Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 - bad year for being a dictator

Man of the year was the protester, but woman of the year must be mother nature. A sequence of Queensland floods, then Yasi, then the Christchurch earthquake then the Japanese tsunami. Not to mention the Asian floods, and an unseasonal Phillippine typhoon in the mix. Sovereign debt crises made Australia's economic problems look like a family picnic. The Arab spring ground on the whole year just like the Murray river floods. Yet protesters started to Occupy western democracies, Perhaps not realizing that Democracy is as good as it gets. And the Murray Darling Process assumed a state of lack of water, when the issue is variability, not a low average availability.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Murray Darling bets

The Murray river has had a flow of water out of its mouth(barrages open) now for 16 months since August 2010, including now the whole of 2011. My bet is that the Murray will keep flowing for another couple of years. To pick a date, I will choose February 2014. Not only that, but I am also betting that Murray Darling storages will not drop below 40% until 2020.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What are you looking here for?

All the action is on Facebook:

Save Marriage Petition
To the delegates of the 2011 Labor National Conference: Marriage is the union of one man and one woman, voluntarily entered into for life. It is an institution vital to the well-being of all of society. In particular it confirms the importance of motherhood and fatherhood and seeks to protect ch.....
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28 November at 14:30 near Sydney, New South Wales · . Paul Aitkenhead likes this..
Nathanael Small PS I tried several times to make both the links show their graphics, but only the 'Save Marriage' one would show. 28 November at 14:31

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Paul Aitkenhead
Marriage helps to define and establish kinship. To deny gay people the right to marry is to underline that "we" think "they" are different. Many gay people have grown up having that message beaten (both figuratively and literally) into them. For that reason I vote in favour of gay marriage equality. 28 November at 14:52
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Marco Parigi
I would lean towards the status quo, myself, but I don't feel strongly enough about it to sign either petition. 28 November at 17:15
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Kylie Jensen Parigi
Gay people are different, but different doesn't necessarily mean bad. All 6 of my children are different and are loved and raised according to their needs and desires. Saying that gay people are different doesn't mean that they are bad and should be cast out, but marriage is a rite and tradition born of religion, and no religion accepts or condones homosexuallity. Civil unions already cover the legalities needed, why should gay couples be allowed to undermine the fabric of the religions that their lifestyle rejects? 28 November at 19:54

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Winston Inabox
I've no idea about Australian law as it pertains to civil unions, but do they really cover ALL legalities? I also find the wording in he Sav Marriage Petition amusing. Marriage is hardly "natural" it being a human institution, and one many people opt out of. 28 November at 23:18

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Winston Inabox
Where can I find the petition for polygamy? 28 November at 23:23 · Like.

David Astley
Marrying someone is a public declaration that that person is the most important person in your life, and they are entitled to be treated as such. Every person is capable of feeling that way about another, and many wish to declare their love publicly. We forbid children from making this decision because they lack maturity. We forbid adults from making this decision because we lack maturity. 28 November at 23:32 · Like.

Marco Parigi
I think the main area in which the "legalities" would be different between civil union and marriage pertain to the treatment of infidelity and the amount of time, paperwork and separation for a divorce to be finalised compared to dissolution of a civil union. Mainly, it is more of a sociological distinction. Making civil unions as binding as marriages will not necessarily be what people who enter into civil unions are after. 29 November at 06:34 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi
I believe you can find the petition for polygamy in most Arab countries and some parts of Utah. As for marriage being a public declaration, it doesn't need to be. Some people get married with the minimum of people present, just as a civil union doesn't need to be a private declaration. There is nothing standing in the way of it being as big and public as a royal wedding. Just ask Elton John. And referring to peoples religious beliefs as lacking maturity is rather insulting, and lacking in maturity itself. People aren't childish because they stand behind the courage of their own convictions. 29 November at 07:06 · Like.

Winston Inabox
Depends on the convictions they're courageous about and how they stand behind them. If someone opposes something and the best reason they've got is the flying spaghetti monster told them it is wrong, probably I'm going to find them less than convincing. Let's take the Christian god for example. Slaughters all the 1st born of Egypt and yet is concerned about what goes where in which orifice. Talk about screwed up priorities. And people want to use Him for justification for anything. Please. If you met someone who said they've no problem with mass murder but thinks that eating carpet is wrong, you'd think Him or Her a nutter. 29 November at 08:35 · Like · 1.

Marco Parigi
Branding all those opposed to gay marriage as "religious" in the way that you, Winston Inabox do, is insulting to me. There is considerable precedent in that marriage constituted as it is *works*, and changes to the basic definitions of what it is, is more likely to further erode the traditional family and the benefits to society that entails, than to improve society. I am happy if you give me examples of other states or countries that have had long term success by expanding the definition of marriage in this way. If not, I certainly don't want Australia to be one of the first to experiment in this direction. 29 November at 08:59 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi
It's not about whether Christianity is right or wrong. Marriage is a part of Christianity, and Judaism and Islam, and possibly other religions I know nothing about. Marriage only came about in the first place because of the religious beliefs of those people whose God saw fit to slaughter all the first born Egytians. If gay people want to reject the parts of religion which tell them what can and cannot go in which orrifice, why then do they want to take on something as entrenched in religious law and tradition as marriage? 29 November at 09:01 · Like.

Winston Inabox
Marco, please show me where I've branded "all those opposed to gay marriage as 'religious'". I've done no such thing. I await your quote. And Kylie, while marriage may well have begun as a religious tradition it is very much a civil one now. The religious ceremony is just that - a ceremony. 29 November at 09:09 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi
Also you seem to be a little entrenched in the old testament. Perhaps sometime you should skip ahead to to the new testament and find out some of the things that Jesus taught, as this is what Christianity is based on. 29 November at 09:10 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi
In the same way that the religious ceremony is just a ceremony, so is the civil ceremony. It's the conviction of the couple and the definition of marriage which is really at stake here. And a big part of that definition stems from what happens biologically when particular parts go into particular orrifices. Stats also show that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce than those who chose not to. The more we mess with marriage, the less relevent it becomes. My marriage is very important to me, because of my religious beliefs, (and because I have the most fabulous husband), and I don't want it to become irrelevant in society because we change the laws to make it something that anyone can do without regard for the traditions and beliefs behind it. 29 November at 09:26 · Like.

Winston Inabox
So what's the Old Testament then? A bunch of stories we can ignore? Stuff that didn't happen? Can I flip past that part because it isn't real? If I'm going to "skip " parts of the Bible, I really ought to know which parts are optional. Jesus stuff = real. OK. Let's cherry pick the nice parts, and skip the parts where god does bad stuff. God kills thousands of people and you say just skip that. LoL. 29 November at 09:29 · Like · 1.

Marco Parigi
‎"If someone opposes something and the best reason they've got is the flying spaghetti monster told them it is wrong, probably I'm going to find them less than convincing. Let's take the Christian god for example." You are basically going from something holistic such as marriage, whose reasons can be encapsulated in a religion, to something individual - the spaghetti monster told them it's wrong. 29 November at 09:32 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi
I didn't say that the old testament wasn't real, or relevant. Simply that the laws of Christianity are based on the teachings of Jesus, and that just as Jesus coming to earth and dying on the cross for the sins of man provided all of us with a new way to become closer to God, and one day reside with him in heaven, as opposed to making sacrifices in the temple, he aslo provided us with a new, more loving and less violent way of resolving disputes and treating our fellow man. He did not however tell us to go out and sin away to our hearts content, that it didn't matter any more. We are responsible for our own actions in life, and will be judged accordingly. And the last time I checked putting the the wrong parts in the wrong orifices was still a sin. 29 November at 09:37 · Like.

Winston Inabox
Notice the "if someone" there. That means "if". It doesn't mean "all people". If you don't use that reason, then you're not in the group I'm talking about. You don't need to apologize. Language is tricky sometimes. 29 November at 09:37 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi
Oh and murder, mass or otherwise, is still a sin too. 29 November at 09:39 · Like.

Marco Parigi
Nah Winston Inabox. It still sounds like a generalisation of the *against* argument. Neither me, Kylie, nor Noel have said that God (tfsm) told us that it is wrong (gay marriage) as the basis of our argument. Why are you addressing that argument rather than the ones we are talking about (precedent and "ownership" of the institution) The *against* argument as you perceive it is really only going to convince believers in a church context. 29 November at 10:37 · Like.

Nathanael Small
Ok - Marco is right, we've chunked up the original post topic into the meta narrative. While intimately related, not the original direction I'd hoped for. 29 November at 10:38 · Like.

Winston Inabox
Nathanael, welcome to the Internet. Marco, I'm glad we've progressed from you saying I was "branding all" to "sounds like a generalization". I said "if" plain and simple. Check this thread and you'll see I was originally responding to Kylie's comment which was "People aren't childish because they stand behind the courage of their own convictions." which was a response to Dave's comment. To that I said "Depends on the convictions they're courageous about and how they stand behind them." Then I provided an example based on Christianity pertaining to the double standard where mass murder gets a pass because God did it, to non-acceptance of gay relationships because God said it. For the record I'm sure different people bring different kinds of data, theories, beliefs, misconceptions and prejudices as to why two people of the same gender can't enter into the human-made institution of marriage. 29 November at 11:09 · Like.

Winston Inabox
And disagreeing is different to opposing. I've got no vested interest in agreeing or disagreeing with gay marriage. I personally lose nothing if it happens nothing if it doesn't, and I'm blowed if I can work out how it would harm me in any way shape or form. But if I were to sign a petition against gay marriage then I am actively taking a stance against it. I am opposing a group of people who want nothing from me, have never done me any harm, and who are only looking for the same rights that I enjoy because society has historically deemed it so. 29 November at 11:14 · Like ·

1. Kylie Jensen Parigi
First of all, I may have minunderstood the original post. I am not asking anyone to sign a petition, and by posting on this wall I didn't realise that I was doing that. So I'm sorry if that's the impression I gave. I was simply stating my own position, and whilst this is what I believe, I don't hold others who don't believe to the same standard. I just don't think that you should be able to pick and choose different parts of other peoples religions and say, well we don't want to follow this part of it, cause we don't like it, but these bits are the bits we do like so we want to have them for ourselves and so we'll just rewrite the definition of marriage, and then we can be married ourselves. I don't consider marriage to be a right, I consider it a privilege, and privileges are earned. You earn the privilege of being married by agreeing to the terms of marriage, such as love and fidelity, and that a marriage when a man and woman are joined as one, in the eyes of 29 November at 11:26 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi
God and the people. 29 November at 11:26 · Like.

Winston Inabox
I don't believe that you're asking anyone to sign a petition. I also understand what you're saying. But I disagree with it as a basis for opposition. I don't believe that marriage need any longer have any basis in religion, which for me undermines pretty much your whole position. If you want to believe that all marriage must be based on religion, that's your privilege. But if there are ANY marriages not based on religion, then those marriages may be defined as we wish to define them. Now of course there are marriages which have nothing to do with religion. I'm living one right now. The question is how do we define those marriages. This talk of marriage is a secular discussion. 29 November at 11:48 · Like · 1.

Marco Parigi
I perceive Marriage to be a license thus not necessarily everyone has a right to it as such. (Not everyone has a right to a class A manual driving license). Basically it is still essentially a license to exclusivity in sexual relations and the children garnered thereby. Ill effects to me or you personally, as you say, are hard to imagine to allowing a broader range of sexual relations and how the children are garnered. However, I still think keeping civil unions and marriage licences as two separate but similar licenses is an important principle, just as having an automatic license isn't equivalent to a manual license. This is because possible ill-effects are pernicious and won't be visible for generations. 29 November at 11:49 · Like.

Marco Parigi
Societies which have had this marriage license encapsulated in a religious ritual have thrived better in the long term. Modern secular societies have essentially copied the whole ritual, and then wonder why there is a greater societal tendency for the breakdown of the family unit. Secular marriage laws are not enough cement to keep essentially moral promises in the long term. People must also believe in the basis of that moral promise, whether it be secular humanism or whatever. 29 November at 12:02 · Like.

