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Conservatives 'should be glad' gays want to marry
Photo: DPA

Conservatives 'should be glad' gays want to marry

Published: 12 Feb 2013 07:31 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Feb 2013 07:31 GMT+01:00

Conservatives should be glad when gay and lesbian couples want to get married, says Der Tagesspiegel's Malte Lehming, as it strengthens tradition. The UK has paved the way on gay marriage and Germany must now follow suit.

"Gay marriage" is a concept made up of two terms. Those focusing only on the first half - whether in sympathy or hostility - ignore the essential part, which is the marriage.

That's because the struggle for gay marriage is also a struggle for marriage itself; for the life-long promise between two people to stick together, through thick and thin, in good times as in bad, until death parts them.

The root of this commitment is often love, but it also goes beyond love. The promise to stick together is founded in emotion but love alone cannot guarantee a marriage will work out.

By getting married, two people have decided on the future without being able to see into it. Nobody knows what he or she will feel for their partner twenty years down the line, but every bride or groom intends to still be with their spouses at that point.

And that is an undertaking based on work, respect, understanding, compromise and self-denial. Many people call these qualities conservative, or at least they fit well into a conservative worldview.

So its only surprising at first glance that it was a Conservative-led House of Commons that voted to allow same sex marriage in Britain.

Prime Minister David Cameron explicitly came out in support of the bill, which he said would make "society stronger."

Although Cameron's Tories were split on the issue, the Liberal Democrats and MPs from the opposition Labour Party voted almost unanimously in favour and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was passed on Feb 5.

In Germany, where in place of gay marriage there is only registered civil partnership, a vote in the Bundestag lower house of parliament would see a similar result.

Across the western world, including in the United States, full acceptance of homosexuals is now the majority view. President Barack Obama supported gay marriage - and won re-election.

Whether in liberal Scandinavia or Catholic-influenced Spain and Portugal; South Africa, Canada, Iceland or Argentina, allowing same sex couples to marry is seen as a law of equality and emancipation.

Young people especially no longer care whether someone is straight or gay. While the fight against homophobia is not quite yet won, backward-looking ideologies are on the defensive.

Those old reflexes against gay marriage are not only anachronistic, they cling to tradition and seek to narrow horizons.

Instead of being glad that gay and lesbian couples want to venture into marriage, commit to one another and take responsibility for each other, these critics continue to put up redundant barriers.

The unfamiliar realm of same sex relationships, which are still perceived as threatening, obscures what is excellent about the institution of marriage.

Marriage gets particular protection under the German constitution, which has led to tax and pension laws favouring married couples.

The state promotes the marriage model and prefers it above other forms of relationships. For marriage is a also a relationship of liability and responsibility. In an ageing society the promise to stick together could quite easily last fifty or sixty years.

It's true that one third of all marriages in Germany fail. But that also means that two thirds stay together until the end. Marriage is alive and well and reports of commitment fears spreading in society are over-exaggerated.

Over 80 percent of all couples are married, despite increased mobility and changes in attitudes towards single life.

David Cameron has paved the way by saying, "I do" to gay marriage. Chancellor Angela Merkel should quickly follow suit.

This commentary was published with the kind permission of Tagesspiegel, where it originally appeared in German. Translation by The Local.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:31 February 12, 2013 by Sastry.M
Ask the British who voted 'yes' to Gay and Lesbian marriages to Gazette, to take the lead into the continent for full E.U acceptance including the Euro for a more wider range and variety of membership into their newly acquired Institution modern Marriage.
11:13 February 12, 2013 by rosenthalenglish
Amazing how the large majority of people in the UK were against this.Cameron forced it on them.It was not in any manifesto of any party at the last election.
13:33 February 12, 2013 by ichbines
Sometimes you have to force the unwilling to do the right thing. If this had not been done in America slave ownership would still be legal. Children are forced to behave until they learn that it is the right thing to do.
15:57 February 12, 2013 by auslanderus
It will never be right to allow gays to marry now or ever. Why not allow men make love to children, you say no way so why is ok for gays to marry? two wrongs don't make a right. I will never vote for gay marriage. Wrong is wrong, period. Now I can wait for the gay lovers to call me crazy.But then who is the crazy one?
16:42 February 12, 2013 by Englishted
@ auslanderus

To equate homosexuality with pedophilia is insulting, stupid and wrong.

Equally strange is to equate gay marriage with joining the €uro?
18:32 February 12, 2013 by raandy
auslanderus hey come on, this is not 1950, the world we live in has changed. If you do not cause trouble and pay taxes than its OK as long as you live with in the laws.

You are pontificating about a lost cause.Take two aspirin and think about it tomorrow.
20:34 February 12, 2013 by ovalle3.14
auslanderus = troll
00:50 February 13, 2013 by mitanni
@auslanderus "Wrong is wrong, period."

