Coalition for Marriage Petition

[Update 2013-10-12: It seems that an anonymous resident of Chicago has added a link to this blog post to my (short) Wikipedia entry, thereby suggesting that my opposition to the redefinition of marriage is one of the most important things that people need to know about my life, work and opinions. I’m not sure why they think that, but I wonder whether their intent was that people would read that sentence and pigeonhole me without further consideration. If you came here from Wikipedia, I hope you will not make that mistake.

In addition, the following quotation from a letter sent out in July 2013 by the Prime Minister’s Office might be of interest:

The position in discrimination law is very clear. The belief that marriage is between a man and a woman is protected under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010. Discriminating against someone simply because they hold that belief or express it in a reasonable way would be unlawful discrimination.

I’m sure that anyone who is an opponent of discrimination would not want to do such a thing.

The original blog post follows.]

For my UK readers: if you agree with the following statement:

I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. I oppose any attempt to redefine it.

then please sign the petition of the Coalition For Marriage.

Civil partnerships and marriages in the UK give exactly the same legal rights and operate under the same constrictions. This is not a question of “equality”. But because of the way marriage is defined in UK law, it is also not possible to redefine it in this way without changing what it means for heterosexual couples too. The soundbite “if you don’t like it, don’t get one” is an invalid argument.

The government does not have the power or authority to redefine words.

207 thoughts on “Coalition for Marriage Petition

  1. If the words mean something different then it is not really equality is it. Perhaps the government should leave Marriage to the churches and only deal in civil partnerships.

  2. For the first time in my many years of reading your blog I’m actively disappointed in you Gerv. I understand that you have profoundly held convictions, but there is a serious difference between a civil partnership and a marriage in the UK. Civil partnerships are only available to homosexual couples, and marriages are only available to heterosexual ones. This kind of divisive them-and-us mentality doesn’t help anyone, and the idea that somehow a Christian’s heterosexual marriage is worse off because other people have been accepted into the fold is for me an prime example of the persecution complex that seems to be built into Christianity’s core.

    For what it’s worth, me and my (heterosexual) fiancé looked into the feasibility of getting a civil partnership as a mild protest against segregation. Turns out it’s impossible under the current legal framework. Just makes me support the concept of homosexual marriage even more.

  3. The government does absolutely have the power and authority to decide to whom it will grant a civil marriage. Religious organizations are likewise free, both at present and under any proposals I’ve seen for marriage equality, to decide to whom they will grant a religious marriage. The fact that they use the same word in different senses does not mean that religious bodies (or rather Christianity, or the Church of England) own the concept of marriage.

  4. Robin: did you read the linked-to article explaining why it’s not just a case of “accepted into the fold”, but one of changing what marriage means for everyone? To give a blunt example: how do you define adultery if marriage no longer includes the concept of consummation?

    The “serious difference” you mention is one of nomenclature, not of legal rights. If there are no legal rights at stake, why do people want the name changed? Like many attempts before it (such as the various names used for disabled people), it’s an attempt to change people’s viewpoints by the back door by changing either the words they are permitted to use or the meaning of the existing ones. Not to the same degree that Orwell wrote about, but the same idea.

    You say “that kind of them-and-us mentality doesn’t help anyone”. That begs the question. There is a division between what God approves of (sex within marriage) and what he does not (sex anywhere else, including unmarried people and adultery). I could equally say of your position, “this kind of blurring of moral categories doesn’t help anyone”. I object to an effort to take a word which refers to something of which God approves and change its definition to include things he does not approve of.

    The Bible is, quite rightly, full of pictures of division – sheep and goats, light and darkness, sons of God and slaves to sin. (Important reminder: the division is not based on a person’s moral efforts, but on the generous gift of God.) The gospel offer of salvation is open to all, whoever they are attracted to – but once we have passed from death to life, God calls us to a holy life of either marriage or celibacy. However you look at it, there are two groups here – call them “us and them” if you like, but I prefer to think of it as “us, and everyone called to join us”.

    (I also object to the broken promises; when civil partnerships came in, part of the quid pro quo was that they were not, and would not be turned into, ‘marriage’.)

  5. Religious organizations are likewise free, both at present and under any proposals I’ve seen for marriage equality, to decide to whom they will grant a religious marriage.

    You really think that’ll remain true? When they brought in civil partnerships, they said that it wouldn’t be turned into “marriage”, and now look where we are. There are already calls to narrow, circumscribe or eliminate this freedom. Wait for the first vicar to be sued. Less than ten years, I guarantee it.

  6. Religious groups already have requirements for marriage that go beyond those for civil marriage – such as requirements that those marrying be members of the relevant group, or not be divorcees, or not fall foul of cosanguinity requirements that go beyond those prescribed by law.

  7. Planet Mozilla, by policy, carries full feeds of all the blogs it carries. There’s plenty expressed there I don’t agree with, but I support this policy.

  8. Also note that some religious groups (Quakers and Liberal Judaism have spoken about this IIRC) would like not to be prohibited from officiating at such marriages.

  9. I’m going to go further – I think that this initiative makes the assumption that what marriage means and what it should mean is what Christians mean by it, and that what anyone else means by it is somehow secondary. Marriage did not somehow begin with Christianity or indeed with Judaism (the cultural background that I approach this from).

  10. From my standpoint everything I said was logical. From your standpoint everything you said was. So at the end of the day we’re both arguing over nomenclature.

    If it was that simple I’d suggest that ‘marriage’ is only made available by CoE Christian churches and that everything else is called ‘civil partnership’. That’s not going to happen though. How about defining your Christian idea of marriage as ‘Christian marriage’ and having everything else just called ‘marriage’ or ‘Hindu marriage’, ‘Muslim marriage’ etc etc? It’s logically equivalent and helps separate and express the beliefs you’ve entered in to.

    At the end of the day though your initial proposal still amounts to discrimination to my eyes (and the eyes of the majority of people in the UK I’d wager). It doesn’t feel much different to the photos of black-only/white-only water fountains you see as examples of segregation in the US. Your argument seems be be “Both parties are getting water so what’s the problem?”.

  11. If one is a) a believer in the Bible and b) a biblical literalist and c) takes the interpretation that the verse is about marriage rather than, say, sex, yes.

  12. God does not attach moral significance to someone’s skin colour. (Or, for that matter, to their sexual orientation.) But he does attach moral significance to sexual behaviours.

    Marriage should be a picture of the relationship between Christ and his Church. (Ephesians 5:21-33). This is an asymmetrical relationship; marriage being between a man and a woman, who take different roles within it, is a fundamental part of how it pictures that greater relationship.

  13. I do not feel this really answers the point, which is that people may have *gasp* a different opinion to that of Jesus.

  14. Also, I think that your threading system isn’t happy with me, at least on my monitor and Frirefox 7.0.1

  15. Your argument is starting to boil down to little more than “God [as envisioned by Protestant Christianity] says so”. Well, fine, but I am glad not to live in a theocracy.

  16. b) is a requirement if one is not to take the view that the inclusion of a statement in the early parts of genesis is hard evidence that it predates all human civilisation, yes.

  17. Planet Mozilla shows the feed you provided it, not the full feed of the blog, otherwise you would see all my blog posts in French on planet :)

  18. Again, we’re down to nomenclature. Marriage to a large number of people in the UK already doesn’t mean a protestant Christian tradition. Why aren’t you seeking non-Christian marriages to have the name ‘marriage’ removed from them?

    I was specifically told that for my civil marriage that I was not allowed religious content. The church lost control of the word when marriages in this country were allowed to be performed outside of a church setting. You can’t claw it back. Accept it and move on.

  19. Oh, side question: that “union for life” bit – are you supporting making divorce illegal?

  20. Absolutely not. Planet is for all kinds of discussion from the Mozilla community. While I don’t agree wit Gerv’s stance here, I fully support his right as a community member to post his thoughts on Planet. Feel free to ignore posts you don’t like.

  21. Apologies for the poor threading; I haven’t managed to work out how to change the WordPress skin to reduce the indentation without messing up other bits of the layout. Start a new top-level if it gets too nested.


  22. I don’t think marriage should be within the domain of religion – certainly the concept predates Christianity, although the word has taken on a plethora of historical baggage.

    Having said that, I have no problem with Christians deciding what marriage means to -them-. Governments should not favor one group over another, but private institutions can. However, that also means that a marriage performed in Church or in the context of some other religious institution should have no legal power. ‘Civil unions’ should be the only legally binding contract available to both heterosexual and homosexual couples.

  23. No. Very good question, though; I’ll have to think about the ramifications of that.

    Divorce law in this country is a whole other discussion :-)

  24. Ah… so Planet Mozilla is now a valid soapbox for this kind of thing? I have a feed specifically for poorly veiled bigotry – and I make a point of only reading when I’m in the correct frame of mind to do a thorough debunking of irrational logic.

    I do not expect it in my technical/community feeds.


  25. I would assume that, for consistency:

    If we lived in a country where divorce was illegal you would be campaigning against making it legal, including against the rights of e.g. Jews and Muslims (whose tenets permit divorce) to dissolve their own marriages. Perhaps you would insist on a union between Jews being denoted as a “soluble partnership” so as not to sully the word “marriage”?

  26. How about governments follow separation of church and state and refrain from recognizing “marriage” in the first place? The only thing governments recognize (for hospital visits, insurance benefits and what not) would be civil unions between any two consenting adults. Any further requirements for particular religions (e.g. divorce) can be covered under contract law.

    Let’s just cut the Gordian knot in the whole debate about the meaning of marriage.

  27. I deny the charge of bigotry. “A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.” (Wikipedia) I have no animosity towards gay people. There are plenty of people in the Mozilla community who are gay. Have you ever seen me display animosity towards them?

