Monday, November 3, 2008

Election, Part 3

The presidential election, rightly so, gets most of the ink and airtime, but plenty of eyes are on California as residents of that state vote Tuesday on an effort to overturn a court ruling that legalized gay marriage in the state. The case made by supporters of gay marriage is pretty simple: Give people equal rights under the law. The case by those who want to overturn gay marriage has bordered on the hysterical, and even comical. It's hard to say what the stupidest statement has been from the anti-gay-marriage crowd, but we've had some people really step up to the plate in recent days. One contender is L. Whitney Clayton, the Mormom church's liaison with a coalition that calls itself He sees his very faith as being under attack. "What will happen to freedom of religion? What will people be able to preach and believe, and will they be able to do the things that they are accustomed to doing?" asked Clayton. What a nut case. Uh, Mr. Clayton, I'm not sure you understand this, but the court decision doesn't require you to enter into gay marriage. It just requires you to leave other people alone. But not to be outdone in the race for the dunderhead award is Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who said that "in the minds of many people, Proposition 8 is the most important thing nationally on the ballot." Let me get this straight (no pun intended). Our country is facing a financial meltdown and many other challenges, yet in some people's minds, the most important thing on the ballot is whether two ladies or two men can get a marriage license? All I can say is, those must be pretty small minds. But wait. Perkins saved his worst for last. Said the FRC leader, "We have survived bad presidents. But many, many are convinced we will not survive this redefinition of marriage." Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner. Or loser, as it may be. Thus far, the pricetag for this election battle is about $70 million. What a shame that people have had to spend millions of dollars to protect their rights. And what a greater shame that people would spend millions to take those rights away.



Blogger Ellipses said...

Both sides were wrong when they proclaim, through various methods, that there are two Americas... There are countless Americas, depending on what the issue is... There's rich america, poor america, gay america, straight america, real america, god fearing america, god hating america, free market america, socialist america, red america and blue america... There is a spot down in Greene County that I'd like to set aside as "Bob's leave me alone to farm" america... where it doesn't matter if you are rich, poor, religious, gay or "furrin'"... you're trespassing!

November 3, 2008 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

Brandt, ... one small mind here.

I don't necessarily agree with some of the quotes in your piece. But, I have to disagree with the assessment that "it is pretty simple ... equal rights ..." No, it is far more than equal rights.

Talk to older people about their lives in hindsight. What is so often mentioned first in their list of important matters? If "family" isn't at the top, it is in the top two or three. People do not live and thrive in isolation. They best thrive in community. And, the unit of community that is first in mind is husband and wife, and offspring.

The Prop 8 issues dig at this community. Oh sure, somebody can say a community could be just as easily be a same sex couple, over against a male/female. I'm sorry, but this doesn't redefine the community in a way that fosters relationships. The traditional husband/wife relationship usually includes children. Nobody can claim that a same-sex couple can bring a child into this world, apart from natural relations between male/female. Even if a child is introduced into a same-sex relationship, the contributions from each side, one complimenting another, is brought to the child. If a male/male, where is the maternal upbringing of the child. For example, a boy is never taught how to respect and compliment a mother. Would it be a good idea to give the M/M couple a young girl? Likewise, in a female/female relationship, how would a boy come to understand masculinity and his relationship to girls, or mature women?

We can construct all kinds of situations. The point is that women bring something to a family relationship, and men bring another, but complimenting element to the family. Prop 8, although couched in terms of equal rights, is gutting the heart of family relationships. And, I return to my earlier comment about what older people consider important in hindsight, namely family relationships.

We can talk all day about civil matters, economic woes, etc. But, in the end, these pale in comparison to maintaining strong families. The perception of marriage has gone so wrong in the past few decades. How did the notion of a "starter marriage" ever get started? Each of us can point to battle scars from broken marriage relationships, some scars closer than others. If somebody wants to build stronger family units, introducing same-sex couples to the scene is not the path. The "equal rights" stuff is only a contemporary idea. Marriage between a man and woman is steeped in history nearly since the beginning of time. If some folks want to make a change, focus the efforts on improving traditional marriage, and forget about attempts at redefinition.

I realize some will object strongly to my views. But, I believe traditional marriage has taken a big hit in recent years. And, I believe the strength of our country has suffered as a whole, and the people have suffered individually.

November 3, 2008 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Roger, I apologize for not being as thorough in my rebuttal as you were in your assertion... but my counter is basically this:

These pairings (MM, FF) exist openly now... We are far from universally tolerant of gays, but they are comfortable enough to make productive lives together at a rate that is far and above what it has been in the past. This trend will continue... gay people will continue to be gay, they will continue to seek gay partners to spend their lives with, they will continue to cohabitate with their gay partners... Not recognizing homosexual relationships has not dissuaded people from being gay. If they are contributing to the demise of the "community", then they will not do so at a greater rate just because they are permitted to make it legit. The demise of the community has a lot less to do with gays than it has to do with economics... I live on a half-acre lot with 7 houses within 100 feet of my property lines... I have spoken to 3 of those neighbors and I only know 1 by name (the one whose driveway is connected to mine)... none of these people are gay (if an opposite sex spouse and children are any indication)... I don't have any gay friends (I have very few friends... for the same reason I don't know my neighbors- I'm a workaholic)... but I do have gay acquaintances... They are gay, plain and simple. They will be gay until they die. I think it is rather cruel that, when that day comes, their partner does not have the same rights of property transfer, hospital visitation, or executorship...

Just as those gay people will continue to be gay... straight people are not going to suddenly become gay because marriage is legal.

If the community is in decline, a simple change in nomenclature is not going to speed or slow its demise...

November 3, 2008 at 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd say that given the divorce rate in America, there's precious little evidence that heteros have done such a great job advancing the family. How can gays screw it up any worse? If people would pay more attention to treating others as they would like to be treated, we'd all be better off.

November 4, 2008 at 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just thought I'd state something rather personal, not necessarily to prove a point, but hoping that it opens discussion among the public majority making decisions for the public minority. I'm a 38 year old man, raised in a "traditional" middle-class, mother/father setting, with 2 sisters and 2 dogs. My mother, although a good cook, was distant and unfaithful and my father, an abusive alcoholic. My siblings and I enjoyed a terrifying childhood and my sister took her life at age 19 because of it. I have many scars have been in therapy for the past 20 years. My aunts and uncles were not much better. On the other side, my close friend and co-worker, Matt, is one of two children raised by a gay male couple. He and his sister, both in their mid 30's now, are two of the most caring, smart and compassionate people I know. Their fathers, together now for 40 years, have welcomed me and my family into their home for holidays and it is truly a blessing. Unfortunately, one of their fathers is very sick with lung cancer and they are struggling with the simple privileges that is automatically shared by husband and wife. Together longer than any couple I know, their home, finances and future is being destroyed by this inequality. That's all I'll say about this...I could go on. It is sad to see what this strong "family" is forced to endure because of what we, the almighty heterosexual, deems as "traditional".

If my heart is broken I cannot even imagine what they are feeling. I do wish I had Matt's childhood.

November 7, 2008 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Thank you for that. It truly gives people plenty to think about.

November 7, 2008 at 10:04 AM  

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