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Why not marry your dog?

7 July 2013

11:23 AM

7 July 2013

11:23 AM

Looking forward, as one always must, I wonder if the law will eventually be changed to allow one to marry one’s dog. Until now, this would have been considered disgusting, since marriage has been a law revolving around sexual behaviour, and sexual acts with animals are still, I believe, illegal. But, as this column has pointed out, the unintended consequence of the same-sex marriage legislation has been to take sex out of marriage law. Civil servants, unable to define same-sex consummation, omitted it.

So marriage, from now on, can mean no more than the legally registered decision of two people to live together while not being married to anyone else. The justification for this is ‘equality’, buttressed by the idea that love must carry all before it. People often love their dogs very much and want to spend their life with them. So why should they not, chastely, marry them? It will be objected that animals are not people and are therefore incapable of informed consent, but this is an example of what the animal-rights gurus call speciesism.


Besides, anyone who lives with dogs knows that most of them do not suffer from commitment-phobia or incline to desertion, substance-abuse or reckless spending. They make excellent life-partners.

No doubt some old bigots will claim that marriage is a uniquely human institution, but it won’t take long to find enlightened vicars who believe that human and canine dignity is in a very real sense enhanced by recognising inter-species unions. Soon celebrities, tired of human relationships, will hold dinky solemnisations with their chihuahuas, and eager Conservative modernisers will tweet their approval. Anyone who suggests that the whole thing is barking mad will be in breach of Public Equality Duty and denied a career in the public services.

GoveThis is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator’s Notes in this week’s magazine. Click here to read for free with a trial of The Spectator app for iPad and iPhone. You can also subscribe with a free trial on the Kindle Fire.

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Show comments
  • Jethro Heller

    I did exactly that! I married my Jack Russell “Pea” in a ceremony at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Here is a link to a video of the ceremony.
    I hope you enjoy.

  • Mike Francis

    Rick Santorum? Is that you?

  • Dogsnob

    Yep. Barking.

  • Jamie

    I used to enjoy reading the Spectator, but Charles Moore’s weekly homophobic rants have put me right off. It’s a shame as I enjoy the columnists, the features, and the supplements… most of the magazine in fact. But I can’t pay any money towards this any more, so I cancelled my subscription.

  • Venture Guy

    Can a dog inherent money?

  • Iamreplete

    Because he’s already married to the bitch next door.
    Surely you are not suggesting we indulge in polydogamy!

  • Ben

    I’ve been waiting for someone
    else to write this article. Though not approached from the angle I expected
    (Germany revoking its bestiality laws – that they introduced in 1969
    fascinatingly), the idea of inter-species marriage must have been in the minds
    of many scholars: those familiar with the worlds of He-Man, She-Ra, Greek
    Myths, Hindi texts,… But, really, you chaps are missing the best jokes. Back
    in 1997 when training as a Chartered Accountant with the ICAEW I speculated
    about civil partnerships being abused for tax avoidance. Yes: principal private
    residence relief (as it was then) might be shared on a principal home sale in
    the right circumstances, then there were the inheritance taxes,… Of course,
    marrying your own son or daughter is, presumably, illegal; but, hey, for how
    long? If the only scientific worry is mutations in the next generation, then
    just use a condom or the pill… how “sick” can things get? Probably
    plenty “sicker”. Polygamy has been recognised by HMRC through the tax
    system ever since divorces allowed children to have more than one living father
    – or mother – and benefits could be claimed for them depending on all parental relationships. Indeed, at
    some stage (at a stage before we debate marrying our pets) there is a need to
    look at whether, as a society, we are better off adopting polygamy over
    divorce. Of course, if we have equal “rights”(/wrongs) as men and
    women these days, one would see husband and wife with multiple wives and
    husbands and (potentially) STDs…

    Oh for the more easily conceptualised life: one where I get everything I want,
    retain the moral high-ground, don’t “fuck up” my kids (ta Philip
    Larkin), do as good (or better job) as my parents and die contentedly and
    peacefully knowing I’ve done justice by past, present and future generations…
    oh for that easily conceptualised life!

  • Frann Leach

    You can’t mask your bigotry with spurious arguments

  • Adrian Wainer

    If David Cameron divorced Samantha Gwendoline Sheffield he could marry a crufts best in breed and get Pedigree Chum to back the Tories in the forthcoming election ?

    The Goodies- Nosho Dog Food

  • Jillian Moore

    I can’t tell if this is satire towards conservatives or a painstaking attempt at humor on behalf of a conservative.
    But in either case, I’d happily marry my bicycle. He’s my one true love.

    • Adrian Wainer

      ” I can’t tell if this is satire towards conservatives or a painstaking attempt at humor on behalf of a conservative.But in either case, I’d happily marry my bicycle. He’s my one true love. “,.

