Monday, June 14, 2010

Is gay marriage a cause for "Glee" ?

New York Times political columnist and former arts commentator combined his past and present in Sunday's column on homosexual marriage, "Two Weddings, a Divorce and ‘Glee’." My comment:

"Glee" is great. My devout Mormon Republican spouse and I (empiricist Democrat) have watched every episode and love the show.

That said, it should be obvious to objective observers (including homosexual ones)--that the best parents you could hope for are a stable, loving heterosexual couple with no biases against homosexuals--if all other things are equal.

That way both boys and girls get appropriate role models, both for their gender and for interacting with the other gender.

I suppose homosexual babies might well be better off with homosexual parents, role model-wise, but we can't diagnose homosexuality at birth. Not yet, at least. And at any rate, homosexuality is perhaps 1% of the population (despite inflated claims by homosexual advocates), for what should be obvious biological reasons.

But--and it's a big but--all other things are often not equal. For example, my heterosexual parents [both long dead now] were an abusive drunk and a deadbeat. You expect a child who's had a tough day can go home, sit in mommy's lap (or daddy's) and be comforted. I never had that experience.

If you took Psych 101 in college, it's like I had the wire mother in Harlow's monkey nurturing experiments (giving some monkeys a wireframe mother with two nursing bottles where the mother's teats would be, while others got a "mother" with terrycloth stretched over the wire frame; the wireframe kids grew up unable to form relationships).

So in my case I believe I'd have been better off with two same-sex parents, if they were stable and loving etc. What kind of role model was my deadbeat dad? If I'd had a sister, what kind of role model would my drunken, cursing mother have been?

And for many kids the real alternative is a succession of foster homes instead of a homosexual couple.

So I agree with the traditionalists--Ozzie and Harriett would be better parents than Steve and Manny. But Steve and Manny trump what I got.

The only people who could disagree with this are religious zealots who believe homosexuals chose homosexuality because they worship Satan.

Certainly it's not the sex. No child wants to see or hear the slightest whiff of sex from any parent, regardless of sexual orientation. Virtually all children are innately revolted by their parents' sexuality towards each other (I'm not talking about pedophelia). Stable, normal (yes, normal) homosexual parents are just as discreet about their sexuality as heterosexual parents are. Duh.

So we should give stable, loving, unbiased heterosexual parents priority for adoption. But we all know there are far more kids available for adoption that that covers. Otherwise there'd be no need for every state's extensive foster care system.

So once the heterosexual parent pool is exhausted, homosexual parents should be considered preferable to foster care.

And anyone who disagrees with me about this must not know anything about foster care--or believe that Homosexuals are Satan worshipers.

But that leaves us with the marriage issue.

And there I may have a compromise everyone should find acceptable.

Let government get out of the religion business. Allow all religions to marry whoever fits their rules, and refuse to marry whoever doesn't. There are plenty of churches glad to marry homosexuals, after all.

Then let government deal with the civil aspect of marriage. Call it civil union. Make it available to any two people (sorry, I draw the line at polygamy and polyandry--it's innately unequal and also, in our culture, unstable). Have it govern childrens' wellbeing, hospital visitation rights, community property rights, and union dissolution protocols.

This doesn't discriminate against or regulate religions. And even today you need a marriage license to get married, regardless of what religion you may or may not use for a ceremony.

I propose keeping it that way. Just call it a civil union license instead of a marriage license. The word "marriage" has a religious aspect, and I see no reason not to leave it that way.

After all, homosexuals can live together today, and adopt or bear children in nearly all states. The only problems come if they break up or one of them lands in the hospital or dies or whatnot. It seems a matter of simple decency--and in the best interests of any children--for the state to provide a legal framework for those things.

Just don't call it marriage. For anyone.

And after all, heterosexual couples can get married in any religion they might belong to (except Shakers or Essenes, I guess).


Ehkzu said...

Dominick posted this to my blog under another entry, because I hadn't posted this one yet. So while, unfortunately, this comment will appear under my own nom de Internet, the following is entirely Dominick's:

First off, let me say that I'm impressed by your blog. You're putting a lot of time into writing your entries and you write well.

As far as your comment on the NYT op-ed, I wanted to respond with the following two observations/thoughts:

1) 'Gay' marriage, better thought of as marriage between two gay men or gay women, is only possibly a civil marriage. In other words, the issue has nothing to do with what various religions do vis-a-vis marriage. One goes to the court to get civilly married. There's a lot of confusion about this.

At issue is whether two gay men or two gay women can get married under the law. As you rightly point out, they are already married in certain churches before god, for those who believe in that.

You offended me and other gay people when you suggested that children would be better placed with straight married couples. Children don't need to look to parents for proper gender roles. Gays do not represent gender roles that children shouldn't want to emulate. Here you are simply thinking that you don't want a boy to become effeminate like a gay dad he might have, if that gay dad were in fact effeminate (a minority of gays).

As it turns out, what we should be worried about is the case in which a boy would have a father who would model an overly sterotypical macho male role, thoughtless and uncaring.

In short, your position runs the risk of shading into a 'slippery slope' of sorts where you'd eventually be saying that being raised by two gay parents, one of which being the biological parent, would be less desirable. This would be used to argue for termination of parental rights.

