Proposition 8 – some more thoughts

18 10 2008

It’s heartening to see so much positive reaction to the ‘Vote No for Prop 8’ campaign around the internet; sites like Bamboo Nation and Culturepress and the various links you’ll see dotted around their websites, such as The Liberal OC, Powen’s and Beau Travail are all pushing ahead.

I’ve received a couple of comments ‘for Prop 8’ to my earlier post and I’m going to respond.

Firstly, I do suspect that part of at least one of those comments was copied and pasted from another website. The words sounded like I’d read them before, and it’s a shame that people aren’t taking the time to formulate their own opinions on this matter; to look seriously deep inside themselves to understand what their objections to same-sex marriage actually are.

Secondly, let’s consider marriage: the word ‘marriage’ and the belief held by some that marriage should be a union between a man and woman because:

“for some species the best way to accomplish this [survival] is by the father sticking around and helping the mother. Each gender of the species provides essentials of survival and thus a marriage is formed. Thus marriage can yield an evolutionary advantage.”

That statement is about child bearing, procreation not marriage. I really don’t think the human species will ‘stop survivng’ if same-sex marriages, or relationships, are in existence. The world’s population will NOT dry up. Additionally, it seems that the comment above suggests that only a father/mother relationship produces the best accomplishment of child rearing. What about the thousands of young children who throughout the first and second world wars, even wars that go on today, are raised without present fathers, and even in some cases mothers? These children have been raised extremely well. What about my friend who lost a father very early on in life and was raised by her mother alone? She has gone on to be a respectable member of society, productive and well-balanced. Not only that but a male or female influence, if that is what some people really believe to be necessary for child rearing, can be obtained from other family members – aunts, uncles, grandparents. Even close friends of the family can provide stable and committed support to children from one parent, or same-sex parent families.
I think also a point has been confused between ‘marriages existing to ensure the survival of the species’ and well, ‘sex’ existing to ensure the survival of the species. Ok, same sex couples can’t physically have children, but they can foster, adopt, have surrogates, donors and raise a child in a loving, happy, safe environment. Furthermore, the length of time this takes to arrange probably means that most gay couples create a new family with much more foresight and consideration than a quick fumble round the back of the bar – leading to a ‘shot gun wedding’ where the couple doesn’t love each other and the child is unplanned. I’ve been talking generally about marriage and child rearing here, but I hope by discussing hetero couples and child rearing we can see that marriage by it’s classical (religious based) definition is by no means perfect. The human species WILL survive even if, say, 1% of the world’s LGBT population do not have children. But they might be willing to adopt or foster a child and raise them well.

I also don’t like the statement that:

“As languages evolved, English was born. The word marriage was used to define such relationships between one man and one woman. Surely, other relationships exist, many of which are full of love, but these would not be called marriage. Marriage has always described the coming together of a man and a woman to unite in love and initiate the bearing of children.”

This is very ethnocentric. English only? I think people are splitting hairs over the definition of ‘marriage’. I’m glad to see that the commenter has included that ‘other relationships exist, many of which are full of love’ – that’s encouraging. That would include same-sex relationships too, right? But if that same-sex couple were to be joined, in marriage, that can’t be marriage. Ok, well I’m not sure about the correct definition of the word ‘marriage’, but I will say that language is power, language is constructed and can be used by those who want positions of power to subordinate others. Language changes and adapts over time, so adapt the word marriage and don’t limit it to man-woman only.

The next point:
“Marriage is the gateway of the family.”

I think I’ve already covered the suggestion that some marriages can lose half of that partnership and still generate a stable, productive, happy family environment.
But what about marriages where no children are produced? What if one partner is sterile? What if they don’t want children? Marriage and family do not define each other.

I can see why people think marriage was ‘designed’, say, to include man-woman=children, as it were. Trace these ideas back and the creation of marriage probably was to regulate the population, to stop everyone bonking whomever they wanted, when they wanted. It was about control, and control, again, comes from those who want power. I can see how one commenter wanted to stick to biological reasons for being against same-sex marriage, but I don’t think the biology argument holds up. Because biologically I could go out and have sex with a male stranger and preserve the human species AND raise that child all by myself, but I wouldn’t be married. Inherent in this biology argument is religion. My personal take on religion does come in here; as I said before, visit any history museum and you will see how religions have come and gone over time, changed and manipulated for the benefit of those in power. Henry the Eight? Split from the Catholic church so he could get married, again and again and again…
It’s heartening to see that some religious people are going for the ‘No Vote’, and I’m not here to put down anyone’s choice in being religious, it’s just what the more intolerant religious choose to do with their religion which bothers me.

