Mark Jessum, a proponent of homosexual marriage, has queried and challenged some of the definitions I have employed in this debate (see below) and with some justification. I have been using definitions which have stood in the English language for hundreds of years, but which have been overtaken by changes to the law of New Zealand, and changes in political discourse, over the past decade. The meanings of words can be determined by reference to a dictionary (by convention we use the Oxford English Dictionary OED) and statute law. Generally, but not always, there will be agreement between the way a word is defined in the dictionary and the way in which it is used in the law.
Of the contentious words, "prejudice" pretty much retains its original meaning.
"Discrimination" has acquired a new meaning over the past decade or so which is greatly at odds with its original meaning.
"Sexual intercourse" is in a semantic limbo. Recent law, and recent amendments to the law, prefer not to use the word at all, substituting "sexual relations" or "sexual connection", and the dictionary is uncertain about whether sexual intercourse should retain its original meaning, or whether it should become a synonym of "sexual connection" and "sexual relations".
"Marriage" retains its original meaning in both the law and the dictionary, but that will obviously change if or when the Marriage Amendment Bill or its equivalent passes into law in both Britain and New Zealand.
"Incest" changed meaning in New Zealand law in 2005, but has retained its original meaning in the dictionary, albeit with some loss of clarity.
So Mark Jessum is in many respects correct, and I am grateful to him for drawing my attention to changes which, perhaps on account of my age, I might have overlooked.
We have become accustomed to the idea of social engineering by politicians, but I for one have been slow to realise how they have also made themselves busy in re-engineering the English language. Words such as "gay", "marriage", "discrimination", "sexual intercourse" and "incest" have either been fundamentally re-defined, or are in the process of being so.
I contend that there is no intrinsic need to redefine words which serve perfectly well to identify an object, act or quality. There was no need to redefine the word "gay" to mean homosexual, there is no need to redefine "marriage" to mean a homosexual relationship, and there is no need to redefine sexual intercourse to comprise coitus, sodomy, oral sex and the full gamut of other sexual behaviours. These redefinitions of the language only serve to cause confusion, and I believe that is their principal purpose. Distinctions between normal and abnormal sexual behaviour have been progressively removed from the law, and are in the process of being removed from the dictionary. Thus the language is becoming impoverished - a situation which the Bible warns of as a harbinger of social disorder and collapse - in order to advance a liberal political dogma which maintains that there is no distinction between man and woman, homosexual and heterosexual, sodomy and sexual intercourse and so on.
Prejudice is "preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience" (OED). A more meaningful definition is is "an opinion, or judgement, made on a case before an objective consideration of all the available facts and arguments". If having considered all the facts and arguments objectively one comes to a decision, however firm, one cannot properly be called prejudiced.
Discrimination is the "recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another" (OED). A second meaning which has recently devolved from the phrase "racial discrimination" is "the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people". This meaning, although listed as the first, is relatively new to the dictionary. It does not appear at all in the 1974 Concise Oxford which defines "discriminate" as "observe a difference between; make a distinction". That illustrates the unfortunate way in which words employed in political rhetoric, can end up acquiring new meanings which conflict with the original, and present a further complication for rational discourse. The two meanings of discrimination in the current OED are in contradiction, since "understanding of differences" necessarily precludes "prejudicial treatment". I suggest that if the proponents of homosexual marriage wish to use the term "discrimination" in that context then it should at least be prefixed by the word "sexual". But really, there is no need at all for the word "discrimination" to be used in this new, and contradictory sense. The word "prejudice" should suffice, and should not give rise to any confusion.
Sexual intercourse is "sexual contact between individuals involving penetration, especially the insertion of a manís erect penis into a womanís vagina, typically culminating in orgasm and the ejaculation of semen" (OED). The OED has inserted the words "penetration, especially ..." into the original definition, which was specifically "penetration of the vagina by a penis" and thus opened the door to other meanings involving penetration, such as sodomy, penetration of the vagina or the anus with an instrument, oral sexual connection and so on. That redefinition might be a source of comfort to homosexuals and lesbians, but it does nothing to bring to the language the clarity and specificity which is essential to any intelligent discourse. We are in danger of having a multiplicity of words to describe sexual acts in general (sexual contact, sexual connection, sexual relations, sexual contact, sexual intercourse etc) and no word to specifically describe the act in which a penis penetrates a vagina. Thus the language itself is being degraded for the purposes of political equivocation, a situation which the Bible warns is a a harbinger of social disorder. Mark has his own even broader personal definition of sexual intercourse which is "sexual contact/activity regardless of the gender of the two (or more) people involved." That definition would surely lead to some misunderstandings and confusion if, for instance, two or more people who had hugged, kissed, or held hands were deemed to have engaged in sexual intercourse.
