Translate

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gay Marriage-Opposed

At my age (61), I can remember growing up in a time when gay people in America were pretty much forced to live in the closet. To be known as a homosexual meant that one would be subject to jokes, ridicule, harassment and even violence. Today, gays are much more accepted in our society, and, in many cases, feel free to live openly. I think that is a good thing. Whether it's due to genes, psycological or living environmental issues, I accept that homosexuals really have no control over their sexual orientation. Yet, so few years after we have evolved in our societal attitudes toward gays, we are now faced with the issue of gay marriage (and adoption as well.) I am not so quick to accept that kind of drastic change.

First of all, I think that we need more time to study and debate this question. Once gay marriage is legalized, it will be almost impossible to "put the genie back into the bottle", so to speak.

Secondly, we need to remember why humankind instituted the idea of marriage to begin with. It was, first and foremost, to protect the children that result from a relationship between a man and a woman. Without the institution of marriage, then children would be no more than the offspring of animals, fish and birds-expected to go on their own as soon as they can walk and procure food, with no legal protections against parental abandonment.

In addition, if society deems (from a legal standpoint) that same-sex marriages are legal, then what is to stop the other alternative lifestyle advocates from filing for their rights (ie: polygamists, etc.)?

Gay marriage advocates claim that traditional heterosexual marriages would not be threatened by same sex marriages. Yet, in certain northern European countries (like Sweden) that have opened the doors to same-sex marriages, the institution of marriage is declining in general. Indeed, in the western world, illegitimate birth rates are climbing rapidly-including in the US.

In terms of the effects on children who are involved in same-sex marriages, either through adoption or one parent becoming involved in a same-sex relationship, I strongly feel that more time is needed to acquire the empirical evidence necessary to evaluate the long-term effects on these children. Is it unreasonable to predict that in 25 years, we will be able to show that these children are now dealing with serious emotional or psychological issues?

I readily agree that Gays should not be subject to harassment or discrimination. Nor would I deny them the right to have relationships, live together, or have sex together. There is no reason why they should not be able to enter into contractual relationships regarding joint property, wills, power of attorney etc. They are human beings and citizens like the rest of us, and they should have equal protection. However, I still feel that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman, one that has worked all over the world for thousands of years, and before we turn that institution on its head, we need several more years of study, reflection and debate.

15 comments:

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Whoo boy, Gary, get ready for this one...

"Once gay marriage is legalized, it will be almost impossible to "put the genie back into the bottle", so to speak."

You're overlooking one very important detail: there already are gay couples who have been living together in monogamous relationships much in the same way that married people do. This issue is about securing them the same legal rights. The genie is out of the bottle; he just wants the same rights as any human being. You know, life, liberty, pursuit of something or other.

"Secondly, we need to remember why humankind instituted the idea of marriage to begin with. It was, first and foremost, to protect the children that result from a relationship between a man and a woman."

Excuse me, but WHA??? Where is the evidence for this? From what I learned in my anthropology classes, it was more about the man "owning" the woman as a piece of property. Why else would her father "give" her away?

I find that the rest of your argument disintigrates upon this point. Sure, the protection of children has become a nice side benefit of marriage (although there have been plenty of healthy, productive citizens whose parents weren't married), but for you to say that's the purpose is to make an assertion with little ground in actual fact.

"then what is to stop the other alternative lifestyle advocates from filing for their rights..."

Oh, come on. Now you're playing the slippery-slope logical fallacy. I mean, if we allow women to vote, what's next? Kangaroos? Will marsupial politics dominate our country's landscape? Forgive my bluntness, but this argument is silly. I think that gay people should be able to get married. Once that happens, I'm not going to feel the need to open the doors even further.

"the institution of marriage is declining in general. Indeed, in the western world, illegitimate birth rates are climbing rapidly-including in the US..."

Sorry to be all high school English-teachery on you, but now you're doing the post hoc ergo propter hoc. Just because two things happen at the same time, that does not mean that one thing causes the other. I mean, is gay marriage the only thing that's changed in Sweden? Is the rest of the country a complete constant and that's the only variable? Pretty specious reasoning you've got going there.

"Is it unreasonable to predict that in 25 years, we will be able to show that these children are now dealing with serious emotional or psychological issues?"

Yeah, because children with same-sex parents who are married NEVER have emotional or psychological issues.

Come on, Gary. If a kid has two loving parents (or one loving parent, even) then they stand the same chance as anybody else. I've had some students who have same-sex parents, and they're about the same as all the other kids. Any trauma they receive will be from bigoted, narrow-minded jerkoffs who tease them because of who their parents are.

My wife and I are adopting, and we got to know a gay couple who were adopting as well. Seemed like a great couple of guys to me, and I'm certain that their child will receive the same loving, supporting environment that my wife and I will give to our child.