    Of course, it’s useful to call someone a bigot because then you can dismiss them rather than engage with what they are saying.

  28. Hi Gerv. If you’re interested in understanding why people ask for identical terminology for both hetero and homosexual relationships, I highly recommend watching the play about Proposition 8 that was recently recorded:

    I really think that anyone participating in the discussion over “gay marriage” should examine both sides of the argument and then assess their position from a logical point of view. The play is quite eye-opening in that regard.

  29. I do feel I have assessed both sides of the argument. I’m not unwilling to watch or read opposing views, but the play appears to be 1.5 hours long. Is there anything which makes the points you want to make a bit more succinctly?

  30. I’ll just preface this by saying that my thoughts below do not encapsulate the whole argument. I still recommend watching the play; it puts a human face on the whole thing and explains it better than I ever could.

    The strongest issue (at least, for me) is directly highlighted in your post:

    “Civil partnerships and marriages in the UK give exactly the same legal rights and operate under the same constrictions. This is not a question of ‘equality’.”

    There’s a logical fallacy here that Asa points out in the very first comment. Why define one concept and then trade it under two distinct names if the goal is true equality?

    Imagine a world where interracial relationships had been assigned a different term than “marriage” (not such an unrealistic scenario given the attitude towards said relationships even as late as the 70s). Using a different term immediately consigns that relationship into a different category than the “normal” members of society, and says, “your relationship isn’t good enough to qualify as marriage”. It’d be yet another class system that would carry forward an irrational stigma into the next generation, with any resulting discrimination legitimised by pointing at the government’s determination to enforce a distinction, however arbitrary.

    The same applies to gay relationships. What valid, rational reason is there to promote “equal but not completely equal”?

    On a final note before I go to bed: there’s an absolute clarity in saying “Jane is my wife” instead of “Jane is my civil partner”. In the former, anyone listening knows exactly what that means, along with all the commitment, love and responsibility entailed. The latter typically invokes confusion and makes everyone wonder why you didn’t just say “wife” in the first place, since that’s what you really meant. Why force people to make the distinction?

  31. Sorry, I disagree. Planet Mozilla is an aggregator a lot of people – and press – look at. It is not the space of personal beliefs not related to the Mozilla mission. I don’t know _how_ we could fix that – maybe tag posts we don’t want on there with a “personal” tag or something like that, but I think we need to think of something. “Ignore posts” is never good advice. There is no lack of things to go through on Planet.

  32. “I deny the charge of bigotry. “A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.” (Wikipedia) I have no animosity towards gay people. There are plenty of people in the Mozilla community who are gay.”

    Am I to assume you meet the rest of the criteria besides “animosity” given that’s the only part of the definition you challenged? :)

  33. Well, the “obstinate” part can’t be enough on its own, or you’d be a bigot too ;-) So I think the definition is actually a bit weaselly, with its “or” and “especially”. But still, yes, I deny the other parts too.

    “Prejudices are just principles you don’t happen to share”, a wise man once said. It’s one of those irregular verbs – “I am principled, you have strong opinions, he is prejudiced”. Tell me how to distinguish a prejudice from a principle, and I’ll tell you which I have :-)

    I have no intolerance of, or animosity towards, those of differing beliefs. I disagree with the _beliefs_. Very different.

  34. That is incorrect. When I was posting to Planet, I used a tag and only Mozilla project specific posts fed to Planet.

    I was happy this was the case. My personal blog is exactly that – personal. I am involved in many projects and hold many opinions that had nothing to do with Mozilla and didn’t belong under the Mozilla banner. I was fine sharing my blog as a Mozilla asset while I was there, but very glad to keep my various worlds separate when appropriate.

  35. I am also disappointed to find you on this side of this issue.

    The “legal definition of civil marriage in the UK includes a particular act which is physically impossible for same-sex couples” argument is a red herring. That is a vestige of the now-discredited common-law treatment of women as chattel, and should be deleted from the legal definition of civil marriage regardless of whether said definition is also expanded to encompass same-sex couples.

    Now, to the actual point. If, as you say, a “civil partnership” in the UK carries all the same legal privileges and burdens as a marriage, then the only consequence of refusing to grant the term “marriage” to an intimate same-sex relationship is to express social disapproval of such relationships. And that is a petty and spiteful thing to do, and I do not think Jesus would approve.

  36. Why is a definition of marriage which includes consummation related to “treating women as chattel”?

    And how would you define “adultery” in world where same-sex marriage is legal?

    You make a relevant point about this being an attempted social change. But I’m afraid I’d have to disagree with you about what Jesus thinks about same-sex marriage. He speaks about it at various places in the Bible, probably most clearly in Mark 10, where he affirms marriage as being between a man and a woman, and in Romans chapter 1. (If Jesus is God, then the words God spoke, Jesus spoke.) This is a good article on the subject of what Jesus said or didn’t say. Commenting on that article, Peter Ould writes:

    One of the points Shawn makes is critical – given that homosexuality is such a big issue at the start of the 21st Century, surely God in his omnipotence would have made sure we today knew that same-sex relationships were actually good and would not [have] left us with a Bible that seems to [draw] the conclusion that all sex outside of marriage is sinful?

  37. “The government does not have the power or authority to redefine words.”

    The government does have the power to redefine legal definitions. The OED can redefine normal definitions. I think they have redefined “marriage” haven’t they? (I don’t have a modern version to check).

  38. The OED’s first definition of marriage is:

    The condition of being a husband or wife; the relation between persons married to each other; matrimony.
    The term is now sometimes used with reference to long-term relationships between partners of the same sex.

  39. Same here. Gerv and others don’t want to see my Buddhist posts on Planet so I’m unsure why we should be subjected to his desire to discriminate based on religion.

    (No, Gerv, don’t justify it. I grew up around Evangelical Christians and have two uncles who are ministers. I don’t need to hear the same arguments again.)

  40. As I understand it, this is about whether religious institutions that are accepting of same sex marriages (such as mine, the Religious Society of Friends AKA Quakers) may have the option of performing them. I realize the UK has an established church (responsible for quite a few other cases of trampling on the free practice of religion among Quakers), but surely the right thing for the government to do would be to allow each religion to decide for itself.

  41. I bet your definition of the word “marriage” has discriminatory boundaries too, Al. Pretty much everyone’s does. Unless you are cool with polygamous, paedophilic and bestial marriages. On what basis do you discriminate so? And why is my basis worse than yours? Which God came down and said that “consent” or “2 humans” was in the unchallengeable definition of marriage, but “one man and one woman” wasn’t?

    Unless you are OK with all of that – in which case, you do get credit for consistency. But other commenters may want to take issue with you…

  42. Adultery is currently defined as sex outside of marriage, right? Why would same-sex marriage change this? A married woman cheating on her husband with a woman is adultery already. What does the sex of the “homewrecker” matter?

  43. Gerv is allowed his opinons, of course, and while I might not have chosen to syndicate this to Planet Mozilla, that feed is meant to be work and non work related issues of all Mozilla community members. Let’s not bash him for deciding to air his opinions, disagree as one – including myself – might.

    That aside, I am curious about the definition put forward here, Gerv. It explicitly states that it’s a “union for life,” which hints to the invalidity of marriages which can be torn asunder by the act of divorce. Does this definition thereby preclude the possibility for divorce, or at least, for subsequent remarriage?

  44. I must also express amusement at how frequently sexual congress comes up in discussions of same sex marriage.

    Asexuals get married. What if I told you we were talking about two homo-romantic asexual people? That is, people who have no sexual attraction to anyone at all yet are perfectly capable of falling in love, and have that emotional connection only with people of the same gender. Would you still have a problem with it? On what basis?

    There is also the old tradition of Josephite marriages–a chaste marriage, based on following the example of Mary & Joseph. These are sometimes called “spiritual marriages.”

    This amusement extends from my confusion at those who seem to believe it is impossible for a gay virgin to exist–as if a straight virgin could not!

  45. Regardless of whether I agree with you on this topic, this post doesn’t belong in a feed syndicated to Planet Mozilla.

  46. Agnostic here, and also libertarian to the point of practically being anarchist. I care not that religions call marriage whatever they wish. I do wish that governments would not officiate them as anything other than a contract like any other contract in the world. Civil union would be a nice name for those (even contracts (without bias, even heterosexual would be civil union), leaving marriage to those who honor religious ceremony.

  47. Wait, so if “civil partnerships and marriages in the UK give exactly the same legal rights and operate under the same constrictions” then the issue you are having is with the definition of the word (in the context of the law)? Then how about creating a new word and merging marriage and civil union into this to stay DRY?

  48. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the asymmetrical relationship that you talk about in the bible was one of ownership.

    Namely the husband owns the wife.

    Moreover, there are many instances of husbands having multiple wives.

    Not to mention the fact that there are many interpretations of the bible, and many biblical scholars do not believe that the bible condemns homosexuality.

    Also, getting to your original point, where you said that the government does not have the ability to redefine a word, they most definitely do.

    The “marriage” you are talking about is not the marriage in the bible, but the legal construct that was defined by the state.

    If your religion does not believe in gay marriage then it does not have to honor or acknowledge the marriage licenses the state gives out.

    To conflate the state’s changing its secular definition with religious persecution seems to me disingenuous at best, and malicious at worst, however.

  49. I respectfully disagree, similar to Chris. Planet Mozilla is an aggregator for content relevant to the Mozilla project. While we cast that circle very widely and loosely, it is explicitly not a platform for political agendas. The reason the Mozilla project works as well as it does on an international level is because it is at its core apolitical and inclusive to various opinions. Much like all other of our core values, this one is worth protecting. Gerv knows this perhaps better than anyone.

