September 6th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: How to help democracy in Hong Kong

Australian Senate backs Hong Kong democrats against China

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Government stumbles over Manildra, Tuckey fiascos

STRAWS IN THE WIND: J'accuse / Shape of things to come

WATER: Murray River farmers face man-made 'permanent drought'

NATIONAL PARTY: Why John Anderson should stay

LETTERS: Sugar price

LETTERS: Rail the key to rural infrastructure

LETTERS: Amrozi death sentence

Ethanol, sugar and free trade

EDUCATION HISTORY: Social justice in education - self-interest disguised as altruism

FAMILY: Quick facts on marriage

BOOKS: GULAG : A HISTORY, by Anne Applebaum

BOOKS: The Maverick and his Machine: Thomas Watson Sr and the Making of IBM

Books promotion page

Quick facts on marriage

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, September 6, 2003
* Almost every human culture has had a recognisable form of marriage.

* Marriages existed even before states acknowledged or regulated them.

* Marriage is both a public act and a social institution.

* Marriage is not just a purely private or personal arrangement.

* The institution of marriage has always had two main purposes: 1) A public recognition and regulation of human sexuality between a man and a woman. 2) A socially recognised means by which children are brought into the world and cared for.

* Marriage has always been about a sexual relationship between one adult man and one adult woman.

* Marriage discriminates: seven-year-olds cannot marry; three men cannot marry; a brother and a sister cannot marry.

* Marriage confers tremendous benefits to the rest of society, so societies have always conferred benefits upon married couples.

* Married couples are subject to special favors because they bring to society special responsibilities.

* Other types of relationships are just that: relationships.

* Many others want the benefits of marriage without the corresponding duties and obligations.

* Marriage is not just about love between people. Love can exist outside of a marriage: a brother can love a sister, a son can love a father, a girl can love a cat. But marriage is a special kind of love: a life-long commitment, publicly acknowledged, with the possibility of procreation.

* Love does not keep a marriage together; it is marriage that keeps love together.

* When we demean or trivialise the idea of marriage, it makes it harder for individual marriages to last the distance.

* In some ways marriage is a fragile institution which needs constant social support and assistance. That is, while women tend to naturally bond with their offspring, men need more help bonding with their wife and their children. Marriage provides that help.

* By equating any and all types of relationships with marriage, we effectively abolish both the idea and the meaning of marriage.

* The same arguments used to justify same-sex marriages can be used to justify polygamy, incest, and so on. Once the fundamental idea of marriage as one man and one woman is tossed out, any and all types of sexual activity become permissible.

* Homosexuals comprise a very small portion of Australian society, and homosexuals who want to marry make up an even smaller number.

* The real aim of campaigning for same-sex marriage is the symbolic approval and social recognition of the homosexual lifestyle.

* Most homosexuals admit that their understanding of marriage differs from the normal heterosexual understanding, with the willingness to allow extra marital sexual outlets.

Bill Muehlenberg
(Full documentation for the above points is available from the author.)

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