Gay Marriage, Proposition 8, And A Minor Detail…Our Children

The nation’s attention is riveted on the Proposition 8 controversy in California.  I just read a post on another conservative blog I frequent, where the author and a dozen commenters all praised gay marriage.  As I think this is an important conversation, I’m re-posting something I put on here four months ago.  The original is here.  I also recommend an essay called “The Divine Institution of Marriage.” 

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Reviewing my post on gay marriage last week, as well as the comments on it here and on other people’s blogs, has brought a few more ideas to mind. In previous material, I’ve belabored the fact that my analysis of gay marriage is based on religious beliefs and an objective understanding of the factors involved, with no ill will towards anybody, homosexual or otherwise. As that olive branch has already been either taken at face value or rejected by individual readers, I will forego it here and proceed with my opinions.

 

“How would gay marriage hurt my marriage?” It wouldn’t, of course. The only things out there that could hurt my marriage are Norah Jones and Drew Barrymore. The odds of that, however, are pretty low. Darn restraining orders.

 

“OK, Mr. Funny Man, how would it hurt any marriage?” This is like asking how legalized drugs would hurt any individual non-drug user. Directly, it might not. But a climate where formerly-illicit things are available quickly becomes a climate where such things are desired and encouraged, and the traditional alternative—sobriety—declines.

 

Is increasing homosexual activity a detriment to a stable society, then? At least in the sense that it compromises the integrity of the traditional family unit, yes. I suspect the wife and children of former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey would agree with that. If my previous reference to desegregating public bathrooms based on gender (here) wasn’t eye-opening, then try this one, which gives a good example of the slippery-slope in action.

 

It’s easy to brush that off as paranoid, but if there’s nothing to the slippery-slope theory of social disintegration, then how do we account for the drastic increase in (and tolerance of) cohabitation, out-of-wedlock births, divorce, and, for that matter, things like tattoos and body piercings, in recent decades? After all, if anyone had suggested one day in 1973 that we instantly undergo all the social transformation that we’ve actually had over the last 35 years, they would have been scorned by even the most progressive liberals. Does anyone think that legalizing gay marriage would be the very last such demand for social experimentation to which we would be asked to adjust?

 

A society can allow everything, allow nothing, or compromise somewhere in between. As the first two options are totalitarian, the third must be the rational recourse. “Compromise” sounds all fine and good, but it still means drawing a line for acceptable behavior somewhere, and if you draw a line anywhere, then you’re going to have people, even a lot of good people, on one side of it feeling disenfranchised. There’s just no way around it.

 

Think of it this way: why do governments regulate marriage at all? Well, why does government regulate anything (other than because there’s profit involved for them)? They do it because it’s their job to maintain an atmosphere in which their nation may be successful. The only relevant question here is this: would allowing homosexuals to have their relationships be recognized and given the same status as heterosexual marriage be beneficial to society?

 

What does a heterosexual marriage produce that benefits society? It produces an obligation on adult partners to be hard working and law abiding for the good of their family. The sociological research on the commitments of homosexual couples is sketchy, at best, but I don’t see that experimenting with the situation to see if it gets any better is really a responsible course of action. What we’ve seen so far is that the law of unintended consequences promises to wreak havoc on our already ailing society if we blur the boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable behavior any further. (The sad, tragic case of poor little Isabella Miller provides an instructive cautionary tale.)

 

Which brings us to the issue of children. Ultimately, society institutes marriage—with all the moral codes that surround it—so that children may be raised to continue that society. The contrarian argument here now says, “So what about infertile couples? By that logic, they shouldn’t marry.” But that ignores adoption. So shouldn’t gay couples be allowed to adopt?

 

Does a gay two-parent home offer the same benefits as a heterosexual two-parent home? On one thing, the research is convincing: the traditional mom-and-dad family is by far the best way for a child to be raised. Proponents of gay marriage do themselves a grave disservice when they then point to divorce and infidelity and say their plan is no worse. That’s like saying that meth isn’t as bad as heroin.

 

Yes, where children are involved the only acceptable position is the very best one: being raised by loving, involved, biological parents. All of society’s power should be directed towards promoting that goal. Suggesting that we change the standard which has been successfully enshrined by every major civilization in history just to accommodate the wishes of some adults, with no evidence that it won’t harm society’s children the way that we can reasonably infer that it will, is simply not something we can condone.