      ” I’d happily marry my bicycle. “,.
      More reliable than most men and unlikely to set one’s accommodation on fire unlike the idiots from Top Gear.


  • Sven2547

    Informed consent is a difficult concept for conservatives, it seems.

  • Benjamin Kelly

    Really not entirely sure what this article is trying to prove beyond the ‘journalists’ bigoted, homophobic (or rather gay-hating; let’s be fair, it’s not fear, it’s being an arsehole), not to mention dated, outlook on life. Sad that tripe like this constitutes ‘journalism’.

    • Adrian Wainer

      ” Really not entirely sure what this article is trying to prove beyond the ‘journalists’ bigoted, homophobic (or rather gay-hating; let’s be fair, it’s not fear, it’s being an arsehole), not to mention dated, outlook on life. Sad that tripe like this constitutes ‘journalism’. “,.
      Benjamin Kelly

      Tripe is far better for people than much of yuck that is nouvelle cuisine, I don’t see any ” gay-hating ” in the article and style, sophistication and good sense don’t date. As for ” ‘journalism’. ” what would you know about journalism ?

      Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon described by Adolf Hitler as, ” the most dangerous woman in Europe “,.

  • Guest

    How would a dog sign the marriage certificate?

  • @DavidRCJReader

    Whilst I have not doubt that Mr. Moore seeks only to cast a whimsical look on this whole debate, he would do well to remember that the campaign for equal marriage follows years of hard fought rights that the LGBT community has had to battle to achieve. Whilst he pokes fun at one of the final legislative changes needed in this country to achieve an equal legal framework; elsewhere in the world members of the LGBT community continue to be persecuted, victimised and even killed. I suggest that your article Mr. Moore, is less canine and more asinine.

    • Augustus

      Once upon a time persecution of gays was indeed terrible. Then it also became useful, and once the persecution had provoked a certain level of activist outrage, the tide reversed dramatically. Now status as a public victim is a protective talisman and there is a perverse incentive to revel in it and to report it as a perpetual crisis.

      • @DavidRCJReader

        ‘Once upon a time’? It is illegal today to be gay in 78 countries, 5 carry the death penalty for same-sex sexual activity. In July this year Russia brought in a law outlawing the ‘propaganda of homosexuality’… That is the current position. I’m not revelling in it, I’m disgusted by the inequality of it.

    • Adrian Wainer

      ” Whilst I have not doubt that Mr. Moore seeks only to cast a whimsical look on this whole debate, he would do well to remember that the campaign for equal marriage follows years of hard fought rights that the LGBT community has had to battle to achieve. Whilst he pokes fun at one of the final legislative changes needed in this country to achieve an equal legal framework; elsewhere in the world members of the LGBT community continue to be persecuted, victimised and even killed. I suggest that your article Mr. Moore, is less canine and more asinine. “,.

      If the civil partnership facility was not available there would have been a good argument for gay marriage but civil partnership was and is available. The real issue for gay and lesbian folks is that as Britain islamizes their lives will become impossible.

  • DrBlighty

    Right, I’m going to marry my cat. Then Teresa May can’t deport me.

  • JosephJohnODonnell

    This is just wrong. Consummation is aground for divorce not a requirement for marriage. This is not affected by the new bill. Although, in my view it should be removed or a parallel system created.

  • George

    It must be sad to realise you are on the wrong side of history

    • Swank

      History doesn’t have ‘sides’, it has outcomes — all of which are decided by people and nature together. And nature is against this one, I’m afraid, as time will prove.

  • Jonathon Greenhow

    A dog cannot give informed consent to a marriage – two men or two women marrying is nothing of the sort.

  • MJS

    Alas you’re too late, and this dog wedding in 2004 was overseen by a C of E vicar to boot. So you need worry no longer, get on with your life, and let others do the same:

  • Iain Hill

    At last! Through the Disqus censor!

    You have exploited this one to death. Cease and desist!

  • Fred Scuttle

    Mr Moore. If you love your dog that much why not live in sin?

  • Swank

    Exactly. Advocates of homosexuals pretending to marriage — for that’s all it will ever be, in reality — will say that you are being ludicrous because marriage requires humans. But where do they find the authority to define what marriage requires? *I* say that marriage requires a man and a woman human, who in the nature of things have a connection that can create a new human being — and this has been recognized by the whole of Western Civ. before me. A generational fad can’t overturn that: the tradition is rooted in nature and politics, while the modern campaign is rooted only in politics.

    • Peter Bensley

      >As a celibate in marriage I am the unfortunate exception that proves the rule : )

      >homosexuals pretending to marriage — for that’s all it will ever be, in reality

      So pray tell me more about pretend marriages, Mr Swank?

