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November 08, 2006

Comments

John

Amen, my brother! Let us rejoice and hope change does indeed happen.

Random Lurker

Congrats to the US at large from a Canadian. :)

Shawna R. B. Atteberry

One more reason to rejoice: Donald Rumsfeld has stepped down. I'm watching Bush right now on MSNBC. He is nominating for CIA director Robert Graves to replace Rumsfeld.

aphrael

That geographic division, or something approaching it, has been the case in every close race in California for more than a decade. It can be seen on downticket races and ballot propositions; echoes of it can even be seen in Feinstein's Senate blowout, which was nowhere near as evenly distributed as Arnie's blowout.

Sarah

I know that a lot of dems and feminists are happy, but I'm just so disapointed by the results of the WI (et all) marriage amendment. I'm feeling so tired and so sad. And dispite all the gains... I just feel like a stranger at the gate of my own home state.

collegegirl

I feel that sadness as well, (being a fellow Wisconsinite). Actually, when I heard the results first, I cried, because even though I am currently with a guy I love, I could just as easily be with a girl I loved, and the fact that there seems to be so much hate and apathy directed toward this issue makes me really depressed.

mythago

California is still geographically divided

Every state is. The "red vs. blue" is far less accurate than "urban vs. rural".

Anonymous

Collegegirl,

Hate? I don't hate you or any homosexual. I disagree with you on this issue. It is about philosophical and religious difference. Why are we conservatives always placed into a name calling box? Could that not have been stated differently?

SarahS

Anonymous-

When you unilaterally want to discriminate against and oppress an entire group of people, cutting them off from legal rights and creating a shadow class of people with no access to the same rights as straights, then that is hatred, or at the least malevolence.

If you don't like gay marriage, don't get one. Don't attend them. Don't perform them in your church. Bitch to all your friends about how you don't like them. Don't be friends with gay people. Don't put your kids in public schools where they might come into contact with the children of gay parents or other gay kids themselves. Ignore gay issues and turn off the tv for the coverage of your local pride parade. Don't go to gay bars. Don't see gay films.

But when you weild the sword of the state to scare, disadvantage, and marginalize gay people just because you don't like them..... that is a hell of a lot more then philosophical and religious "differences".

collegegirl

Anonymous, first, I have a question. What exactly do you disagree with concerning same-sex marriage? If you're like most of the people I know who don't hate homosexuals but disagree with same-sex marriage (and you may well have completely different reasons, so if I'm way off-base with this, please call me on it and explain your actual position), you believe that homosexual behavior should not be sanctioned by the state, because it is wrong under your moral code. Hating the behavior and loving the person is an admirable thing, however, in this case the behavior and the person cannot be so easily separated. Because even if I had never had a girlfriend in my life, I would still be bisexual, because my behavior is merely an expression of my sexuality, which is not merely a set of behaviors, but a fundamental part of my being. And you can't hate a part of someone's being and still like them, because you can't divide someone's being up like that. I am reminded of a quote from Sophie's World, "But the soul cannot even be divided in two. What kind of scalpel would you use for that?" So, if you hate that part of me that tells me who I love and how to love them, then I think that yes, you do hate me.

John

On the election result, the Republicans deserved a drubbing. They've been incompetent, corrupt, bloated and taken social conservatives and libertarians systematically for granted. If they hadn't lost, I'd have been worried. The only loss I am really sad about is Rick Santorum, he deserved better; likewise Northrup and some others, but they'll be back. As for Lincoln Chafee and the slew of liberal and moderate "GOPers" who misses them? This is a chance for conservatives to clean up, shape up, and win in 2008.

