24 July 2006

Married to newer ideas

I was surprised by this WikiNews stub documenting — amongst other things — the House of Representatives affirming support for heterosexual marriage.

The pollies in question blundered around the bush a fair bit, called on existing precedents and so forth, but apparently failed to ask a crucial question: “What is marriage for?”

With that one question answered clearly, the nature of legislation surrounding it becomes much simpler.

This appears to my odd little mind to be related to a question generally not being asked about the software we use: “What is it for?”

Once that answer is clear, decisions about what to buy (if anything) & where are also much clearer, because we would better know what effects were important to consider, each way.

Without that main/core answer in hand, the reasoning goes all wonky, becoming much more prone to backyard deals & hidden agendas. This applies to almost anything, not just families or software.

I suspect that the pollies dodged the core question here because many of them were either truly unaware of most of the background involved (either way), or were terrified of the consequences lurking behind any forthrightness they might indulge in.

It’s interesting to see our pollies discussing the other side of this issue (the less-trendy side), but I’d be much heartened if there were core reasoning about the motivation behind change (or for maintaining existing rules) also presented.

Here, I see pollies basically voting (one way or another) for their favourite team but without really exploring that most fundamental of questions: “Why?”

With a clearly spelled-out motivation laid out, an answer which, er, satisfies more sides of the question is more likely, as is one which is structured to allow sensible modification without carelessly ploughing up a participant’s position.

How say you?


Major said...

The rational conclusion of your argument would be that two people should be allowed to get married if and only if their situation is consistent with their idea of what marriage is for.

Unfortunately I suspect that what you in fact mean is the two people should be allowed to get married if and only if their situation is consistent with your idea of what marriage is for (no doubt backed up by your interpretation of the good book).

Leon Brooks said...

major: thanks for your intelligent (as always) comments.

Since we're talking about laws here, not lone individuals' preferences for laws, the laws which resulted would feature provision for what the lawmakers saw as being situations consistent with their own ideas of what marriage is for.

This is what we elect lawmakers for, in principle.

However, we apparently don't even get that, yet, just a random (and changing) assortment of apparently discontinuous opinions.

Major said...

In a democracy the lawmakers should be making marriage laws which are consistent with (what they think is) their voters idea of the purpose of marriage.

Hmmm. that might actually make "a random (and changing) assortment of apparently discontinuous opinions" the correct answer.

PS: can you come up with a purpose for marriage which is consistent with our current marriage laws?