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back to article Boss wrong to demote man over anti-gay-marriage Facebook post

A Christian man who expressed his unfavourable views about gay marriage on Facebook - and was subsequently demoted with a 40 per cent pay cut by the Manchester-based housing trust he worked for - has won a breach-of-contract case against his employer. Mr Justice Briggs ruled in London's High Court this morning that the actions …

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The conclusion being ....

... that whilst the employee is a twerp, Trafford Housing Trust is managed by wankers.

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Paris Hilton

Re: The conclusion being ....

But why is he a twerp? For responding to a Facebook post A WHOLE DAY LATER? For having opinions? Or for having "not progressive" opinions?

Inquiring minds etc...

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Re: The conclusion being ....

For making such comments on the site where he'd named his employer

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The conclusion being ....

> But why is he a twerp?

He is a twerp for daring to have an opinion different to John Lilburne's.

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JDX
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Re: The conclusion being ....

If they fired him for breaking their policies on equality, I could buy that. But docking his salary while keeping him employed makes no sense.

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Devil

Re: Outrageous

Maximum thought control! IGOR!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Outrageous

I don't think there was any suggestion that he was a "queer basher" - I speak as someone who has been "queer bashed" - I just think that he has some old fashioned opinions he is dressing up with religion.

There is no suggestion that his opinions have affected his job.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Outrageous

I'm not sure that calling something old fashioned make an opinion valid or not. As it happens homosexual practice was quite common in ancient Rome. So by your logic......

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Re: Outrageous

To be honest, he sounds very reasonable. If only half the nation was that fair minded.

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Re: Outrageous

Expressing an opinion that gay people are inferior is queer-bashing, by definition.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Outrageous

Did you even read what he posted?

Roughly he said:

He disagreed with marriage in church for gays, but didn't go on to say a civil marriage was not...

I don't think gay people should get married in a Christian Church either,

I don't understand why they would WANT to get married in one,

if the religion is against it, why would you want to be a part of it?

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Re: Outrageous

> Did you even read what he posted?

That's exactly what this issue was all about.

The guy merely thought that there was a bizarre contradiction between gays wanting to get married in the hall of an organisation that is fundamentally against gay marriage.

He doesn't seem to have expressed a personal opinion about homosexuality at all in his posting.

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Re: Outrageous

I actually think the Church should get out of the marrying business altogether.

By all means let people have a show ceremony in a Church (or a Synagogue, or a Mosque, or a temple, or a forest clearing) if they really must, but it should not be in any way legally binding. The actual, official, wedding should take place in the town registry office.

This is how they already do it in some other countries, and it works there. It also would mean that no religion is elevated in status above any other (since some religious marriage ceremonies are not recognised by the law of the land).

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Re: Outrageous

Rather unfair to say he's a queer basher, based on the available evidence.

All he's done is say he doesn't agree with gay marriage in christian church, or at least of his particularly branch of christianity. Which is actually a wholly reasonable opinion. He hasn't actually said he has a problem with civil marriage of any type.

Church rules say same sex marriage isn't allowed, so it makes sense for them not to allow it. In the same way they won't let you steal, or worship the devil, or break any of their other rules.

Still the guy is a bit of an idiot in the sense that he's got himself enraged due to totally misunderstanding the governments position on gay marriage in church.

Government actually says "Churches can marry same sex couples if they want, it's not our business"

What this twerp hears this as "Churches must marry same sex couples if they ask to be married"

Oh and just before anyone decides to call me names of any kind I'll just go on record as saying, personally I couldn't give a crap what any 2 or more consenting sentient beings of any species or gender do together, as long as it doesn't effect me.

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Re: Who should get out of the marring business

Personally, I feel the opposite.

Governments should get out of the marrying business. Now if they would like to create a legal joining of two estates, that's different. That becomes a simple contractual matter, and one that has no bearing on the gender, race, religion, or creed of any of the participants.

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Re: Outrageous

Dude, my sarcasm detector is off the scale.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Outrageous

"Government actually says "Churches can marry same sex couples if they want, it's not our business"

The Government consultation on this issue wants to satisfy the major Churches by explicitly banning gay marriage in churches. Unfortunately this has the effect of denying liberal religious bodies like the Quakers the right to exercise their religious consciences.