      • Swank

        You did see where I wrote the word ‘exception’, didn’t you? And it’s not pretend and I’m not Mr but Mrs. I just didn’t know what I was letting myself in for. These things happen sometimes.

        • Peter Bensley

          Yes, they do. And sometimes two men or two women fall in love.

          In either case wouldn’t it be nice if people could have a little basic decency, and accept those relationships for what they are and not how well they conform to an imaginary ideal?

          If it’s okay for you to pretend at marriage, what is wrong with gays doing it as well?

          • Swank

            To repeat: I’m not pretending at marriage, and this is any case not about me.

            • Peter Bensley

              I’m sorry, but it is about you. It’s about you wanting one rule for yourself and another rule for gays. It’s certainly not about imaginary canine marriages, because they are a figment of Moore’s puerile imagination.

              Your marriage fails to meet the criterion you have set, above, for ‘legitimate’ marriage. You are pretending at marriage. If you don’t like being told that, tough. Perhaps you should have refrained from making the same accusation toward homosexuals?

              And, incidentally, exceptions don’t prove rules. They disprove them. If there’s an exception, there’s no rule, there is at best a tendency.

              • Swank

                Nope, it’s about the fact that men and women have the capacity to reproduce and that families depend on that capacity. The fact that some men and women in marriage choose not to exercise this capacity — or can’t, because of age, illness, or emotional aversion — does not invalidate the key principle of marriage. If you’re interested in the subject, I recommend the article ‘Gay Rites’ at The Claremont Review of Books website. The latter is not so much an argument as a survey of ‘how we got here’ and ‘what it all means’, without claiming to be the last word on the topic.

                Incidentally, I agree with you about exceptions not proving rules, but it’s a handy figure of speech. What I really meant was that exceptions don’t invalidate generalities, just as extreme highs or lows don’t invalidate, negate, or erase means/ averages.

                • Peter Bensley

                  You’re talking nonsense. An infertile couple is a family. A gay couple raising a child from a previous relationship are a family. A widower raising his daughter alone, they’re a family. A celibate couple raising an adopted child, they’re a family.

                  Saying that the defining feature of a marriage is the capacity to produce children but it doesn’t matter if you don’t actually have this capacity as long as you’re of the same type of people as normally have the capacity is not only nonsense, but incoherent nonsense.

                  Nor is this a definition of marriage that has any historical or semantic validity, and it’s not one that would be broadly recognised across different cultures and eras. It is, rather, a very new, very narrow definition specifically crafted to exclude homosexuals, for the purpose of excluding homosexuals.

          • Swank

            Oh, and marriage isn’t about falling in love: it’s about staying in love, in some way, or staying together anyway — usually for the sake of others if not for yourselves.

            Gays have civil partnerships, legal recognition of their bond. Tell me: Why do they need to call it ‘marriage’? It never will be marriage, whatever they call it. I can put rabbit ears on my dog and give her a fluffy tail to wear, but she’ll always be a dog in reality.

            • Peter Bensley

              If you want a purely factual answer to that: You’re simply wrong. Marriage is just a word, and it is a word in the English language, which is defined by usage. If people call such a domestic arrangement between two gay people “marriage” then that is literally and objectively what it is, and no amount of whining on your part will change that.

              It may lack some feature you consider essential to the concept of marriage, but that doesn’t matter, particularly since you don’t seem capable of articulating exactly what you think gay marriages are missing in any sort of coherent way.

              Gays are perfectly capable of having family relationships with each other and raising children; they are capable of remaining in love and staying together. The one thing they can’t do is reproduce unassisted, but the same is true of many straight couples, yourself included, so from what you’ve said so far it seems that the key, magical feature that makes a marriage is not love or loyalty or raising children or anything else, but the theoretical ability to have children even if that ability is not actually present or utilised.

              • Swank

                Sorry, this isn’t about love fulfillment (or sexual fulfillment, even, which is why I still do have a legitimate marriage, regardless of what you think). Marriage is for the sake of society, so that married Bill won’t go and sire children with unmarried Jane, even if he doesn’t care to bonk his own wife (as the case may be). It is about keeping faithful because of the consequences of not staying faithful for heterosexuals, i.e. potential breeders. Homosexuals can cheat on each other — whatever that might mean for them — without families being broken up or new families being founded by that fact.

                Game set match to me, my friend.

                • Peter Bensley

                  So can heterosexuals, obviously – frequently people have extramarital affairs without family breakup or founding new families.

                  Similarly, it’s perfectly possible for a homosexual couple with children (adopted, via surrogate or from prior heterosexual relationships) to break up because of infidelity, or for a homosexual to run off with their lover and form a new family unit.

                  Also, a man in a gay relationship with another man is perfectly capable of going and sleeping with another man’s wife, getting her pregnant, and forming a new family unit with her.

