John, you know what cavaliers are like – wrong but romantic…
More seriously, I don’t see how allowing homosexuals some form of civil union has anything to do with the institution of heterosexual marriage, either conceptually or, for that matter, mathematically. I don’t know what percentage of the population is homosexual (the sometimes quoted 10 percent is junk statistics), but it’s probably no more than two or three percent. Given that only a minority within that minority will want one of these civil unions, I can’t see how it will have any meaningful effect on an institution (monogamous heterosexual marriage) that has endured for millennia.
On the ‘presumed standard point’, you misunderstood me (and I may have misunderstood you). What I was referring to was the notion that homosexuals are necessarily more promiscuous than heterosexuals. That may have been true in certain times and places, such as the San Francisco of the 1970s and 1980s described so well in And The Band Played On (Randy Shilts’ fascinating history of the early AIDS years), but I have no idea how much can be extrapolated from that.
As to changes in the law surrounding marriage, well, as a British conservative, would you have supported the abolition of the requirement that marriages could only be solemnized in church?