Sir Bob Jones

Commentary on issues of the day from the property tycoon, author and former politician

Bob Jones: It's time the Govt divorced itself from marriage

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'What I do object to is asking the state to formally recognise these unions as marriages. They're not'.  Photo / Thinkstock
'What I do object to is asking the state to formally recognise these unions as marriages. They're not'. Photo / Thinkstock

A girl I know, who's active in the university lesbian movement, called me a few months back wanting to add my name on a promotion endorsing the gay marriage proposal. She's very pretty and thus on face value (pun intended) represents a terrible waste, but then considering the brain-dead, sunglasses-on-head, tattooed swill male options on offer, who can blame her?

As it happened, I declined her request for reasons I shall outline, while assuring her that her efforts were unnecessary. Why? Because it's the current vogue in the Western world with politicians of every hue clambering on board the bandwagon, wanting to display their liberality, and thus it will happen.

Like many folk, I have a hobbyist interest in language, which induces a degree of pedantry about its uses and abuses and it is here where my objection lies. But let me say first that I couldn't care less if homosexuals want to marry one another, or indeed if they or anyone else want to marry their horse or kitchen table, each undoubtedly being relationships with immensely better durability prospects than with another human, as borne out by the divorce statistics.

Nor do I care if they use the word "marriage"; after all, it's commonly applied everywhere in a metaphoric sense such as, "the marriage between the two clubs has proven a success", and such-like.

What I do object to is asking the state to formally recognise these unions as marriages. They're not.

The word "marriage" has a typical etymological evolvement, but to cut to the quick, it essentially stems from the Latin as specifically involving a man and a woman.

Anyway, regardless of my pedantry, it's going to happen and the winner from this will be Winston Peters, whose party is the only one opposing the proposal. Former South Auckland Labour MP Phillip Field, doubtless correctly, has forecast this will cost Labour its sizeable Pacific Island vote. Phillip would know as well as anyone. Islanders are imbued in religiosity and feel strongly about this issue, hence they may express their outrage by voting New Zealand First.

If Winston was to additionally propose resurrecting burning homosexuals at the stake and point out to Pacific Islanders that this was once a church practice, eventually destroyed by liberals, modernists and other disrespecters of both tradition and God, he could possibly capture every Islander vote and quite a few others as well.

All of this raises a much more interesting issue. Is it not now time for the Government to get out of marriage involvement, which in the Anglo-Saxon world is a fairly recent affair going back only 260 years? Hitherto, governments played no part in the process and it's difficult to see any justification for their continuing involvement.

A few weeks ago, I read an Australian government statistics news item which showed the average length of marriages there is now only 8 years. That figure aligns with the traditional seven-year itch, a phenomenon confirmed by a study carried out by an English university a few years ago. Curious, I researched this 8 years and found it's a similar figure in Britain, America, Canada and New Zealand. "Til death do us part" now increasingly only applies, it would seem, in the fairly regular cases of spousal murder.

Aside from that, ever-growing numbers of couples are not bothering with formalising their relationships, recognising that it's an utterly meaningless action. Furthermore, these days, numerous women, including many of our parliamentarians, no longer change their name on marriage. Judith Collins, Helen Clark and Ruth Richardson spring to mind. In particular, it is commonplace with married professional women such as the Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, other women judges, QCs and lawyers, doctors, academics and so on.

In all of these cases I would not be the least bit surprised that, if asked, they would to a woman concede that their formal marriages were pointless and if they could have their time over again, they wouldn't bother.

The terms "out of wedlock" and "illegitimate" are now redundant, more than half of current births being to parents who have dismissed formal marriage as irrelevant, and the trend is rising. Church weddings are now almost unheard of with middle-class folk, in line with religion's gradual demise. In short, like so many other things in our fast-changing world, all of the traditional trappings of marriage are rapidly disappearing.

There are many legal ramifications to marriage but acknowledging the increasing abandonment of formal ceremonies, all Western governments have now extended marriage rights and obligations to cohabitating partnerships, these primarily relating to financial issues. That being the case, the Government should now abandon the marriage registry office as a superfluous state activity, no longer serving any useful purpose, and instead confine that agency to its births and deaths registration function.


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- NZ Herald

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