                  If the purpose of marriage is as you say to prevent infidelity, then a) it obviously doesn’t work and b) it’s equally important that people in gay relationships are able to marry, since they are just as capable of infidelity and forming families as anyone else.

            • terry

              ” I can put rabbit ears on my dog and give her a fluffy tail to wear, but she’ll always be a dog in reality.”

              Maybe honey, but what a dog.


              • Swank


  • edithgrove

    Frankly I think Charles Moore’s dogs could do better.

  • philipwhittington

    It’s deeply unusual for Mr Moore not to put a conservative argument in its strongest possible form, but he would be far better off raising the spectre of polygamy. There is an existing market for this deeply illiberal practice and it would cause far more societal damage than a handful of weirdos marrying their pets.

  • Fritz123

    Gays are humans too

    • Augustus

      And so are those young and helpless members of our society who have a right to have their natural rights defended. A new definition of marriage actually excludes children since by definition it is not procreative in protecting a child’s right to have a mother and a father. What we now face is legal gender segregation and a deliberate subversion and defilement of the natural order and the rights of children to a mother and a father. This isn’t just about wedding cakes and the love and commitment of two people of the same gender, it’s about priorities.

  • zurga

    Sorry, I am not Conservative enough to approve of marrying dogs.

  • Radford_NG

    I think this is about the marriage tax allowance

  • HookesLaw

    Mr Moore is feeling his age. He grows ever more absurd. Leaving aside his asinine speculations, the prime importance in a marriage, or indeed legal, agreement is that both parties should be willing and able to express their consent.

    • Daniel Maris

      So that should make polygamy among consenting adults OK then?

  • Baron

    Are you aware, Mr. Moore, postings get censored? Baron was allowed just one, that’s his limit. You know what you can do with freedom of expression of this kind?

  • JeffreyRO55

    This is why so many people don’t take conservatives very seriously: they have a serious “slippery slope” phobia!

    • Colonel Mustard

      Who are these “so many people”? Have you conducted a poll? Do tell. In the last General Election the Conservative party attracted more votes than any other party. So might we say that showed why “so many people” don’t take the national socialists very seriously? Do please explain the rules for these sweeping statements.

      • mightymark

        Furthermore what exactly is the “This” you are referring to? Are you saying people don’t take the Tories seriously because as part of an presumably satirical reductio ad absurdum, someone says that the Government’s policy on gay marriage could lead to animal marriage?

  • MichtyMe

    No reason why you cannot marry your dog, however it is unreasonable to expect the state it recognise the marriage, just a the state should not recognise religious marriage rituals, be they christian or voodoo. The state should only recognize legal civil partnerships.

  • CraigStrachan

    To think the day would ever come when Charles Moore would channel Tony Soprano channeling “Senator Sanatorium”.

  • Augustus

    If you really don’t want gay people to get married, you shouldn’t ban gay marriage, you should ban gay divorce.

  • StephanieJCW

    Good grief…

  • Bert3000

    Embarassingly stupid article. This person should be stopped before they can make a fool of themself any more.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Very timely reminder of the soviet practice of declaring dissidents insane so that they could be locked up and “stopped before they can make a fool of themself (sic) any more”. Or perhaps you had re-education in mind. Or maybe another new law to criminalise such public flights of fancy and satire.

      • JeffreyRO55

        Again, why translate one position to an extreme one? The author is being foolish, so foolish that I can’t tell if he’s being serious or sarcastic. Animals can’t consent to marriage, just as humans in comas can’t consent, and therefore can’t marry. It’s not so much “speciesism” but rather freedom and liberty, including consenting to important circumstances that affect a person.

        • Colonel Mustard

          I don’t think it I was translating one position to an extreme one. That was Bert3000 suggesting they be “stopped”. . .

  • Tom Tom

    The State is an absurdity and should be ignored. It has exceeded any rational bounds and become illegitimate. It has no economic power in a global economy and has been reduced to legislating absurdities. It should be ignored and consigned to the dustbin of history. This political system is decadent and increasingly reliant upon illegal use of naked force and gangsterism to sustain itself.

    • Chum

      Well said!

  • Span Ows

    Nothing wrong with this piece, seems a perfectly logical progression on the course set. Many of the comments seem ad hominem or go on about insensitivity etc, of course the hypocrisy doesn’t occur to them.

    • JeffreyRO55

      Nothing wrong with predicting that humans and animals will be legally married? Really? Do you honestly think that’s a valuable and substantive forecast, predicated, somehow, on granting equal legal rights to gay citizens? If we grant drivers’ licenses to gay people, will animals be getting them next, too?

