The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

Orthodox? I Thought he was a Catholic.

So, Tony Abbott recently said that, in his opinion,  “the orthodox definition of marriage as between a man and… ah… a woman should continue…”.The punctuation in that previous sentence might look a little rocky, but it is very difficult to transliterate tortuous ‘aaaahhhhh’s and the weird, inappropriate pauses when he puts his “The Effort of Speaking is Causing Me to Have a Stroke” face on.

Anyway, this led me to wonder which “orthodox” definition he was referring to? Surely the OED is one of the most orthodox definitions for English speakers who are not American?

Oxford English Dictionary


  • 1the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife:she has three children from a previous marriage
  •  [mass noun] the state of being married:women want equality in marriage
  •  (in some jurisdictions) a union between partners of the same sex.
  • 2a combination or mixture of elements:her music is a marriage of funk, jazz, and hip hop

Hmmm. Perhaps he failed to read to the bottom? It is, after all, a lot of reading – something to which he is known to be averse. Or perhaps he believes the third point is similar to the example of musical fusion – an alternative usage, so to speak, and not orthodox at all.

Another alternative is that he has fallen victim to this worrying trend of Americanisation and was referencing Webster.


(1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage <same-sex marriage>

Well, no. The same sex bit is in the first section – the “executive summary” if you will. There’s no way even he could have missed that. So which definition is he referring to? Its definition under current Australian law? But this is not the “orthodox” definition. It is the “legal” definition. The definition, in fact, that is at issue and which is sufficiently disputed in this country as to be quite far from “orthodox” indeed.

So, when he uses the word “orthodox” one can only assume that he is using the word in the time honoured fashion of “Some Bloke at the Pub”, or the equally venerable “What That Means to Me is…”; such usage being the final arbiter of what is true and just amongst the stupid, the ignorant and the just plain bigoted.
Note: Some readers may note the absence of the Macquarie Dictionary, the official reference for Australian English. I had every intention of sourcing this venerable tome but as I have:
a) consistently found their habit of tersely paraphrasing words useless in terms of seeking an actual definition, and
b) a rooted objection to paying for such (the online service requires a subscription), their definition does not appear in this article.

What’s wrong with this picture?

If you’re a woman in one of the red boxes, you can marry a man in one of the blue boxes (if joined by a line). But something’s not quite right.

What's wrong with this picture

I know, I know. It seems odd that a Croc-wearing Neo-Nazi can marry a convicted paedophile, right?

Anti-equality argument 6 – But… they can get married if they want to!

I must admit, I nearly choked on my Weet Bix when I first heard this argument. Which was actually quite dangerous, because it was at that stage when the milk hadn’t soaked all the way through, so the Weet Bix were still pretty crunchy, and represented a genuine choking hazard. Much like the argument itself.

How’s that for a segue.

The argument in a nutshell
Firstly, no, it’s not a joke. There are quite a lot of people out there who think this is a sensible argument against marriage equality. Because, you see, same-sex people already have equality. A gay man can marry a woman, just like a straight man can. And a gay woman can marry a man, just like a straight woman can. And an intersex person can… oh sorry, I forgot, they don’t exist.

See? Equality! Yaaaaaaaaaaaay!

What they’re really trying to say
I love it when my prejudice finds a loophole.

The smackdown
One thing that same-sex marriage opponents are constantly telling us is how important marriage is. It has, we’re told, been the bedrock of happy, prosperous societies for thousands of years. It’s an institution so sacred, so profound, and so absolutely critical for the propagation of mankind, that allowing same-sex marriage would be jeopardising our very future as a species. For this reason, marriage must be allowed only for heterosexual couples who love each other beyond measure and want to raise a family.

Oh, and anyone who finds their partner physically repulsive.

OK I’m exaggerating a little, but let’s just think about that for a moment. The people championing the sanctity of marriage think that a loving, monogamous, same-sex couple will besmirch their sacred institution more than two people who have absolutely no interest in each other physically and will probably cheat on each other during the bridal waltz. That would, admittedly, make for some pretty funny wedding photos, but it renders their argument kind of useless.

This argument is nothing more than a cheap and very poorly disguised attempt to justify the same bigotry behind all the other anti-equality arguments. But this time, their idiocy has ended in self-immolation. For if what they’re saying is valid, marriage isn’t sacred, it’s a joke.

And not a very funny one, at that.

GBAV – Genesis 5

Gn 5:1-2This is the book the descendents of Adam, summarised into a handy table so you can print it out and impress your friends.

Gn 5:3-32
Genesis 5


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