On "gay marriage", the State recognises a relationship called "marriage" because it realises that marriage between a man and a woman is the most stable environment for children, and has a unique social utility. That social use doesn't exist to the same extent in gay relationships. This is not to say that they aren't committed, loving and all things wonderful, they just don't have the same level of government interest in them that traditionally understood marriage does. I have no problem with domestic partnerships for anyone who wants them, including best friends, flatmates, siblings and parents and children, because there the government is protecting the commitment and economic relationship between people, but to call that or to treat that as "marriage" I think is wrong, because it isn't. Human rights, like the right to life, have no restrictions, they apply to everyone. Civil rights, on the other hand, like voting, marriage and other things conferred by the government, have restrictions. I cannot vote in the United States, because I am not a citizen. Here, those under 18 cannot vote, and those under 16 cannot marry. I cannot marry my sister, neither can I marry twice. These are all restrictions based on a particular model of social use and traditionally understood custom. The definition of marriage is in the same boat-this really isn't an issue about personal views, souls or religions, but about the definition of marriage, and a culture which supports and values marriage. That's why, even if it will not effect anything in my personal life, I campaigned against gay marriage, because I want a culture which values traditional, heterosexual marriage as a special and unique relationship, and as it has always been understood. This doesn't mean that gays have no claim on the State's protection, but, like me as a single person and others who don't qualify for marriage, they don't qualify for the special rights attached to marriage, because they don't meet the conditions. I am not worth less to God or to anyone else because I am not married. But the State isn't interested in protecting my relationships, nor should it be.

Hugo

John, many of the marriage initiatives here in the state prohibit the very domestic partnerships you say you're fine with.

John

That would depend on the detail of the domestic partnership; what rights are being offered, what the structure is, and what the relationship is to marriage. I didn't like Civil Unions here because they weren't actually civil unions, but gay marriage called something else. I am open to the concept, but the actual application is another question. I admit I would probably have voted for the initiative anyhow.

Technocracygirl

On "gay marriage", the State recognises a relationship called "marriage" because it realises that marriage between a man and a woman is the most stable environment for children, and has a unique social utility. That social use doesn't exist to the same extent in gay relationships.

Tell that to the man who will be marrying my fiance and I in a year. He's been a committed partnership with another man for most of my life, and they've adopted and raised three kids together. Or are their kids not a special as you, me, or everyone else raised by heterosexuals?

No, the "best for the kids" argument doesn't fly when there are grandparents, foster parents, single parents, blended families, and same-sex couples all raising kids and having them turn out just as ok or messed up as the ones heterosexual, two-parent households do.

Or maybe it's that you don't think homosexuals should be adopting, which is another fight altogether, yes?

SarahS

On "gay marriage", the State recognises a relationship called "marriage" because it realises that marriage between a man and a woman is the most stable environment for children

Except for the part where all sociological and psychological evidence proves that this not true. Children of gay couples end up just the same as the children of straight couples. The straight people don't do any better job of parents then gay couples.

That social use doesn't exist to the same extent in gay relationships.

What are you talking about? We already know that gays and straights are equally both great parents. If that special social use is to raise healthy stable and sucessful children, then we should be legalizing gay marriage and encouraging it. Ergo, it has nothing to do with children because all these anti-marriage "traditional family" people are not doing what is in the best interest of children.

John

Certainly, there are gay people with children, children just as valuable as those raised in other relationships. And certainly, there are the other situations you refer to. But the government doesn't make law for exceptions, it makes law for and by general rules. The general rule is, heterosexual parents produce children. That's an elementary biological fact. Some don't, of course, and some utilise the process of heterosexual procreation to have children even though they themselves are gay or single parents or whatever. Laws work by broad brush categories, and they can't take account of every relationship type. When they try, you have huge amounts of State interference and busi-bodying; ("Are you living in a sexual relationship with that man? Are you in the nature of a civil union? How many hours do you spend at his house, so as to meet the defintion of cohabiting? How long have you been in a sexual relationship? Do you share property?) The slogan for the repeal of our sodomy law was "The State has no right in your bedroom". When you legislate for exceptions, that's exactly what happens, because to determine who qualifies, the State has to ask.

And even if all this diversity exists (I think it's overplayed, personally), isn't that an argument for having different legal forms to meet different needs? Some may choose marriage, some contract, some another form. I don't oppose that, so long as marriage is left alone.

having them turn out just as ok or messed up as the ones heterosexual, two-parent households do.

