Tuesday, June 23, 2009
My comment on the article on Pajamasmedia “Same Sex Miscarriage”
17. chris in Toronto:
A nicely written essay as should be expected from a poet and essayist.
That said, it boils down to a series of assertions. Here are a few: (1) marriage is about procreation and therefore must be extended only to those who can bear children; (2) same-sex marriage undermines different-sex marriage; (3) same-sex marriage leads to societal depravity and the destruction of the institutional framework of society at large; (4) children are best reared by a mother and a father.
(1) The author states that the fact that two men or two women cannot, together, produce offspring means that they should be denied the societal benefits that are dispensed to those who can, some of which benefits have nothing to do with children. The author believes that a heterosexual couple who either cannot (due to their nature) or will not (due to their choices) deserves these benefits. An interesting position to be taking, one that when examined ends with straight couples deserving the largesse of society while gay couples do not.
(2) Same-sex marriage, the author is asserting, somehow undermines different-sex marriage. He doesn’t say how this is so, but just that it is so. Besides not defining how one couple’s marriage undermines or devalues those of others, he doesn’t seem to acknowledge that the easy availability of divorce undermines the institution. Nor does he take into account the rampant heterosexual promiscuity as a undermining agent. Or the work of government agencies, those agencies designed to foster the welfare of “the children,” which reward women for having children with no husband in the house, and whose benefits are removed if a male role model lives with his offspring. It seems he has misplaced his aggression.
(3) Same-sex marriage undermines institutions. It appears as though the author is intending to mean that government recognition of same-sex unions will undermine a major societal institution: the Church. Insofar as the government could be pressed to force churches to marry same-sex couples, he has a point. But he would be better to use his obvious rhetorical talent to argue that the state has no role in the religious aspects of marriage. As commenter #1 (EgregiousCharles) succinctly argues, the issue goes away when government is taken out of the equation. If same-sex couples want a spiritual aspect to their union, they’ll find a church to bless them. Churches should not be forced to go against their doctrine, which is what happens when government gets involved. The author further asserts that somehow the state’s extension of recognition of the host of privileges, benefits and protections enjoyed by one group of citizens to another group leads to depravity and the decline of civilization. He offers nothing to prove it. We just have to believe this to be true. But this belief in the gay boogeypersons and the so-called “gay agenda” as the cause of societal malaise allows believers to close their eyes to the real causes. There are lots of them, but at the core of the problem lies the absolute lack of critical thinking that is encouraged by the nanny state. [I realize that I’m asserting this, by the way.]
(4) Children are best reared by a mother and a father. Well, okay. In theory the best of all possible worlds is for a kid to be raised by a loving and capable set of role models who can provide for his or her physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Adults who can help guide them through the many stages of development from infant to child to teen to adult. Loving parents who can help him or her to think for his or her self in order to make sense of the world, to know his or her place in the grand scheme of things, to be a good person and functioning member of society. Parents who will put themselves second and the child first, provide a stable home environment and for whom family is paramount. It’s a great theory, but it sure assumes a lot, but it does not require different-sex parents (granted, the way I’ve constructed it). To argue that same-sex couples cannot fit into the above theory is, basically, to argue that there is something mystically better about female-male parents, assuming the best-case scenario–a position that is by definition heterosexist.
Release the “best case” assumptions and what do we have? Single-parent families. Single-parent families where the parent puts her or his needs above those of the child. Or worse, double-parent different-sex parents who put their needs ahead of the child. Families where children are “accidents.” Families held together using the children as the glue. Families where the parents can ill-afford to provide the basics. Parents who do not provide for the physical, mental and spiritual development throughout the many stages of life. And so on. Yet because these different-sex parents are naturally able to procreate these families are deemed, somehow, to be better than families where the parents must go to extraordinary means to add children to their lives.
There are more of these debatable premises contained in this essay. But like those listed, they can be refuted. It’s difficult, though, because the author is a great essayist.
In anticipation and because I’ve been down this road before on this touchy subject, I’m going to say that I will not be arguing on this thread with those who flame me. I am adding my comment to voice a dissenting view, not to enrage people who have different ideas. I’ve been called all sorts of names for expressing these opinions before and, while I won’t respond, I will read avidly the rest of this comment thread.
Jun 23, 2009 – 8:06 am