      • Baron

        No, Jeffrey, dogs won’t be getting driving licences any time soon because no love’s involved. You have to perk up abit, sir, the rationale for gay marriage advanced by the gay lobby, and the cranium vacuous, we-are-in-it-together boy, and the woman with the penchant for Blahnik shoes was ‘why deny two men deeply in love’ the chance to get married. A dog cannot be in love with the driving licence, and even if it could the piece of paper couldn’t reciprocate.

        Can you follow now, or is it still too testing for the couple of your brain cells you seem to have left?

        • JeffreyRO55

          You’re awfully indignant for someone addressing the most ridiculous “it could happen!” argument currently making the rounds. It seems to me that this inter-species marriage gambit is just heterosexual sour grapes: there is clearly a lack of rational reason for the government to treat heterosexual couples differently than homosexual couples, and now, I guess, straight people won’t feel special, due to exclusive government access to marriage.

          Advocating that gay couples get access to marriage because they, too, fall in love and want a secure relationship doesn’t mean that other requirements of marriage fall by the wayside. Consent, minimum age, not closely related, those requirements remain in place, sir.

          If not, then why not predict that six-year-olds will soon be marrying, as well as humans to animals?

          Have I used too many multi-syllable words for your comfort level and brain power? I apologize.

          • paulus

            I love that: Consent, minimum age , not closely related and want a secure relationship. How does that rule out the dog ?

            So if homosexual relationships are `normal’ how do you define normal.

            Now im not going to argue the fact its not normal but its not normal for marriage.

            Marriage is the state of union that leads to procuration of children that guarantees them absolute legal right to property of their parent in the event of intestate. It is clear cut and definitive. It is a contract between the living and the dead.

            Marriage is a contractual arrangment between all parties involved the living, the dead and, the unborn. It has and always has been about property and property right. So in lots of societies, consent, minimum age and not closely related didn’t seem to matter. The argument is about the transfer of wealth from generation to generation, legitimate tranfer, the law of contract and what uphold these, duty honour fidelity. Undermine this and this is what you undermine.

            How can a conservative be so naive, to see an avoidable battle headed off at the pass. To win every war without our people ever having to fight a battle is the greatest gift of a leader.

            • JeffreyRO55

              How does marriage ensure transfer of property, to anyone but the spouse? Parents can easily use a will to deny any property to offspring. I’m a yank, posting from the states, and here at

              Conservatives must have the dreariest marriages! They insist on defining marriage in terms of sexual mechanics or legalistic terms. Sad, really. And here at least, children do not have unfettered access to their parents’ property except in the absence of a will.

              • Swank

                Actually, it’s been shown repeatedly in surveys that self-identified married conservatives are the most sexually gratified, and liberal singles are the least so.

          • wildowl

            Well, this is the last straw. I am cancelling my subscription with the Spectator for publishing such ridiculous tripe and, even worse, they must thinks its either clever or funny. Sad.

  • allymax bruce

    Charles, I’m beginning to like you now; I wrote on this issue, and can be read online at Blogger, ‘allymax against ssm submission’.
    Marriage is one man + one woman; please go to Marriage for Scotland website, to read, and sign the petition.
    Thank you, allymax.

    • Fergus Pickering

      You mean marriage at one particular time and place is one man, one woman. All over the muslim world it is one man, four women. In many parts of the world and at many times it can be one man, one small girl. s far as the Roman Emperor Heliogabalus was concerned it was one Emperor, one charioteer. Marriage is a social contract. You seem to imagine it has some sort of holy glow. It doesn’t.

      • Tom M

        “.Marriage is a social contract. You seem to imagine it has some sort of holy glow..”
        I think the Church of England would argue that it has.

        • HookesLaw

          Marriage existed before the Church of England. Marriage practices, usually I imagine to formalise the subjugation and ownership of women, existed before any Judeo-Christian religion.

        • Fergus Pickering

          But they would be wrong. I was married by a registrar. What has that to do with any church? Bugger all, as far as I can see.

          • Swank

            Yes, but you married one woman in legal equality.

            Claiming several ‘wives’ is a way of enslaving those women, of making each woman inferior to the man, and preventing forever anything like what Western marriage can achieve in intimacy/love.

          • Tom M

            Your missing my point. I said the Church of England, the religious body not individuals, would argue the “holy glow” point. And for the faithful (not me) that means quite a lot.

        • james

          More realistically, some members of the Church of England would argue that it has, some would argue that it hasn’t, others would stay neutral and call for unity and civilised discussion, while the rest would launch into a rambling philosophical debate with themselves and then forget what the question was.

    • Mazzzz

      Unfortunately, only Scottish Postcodes are accepted.

      • allymax bruce

        Mazzzz, thanks for that; yes, unfortunately only Scottish postcodes, because the petition is to be used as part of a legal challenge to the ssm bill the Scottish parliament is forcing on our society. For the petition to be considered valid in the Scottish legal system, only Scottish postcodes are recorded. But thanks for your interest. God bless you.