    While I agree with Sam that Gerv like anyone else has every right to his opinion and beliefs, Planet Mozilla is not the stage for those opinions that are irrelevant to the Mozilla project. Extending the benefit of the doubt here, I am not assuming Gerv is being intentionally offensive, insensitive or disrespectful. However, posts like this on Planet Mozilla are at best off topic and irrelevant to the Mozilla project.

  50. Fix it like I do: Have a category “Mozilla Crosspost” (or whatever you like calling it) on your blog and only have Planet aggregate that subfeed. Put everything you want on Planet also into that category.

  51. I believe your religion’s definition of marriage includes polygamy.

    It is discrimination to treat one group of consenting adults differently from another.

    I don’t believe you honestly believe that a relationship between a child is and an adult is the same as a relationship between two consenting adults. (And as for the issue with bestiality, that’s such a non-issue it doesn’t even make sense. A cow can’t very well sign a marriage license.)

    Do you believe it’s discriminatory to not allow a child to enter into a contract with an adult? Or to not allow a dog to enter into a contract with an adult? Because those are basically the basis for not allowing people to marry (non-human) animals and children.

    As for polygamy, I’m basically fine with it, so long as all of the adults are consenting.

  52. Discrimination against someone (denying their right to marry) seems to fit the animosity criteria to me.

    I do not feel that you would qualify as a bigot if you merely tried to persuade gay people not to marry. However, this petition goes well beyond that.

    If your motivation for denying rights to homosexuals (and bisexuals about half the time :-P) is not about animosity then what is your motivation?

  53. You cannot cite the bible as an authority when talking about government policy.

    Church policy, sure. But government policy?

    Would you be all right with me quoting other holy books as justification for discrimination against Christians? I’m sure they’re out there, and that some are quite explicit about the terrible things that should be done to you (and, well to everyone else that does not share their religious beliefs).

  54. Good points, Al. We need to keep in mind that the freedom of religion also includes the freedom to abstain from religion. As a community sensitive to such matters, we need to respect both sides of this coin by keeping planet mozilla about mozilla only. Everyone interested in further personal beliefs of any of our community members is more than encouraged to read their blogs directly, and I assume both Gerv’s and Al’s associates happily do so.

  55. I’m ok with the occasional off-topic post on Planet. But this post is obvious flamebait, and such posts are certainly annoying to see on Planet.

  56. He has the right to voice his opinion, but (ab)using Planet Mozilla as a soap box is yet another matter. Most people have the good judgement to keep their personal lives and beliefs off of this feed, and I thank them for it.

  57. “Why is a definition of marriage which includes consummation related to ‘treating women as chattel’?”

    I don’t have time right now to dig up specific references on this, but it is part of the same conceptual schema as e.g. the notion that it was impossible for a husband to rape his wife.

    “How would you define ‘adultery’ in world where same-sex marriage is legal?”

    Without reference to specific sex acts. Adultery is fundamentally an act of betrayal of one’s commitment to sexual fidelity with one’s spouse, and it does not matter how one breaches that commitment. As with the above, I see this as unrelated to same-sex marriage. Whether or not the gay couple down the street can call themselves “married” has no bearing on whether blowjobs count as cheating. (They do.)

    I am uncertain whether adultery ought to be considered a crime (that is, whether the state ought to exact punishments for it) but this is another can of worms entirely.

    “I’m afraid I’d have to disagree with you about what Jesus thinks about same-sex marriage.”

    I again do not have time to do a bunch of Scriptural analysis right now, but off the cuff, Mark 10 is a prohibition on divorce, and I do not see any justification in that passage for reading Jesus’s example marriages (for the purpose of talking about divorce) as excluding other possiblities.

    But this is somewhat beside my point: whether or not Christianity includes a religious prohibition on same-sex marriage, it most certainly does include a commandment to love your neighbor, even if they don’t agree with you about whether there is such a prohibition, or whether it applies to everyone or just to people who call themselves Christians. You can believe that you are religiously forbidden to engage in same-sex marriage, and you can preach to others that they, too, are forbidden to do so. But when a same-sex couple refuses to accept your precepts, and calls themselves married, it is an act of spite and uncharity to deny them the term.

  58. In my mind, it would have been good to keep this post off of PMO because it is for ‘UK Readers’. Most people on PMO are not from the UK, so this content is pretty irrelevant to us.

  59. Or do the real right thing , make marriage a state thing that has nothing to do with churches. And leave the church wedding to be a non legal thing.

  60. njn: this post is definitely not flamebait. I am genuinely encouraging my UK readers with similar convictions to me to sign the petition. I didn’t go out seeking flames from people not of the same conviction.

  61. You are wrong :-) The husband does not ‘own’ the wife in the Bible. Why not read Ephesians chapter 5 and see what it does say?

    If you think Christians will be free not to acknowledge the marriage licenses given out, then you aren’t familiar with the UK’s so-called “anti-discrimination” legislation. Christians have already been sued for making distinctions between marriage and civil partnership.

  62. Fred: are you sure nothing about “No to Prop 8” ever made it to Planet Mozilla? I’m fairly sure I saw a few things float past. It didn’t bother me, and I didn’t see anyone else objecting on the grounds of it being “political”. Perhaps because many more Mozillians agree?

  63. If your target audience was “UK Readers” and not “Mozillians” then I think you could have done this differently and made sure your post reached people without putting it through the Planet feed. I too, like others mentioned here, have a specific ‘mozilla’ tag I can attach to posts if I *want* them to go into the planet feed. It would be great if you would do the same and then think about whether something really needs to be in the Mozilla community feed, with Mozilla’s name all over it, before posting.

  64. I’m not denying anyone’s right to marry. Anyone can marry anyone else of the opposite sex who isn’t already married, is of age etc. who they can persuade to marry them.

    This is not a smart-alec point. Everyone’s definition of marriage has some limits on it. (Or are you in the “polygamy, incestuous, etc. marriages are OK” crowd?) So are you exhibiting animosity towards people who want to contract such marriages?

    “what is your motivation?”

    For one thing, if the legal definition changes, then Christians who wish not to endorse or promote things they believe are sinful will end up getting sued (even more than now). E.g. the couple who got sued for saying that they only offered double rooms to married couples in their bed & breakfast, because they didn’t want to aid people in sinful behaviour.

  65. But when a same-sex couple refuses to accept your precepts, and calls themselves married, it is an act of spite and uncharity to deny them the term.

    If someone is sinning, e.g. by stealing, and they call it something else, say “aiding the poor”, it is not an act of uncharity to refuse their terms, and to point out that what they are doing is, in fact, sinful. Encouraging people to recognise their sinful behaviour can sometimes mean not acceding to them calling it by a non-sinful name.

  66. Thank you for your courtesy.

    Good question (as I said to Adam, above). I need to think this through more (and, despite the sometimes intemperate tone, much of what has been said here has caused me to clarify to myself what I actually think), but I’d say the following at the moment:

    • The definition proposed here is not necessarily the exact definition I myself would pick; it is, however, the current one, and a much closer one to what I think it should be than the proposed alternative;
    • The definition is aspirational in the “for life” part; Jesus permitted divorce (and subsequent remarriage) on the grounds of sexual unfaithfulness, so I do not propose that divorce be entirely impossible or illegal;
    • The easier you make divorces, the less stable marriages are; it’s currently too easy in the UK to get one.
  67. Actually I’m completely fine with polygamous marriages since I was functionally poly for many years and lived with two partners.

    I think that churches should focus on marriages within their rules and the government should ignore them and endorse civil contracts. It isn’t your religion’s business who I marry (or even how many of them there are). It is, broadly, the government’s interest.

    I’ve made a donation to Equality California in your name today.

  68. This is a lie, Gerv. Churches already have existing conditions, above and beyond the legal requirements, for whom they are willing to marry. That point was made elsewhere here. The Catholic Church, for example, won’t marry divorcees. No one is suing them for that either.

    Your church can choose not to marry anyone it wants. Enshrining that (pun intended) in law is another matter.

  69. By all means, force people who marry at 20 to be together at 40 when they don’t want to do so.

    All this does is promote sham marriages where people are married on paper (and legally) but not in actual practice. I’ve seen a few of those from older generations before the laws changed. They weren’t pleasant to witness.

  70. Feel free to encourage them not on Planet, where the rest of us don’t need to read it. Some of us aren’t homophobic and don’t feel a need to tell other people that they cannot marry.

  71. I’m in the UK; I suspect the situation here is different to yours. We have an established church, for example, which makes a very significant difference. (Reading the article linked from the original post would explain a bit about why.)

  72. It’s worth noting that many years ago the maintainer of was removed for “censoring” some or Robert O’Callahan’s posts, despite the fact that he did so in good conscience with the simple intention of keeping planet focused on Mozilla topics. There was a strong reaction against such filtering by the Mozilla community at the time, who favored making planet aggregate anything that community members cared to share so that the community could get to know each other better. Maybe that’s not the consensus of the community any more, but it seems to me like Gerv can’t be accused of being off-topic or posting on topics that don’t belong on planet, since as far as I know there has been no no discussion on changing that unwritten policy.

  73. You seem to want to redefine “homophobia” as well as “marriage”… It is not homophobic to think that homosexual behaviour is morally wrong. I am not scared of or afraid of gay people, and I hope (does anyone have any evidence to the contrary?) that I treat them with respect as fellow human beings, made in the image of God.

  74. Then the solution is to remove your church as the established church. Problem solved. It works in America and is a founding principle.

  75. Yes, it is, in fact, homophobia to “think that homosexual behaviour is morally wrong.” That belief tends to express itself with gay people being physically, socially, and legally brutalized. It is dishonest to act like it isn’t the case.

  76. Because I respectfully disagree with your position, I made a donation in your name to the Stonewall organization in the UK.