I think that since you live in CA, and for other reasons, you are quite unaware of how bad things can be in certain states. I live in NC, and nearby (Miss, I think) there are men who can't have visitation with their own children by previous straight marriage because they now live as the gay men that they are (They should have been out to themselves and others before entering a false straight marriage, true, but the pressure against doing so is fierce since the negative consequences as imposed are extremely costly, something far too few straight people consider, imho.)

So, I guess I'd say that your comment doesn't move things forward much. It's already true that govt doesn't tell religions whom to marry or not. It's untrue that children up for adoption are better placed with straight couples, and, finally, that certain religions don't wish to marry itself needs to be challenged for more than one reason, not the least of which is that being gay is not an example of satanic possession, but, rather the way that I along with other gays simply are. God, if one believes, wouldn't ask that we suppress or lie and enter a fake marriage (and supress) for he is good. He asks that we seek and find our life mate, just as you've found yours, and to then bind with that life mate through marriage.

BTW: Group of children of gay parents = Collage (on internet)

Ehkzu said...

Dominick is correct about we Californians being insulated from the crazed responses to homosexuals found in other places--especially the Deep South.

It's even moreso for me here in Silicon Valley.

California did pass Proposition 8, banning homosexual marriage, but if I were homosexual I'd sure choose to live here, Prop 8 notwithstanding.

I agree with Dominick that the government should administer civil unions, & leave "marriage" up to the churches. However, it's now described as a "marriage license" and anti-homosexual forces use that "marriage" term as an excuse.

Where we differ is on whether heterosexual parents are better than homosexual parents, all other things being equal.

Whether this claim offends you or pleases you has no bearing on whether it's true or false. People are often pleased by false claims and offended by true ones.

Still, surely you'll agree that at least 80% of Americans believe this claim is true. That doesn't make it true, of course. But it does make it a political reality.

And I'll stipulate 2 things about this: 1st, I didn't have parents who'd qualify as role models, so this claim isn't based on my own personal experience.

2nd, I've seen studies of children raised by homosexual couples that strongly indicate that the kids grow up about as "well adjusted" as anyone else.

But while you see this denial of 100% equality as a slippery slope the knuckle-draggers will use to justify denying adoption or visitation or shared custody rights, surely you'll agree that those same knuckle-draggers would see it as a slippery slope in the other direction.

That's the problem with slippery slope arguments in general--they slide both ways, though the arguer only sees one direction.

Since solid majorities in all states vote against "gay marriage" whenever it's put to a vote, what I'm proposing has the most realistic chance of being accepted today, while what you want doesn’t.

Given the much higher acceptance of homosexuality by younger people--including evangelicals even--this issue will probably melt away within a few decades.

For now what I'm proposing is the best you could hope for outside judicial fiat.

And as we've seen, getting what you want through the courts when the ballot box fails is often just but just as often has unintended backlash-y side effects.

And of course I'd want any legislation or initiatives creating this civil union thing to stipulate that the sexual orientation equality be extended to divorced parent rights.

And living where I live I certainly know that homosexual men are often--and, I suspect, more and more often--not "swish."

Thank heavens we're passing the point where every gay guy felt the need for a toothbrush mustache, lumberjack shirts, jeans and combat boots in order to combat the shrieking queen stereotype.

In any case, my assertion wasn't based on thinking every gay guy acts swish and every lesbian rides with "Dykes on Bikes." Could be John Barrowman and Portia de Rossi, after all.

Nor do I see a heterosexual drill sergeant married to a Stepford wife as the role models I had in mind.

Just ordinary people.

Biologically, humans are strikingly sexually dimorphic. Which means men and women are really, truly different. The cult of machismo (and "feminismo?") grossly exaggerates those differences, but they're still real and quite striking.

And homosexuals have been shown to have somewhat intermediary brain structures/hormonal makeup. That's not a criticism. It's just what is.

And human brains include mimetic hueristics beyond those of any other animal--that is, we learn from seeing and imitating.

So I think it's reasonable to draw the conclusions I've drawn.

Anonymous said...

Just checking: in essence, you're saying that adoptions should be prioritized in favor of having both a penis and vagina present? Just making sure that your beautifully worded argument is really that crass.

Ehkzu said...

Hard to know what to draw from this comment, since all it really says is that I'm wrong, but not why.

Though, being left-handed, I appreciate a left-handed compliment I suppose.

Criticisms this terse usually come from people who assume that their viewpoint is so self-evidently valid that they need do is reveal this viewpoint to win the argument.

There's no difference between Left and Right here. Time after time, zealots assume that their beliefs aren't true--they're True--hand-delivered from the burning bush.

This is one reason why Left and Right can't even debate each other--can't even find neutral terms to frame the debate on a level playing field.

I think this comes at least in part from people getting their news from ideologically committed sources.

and I can assure you that homosexual marriage is as self-evidently Wrong-o to the Right as it is self-evidently Wonderful to the Left.

While to the Center, wherein I claim to reside, it's neither. It's a big change in marriage law and custom, and any big change should be thought about.

Personally I've concluded that it's fine under the circumstances I described in this essay--ditto having children in the mix.

Yet even my somewhat qualified endorsement of both is dismissed by zealots.

Well, try having a discussion on this topic with those who actually oppose both--and remember, anti-homosexual marriage initiatives have been passed every time they've been put on the ballot--even here in California.

So from the viewpoint of a majority of Americans, people with my viewpoint are lib-er-uls trying to destroy the Family (I capitalize words that zealots use as if they're capitalized, to point that out).