The answer is to be like France. The only marriage ceremony that counts as legally binding is the civil one. Any religious ceremony is optional and done elsewhere afterwards. The State will still allow the Churches' dogma proscriptions when considering "equality" challenges. So divorcees could still not insist on a church ceremony - and gay people would be in the same position. Churches are already allowed immunity from some equality laws where it goes against their dogma. eg not appointing women or gay clergy.

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@AJ Stiles 16:58 Re: Outrageous

"The actual, official, wedding should take place in the town registry office."

That is what happens in this country as well. It's just that for the C of E (i.e. the official church of our Monarch), the building is legally a sub-office of the town registry office.

Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Jedi, etc, can have whatever ceremony they like (as can CofE adherents if their vicar is 'progressive') but they have to make an extra journey to the town hall registry.

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Re: Outrageous

Strange that anyone would want to be married by an institution that is against them marrying.

But then....that's life. Some people quietly get-on with their lives and others chose to insist on shouting in others faces.

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Unhappy

Re: Outrageous

Leave Igors out of this!

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Re: @AJ Stiles 16:58 Outrageous

Whatever the technicalities of the situation, it's not fair that some groups should be taken more seriously than others based on beliefs that can most charitably be described as "unprovable".

Why is a ceremony conducted by a Christian priest in a Church automatically considered "valid", but one conducted by a Pagan priestess at an ancient sacred site autimatically considered "not valid" ? It's not as though one set of beliefs is any more or less ridiculous than the other .....

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Re: @AJ Stiles 16:58 Outrageous

That is what happens in this country as well. It's just that for the C of E (i.e. the official church of our Monarch), the building is legally a sub-office of the town registry office.

Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Jedi, etc, can have whatever ceremony they like (as can CofE adherents if their vicar is 'progressive') but they have to make an extra journey to the town hall registry.

No. I can assure you that my own marriage is completely legit, and occurred once and only once, in the local Catholic church. A registrar needs to be present to observe (not officiate at) the ceremony to ensure it complies with the legal requirements. While in my case the registrar did indeed come from the local registry office many priests have completed a short course and a submitted the relevant forms to be registered as registrars in their own right - this is simply one of those things that varies from priest to priest.

CofE churches are not in any kind of legally privileged position in this respect. The rules are exactly the same, regardless of denomination.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Outrageous

> if the religion is against it, why would you want to be a part of it?

There are plenty of gay people / gay couples who go to church regularly and for whom their faith is very important. I suppose they just ignore the part about Christianity being against homosexuality in the same way that everyone ignores the part about slavery. All Christians of every denomination follow a 'version' of Christianity that suits them - by definition. People pick and choose the parts they want. And most Christians respect gay people - it's only homophobes who have a problem with gays and they are just using religion as a shield to hide behind.

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Pint

Re: Outrageous

Exactly. It's that classic quote (about defending to the death etc etc: whilst I don't agree with his opinions, I think he was bang on to sue his employer, who sound like they were clearly prejudiced against him simply because they disagreed with his opinion. And I'm glad he won the case.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Outrageous

and also apparently common in ancient Greece, mostly older men with younger boys.

It has never been considered marriage though, in any society that I know of.

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Re: Outrageous

Its politics. If you can redefine what marriage is, you undermine its current meaning and force people into ungainly qualification which makes them sound homophobic.

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Holmes

Re: Outrageous

> What this twerp hears this as "Churches must marry same sex couples if they ask to be married"

That is precisely the idea. Once "marriage" has been redefined, the issue is no longer about what the institution of marriage is - it becomes all about the people involved and ripe for attack on the basis of discrimination.

Its politics.

Remember when the police went into a christian cafe and then claimed that having scrolling religious texts on TV screen could be construed as offensive and tried to get the place shut down? If you dislike christian beliefs, why would you patronise their cafes and then complain, unless you wanted to cause a scene and get them shut down?