There are many "wrong" things people do; I suspect you yourself practice many of them. However, living in a modern society means that we tolerate that.

If social conservatives and the Catholic church want a political fight of this, don't hold back. You'll find yourself on the losing end of this debate-objectively, morally, and politically. So, please go ahead: the sooner you people self-destruct, the better, as far as I'm concerned.
05:29 February 13, 2013 by mkvgtired
Ichbines, slavery was not legal in most of the US. At the time it was a states rights issue. After the civil war there was an amendment that outlawed slavery. Also subsequent amendments that allowed for greater federal regulation of commerce activities.

You're way off with your comment.
05:43 February 13, 2013 by RainerL
Germany must not follow anyone like Sheep! Who says that they must? Idiots!!

Marriage is for Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve.

Marriage is between opposite sex and not same sex.

It is not normal nor should it ever be regarded as normal.
07:31 February 13, 2013 by AmericanMade
"Across the western world, including in the United States, full acceptance of homosexuals is now the majority view."

No it isn't. Obama may support same-sex marriage but it is determined on the state level. Nine states permit; nine states prohibit. Not sure where the other 32 stand...

"President Barack Obama supported gay marriage - and won re-election."

That's not saying much given his competition came in the form of Mitt Romney.
10:25 February 13, 2013 by HansT
Lost amongst all this chatter is the question that should be foundational in regard to marriage, to wit, "What is marriage and why should the State have rules regarding it's form and function?"

Is it really only about love and mutual commitment? Or is there a legitimate basis for the exclusively heterosexual nature of marriage that has been the norm for all the thousands of years of recorded history?

In "What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense,¦quot; written by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and Princeton professor Robby George, the authors write, "The health and order of society depend on the rearing of healthy, happy, and well-integrated children. That is why law, though it may take no notice of ordinary friendships, should recognize and support marriages.¦quot;

Gay-rights advocates claim that heterosexual marriage would not be harmed if gay marriage were legalized. But that¦#39;s not so. ¦quot;What Is Marriage?¦quot; meticulously details some of the critical social goods at risk if we go down the revisionist marriage road—gay or straight: real marital fulfillment, spousal well-being, child well-being, friendship, religious liberty, and limited government. These are not trivial matters! The book tells us why in masterful detail.

The issue revolves then around the question of whether we are self-directed or other-directed. Are society's best long-term interests promoted by supporting the essentially selfish goals of individuals, or will our "social contract" be better restored by promoting strong families through the long-standing traditional view of marriage as a man-woman relationship? (The question is rhetorical.)
11:06 February 13, 2013 by Englishted
@RainerL

"Marriage is for Adam and Eve" who married them then?
12:30 February 13, 2013 by raandy
RainerL Who's rules are you stating? Yours or the "(Good Book's)" ? People of the same sex in a free society should be able to decide if its Steve or Eve.

Why work yourself up about something you already decided. Is it Steve or Eve?
13:21 February 13, 2013 by ichbines
mkvgtired, you missed the entire point of the comment. Gay marriage is an evolutionary step in the right direction. Future generations will laugh at those who made such a big deal about it. How will homosexual marriage be corrupted by homosexual marriage? As it stands 50% of hetero marriages fail. Its seems that heteros are doing a good job of corrupting the institution themselves.
14:00 February 13, 2013 by Tiredofit
By the same reasoning if people are building houses it's good, whether houses are built of brick or straw.

Practically all the gay relationships I've seen have been "open," here in the US they may be "married" but it's essentially playing house while they still have outside relationships, which pretty much invalidates the whole point of a marriage.

Ask yourself--what do you call a gay couple in a "marriage?" Partners? Husband? Spouse? Practically no language has a pronoun for it. If it was something so natural and normal it would have already been happening by now.

This isn't some necessary and unavoidable evolution of society but the product of Leftist/Socialist thinking and a way for gay rights advocates to force society to validate their relationships.
15:02 February 13, 2013 by raandy
Tiredofit I was curious and did a little checking around.

According to Gay&Lesbian manners you address them as Mr. White and Mr. Bright. with the idea that the conjunction (and) indicates they are a couple.

I have also seen Gay relationships that are open relationships and those that are fidelity relationships.

The main reason for a same sex union is legal, where one member can sign for the other, in such things as hospitalization, joint ownership , trusts and wills ect.
19:30 February 13, 2013 by mkvgtired
@ Americanmade,

A Gallup poll of Americans in November shows the spread between those in favor of gay marriage and those against is 7%, people in favor being ahead. That is pretty significant, and also a majority.
11:24 February 14, 2013 by Sastry.M
Love is awareness of unity in all creation. Sex is the power of unity in all phenomenal creation. Love leads to attraction both psychologically as well as physically, as the theory of gravitation proves celestially. Sex as the power of unity requires bipolar phenomenal entities commensurate to the principle of Duality to activate action and sustain creation the way we create male/female electrical connectors for flow of electrical energy to operate instruments.

