QED

Triggsian Logic

According to the Human Rights Commissioner, arguing in support of same-sex marriage, traditional liberties “atrophy” if not periodically re-worked and re-vamped. This from the same woman, mind you, who sees nothing wrong with Section 18C’s curtailment of freedom of speech

triggsianIn need of a good laugh, I decided to take Essential Reading’s advice and read Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs’ opinion piece in The Age concerning same-sex marriage and her logic — the word is used advisedly — that the legal recognition of unions in which both parties share an equal passion for appropriate soft furnishings is a fundamental human right. It was one of those rare moments when Quadrant Online proved less than reliable. What Triggs had to say was funny, alright, but “funny” as in peculiar, even demented. Such merriment as I drew from her article arose from the grim irony that this forever prominent and richly compensated headline-grabber is blessed by enablers keen to see her peddle sophistry in support of their shared and partisan agenda.

Quickly, I was struck by Triggs’ statement, “It is a truism that our rights will atrophy if they are frozen in time.” Could it be that our eminent jurist, someone for whom the English language is, or should be, her stock in trade, does not know that a truism is, as the dictionary statesa statement that is obviously true and says nothing new or interesting.  In other words, a cliché or platitude.

Triggs is, first of all, a “progressive” and woman of the left, so no surprise that she once again elevated platitudes above rational thought. Where would her ilk be without the fuzzy thought, the seemingly high-minded but ultimately hollow assertion? After crying “Misogyny!” or “Islamophobic!” or some other “phobic”, the likes of Triggs & Co might actually have to lay out  logical and reasoned arguments were they not so indulged and promoted by enablers in the media and elsewhere.

gay agendaMy second thought: for it to be a truism, it must first be true. But is it?

I had never before heard the assertion that liberties “atrophy” if not constantly re-worked and amended. It struck me as a peculiar concept, so I googled it. What I learned was that it does not appear to have been used in any other context but the “marriage equality” debate, having first seen the light of day in a ruling of the Constitutional Court of South Africa on that very issue. So, to paraphrase Jane Austen, it is not a truth universally acknowledged.

And what, in any case, does she mean? What is the “right” in question? The right to get married? The right to identify as a married person? Let’s say, for the sake of argument, it is the right to get married.  Let’s also accept that, under its current definition, marriage is the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. In what way will that existing “right” be weakened if we do not change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples (or, to stretch a point, threesomes, quartets and/or inter-species nuptials)?

To appreciate just how specious is the “human rights case” Triggs’ insists decent people must accept,  let us look at another liberty: freedom of speech. There is no ambiguity about this right, the most fundamental of them all  and yet we see — as in 18C, if you’ll pardon the pun — that it has been clearly weakened for not being, as Triggs puts it, ” frozen in time”.

Now let me state here and for the record that I don’t have a problem with same-sex marriages and will probably vote ‘yes’ in the proposed plebiscite. What I object to is that the campaign on its behalf is being couched and promoted in human-rights terms. Why not, for argument’s sake, conceive and advocate another right, a “societal right”, if you will? Marriage in its traditional form has been an unremarkable and standard feature of Western society for quite some time. If its definition is to be changed, should not the wider society be consulted, its collective “right” to approve of a such change respected?

If the concept of marriage needs to be dusted off every few years in order to to avoid “atrophy”, what’s the next step?  Polyamorous marriages (as already exist in some cultures)?  Arranged marriages between adults and children (as already exist in some cultures)?  Marriages between consenting 14-year-olds who are expecting a child?

Proponents of all and any of the above could (and undoubtedly will) claim “human rights” to support their cases.  It’s true that society will probably draw the line at all these scenarios, but Triggs is clearly angling for society to be denied a voice in this same-sex marriage question. She would rather it be left to parliaments and courts because what is implicit in her article is the arrogant and condescending belief that the general public can be trusted only so far and no further.

Little people, you see, don’t have the same “right” to express opinions on the fitness of this or any other contentious topic because, well, the caste of scolds and social engineers of which Triggs is a card-carrying member know better, or think they do.  An example: the Australian public seems rather to approve of  Tony Abbott’s successful policy of stopping the boats, but Triggs & Co did not. So even as her country was spared the immigrant invasion now afflicting Europe, she and her lackeys cranked out condemnations of Operation Sovereign Borders and its ancillary aspects. Perhaps, when her stint as Human Rights Commissioner has run its course, Germany’s Angela “No Borders!” Merkel might have a job for her — although not, or so one would hope in the name of safety, working out of an office located anywhere near Cologne’s railway station.