Winston Inabox
Come on Marco, a license "to exclusivity in sexual relations" WTF are you licensing? Infidelity by a partner will not guarantee the damaged partner custody. Divorce in Australia is no-fault. You really need to explain that one. And someone can father 1000 children with a 1000 different women and they are all that person's kids under law. 29 November at 12:04 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi
I'd like to point out Nathanael Small, that since you placed this post on your wall, you have been conspicuously absent from the ensuing fallout. I know you're chicken when it comes to disagreeing with me, (not an issue your brother has at all), but since you started this, perhaps you would like to weigh in? 29 November at 12:05 · Like.

Winston Inabox
Now you're claiming that societies with a ritual tend to thrive. What is the current divorce rate? And even if the rate is low in these societies, is it because the ritual keeps them together, or because of other societal pressure such as women have lower earning power, or if you leave your husband our religion says you'll be stoned or burnt to death. Where do you get the idea that a ritual is all people need to hold society together?!? 29 November at 12:08 · Like · 1.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Where do gay couples get the idea that a ritual will make them more accepted in society. That if they too can be married then it makes them the same as hetrosexual couples who are married? 29 November at 12:13 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi You're also implying that large numbers of women only stay married to their husbands because they have lower earning power than men. Rather insulting to women and the men they are married to. Apart from which, the main reason women have lower earning power is because of time lost in the workforce having and raising children, a situation which is currently being addressed by many first world countries. And that is also part of the reason why marriage came about. Husbands love your wives means take care of them emotionally and physically. I don't stay married for the money. I stay married because I love my husband, and the ideal way to raise our children is together, with a mother and a father. Because men and women are different and bring very different but important things to the table when it comes to raising children. 29 November at 12:22 · Like.

Marco Parigi Breaking any number of road rules not losing your license does not unmake it a license. I think YOU have to explain that one to me. Why do they call them "illegitimate" if they are legitimate. It doesn't matter how many cars you drive without a license, they can still be your cars. Within a marriage license your right to custody of children is automatic and assumed. If you go around hooning in your car, it is entirely plausible that it be taken away from you. Your wife/partner and/or God if you so choose to believe is the judge of your fidelity to the vows of your marriage license. I'm wondering why you got married if you don't thimk it made any difference in that sense. 29 November at 12:22 · Like.

Winston Inabox Kylie, I'm not implying that. You're inferring that. Please read the comment again. Marco suggests that societies with the ritual thrive. I ask him what's the divorce rate in these societies, and how does it compare to societies without the ritual. Then IF (there's that word again... a Parigi blindspot?) it is lower in these societies is it really because of the ritual, or some other factors. Then I propose some factors why it may be less in those cases. 29 November at 12:32 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco, you can try to connect the dots between breaking road rules (an illegal activity) and having children (not an illegal activity) if you like, but I'm just going to say that most analogies don't bear close examination. And you still haven't answered what you're licensing. With a car it is a license to drive. It's not the children who are by default the parents license or not. It's not the exclusive sexual relationship. It's not damages in court if you're partner is unfaithful. Marco, what are you licensing? 29 November at 12:37 · Like.

David Astley In Australia, marriage does need to be a public declaration. It goes on the public record and it affects your legal status. The number of public is irrelevant as long as you have the legal representative and a few witnesses. Marriage does not belong to any one particular type of religion. It covers arranged marriages, polygamy, lineage, inheritances and various other concepts. But for the Australian government it is a legal process granting legal rights and recognition. Your family and friends may care if you dress up as Star Wars characters for your wedding, but the Australian government doesn't. As such, nobody referred to people's religious beliefs as lacking maturity. It is forbidding adults from choosing who to marry, the act of needlessly exercising one's will over that of another, that lacks maturity. The government has no legal reason whatsoever to forbid gays from marrying, only political reasons. A mature government would act for the benefit of minorities instead of reinforcing prejudices and stereotypes. 29 November at 12:40 · Like · 1.

Kylie Jensen Parigi I believe that the divorce rate is higher because society has taken away the meaning and importance of the ritual. We stand at the altar, or in a park or wherever, and say the words, and in many cases now make up our own vows, which aren't necessarily vows, but just some pretty speech about how fabulous our lives together are going to be, but with the firm knowledge in our minds that if it doesn't work out, we live in a no fault divorce state, and we can start over with the next husband. We don't need to make marriage accessible to more people, we need make divorce less accessible. When you take away the need to have a reason to divorce, you take away the incentive to be faithful, and to love your spouse, and work through your problems together and make it work. I'm not saying that there aren't good reasons for divorce, but not every divorcing couple has them. For some people it's just too hard. Make it harder to get married and divorced, and then maybe we'll stop seeing the break down of our society. 29 November at 12:42 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi A mature government represents the people, and I see no evidence to show that the majority of people in this country believe that the marriage act should be changed. Marriage also doesn't cover polygamy, lineage and inheritances in this country. Polygamy is illegal, lineage is covered by birth certificates whether your parents are married or not, they are still your parents, and your parents are quite within their legal rights to cut you out of their will if they so choose. All the legal processes and rights and recognition of which you speak are covered by the laws pertaining to civil unions. Marriage in the coming together of a man and a woman as husband and wife. I am yet to see a same sex couple who can make themselves into a husband and wife. And civil unions are still public declarations, and part of the public record. 29 November at 12:51 · Like.

Winston Inabox Kylie, believing why something is true doesn't mean it is true. Believing "that the divorce rate is higher because society has taken away the meaning and importance of the ritual" isn't the same as having evidence to back that up. I might believe it's higher because all those gosh darn women keep leaving the kitchen and working for a living instead of staying home. Someone else may think it's because we've just gotten better at keeping statistics about divorce, someone else may say it's because there's less prejudice, another because there's fewer children being born and someone else may say that it was always this high we just never had the means to keep track of it. 29 November at 13:21 · Like.

Winston Inabox ‎"A mature government represents the people, and I see no evidence to show that the majority of people in this country believe that the marriage act should be changed." The first part is something I can finally agree with you. If the majority of Australians are opposed to this, then the gay and lesbian community have to rethink their strategy. Anything from more education right up to civil war! But as to the second part I don't know. It seems a little early to have decided the election before counting the ballots. 29 November at 13:25 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Well if it is because fewer children are being born, I have certainly done my bit to help stop the rot. 29 November at 13:35 · Like.

Nathanael Small Hi Kylie - I've been driving & in meetings (and I try to keep vigorous debates off FB & between the parties directly where I can). I was hoping for an open change of views so people could understand different perspectives - but if you want to debate it's fine. I do owe my brother a private reply to a big topic we're working around - again, life & priorities have gotten in the way. Hope that explains my conspicuous absence. N 29 November at 13:36 via · Like.

Marco Parigi ‎"And you still haven't answered what you're licensing." Ok. I'll keep it simple. Go to your wife (or if you are really timid, imagine what she would reply), and ask her as a husband what you are and what you are not allowed to do (and conversely for her). That is what is being licensed here. 29 November at 13:42 · Like.

Winston Inabox What you are speaking of is not being licensed. The vehicle license allows me the privilege to drive on the road. Without the license by driving on the road I am performing an illegal action. The marriage license doesn't work like that. I can have kids and live in an exclusive sexual relationship without a license, and it is not illegal. It is that simple. 29 November at 13:55 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Hi Nathanael, just playing with you again, although if you prefer to keep vigorous debates of FB and between the parties, you should be a think just a bit more about how contencious an issue is before you get it started and the run for the hills. 29 November at 13:55 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Besides which, I'm not fbfriends with either of the other parties, so I don't really see us entering into any private debates. I've never even met Winston Inabox, but I wouldn't mind if he got back in his box. :-) 29 November at 13:58 · Like.

Marco Parigi ‎"Marco, you can try to connect the dots between breaking road rules (an illegal activity) and having children (not an illegal activity)" Traditionally, having children out of wedlock was considered "illegal". Softening the laws over time doesn't mean that it isn't considered an "infringement". It is always considered as points against you if it comes up in divorce proceedings. Breaking road rules (that don't break any broader laws) does not go on your criminal record. That's why they call them "infringements". You lose points that may lead to you losing your license - but only if you get caught (as above where it only matters when the law gets involved) 29 November at 13:59 · Like.

Winston Inabox You're now arguing the semantics of "illegal" and "infringement". Marco, you can keep on drawing that long bow if you like, but when you're using semantics to defend an analogy, you'd be better looking for a better analogy. A vehicle license requires a competency test, and without one the act of driving is illegal. It separates those who are allowed to do something from those who are not allowed to do it. Nothing like a marriage license at all. 29 November at 15:29 · Like.

Winston Inabox Don't worry Kylie, today work is slow so I've had plenty of time to cause trouble. You'll unlikely hear from me again for the rest of the week. Ha! 29 November at 15:30 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi A marriage licence requires a competency test, knowing which part to put in which orifice. And so I shall look forward to hearing from you next week. Hopefully Nathanael can come up with some new topic for us to debate. 29 November at 15:40 · Like. Marco Parigi From Wikipedia - A marriage license is a document issued, either by a church or state authority, authorizing a couple to marry. 29 November at 15:54 · Like.

Marco Parigi My view of a "license" is not really about the legal recourse associated with it, as there is, but a different way of enforcing promises made and competencies such as they are. Licenses modify behaviour through fear of losing the license rather than fear of punishment in other ways. Thus people are motivated not to speed because they may lose their license, and you may be motivated to being faithful due to the threat of divorce rather than by the threat of being stabbed or poisoned. 29 November at 16:02 · Like.

Winston Inabox Yes Marco. And a driving license is a document issued by a state authority, authorizing a person to drive. And a gun license is... And a dog license is... And a TV license is... By this level or rigor you could choose any license for your analogy and you'd be just as equally correct. However once you look at what you have to do to acquire the driving license and what it allows you to do and the consequences of doing those things without it, and compare it to what the marriage license allows you to do and the consequences of doing those things without it, and you'll see (or rather not see in your case) that they are two completely different types of licenses. 29 November at 16:03 · Like.

Winston Inabox As to your next view of a license enforcing promises... well if you believe that it's the piece of paper (although earlier you thought it was the ritual) that is stopping the divorce rate from being any higher, then that's that I guess. 29 November at 16:07 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Apparently if Marco breaks the rules of his marriage license, I might just be able to poison or stab him. And if you have a gun license, it doesn't allow you to go and just shoot people randomly, in the same way that a marriage license doesn't just allow you to marry any random person. You have to choose someone with the correct parts/orifices. And dog registrations are handed out by local authorities, not state authorities. 29 November at 16:14 · Unlike · 1.

Marco Parigi Like I intimated, I am not sure why you got married if the marriage (piece of paper, ritual, and happily ever after) was "valuable". We protect privileges which we think are valuable. We treat with disdain unenforceable laws which we don't believe in. 29 November at 16:30 · Like.

Marco Parigi I meant to say not valuable in the first sentence. 29 November at 16:31 · Like.

Winston Inabox Do marriage licenses even have rules? And if they do, I'm pretty sure that they are not enforced the same way as other licenses. Break your marriage vows and there is no authority checking up on you. no fine. No points to lose. Although the Church police from Python might be game for a laugh. LoL. Licenses other than marriage allow you to do something associated with the license that otherwise you couldn't do without the license. Drive a car, own a dog, own a gun (shooting people ain't covered in the license AFAIK). Without the license one can still have kids and have an exclusive sexual relationship. Really apart from the word license, there's little similarity between a marriage license and a driving license. And in point of fact I never wrote that a dog license is handed out by the state. 29 November at 16:38 · Like.

Marco Parigi Sounds like you value your driving license more than your marriage. Your marriage doesn't give you any privileges that you couldn't get without it, and gives you a sword of damocles threat of divorce to boot. No legal recourse if your partners vows are broken except to split. 29 November at 16:44 · Like.

Marco Parigi Marriage rule enforcement and point scoring only happens at Point-of-Divorce. Most people realise too late and their actions leave themselves open to attack in divorce court or custody hearings. 29 November at 16:52 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco, the analogy was yours, not mine. And it's you who continues to defend the analogy. On a side-note I've no driver's license, so if I were to drive and get stopped by the police I'd have more legal problems with the state than if I fathered children all over state, marriage license or not! Actually, if I continued to flaunt the road rules and continued to drive and get caught I bet the state could even revoke my privilege to drive even though I never held the license. I'd like to see the state try and stop someone fathering children who has no license. 29 November at 16:57 · Like.

Marco Parigi In a sense, marriage is only valuable as a license if you believe in the institution and agree to be bound by the promises made. This seems to be a neat fit to religion, and not so much to normal modern sexual behaviour. 29 November at 17:01 · Like.