Marriage is "the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife" (OED) In ten years time, if the law follows its present course and the dictionary follows the law that definition may well have changed to something like "the formal union of two people ... in a committed relationship". But the language itself will fall victim to this change, and terms such as "married woman", "married man"or "marriage" itself will no longer carry their present import. To avoid confusion, some people may choose to let it be known that they are in a husband and wife relationship, for example by saying ".. married to John" rather simply "married woman" thus removing the possible inference that they may be in a lesbian relationship. If that becomes at all common, the distinction between homosexual and sexually normal men and women may well be accentuated, rather than diminished.
Incest is "sexual relations between people classed as being too closely related to marry each other; the crime of having sexual intercourse with a parent, child, sibling, or grandchild" (OED). In its first part definition, the OED is employing a meaning derived from the Marriage Act or its British equivalent, which must exclude homosexual relations not at present covered by the Marriage Act, and the second part derives from the laws against incest, presently covered by the Crimes Act in New Zealand. Persons of the same sex cannot have sexual intercourse, at least in the specific definition, and neither can they marry (to this point in New Zealand). Therefore there can be no such thing as "homosexual incest" according to the first OED definition. However, in New Zealand a redefinition of incest in a 2005 amendment to the Crimes Act changed the specific meaning of the word incest (sexual intercourse between people classed as being too closely related to marry each other) so as to be non-specific with respect to the type sexual connection and non-specific with respect to gender of the incestuous couple. This change was presumably made for ideological reasons associated with the passing of the Civil Union legislation, the Family Proceedings Act, and the raft of legislation from the Labour government which had as its object the removal of all sexual distinction. So in New Zealand law as it now exists, there is such a thing as homosexual incest. I am not aware that there has been any prosecution for homosexual incest in New Zealand, and doubt whether there ever could be, or, for that matter, should be. The change in law was never intended to capture instances of homosexual relations between closely related individuals. It was intended merely to further the pretence that sodomy and related acts are fully equivalent to sexual intercourse. In pursuit of that object, the New Zealand parliament has made an impressive effort to attain legislative consistency by removing references to gender from the law, but because the entire project has been based on a fraud, it will necessarily end in confusion.
The homosexuals are now a dominant force within the state and the church,
and they have appropriated the language so as to advance their own ambitions
and promote their own dogma. The state cannot impose its will
over the language, and we can adhere to the true and original meanings
of words. We can reclaim the "rainbow" symbol used by the homosexual
movement which was originally given by God as a sign to the people of Noah.
We can reclaim the language. A homosexual is a homosexual.
Gay is an adjective meaning happy and cheerful. Sodomy is sodomy.
Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. To discriminate
is to perceive distinctions. We can reclaim the language, the symbols
and eventually the institutions of state which have been appropriated by
Thank you I will. In the mean time you might want to look up the difference between the different uses of the word of 'discrimination' as your arguments rely in part on mistakenly (or deliberately?) confusing the different meanings. There is discrimination which is of course all about generalising about the group - to quote the Oxford Dictionary "the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex: victims of racial discrimination eg: discrimination against homosexuals" And then there is discrimination the "recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another" and " the ability to judge what is of high quality; good judgement or taste: those who could afford to buy showed little taste or discrimination". One is about making choices and choosing between different things. Something we all do. The other is a social phenomenon where a group of people are defined and excluded by people outside the group. (Probably also something we all do to some degree but clearly a different use of the word).
Also can I just ask what your definition of 'sexual intercourse' is? as obviously your claim that there is no such thing as homosexual incest relies on what you think the term means. To me Sexual Intercourse just means 'sexual contact/activity' regardless of the gender of the two (or more) people involved.