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Re: P.Lee

Marriage has been going on for far longer than the Christian church has existed. It has constantly been redefined during that time. A woman is no longer considered a mans property for example. You're argument has no merit at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting this one...

Ok, disclosure: I'm a Christian and I'm bisexual.

I agree with his point about non-Christians wanting to marry in Church - Why would you want to get married and make vows in the sight of someone you don't believe in?

I disagree with his opinions about the bible being clear on the subject - it's hazy at best, there are many other things which it is clear on that are ignored by the sort of people who bang on about homosexuality and same sex marriage. Sloth, gluttony, worshiping false idols (money), wearing clothes of mixed fabric, drinking blood, eating shellfish, etc. etc. Some of these things are to be taken seriously in a modern world, some are no longer needed. I would suggest that a desert living nomadic tribe, probably should eat shellfish or pork, it won't end well.

There are two issues with same sex civil partnerships - The first is that it's not marriage, it is something different and is it demeaning to say to people you want to be equal to you that you can have a sort of proto marriage, it's a bit like marriage, but not quite. The second is that you can't do it in a Church, which is because of the first - it's not marriage, therefore you can't do it in a Church. There are plenty of Churches that want to, many will bless a same-sex union, but they aren't allowed to marry.

All that said, I never thought in the 80s that we would be in a position within 30 years where there was even any form of same-sex civil partnership, so things are moving along.

If people who have opinions like his had been silenced all along the way, I can't imagine that we'd be in a particularly better place, stifling this sort of thing just results in embittered entrenched opinions, debating with them can result in change for the better.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting this one...

I agree with your comments around "The first is that it's not marriage" but I fail to see how anyone who has read the Bible can say that it is "hazy" about saying that same sex sec is wrong.

You can argue that you feel it is no longer relevant or you could argue that the Bible is a guide or set of principals but I really fail to see how you can argue that it is "hazy".

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Re: Interesting this one...

Plenty of (straight) non-believers get married in church. I don't believe in god, but I find that to be grotesquely disrespectful, but the ministers involved seem to be satisfied by the couples involved simply attending a couple of sunday services.

Unlike the dingbat in the story, I wouldn't draw the conclusion that gay = non-believer, so it really shouldn't be that hard to understand why a same-sex couple might want their union blessed in their place of worship.

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Re: Interesting this one...

Very well put. I'm straight and ex catholic. If I had the chance for a civil union with my wife I would have done that instead of getting married. Personally I associate marriage with religion, or at least the word rather than the concept. I don't think anybody should be excluded from the right to commit their life to someone, to get the benefits of a union, based on the sex of their chosen partner. Should it be called marriage? I'm with the posted above, personally I'm not sure why you would want to call it marriage given the association with a bunch of biggoted zealots, but my own decision would simply come down to, was the term or concept of a union first proposed by a religion (and if so which, I'm reasonably sure it predates christianity at least). If not then a state has no place imposing a religous definition on a civil concept. As to being married in a church, if the religion says no, then let them be biggotted fools, and remove the charitable status. You can't change people like that, forcing them to do something like that will make them hate more, just leave them to their own sad little lives.

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Re: Interesting this one...

I think a lot of the problem is in the name "marriage" or in the fight around that name. I also believe that a lot of people involved in that fight have their own agendas other than the question of equality or legal status.

Is this about getting/denying the equal rights or is it about sticking it to the "other side"? I have a suspicion that a lot of activism on both sides is driven by the latter.

Why not create a concept which would give *exactly* the same set of rights and obligations as marriage but under a different name?

Even I, and I don't consider myself homophobic in any way, don't like the idea of using "marriage" to describe a homosexual partnership. It just creates confusion: "Are you married?", "Yes", "Oh, we hope your wife will join us for dinner, then?", "Actually, he is my husband...". This is just unnecessary.

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JDX
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Re: Interesting this one...

I've read the bible and while it seems on a superficial level to be anti-gay, a deeper study makes this seem less clear-cut. Nowhere does it seem to be pro-gay but it can be argued it doesn't tackle the issue - it can further be argued that the very notion of sexuality as we understand it now simply didn't exist back then.

