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Monday, February 23, 2004
Someone with a traditional conception of marriage - isn't that a phobia?

As a Frenchwoman marries her fiance despite his death in 2002, I find myself rather relieved that such a thing could not legally occur here. I hold to a historically grounded ideal of marriage serving the specific social function of producing and raising the next generation, so obviously I think a class of relationship that is biologically incapable of meeting this criterion does not qualify. Reasonable enough, you might think.

But no. The only explanation for my view is that I hate dead people. People like me have a latent prejudice against those who have passed away, and want to deny them rights out of spite. That I hold this view proves I must be a bigot and a hater, that I have a phobia about the dead. If I'm honest, it probably stems from a deep-seated fear that I am myself dead.

It is no good for me to say that I would similarly refuse marital status to two flatmates or a single person, and that I similarly mean no harm and feel no animosity towards them. Nor does the fact that I am defending a conception of marriage that has existed and succeeded for millennia for a moment mean I can possibly be thinking rationally. Marriage being an incubator for the next generation? An institution that protects kids needs protection? Pah! Anyone who thinks this is verging on the mentally ill and should probably be silenced by force of law.

Thank goodness there are so many people on the left who are ceaseless in their willingness to point out the mental problems and personal hatreds of all those who disagree with them, who share my conception of marriage. If people were able to argue in favour of marriage as an incubator of children without psychoanalysis and character assassination, where would we be? It doesn't bear thinking about.

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