Marco Parigi There are people who drive unlicensed for decades before they ever get jailed for the crime. Maybe China would be a bit different on the fathering of many children, whether in a marriage or not. I think with pre-marital sex, the analogy does not work, as you say, because not even partners try to enforce it or even bring it up after marriage, but for extra marital affairs excetera, it works just fine. 29 November at 17:10 · Like.

Winston Inabox Ah yes, the good old days when people respected the sanctity of marriage. When were they again? 29 November at 17:18 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Of course there are rules to marriage. No 1 being do not leave your shoes where your wife will trip over them and likely break her neck. And if you think there aren't consequences to breaking them, try it and see what happens. On a serious note though, the consequences are far more likely to be emotional, and cause more pain and suffering than the consequences of driving without a licence. And a lot of people do drive without licences, and just don't care. Just as a lot of people do have children without getting married. I know some of those people and the lack of stability in their relationships, and therefore for the children, is palpable. No matter what happens, Marco and I will always be together, as long as we live. Because we take the religious aspect of our marriage vows seriously, we can say that, and we made that decision before we started having children. We can do that because we believe that marriage is a part of God's plan for men and women, and so we accept all the rules of marriage without question. If you can't accept God's laws, why do you want to be a part of something that is so intwined in religious belief? Whether you are gay or straight? 29 November at 17:21 · Like.

Winston Inabox I thought the #1 rule of marriage had something to do with the position the toilet seat is left in after use. 29 November at 17:23 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi When you're 6 months pregnant and get up at 2am to use the toilet, and trip over the shoes which have been left in front of it, and so end up belly first in the toilet, it doesn't really matter whether the seat is up or down. 29 November at 17:32 · Unlike · 1.

Winston Inabox I sense a disturbance in the Force. 29 November at 17:40 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi I didn't get married in Starwars costumes, so I really don't get that. 29 November at 17:52 · Like.

David Astley Yes, a mature government represents the people- all of them. Ideally, every citizen should have equal access to the laws of the land to be allowed to marry their true love. But currently marriage, in Australia, is the coming together of a man and woman as husband and wife. It says nothing about being faithful, loving your spouse and working through your problems together to make it work. It is a weak definition and it must change. Society has not taken away the meaning and importance of the marriage ritual, however. While there are many straight people that see marriage as just another relationship, the core of our society still believe marriage is committment for life. This is the marriage that gay people support and want. Gays know and understand how important marriage is, and that's why they're prepared to fight for it. They also would be in favour of tougher divorce laws. And gays respect marriage because they've already fought discrimination to get married, as opposed to having marriage handed to them on a silver platter. The idea that two people will respect marriage more because they are of different genders is laughable. Same sex couples, however, feel their exclusion from society every day- they understand the true importance of marriage, they support the strengthening of marriage laws and they should certainly be allowed to marry. 29 November at 23:29 · Like · 1.

Kylie Jensen Parigi When all of the people don't have the same opinion or ideals, a mature government needs to choose, and usually in favour of what the majority of people want. There is quite a loud group of people who want and are willing to fight for legalisation of marijuana in Australia, but I don't see the government giving those people what they want, even though that would possibly make those people very happy. 30 November at 08:46 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi And gay people have the same rights to get married as straight people, within the bounds of the definition of marriage. I'm not allowed to marry another woman either, even though my house would probably be cleaner if I did. And if marriage vows are being taken less seriously in Australia, then why is the divorce rate so high, and why are so many people simply choosing to live together and not bother getting married? I've heard so many times that marriage is just a piece of paper, and if that is the case, why isn't the piece of paper that a civil union is printed on, just as important or unimportant? The real meaning of marriage stems from the religious beliefs that created it. So you give me a good reason why those of us who believe in the whole definition of marriage, including that it is between a man and a woman, should have to dilute those beliefs to allow marriage to exist between same sex couples, a relationship which flies in the face of what we consider to be right and moral. Marriage allows us to have that relationship and still be in a right relationship with God, same sex marriages can never be right in God's eyes. So why exactly do gay people feel the need for something that they have no real belief in? If it's just about being the same as everyone else, that is silly, they are already different, and being married isn't going to make them the same, any more than me wearing a head scarf will make me the same as a muslim woman. People are different, and true lack of discrimination is when we accept people for their differences, and stop trying to make them conform with every ideal that exists for each indivual group and their belief system. Like that you need to be married to be a true couple, or have a complete committment to one another. A civil union is just as binding as a marriage, it just isn't tied up in anyone elses religious beliefs. 30 November at 09:03 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi And I doubt if a weak definition would have survived as many thousands of years as the definition of marriage has. 30 November at 09:05 · Like.

David Astley A mature government does what's best for the people, whether the majority want it or not. In particular, a mature government should treat all its citizens equally regardless of race, colour, gender, sexuality or choice of religion or politics. Legislation should never discriminate based on these things. If you want to strengthen marriage, you should give it to those who want it, not inflict it on those who don't. The real meaning of marriage has changed from country to country and time to time and will change again in the future if not now. Many gays believe in the sanctity of marriage and wish to be allowed to exercise those beliefs. While same sex marriage may never be right in your God's eyes, many people believe in a loving God who accepts all those that wish to follow Him, whether they be prostitutes, tax collectors or gay. Your beliefs are important, but not more important than theirs. 30 November at 10:05 · Like · 1.

Marco Parigi David says"It says nothing about being faithful, loving your spouse and working through your problems together to make it work" I don't think you can legislate for committment. You can neither enforce it through the normal state channels (police) nor judge it fairly in the courts. This depends on the spouses themselves believing in the institution. I do remember seing on a clip, an impassioned plea and argument from someone who was gay regarding the issue of marriage vs. civil unions. He went through several anecdotes about how it would fix all the issues that came of being classed differently to a married couple, and made a reasonable case that it wouldn't generate any new issues. The anecdotes were almost exclusively about "presumptions" under the law that were and still are different between the two classes of union. My assertion is that new issues in changing the definition of marriage are pernicious, thus hard to prove, and that it is a much safer bet to continue to narrow the gap between civil unions and marriage legally, even to the point of being able to call civil unions "marriages". There is a bit of resistance within the gay community itself to toughening up civil union laws, but that is up to them. Is it possible to have a civil union between a man and a woman? 30 November at 11:13 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Just because you think that what the majority wants is not what is best for them, does not make it so. In a democracy what is right for the country is based on what the majority wants. Other no matter how "mature" the government is in making laws that they consider to be best for the country, at the next election they will be thrown out of government, and the new government will change the legislation back again, as was seen with the Howard government and the IR laws it considered to be best for the country. You also have no way of proving that changes to the marriage act would be for the good of the country as a whole. For all I know your real reason for wanting legalisation of gay marriage, is just so that you can get invited to more weddings. 30 November at 11:37 · Like.

Winston Inabox Kylie, the history of slavery pretty much contradicts your stance. Abhorrent to us now, it was endorsed by governments of the society that practiced it. It had even been sanctioned by the major churches! Of course, you could easily claim that those governments weren't "mature"... 30 November at 12:15 · Like · 1.

Kylie Jensen Parigi I doubt very much whether comparing the complete oppression and slavery of one race by another to the technical differences between marriage and civil unions is remotely useful to this conversation, but if you aren't happy with the way our democracy works in Australia you could always try starting a civil war. That might be a more mature way to solve this issue, although I thought you were anti mass murder. But then I also thought that you were going into hibernation for a week, and I wouldn't be hearing from you until then, so I guess I could be wrong on both counts, you might just be fickle. 30 November at 12:26 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Come to think of it, isn't that why all the first born sons in Egypt were killed, because of the complete oppression and slavery of one people (the Jews) by another (the Egyptians)? 30 November at 12:33 · Like.

Nathanael Small I'm finding the asynchronous communication challenging to keep up with and the discussion has flowed around a lot. My perspective (for what it's worth):1. A licence is a helpful analogy - to a point. Marriage is much more intimately relational than a car / gun (though some enthusiasts might disagree with me), so it gets tricky to apply the analogy consistently. I see marriage as a covenant, reflected in a licence (contract). 2. I agree that marriage should be harder to enter into and much more support given to those who want to leave when there isn't abuse, adultery or abandonment but simply personal selfishness. 3. Unfortunately, although we might have a government, it is not a mature one - more of an ineptocracy. 4. Slavery is not a fair comparison, as this is not a cultural oppression / civil rights iissue (and it was Christians who led the charge for its abolition). Allowing gay marriage will not magically end discrimination. There are a couple of small areas where Australian law needs to change (including allowing people to marry first cousins being struck out), but equal rights for exclusive partner relationships is almost here in Australia. Bringing those into law will over time continue to decrease the discrimination 5. I'm yet to see a compelling argument against the value of having a unique definition for a male / female exclusive relationship which seeks to parent children (biologically or otherwise). Gay exclusive couples cannot be a mother and father - either biologically or genetically. Some other party has to be involved. It's all too easy for the position of Christians to be turned into the hateful (but sadly true) caricature of "Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve"). While love, compassion and care for those homosexuals who have been hurt, marginalised or treated unjustly should be central to any faith-based response, it appears to me there is a boundary of gender difference and specific role that gays cannot overcome. heterosexuals are different from homosexuals, but can be treated equally with respect to all civil rights without requiring the label of marriage. There's more, but I need to go to another meeting. Perhaps later tonight or tomorrow. 30 November at 12:46 · Like.

Winston Inabox Kylie, I'm not comparing slavery to marriage. I'm saying that your stance where the government should do whatever the people want is undermined by the example of slavery. Those in power wanted slavery and it was given general support by the religions of the times. Today we find that position abhorrent. 30 November at 13:42 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Winston, I refer you to what Nathanael said. He worded it better than me. And don't you have a job to do? 30 November at 13:54 · Like.

Winston Inabox Unfortunately he didn't word it better because he thought I was saying the same thing you thought I was saying. As I explained I'm not talking about gay marriage, but your idea that the government should do whatever the people want it to do. If the people want it to do abhorrent things (slavery) then they shouldn't be doing it. 30 November at 14:10 · Like.

Marco Parigi Just a thought. I have just read an article today that there is a vote going through QUEENSLAND parliament to do with allowing civil unions, and I have realised that civil unions are not yet universally accepted accross the various levels of government. I guess I would be siding with the left (Labor, Greens), but perhaps it was time Qld allowed and recognised these within its jurisdiction. 30 November at 14:58 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Winston, in that case you also probably missed the bit where I said that I don't consider not allowing gay marriage to be abhorrent, and obviously neither does the government at this point, as they haven't felt the need to legalise gay marriage. Just because you and David think it's abhorrent, doesn't necessarily make it so, 30 November at 15:19 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi And we as the voters in this great democracy of ours are still capable of voting in a new government to change laws which we do find abhorrent. Such as slavery, not allowing all people the same voting rights, discrimination against people because of their race, gender, sexual orientation etc, unfair treatment in the workplace. At the moment we seem to have a government in place which doesn't consider it necessary to change the marriage act, and we won't see one until they are sure it is the will of the people, not just the will of the people who complain the loudest. 30 November at 15:25 · Like.

Winston Inabox Kylie, again you're missing my rebuttal of your point. Your point is that the government should do what the people want. I'm providing an example (slavery) that shows that this is not true. I am in no way connecting slavery and gay marriage. Do you think that a government should do what the people want when the people want slavery? is my point rephrased as a question. 30 November at 15:50 · Like.

Marco Parigi ‎"Do you think that a government should do what the people want when the people want slavery?" I think the problem at the time when it was considered the majority wanted slavery, was that if you included the actual slaves (they couldn't vote obviously), that would never really be a feasible possibility. In really wretchedly hard times, if there was a choice of being a slave and being fed, or of starving, even the slaves may agree with slavery at least until prospects got better. Therefore, yes, if conditions dictated that the majority wanted slavery (if you include the slaves as voters) it is plausible that the government ought to either allow it or ensure it has enough welfare money to obviate the need. Slavery exists in most countries today and I can't think of a single country where there would be a majority that could ever be in favour of it. I therefore think that the question is either rhetorical or a straw man variation. 30 November at 16:09 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Winston, the truth is I really don't care. I have a clingy 11month old who wants to be carried around all day, a two year old who is competing for the same privilege, a nine year old who needs to find a library book by tomorrow morning, or I have to pay for it, a 12 year old who wants me to find wrapping paper for her, a 15 year old descending into the abyss of online gaming addiction, and an 18 year old who wants to chat about all things relevent to a hormonal teenager in her first serious relationship. I really can't be bothered playing semantics with you, and I get the distinct impression that you are now just debating for the sake of the debate, I doubt very much whether you have any real emotional investment in the issue all. So I'm sorry, but I just don't feel like trying to understand at the moment. I tell you what, I'm going to take a week off FB, and when I come back, if you still want me to answer the question, I'll have a crack at it then. 30 November at 17:30 · Unlike · 1.