I've recently watched a 1-hour in depth lecture on this and 'hazy' is a reasonable description of how he made it appear.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting this one...

Actually the bible is fairly clear on what constitutes marriage:

Man + Woman (Genesis 2:24)

Man + Woman + Concubines (Abraham, Gideon, Solomon, etc)

Man + Woman + Woman + Woman (Esau, Jacob, Gideon, Solomon, etc)

Man + Brother's Widow (Genesis 38:6-10)

Rapist + Victim (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)

Male Slave + Female Slave (Owner decided who was to marry who. Exodus 21:4)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting this one...

Okay then, if you think it's not "hazy", tell me where it's clear. If you're talking about Leviticus 18:22 then that only refers to male homosexuality, and there's a strong argument that it only refers to the act of penile anal penetration. So lesbians are okay then? Good. And yes, even this is "no longer relevant"- do you eat shellfish? And what do you do if you find that the Lord has sent mildew on your house? Hmm? Even if you can pick-and-choose from the books of the Bible, surely you can't pick and choose from very close passages within Leviticus? If you do, then you might as well have made the whole thing up yourself. All other references are very hazy, and the subject of intense debate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting this one...

Hmmm....

Man + Woman + Woman + Woman

can we get that allowed in law now please????

I could do with a bit of help around the house....

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Re: Interesting this one...

As an agnostic (heavily leaning towards the atheistic side) who got married in church; the decision was largely an aesthetic one. The acoustics are great, the photos are awesome and there is a sense of ceremony that you just don't get in a registry office. The "in the sight of god" stuff both myself and my wife took with a large pinch of salt...it was more a case of "in the sight of friends and relations; many of whom are religious". Registry offices are a bit scabby in comparison. We hired a Rolls-Royce to get there in...an Austin Allegro would have done exactly the same job, if you will permit the comparison.

Marriage is done for lots of reasons...the tax breaks, protection of children and a long-term commitment to a partner. Religion isn't necessarily a part of the equation for some people (me included); but religion has called 'dibs' on the ceremony; have been doing it a long time (so it's traditional and 'done properly' if it's in a church); and do the job quite well. The setting is fantastic and those members of the audience who are religious go away happy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting this one...

"...was the term or concept of a union first proposed by a religion (and if so which, I'm reasonably sure it predates christianity at least)."

The concept of marriage goes back to the written history of the ancient Romans and Greeks - so must be presumed to date to before that. That is long before Christianity.

In medieval times marriage in the West was a legal contract cementing bonds between the elite of allied tribes and guaranteeing the line of succession. The common herd just got hitched without formal contracts or religious observance. It's only comparatively recently that the Churches had been given control of that civil legal marriage.

That was the time when the religious proscriptions about marriage were equally enshrined in civil law. When divorce and remarriage became legal in civil terms - the Churches were granted special exemption to still apply their dogma for church ceremonies.

One problem with the current situation is that the major Churches keep muddying the water about being "forced" to hold gay marriages. They are not forced to remarry divorcees or people who can't have children - that is already their legal dogma exemption. On the other hand the Quakers would welcome a change in the law to allow them to follow their religious conscience in holding gay marriages.

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Re: can we get that allowed in law now please????

It used to be the law in Utah, a long time ago.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting this one...

"Even I, and I don't consider myself homophobic in any way, don't like the idea of using "marriage" to describe a homosexual partnership. It just creates confusion: "Are you married?", "Yes", "Oh, we hope your wife will join us for dinner, then?", "Actually, he is my husband..."."

Heterosexual couples who have been together for years, but are not married, will often refer to their other half as their "partner". I've even had the response "my sister" - quite literally a non-incestuous sibling partnership.

I am amused when people get into a tizz of confusion because they can't work out from my name whether I'm male or female. The question is - "does it matter?". It doesn't bother me - unless people intend to apply discrimination in some form.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Interesting this one...

"Are you married?", "Yes", "Oh, we hope your wife will join us for dinner, then?", "Actually, he is my husband...". This is just unnecessary.