    They actively deal and advocate on issues like this for the LGBT community in the UK. I hope they do something amazing with the money.

  77. > “The government does not have the power or authority to redefine words.”

    No, but the parliament very much has (and the government has the power and authority to propose this redefinition). Many words are defined by the law code they appear in. E.g. crimes are defined in code and labeled with a word, and as the code is redefined, the word is redefined. I’m sure you can come up with a bunch of words that have been redefined by the parliament during your lifetime.

  78. Whether or not Planet should include only posts that relate to Mozilla is not the point. I personally like reading my colleagues’ posts about their hobbies, holidays and so on. I don’t even mind reading posts about religion, although I am not religious myself. What I do mind is posts showing up on Planet that people find offensive. Same sex marriage is obviously a polarising topic that people have a deep emotional reaction to. I think most of us could have predicted that this post would offend some people, and I would have thought that that would have been a good indication not to post it to Planet. This isn’t self censorship; it’s just good manners.

  79. Gerv, thanks for tolerating gay people! And thanks for not trying to convince us that you have gay friends. Only Kirk Cameron can get away with that nonsense

  80. Hm, no I don’t suggest it has, but if it has, that doesn’t make their posts more considerate than yours :)

  81. I certainly think Gerv should be free to post things people don’t agree with, even on Planet Mozilla; please don’t stop. Expressing contrary opinions, either in comments or blog posts, is fine; but I don’t feel that stopping things from being said is healthy. Today, it’s Gerv; tomorrow, it’d be something else that I agree with.

    Having said that – I feel that in the grand scheme of things, it should be equality for all – either they are legally all marriages, or none of them are (and the law only deals with civil unions or whatever). For Gerv’s UK-based audience who agrees with that version, there appears to be a counter-petition at .

  82. Heterosexism is a better term than homophobia.. since I doubt Gerv is actually afraid of gay people.. (Heterosexism is a term for discriminating practices on the basis of a hetero vs. homo-sexuality on par with other terms and not a clinical mistake.) However, whether he is or is not afraid of LGBTQ people having equal voice in matters that affect them, may be open for dispute. Maintaining a distinction between “marriage” and “civil union” (setting aside the legal complications) just serves to place yourself as a privileged individual with respect to your gay neighbor who isn’t allowed your place. Using well intentioned arguments to maintain the distinction can’t change what it is. Discrimination. If there wasn’t a distinction, it wouldn’t appear to be worth arguing over, now would it?

    When arguing about the obvious power of what terms mean, its important to be aware of the social effects and the power structures that create and feed into such terms. They are not fixed. Marriage hasn’t had the same meaning for its entire life, in practical terms. Societies change. Queer people aren’t going away just because it would be more comfortable for majority society, so they can clear their conscience, claim victory for equality (however false it is) and move on.

  83. I believe you’re drawing a false equivalence here. Just because a post for and post against equality for a group of people are both taking a political stance on that issue does not mean that they are equally valid, appropriate, or acceptable. Obviously I’m not suggesting that posts to Planet should be curated so that only political posts with “acceptable viewpoints” are allowed, but I think we can all agree that it was not appropriate to post something advocating against the civil rights of a significant proportion of Mozillians to Planet.

  84. So you’re saying you’re worried that people will get in trouble for discriminating, so said discrimination should be legalized and endorsed by law?

    Also, I cannot see how you can claim no animosity towards homosexuals while comparing homosexuality to incest, bestiality and pedophilia.

    In your mind is calling someone a pedophile not an insult?

  85. Al, I think that’s really unfair. Surely it’s equally as valid (or invalid) for me to argue that Buddhism leads to people being raped and beaten, and to claim that if you deny this, you are being dishonest?

    I don’t assume you support that sort of evil just because you are Buddhist. It would be great if you could extend me the same courtesy.

  86. I did not compare homosexuality to incest, bestiality, or paedophilia. I asked what prevents arguments in favour of widening the definition of marriage to same-sex couples being used to widen it still further? Surely not going all the way still means there is ‘discrimination’ against one or more people who want to have such a union? I am suggesting an argument which stops the widening at same-sex couples is inconsistent with the espoused principle of ‘no discrimination’.

  87. So: you want to discourage gay-ness, and see opposing marriage equality as one means to do that.

  88. There are plenty of UK Mozillians; “living in the UK” and “reading Planet” are not mutually exclusive categories.

  89. Well said. The web should be open and free. That is a right and a priviledge. With that comes to the responsibilty of ensuring that is true for all.

  90. Pingback: Home of KaiRo: Political Views

  91. I read this blog entry when it had zero comments, since I arrived through the planet RSS feed. I thought to myself, “I wonder how this will be reeived?”

    I also thought that it showed strength about the Mozilla organization to have a few people that actually would express something that is morally conservative, trying my best to use that word as neutral as possible.

    I follow e.g. Christian Heilmann and a few others on Twitter and get a daily dose of bad arguments against religion, conservatives, republicans, etc. Sometimes I agree, sometimes not. But I keep following them because they also delivers what I want to hear from him: Cutting edge news about web development.

    If the signal/noise ratio goes too bad I unsubscribe, but that rarely happens. I do not freak out just because I disagree with what’s being said.

    However, anyone who thinks that this blog entry coud be interpreted as a public stance by Mozilla as an organization is clearly incapable of interpreting context. It being syndicated on Planet Mozilla might contribute to the noise in some peoples estimation, but it is quite clear from the comments that this is not the issue.

    There is a world apart between saying “shame on you” and “you’re wrong”. If you’re in the camp that thinks Gerv shouldn’t be allowed to speak his mind in this forum, then you’re wrong!

    Finally, thank you Gerv, for following your conviction even when it leads to predictable verbal abuse.

  92. “The government does not have the power or authority to redefine words.”

    Turns out they do. Sooner or later, gay marriage will be legal everywhere and butthurt christcunts will cry themselves to sleep.

  93. I made no comment on your Christianity.

    One of my close friends is an Episcopalian deacon who is also gay and married happily to another man.

    Please don’t wrap yourself in your religion and pretend this is about your religion. This is about *you* and *your* opinions. No one is attacking your faith. For you to start going on about mine (on rather edge cases I might point out, historically) is simply cheap.

  94. Here in the USA, there are a number of Christian churches of various denominations that will marry same sex couples. These couples are then married in the Eyes Of God, although they do not have any civil protection or rights in the Eyes Of The Federal Government.

    What do you think, Gerd? How has your marriage been changed because of those marriages?

  95. you actually had to wonder how it would be received? Gerd is saying that the fundamental human desire for mateship and happiness is something that a significant percentage of humans do not deserve.

    My experience with people of his sort tells me that if he actually meets someone who has undergone sorrow and hardship because of this– h just might change his mind. Conservatives do not seem to be able to feel empathy for people they don’t know.

  96. And in fact, any belief does indeed lead to violence against those who don’t believe it. That’s a real problem with “belief.” it’s a mindset that is self-referencing and cannot always retain congruency with the real world. In order for “belief” to remain primary in a mind it sometimes becomes necessary for that mind to destroy the real world evidence that the belief is incorrect.

    With Buddhism, an unusually flexible set of beliefs– it’s pretty rare. With Christianity it’s exceedingly common. And your attitude here is very particularly and obviously linked to your Cristian beliefs.

  97. And you feel that homosexuality is sinful? And I am sure you can quote Leviticus on that.

    But– what about all the other things that Leviticus says are sinful? Have you been avoiding cotton/poly shirts all this time? because if you’ve been wearing mixed fiber clothing, you’re going to hell right along with homosexuals.

  98. I believe this post is inappropriate for p.m.o based on the following reasoning:

    First, ask yourself “if I was a non-heterosexual Mozilla community member, and I read this, would I feel alienated by the thoughts expressed in this post?”. I think the answer is unequivocally “yes”.

    Second, ask yourself “should I be making non-heterosexual community members feel alienated”? This is the Mozilla community we are talking about so I think the answer is unequivocally “no”.

    I think it is as simple as that.

  99. Surely you can invest an hour and a half on research when you are making judgements about other people’s entire lives.

  100. Stella, I’m disappointed to see you putting straw-man arguments in the mouths of others.

  101. If “any belief” leads to violence against those who don’t believe it, do I have to worry about what might happen to me when some of the strong believers commenting here catch up with me? Or does “any belief” only apply to ones you don’t happen to agree with?

  102. Hi Luke. I’m a non-heterosexual Mozilla community member — and still mostly coming to terms with it — and I don’t really feel alienated by Gerv’s post. I’d go further than Gerv though and make government stop marrying people and start letting people enter into contracts.

  103. But he does attach moral significance to sexual behaviours.
    So basically you are against gay marriage because gay sex happens in them– as evidenced also by your notion that same sex couples cannot consummate a marriage. The article you linked to talks about “gory details” by which i assume it means taking a woman’s virginity and leaving blood on the sheets as evidence. But assuming someone is a virgin and wants to feel pain and bleeding, that couple could offer “gory” evidence of sexual congress in much the same way. Penetrative sex is penetrative.

    And how many hetero marriages do you think are actually consummated in this way? How many women are actually virgins when they marry? Your article isn’t saying that non-virgin marriages are illegitimate. But by that logic they most certainly are.

  104. it’s so funny to me how people like you can claim they have no animosity towards a large group of people– while you are actively denying them the rights of human happiness and security that you enjoy.

    If the circumstances were changed, and ONLY same sex marriages were allowed in your country, would you be happy married to a man? And when people told you that you had the same right to marriage that they do– marry any man you like– would you feel that was sufficient for your happiness?

  105. Well then we are even — since I am disappointed in every argument you’ve raised thus far.

  106. If “any belief” leads to violence against those who don’t believe it, do I have to worry…
    Ah, so– it’s all about you!

