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15.8.07

The Catholic Definition of Fairness

This article, by a bigwig from the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, normally wouldn't be worth commenting on. It's the usual list of specious arguments against same-sex marriage, like "only opposite-sex biological parents can properly raise children," the implicit claim that most people are bisexual (so changing society's level of support for various household arrangements will cause large numbers of people to opt for an opposite-sex relationship rather than a same-sex one or vice-versa), and various slippery slopes. But then I came across this supposed benefit of heterosexuality:

and also for ensuring a fairer distribution of the parenting burden.


Considering that gender inequality is the biggest contributor to unfair distribution of parenting (and other household tasks), the only sense I can make out of this is that it's a version of the "but which one of you is the husband, hurr hurr" argument. I presume in Mr. Meney's mind, a "fair distribution" of parenting duties is not equal burden sharing (as you'd expect after looking at what the dictionary says about "fair"), but rather a deeply gender-skewed assignment of tasks. So a two-woman household wouldn't know who is supposed to do all the diaper-changing because they both have vaginas.

The article also claims that opposite-sex marriage ensures "intergenerational connectivity." This is also strange, since last I checked gay people have parents who care about their grandchildren (just ask Lynne Cheney). But perhaps that's not true in Meney's circle of acquaintances, because the parents he knows have disowned their LGBT offspring -- but in that case, he might want to think a little harder about whose fault the resulting lack of "intergenerational connectivity" is.

These arguments are always tough when different sides frame the issue in different ways, because that tends to lead to a lot of talking past each other. So I was pleased to see, in one of his slippery slope warnings, that the Catholic Church and the Beyond Marriage crowd are framing the marriage question the same way (albeit choosing diametrically opposed positions):

There is no need to move down the path of providing unimpeded access to a range of benefits to any two or more people who say they are in a relationship. Simple co-dependency is not enough.


As I see it, dependency (whether co- or one-way) is exactly the basis on which society should recognize and support relationships.

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