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October 29, 2008



I don't think you needed either Melanie Phillips or research papers to have known that: common sense might have got you most of the way.

john b

The point is, 'common sense' in policymaking usually translates to 'reactionary Mel P nonsense that's not backed up by any evidence' (e.g. prison works, minimum wages cost jobs, immigrants are bad for society, gays are paedophiles, etc).

These studies are interesting precisely because they're an unusual example of 'common sense' not being wrong.


Heterosexual marriage is less oppressive than same-sex unions.

Did it require confirmation?


You seem to have omitted an important detail from your description of the Sonia Orrefice paper. The paper appears to show that heterosexual marriage is less oppressive than same-sex or heterosexual co-habiting. This could be read to support the idea that same-sex couples should be able to get married as this will lead to less oppressive relationships.

Chris Williams

What James said. If Orrefice (a surname last heard in the Rowan Atkinson 'Register' sketch) is right, then the factors that produce inequality in relationships will be present to the same extent in same-sex cohabitation. Same-sex marriage, by codifying the rights of both partners, is thus likely to lead to a lessening of inequality. Perhaps. It would be worth a look, though.

Certainly there's nothing in this research which implies that legally recognising more same-sex relationships increases inequality, so long as we make the reasonable assumption that same-sex cohabitation is going to happen anyway.


It seems to me that the lesson of point three is Moslems need to plan their pregnancies carefully.

Chris Williams

With regard to number three, there's a lot of fatwa about which says: "Don't fast if you're ill or it will hurt you." I would predict that some of it is likely to reflect this finding once it's confirmed.

Being as Sunni Islam lacks a Pope right now, of course there's also quite a bit of fatwa that says "Fast!" - but if I were to look hard enough I could probably find enough mad Christian fasters to register damage on a survey. Hmm. . . the effects of Lent ought to be traceable if there are any - has anyone ever looked?

Dave Weeden

Chris, I really can't see your point @ 1. Who is supposed to claim that same-sex marriages represent 'an oasis of equality' between the partners? It's not about equality or otherwise in the relationships: it's about equal rights for gays and lesbians. I'm also not really clued up about the richer/poorer partner thing. One partner will very likely earn more; the point about *marriage* is that the vows are supposed to be declarations of future equality. However, it seems to be less of an issue if - as is generally the case - people marry others who roughly match them in attractiveness, intelligence, age, and income.

Anyway, Mad Mel's objections seem to be grounded in the unnaturalness of homosexuality and have little to do with equality.

Divorce may be bad for women. As novels like 'Anna Karenina' show (if novels can show anything, of course), no divorce can be catastrophic for women. Call me a moral relativist all you like, but I prefer lesser evils.

As for 3, Mel doesn't complain that Islam results in malnutured babies: she thinks it produces terrorists who want to cut off heads. Well, so does every other fanatical system, although the methods of disposing of apostates vary.

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