    Well, violence is always a possibility. You are trying to deny a lot of people a lot of happiness in their lives.

    Anyways, join the club– I personally have had to worry most of my life about being attacked because of being gay. I have scars, actually.

    This may be a concept that is entirely new to you, but all of your life you have had the privilege of societal acceptance.

    Knowledge and compassion are two of the remedies for the pernicious problem of Belief.

    The knowledge that belief is not factually based would b a good start.

  107. Isn’t parliament part of the government? So– Government does have the right to redefine words.

  108. Yes, I’ve always felt this way. Though I say call it marriages vs “holy” marriages. People who care enough to make the distinction will and everyone else can go about minding their own business.

  109. I agree, the term “homophobia” is a poor term because people often deny hating or being afraid of homosexuals while they exhibit all of the intolerance and hatefulness we associate with homophobia.

  110. What an incredibly fearful and self-pitying response, by the way!

    You should be very embarrassed.

  111. Consenting adults. It’s the basis for most things.

    I am *disgusted* that you brought pedophilia into this discussion.

  112. Yes, more people get divorced. That doesn’t mean more people *want* to get divorced. How would you feel if that’s exactly how many people realized they didn’t want to be together? Should still make divorce more difficult?

  113. This is wrong. Press can take anything people say on planet out of context and spin it. We should not censor planet based on what we want press to see. We should be standing up for people’s rights to their own opinions and thoughts.

    However, we can decide on scope, and take into account what’s appropriate to be presenting _to each other_. I couldn’t care less what press thinks of this, what matters is how it makes each other feel. If it’s what we want to talk about, then we should talk about it.

    At the time planet was not so huge as it is now. I think I advocated at the time to have mozilla only feeds and let people subscribe to whole blogs if they want to get to know a person better. If not I’d advocate for that now.


    [Note from Gerv: normally, I allow people to say whatever they like on my blog, but this comment and the 11 others like it, totalling 128 pages, were not adding to the discussion in any meaningful sense, and the sheer volume was making the page harder to follow.]

  115. Gerv, this is the most unchristian thing I’ve ever seen come from you.

    A) How government defines marriage has no bearing on how RELIGIONS may define marriage. The religious definition is safe from government definition.

    B) Christ loves all people, and never made any comments about homosexuality at all. To try to keep gay people from attaining equal rights under the government is entirely out of line with Christ’s mission.

    C) Christ forgave those labeled “sinners”, he did not persecute them, nor try to ostracize them from society or keep them from being seen as people. He walked amongst the sick, whores, tax collectors, etc. The parable of the Good Samaritan was about forgiving people who were seen as blood enemies, the lowest of the low, and treating them like you would your brother. This type of behavior is not treating others like your brother.

    In all honesty, by any definition of Christianity that tries to adhere to the teachings of Christ, this is shameful behavior and a sin. I sincerely hope you reflect on Christ’s teachings again, see the error of your ways, and renounce this type of behavior. Even if you don’t agree with or like their “lifestyles” or “behavior”, it is not your place to cast stones, make judgements, nor restrict their lives. In no way does this forward the goal of saving souls, it only hurts your own soul.

  116. This is frustrating. Once again: making an argument involving the word “pedophilia” is not the same as calling anyone a pedophile, or equating homosexuality with pedophilia. Why do people find that so hard to grasp? The entire reason paedophilia is mentioned in this line of argument is that I am sure you are _against_ it, not that I’m calling you one!

    The question again: if you want to extend marriage, where do you draw the line and why? And why are you ‘discriminating’ against the people on the other side of it? How come you get to pull bits of a definition of marriage out of the air (e.g. “two consenting adults”) without having to justify imposing that on a society which may not agree with you?

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  118. Grey: I appreciate you engaging with me on this issue at this level.

    A) is not true, at least in the UK. “Anti-discrimination” laws have already been used to harass and prosecute Christians for not wanting to aid and abet sin. They say that there will be “safeguards” to allow religious organizations to decide who they want to marry; but they also said they wouldn’t try and turn civil partnerships into same-sex marriage. And look where we are.

    B) This article is great on what Jesus did and did not say about homosexuality.

    C) The forgiveness of Christ is available to all – what a wonderful truth! And I’m sure Jesus would have happily associated with gay people. I don’t know where you’ve got the idea that I wouldn’t do the same. (And other people who have sex outside of marriage, which is most people these days!) They don’t need my forgiveness, they need His.

    Can I ask you a wider question in return: do you think Jesus calls all people to repent, believe and live a life of holiness? If so, what does that involve doing and not doing, practically speaking? How does one make that list? How do you distinguish someone who’s doing it from someone who isn’t? (Supporting Bible references appreciated :-)

  119. I understand that respecting what the Bible says is very important to you. I hope you equally frown upon mixed fibers, pork, fish without scales, etc.

    In the Holy Coran, it clearly states that marriage is the union of a man and up to 4 women. You definition is clearly wrong.

  120. I also strongly advise you to follow the French example, have a revolution and separate church and state.

  121. The answer is logic. At this point, I wouldn’t expect you to understand, and I honestly do not mean that as an insult.

  122. Really disappointed to read this, Gerv. One of the things I love most about Mozilla (and Mozillians) is that it’s a community which is respecting and respectful of the beliefs of others, and it saddens me that your beliefs prevent you from being respectful of people’s sexual orientations. Gerv, it’s no secret that you hold some beliefs that I find pretty distasteful, but I hope you have always found that I respect but you and your right to hold them. You’ve always shown me the same respect when we talk about those beliefs. It’s a shame you can’t do the same for others in this case. We’ve both recently been married, and I’m sure that, like us, you’re enjoying the love and support that a committed relationship provides. It kicks my gut that you think that only straight couples should have the right to consider themselves “married.”

  123. gervaise, I somehow landed on your Christianity page, which you link to with th statement that Christianity is “the most important thing in the world” and you say that “the Bible was an accurate historical record of an amazing series of events.”

    You are factually incorrect on both counts, despite your fervent and unshakeable *belief* that you are correct.

    Not that my pointing this out will matter to you at all.

  124. Fundamentalists bore me. I say mind your own business. Many of the 22,000 sects of Christianity disagree with you, why do I care what your 1/20k says about homosexuality? JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED, I say.

  125. Adultery is worse; a total betrayal. I don’t see you offering any petitions to punish people for that. Get off your high horse. You are no more a man of God than any person on this planet.

  126. We draw the line at informed consent.

    Adults can (presumably) understand what they are doing– animals and children cannot. Nor can rocks, or cans of tomato soup.

    And yes, more than two adults can consent to love and cleave onto each other at the very same time. They may not have the legal protection of marriage but it happens quite often.

  127. without having to justify imposing that on a society which may not agree with you?

    Why should society feel imposed on?

    How does what happens between John and Jim impose anything on Bob and Sally?

  128. Who the hell are you to say what’s morally wrong and right? Are you the return of “the Christ”? I doubt it. Take the plank out of your eye before bitching about the mote in another’s.

  129. Encouraging people to recognise their sinful behaviour can sometimes mean not acceding to them calling it by a non-sinful name.


    You can say “I believe that what you are doing is sinful, even if you call it X” but you may not say “I refuse to acknowledge that according to your precepts, you are doing X”. If you will not allow your opponents to define their own precepts, you are not debating

    Descending from philosophy, the state is obliged to stay out of arguments over what is or is not sinful (because letting the state into those arguments got us the Thirty Years War, and we’re not doing that again). Therefore, in particular, there being no valid non-religious argument against same-sex marriage, the state is obliged to accept same-sex marriage. By that name.

  130. The truncated sentence at the end of the first paragraph should read

    If you will not allow your opponents to define their own precepts, you are not debating in good faith.

  131. From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

    Article 16:

    “(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”

    Notice how it doesn’t say a man and a woman. Notice how it isn’t even _singular_, since in fact polygamy is quite traditional in many cultures of the world.

    Of course, this is backed up by Article 2:

    “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status […]”

    Marriage is defined as a fundamental human right. Not civil parternships. Not tax breaks or government recognition. Marriage.

    Now I assume plenty of people question the authority of the UDHR (and why not?) but the absurd position that people are on some newly born crusade to radically redefine the reality of the term ‘Marriage’ as a legitimate reason for taking action is simply not based in reality itself.

  132. No, they would not. Because the big problem with all of your points so far is that you want YOUR view to be visited on everyone else. Regardless of THEIR beliefs.

  133. Moreover i am disappointed at your cowardice. You have been ignoring any argument of substance in favor of the few strawmen you yourself can come up with.

  134. Murder used to be a popular way out of an unwanted marriage– untill your own Henry VIII left Rome behind.

  135. The only thing that article says is what we all know– that there are no words ascribed to Jesus Christ about homosexuality at all.

    Nothing. Not in favor, and most certainly, not against.

    It’s a big long list of “well, he didn’t say this, but he WOULD have if I had been there to ask him, so I’m going to put these words in his mouth for him.”
    That article does your side no good at all, it’s embarrassing.

  136. To make things clear:

    1. Hi wondered how it would be received in a community of quite a lot of outspoken ant-conservatives.

    2. I remained relatively quiet about my own convictions in order to not draw attention from the main point I was trying to make, but now that you’ve dismissed conservatives it might be helpful to know that I am one of them. (Still trying to use the word as neutral as possible, which is perhaps not doable in a US-centric context where conservatism = bigotry according to how its is presenrted in media.) If I lived in the UK I might have signed the petition. (I have not enough insight into UK law to make a completely informed decision, from my safe sideline.)

    3. I have however, met, tutored and/or fellow shipped with quite a number of non-heterosexuals as well as heterosexuals who for different reasons have not been able to find a mate. I have walked alongside a few of those in their struggles and I am keenly aware about both internal and external hardships.