Winston Inabox Kylie, you are correct that I have no emotional investment in this at all. And I would recommend the same to you. You don't know me, I don't know you. We've never met and probably never will. We are two people discussing a topic on FB. If you're unable to continue the discussion that's fine with me. This is the Internet, people come and go as they please. Nothing you and I discuss here will have any impact on the outcome of this issue, so don't sweat it. If you ever wish to discuss any issue I'm here. Enjoy the time with your family. 30 November at 17:43 · Like.

David Astley Marco says "I don't think you can legislate for committment. You can neither enforce it through the normal state channels (police) nor judge it fairly in the courts. This depends on the spouses themselves believing in the institution." Correct, which has nothing to do with the race, colour or sex of the spouses. In fact, there are so many gays who believe in the institution of marriage that they want to get married. Previous changes to the definition of marriage have never damaged the institution of marriage despite allowing, among other things, marriage across class and race. Marriages across class and race are now considered not only acceptable, but tributes to the concept of 'love conquers all'. We know discrimination still exists and we admire those who rise above such discrimination to show us the power love. Civil unions are an excellent option for those who don't believe in marriage. They're not an option for those who do. What is right for a country is not always based on what the majority wants. What is right for the country is based on what the majority needs. They need to be educated, employed and taxed in spite of their protests. They need to stop smoking and drink responsibly. They need to be treated equally and fairly by the government. They need to marry the people they love. Allowing gays to marry will not harm you in any way whatsoever. Not allowing them to marry denies them rights and recognition that are afforded to others without question. 1. No license should be tested for based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation or political or religious beliefs. 2. To make marriage harder perhaps introduce a 1 year wait. Do not reduce the number of applicants by race, class, gender, sexual orientation or political or religious beliefs. 3. This government has floated Australia to the top of a collapsing world economy and is recognised as one of the best in the world outside Australia. 4. Allowing gay marriage will not magically end discrimination, but it will help. 5. See 1. While Nathanael says "While love, compassion and care for those homosexuals who have been hurt, marginalised or treated unjustly should be central to any faith-based response," I say such sentiments should be unconditional. Actually, disallowing gay marriage is abhorent, because it is a law that discriminates based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation or political or religious beliefs. 30 November at 17:54 · Like · 1.

Winston Inabox Marco, the question is neither rhetorical nor a straw man. Kylie's position stated simply was that the government should do the will of the people. I don't believe my question misrepresents her position, nor is it asked in a style designed to trick or confuse. Slavery has been around since the beginning of time, and it has been practiced by many governments who were doing the will of the people. I'm happy to answer my own question. I think that this is a case where governments shouldn't have been doing the will of the people. The people were wrong, and the people who make up the government were wrong to enforce it. Therefore I cannot agree with Kylie that governments should do the will of the people. 30 November at 17:57 · Like.

Marco Parigi With regards to a democratic government *not* doing the will of the people, I've seen that recently in two cases. One, where a clear majority thinks we should pull out of Afghanistan, the Government and opposition both agree to do the opposite. Second, where it is quite clear that a majority do not want a carbon tax, that is rammed through anyway. In the first example, the logic is completely strategic in terms of the conflict. It is likely taken on military advice vis a vis with the strategy that is most likely to achieve the goals of the deployment at the least cost in lives. As far as the second one goes, the calculation is that although the majority fear the worst, they will appreciate the medium term results and give it the benefit of the doubt. If the majority of people are wrong, say in pre-liberation USA, or apartheid South Africa, the majority must be won over Before a democratic government dare make a move. I still think that comparing the lack of a right to marry someone of the same sex is in the same league as slavery. Perhaps the majority will be won over. Perhaps not in Australia first. I think that a government will consider its re-election chances ahead of moral righteousness. 30 November at 23:22 · Like.

Marco Parigi I meant to say not in the same league as slavery. Slavery impinges on practically all freedoms, including sexual preference. Come to think of it, many people think that marriage impedes freedoms more than giving freedom. 30 November at 23:27 · Like.

Nathanael Small Hi all - David Astley, the challenge your argument faces is that it breaks down when the definition of marriage involves exclusivity based on gender. For mono-theists, this is a non-negotiable and something that impacts on the whole of life. For Jesus followers in particular, there are no restrictions based on class & race - just gender (must be opposite), relation (must not be family) and belief system (i.e. must be Christian). It's quite clear - "male & female", "a man shall leave his father & mother and cleave to his wife", which is consistently presented throughout their Scriptures as the marriage norm. To say "Allowing gays to marry will not harm you in any way whatsoever" is naive because it changes the definition in a way which from their perspective discriminates against their definition and practice of marriage - especially the role of mothering & fathering. To say a single gender partnership can provide both mothering and fathering is biologically not possible. Yes, it takes a village to raise a child, more then one role model etc...yet male/female, mother/father primary care of children is central to that understanding of marriage. What's wrong with equal but different (marriage & civil partnership) terminology in the eyes of the law? Finally, unconditional acceptance does not mean saying yes to whatever people want because they think it's a good idea. Do i love and accept my daughter unconditionally? Yes, absolutely. Does she always get her own way? No. Let's hold up a mirror - if a word with thousands of years of cultural significance and meaning that was held in the highest esteem by homosexuals and was a key part of their belief system faced being changed in way that meant the definition lost its meaning, in a way they believed was harmful both to them and society at large, what would be their response? Hypothetical, but it's helpful to look at it from the other side. Oh, and PS A digression, but on "Australia at the top of the world economy". 2012 will reveal just how shaky our house of cards two speed economy really is. All Rudd, Gillard & co did (and I'm a swinging voter who probably leans Labor) in 2008 was to push the inevitable pain further down the road. Every self-funded retiree I've talked to who is still an active investor and old enough to remember the Great Depression from personal experience says that Australia is in for its worst kicking since then. Done lots of research on this, and gotta tell you it's not looking good. The only question is whether it will be a great crash or steady decline at varying speeds of descent over 2-3 years. Neither will be pleasant. Buckle Up.... 1 December at 03:15 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco I like the examples you've given of the government not doing the will of the people. But still you say "I still think that comparing the lack of a right to marry someone of the same sex is in the same league as slavery." I don't know how many times I can say that I NEVER did this. Never. Ever. Never. 1 December at 08:47 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, fortunately we no longer take monotheism's beliefs in situ into account in a secular government. As you quite plainly point out Christians are willing to discriminate based on gender. They have done so since forever, and it's only that you live in a modern society where that discrimination has been whittled down to the marginalized of this society does it seem like to you at least there's no discrimination worth worrying about all. Some Christians have provided Biblically based reasoning for all manner of gender discrimination in the past, the right for women to vote for instance. I find it as little surprise that the Christians of today still support discrimination, just as they've always done. They may label it as "unconditional acceptance", but it's unconditional with strings attached. I wonder if the Christians of 2050 will look back to the Christians of today, just as we look back at Christians who opposed the vote for women, as well-intentioned but misguided anachronisms 1 December at 09:02 · Like · 1.

David Astley Nathaniel- Your interpretation of a chosen section of your chosen religious text is important, but not more important than someone else's interpretation of a chosen section of their chosen religious text. Something does not discriminate against us merely because it includes them. In Australia, no particular religion owns marriage. The government determines the laws and it is the duty of the Australian government to legislate without discriminating against race, class, gender, sexual orientation or political or religious beliefs. If this forces one group to be more tolerant of the ways of another, that's actually a good thing. In fact, that's actually the point of not discriminating against race, class, gender, sexual orientation or political or religious beliefs. Single gender partnerships are not harmful to children. Other factors, including support, tolerance and acceptance, are actually determinants of a child's healthy development. This sideline remains irrelevant unless children become a mandatory aspect of marriage. Having made it to 2012, we've made it 5 years further than many other governments. As such I'm grateful to ours. 1 December at 09:39 · Like · 1.

Nathanael Small ‎Winston Inabox / Bro, while we can't look into the future with any certainty, what's of most interest to me is how language is used strategically to re-frame the debate and marginalise an entire world-view to the point where people will reject it on the basis of one point of possible contention. John Dickson in a sermon series in his church about sexuality recently called it a 'defeater belief'. Of course there's discrimination worth worrying about - the fact that we acknowledge that means that we hold to absolutes that aren't yet conclusively scientifically proven one way or the other (e.g. is there a homosexual gene that means you are "born gay"). Let's remember the dictionary definitions:dis·crim·i·na·​tion/disˌkriməˈnāSHən/ Noun: 1. The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, or sex. 2. Recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another. 1 December at 10:08 · Like.

Nathanael Small Definition 2 has been completely subsumed in this issue and only the negative aspects are focused on. If you want to be really nit-picky, note that Definition 1 mentions sexnut not sexuality 1 December at 10:09 · Like.

Nathanael Small sorry, sex not sexuality. David Astley, you've made several generalise comments as absolutes - e.g. "single gender partnerships are not harmful to children" - where is your empirical research to back this? There's others, but i am off to a meeting. & Winston Inabox - we've been around the gender discrimination merry go round before and you've got (some)of my position on that. And unconditional acceptance means two things: grace, which is free but not cheap; and truth, of which there are many kinds (not just scientific), which is often the first casualty in issues which are deeply personal. If we're going to crack 200 with this thread, let's try to focus on those with this issue and avoid red herrings. And bro, you never answered my original question that started this snowball down the hill. Which way & why? 1 December at 10:25 · Like.

Paul Aitkenhead The argument seems to go "they are equal but different"but because God's word says "a man shall leave his father & mother and cleave to his wife" then there is no room for them in "our" marriage tent. Surely, to be consistent, marriage should then be restricted to only those that share your spiritual values. 1 December at 10:35 · Like.

Paul Aitkenhead Why should an atheist heterosexual couple be allowed, or even encouraged, to enter into marriage, while gay couples are left out in the cold? I'm openly critical of the value of religion, and if there is a God I certainly don't think highly of him/her. And yet I'm allowed entry into the tent. If it is the word of God that is meant to be the authority on this matter surely christians should be lobbying hard to annul all of those atheist, pagan, hindu, buddhist, sikh etc. etc. marriages that have been acknowledged. Surely there is only room for one version of "right". Or, perhaps the argument is the other way around? That there is only one "wrong"? Only gays aren't allowed into our tent. Those gays really stuffed things up when they fell in love. Can't they see all of the trouble their causing good clean living people? I'm sure even the discussion of gay marriage has some people cleaning out their bomb shelters and readying themselves for the gaypocalypse when we're all forced into homosexual relation ships. Don't be part of that crowd. Gays aren't "different but equal". They're normal people like you and I, that have suffered abuse and injustice for generations. It's time that we recognised that and did more to help restore them as equal participants in society. 1 December at 10:46 · Like.

Marco Parigi Winston, the point I make about your mentioning slavery is this: in me saying that I believe that if the majority believes slavery is legal that it should be; makes it sound that I believe in slavery, or that I have sympathy of that view. This distorts the argument into either me looking like I agree with slavery, or that I should accept that the Government should not take the will of the people into consideration. This is definitely a straw man variant. I say YES. If the majority believes in slavery, the government should trust that this is the collective right decision and not "groupthink" and legalize it. Does that make me look like someone inhuman from the last century? Yes. I don't agree that this is just a random example chosen from history. You have chosen it for this very reason. Straw man argument QED. 1 December at 11:24 · Like.