If same-sex marriage gets the go-ahead it should be because Australian society at large has accepted that it is a worthwhile adjustment, not because it is imposed upon us as a human-rights issue by either Parliament or the courts. And certainly not on the strength of the tendentious dribble that passes for a reputed legal scholar’s logic.

26 comments
  • Rob Brighton

    Given politicians conscience is not troubled by helicopter hires or holidays for their kids on your tab why would one accept their conscience on this.

    A conscience vote is less democratic than either having a party state its policy before an election or holding a plebiscite in which the votes of all of us gay or otherwise, politicians, judges, brickies and the blokes at the pub all carry the same weight. In fact, if you’re against the idea of a plebiscite then I’m keen to hear why you think some small handful of people’s consciences are better than your own.

    Triggs is worried that there is enough people of a conservative bent who believe that marriage belong between a man and a woman, personally I hope it gets up from my niece’s sake but if it does not it is not the end of the road in her view, it takes a nutjob leftie to think that.

  • [email protected]

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the hypothetical office near to Cologne’s railway station. After all, even the Merkeljugend have some standards.

  • pgang

    “Now let me state here and for the record that I don’t have a problem with same-sex marriages and will probably vote ‘yes’ in the proposed plebiscite.” Blah blah. In which case your whole argument is moot. If you don’t have a problem with same sex marriage then you have no understanding or appreciation of our great western Christian heritage, nor of the immense effort that goes into being a real family, which you will utterly betray and completely undermine by voting yes.

    Nor have you considered the legal ramifications in relation to other essential freedoms, such as that of religion (Christianity in particular), which is already under threat thanks to 18C.

    Nor have you any respect for the freedoms that women and children have gained within our great western Christian culture, much of which have come down to us via the protective legal institution of marriage and family. To dilute marriage is to dilute those hard won human rights that make us what we are.

    This is a foolish and careless opinion regarding one of the sacred building blocks of our civilisation.

    • Peter OBrien

      Many heterosexual couples (both young and old) marry with no intention, or in some cases capability, of having children. They wish to do so simply to formalise their love for one another. They have no intention of starting a family. Why should that comfort be denied gay couples?

      I am much more disturbed by gay adoption or surrogacy which is already a fait accompli.

      We now support and facilitate no fault divorce. We allow totally incapable people of marrying and bearing children, resulting in completely dysfunctional families.

      Marriage already ain’t what it was.

      • Lawriewal

        They are NOT denied any such comfort -AFIK they are able to register their association even now which confers on them the legal rights needed to enable that “comfort”.
        AND must we really accommodate all minority variations in human behaviour as being “normal”
        The Hetero majority surely can claim some aspects of normal life as being exclusively theirs

      • Peter OBrien

        Not to mention celebrity marriages that last a few days or weeks or marriage as the subject of reality TV shows. Marriage may have been one of the sacred building blocks of our civilization, but somehow it doesn’t strike me that way anymore.

      • ian.macdougall


        We allow totally incapable people of marrying and bearing children, resulting in completely dysfunctional families.

        What’s the alternative?
        I am tipping that increasing ‘gay’ marriage will result in more ‘normal’ heterosexual couples not bothering with it at all: which is the option for the ‘gays’ at the moment.
        .
        FOOTNOTE: ‘Gay’ used to mean happy and carefree: ‘having or showing a joyous mood’. But the word was expropriated for self-description by the homosexual community, and as a result nobody else wants to use it in conversation. Just walk into one of your favourite haunts, announce “I feel very gay today” and watch the eyebrows lift and listen as the sniggers start.
        Sad, but true.

        • Homer Sapien

          re FOOTNOTE: A poet could not but be gay
          In such a jocund company.

        • lloveday

          But the young can’t be fooled by the expropriation (I prefer “usurping”) of the time honoured English word “gay” -as in “The company was gay, we’d turn night into day” from Herman’s Hermits iconic “No Milk Today”.
          When I drove through Wilcannia with my daughter and her teenage girlfriend, they looked at the steel-barred windows, the smashed glass, the discarded alcohol containers, and she said “what a gay town”; similarly when she was really pissed at a disciplining restriction, she snarled at me “You’re gay!” and turned on her heel.
          The homosexuals are only fooling themselves with their misuse of “gay”. What was wrong with the unambiguous, non-derogatory, factual word “homosexual”, or if distinction is warranted, “male homosexual”? “Homosexual” is the only term I use. And me, I’m not “straight”, I’m heterosexual.