The second comment I received revolved around teaching awareness of same-sex marriages in school. Sorry, but I didn’t mention teaching once in my earlier post, and it’s clear you just copied and pasted this argument. I can’t really address this because I’m not from the US and don’t have much of an idea of state laws and the like. I can only insert my own personal opinion here: don’t be scared about your children learning about same-sex relationships. Let your child make up their own mind. Don’t demonise same-sex couples, phobia comes from a lack of understanding. If your children don’t learn about same-sex couples being equal to hetero couples, they are likely to grow up phobic, scared and intolerant of others. What will people do, hide their children away until they are 18, or 21, so they have NO awareness of the mixed society in which we live? If you want to live in a closed-off, insular community then do so, you’ll never ever be touched by anyone who isn’t like you and you needn’t worry about whether or not Adam and Steve in the next town got married – so let them get on with it. Remember, people were once taught that blacks, indians, asians, jews were ‘different’, and probably in that, that marrying one of them would be ‘wrong’. But no one is now fighting for a return to a ban on inter-racial marriages. Society has progressed, and we should keep doing so.

Finally, great – thanks for agreeing that same-sex couples should have the same rights as hetero couples. That is encouraging. So many same-sex couples have difficulty acquiring their late partner’s estate, or getting help for medical fees, legal issues which are relatively simple for hetero couples but a mine-field for same-sex ones. However, regarding the point that religious ministers could be forced to provide same-sex marriages which goes against their beliefs: I’m not sure about this one. A simple ‘not here thanks, but try the church down the road’? Or maybe a lot of same-sex couples wouldn’t want to be part of a church which discriminates against them anyway? Also, I have heard of so, so many straight couples who attend church for the requiste 6 months preceeding their wedding just so they can have the big, white, church wedding; but then never turn up again until they’ve popped their clogs. Now that is hypocritical, of the couple and the church! And the church receives a nice big fee.

Finally, the comment:
“Supporters of no say “give non religious reasons” These are all non religious reasons of why I am a supporter to protecting traditional marriage.”
Actually, you did spend half of your message writing about religious leaders and weddings. So, I’m sorry but you kind of shot yourself in the foot there.

I hope that readers who stumble here can I see that I am willing to engage in open and respectful debate. And for those of you whose blogs I linked to, hope you don’t mind, I’m just trying to leave a trail of positive links for people to follow.

 

 

Vote NO!

Vote NO!

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14 responses

18 10 2008
Mary

I know some people in California are not for Prop 8 passing and I completely understand why and i feel like a jerk in a way for supporting proposition 8. My reasoning is this. It is clearly a desire for gays to have religion sanctify their way of life. It can not be so. Any good religion will not sanctify stealing or murder or adultry or premarital sex and yet people want to force religion into sanctifying homosexual relations. It is clear homosexuality is not condoned by the bible. Because of that, homosexuals should not want the religious symbol of marriage to bind them. If i was a homosexual i would not want a religious term to bind me to my lover. I would want a union established by a secular source. Because if religion says my way of life is wrong, why would i want any part in it.
Likewise, to those that are religious, marriage is sanctified and allowing it to homosexuals would debase it. Churches would be sued for discrimination and they aren’t discriminating. They are just choosing friends that are like them. Not that they don’t like gays, they just don’t condone their behavior and so like a person who is totally opposite from you, you don’t hang out like you are best friends.
I feel like homosexuals are trying to make religion and sexual sin best friends.

18 10 2008
narrioch

Thanks Mary, I appreciate your comments. Please look at some of the links either on this page or other websites and you will see that those who want to ‘vote No’ are not trying to introduce religion to same-sex marriage. I think there is a confusion over people thinking ‘marriage’ equals ‘religious marriage’. The word ‘marriage’ does not have to involve religion. Also, people’s viewpoints on the Christian religion and same-sex relationships do differ, there is no consensus there. Furthermore, there are plenty of other forbidden activities in the bible which people do follow: ie wearing synthetic material! Same-sex couples are not looking for religion to sanctify their marriage, they are looking for equal rights, to ‘marry’ – whether that is in a religious service or not. If I got married, I wouldn’t want a religious service, but I would still (as a straight person) be married. I don’t agree with the term ‘good religion’ – most religions have caused problems over the 1000s of years of human history, and I don’t think any religion that excludes others is necessarily ‘good’. Thanks for your comment thought Mary, and remember why you would ‘feel like a jerk’ for supporting Prop 8. There is a reason for that – perhaps people should put religion aside and think about allowing some degree of humanity to their fellow citizens. Remember, inter-racial marriage was not allowed only up until late last century in the States, people’s views change, we progress and definitions of ‘wrong’ and even the term ‘marriage’ can change for the better.