  • Andy

    Often, when flicking through recent weddings, I’m apt to think that some have married a dog. But that might just be my failing eyesight of course.

  • andagain

    So marriage, from now on, can mean no more than the legally registered
    decision of two people to live together while not being married to
    anyone else.

    And a dog cannot legally register any decision. Therefore a dog cannot get married. Therefore you cannot marry a dog.

    Are you trying to satirise the anti-gay marriage camp by coming up with the stupidest possible arguments for their side?

    • doctorseraphicus

      It is a slightly ridiculous argument, I agree. But we do all sorts of things to and with animals without their consent: keep them as pets, occasionally experiment on them, kill them for food. It isn’t clear to me that “marrying” them would be worse than any of these.

      • andagain

        It might not be worse, but it cannot be possible unless the animal is capable of legally consenting to it.

        For a couple to get married they must both consent to it. If one of the parties is incapable of giving that consent, they cannot get married.

        • Alexsandr

          ‘will you tak this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife’
          she says ‘He will’

        • Colonel Mustard

          I didn’t legally consent to various conditions imposed upon me by successive British governments and which, in my opinion, are a far greater burden than marriage.

          • HookesLaw

            Don’t be daft. You voted in a parliamentary election to decide the law making institution of your country.
            The stupidity of your comment and your argument shows how facile Moore has become in his nincompoop old age,

          • alexaaa1

            Yes you did. By living in this country you have given your tacit consent to abide by the laws of the State.

      • james

        The problem is not that making a dog get married is unpleasant for the dog. The problem is that if a dog gets married it will have many legal obligations that it cannot possibly understand or fulfil, and many legal rights that it cannot make use of. The idea of a dog getting married is just as nonsensical as the idea of a dog getting a mortgage, becoming a director of a company, or adopting a child.

        • doctorseraphicus

          I’m not sure that I have any more legal obligations to my wife than to anyone else. Neither of us is obliged by law to support the other, share bank accounts, remain faithful to the other, live with each other, speak to each other, or, pretty well, anything. I am not even legally obliged to love her – as though something so daft could be written into law.

          Now, that wouldn’t make for a happy home, I admit.

          As pointed out in the article, marriage used to carry connotations regarding the sexual behaviour of the married couples.particularly with a view to the begetting of children (pace all the usual comments about childless couples). Nowadays, marriage no longer has such a connotation and I think one of fundamental points of the article, expressed in an admittedly silly way, is that by losing this once important aspect what is left is basically agreement to live together.

        • Justin Lewis

          Caligula’s horse was a senator. He MADE laws.

    • itdoesntaddup

      Just change the law to make the consent of the dog a legally registrable decision. Dogs are certainly capable of expressing their opinions.

      • JeffreyRO55

        Is consent merely an opinion? And how to dogs express an opinion, exactly?

        • Swank

          You don’t know many dogs, do you? Or at least, intelligent ones.

          My dog expresses her opinion all the time, using an incredible range of body language and vocalizations. She also chooses which treat she wants when I hold out two or three. When I say, ‘you can have this… or this… or this…’, she understands (and did from the first time) that I’m offering her a choice — that she can’t have all the treats. She sniffs them all and makes her selection. She is, mind you, a highly intelligent canine: a Boxer.

          • JeffreyRO55

            OK, you win! Humans and dogs should be able to get married, since different-sex human couples and same-sex human couples can (or will be able to soon), and dogs can be trained.

            • Swank

              Jeffrey: I think dogs should have Mummies and Daddies, possibly in the same household, though not necessarily. What I think about human children is very similar.

        • itdoesntaddup
          • JeffreyRO55

            I think you’re making this into a “I’m going to win, no matter how foolish I look!” game. Dogs, like all other animals, can’t consent to a legal contract, such as marriage. They don’t have the brainpower to understand what they’re getting into. Note that children can’t consent either, and are also forbidden from marrying.

            • itdoesntaddup

              To judge from your remarks you prefer cats. The whole point of the article is that laws an be changed: there is no impediment to changing the law to grant consent to the marriage of children (indeed the law has provided for such in the past), or of dogs. Caligula aimed to make Incitatus his Consul.

              • JeffreyRO55

                Red herring. Laws do change, and to act as if that is inherently bad is ridiculous. Plus, to imply that humans and cats can’t marry now, but will be able to once same-sex marriage is legal, is absurd. If humans and cats can’t marry now, why would they be able to marry AFTER same-sex marriage becomes legal.

                It’s unclear if this article is sarcastic. But if it’s serious, it is complete and utter nonsense, and its real purpose is to smear gay and lesbian citizens by making them out at threats to the civil order by demanding equal legal rights as straight people.

