current law allows. By the time you realise you are pregnant it is the beginning of a new life and should be treated as such as much for the parents (especially the mother) as for the baby.

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