Paul Aitkenhead I'm sure Winston will set me straight if I'm off target on this, but I'm pretty sure the guts of his point was that good mature, competent and confident government should make decisions based on what's right and best for the country, rather than blindly doing what's popular. The denial of gay marriage isn't a great example of a government trying to maintain the status quo because it's popular with a majority of Australians. Indeed in a number of recent polls the majority has now moved in favour of gay marriage. The problem is that it's a show/vote-stopper for the anti-gay marriage crowd. There are many Australians who are pro gay-marriage but aren't so personally invested in the topic as to change their vote on it as a single issue. The opposite is true of a large number of conservative christians who will absolutely change their vote on this one issue alone - so great is the RISK to "the family". In this political age it seems the game is one by whoever can gather the most/lose the least votes at the margins. The result is somewhat the opposite of government by popular opinion, but rather policy by polling prediction. 1 December at 11:32 · Like.

Paul Aitkenhead​opinion/politics/​gay-marriage-at-the-mercy-o​f-fear-and-prejudice-20111​130-1o6od.html Fear and prejudice, wrapped up in faith and tradition. It saddens me to realize that otherwise fine thinking, generous people are so committed to discriminating (and not in the #2 sense) against their fellow man. 1 December at 11:52 · Like.

Paul Aitkenhead​wiki/​Recognition_of_same-sex_uni​ons_in_Australia#Public_op​inion_polls Public support for same-sex marriage equality is steadily rising. Link supplied as reference. 1 December at 12:00 · Like.

Nathanael Small Thanks Paul - some great comments & articles - will have a read at another time as I'm multi-tasking on a conference call. 1 December at 13:06 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco, first I never posed a straw man argument. I posed a question. You could claim I've achieved a straw man question, which would be quite an achievement as I've just created a new type of question. But as I've no need for further accolades let's not quibble about the correct definition of something and instead assume that I was making an argument rather than what I was actually doing. For it to be a straw man I'd have to somehow be misrepresenting the position, arguing to some extreme point of view, twisting the other person's words, etc.To argue against the proposition that governments should do what the people want I need an issue of such significance that it affects the government. I also, for the purposes of my side, need an issue that puts the answerer precisely in the position you say it does. I WANT to show that a person who agrees with this is somehow wrong. That you complain that my straw man question (OK, let's share the credit for this new meme) puts makes you looks like an inhuman from the last century is exactly what I was hoping for. Why would I pose a question that supports the other side??? 1 December at 14:08 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, before I could agree that grace is needed as part of unconditional, I'll need to understand what meaning of grace you're using. After all you use grace in the original post, but I don't think that's what you mean here. As to which way and why... I'm more interested in the arguments that people make against this proposition. It's always interesting to see how those with the power, how those "in the norm" justify excluding others from their group. And apart from all the nonsense arguments they make about unnatural behaviors and tradition, I just like to see Christians airing their dirty, hypocritical laundry. How they like to talk about their unconditional love, when in the back of their mind they're thinking that what these people are doing is an abomination in the eyes of their god, and unless they change their ways they are going to go to Hell. And how just because he is XY and she is XX (cause I'm guessing that a person who has undergone a sex change and has a partner with different bits is still unacceptable to the church) can have as many tries at marriage as they like (How does God feel about divorce? Oh wait, that depends on the era one is living in.), but anyone who doesn't fit into that chromosome niche is out. And I don't mean of the closet. Not sure that answers your question, but it sure feels good. 1 December at 14:37 · Like.

Marco Parigi Hmmm. The intent of the question was to equate denying gay marriage with denying freedom from slavery, despite your protestations to the contrary. No wonder Kylie refused to answer. 1 December at 15:03 · Like.

Winston Inabox As you wish, Marco. As you wish. Despite my explanations and protestations to the contrary, you have decided my intentions. 1 December at 15:09 · Like · 1.

Paul Aitkenhead I can't help but think that you've tried very hard to construct your own straw man out of Winston's comments. Seems to me he highlighted a valid example of when it's not a good thing for government to just endorse the popular position. Nothing more, nothing less. Now he's accused of trying to equate denying gay marriage with denying freedom from slavery. According to my understanding of the straw man argument, you Marco appear to have mastered it. 1 December at 15:12 · Like.

Marco Parigi It's not a valid example because there is no example of governments overturning slavery against the wishes of the majority. How can we believe it is a good thing if it never happened that way? We can only surmise in hindsight. I suggest we are jumping the gun if legislation got ahead of the mood of the people. 1 December at 15:50 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi I don't know what a straw man arguement is. I just believe that Winston likes to push other peoples buttons in debate, and that he relieves the boredom of his day by playing devils advocate. And throwing in the most inflammitory comparison, like human slavery, whether as a hypothetical issue for a government to rule on, or as an actual comparison between the two themes, is a really good way to get someone to bite. That's why I stopped playing his game. 1 December at 16:05 · Like.

David Astley Nathanael - While I have stated that raising children is irrelevant to the Gay Marriage debate, your sudden desire for empirical research for my specific and accurate statement "Single gender partnerships are not harmful to children" is interesting given that you provided no empirical evidence for your statement "To say a single gender partnership can provide both mothering and fathering is biologically not possible." and for your underlying assumptions that both of these vague and loosely defined concepts are needed to promote healthy childhood development. I also question your attention to such empirical research given that 3 sentences later you state that scientific truth is but one kind of many. However, if you genuinely do wish to look at healthy childhood development you may wish to start with Werner's studies on Resiliency which have been around for decades and inspired many other researchers to look into that field. If you are looking for empirical research on the impact of gay parents on children, there are plenty of studies, but in keeping with the Australian theme may I suggest The Australian Psychological Society and this literature review in particular http://​​Assets/Files/​LGBT-Families-Lit-Review.pd​f In case you aren't interested in reading the whole thing let me draw your attention to the conclusion on page 25 that states "The research indicates that parenting practices and children’s outcomes in families parented by lesbian and gay parents are likely to be *AT LEAST* as favourable as those in families of heterosexual parents, despite the reality that considerable legal discrimination and inequity remain significant challenges for these families." (My own emphasis added) I look forward to reviewing your own empirical research when you provide me some. (Did I mention that whilst obtaining my Bachelor of Education degree we looked at child psychology? :-) 1 December at 16:19 · Like.

Winston Inabox Kylie, a straw man is where one person takes the other person's point of view and in an attempt to win an argument exaggerates, distorts or out and out falsifies what the first person originally intended. The problem for Marco's claim that I'm using a straw man are two-fold. First, I didn't take your position and propose a new position that did any of the above. I posed a question, not a position so right off the bat it's not a straw man. Second he claims I link gay marriage to slavery, (this would be the exaggeration he's thinking of) which I don't because I'm not at all interested in gay marriage with the question but rather the connection between a people and their government. As he would say QED. I will however say that if I had made a proposition (which I didn't) that did use slavery in a debate about gay marriage, it would be a pretty good contender for straw man status. I'm not interested in pushing buttons. I am interested in vigorously debating issues, which if you're not able to distance yourself from may feel like buttons are being pushed. But this is the Internet. It's like standing in the street and shouting out your views. If someone then comes along and disagrees with you, it's your choice to continue the conversation, take on board what they say, respond, leave etc. If I were interested in inflammatory comments I'd simply say that your viewpoint is akin to Nazism and be done with the whole thing. But I haven't. I've explained repeatedly and I feel in minute detail why I disagree with the views aired. I've also several times corrected assumptions and mistakes about what I've said in the hopes of furthering the debate. And even now when you've pretty much made an ad hominem attack on me (an attack on myself rather than my opinions - I just like to push buttons, I've a boring life) I've taken the time to explain "straw man" and yet again explain why Marco is mistaken to claim so. You should know I'm an atheist. A pretty stringent one. I'm keen on debating religionists. You expressed religionist's views and seemed willing to talk, so I'm willing to talk. If you aren't or you're uncomfortable with that then I understand and, as I did yesterday, wish you well with whatever you'd rather be doing. But I'd rather hope that instead you find the conversation challenging and not confrontational. I've no ill-will to either you or Marco. In fact Marco and I have debated topics in the past, and I quite enjoy the exchange. I thinks he's pretty much wrong ;-) but that doesn't mean I can't talk with him. If we surrounded ourselves with Yes Men, what a boring life that would be. 1 December at 18:22 · Like.

Nathanael Small Damn - that'll teach me to try and do a long post instead of posting in bits. Darn super sensitive trackpad hit the back button as I was nearing the end of a long response to David Astley & Winston (Paul, you'll come later). Will have to start afresh sometime over the weekend, as I'm away from FB. Some good discussion, and thanks Winston Inabox for clarifying your approach, atheological position and perspective on universal rules of asynchronous internet communication. Perhaps I should've been clearer at the start in asking people to stay on the topic question - if this was an essay exam, I'd be struggling to pass us on the basis that at times we've wandered far off topic with a discussion that on reflection I should've asked to be taken off-line sooner. I'll end where I was when I lost the first post. Winstonbro, I'd be very careful of making broad sweeping generalisations about Christians, power and how they relate to people who aren't heterosexual. You risk over-extending your reach and committing multiple ad-hominems and building several straw men. I know lots of people who follow Jesus who have homosexual friends they consider very good friends - I'm one of them. The relationship is one of mutual respect. Your "guess" about a transgender in a heterosexual relationship is simply wrong and proven so by many church communities who welcome people in that situation with open arms. Comments about heterosexuals marrying as many people as they like due to differing chromosomes and God's feelings about divorce being dependent on your era at face value are ignorant, inflammatory, and disrespectful to both marriage and the people like myself who have endured the tremendous pain of that kind of broken relationship when they desperately wanted to make the relationship work. What's "interesting to you" and "writing what makes you feel good" in this instance I find quite hurtful and frankly I expected better of you given all your posts thus far. 1 December at 20:47 · Like.

Marco Parigi Nathanael, I think that you are being a little unfair on Winston. To tell you the truth, this whole thread is marvellous and I request that you do not delete anything at least until I can copy and paste it somewhere so that I can show herr fellows the thread as he is no longer on FB and I am sure he would like to contribute to the conversation. 1 December at 22:14 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi Winston, now you're misquoting me. I didn't say you had a boring life, just a boring day, which you yourself alluded to earlier when you stated that you were having a slow work day and therefore had the time for this (very long, drawn, drawn out, and really going nowhere apart from around in circles - in my opinion) debate. Sorry if I offended you by saying that you liked to push buttons, it's just the impression I got. And I had already worked out that you don't really care about the actual issue, but that you are fairly anti-religion, and therefore would be willing to tackle any issue where you got to take the anti-religion (or perhaps even more accurately, anti-Christian) point of view. As for me wanting out of this whole thing, I feel like both of us have put forward our point of view on the subject, you haven't made me change my opinion and I doubt I've changed yours, and I don't want to just keep going back and forth over the same thing again and again. As for David, nothing is going to change his mind either. For someone who takes a very anti religion point of view, he comes across as very sanctimonious and self righteous, something which Christians are normally accused of. You guys might enjoy the debate, but I care about the actual issue. For a country that is not very Christian any more, everyone seems to be out in the shops at the moment preparing for Christmas, and in the commercialisation of the season, the true meaning of Christmas has been lost. Everyone wants to pick the good parts of religion, that are fun or loving but doesn't want to actually believe where it comes from, or make the sacrifices and live their lives the way that Jesus taught us to. Christmas only exists because the Son of God was born in a stable, to live among men, and show them how to live a holy life, in a right relationship with God. Easter only exists because the Son of God died on a cross for our sins, so that we could be forgiven and return to God's grace. Now though, Christmas is all about Santa and presents. Easter is all about bunnies and chocolate eggs. And now those of you with no faith want to do exactly the same thing to marriage. And when those of us who believe in the true meaning of what a marriage is, and why God gave us this instution, take a stance for that faith, and speak out about what we believe to be right, we get called anti-discriminatory, and compared to Nazi's. And no Winston, I'm not saying that you personally said that, but that other people do. Our Christian faith, and the laws that go with that, are what make us the people that we are, and I don't see why we should just roll over and say "Go ahead, take everything that seems fun to you from our religion, and through out the rest. We don't mind." 1 December at 22:15 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, this thread is well over 100 posts. That's an achievement in itself. You can start a thread, but trying to control it over that many posts is pointless and if I might say not really in the spirit of posting. It's like herding cats - you can push a post in the general direction you'd like to see it go, but beyond that it's pretty much out of your hands. As for over extending my reach, I'll do it with pleasure. Building straw men, sure. This is not a spectator sport. It's up to you to call me on it if I do, and not me to be cautious lest I do. And as for ad hominems, I haven't even come close. I've spoken derogatorily about no one by name. You can't make an ad hominem attack against a group. So if I'm misinformed about some group or something, then inform me. Crying about my post being "ignorant, inflammatory, and disrespectful" without any explanation as to why is just sinking to the same level you think I'm at. Which I'm not at BTW. Let's look at what I said about transgenders, I most specifically connected it to marriage and not friendships. If my "guess" is incorrect that Christians wouldn't be accepting of a married couple where one is transgender, then how about telling me that with some evidence. You boldly state I'm "simply wrong" but back that up with some generalized statement about churches with open arms. I'm less than convinced by your claim, and haven't been persuaded one iota that I'm "simply wrong". Same with divorce. What is the divorce rate in Australia? Two-thirds or there about? In Australia alone there must be several million divorcees. That's a pretty huge portion of the adult population to pussyfoot around when the topic is marriage. Sure, my writing was strident, but rather than taking the opportunity to correct me, that the church's stance isn't hypocritical and that it hasn't shifted position on divorce through the ages, you made it into some kind of personal attack on you. I'm sorry that you happen to be in the majority in this instance, but that doesn't mean I'm writing about you or any one else in particular that makes up that enormous group. I'm happy to pulled up on my mistakes. I'd love to be shown the evidence for a church which welcomes marriage for transgender couples, and have it explained how the church hasn't shifted its position on divorce over time. Just because I think the church is a hypocritical, anachronistic and I'll add superstition-driven institution doesn't mean I wouldn't like to be proven wrong. And no, that last sentence isn't ad hominem. It's just a strongly worded opinion. 1 December at 23:55 · Like.