Wait, are you saying you're not interested in inviting his husband?! :p

To be honest, unless you are hosting some Victorian era dinner (where it's crucial that we not be seated next to our own sex! What a faux pas!) then I still don't see how it would matter.

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Boffin

Re: Interesting this one...

There's a cultural and historical context often missed when quoting bible texts verbatim.

2000+ years ago in most of the world (and still in many countries today) marriage and sex were seen much of the time as business contracts, displays of power (over opposing people groups) and basic survival (breeding, financial). It wasn't seen as the ultimate destination of warm and fuzzy romance. If you're born into a world where you're basically wandering around the desert, there's a logic that you do what you can to get a woman and you don't take chances or no for an answer. On the flip side, a woman who gets a man gets financial benefits and if it's a plural marriage then she doesn't have to service her master every night and she gets some female friends.

On the subject of marriage, and religious rules about marriage, as with food like cloven-footed non cud-chewing animals, it made sense to commit to one partner for life because of the risk of STDs. Now they didn't know what we know now, so whether you believe it was God, magic, aliens or an extremely smart bunch of people, there was good reason to follow those rules if you wanted to ensure your survival and the survival of your seed.

Rape was seen as bad, but not a huge misdemeanour, in fact they were more concerned that the woman was spoiled and no other man would approach her, so it was part of the restitution that the rapist should marry their victim so as to financially support them. Interestingly there's at least one incident of rape in the bible where the rapist agrees to do so, but the brothers of the victim insist the rapist and be circumsised. When he agrees they then attack him while he's recovering and can't fight back. They had a sense of right and wrong back then, it just doesn't filter so well through our modern feel-good society.

Women were treated as propery in some ways, but they were considered valuable property, not unlike modern day employers taking insurance out on their workers, which some people also consider immoral. Why were women treated this way? Well I can say the reason it was acceptable for a man to have multiple wives but not a wife would have been partly biological - about 9 months. They didn't have clinical methods for abortion and they didn't have the pill.

Which brings us to slavery. The laws of Moses were actually fairly radical for their time. Apart from POWs, slavery was more of a contact of employment, or to pay back some debt, but even then after 7 years its jubilee... No not rolling out an old woman on a throne to watch Paul McCartney sing... Freedom, freedom from debt. There were some bad slave owners (like bad managers) but there were also good ones, that's why one of the rules says if you want to stay with your slave owner after your contact is done (remember it's about survival in a harsh world) then he can pierce your ear and call you his.

So why the rule about beating your slave but not to death? Again, you read that wrong, it's not a permission, it's a limitation. If the rules were too strict and they outright banned it, that would bring the law into disrepute because no-one would obey it. So they said you must not beat your slave to death, no matter what they've done.

What does that say about homosexuality and sin today? well its interesting, one to think over whilst eating your breakfast bacon.

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Re: Interesting this one...

You really want treble trouble ?

Ok, so maybe the female-female-female thing would be interesting to watch...you may have a point..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting this one...

Variants of your dinner anecdote could apply to race, gender, other cultures as well. It's a by-product of assumed social contexts.

It's something that happens at most once, and is part of knowing and understanding the different kinds of people around you.

Like I don't know, when you probably have to correct people when they pronounce your name.

<sarcasm> How unnecessary, change your name? </sarcasm>

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"Plenty of (straight) non-believers get married in church."

only hypocritical morons with no conviction in their lack of belief in fairies

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Facepalm

"Rapist + Victim (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)"

aah, the compassion of the good book.

Can we have a Richard Dawkins is right icon?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting this one...

Same here moiety, the church does not really have anything left, to day, but the ceremonies like marriage and funerals and I think they should blame themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting this one...

"Ok, so maybe the female-female-female thing would be interesting to watch...you may have a point.."

Actually after a few weeks it starts to get boring, you start to favour the more exciting sexual partner from the three (and that is not necessarily the prettiest/skinniest/blondest/biggest titted,) and then they start bitching at each other all the time, and then you can't be arsed with having three wives.

Trust me, it is not worth it. If you must do it, pay for it at the time, it works out cheaper in the long run.

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