      • Matt Brazier

        In the end only one unique pattern of sexual relationship is uniquely good and therefore deserves to be uniquely privileged in our society and laws. (See rightrelationships net.) A litmus test to compare competing patterns is to ask the question: If all sexual relationships in the world conformed to that single pattern what would be the result?

        The opposing arguments are generally falsified with some straightforward realities:
        Biological predisposition, no matter how rigorously demonstrated, doesn’t inherently legitimise or justify behaviour.
        Mutual romantic love and mutual consent don’t inherently legitimise or justify a sexual relationship and neither do cultural norms.
        Unlike some animals, humans do not and cannot change their gender.

        It’s all very simple really.

    • Lawriewal

      “This is a foolish and careless opinion regarding one of the sacred building blocks of our civilisation.”

      My take entirely pgang – couldn’t agree more.

  • Jack Richards

    Ill be voting “NO” to SSM, the Republic and Recognition. I’m an atheist so there is no religious imperative in my opposition to SSM. It’s just pure disgust.

    Triggs is a senile old skunk. She’s in her 70s and should have been retired years ago. She demonstrated her “human right” to dump her own retarded daughter on someone else. After all, she had a stellar career to pursue!

    • Jody

      Wow! This was a bit over the top!! I don’t agree with Triggs on any issues, perceiving her as insular, humorless, precious and self-serving. Her so-called politics are ‘all about me’ and have little, if anything, to do with the general social good being promulgated. As has been said, ‘civil union’ rights already pertain to homosexual couples who want a binding legal relationship. That’s far enough, for me. Although marriage isn’t regarded so highly these days, thanks to the reasons already mentioned, my interest in defending it is related to what I call “Trojan Horse syndrome” – that in continually conceding to pressure groups we end up getting more than we bargained for.

      • MattP

        – Homosexuality taught in schools to kids as young as four
        – Erosion of freedom of speech
        – Erosion of freedom of religion (the HRC in the US is already starting a campaign to lobby government to have natural family affirming schools, like theological colleges, private schools, etc., being cut off from government funding.)

        Once I saw through the double-speak and obfuscation, Trojan Horse was a term I started to use to describe it all.

  • Jody

    “Triggsian logic”. An industrial-strength oxymoron.

  • gardner.peter.d

    Since Australia, unlike UK, recognises de facto relationships between any two persons of either sex so long as they are not close relations, there does not appear to be any injustice done to gays and lesbians on account of marriage being defined as between a man and a woman. The roles of the bond of marriage in strengthening society has been widely recognised since long before Christian times. Encouraging stable relationships between same-sex couples may also strengthen society, although there is no empirical evidence of this, but that is no reason to call it marriage.

    Hetero-sexual marriage and pro-creation are so special they merit their own ceremonies and celebrations. The law recognising this does not apply to same sex couples and there is no reason why it should.

    There is nothing now to stop same sex couples having lavish public or private ceremonies, anniversaries and so on to celebrate their relationships.
    I would suggest that Civil Partnerships would provide legal recognition and regulation of such relationships. However, the lesson from UK is that Civil Partnerships and ‘equality’ in law is simply not enough. The gay and lesbian activists are not really interested in that. What they are interested in is rubbing the noses of hetero-sexuals who believe in the special relationship of marriage in their gender issues, with much support from the assorted social engineers who inhabit the left and soft centre of politics and publicly funded agencies. It is just another dimension of the anti-capitalist, anti-Christian, anti-West opinion that is undermining Western society.

    Niall Ferguson and others have written on the question of why civilisations fail and die. The answer is always the same: decay of their institutions. The gay marriage debate is just another of the symptoms.

    • MattP

      But “marriage” is seen as the last bastion of normalcy that is denied the gay community. Rodney Croome has said as much in an interview in Tasmania late last year. That is why it’s targeted, not because of any genuine need to be in a state of marriage. It’s the old adage of “if I can’t have her, then no-one shall,” in practice. How juvenile and selfish is that? It’s the little kid who breaks the toy so no-one else can play with it. Everybody loses.