Winston Inabox Kylie, I stand corrected on my saying you said I have a boring life. My mistake. 2 December at 00:06 · Like.

Kylie Jensen Parigi You're also mistaken about the divorce rate in Australia. I believe it's about half. But you never know, there may have been a rush on them recently. Also different churches have different views on divorce, for example the Catholic church doesn't recognise it. But all churches are certainly against it, the just accept that as humans none of us are perfect and some mistakes are bigger than others with proportionately bigger consequences. 2 December at 00:13 · Like.

David Astley Kylie is correct when she says nothing will change my mind. Gays must be allowed to marry- marriage is part of Australian society and exclusion based on sexual preference is discrimination. I'm very much against discrimination, and the more subtle and insidious the justifications for it, the more I wish to point out that there are no justifications for discrimination, at all, ever. And Christianity will continue to gather a bad name while there are those that use Christianity to justify discrimination. Kylie is right when she says people don't want to make sacrifices and live as Jesus taught. Jesus taught humilty, service, love, acceptance and sacrifice, and not just to those we like. The one time Jesus got angry was when the temple was filled with moneychangers and merchants. These he threw out of the temple. Into the temple he welcomed the blind, the lame: those who were discriminated against. Sadly, the churches who accept and support gays get nowhere near as much press as the churches that don't. 2 December at 01:47 · Like.

Nathanael Small ‎Winston Inabox - I'm not trying to control the posts, just asking people to stay on point. Skating across the surface of so many different issues in this medium of communication, where it's asynchronous and only words on a screen without tone of voice or body language means that only 7% of the real message is communicated. The online context leaves what is posted highly open to misinterpretation and inevitably results in long strings like this where the point shifts so frequently it doesn't resemble an adult conversation at all, regardless of how intelligent and articulate the posters are. Instead it quickly becomes dominated by whoever can type the fastest and has the most time on their hands. Much easier than real face-face conversation where you're having to process a lot more data to understand what is really being said and respond accordingly. I was hoping for more than 7 people contributing to this string, but I wonder whether a quick skim of the first 20-30 posts would have caused many people to opt out (difficult to prove from silence, but I have several hundred friends and several who I thought would've contributed who didn't). Claiming that it's like herding cats abdicates you of any responsibility to recognise the unique dynamics of written asynchronous communications vs face-face, and adapt accordingly. Do many people do that well? No. Doesn't mean we shouldn't try. If you're comfortable with calling yourself a cat with all the negatives that the metaphor implies (solitary, individualistic, self absorbed, only interacts when they want something, predatory instincts that cause them to play with the food they catch), then that's your choice - and there's an example of an interpretation that can quickly become an ad hominem which can then lead to another red herring post. Slience to points in previous posts doesn't imply consent to the view stated - sometimes it's just that people have lives that exist outside on-line that require their physical attention and trying to keep up with the dynamic requires more effort than it's worth. Making sweeping generalised statements with no reference to back it up (e.g. is the divorce rate in Australia 2/3?) when some quick online searching would lead you to the ABS data puts other people in the position of needing to make the effort to find the specifics that you could easily find yourself. So when you raise so many different points so stridently it becomes exhausting because when combined with the potential for misinterpretation outlined above people just give up. Street corner shouting is a very difficult and tiring way to reach an understanding of another person's point of view. Wearing people down doesn't mean you're right - it just means people reach a point where they run out of energy. Your way of making a point, e.g. "And how just because he is XY and she is XX (cause I'm guessing that a person who has undergone a sex change and has a partner with different bits is still unacceptable to the church) can have as many tries at marriage as they like (How does God feel about divorce? Oh wait, that depends on the era one is living in.)" uses unhelpful debating tactics - "I'm guessing" = a personal, subjective opinion with no research to back it up. "Just because...can have as many tries at marriage as they like" implies to me that the majority of heterosexuals view marriage as an easily disposable commodity because they have the legal right to be. It's hard not to interpret that from a personal perspective when I and many others have been through the pain and trauma of divorce. And your last sentence I've quoted states a strident opinion with no reference given that backs that up. Hard not to view that as inflammatory. Although you can't ad hominem a group you sure can caricature their position in ways that appear derogatory and disrespectful. To try and outline a succinct theology of divorce and remarriage in response to a statement like that makes it incredibly hard work if all you do in response is pick out select points that are made and then apply the same tactic. My personal view on divorce and remarriage was shaped by over a year of counselling to try and deal with the grief of a failed marriage, lots of reading, talking with others and wrestling with the implications of the four major positions that Christians can hold that could practically be lived out. 2 December at 03:48 · Like. Nathanael Small Phew, got that one posted. In conclusion, here's the thing. What would it take for you to accept that a position you hold is wrong? How much 'evidence' and what type? David Astley challenged the different types of truth. Winston Inabox and I have previously discussed scientific and historical knowledge. Here's an article that I think neatly sums up the dilemma:​opinion/​society-and-culture/​art-of-persuasion-not-so-si​mple-20110708-1h6m9.html Art of persuasion not so simple Art of persuasion not so simple.. 2 December at 03:52 · Like.

Nathanael Small Or this, cited from the guardian on Dawkins' website:​articles/​3502-matthew-parris-as-an-a​theist-i-truly-believe-afr​ica-needs-god What's even more interesting is to read the tone of the posts that follow in the context of John Dickson's SMH article. Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God - Times Online - By TIMES ONLINE Added: Thu, 08 Jan 2009 00:00:00 UTC.. 2 December at 04:03 · Like.

Nathanael Small Sorry, cited from The Times, not the Guardian. There's some recent work I've come across in 'meme surfing' that I'm still getting my head around which may provide a good context for a separate discussion. But Winston Inabox, I'm basically asking that in future you look at how others try to post - specifically David Astley and Paul Aitkenhead in this string - and seek to emulate the style & tone whilst staying on point and not pursuing sub-topics that digress away from the main one proposed. I suspect a lot more people might have contributed if that were the case. It is possible to passionately hold to a point of view without being strident, inflammatory or denigrating. I need to apply my energies to other things over the weekend, so forgive me if I don't post back for a few days. Hope everyone has a good weekend. 2 December at 04:09 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, I'm sorry that my style of writing doesn't suit your sensibilities, but you don't own this conversation. You don't even own this space which it's being hosted on. You're the person who started it and that's it. If someone can't post because their too busy then unfortunately that's their position. If no one is interested in challenging what I've said, thinks what I've said is stupid, or anything else they can not reply and the conversation will die a natural death. As it it we've got a very vigorous debate about a hot topic. We aren't scoring points for a team or even changing minds here. This isn't a contest where the most vocal person wins. It's a sharing of ideas and opinions by adults in an adult forum. And BTW this is the second time you've dragged the subject of divorce back to your own experience. If you're going to do that then please stop complaining that's it's me whose somehow causing you to do that. I never mentioned anyone by name, why do you keep doing so then telling me to be more circumspect with my comments! You're right about David's posts. I never knew he had such a wonderful way with words. And a very nice post about and link refuting the opinion that gay marriages are going to be the doom of society. I await how reading it alters your thinking. 2 December at 07:06 · Like.

Winston Inabox And I see Kylie says the divorce rate is about 50%. Thanks for that. It doesn't alter my claim at all, that there are a huge number of divorcees. So long as comments about divorcees, the church and gay marriage remain non-personal, which they have by everybody except one, then I believe it's a fair topic for debate. 2 December at 07:15 · Like.

Winston Inabox The Art of Persuasion was a nice read. But methinks you're confused about at my reasons for posting here. As I said above I'm not scoring points, nor trying to change minds. The Christian god says that discrimination against gay marriage is OK. There's no fact that I can bring that's going to cause a Christian to alter their opinion. It's God! If I were trying to persuade, which I'm not, I'd say the best I could do is get an admission that that opinion is discriminatory, but as it's OKed by God then that's OK by man. But I'm not trying to persuade. I'm trying to debate. 2 December at 08:47 · Like.

Paul Aitkenhead Do discriminate against somebody because of their sexual persuasion is as bad as discriminating against somebody because of their race. I'd hope that we are all outraged by the following:​world/2011/dec/01/​kentucky-church-bans-interr​acial-couples "I am not racist. I will tell you that. I am not prejudiced against any race of people, have never in my lifetime spoke evil about a race" - but interracial couples aren't allowed into their "tent". Has a familiar ring to the "I'm not against gay people, but I can't ignore the fact the bible tells me they are committing a sinful act against 'his' word so I'm sure as hell not letting them into my tent" defence of marriage as exclusively a christian, heterosexual concept. If marriage isn't exclusively a christian concept, then making the bible the authority on what should or shouldn't be allowed seems completely wrong. And without the bible's "man shall leave his mother" trump card in play, what other real world reason is there to stand in the way of gay marriage? But I hear the cries ... "think of the children!!". I think David addressed that very nicely. So what's the grave risk that remains? Real world risk? Not just "the bible says so" argument. Or is it that there isn't any great risk, but that certain groups want to claim ownership of the "tent", and only let in people that are members of their club? I guess there are a few disappointed interracial couples in Kentucky wondering why they are no longer welcome. 2 December at 09:21 · Like.

Paul Aitkenhead ‎^^^^ warning - possible straw man argument above. 2 December at 09:22 · Like.

Winston Inabox An interesting read... http://​www.australianmarriageequal​​AME-MarriageNotCivilUnions.​pdf 2 December at 11:02 · Like.

David Astley Thanks all for your comments on my posts. I have read a similar article to the Art of Persuasion several months ago and I try to be more aware of my behaviour and beliefs. I am non-negotiable on discrimination because we all do it, whether we mean to or not. I was raised a white, straight, male in a first world, English speaking country. There are few in this world as privileged as I. My cultural behaviour is always 'correct' and I examine it all too infrequently. In fact, my culture has trained me to be racist, ageist, sexist, homophobic and to disparage the beliefs of others. We automatically believe that if their ways are not our ways, they must be inferior. Overtly, we know these behaviours to be wrong. Covertly, they are still with us and will probably stay for centuries. Thankfully, we can change our behaviour, but it is hard work that requires painful examination of every assumption we make, including the knowledge that we are making assumptions. There is a similar debate to ours on the abc comments at​unleashed/3708792.html I found the article itself of little worth, but the following comments contained much debate similar to ours, but also including multiple Christian viewpoints. Perhaps for non-religious debates, the Christians should argue with Christians and the athiests with athiests. But I suspect if this were always the case, the world would be poorer for it. Thanks. :-D avid Same-sex marriage: the last word Today's ALP national conference will speak of many things but few more controver...See more.. 3 December at 09:05 · Like · 1.

Nathanael Small http://​​f-news/1082190/posts try this one, from a US secular financial economist. David, he doesn't cite any longitudinal studies, but at least presents a discriminating position that fits the second dictionary definition I posited much earlier. Would welcome yours, Paul's and Winston's thoughtful response to the points he makes. 3 December at 10:34 · Like.