 

Comments are welcome, but let’s be mature here: no insisting that those who disagree with you, no matter what they say, must be drooling Nazis; also, since it’s been the basis of the success of Western Civilization for thousands of years, let’s not breezily dismiss the doctrines of the Judeo-Christian tradition just because it’s convenient to do so. 

 

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6 comments on “Gay Marriage, Proposition 8, And A Minor Detail…Our Children

  1. What about the children in California?
    Is Proposition 8 child abuse?
    Do children’s mental and emotional well-being matter?

    In California, imagine how SAFE the young children of gay or lesbian parents are feeling during this PROPOSITION 8 INSANITY.

    Would children feel SAFE if they knew other families were voting, for God’s sake, VOTING on whether their parents deserved the right to be married and treated fairly in society?

    How SAFE would a boy feel knowing some parents and teachers do not believe his own family is the same as their families?

    How SAFE would a girl feel knowing some children do not believe her own family deserves “the same” as their families?

    Now even young children ECHO this intolerance on the playground, thanks to their parents hateful words and ideas. How sick for the children of the YES ON PROP 8 crowd to feel more deserving than other children and their parents! Many children already know and love their gay uncles, lesbian grandmothers, and other FAMILY MEMBERS who are LGBTI, so we have created a hideous world with PROPOSITION 8 and other amendments like it in the U.S. Children are living in a world where they are witnessing adults spending MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars FOR or AGAINST their FAMILY.

    Children deserve to grow up in a world where they BELONG.

    Children deserve to grow up feeling SAFE.

    How sick of a society that we ALLOW family rights to be VOTED ON?

    Straight and gay children are being raised by straight and gay parents, but the government forgot that we are ALL interconnected in our families and in society. So now PROPOSITION 8 has brought children into this culture war, a war based on the assumption that some families deserve more legal rights and protections than other families in times of sickness, death, and divorce [for starters]. SICK.

  2. John, as I read your comment, I jotted down a list of emotionally charged words, including “safe,” “deserving,” “intolerance,” “hateful,” and “belong.” Actually, your whole comment was very emotional. My heart goes out to you. I can’t say that I blame you for being upset: this is a very personal issue and you may have encountered genuine animosity from people, which is unfortunate. However, even if my appeal to diplomacy at the beginning of my post failed to assuage you, issues must be addressed with reason, not emotional self-interest.

    Your view of Prop 8 is biased. You assume that there are rights and privileges for any kind of family, and that those are in danger of being taken away, but law and tradition have mostly recognized the nuclear family throughout history; it is those who are experimenting with new combinations of family structures who are trying to invent new rights and impose their will on others. I notice that, although I gave a link to research in my post showing that traditional nuclear families are by far the best arrangement for children, you don’t address it.

    I need to add that I’m not speaking from self-interest here, which I think some pro-gay marriage people must also assume. I’ve ben divorced, and my family now includes step parents and step children. I can’t let pride prevent me from admitting that this is less than ideal. My children will likely be worse off because of it. But my self esteem doesn’t refute tradition, experience, or research.

    You ask about children of gay marriages feeling safe, or being accepted or judged. Hopefully nobody is publicly haranguing children–or anybody else–because of their families, but that doesn’t mean that the majority needs to bend over backwards to sanction something that we know to not be in the best interest of children, society, or the future.

    When you write of being “treated fairly,” you seem to mean getting a green light for people to do whatever they want, regardless of existing laws, both natural and man-made. It may not seem fair, John, but that’s reality, and families aren’t about comfort and expressing yourself, they’re about insuring the best for the next generation.

    You tacitly agree at the end of your comment when you equate gay marriage with “sickness, death, and divorce.” Yes, those things are all tragic, all harm children, and all require modification and tolerance. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have them, and we should do all we can to eliminate them. Ditto for gay marriage.

    God bless you, John, and my prayers go out for safety, success, health, and happiness for you and yours.