      Historically, the gay community has despised marriage because of its monogamous, exclusive and permanent nature. Numerous SSM advocates have been honest enough to state they are targeting marriage so as to destroy or undermine it.

      And one Canadian lesbian teacher has gloated about how she’s sinking her claws into four year old kindergarteners. When reading the book The King and King (iirc), a kid piped up and said “but two men can’t marry,” to which the teacher dared to say, “But, look, it’s right here. They can marry!” Appealing to fiction as fact probably works on kids.

    • lloveday

      “recognises de facto relationships between any two persons of either sex so long as they are not close relations”.

      I met my half-sister for the first time when we were in our 50’s and 60’s respectively, well past procreation age, and there was, as I’ve since read is common, a clear, mutual attraction.
      But no-one is suggesting we can be married, indeed, unlike homosexuals, if we did have a sexual coupling, gaol beckons. That the denial of marriage of the one type of couple is claimed to be an abuse of human rights, but a relationship between another is a criminal offense bemuses me.

  • [email protected]

    I also find Peter O’Brien’s support of SSM disappointing and his reasoning for it feeble.

    The keenness of homosexuals for the recognition of SSM is puzzling on at least a couple of accounts. First, Civil Union between same-sex couples already carries exactly the same legal rights, privileges and responsibilities as traditional marriage between a man and a woman, so there is nothing to be gained there. Agitating for “official recognition” makes as little sense as plugging for Australia becoming a republic. Nothing of practical value to be achieved in either case. Second, homosexuals regularly express their pride in their sexuality (heaven knows why) and keen to be differentiated from heterosexuals. Why on earth, then, do they want their union to be called the same as that of heterosexuals? What happened to “gay pride”? Can’t they come up with an alternative term for the purpose?

    As for opposing the recognition of SSM, my foremost personal reason is that when I say that I am married, being a male, I want it to be known unambiguously that I am married to a woman.

    • Rob Brighton

      then dont marry a man

      • [email protected]

        With respect, what a ridiculous comment!

        • lloveday

          Why “with respect”? I’d not have shown any to the author of “a ridiculous comment”.

    • MattP

      Infertile couples (or couples that do not bear children) do not undermine the principle of marriage, in exactly the same way a bird that cannot fly (when it should) doesn’t undermine the category of flying birds. Do we say, that because a few seagulls cannot fly, that we should therefore include kiwis in the same category of flying birds? Certainly not! This is the problem when you compare the exception (infertile couples) with the rule (all gay couples are infertile).

      While not all heterosexual couples bear children, all children are born to a man and woman.

      Yes, marriage has been broken (no fault divorce, etc.) and ridiculed (celebrity weddings, etc.); but that ought be justification for restoring it, not redefining it and broadening it into non-existence. Do we kick a dog while it’s down? No, we send it to the vet for restorative procedures. Marriage should be seen as something that needs fixing, not further damaging.

      In Feb 2013, High Court judge Jane Jagot stated (in response to the claim that banning the registration of same-sex was discriminatory under the Sex Discrimination Act), that “There cannot be discrimination by reason of the sex of a person because in all cases, the treatment of the person of the opposite sex is the same. Hence, a man cannot enter into the state of marriage as defined with another man just as a woman cannot enter into the state of marriage with another woman as defined.”

      Essentially SSM boils down to a political issue.

  • [email protected]

    With apologies to fellow Quadrant readers and seeking their further indulgence, here is a somewhat mischievous analogy concerning same-sex relationships. A bolt and a matching nut together constitute an excellent and most versatile fastening system. Two bolts or two nuts by themselves, on the other hand, are useless.

  • Turtle of WA

    What’s the hurry?

    Thirty years ago the sort of people who championed gay rights also rejected marriage.

    Who’s to say they won’t change their mind in another thirty years?

    That’s the strength of tradition: it protects us from the vicissitudes of fashion.

    The strength of conservatism is gradual change. There is nothing gradual about gay marriage. It came out of nowhere somewhere in the last decade, and is now a mandatory belief for anyone in the public eye who doesn’t want to be treated like Satan. Like it’s fashionable sibling, ‘climate change(TM)’.

    • Jody

      And like climate change, there are many vested interests who seek to gain economically. With S-S marriage I’ve always regarded the legal profession as the outright winners. Within the next decade or so their core business – family law/divorce – should show a sudden surge in profitability. Any bets?

Post a comment