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A huge amount of nonsense is being talked about gay marriage. On one side are those who appear to think that their own beliefs can dictate the private lives of people who do not share those beliefs, while on the other are those who seem to think that the religious have no right to express or hold opinions.

It is a shame because the solution is very simple.  The state should not take a view on whether people marrying are of the opposite or same sex. The law of the land should just allow any two people who wish publicly to commit to each other to do so. It is called civil marriage. The churches and other religious institutions should continue to say what they think about this. Some denominations will bless gay civil marriages, just as some denominations permit the blessing of unions of people who have been married before. Other groups, including the Catholic church, will want no part in this.  Which is also fine. Gay Catholics can then either move to another church, stay Catholic but live lives of promiscuity, stay Catholic and be celibate, or stay Catholic and hope to meet the right person one day but accept that the church to which they belong will never bless that union.

For the rest, it is easy. If you are not a Catholic the Catholic church cannot speak for you. And if you are not a Catholic you cannot speak for the church.

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The opera The Death of Klinghoffer has received a new production at ENO. This work by John Adams and Alice Goodman, about the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro and murder of its elderly wheelchair-bound American Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer, was in part publicised by way of its allegedly controversial content. Audiences were promised that there might even be protests. As far as I know, not a single performance of this stupefyingly dull work got even a heckle. Bogus controversy always buffs the dully uniform.

I find some of Adams's music to be wonderful, but in large doses it turns the brain to mush. Klinghoffer certainly had this effect on its designer and director. A replica of Israel's security fence dominated the set and towards the end enclosed the widowed Mrs Klinghoffer. All Jews (even ones targeted before the erection of the fence) are thus supposedly hemmed in by Israel. And what of the Palestinian terrorists? One of their leaders gets an asinine aria about a bird. Goodman claims that Klinghoffer ended her career as a librettist. I can see why, but it is not for the reason she fears.

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Jon Stubbings
April 14th, 2012
7:04 AM
I'm not quite sure what people are so scared of when it comes to homosexuality - after all - this whole debate seems to be about the significance of a word - and some people think they should have the right to guard and preserve exclusive rights to its exact meaning. Murray is right in some respects - live and let live - even if that means that we have to 'tolerate' the bigotry of of certain groups whose moral convictions are informed by religious conviction/conditioning. Interestingly though, Murray, and the editorial board of 'Standpoint' are rather less philosophical about such bigotry when it is being expressed by Muslims rather than Christians.

James David Martin
April 4th, 2012
7:04 PM
Marriage is not just an arbitrarily constructed institution. It is based upon the recognition of the deliriously magical fact that the sexual encounter yields new life. Only this profound fact could generate the impetus to form an institution such as marriage. It is, quintessentially and exclusively, heterosexual, reflecting the reality of sexual intercourse, marriage's antecedent. A marriage that does not stem from the natural complementarity of the sexes is a marriage in name only. New legislation will not alter the reality, but will bastardize language. It is a shame that the normally sharp Douglas Murray should fail to note this. Perhaps his judgement is fogged.

Old Slaughter
April 3rd, 2012
12:04 PM
Douglas... Why 'two people'? Why not three?

marie
March 28th, 2012
7:03 PM
A funny thing for a man who claims he believes in democracy to say if you don't mind me saying so. A democractic country is a country in which our goverments govern according to the will of the majority. For years our worthless political class have chosen only to hear the demands of minorities. (many of whom they imported into our land against our will in the first place!) Nobody put this nonsense of gay 'marriage' in their manifestos and what is worse is the fact that only a minorty within the minority that are the gay community are calling for this! But yet again Britons are to live THEIR ideal socity with OUR lives. indeed our worthless elite have a name for any who will dare to speak against them on this; 'homophobe' which translates as; 'you have no right to a say in the society in which you live'

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