    In such encounters I have rarely been accused of not being emphatic. Never have I been accused of being hostile or not doing my job, even when I had a student wanting to do a “rainbow” website.

    Empathy and sympathy, however are not the same thing. It is still possible to share somebody’s pain, while disagreeing with the life choices he or she is making.

    4. I have quite a few friends who like me have shared in the life of non-heterosexuals, empathizing but not sympathizing.
    It is possible and can be rewarding for both parties, Fellowship being bound together by something stronger than the need to be stroked can be very dynamic indeed.

  137. “…… to the exclusion of all others.
    Most if not all marriages should be annulled because even having impure thoughts towards other is not condoned by the churches.
    If you don’t exclude religion from the term marriage… Then maybe put on a berka. to save it…..seriously ;)

  138. “Gerv is saying that the fundamental human desire for mateship and happiness is something that a significant percentage of humans do not deserve.”

    No. He’s not saying that. You can continue to see words where there are none but you lose credibility when you do so.

  139. The press reads the newsgroups and IRC. I don’t think that a press member reading a newsgroup post from an official Module Owner like Robert O’Callahan, run off to claim that Mozilla officially supports Evangelical Christianity. I don’t think that a press member reading an IRC conversation where I call Daniel Glazman an asshole, run off to claim that Mozilla officially hates French people.

    And even if they did, I don’t think re-architecting our community forums around what the press does is wise or sustainable.

    – A

  140. It’s not an unwritten policy. It’s not well publicized, but it’s in the Governance newsgroup. We accept full content feeds from community members and we encourage feeds that contain work and personal content. That’s what we set up 5 years ago when we created the Planet Module and the Governance newsgroup has a permanent record of that.

  141. “You are wrong :-) The husband does not ‘own’ the wife in the Bible. Why not read Ephesians chapter 5 and see what it does say?

    If you think Christians will be free not to acknowledge the marriage licenses given out, then you aren’t familiar with the UK’s so-called “anti-discrimination” legislation. Christians have already been sued for making distinctions between marriage and civil partnership.”

    It must be fun to dance around the bible pulling out quotes here and there to fluff up your personal understanding of what you personally think GOD has commanded you to preach in his name.
    How about christians suing other christians on the same subject.
    Preaching should be nothing more than attempting to quote verbatim as you consider gospels from various sources most of which was personal or in conflict
    to those that claim to have been spoken to by GOD.
    There is a graph and text to explain how the gospel hierarchy should be followed by so called christians.
    Being able to make sense of GOD’s will (mostly conflicting quotes of goobledy gook) from a starting point of MARK LUKE AND MATTHEW is about as far as one sane persons reasoning can stretch.
    The ability for some to think that GOD’s true intention of marriage was actually written and QUOTABLE in the bible is crap. How you think you know it and can attempt to preach it ,without having adopted other christian interpretations, excluding further gospel hierarchy’s such as original gospels coming from the jewish bible first, you still consider that plucking aimless at a book allows you some privilage over people when it comes to Marriage and how it has come to be defined (and will continue to be defined).
    Your religious content and reasoning for defining marriage as christian only interpretation is a poor dim argument for justification for this thread.

  142. A) So by permitting civil unions, this would somehow alter the way the Church is permitted to manage it’s religious affairs? That sounds more like a problem with having an official State religion than attempting to pave the way for equal rights. Those rights in no way aid or abet sin, as no one is asking you to perform any acts you find sinful. However, Christ would ask you not to judge, and instead to attempt to bring Christ to those people by allowing them to marry, and let Him show them any error of their ways. It is not our place to judge.

    B) Admitting Jesus said nothing about it does not leave the door open to bring in Leviticus through the back door. There is a lot of contradiction in the bible that Christians are called upon directly to take the Gospels as the superseding law. He explicitly brought a new covenant with God, and when in doubt, He is to be followed above the Old Testament. Further, God gave us wonderful, incredibly powerful brains, and to not use them to see that perpetuating inequality and hatred in His name is shameful. It is, again, NOT our place to judge.

    C) The fact that you wish to deny them equal rights, not special rights, says that you view them differently, that you are judging them in direct defiance with Christ’s actions, words, and example. For one man to deny another man God’s graces for any reason is shameful. That is replacing God’s judgement with your own. What if by requesting to be wed, that is how God is trying to bring them closer? Further, without any clear proof that being gay is a sin UNDER CHRIST, not the old ways which were set aside by Christ, acting in defiance of his example is in itself sinful.

    To live like Christ is simple, do as he did to the extent you can. Be kind to your fellow men, do not judge them, nor refuse them kindness due to differences you feel are “sinful”. No good Jew in the first century would think it against God’s will to help a Samaritan, yet Jesus showed it was his will be to kind even to those we hate and find deplorable.

    Lastly, if we’re going to follow Leviticus, it is time to stop being hypocrites and follow the whole damned thing. It’s time to stone rape victims, or give them to their rapists, it’s time to remove all women from positions where they hold power over men, and from all teaching positions, rescind their voting rights, and place them back in their proper position as property of their men. It’s time to stop eating forbidden foods, stop wearing multiple types of cloth, etc. I don’t recall Jesus saying anything about poly/cotton blends being OK or not OK, so we should either toss it all out in favor of his new example, or stick to it all. One does not cherry pick things like that.

  143. Why, Boriss? Gerv isn’t being disrespectful. He’d disagreeing politically. At worst he doesn’t want certain privileges and financial benefits that come with marriage to go to homosexuals. I disagree with him but he’s not particularly a monster.

  144. But no one will think of Gerv’s views when posting pro-same-sex marriage content. This is just an instance of who gets more offended dictates the conversation. I’m liberal. I think allowing same-sex marriage is a no-brainer. So does most of Mozilla. I don’t see why conservative Gerv should have to censor himself for “good taste” while everyone else can say things that might offend Gerv.

  145. In other news, Firefox 11 will be delayed by 2 weeks as we all argue with Gerv.

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  147. I would have never even known this post existed if it were not for the vocal intolerance the community shows towards Gerv’s semantic preference. The shrill flaming, knee-jerk reactions and blatant shouting down of a cautiously stated opposing viewpoint are far more prominant and unwelcoming than the viewpoint itself.

    Witnessing so many people I have observed and admired for their dedication to Mozilla turn on one of their own is deeply disappointing to me.

  148. Boriss: I have always found my conversations with you to be respectful, and I hope they will continue to be so. I count you as a friend, and hope to have the privilege to continue to do so. I strive always to treat everyone with respect – we are all made in the image of God.

    But what does it mean to “treat a belief with respect”, if it doesn’t mean having to agree with it? Does it mean not saying “that’s a terrible/stupid/wicked idea”? If so, where in my post above did I say anything like that? And anyway, why should some ideas have protection from criticism? Criticising someone’s ideas, beliefs or views is not the same thing as not showing them respect as a person.

    You’ve also said I’m not “respectful of people’s sexual orientations”. What does that mean, if it doesn’t mean having to agree with them on the morality or otherwise of their actions? Is there room in the Mozilla community for different opinions about the morality of certain things, or not? Are there some opinions it’s forbidden to hold?

  149. This, absolutely! “The government does not have the power or authority to redefine words” is a soundbite that’s somewhat relevant to the American political scene, it makes no sense in the UK context. Obviously parliament has the power to change the laws which define marriage as a legal institution! When the marriage service says “Marriage, according to the laws of this country, is the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life,” that definition comes precisely from a law that was voted on by Parliament. So it completely goes without saying that Parliament may vote to change that law!

    Fine, you’re exercising your democratic right to tell the government that you don’t think they should make such a change. I’m all for active political participation like this. But that’s not because they don’t have the authority to make the change, it’s because you believe they would be morally wrong to do so.

  150. +1 I have a Mozilla-only feed for Planet posts. No one needs to see all my random posts about food and games and other irrelevant nonsense :)

    I agree with the folks calling for Mozilla-related-only content on Planet.

  151. I haven’t signed either the gender-specific marriage petition or the equal marriage one. I don’t really agree with either position, and it’s also not my top priority political issue. I do want to say that I think you, and Lilico especially, are arguing for a very dangerous political approach: you’re handing over to the government the authority to tell you how to interpret the Bible. That’s much worse than ceding the authority to “redefine words!” I really don’t think that’s a route that you, as a Christian from a fairly minority stream within the UK context, want to go down.

    Apart from the examples that others have given about Christian denominations who may want to marry same-sex couples within their churches, there’s a case going on at the moment where a Christian trans woman is fighting against a government-ordered divorce. She married her wife when she was living as a man, underwent gender transition, and wants to stay married because her interpretation of the Bible is that Jesus forbids divorce except in the case of adultery. She doesn’t regard herself as a lesbian, she regards herself as a person who made a binding commitment to her wife when she got married, a commitment that she can’t now change just because her life circumstances have changed since then. But the government won’t recognize her as legally female unless she divorces her wife and then gets a civil partnership with her.

    You might not agree with this woman’s interpretation of the Bible, you might think it’s a worse sin to be in an effectively homosexual relationship than it is to break your marriage vows. But either way, I don’t think it should be up to the government to decide on this tricky theological matter!

  152. Eww, Gerv.

    I wouldn’t have to explain to you why playing fart games in elevators is unworthy of decent adults, and likewise I’m not planning to get into this argument, because what you’re saying is a lot like the social equivalent of playing fart games in elevators. I’m disappointed in you.

  153. Because most members of the LGBT community see this as Gerv demanding that they be considered second class citizens. Those “privileges” that heterosexuals get are not inherent to their heterosexualness except as enshrined by current law, with its history of abuse and arrest of homosexuals. Consider Alan Turing or Oscar Wilde if you want examples of people whose lives have been legally destroyed for being queer.