19 10 2008
VJohnson

Forget the rhetoric about who thinks who is wicked. There are practical and real religious freedom consequences. Check out this website http://www.prop8info.com. It has real news clips about real consequences, including Catholic Charities withdrawing adoption services from MA. This is not rhetoric or predictions, this is factual.

19 10 2008
narrioch

Well done VJohnson on posting the same comment twice – shows you’re really thinking about this issue and not just following some indoctrination. Troll ahoy!

20 10 2008
quin browne

yo, vj… if the catholic church is that stupid, go for it. the mormons are all up in arms, too… and i personally know so many gay mormon men, who marry a straight woman, have kids, raise them then go off to finally live the life they’ve always wanted, with a wife and kids who are torn apart. years of pain for everyone…

yeah, that’s a much better idea, isn’t it?? denial, lies, pain…

where is that rolling eye emoticon?

20 10 2008
fundamentallyflawed

Catholic Charities pulled all its adoption services rather than adopting a single child in need to a loving gay couple. Who’s anti-family, again?

No on Prop. 8 is the only vote that represents fairness and freedom.

20 10 2008
narrioch

Thanks fundamentally flawed, simple and to the point!

20 10 2008
Louise Larsen

Mary, I do not understand how you can rationally say these things! I just wish I could talk peacefully face to face with you. I really want to have a dialogue about this without anger or blame, but I don’t think your views are very Christian, at all.

(WWJD! WWJD! WWJD! )

I would say that you just don’t get it, but that’s not accurate, the truth is, clearly you can’t get it.

But, you know what I tell my kids when they say they “can’t” do something?
I tell them “can’t means won’t.”

You need to evolve but you can’t.

louise

20 10 2008
narrioch

We were always told ‘there’s no such word as can’t’! I think you, Louise, have a very good attitude to this, and remain polite and respectful even when people’s opinions differ to your own.

17 11 2008
StayWoke

Can it be as simple as this, the government would recognize and sanction the union of two adults, with legal and mental capacity to consent to join in a monogamous union obligating to each other legal rights and responsibilities and thus availing themselves to federal and state protection, accommodation and regulation, i.e., a civil union.

Going forward, the concept of “marriage” would no longer be legally operative and could thus safely retain its physiological and biological and/or traditional ecclesiastical and/or spiritual meanings including the union of man and woman during coitus and/or in holy matrimony. Marriage would be a non-legal status and event defined by the couple and/or their religious and/or spiritual affiliation. This will comply with the concepts of freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and public policy considerations.

18 11 2008
Melissa

It seems to me that those objecting commentators are trying to impose an ideology, rather than present facts.

I mean, take the marriage is biologically natural argument. Simply not true. There are studies showing that homosexuality is normal in many other animals, and that it may even help the survival of a species, which is why it is still in practice.

But no matter, some people will continue to take human cultural constructs to equal the truth. And you can’t change people’s entire worldview when their identity depends on it, so I think it’s good to stay polite and tactful about the issue.

~Melissa
http://mindfulconstruct.wordpress.com

18 11 2008
narrioch

Thanks for your comments, Melissa, and Staywoke. I think you’ve both got some good points there, I think I quite like the idea of marriage being totally out of the realm of legal contract, and instead being a service for two people to decide how and when they want to show their commitment. Although of course there are some issues as to whether or not religious houses would allow same-sex marriage services – some would, others not.
Melissa – it still amazes me when people try and define marriage as a means by which we protect the survival of the human species, as if it’s going to die out if the 1% or so of the gay population get married! Interesting point about the difficulty in changing world views, when people’s identity depends on it. I guess people will always feel threatened by what they don’t understand. I hadn’t really thought about identity in that way, but I will! I’m going to check back and read your blog, but I have to work now, cheers!

19 11 2008
Prince Gomolvilas

It’s the thread that just won’t die! 🙂

20 11 2008
narrioch

It musn’t!

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