  3. Huston, do we have a problem? Yes, I think ya do.
    How is your opinion not just an extension, or at least a by-product of the many generations of hate that has been put out to gay people? Perhaps you feel no hatred, and I’m not suggesting you do, but would the “facts” that you bring forth support their conclusive evidence if this society was less homophobic?
    In other words, would research find that heterosexual coupling provide more security than homosexual couplings if they HAD NOT ALREADY criminalized homosexuality under the penalty of death, imprisonment, social rejection and fear of authority?
    Now that they have fought for their right to live outside of prison camps, and to have their heads remain attached to their bodies, they are starting to allow what nature has programmed into all humans take effect. Yes, there still adversity, humiliation, and hatred, but that won’t stop a HUMAN from wanting to raise young. Like you said, Huston, ‘families aren’t about comfort … they’re about insuring the best for the next generation’. Sometimes I feel people forget that gay people are indeed human people, and have the natural instinct and ability to care for young. And no, by ‘being treated fairly’ what people usually mean is that, laws aside, let people be people and do that which comes naturally to them. Okay.
    Personally my view on the question of ‘marriage equality’ is that it’s not as urgent an issue for human/gay-rights as gangs beating and slaughtering gay men and lesbian women in Jamaica. 12 year old gay boys being strung up and killed in the middle east. The general infringement of mental well being of LGBT people because of what ‘YOU’ say! Children all over the world.. still afraid to let their families know that they are SICK of the way daddy calls everyone a damn fag.
    Insuring the best for our next generation would involve relinquishing these behaviors from existence within every society. How can you not see that a human raising children, no matter what the gender of the parent/s be, is FAR from an ailment in this world.
    This is why Huston has a problem. People like you would make me laugh if it wasn’t so serious. Angry? Me? Yes; because it’s a burden knowing what I know, from what I have seen, that convicts me to fight for change. At the possible expense of raising my own, I will fight these injustices and do my good for the next generation.
    Change is around the corner. Never give up.

  4. Also, this is the sort of comment that plainly points to your deep routed hatred of LGBT people..

    “You tacitly agree at the end of your comment when you equate gay marriage with “sickness, death, and divorce.” Yes, those things are all tragic, all harm children, and all require modification and tolerance. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have them, and we should do all we can to eliminate them. Ditto for gay marriage.”

    Before I get to my real beef with this statement, I must say, you are incorrect in saying that John equated these three things to gay marriage. The point he was actually trying to make is that whilst these things occur frequently in humanity, some people would actually spread more of it by defaming innocent groups of people by labeling these people as symptoms to such ‘disorders’. As you, Huston, just did.

    So, you’re now equating gay people’s love with a sickness that is both harmful and tragic and that must be ultimately eliminated. “In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have them”

    So you are in a position to judge what is and is not perfect, yes? Death is not perfect? So, death serves no basic function? Sickness? What would determine who was strong and deserved to live, and who must die, without sickness?

    You mention tolerance also. But you must know that a species ability to withstand sickness comes from diversity not tolerance. Some will live and some will die. But what you’re trying to do is strip us humans of our diversity by claiming everyone should follow what you think is right “Because God says so”.. according to you. Where would that leave the many children that would be better adopted into a gay household than being dragged through the foster system?

    That is what I believe the gay and non-procreating role is. It’s like a sponge that is intended to mop up and essentially rear the young of parents who cannot raise them. If you look at the subject of ‘nature and homosexuality’ you will see that this is what commonly happens among many groups of primates, birds and other species.

    This is why I believe your opinions reveal hatred beneath, because you go against nature in favor of your personal religion. Imposing it upon nature itself.

    It’s a tricky subject when it comes to human beings and nature though. We seemingly defy it all the time, but one thing we learn from sickness and death is that it gets us all in the end.

    You scapegoat all you like, but the basic function will prevail.

    I would leave you with your personal views if they were not infringed upon the rest of us. But like I said before, I am fighting. And I hope you can acknowledge that you’ll only acquire powerful adversaries being a tyrant. You bring out the beast in us humans. You nut. I’m 20 and I can back a point without twisting words. Do the same.

  5. Carlo, thank you for your comments. I appreciate your analysis and feedback.

    Your hypothetical questions about society’s attitude towards homosexuality presume that there is rampant homophobia in America. We need to differentiate between thinking that homosexuality is not something to be promoted or practiced (or at least not accorded endorsement in law) and treating people with anything less than the civil respect due to all children of God. Indeed, I’ve previously blogged about how disgusted I am with the strains of humiliation that do still exist in our culture. The examples you give of “homophobia,” such as physical beatings, are not common, mainstream, and certainly are not endorsed by the vast majority of those with whom you disagree. In fact, you must know that, and that makes your argument a bit of a straw man to start with. If there are legitmate examples of recent, widespread homophobia, why not cite them?