  154. I think you deeply misunderstand Matthew 7:1 (“Judge not…”) here is a good article on the appropriate way to understand that verse in its context.

    There’s a lovely quote in that article: “Living harmoniously with people who hold radically different views is a hallmark of maturity.” Amen to that.

    Also, you keep talking about “Leviticus” – can you point to where in these blog comments I’ve argued from Leviticus? If you can’t, please remove your straw men. I did mention Romans 1 (if you are looking for a post-Christ Biblical passage about homosexual practice).

  155. >The easier you make divorces, the less stable marriages are; it’s currently too easy in the UK to get one.<

    That's not true. Here in Germany, divorces are very easy and not a big burden on married people.

    While it's true that divorce rates rise, they rise very slowly. Also, people stay together much longer today compared to ten years ago.

    Note that we're on a good (but unfortunately slow) way to open marriage to gay people (which is the only way here to stop discrimination between marriage and civil partnership, currently consisting of a few dozen laws). So there doesn't seem to be a negative effect.

  156. I personally am a strong advocate of gay rights and marriage equality. However, I have strong respect for the depths of Gerv’s convictions and his loyalty to his beliefs. Even though I don’t share the same perspective, I don’t see anything wrong with how he chose to express himself. I also don’t see why people have their panties in a giant wad to the point of using Reductio Ad Hitlerum toward those who refuse to censor him in keeping with Planet Mozilla’s policy of openness to all perspectives.

    Seriously, people, haven’t you got more important things to do? So you don’t agree. Whoopitty doo. Move along. Do your jobs. Take care of your loved ones. My Firefox is awesome but it’s still full of bugs. Go fix them. And get over yourselves.

  157. You should learn the difference between parliament and government. Really, this means separation of powers, Montesquieu, etc.

  158. Let me clarify: by respecting others, I mean treating them as equals who are worthy of civil rights. The petition you link to, as Al notes above, is a movement to ensure that gays and their relationships are second-class to straight people and straight relationships. You would prevent gays from using the socially-accepted term of “marriage,” thus putting gays and gay relationships in a less preferred, inferior status to straights. While this alone is lamentable for gays who’d like to marry, the movement is harmful for more than what it does to marriage. You’re putting gays as a group societally accepted second-class status as a group when you say that rights like marriage are reserved for the cisgendered only.

    While you have a right to have and voice your personal opinion, I consider the distinction between “proper marriages” and “their relationships” to show utter disregard for the humanity and lives of others. I don’t think this view reflects the Mozilla community overall.

  159. You quote the UDHR:

    “(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”

    and then note how “it doesn’t say a man and a woman”, as if that omission implies that “marriage” could be something else.

    But this article is written in English; so let’s look in an English dictionary to find out what “marriage” means. I tried several….

    * “state of being husband and wife” – so we’ll need to check the associated definitions of “husband” (“a married man; a woman’s partner in marriage”) and “wife” (“a married woman; a man’s partner in marriage”);

    * “the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife”;

    * “the act of marrying, or the state of being married; legal union of a man and a woman for life, as husband and wife; wedlock; matrimony”;

    * “the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.”

    It’s interesting to note that a recent edition of one of these dictionaries has added a secondary meaning:

    * “a similar institution involving partners of the same gender: _gay marriage_”

    So it appears that some people _are_ “on [a] crusade to radically redefine the reality of the term ‘Marriage’”, and have begun to make inroads at least in some circles. And I think it is entirely reasonable – and not at all tantamount to “bigotry” or “hate speech” or “homophobia” – if other people object to significant words in their language being deliberately redefined to further the political agenda of a particular group.

    After all, if we’re going to redefine the very words used in the UDHR when they don’t suit our personal view, then each of us can make it mean whatever we’d like it to mean. Is that really how the framers intended it to be used?

  160. I do treat gay people as equals who are worthy of civil rights (leaving aside for a moment all the problems with that term in general, which would be another very long discussion). However, I don’t agree that just because someone calls something a civil right, that makes it one. The bounds of the disagreement I have with you (and Al) over the contents of the above post is that I don’t think it’s a civil right to be able to label a relationship “marriage”.

    “I don’t think this view reflects the Mozilla community overall.”

    From the past few days of discussion, that’s probably true. (Although if proponents of one side were afraid to speak up, which side do you think it would be?) However, I’m sure many people within Mozilla hold non-majority views on controversial topics. What is your conclusion from that observation? That such non-majority views should not be expressed in places where Mozillians gather?

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  162. “Marriage began in Genesis 2.”

    You do realize that you’re trying to support a public policy position that has a practical impact on the personal lives of thousands and thousands of people with an argument from mythology, right?

  163. We could disagree ’till the cows come home about gay marriage itself, since your objection (as you’ve stated it in comments here, not in the post itself) is a religious one. While I’m glad we have diversity of opinions at Mozilla, I’m particularly glad that yours in this matter is so clearly in the minority. ;)

  164. “And how would you define ‘adultery’ in world where same-sex marriage is legal?”

    I’m having a really hard time reading this as an honest question and not an exercise in debate-club sophistry at the expense of a class of people who’ve had more than enough shit to deal with already.

    You’re wasting your time with this kind of backwards, tortured reasoning when you could just be happy for your neighbours falling in love and getting married. The world’s full of all kinds of different people, and here you are demanding that they be made to act exactly like you — all the while denying that you are. “Why sir, you are free to marry whomever you choose, as long as it’s a woman! Hyuk, hyuk!”

    Yeah, we see what you did there.

  165. Did I say anything about “falling in love and getting married”? This is about redefining our language. The effort by a particular group to force English-speaking society as a whole to redefine a word – and not just any word, but one that is pretty significant within our social and cultural structures – to suit its purposes is a political agenda, yes. (Read any Orwell lately?)

    Same-sex couples are, of course, free to use any word they like to refer to their relationship. Just as you’re welcome to refer to your mansion as a “cottage” and your bicycle as a “limousine”, if you wish – or vice versa. But don’t demand that society in general – or legal contracts – should redefine the words they use just because you’d prefer them to mean something different.

    UK law recognizes that same-sex couples may wish to enter into a formal relationship that parallels the (heterosexual) marriage relationship. It allows them to do so, and nowadays grants them the same rights (which was not always the case, of course). But that doesn’t change what the word “marriage” means – and those relationships fall outside that meaning, as I understand it. They _are_ different, for reasons of fundamental biology if nothing else, and having a word that denotes one of the relationships and not the other is perfectly reasonable.

    So if you – or anyone – wish to be part of a same-sex union, fine (from a legal point of view). And we won’t discriminate against you because of it; that would be wrong (as well as illegal). But don’t demand of society as a whole that we must call that – formally, legally, contractually – a “marriage”, because that word has a specific meaning involving “a man and a woman”. I don’t believe same-sex couples have a “human right” to have their relationship formally termed “marriage”, any more than my cat has a feline right to henceforward be termed a “dog”.

  166. It amazes me how many people still believe in fairy tales….lol god….lol jesus.


  167. “Did I say anything about ‘falling in love and getting married’?”

    It’s exactly what you’re insisting that people not be allowed to do! Couples all over the place want to say that they’re married, and you’re making it your business to insist that they be made to call it something else.

    “But don’t demand that society in general – or legal contracts – should redefine the words…”

    What do you mean by including “legal contracts” in your phrase, here? Later, you seem to be saying that people in civil unions shouldn’t be treated differently than married people:

    “…we won’t discriminate against you because of it; that would be wrong…”

    But by bringing contracts into it, I wonder if you’re really saying that things like employment benefits, health insurance, and law and policy surrounding inheritance should exclude people in civil unions from rights, powers, status, and privileges afforded people in opposite-sex marriages.

    “…having a word that denotes one of the relationships and not the other is perfectly reasonable.”

    It’s reasonable as long as you’re trying to distinguish between the relationships that you like and the relationships that you wish didn’t exist.

    You and Gerv read to me as people who’re more concerned with their dictionaries than with treating people equally in society. If I claimed not to be discriminating against your cat, but insisted that you only ever call it a “non-dog pet,” how long would it take you to decide that I was either bonkers or malicious?

  168. But by bringing contracts into it, I wonder if you’re really saying that things like employment benefits, health insurance, and law and policy surrounding inheritance should exclude people in civil unions from rights, powers, status, and privileges afforded people in opposite-sex marriages.

    I find it incredible that you can read Jonathan’s post and come to this conclusion, given that it says “And we won’t discriminate against you because of it; that would be wrong (as well as illegal).” It makes me think you are attributing to him a position he doesn’t hold in order to make him easier to argue with.


  169. He brought up contractual language, and that, combined with your own picky insistence on the exact wording of legal definitions, led me to wonder whether his statements were inadvertently contradictory or, in a weaselly way, perfectly consistent.

    For example, if an employment contract or collective agreement includes language giving an employee some amount of time off to get married, then, according to a dictionary-based view of the world, an employee does not in fact have a right to to that same amount of time off to “get civilly united.” Thus, even though you guys insist that there’s no discrimination and the terms are legally equivalent, they actually aren’t.

    Perhaps this isn’t a consequence that he favours or foresees, but the dots that I’ve connected are his.

  170. What about the homosexual people who sincerely want to stop sinning but are unable to stop their innate urges? Has God abandoned them? Must they be damned to hell for eternity for something they could not help?

    If God is good, then he’s not anti-homosexual.

  171. We are all sinners, and are all tempted to do things God says are wrong. Lying, cheating, slandering, unrighteous anger… Do you put having-sex-outside-of-marriage urges in a different category to those other things, such that God by his Spirit is unable to help us resist those particular temptations?

