Monk attacks Church with superficial argument

Same-sex or sane-sex marriage?

Yesterday, Paul Monk had an article published in The Age railing against the Church, conservative reaction and popular prejudice against same sex marriage. I thought it somewhat shrill and being familiar with Monk’s usual care in argument was a little shocked at his wilful one-sidedness and the shallowness of his argument. Worse was his offensive and cowardly use of ad hominum argument: more a tactic of the left intelligentsia I would have thought.

I wrote a letter to the editor highlighting some of the hypocrisy embedded in Monk’s argument. Presumably for space reasons, it was heavily cut. Here was my full response.

Paul Monk’s moralising [Gay vows not so queer, December 8] is all the more surprising for someone who has devoted his professional life considering all sides of an argument. This piece was one sided knee jerk anti-religious posturing.

Like Monk, I also am not of the left-wing intelligentsia, nor am I gay or standing for office. However, unlike Monk, I have never been in thrall to religious obedience. The claim that secular arguments against same sex marriage are absent or non-existent, or that the ALP’s change on this issue is somehow courageous and imaginative, is itself courageous and imaginative.

What is missing in his argument is an understanding of the central reason why society must have a particular regard for heterosexual union. In large part it is to do with the momentous consequences of the potential for issue. Bertrand Russell neatly summarises it. “It is through children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution”.

I urge Monk to include this factor in his argument diagram. Oh, and by the way, I also “have gay friends and know gay couples”.

Andrew McIntyre

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