Just as electrical energy has nothing to do with the definition and purpose of any gross electrical instrument except to energize into action, so is the universal consciousness which sensitizes subtle minds of living creatures activating into life pursuits.

By the sheer prowess of human mind faculties to fathom and reveal the causative secrets of phenomenal creation, science came into existence. All universal creation including the highly evolved human beings whose minds conceptually obey all laws of creation to build up science. Yet mind dynamics transcendentally scan the subtle aspects of phenomenal world to bring about actualization into rational and logical scientific explanations as well as technological innovations. Thus there is a procedural follow up for the gross rational but none for the subtle mind spiritual.

Among the many procreative processes of living creatures, human procreation is designed on par with hetero gendered (not confounding with sex as defined above) male/female bodies common to mammalian species. The heavy advancement of human science appears to be taking toll on all minds which created it due to vast accumulation of knowledge and yet no rational means to give peace to toiling minds. Now human mind is yearning for transcendental freedom of perverted amusement in its own created jargon of modern existence which no science can purport and the ultimate death cannot redeem to freedom.
18:49 February 14, 2013 by AmericanMade
@ mkvgtired

You are right although a poll means nothing until those same poll-taking citizens take action within their respective states.
21:19 February 14, 2013 by SchwabHallRocks
Germany is a dying country, given it has only a 1.35 fertility rate (a society needs 2.01 to keep the population even).

This situation is just a symptom of a dead country.

Within 20 years, Gemany's population will be millions less. With a shrinking population, shrinking economy, shrinking social welfare, and a ridiculous percentage of old people, Germans will not have the time to focus on this and will focus on other things... like heterosexual procreation.

Or has the "Brave New World" finally arrived?
15:18 February 17, 2013 by steel jaws
Can a disability be a right?

During my time as a child in Britain, Homosexuality was looked upon as a crime, something just done by dirty old men.

This law was changed and it was agreed that this problem was due to bodily/mental deficiency and was to be regarded as an illness, which in most cases could be successfully treated.

Now we are being asked to accept this way of life as being normal.

What comes tomorrow, will it possibly be regarded as a duty?

None of us are perfect, but surely if nature wanted such partnerships, it would allow them to have their own children.

The word marriage is completely false in this concept.
01:27 February 22, 2013 by lazarus
Comment: The sterotypes anfd prejudice directed towards homosexuals comes directly from the Hebrew Old Testament that the Holy Roman Empire chose to keep in Cannon law. Considering the hedonistic and evil nature of the members of the Early church, I find this ironic and would be amusing if only so many good people have not suffered fates worse than death at the hands of the homophobic, barbaric pedophiles and rapist within the "Heterosexual" religious community. The fact is that Homosexaul life styles and behavior was an accepted practice in many of the ancient societies and if we were not so afraid of the persecution of the fellow church members, we would be able to look past the facts that the man sitting next to you might very well be gay. This is true, no matter what cross section of a given population you have in mind. I was a social worker where I would have a teenager come out as Gay and if he or she were in a religious home, I would be forced to move the child because of the perception of the foster parents towards the child. If I did not move them quickly the child would likely end up on medication for depression or end up in Psychiatric treatment. The love of God is truly great. The origin of the hatred against Homosexuality comes from Leviticus, the third book of Hebrew laws that Moses Wrote, not god, but Moses. Abraham wrote about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but I will go out on a limb to say that the real history of the city states destruction came from Abraham, since there is references to him attacking the cities. for him to say it was "God's will" can be compared to modern day Muslims stoning people to death and saying it is "god's Will". He was a very wealthy man who paid scribes to set into record what he paid them to write. The laws of moses just took the work of Abraham and self-fulfilled the promise that God was said to have made to Abraham in having the "Promised Lands." To better understand the purpose and the logistical need to maintain control of the tribes, you must understand the nature of the people. They were herders and traveled throughout the year so they followed the rains,and Grass. There were required to maintain a military force to take what they needed and to protect themselves. This was the nature of the life in the region of the Golden Cresent. Please keep in mind that this is just a condensed version of the history intended to give a reference point for the basis of my claim of the origin of Hatred. Many of the enemies of the Hebrews also had homosexuals, like Greeks, Romans, Persians,Assyrians, and Babylonians and so on. Therefore it is not strange that the hebrew writers would add their sterotypes and hatred of a certain cultural fact. Lazarus
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