"I still feel that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman, one that has worked all over the world for thousands of years, and before we turn that institution on its head, we need several more years of study, reflection and debate."

Personally, I'm never impressed with the "it's been around for thousands of years" argument. People have been drinking urine for thousands of years as a cure for various ailments. Know what? My pee's for flushin', not drinkin'. Same with this. Yeah, it's been that way for thousands of years - so what? Slavery was around for thousands of years too, and we couldn't get rid of it fast enough as far as I'm concerned.

And if you feel that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman, then great. Stay married to a woman. I think that Bud Lite isn't beer, so I don't drink it when I want a beer. I'm not going to tell others that they have to see it my way.

To paraphrase one of my heroes, Jon Stewart: it must be that they're going to force us to marry gay, because otherwise, why would you even care?

The bottom line is, kids are being adopted by gay couples. Gay couples are forming monogamous relationships and families. Why not provide them with equal protection under the law? Just because we don't do that, it's not going to stop everything else. Like I said, that Genie has been out for a long time.

Normally, Gary, I can read your posts in which I disagree and at least say, "Well, I can see he's got a point here."

This one though? Nada. Nothin'. Zip.

Gary Fouse said...

Actually I thought it was a calm and well reasoned article. I guess we just have to agree to disagree on this one.

A couple of comments though. As I said, I think it's fine if gay couples live together and love each other. They can also enter into any financial or property contract they wish. I just stop short of marriage, however.

So your anthropology teacher told you marriage was just about a man owning a woman? Lance, don't believe everything your "learned professors' told you. If society doesn't care about the welfare of children, then marriage does, in fact, lose most of its meaning.

If you look at many of the northern European countries, the institution of marriage is, in fact dying.

As for the other "alternative lifestyle" marriages -like Polygamy- when you consider our "equal protection " clause, once gay marriage is legalized, how do you deny it to everyone else? You may not feel the need to open the door further, but they will. They will win in the courts in a heartbeat based on equal protection-in my humble view.

And finally- No More high school English teachery - I have no idea what post ergo hoc....means. It's been 45 years since I was in HS.

Gary Fouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lance Christian Johnson said...

Don't get me wrong, it was calm and reasoned; I just found it filled with logical holes is all. (I was really good at doing "logical proofs" back in geometry, so my brain just kinda works that way.)

Now, it's been years since the anthropology class, but she was referring to the original intentions of marriage. Actually, it was more about how once humans starting owning land, then women became thought of as property, and therefore were turned into second-class citizens.

I probably didn't represent her point very well, so please don't think of her as one of Limbaugh's "feminazis". She actually said quite a few things that ticked off the feminists, even though she was the type to insist that you say "humankind" instead of "mankind," which I think is fair enough.

Whatever though, my point is still that what you said was an assertion and nothing more. It might feel true to you, but where's the evidence to back that claim up? And even if there IS, then it STILL doesn't make sense. Like I said in my own blog, what about the children of gay couples? Don't they deserve protection? I just can't get my head around your point on that one.

Oh, and considering that our divorce rate was at 50% before this whole brouhaha of gay marriage even came up, I'd say that it was dying here in America too. Still, my point was that just because two things happen at the same time, that does not mean that one caused the other.

Back to the other "alternative" lifestyles, you're still talking apples and oranges. Polygamy is a completely different animal, and the only way that it's similar is that it's a different lifestyle than your own. I think you're just being a bit paranoid on that one.

I don't know if you read my blog on this or not, but the thing you might want to ask yourself is this: Are you willing to tell a gay couple, who's been together for thirty years (they do exist, you know!) that they don't have the same rights as somebody like Liz Taylor? (I was going to go with Britney Spears, but I figure ol' Liz is more your generation - not that Britney is really mine.)

Oh, and post hoc ergo propter hoc means, "Don't I sound smart when I use Latin?" ; )

Gary Fouse said...

Actually, I was going to say something about a feminazi, but you cut me off when you told me it was a woman and not to call her a feminazi. Humankind!! Sheesh!!

Of course, I care about what happens to children of gay couples. I don't want them to be teased or tormented, but my point was that they will almost certainly have issues. Since this is a relatively new thing, it's going to take several more years before the empirical evidence comes in once they are grown.

Yes, I am prepared to tell a gay couple that they don't have the right to expect society to turn an established tradition on its head for their sake. As I said,they can live together, have sex together and make legal contracts together.

As for ol Liz and ol Gary, that would have made quite a couple-40 years ago.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Basically then, what it all boils down for you is a question of semantics. Sort of a (and forgive the obvious allusion) "separate but equal" treatment?

Because if you think they should have the same thing, but give it a different name, then I'm even more puzzled than I was before.

