Ad hoc arguments against civil unions

My friend John Heard is always quick to jump on any suggestion of gay marriage or civil unions; so much so that two op-eds on the subject this year have had to be qualified by subsequent blog posts (here and here).

Labor is not, as John now concedes but claimed in his Australian op-ed this morning, about to introduce civil unions in breach of an election promise. What it is planning to do is move towards relationship registers and remove various forms of discrimination against gay couples, as set out in the ALP platform.

The problem with John’s anti-civil union/gay marriage stance is that though his position on this issue is essentially the Catholic one, that’s a hard argument to make in a minority Catholic country with a strong tradition of secular politics.

So he is forced to adopt various ad hoc arguments that provide no solid basis for an anti-civil union/gay marriage argument. The problems of ad hocery are well-summarised in this passage from today’s op-ed:
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