  172. I do not think that lying/cheating/anger/etc. are part of who someone is. They are temptations and weaknesses that can be overcome by choice and prayer.

    Sexuality is something you are born with. It would be like God being against people born with a disability (not that homosexuality is a disability – it’s just something innate that cannot be chosen). If scripture said that being heterosexual was a sin, would you be able to resist it? I would not, it is part of me.

  173. Leviticus is the most common source of anti-homosexual arguments. However,if you’re truly going to argue Christianity should be against homosexuality, show me where Christ argued against it. He didn’t, as you admitted.

    As for straw men, you should also not try to argue that legalizing gay marriage paves the way to pedophilia or bestiality. THAT is a straw man argument. Pedophilia and bestiality are nothing like homosexuality any more than rape is the same as sex. Homosexuality is between two consenting adults who are not impacting the lives of anyone else. Pedophilia is between an adult and a child, who most societies feel are in need of protection due to their inability to make an informed decision due to their youth an inexperience. The age at which societies allow children to make those choices varies, as there are varying opinions on when someone is old enough to have informed consent. However, no society defends sexual relationships between adults and young children. We actively prevent harm to other people, that is why pedophilia is illegal. Animals cannot consent to a sexual relationship because they don’t have the same level of intelligence as humans.

    There was a time when relationships between races was illegal. There was a time when women had no right to consent to relationships. Homosexual relationships are no different.

    As for misunderstanding Matthew 7:1, I fundamentally disagree that I misunderstand it. I feel it is clear as a bell. Further, a multi-page article telling people how to read 5 lines of verse is insulting, and smacks of a slanted agenda. In fact, I would argue it is you who misunderstand it. Let me explain:

    “Most people called it a “marriage” when Britney Spears was “married” for 55 hours in 2004. So it’s not as though we are desperately protective of the term!”

    And yet granting that term to gays is seen as an affront. I didn’t hear anywhere close to the level of uproar over Elizabeth Taylor, Larry King, Britney Spears, or Kim Kardashian. This is the plank Jesus spoke of, and by complaining gay people will somehow redefine marriage is the speck in your brother’s eye. Allowing two gay people to marry when they love each other as much as any straight couple can in no way actually change the definition when such shams of matrimony as a 55 hour joke or a 72 day stunt for a payday are not cause for more outrage.

    “So, no matter what you call it, a gay marriage will always be a “gay marriage” and a straight marriage will always be something different.”

    This is wrong and insulting. A marriage is either a civil union of two people into a legally recognized relationship, or a religious ceremony to the same end. In both people are married before any such “consummation” takes place, and since virtually no one has proof of such consummation, and never has such proof ever been required, the other argument that marriage is defined my the “mechanical” act of vaginal intercourse is also a straw man. Anyone I’ve ever met who requires such an act be termed “consummation” would be far too prudish to mention penises and vaginas. Further, I can guarantee there are millions of marriages around the world where sex never happens, yet no one tries to nullify those marriages. Allowing marriages to gay couples wouldn’t require removing consummation, it would simply require people to accept the fact that the physical act itself is slightly different, and in fact the very same act that a heterosexual couple can (and does!) engage in as well. The question comes down to, “did they have sex?” and the answer is yes. No one really cares where the penis goes. Further, no one really cares is sex was had, that’s simply a legal fiction invented long ago by men looking for ways out of marriages they didn’t like (the very same situation that led to the creation of the Anglican church).

    “But on the other side, there seems so little point to me in renaming the gay marriages legally termed “civil partnership” anything else that even the tiniest quibble is probably sufficient to make it not worth doing.”

    Then why fight so hard against it? It really does NOT affect heterosexual marriages at all, any more than allowing blacks and whites to marry did.

    Those are all stray man arguments. So in the end, you have no genuine argument against gay marriage. either you are talking about my speck and ignoring your plank, or you’re relying on pedantry and twisted legal fictions to defend a non-existent religious argument.

    The legal argument is specious. The religious argument is antithetical to Christ’s message. Please don’t fall in with hatemongers. You’re better than that.

  174. David: can you help me understand more clearly your distinction between things which are “who someone is” and things which aren’t? Which of the following feelings would you say can be overcome by choice and prayer, and which must be acknowledged and accepted as valid and right?

    – Desire to lie
    – Desire to murder
    – Desire to have sexual congress while not married
    – Desire to have sexual congress with a third person while married
    – Attraction to, and a desire to marry and then have sexual congress with, one’s opposite-sex sibling
    – Attraction to, and a desire to marry and then have sexual congress with, more than one person of the opposite sex
    – Attraction to and a desire to have sexual congress with someone of the same sex
    – Attraction to, and a desire to marry (assume that this is possible in law) and then have sexual congress with someone of the same sex

  175. So are you saying that Christians should only be against things that Jesus is recorded as having specifically argued against? I can’t find Jesus arguing against rape… but I’m sure both you and I would be against it.

    Also, if the other bits of the New Testament are unreliable as a source for Christian doctrine, what makes you personally confident of the bits where Jesus is recorded as speaking?

    As for straw men, you should also not try to argue that legalizing gay marriage paves the way to pedophilia or bestiality.

    In hindsight, perhaps I picked unnecessarily-inflammatory examples. Incest and polygamy would serve just as well. My point: the arguments I see people using in favour of widening the definition of marriage could just as well be used to widen it still further. If you are not in favour of these things, how do you argue against such further widening? And where is your source of authority for doing so?

    Further, a multi-page article telling people how to read 5 lines of verse is insulting, and smacks of a slanted agenda.

    What length of discussion about a verse or verses would you consider on its merits, before its length invalidates it?

    You say that Matthew 7:1 says that we should not judge. I must say I do feel rather judged as you come and tell me that my views are very wrong. How does Matthew 7:1, by your understanding, not apply to you in the discussion we are now having?

    A marriage is either a civil union of two people into a legally recognized relationship, or a religious ceremony to the same end.

    This is argument by assertion – you begin with what you seek to prove. A marriage is, or should be, much more than that. Some marriages are very poor examples of the form – and you have named some of them. But the fact that poor examples of something exist does not by itself make the concept unreasonable.

  176. To the author…Who are you to KNOW of what God does or does not approve? While there are things within the Old and New Testament that speak to this, who are you to ASSUME all things are written there?

    Do not be so foolish as to limit God nor the infinite wonders of this universe.

  177. I’m not that eager to get dragged into the topic here, although my sympathies are profoundly with Gerv, and against an agenda that cannot accept diversity of opinion being pleasantly expressed on various topics.

    That aside – in the GNOME community, we had some of this sort of noise in the past, and from what I recall this resulted in two changes:

    * First appending this text:

    “Planet GNOME automatically reposts blog entries from the GNOME community. Entries on this page are owned by their authors. We do not edit, endorse or vouch for the contents of individual posts.”

    to the planet page to ensure that there is no confusion about who is saying what. This is said by individuals.

    * Second – a way for individual readers to disable other people’s feeds when they read them via the web-page (cf. the ‘feeds’ expander at the bottom) cf.
    That allows people who really can’t cope with interacting with people with profoundly different views on a topic to simply not see those views.

    Hope that helps, personally I like to know everyone’s view regardless of it’s eccentricity, and I like exploring different ideas.

  178. You can no more marry any other person you want regardless of gender, than you can impregnate any person you want regardless of gender. A word other than marriage is required because homosexual coupling is a different thing with no notion of procreation, the central reason for the existence of marriage. Therefore I present my proposal for a new word; Pairage: The lifetime monogamous loving commitment of two people of the same gender to one another.

  179. “…procreation, the central reason for the existence of marriage.”

    Rubbish, it’s love. Unless you want to invalidate the marriages of all childless couples, of course.

  180. I have been conducting Humanist gay weddings for 16 years. This commitment of a couple who love each other to the exclusion of others stated publicly in a ceremony witnessed by family and friends is what constitutes a wedding/marriage ceremony.

    Those who refuse to accept this and the impending change in the law for equality and humanity are mostly homophobic reactionary bigots and I agree with Rev Giles- rent-a-trendy-vicar- Fraser on this.

    I had the privilege of taking the first gay wedding ceremony at City hall in 2002. When I am arranging a wedding ceremony with a couple I always ask WHY they are getting married apart from the obvious that they love each other and want to make a public commitment witnessed by family and friends. For one couple it was because one was an American whose parents had recently died, for another couple it was because they wanted to move up north to take care of an elderly mother of one of them. For another couple who didn’t have witnesses becuase of hostility from their families it was for their need to have a ceremony conducted by someone who understood and empathised with them and wanted me to be witness to their joint mortgage papers.

    I am now conducting weddings for couples who have been together for decades and are grandparents for reasons of next-of-kin, pension rights, inheritance tax etc. This should equally apply to gay couples. I conducted a lovely wedding ceremony for a lesbian couple who had been legally married in South Africa but wanted a wedding ceremony witnessed by family and friends in the UK. However my sister and her parneter in Britain have been given the second class treatment and been merely ‘civilled’.
    I am taking a funeral for the partner of a gay man next week who is in his sixties and who fortunately had a ‘civil partnership’. Lets do the right thing and treat their love and commitment as equal to and deserving of our respect as that of any heterosexual couple.

    There is nothing precious or special about the love and commitment of heterosexual couples compared to gay people. Lets celebrate sexual love and families in their various forms whether through step families, adoption or childless. Three cheers for love and marriage.

  181. This commitment of a couple who love each other to the exclusion of others stated publicly in a ceremony witnessed by family and friends is what constitutes a wedding/marriage ceremony.

    You are conflating the ceremony and the institution. If we assume you mean the institution, then my question is: where did you get this definition of what a marriage is, and why should other people accept it?

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