Marco Parigi Marriage is a strange institution vis a vis slavery and race discrimination. A marriage appears to be more similar to the sanctioning of mutual bonds of slavery, entered easily, but by design, harder to exit, than it is the freedom from slavery. And when you think about it, men are women are close to different species. It is like we accept a bond with someone that is more different in form and function than someone of another race. If there was a contract that allowed the obliging of one to perform work for the other with no pay, and the other had to be of the opposite race, we wouldn't be trying to expand the freedom of whom people could have this contract with, we would unequivocally be banning this type of contract. 3 December at 11:50 · Like.

Marco Parigi States have inherited (from the churches) the legal structures underpinning marriage, just as they had in previous times inherited other moral laws based on the ten commandments etcetera. Even the concept of discrimination itself has biblical origins. The reason is because those structures work. We might end up deciding, like we did with slavery, that marriage should be banned wholesale, because the vows are arbitrary and unenforceable, and the contract does not preclude slavery or sexual discrimination within the private confines. Just because a contract is entered into willingly, does not make it fair. 3 December at 12:19 · Like.

David Astley​N6/saffordlet.6c.html The Economic and Social Case for Homosexual Marriage - The Tech An article from the Friday, February 20, 2004 issue of The Tech - MIT's oldest a...See more.. 3 December at 16:36 · Like · 2. Winston Inabox Nathanael, that article is woeful. Check out the premise "In a sense, a married couple receives a subsidy. Why? Because a marriage between to [sic.] unrelated heterosexuals is likely to result in a family with children, and propagation of society is a compelling state interest. For this reason, states have, in varying degrees, restricted from marriage couples unlikely to produce children." If you think there is anything worth talking about despite his whole case resting on this opinion presented as fact, then I'm prepared to further mutilate it. Otherwise all I can say is it is embarrassing and not at all "the" atheist perspective. 4 December at 00:19 · Like.

Winston Inabox Oh wait. I should have just read David's link. Someone else has already done it or me. The first article is so bad I suspect Adam Kolasinski wrote it as a parody of articles that argue for discrimination. If that is indeed the case then it is quite clever. 4 December at 00:27 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, as for the article on the Dawkins' website, commentator #8 says it best: That Parris is the writer of such (no doubt unintentionally) racist, condescending, arrogant and dangerous rubbish is a huge surprise to me, as in the past I have been an admirer of his work. In one fell swoop he denigrates an entire nation by confining its inhabitants to an ignorant, superstitious little box, from which he asserts that they cannot emerge but by further inebriation from ignorant, superstitious Christianity, and denies them all collectively and despicably any right to be educated in the principles of some of the greatest secular and faith-free minds who have ever set pen to paper, and which principles are the only conceivable mechanisms which the peoples of Africa have deserved for so long and now need more than ever before. With apparently the best of intentions, he would impose on an entire country a stultifyingly superstitious and progress-sapping creed which he himself has now dismissed as man-made nonsense. When superstitious supernaturalism is the problem, the solution can never be to add more of the stuff into the mix, by whatever name he chooses to call it. I am truly appalled by this article. Best, Styrer 4 December at 00:53 · Like.

Nathanael Small To work back in reverse order: Winston Inabox, commentator #8 is perhaps the best example of the worst of the atheists' responses that I frequently see when someone in the atheist camp has been on the ground, up close & personal over a long period of time and are an eyewitness to the activity of faith based aid & development organisations as well as secular ones with people of faith, many of their strongly held negative pre-suppositions about Christianity are challenged at the core. I would correct one point of commentator #8 - by their standard, Parrish hasn't denigrated one country, but an entire continent ;-). But #8 over-reaches their grasp. Nowhere is Parrish denying "any right to be educated in the principles of some of the greatest secular and faith-free minds who have ever set pen to paper". If proponents of the greatest secular & faith free minds want to promote their good news and supplant what they believe is the superstitious supernaturalism of Christianity and it's "progress sapping creed", no-one's stopping them. Parrish merely pointing out that based on years of direct first-hand observation, those who are living out of a Christian world-view in an aid & development context are having a profound and positive transformational effect in African nations that is accelerating its progress. Which begs the point: if Steyer (and yourself by direct admitted association) are indeed truly appalled by Parrish's conclusions, then why aren't you on the first plane over to Africa offering to educate the people out of such ignorance and into an even more enlightened path? Where are the atheistic army of truth denouncing this inebriating superstitiousness and offering their avowedly superior alternative? 4 December at 07:01 · Unlike · 1.

Nathanael Small Bro, you've also said you're "happy to be corrected." However, you've also said you're not posting to persuade or be persuaded, you're here to debate. That appears to be very difficult place to maintain a discussion in - if you are proven wrong about something (and I'm not sure what proof that would take), then would that not by inference persuade you to consider that the "right" point, no matter how apparently intellectually unpalatable, is the one to accept with all its implications? I provide you with proof in the form of first hand perspective from a committed atheist, and it's ignored and rebutted with another's ad hominem. Outside of Africa, I could go to England and the work of the people who became known as the Clapham Sect. They pursued causes such as the abolition of the slave trade and did so even though it was opposed by the Government and Church authorities of the day. Members included William Booth who founded the Salvation Army; John Newton; William Wilberforce; Robert Raikes (Schools); Elizabeth Fry; George Williams YMCA; Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. Between them, they founded 75% of the 500 British charitable institutions formed during the 19th century. Five of them were elected to Parliament. Together they pursued reform, tackled the debtors' prisons releasing 14000 prisoners and rallied public support for public education, housing the poor, help for the disabled and stopping child labour. The text that taught them this was right and inspired their activity was the King James Bible, now celebrating its 400th anniversary. Even Dawkins acknowledges its influence (and I agree with his comments on religion): http://​​/news/2010/02/19/​richard-dawkins-lends-his-s​upport-to-the-king-james-b​ible-trust Richard Dawkins lends his support to The King James Bible Trust : News : King James Bible Trust www.kingjamesbibletrust.or​g Oxford scholar and author Richard Dawkins has contributed a reading of a chapter from the Song of Solomon to the King James Bible Trust's YouTube Bible project. Or I could cite Australian stats: our formation since European settlement has greatly benefited from faith based agencies in social welfare, humanitarian aid, hospitals & schools. Today, 80% of humanitarian aid and social services to needy and disadvantaged Australians come from faith based agencies, and these agencies started by Christians with a faith inspired motivation driven by relationship, not religion. They had power, and they sought to give others access to the same rights because of their faith based convictions. But none of that makes any difference if when proven wrong you don't follow acknowledgement of error through to the logical conclusion of being open to changing your mind What I've consistently sought to put forward is that it is possible discriminate (i.e. recognises the difference, the positive meaning of the word) that heterosexual marriage and homosexual civil union can be named differently but treated equally in the eyes of the law (i.e. compassionate and just) and not discriminate negatively on the basis of: 1. Biological gender difference; 2. The ability to create children within that difference (whether acted on or not for whatever reason); and 3. The provision of mothering and fathering in those roles All of the legal issues and examples raised by both the MIT article and the Australians for marriage equality can be addressed by better legislation and processes within the system to set a framework that will allow for the elimination of negative discrimination over time, as it has currently been moving for the last two-three decades. 'Making marriage equal' won't end negative discrimination in the same way that forcing minimum gender at levels of leadership within political parties and company boards will create equity between men & women in those realms. Merit based performance or leading by example will continue to prove that different but equal in the eyes of the law based on gender is both workable and non-negatively discriminatory. You can hold that position without needing a Christian faith framework - but it also happen to align with one as well. But all of this "debate" is empty words unless participants leave their posting boxes and actually engage with the world outside the screen to allow their 'facts' to make contact with the realities. I'd be interested to hear how your proofs stack up when removed from the ivory intellectual tower and actually go a be amongst the people who are seeking to live out positively discriminating, just & compassionate lives. Peace out - need to head off to hang out with a group of just such people. Richard Dawkins lends his support to The King James Bible Trust : News : King James Bible Trust Oxford scholar and author Richard Dawkins has contributed a reading of a chapter...See more.. 4 December at 08:24 · Unlike · 1.

Winston Inabox I have never said that Christians don't do good works. They do. I have said that their motivations for such works are based on superstition and the supernatural. They are. Those beliefs should be challenged. I do. Also sadly now it's coming to light how those beliefs cause some who are professing to be aiding others to actually withhold that aid because the people that they are professing to help don't hold the same beliefs. You've proven me wrong in nothing if you're just going to build straw men then bash them down. Kylie, take a look at Nathanael's post for some wonderful examples. The reason why Christian charitable organizations are the biggest and most prevalent have little to do with being right, and everything to do with the way Christian dogma controlled society for most of the last two thousand years and abused that power to stop other ways of thinking. Also it's only fairly recently that the body of scientific knowledge has got to the point and to the level of dissemination and where it can cohesively challenge Christianity's beliefs. Imagine trying to start a charitable organization that actively labelled itself as atheistic when the Clapham Sect was active. No, the playing field for religious-based and non-religious-based charitable organizations has only been leveling in recent years. You've obviously read the article I posted but disagree with it. You think that having separate legislation that is exactly like marriage in every way except the word marriage is crossed out and the words civil union written in solves the problem. To me this highlights the discrimination. Basically you want ownership of the word marriage, though I can't work out why Christians feel that they own it to begin with. Marriage isn't solely Christian-based. It is found among different peoples. It is a manmade ritual, so we may define it as we wish. Allowing gay marriages in no way stops Christians from having Christian weddings, just as teaching the scientific method in schools doesn't stop Christians from believing in the supernatural. I understand that you want to discriminate (recognize the differences) between heterosexual unions and gay unions. But the government must try not to discriminate (treat one group different from another), either positively or negatively. Separate legislation is still treating others differently. It's saying that they are just like us, but they're not, so let's highlight that. And debate may well be empty words, but rightness isn't determined by who is most active in the real world. If I were typing this as quadriplegic blowing on a tube to activate a keyboard, or a patient suffering a mental illness and so because I'm unable to leave my ivory tower my opinion is considered less correct I'd be pretty pretty offended by reading that. But I'm not, so I'll just simply say that you are wrong. I could sit on my sofa playing video games till the day I die and your opinion in this matter would still be condescending and discriminatory. So while you're praying today with those people who seek to live positively discriminating (no comma), just and compassionate lives tell God that Africa doesn't need collection money to help the people of Africa when he could just fix the problem with one of his miracles. He's either an underachiever or a procrastinator. Or he's just not there. 4 December at 09:26 · Like.

Nathanael Small Re Africa - or maybe God chooses to work through people who whether they believe in his existence or not choose to act in ways that reflect his values. We've got more than enough resources in the world to help Africa without miraculous intervention, so perhaps the problem doesn't lie with God. 4 December at 10:38 · Like.