                • itdoesntaddup

                  I suggest you research the decline of civilizations. Rome is a good place to start.

                • JeffreyRO55

                  Rome declined because the Christians took over.

    • Smithersjones2013

      No I think Moore is satirising Cameron and his little Blairite Roons whizzo wheeze for creating a marriage definition which creates enormous legal loopholes which inevitably will be exploited as all such loopholes do.

      True the animal example is at the furthest fringe of possibility (although given the perverse nature of our society I wouldn’t exclude it totally particularly as I imagine it could provide significant tax avoidance opportunities) but there are far more mainstream relationships (such as family relationships) which could now theoretically be formalised under the new laxer non-sexual definition of marriage (to gain the financial benefits such as tax concessions). At which point either government will have to suffer further tax revenue losses because people understandably use this inadequate definition in their attempts to pay less tax or it will have to remove all financial benefits associated with marriage further undermining the institution.

      And if you think the legal profession won’t exploit this new black hole in the concept of marriage just think about how they have abused the HRA. In 20 years time it won’t just be the dog but possibly the goldfish and the budgie too.

      Now the interesting thing will be inheritence law. If a married dog inherits their partners fortune and then has pups are the pups entitled to a share of the inheritence?

  • Daniel Maris

    More to the point, rather than any silly references to animal-human marriage, is the issue of polgamy.

    The explicit arguments in favour of gay marriage were based on (a) equality and (b) personal fulfilment.

    I don’t see how you can deny legalisation of polygamy without violating the principles of equality (given the current dogma that all cultures and religions are equal) and personal fulfilment (who are we to frustrate the desire of sincere Muslims to enter into polygamous unions that will give them personal satisfaction?).

    • andagain

      Polygamy tends to produce a number of surplus unmarried males, which are widely thought to do nothing to make a society safer or more stabler. So you could probably argue against it on public interest grounds.

      More to the point, I think there would be too much opposition from feminists to allow such a move in the forseeable future, whatever the logic of the case.

      • doctorseraphicus

        Then allow polyandry as well. I am sure today’s alpha-females could support several husbands: one to do the garden, one to attend to the car, one the love-machine, etc. Perfect division of labour.

        More seriously, one advantage of polygamy is that prosperous men may then support several women. In poorer societies, this is probably the best opportunity women have to secure a comfortable life for themselves and their offspring. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how that could translate into today’s society.

        • Alexsandr

          but he will have multiple mothers in law!

      • Daniel Maris

        Of course you CAN argue against it on any number of grounds. But you CANNOT argue against it on grounds of equality or personal happiness, which are the principles most often put forward in support of gay marriage.

        • andagain

          Why would I bother, when I can argue against it perfectly well on other grounds?

          • Daniel Maris

            You don’t have to. But you can’t argue that on grounds of equality and personal fulfilment – the grounds most often put forward as the rationale for gay marriage – polygamy is illegitimate.

            • andagain

              Why would I want to?

      • Smithersjones2013

        Presumably that is based on analysis that has taken place in heterosexual societies where men are dominant. Consequently one man will wed several women. Would it be true in an equal society which allowed varied types of relationship? I can easily see dominant women taking more than one husband or even dominant gay partners taking more than one spouse.

        Such arguments regarding polygamy probably wouldn’t hold water in an equal society.

    • edithgrove

      I understand polygamy is already accepted by the DSS

  • Steve Cairns

    What an odd man Mr Moore is. Pity is the only response this odd and slightly worrying bit of mental diarrhoea really calls for. Mr Moore, there’s a little trick you should consider using next time the voices start troubling your conscious mind. Simply repeat the mantra ‘keep it in, keep it in, keep it in’. If you ever feel close to saying it out loud, or typing it out, stamp on your left foot with the right. Repeat until the voices no longer bother you.

    • Colonel Mustard

      That’s the beauty of freedom of opinion and more importantly expressing it. A test of whether we have it or not is perhaps whether people like you are attempting to curtail what you deem to be “odd and slightly worrying”. I see left-wing opinions expressed all the time that I find “odd and slightly worrying” – some very worrying and some which have become law.

      • Steve Cairns

        Freedom of expression is a beautiful thing. Learning that not every
        idea and opinion that comes into your head is actually worth expressing, or even indulging, is greater still. Learning to observe the mind, and not becoming attached to everything it thinks is a great skill, and one that leads to wisdom.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Yes, but that beautifully shrouded if not sanctimonious guidance for self censorship is for Mr Moore’s consideration, not for yours. You could have just written “I disagree” or a thousand other opinions without slyly suggesting that he should have kept quiet. Would that some of those advocating “progress” in this country might follow your suggestion too.

          But of course we both know this is not about all things being equal or even about what is “odd and slightly worrying”.

