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A Critique of Articles by Dr Stephen Rainbow in the New Zealand Herald

The New Zealand Herald has given considerable space to  Dr Stephen Rainbow, a homosexual activist who incidentally argues that homosexuals are in some respects at least superior to the "straight" population.  Rainbow says that homosexuals are "the kind of people who have ..the creativity and ingenuity our economy needs", that they "make a disproportionate contribution to the places where they live" and are "the canaries in the mine" of the creative economy that successful global cities depend on for their prosperity and success".   "It makes sense to attract gay people to Auckland " Rainbow concludes

Rainbow featured again recently under the headline "Anti-gay diatribe just as hurtful" (as a Member of Parliament's proposition that all Muslims are potential terrorists, should not be allowed to board aircraft along with other New Zealanders and should go back to "Wogistan").

The "anti-gay diatribe" in question consisted of statements by a couple expressing their disappointment that their daughter had become a lesbian, a minister claiming that homosexuals typically have a large number of  sexual partners, and a church which stated that it attempted to turn members of their congregation away from the practice of homosexuality.

I personally would not choose to publicise my child's sexual orientation, nor would I consider myself competent to try to alter another person's sexual urges.  However, objectively speaking none of these statements or submissions amount to "offensive outpourings" as suggested by Stephen Rainbow.  They are expressions of "straight" people's beliefs, feelings, concerns, and aspirations.  An oder people may feel aggrieved that they have been deprived of grandchildren.  Perhaps they would be better to accept the situation as fate or the will of God, but their feelings, and their disappointment, should not be summarily dismissed or callously disparaged.  I accept that to Stephen Rainbow the arguments of some critics of homosexual marriage  are "offensive" and "hurtful" provoking him to label the minister "a cocky little preacher", but compassion, respect and understanding are  not due to homosexuals alone

There is a tendency to feel, or at least portray, every criticism of the concept of homosexual marriage as a personal affront, and to respond by citing their own characters and denigrating the character of heterosexuals by reference to particular individuals.  Rainbow states that he is a hardworking taxpayer in a homosexual relationship with a "wonderful man" and compares himself favorably to an "unmarried pregnant 32 year old mother of eleven in South Auckland".  Such comparisons are odious, because we, the public, are in no position to judge either Stephen Rainbow and his partner, or the 32 year old mother of eleven in South Auckland.

This is the kind of casuistry which should have no place in rational debate, yet it is principal way in which the mass media seeks to persuade the public that homosexual marriage is fair, proper, and will have no adverse consequences.

Rainbow’s own sense of what is “most galling” and his understandably subjective response is revealing of the fundamental issues to the debate over homosexual marriage, and the failure of the mass media to properly engage upon those issues.   Rainbow objects to the view that “same-sex marriage is emblematic of the breakdown of a shared set of values that has befallen western society, and New Zealand in particular” and goes on to write “This is a big burden for any person or community to bear, but as the partner in a 12-year relationship with a wonderful man (until he died of cancer) where we both worked hard, paid our taxes, and had my two daughters living with us at times, I'm still struggling with how Greg and I were responsible for such massive social decline.”  No one is suggesting that Stephen and Greg were responsible for massive social decline.   No one is saying that homosexual marriage, or homosexuality itself, is the cause of social decline.  The claim, as Rainbow himself says, is that homosexual marriage is “emblematic” of social decline, which is to say it is one plank in a raft of social and economic changes which have effectively weakened the social order in New Zealand.  The causes of social decline are complex, and its expressions are diverse, but there is a valid case for arguing that homosexual marriage is part of the general decline in the sense of social obligation in New Zealand.   Many fail to see that, either because they have not been given the opportunity to fully hear the argument, or because their personal circumstances and desires deprive them of the objectivity necessary to understanding.  In Rainbow’s case it is the latter.   In even suggesting that this is an argument directed personally against himself and his partner Greg, he misses the point, and misleads others.  It is not about Stephen Rainbow and Greg, and it is not about John Joliff and Des Smith or any of the other carefully selected cases with which the homosexual lobby plays on public emotions.

When it comes to the real issues, Rainbow is unable to be objective.  He writes "I would have thought that any stable relationship, regardless of the gender of those involved, was a critical building block of society".  The stability of a relationship is significant, but not so significant as its nature and purpose.   Some people form very stable relationships for immoral or criminal purposes, and we do not regard such couples as being "a critical building block of society".   If New Zealand was to debate the issue homosexual marriage rationally, it would not start from the nature of the relationship between particular homosexuals.   It would start by considering the purposes and social role of the institution of marriage, which are not at all as they have been portrayed in the mass media, and the reasons why homosexuality has not previously been allowed to move to the centre-stage of the social order.

One of those reasons is the very fact which the homosexuals take as the basis of their claim to the right to enter into marriage - the strong affections and desires which can exist between two homosexuals.   Such particular affections can be socially disruptive in a society in which men normally consider each others as brothers and regulate their relationships by a system of ethics, morals and law rather than by emotion, desire, and carnal passions.   If homosexuality does take centre stage, as it seems to be doing in New Zealand, it will have a profound effect upon  the way in which men relate to each other, and if homosexuality is introduced into the institution of marriage it will have a profound effect upon the way in which many husbands and wives relate to each other. Those consequences may overshadow the sense of social approval which is all that homosexuals will gain from the institution of homosexual marriage.