Debate Magazine

“When I Use A Word, It Means Just What I Choose It To Mean – Neither More Nor Less”.

Posted on the 28 June 2013 by Eowyn @DrEowyn

Yep, the dog and pony show is not far off.

Published on June 27th, 2013 | by Rob Slane

Published on June 27th, 2013 | by Rob Slane

Humpty Dumpty’s attempt to abolish the 7th commandment 

Occasionally they let their guard slip – the liberals that is. After reassuring everyone with smooth and persuasive words that their proposals will not have all the bad effects that those nasty scaremongering bigots out there keep alleging, every so often they let slip far more of their agenda than they would ordinarily like us to see. These moments are rare, but we should cherish them.

Here is one such instance from the British Parliament last week. Baroness Stowell, a spokeswoman for the British government on equality issues, had the following to say in a debate on same-sex marriage:

“In terms of the law, marriage does not require the fidelity of couples.  It is open to each couple to decide for themselves on the importance of fidelity within their own relationship.”[1]

Well since the law in the UK, as in the US, still recognises infidelity as grounds for divorce, it does (at least in theory) still actually require fidelity within marriage. To deny this is effectively like saying that someone swearing in court to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” is not, in terms of the law, required to tell the truth

As I write this, I happen to be watching a film version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and I can’t get away from the thought that this nonsensical folly is well worthy of some of Lewis Carroll’s more freakish characters:

“I do declare,” opined Humpty Dumpty, “that a legally binding promise can mean many different things, but the one thing it cannot mean is that the promise is binding legally.”

“But how can that be?” said Alice. “Surely if a promise is legally binding, then it must be binding legally. Otherwise words have no meaning.”

“Meaning?” Humpty said in a rather a scornful tone. “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less. And since I choose to mean that a legally binding promise should in no way be binding legally, the meaning is clear, is it not?”

Actually, I’m not sure that even Humpty could have come up with something so blatantly absurd.

The background to Baroness Stowell’s comments is the fact that introducing homosexual marriage causes immense difficulties when it comes to framing the law around the issues of adultery and consummation of marriage. In Britain, the government’s legal experts have apparently tried and failed to come up with a legal definition of what actually constitutes sex between two people of the same gender.

What this means is that if the proposed law is passed, those in same-sex marriages would not be able to divorce for adultery unless – and here is Wonderland logic for you – their spouse had been unfaithful with a member of the opposite sex. Not only this, but the proposals also mean that a heterosexual person would not be able to cite adultery as grounds for divorce if their spouse was unfaithful with a member of the same sex.

So the proposals, as they stand, would create not merely a two-tier marriage system, which would be bad enough, but in fact a four-tier system:

  1. Heterosexual marriage, where adultery can still be cited as grounds for divorce, providing the unfaithfulness is committed with a member of the opposite sex.
  2. Heterosexual marriage, where adultery cannot be cited as grounds for divorce because the unfaithfulness was with someone of the same sex.
  3. Homosexual marriage, where adultery cannot be cited as grounds for divorce because the unfaithfulness was committed with a member of the same sex.
  4. Homosexual marriage, where adultery can be cited as grounds for divorce because the unfaithfulness was committed with a member of the opposite sex.

This is what is technically known as insanity, and the phrase “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” somehow seems to drip off the tongue. Yet the madness wouldn’t end there. Within a few months or years of the proposals becoming law, some human rights vulture would no doubt swoop down to pick at the marriage carcass, arguing that their client – a heterosexual accused of adultery with another heterosexual – is being discriminated against because had their unfaithfulness been with a member of the same sex, they could not have been divorced on grounds of adultery. Before you know it, adultery as a reason for divorce would be scrubbed clean from the statute books.

Which is the whole point of statements like the one made by Baroness Stowell. Unable to come up with a definition of adultery between homosexuals, and realizing the total mess this causes to the legal status of marriage, we are now being softened up for a total purge of the idea of adultery altogether. Irreconcilable differences or some other such reason will still be seen as a reason for divorce, but effectively the 7th commandment will be a complete irrelevance – as far as human laws are concerned, that is.

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