          • Fergus Pickering

            I think, I think Mr Moore was trying to be funny.

            • Colonel Mustard

              I gathered that. Freedom of expression covers satire. But it falls flat on those with a sense of humour failure – which is just about everyone on the left in Britain these days, unless of course they are sniggering about Tories or Bush.

              • JeffreyRO55

                The right has been unfailingly unreasonable on so many issues that one can hardly blame the left for losing a sense of humor in politics.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I’m not blaming them merely observing. It seems a perfect state for them to be in, as is blaming the right for all our woes, – totally suited to their characters and mindsets.

                • Smithersjones2013

                  the left for losing a sense of humor in politics.

                  Is that code for ‘Spitting its dummy out and sulking?

          • Steve Cairns

            Sanctimony seems to be rather your domain, Colonel! And gosh, don’t you seem riled by a few words. You also could have written ‘I disagree’ in response to my comments. So why tell me to do so?

            My suggestion is not self censorship. It is of self-awareness. Colonel, in all seriousness, check out a concept called ‘mindfulness’. It is a process of studying one’s own mind and training oneself to become a master of its methods and its randomness. You may think its a load of nonsense or you may get something out of it. Nothing to lose though!

            • Colonel Mustard

              I’m not riled. More bemused. And far from sanctimony being my domain it is increasingly characteristic of the narrative from the left.

              And your suggestion was indeed for self-censorship.

              As for ‘Mindfulness”, yes, there is even a fake charity dedicated to the invention. You should have a word with Bert3000 – he also believes in implying that those expressed thoughts he disagrees with should be regarded as mental health issues. Maybe together you could get a new law introduced for locking people like Mr Moore up.

              • Steve Cairns

                Colonel, try sitting quietly for 30 minutes and simply watch every thought that comes into your mind. Don’t think, just watch the thoughts come and go. See if you notice anything, any patterns etc. If you have a sharp and skilled mind, you will be in sufficient control to watch the flow of thoughts with detachment, noticing as they arise and pass. If not, you will find yourself carried off into pontification, anger, anxiety, and general over-thinking. See what happens. You might be surprised.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I think you should take your own advice. I have seldom read a comment of such patronising tripe here – and that’s saying something. It would have been much easier for you to simply write:-

                  “I think views I disagree with should not be expressed”.

                  And more honest.

                • Steve Cairns

                  I guess your 30 minutes didn’t last very long then…

                  I believe that any view can and should be expressed. I also believe that some views are the expression of a mind that is suffering.

                  Colonel – I offer you my best wishes. May you be happy, peaceful, and free from suffering.

  • Mike, Preston

    Am I the only person wondering why Charles Moore appears so obsessed with gay marriage and homosexuality in general? Please Mr Moore, give it a rest. I think we are all aware of your position now and as the comment threads when you post online indicate, most of us are bored by it.

    • cg

      I think Charles needs to come out of the closet.

      • Donalbain

        Or come out of the kennel.

    • Colonel Mustard

      I don’t think it is Mr Moore who is obsessed.

    • Donalbain

      Never mind homosexuality, I want to know why he is so obsessed with bestiality.

  • timinsingapore

    Sorry, Charles, this piece is not as witty as you think it is! I think gay people would be quite justified in finding it offensive.

  • Austin Barry

    What a culturally insensitive piece from Mr Moore. Certain of our belief communities deem dogs to be impure and who among us observing their grooming, toiletry and dietary habits can demur?

  • Fergus Pickering

    Don’t be silly, Mr Moore. Didn’t your teachers warn you against showing off?

  • pigou_a

    Does any one buy the Spectator any more? This seems more suited to the mid 20th century than the present.

  • Colonel Mustard

    More to the point what happens when two-way swingers like the recent Tory MP declare an intention to marry both a man and a woman because they love them both equally? Surely by the logic of the present advocacy for gay marriage this would be undeniable?

    • Adrian Drummond

      You’re right. But Moore’s heavily nuanced argument is being overshadowed by people’s understandable sensitivity about the issue.

      • Colonel Mustard

        The empirical evidence makes me puzzle somewhat over that suggestion of an “understandable sensitivity”.

        • Adrian Drummond

          As you might probably suspect, I am just trying to be tactful.

          • fitz fitzgerald

            Tact ? We don’t understand …

    • Jack Winfield

      What has bigamy got to do with any of this? There has been no discussion of multiple/simultaneous marriage.

      • Drakken

        Once you open Pandora’s Box?

    • james

      Bisexuality (being attracted to both men and women) and polyamory (relationships involving more than two people) are completely unrelated. There are lots of heterosexual people in polyamorous relationships and lots of bisexual people in monogamous relationships.

  • Stephen Percival

    Stupid article.