Anyway, it's clear which way the wind is blowing on this one. While the majority of Americans are against it, when you divide the polling by age group, young people are more accepting of the idea than any other group. My generation is a little less accepting. People who are...ummm...a little more "experienced in the ways of the world" are the least accepting.

So, it's coming, and I'm too studied in failed "end of the world" predictions to believe that this is going to be the thing to destroy us.

Gary Fouse said...

I don't think I'm giving it a different name, I just don't think we should legislate sexual morality among consenting adults. That means I would allow gays to have their relationships and make appropriate contracts regarding property and finances.

Of course the younger generation is more open to the idea than the older generation. That's normal.

Is gay marriage coming? Probably. And heterosexual marriage is going, at least in the western world, as evidenced by what is happening in Europe and increasingly here. You talk about a 50% divorce rate? What about all the parents who never get married in the first place?

Is there a paralell with the decline of Christianity and the rise of Islam in Europe? Increasingly, the only people in Europe who are religious are the Muslim immigrants. Similarly, are we reaching the point where most of those interested in getting married are gay? Maybe it's too early to ask these questions, but perhaps in the future....

Lance Christian Johnson said...

It'll be interesting to see what happens in Europe. They're definitely more open to gay marriage, but a rising tide of Islam would certainly not be too keen on that idea. Could they go back on that and turn things around? I think that Europe's future is beyond any predictions, as there are so many different factors, those being just two of them. I mean, who would have guessed 100 years ago that Western Europe would have gone over 60 years without a war (between the Western Nations, that is)?

Gary Fouse said...

Of course, that is Europe's great accomplishment-with help from the US.

As for the other trends in Europe, the decline in marriage, secularism, the unwillingness to face up to the Islamic threat-not so good.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

The thing is, I'm not entirely sure that the decline in marriage is necessarily such a bad thing. Sure, when you look at numbers and statistics, it's a bad thing. However, when people were less likely to divorce, was that because they were in happy, healthy marriages? I'm not so sure. I don't know about you, but I think it's better if a couple is in a committed, happy, non-married relationship than a miserable married one. That sort of thing is much more difficult to prove with numbers though.

As for Europe's secularism, I'm not so sure that I see that as a bad thing. Personally, I think that it's a better cure to fundamentalist Islam than fundamentalist Christianity is. They're both systems that require absolute faith and little to no rational thinking.

I saw an interview with a guy who wrote a book on religious literacy. What he said was interesting because he said that Europeans are generally more informed about religious beliefs than Americans, and yet Americans are more religious. This doesn't surprise me, as I've met so many Christians in this country who don't seem to know much about their own beliefs, much less the beliefs of other faiths.

Gary Fouse said...

We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. I see the decline in religious belief and decline in marriage as being linked. I also think it is much better for the children to be in a stable 2 parent home. Sure, I believe in divorce if the marriage isn't working.

Secularism will not protect the Europeans from fanatical Islam any more than pacifism protects people from aggressive nations. If and when Islam becomes dominant in Europe, say in 50 years,secularism will end.

The remedy is for the West to make it clear to the Islamists that we will fight to the death to protect our right to practice Christianity, Judaism, Buddism, Hinduism-and atheism. We will also fight to protect our freedoms. And if our Muslim immigrants in the West cannot accept that, then they should leave.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I guess that I'm confused why you assume that radical Islam will wipe out secularism. Seems to me that it could just as easily be the other way around. I mean, aren't kids not allowed to wear head scarves (or ANY religious symbol) in France's public schools?

Trust me, any true secularist doesn't want a Muslim-run government anymore than they want a Christian one.

Perhaps you mean that Europe's secularism is a sort of lazy secularism? Where it's not so much a conscious effort towards rationalism but a sloth-like attitude towards religion? I suppose if that's what you mean, then that make sense.

Oh, and regarding whether it's "better" now in terms of marriage, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that it is better - I'm just not convinced that it's worse.

Gary Fouse said...

Well, if trends stay the same,the Euros will meekly submit over a long process of political correctness and accommodation. Take a look at the crazies in England. What do you think will happen if they prevail? Actually, according to writer Claire Delinski, the French are the most adamant about setting ground rules for Muslim immigrants. Surprising.

Maybe one reason Europeans are so much more knowledgeable about religion than we are (if that's true) is because they look at it from a historical point of view. That is, all those great empty cathedrals are considered historical monuments. I am quoting my good German friend from Erlangen who also serves as my philosophical critic. It is true. Walk into any cathedral in Europe. They are empty except for some little old priest walking around lighting candles. Yet they are an important part of European history.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

You may be right. Still, I find it ironic that the more people know about religion, the less likely they are to actually believe in any of them. (Actually - perhaps not! It was reading the Bible that made me determine that I couldn't actually believe it any more!)

Anonymous said...

Good post.