Nathanael Small ‎"If I were...I'd be offended." to suggest that quadriplegics and the mentally ill aren't capable of acting and engaging might be construed as more offensive. I've seen people with both conditions do just that. My point was that to tear someone's clearly significant and real-world experience over many years down on purely a philosophical / intellectual basis without having sought to test / validate their experience by getting out there when you're more than capable of doing so is on some level abdicating responsibility to investigate whether what's claimed has validity. Agreed, rightness is not made certain by activity - but experience counts when weighing up how much the words & actions of someone is relied upon. I'd trust a neurosurgeon over a self-proclaimed faith healer on advice regarding whether to operate or not - so why should I value the rebuttal of someone who's not demonstrated any interest to observe first-hand? Supernaturalism (depending on how you define the term) is something I'll happily acknowledge as part of the Christian worldview - superstition has all sorts of connotations but I suspect we'll agree to disagree there. On 'church' history and the track record - at an institutional Catholic level from 3rd Century when Constantine took over and made church as empire I'd agree, to the start of the Reformation I'd agree - but since then, it's been theists & atheists alike who've led the charge to slowly decentralise the power base (something I'm all in favour of) 4 December at 11:37 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, thank you for pulling me up on my badly worded examples. I'll amend it to say that all manner of people may have all manner of reasons why the don't take an active part in the world beyond the debate they are engaged in. That they choose to do that for whatever reason doesn't make their opinion any less than someone who does in the nature of a debate when the amount of experience matters not to the debate. I'm not gay and so have had little experience what it is like to live in a society which marginalizes one because of one's sexual preferences, but on an intellectual level I can see the discrimination. Likewise I've never lived in Africa so I've no experience about what it's like there, but on an intellectual level when someone says that God is changing their lives for the better I can see that while African's lives may indeed be being improved, to give the credit to God is a leap. What I do believe is that motivated people achieve a lot, even if the basis for their motivation isn't real. Christians are motivated by their faith and Tom Cruise is motivated by Scientology. I think that both these belief systems are based on little real world evidence, but I can't deny that they both motivate people to achieve a lot. But as I also said there are plenty of examples where these motivated people then dole out aid dependent on the people they are helping subscribing to their world view. Just the other day I think it was David who posted an article showing that the Salvation Army has had a long history of discrimination against gays when giving out aid. Even actively pursuing legislation against them. Mother Theresa has controversy about choosing who to aid and following best practices that clash with her Christian world view. I show these examples not to slam all religious-based aid - as I said Christian aid is doing a lot of good - but to show that aid is done by people, and everyone carries their own prejudices with them even though they may have the best of intentions. You ask why you should value the rebuttal of some who's not demonstrated a desire to experience these things first hand. Well for one this is an intellectual debate about discrimination. The elimination of discrimination is not only done by doing ones part, but also by understanding what discrimination is. I have, as has David although he's done it much more eloquently, tried to show that discrimination is still discrimination even if a god says it's ok. Christian beliefs, although they may sometimes intersect with humanist beliefs in points such as murder being wrong, shouldn't hold sway over secular government policy. I counter that why should I believe in the power of prayer when people have been praying for aid for Africa since missionaries first started going there, but change only happens when people get on the ground and make a difference. Africans would starve in ever greater numbers if all the Christian organizations over there doing good decided to give up making a human effort and instead rely on the power of prayer to save them. It's said that God helps those who help themselves. Well I think that that is half right, but not the God part. And should you believe me? No. You should weigh the evidence against the real world and make your own conclusions. What I argue mostly with Christians is the way to weigh evidence to form an opinion, because mostly they do it so badly. They take fact as opinion, they fail to check experience with the real world, they fail to apply basic tests of credibility to evidence, and they fail to understand how science is based on observation, experimentation, reproducibility, modification and peer review.Whenever these are applied to the claims of religionists those claims constantly fail. But then they are quite happy to use the same methods to claim someone else's religious beliefs are without basis. They are blinkered to their own hypocrisy. As has been said before the only difference between Christians and atheists is that atheists believe in one less god than Christians do. How Christians come the conclusion that all other gods are not real but theirs is, is what I debate. 4 December at 12:56 · Like.

Marco Parigi Sorry Winston, but I didn't see the straw man in your brothers argument, and I am not blinkered by a belief in the supernatural because as you know, I don't. As an outside observer on the previous several posts, the argument is polite, but as with Kylie's and my arguments aired on FB, they are tinged with domestic familial argument. As for the issue itself, it has moved into atheist vs Christian territory, which is not what this is all about. Even that has the potential to influence me at least. I will say about Africa, the most successful and influential country there is SouthAfrica. Why? My belief is that it is so because it was kept segregated until enough infrastructure and institutions became entrenched before it transitioned to fully inclusive democratic society. Religion had little to do with it, but long term discrimination was an important reason why it was so. Tribal warlord ism is the natural state of affairs in Africa, and works to break nation states apart. I do believe that organized religion is part of the solution rather than being part of the problem, in general. To me that includes organized atheist groups, as I consider it to be a religion. 4 December at 17:53 · Like.

Marco Parigi Oh. And no mention was made of my previous posts regarding slavery and discrimination as being "made possible" within marriage as an actual feature of what marriage is. Does this make it essentially an unfair contract and thus should be banned altogether? 4 December at 17:59 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco, the straw man is the claim I have said Christains don't do good works. I never claimed this. Well perhaps god does let hundreds of people starve everyday despite having the power to do something about it as a lesson to teach humankind some higher purpose. As with the long ago mentioned first born of Egypt he was willing to slaughter them in order to break the pharaoh's will. Not lifting a finger to aid those starving in Africa is a step down from that, really. And if his level of effort truly is he "works through people who... reflect his values" well it's not hard to see why people such as myself get confused about there being a god or not. Seems that level of commitment could be easily misread as people having to help themselves. But it's Christians who believe in an interventionist god, so they are the ones who have to come up with an explanation as to why terrible things happen though god has the power to right them. Now about discrimination and gay marriage. Is it the case as I outlined above? Do Christians really just want ownership of the word marriage? Because if civil unions are elevated by law to be exactly the same as marriage then the only difference as far as they are concerned (but not the gay community or myself) is the word. 4 December at 18:53 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco, sorry there was no reply, but I assumed you were joking. Would we ban such a contract. Absolutely. Is this even remotely close to marriage. Not at all. 4 December at 18:57 · Like.

Marco Parigi Well, if a potential employee of a day care centre willingly signed a contract that paid her one cent less than the award, that would be against the law. If someone, for reasons valid or not, signed a contract that involved them changing nappies etc at said day care centre, but the details about it would be private between the people concerned. This would also be illegal. However, within marriages, all sorts of unpaid work happens, with varying amounts of coercion involved. If polygamy was allowed, I am sure plenty of employers would marry all their employees to get the unions off their back. In divorce proceedings, unpaid work is barely a side note compared to the breaking of trust with other misdemeanors. 4 December at 20:10 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco, do you now see the straw man? Slavery is so much more than unpaid work. Slaves can be bought and sold. Children can be born into slavery. Slaves have no rights to own property, no chance of social or economic mobility, freedom of travel and very few legal rights and protections. As I said, nothing like marriage 4 December at 21:03 · Like.

Marco Parigi No. Not really. Nathanael wasn't implying that you were and I didn't perceive it that way. For the most part, he was addressing the issues that he found important from the links you and he supplied. A contract that allows for unpaid work is still illegal right? Modern slavery comes in many forms, the only common feature being loads of unpaid or underpaid work. The other features are a straw man, and technically, modern slaves have all those rights, and are coerced by various cocktails of debt trap, addiction, physical imprisonment, and sometimes marriage to their captors or an agent. If we thought the bit about underpaid work didn't matter, we would just concentrate on regulating slavery rather than banning it. 4 December at 21:32 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco, "A contract that allows for unpaid work is still illegal right?" You say "modern slavery" but I thought you were referring to slavery in the sense of slavery that is legalized by the state, which would be why you think my points not relevant. So in fact you're trying to make some connection between unpaid work in sweatshops and unpaid work in marriage. If a marriage dissolves the spouse would have a claim on the entire wealth of the couple, something a sweatshop worker has no claim to on being fired. Prenuptial agreements could leave one out in the cold though. As for unpaid work in a legal contract. Not nice, but welcome to working in Japan. I've known more than a couple of salarymen that work many extra hours of unpaid overtime. Twenty extra hours a week would be just the beginning over here. I think more than half the teachers I work with would do that. 5 December at 18:37 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, "I provide you with proof in the form of first hand perspective from a committed atheist, and it's ignored and rebutted with another's ad hominem. " Both ignored AND rebutted - quite a feat, even for me. No Nathanael you didn't provide proof. Remember my complaint about how Christians confuse opinion for fact? Here's an example. What you linked to was one man's opinion. Now his opinion might have the weight of experience behind it, but it is opinion nonetheless, and most certainly not proof. But what are you trying to prove anyway? Christians do good works? I never claimed they didn't. Dawkins supporting the Kings James Bible Trust... What's your point? The KJB is a great work of literature so I'm sure Dawkins supports it. I think he enjoys church music as well, but that doesn't mean he believes the Creed. So please lay it out for me. What have you proven me wrong in? 5 December at 18:50 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, to illustrate my point about facts vs. opinion here is a link to another group of missionaries in Africa. Are the claims in this article fact or opinion? http://​​press-releases/​dedication-johannesburg-exp​ansion.html Maybe just reading the URL is enough for you to make up your mind. Church of Scientology of Johannesburg Dedicates New Three-Story Wing to Greatly Expand Service to th 5 December at 19:02 · Like.

Marco Parigi I think it's quite unfair to compare something that is unpopular now (legalised state slavery) with something that is popular now, at least in Qld (legalised discrimination against gay marriages), and say it is fair to dispense with it even though it is popular. Legalised state slavery was most evident in the Americas, and wasn't the American civil war fought because some states had majorities still in favour of slavery while the others weren't? Australia had convict labor to build our infrastructure of every major city in Australia. It was our version of slavery, and had a much better result in winding it down. It still exists to some extent. In Townsville itself, Kanaks were imported for labor by Mr Towns himself, and because they were paid less than official employees, they were considered outside the law, but a blind eye was given to it. The current conflagration on gay marriage has the tension of some states being majority in favour, others not. Civil war should not ensue, but people are very passionate, so Labor is treading gently, it seems. 5 December at 21:10 · Like.

Marco Parigi I would like, as a non sequitur, to add my personal impressions on my decision to marry. My father, as an atheist, also stopped believing in the institution of marriage. He could see the need for "the piece of paper" with the way Italian inheritance laws went, but felt both that it was inextricably linked with religious ideals, and made it harder and more painful if the relationship fails in the long term. As far as my personal feelings on the matter, I felt that there was some merit in the institution in general, but specifically, it works at a psychological level rather than the legal one. The thought of what other peoples experiences were with marriage was quite important, especially from my partners family. The trend towards civil ceremonies, and other trends, even though they are not what we chose, I felt diluted the institution, making it a tougher ask to put my all into the ceremony. What other people choose shouldn't affect how we perceive the institution but it does. 5 December at 21:30 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco, one more time. I never compared gay marriage to slavery. Never. I used legalized slavery as a point against the government doing the will of the people. 5 December at 22:47 · Like.

Nathanael Small Need to focus on other areas for a while, so will be off long FB posts. The question of proof goes to the heart of epistemology - how we know. Without agreement that there are different types of knowing that offer truth (scientific, historical, eyewitness account), then we're going to waste a lot of keyboards and create a lot of finger calluses but never reach consensus. In an extensive set of posts about the police and Occupy movements, David Astley relied on eyewitness accounts to prove his points. We all rely on evidence outside of empirical scientific evidence to provide information that informs and influences decisions about how we live our lives. These can and do co-exist. I don't want to open up another whole line of debate on this within this post, as it takes us down another path. To conclude, my perspective has been made known. In the specific instance of the Australian Marriage Act and its state equivalents, I'm comfortable with everyone expressing their opinion, the Government making a decision, legislation being updated and everyone getting on with their lives seeking to live equally in whatever exclusive relationship arrangements are approved by law. 6 December at 04:19 · Like.

Marco Parigi And my counterpoint, when I got to it was that the only time the government fought the will of the people with slavery, it led to civil war. A good enough reason not to fight the will of the people, even with slavery. Convince them first, like in South Africa. 6 December at 07:16 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, I'm happy to debate you on truth anytime. Eyewitness accounts are observations. Observations are not truths, but they are needed to determine facts. Until you recognize that observing something, say the power of Christianity to change lives, doesn't at all substantiate the claims that Christianity makes, then you'll continue to make groundless claims. 6 December at 08:34 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco, I agree that convincing is the best way. Hopefully in these times when technology allows easier communication between people that ideas might be shared more and prejudices and misconceptions challenged. At far as this debate is concerned I agree with Nathanael that we've gone as far as we can go. Thanks for the time well spent and I look forward to out next topic. I just wish Dr. Clam was about. He's great. 6 December at 10:15 · Like.

Marco Parigi I am a little concerned about how the Aus states are at odds with each other, and have contrasting responsibilities to the federal gov. Qld doesn't even allow civil unions at this stage. The license(permission to marry) is covered by State legislation, while marriage legislation is enforced federally. This is a bit of a minefield, as for the foreseeable future, gay couples will be battling between jurisdictions, to get something as close as possible to the marriage contract they have in mind. 6 December at 22:33 · Like.

Marco Parigi As far as my views are, I think this one is intractable. It may take decades for say Qld to become "progressive" to the point of being accepting, and it is by no means assured. 6 December at 23:24 · Like.

Marco Parigi We didn't make it to 200 comments. Thats just wrong. Yesterday at 07:07 · Like.