I think this is a highly questionable assumption. While it would be nice to say that all relationship forms are equal, the fact is, they aren't, and they produce different outcomes.

Let's look at this another way. I have two aunts, one a spinster, one a widow. They live in the same house, share expenses, have lived with and loved one another for about 20 years. They are not, as far as I know, lesbians. What is the difference (to the government)between that and two actual lesbians? They are in a loving, committed relationship, and I support them getting some legal protection should they choose to take advantage of it. Obviously there is a great difference personally if you're not erotically involved, but from the perspective of the law, what's the difference?

John

What are you talking about? We already know that gays and straights are equally both great parents.

Sarah, I'm sorry, I just saw this. We must have been writing at the same time :-)

Well, last I saw the research landscape was extraordinarily confused on that subject, with shoddy research on both right and left. If you have new data, I'd be interested in seeing it. However, we do know that it isn't just having two parents that produces the best outcomes for children, but the different parenting contributions made by mother and father, and the complementarity between them. Biological parents also create identity and a source of connection; for that reason, its better for children to be raised by their biological parents. (Yes, even if they are gay).

Joe smith

Can you elaborate on the "unique social utility" that Het marriage has?

SarahS

John,

There is no confusion on this point. All methodelogically strong studies sponsored by qualified peer reviewed journals and professional organizations come to the conclusion that there is no difference between gay and straight parents. Or as the American Psychological Association puts it:

"There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation. On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children". http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/policy/parentschildren.pdf

You don't need new data to prove something that has been throughly proven. Now if you think that you know more then the entire educated psychological community, feel free to share that information. But there is no need for me to prove to you that the earth is clearly round here.

As far as your statement that the gender differences in parenting are so vital that children of gay parents are disadvantaged by not having one of each, I have never seen evidence to remotely support that claim. I've seen studies that show that two parents are better then one, and I've seen individuals make the claim that this means that the mother and the father provide something magical to the parenting process. In reality, it just means that it is easier to raise a kid with two people rather then one. Two parents means one to work and one to pick up the kids, one to do laundry and one to help with homework, one to go to bed early and the other to read bed time stories. Its not about gender, its about the fact that two is more then one.

You're creating a controversy out of whole cloth here. There is no controversy over gay parenting, except in the minds of people who don't like the scientifically proven results. Gay parents are equal to straight parents, so if marriage is about children (which I don't really think it is but that's another post), then marriage should be equally availible to both gay and straight couples.

I also think it is extremely irrelevent how a child is created, via intercourse or IVF or turkey baster. No one needs to ask gay or straight parents how their children were created or any of the questions you've rattled off. The only question is "do you consider yourself married/domestic partners/civilly united/cohabitating"? If the people do or don't that is all the state needs to know.

Technocracygirl

John, I have no problems with contracts. I have no problems with two friends setting up a household together, and not having anything sexual about it, and wanting their taxes to reflect that.

But I am still pro-marriage for homosexuals. Why? Because we, as a society, have imbued marriage with something special. We say (and no, our visions and ideals don't always match up to what we're capable of) that marriage is a special bond between two people. It creates a family where no ties existed before, and that family is stable and the foundation for a greater family. And I think it's unfair to deny that specialness to a tenth of the population.

A few nights ago, my fiance suggested that rather than get married, we draw up a legal contract. I said no. The biggest, uppermost reason in my mind for saying no was that if, for whatever reason (which seems less looming now, thank G-d) we needed to flee to another country, the likelihood that we could emigrate together would be increased with that marriage certificate than with a legal partnership. Why should I deny that ability to someone because they like boinking the opposite sex?

Will we, nill we, marriage confers special privleges and special responsibilities. (I am not for making divorces harder to get, though I would like marriages to be harder to get.) And to deny it to people who want very much to create stable families seems to me to be remarkably cruel.

And I've probably now completely hijacked the thread; Hugo, I apologize.

John

That's true, we really have hijacked the thread. I think for that reason I'll bow out now; if anyone wants to continue the debate, they are most welcome to send me an email.

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