    You also ask if the problems among homosexual people as identified in social research are the result of discrimination, but isn’t that just a convenient assumption? Is there research to support your wishful thinking? Even more fanciful is your later assertion that gay people serve some sort of bio-environmental function as nurturers of children who can’t be raised by two biological parents. If you were going to make up some outlandish theory to justify a thesis with no other rational support, isn’t that exactly the kind of poorly structured argument you would come up with?

    Of course gay people may want to raise children, but is that the optimal environment for doing so? How can we justify foisting anything less than the best on children. You say that a loving homosexual couple is better than an abusive foster system. Not only is that stacking the deck, it’s a slap in the face to thousands of wonderful foster parents. Yes, some gay parents would be better than some foster parents, but that isn’t the point. The point is that the natural, nuclear family is the dieal that needs to continue to be enshrined as such.

    The argument that people should be able to do whatever comes “naturally” holds no water. Lots of things are natural, and terrible. The standard isn’t what people feel compelled by nature to do, it’s what is best for society and society’s children.

    Or, even better, what God says the standard should be. You seem to ridicule that standard, perhaps thinking that religious conservatives are using God as a smokescreen for their own arbitrary biases, but I’ve yet to see a pro-gay marriage activist address that issue at face value: how do you know that God does want gay marriage to be allowed. We can hardly be faulted for following the dictates of our consciences.

    And that certainly doesn’t constitute “stripping us of our diversity.” In a free country, everybody gets to stump for their views in the marketplace of ideas. We vote, we elect representatives, and we obey the laws of the land. The complaining with which the cultural left is so rife right now smacks of sour grapes and little else; if anything, it’s the pro-gay marriage crowd who are trying to force a change on society by legislating a revolution that the majority–those without a personal, vested interest–can see is going to be harmful for society. Besides, you use the word “belief” several times in your comments: why are your comments sacrosanct while mine are vituperative?

    Ultimately, your second comment ends with an affirmation so militant it’s practically a threat. It’s sad that anybody feels the need to react to society’s mainstream with such violence (unless, as it appears to be with some, that pose is a strategically chosen stance). I have no interest in “acquiring powerful adversaries,” only in sustaining and promoting civilization in the world as I understand it, at peace with all who would be at peace with me, and you do your cause no good service when you insult those who disagree with you, and slander them in the worst terms possible. I’ve done no such thing to you or anyone, and hope that we can reach understandings and live our lives together with respect.

    As with other critics who have commented, I pray for all the best blessings for you and yours.

  6. Nothing exists within nature that does not serve a purpose. Yet, there do exist things within man-made law and religion that serve no purpose at all. Since the biblical religion in effect is just any other set of laws, put down in a book, and called the word of God, it’s seems that it is your kind who virtue their opinion as sacrosanct.
    Laws that are not seem to hold purpose are usually ignored. Like the many laws in the Bible that seem stone-aged and ridiculous. Yet those are not the laws or values that you uphold but are, to you, still the word of God.
    This contradictory picking of values is typical of religious types these days and could be used to completely demolish the entire ‘God says so’ stronghold. Oh, were it not for yer faith. I also like the way throughout history, various translations of the Bible have been manually altered to support political agendas.

    It seems as if we’re all straw men in some way.

    It is clear to me that no matter what I say you will not budge one degree in your stance. And I would just let you know that I was not confusing your stance with any of the violent homophobia that I mentioned. I clearly said that it was violent treatment which was of more importance to human rights than the whole marriage issue. Meaning that until homosexuals are decriminalized under every piece of red shown on this world map – http://www.sodomylaws.org/ – fighting for equal marriage rights would be just like putting a fire out in one room of a blazing building.

    Finally, I’d like to say that as a young gay man myself, growing up as a young boy and seeing the injustice that will be brought down on me was terrifying. More scary than anything were the types like you. Those who hid calmly behind their belief systems. This is what fired me up to make myself into everything you are, and everything you are not. Meaning that I see your power, but know that we can and will hold as much sway, and more.
    That is the beast I am referring to, and that is the powerful adversary that this tyrant will acquire. I too hope that we can reach understandings and live our lives together with respect, but unlike you I will not make laws to push my understanding down your gullet, Sir.

    Wars can be won in much better ways than that.

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