I keep coming back to this

There is one simple point that I keep coming back to when I think about the issue of gay marriage.

Proponents of gay marriage insist that it is an issue of equality. We are denying them fundamental rights, treating them like second-class citizens, etc. “Love is love.”

Marriage isn’t just about love, though. If it was, why do so many people who love each other live together, instead of getting married?

And the thing we keep forgetting: the relationship between one man and one woman is fundamentally different from the relationship of two individuals of the same gender. They will interact differently; physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, they interact differently.

Examine it from the level of friendship for a moment. Two women who are friends interact differently from two men who are friends, and from a woman and a man who are friends. This is why the books in the series “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” have sold so well. It is a fundamental truth that we communicate and relate differently, as different genders. Women have women friends, and they get together for certain types of activities. Women have men friends, and they do different things together. I know some of this is stereotypical, but in this case, I think the stereotypes hold fairly true. I love my husband, but if I wanted a shopping buddy, he’s not who I would take. If I want to play a video game or watch sports, though, that’s a different story. And I accept that my husband needs to talk sports and action movies with people who know more than me and enjoy those things more. (Although we both enjoy baseball and can talk about that fairly knowledgeably.) These are surface level examples of what I’m trying to get at.

I remember being in college and crying on a roommate’s shoulder over life in general being rough at that point in time. I would never have expressed those feelings to a male friend. I needed female companionship at that moment, because I trusted that my friend would respond the way I needed at the time. I knew, woman to woman, how she would react.

Then there’s the physical interactions, which are obviously different between heterosexual and homosexual couples. I’m not trying to say here that one is better or worse than the other, I’m just making the point that the interactions are different. The anatomy is different. Physically, most heterosexual couples can also create offspring. A homosexual couple can never, on their own, create offspring. The consequences of their actions thus are different.

From my perspective, I believe that these two types of couples interact differently on so many different levels. (Personally, I think that is may be why some people choose a gay or lesbian lifestyle. They enjoy the emotional and social interactions with people of their own gender more than with people of the other gender.)  The relationships are not the same. Why do people keep insisting that they are? And if the relationships are fundamentally different, why do we have to call them the same thing?

Is interracial marriage the same type of issue as gay marriage?

This seems to be the big new argument out there now. Advocates of same-sex marriage are claiming that forbidding homosexual couples is just like the discriminatory laws that didn’t allow interracial marriages.

I can see where this argument is coming from, at least. I still don’t think it’s the same thing, however, and here’s why.

People of different races are all the same on the inside. Genetically, there is no difference between a black man and a white woman. They are the same. Our discrimination laws originated to prevent us from discriminating against someone on the basis of their outward appearance: gender, age, race. Proscribing interracial marriage was based on the outward appearance, but there was no reason to forbid those people to marry.

Same-sex couples, however, are a different matter. There is an obvious genetic difference between gay couples and heterosexual couples – two women or two men are not the same as one woman and one man. We’ll also have to get back into why people are gay, here: is it choice, or is it a genetic abnormality?

If it is choice, then these couples are choosing an alternative lifestyle. They are choosing to deviate from what society considers normal. People are free to choose to live alternative lifestyles, but they do have to live with the consequences. Americans don’t seem to like the fact that their actions have consequences, especially when those consequences are negative. That’s why we’re in this economic crisis. It is not any one individual’s fault; Americans chose to overspend, banks overextended themselves, and no one was prepared for the consequences.

So when a gay couple has a relationship, what are some of the consequences? Well, they can’t procreate, for starters. Gay couples have higher rates of STDs, including AIDS. Gay couples tend to be less stable. And, up until recently, they were not allowed to marry. When they made the choice to live that lifestyle, they were aware of that consequence. Is it good for society as a whole to let gay couples get married, to teach our children that homosexuality is equal to hetersexuality, to perpetuate a condition that is, at heart, an aberration from the norm? Assuming that it is a chosen behavior, the more we teach our small children about how great and wonderful homosexuality is, the more people will choose it. Eventually, society dies out when its population growth declines too far.

What if we argue instead that people are not gay by choice, but that it is a genetic tendency and we shouldn’t “punish” them for being made that way by forbidding them to marry? This goes back to the interracial marriage argument – if these couples are genetically different, genetically “flawed” according to mainstream society because of their homosexual tendencies, then they are not genetically equal to a heterosexual couple. They are not the same, and do not merit the same privileges. Marriage isn’t just about a couple who love each other; it is a societal contract. Marriages are about more than declaring one’s love for one’s spouse to the world; it is a bond that declares you are responsible for one another, you are responsible for your children, and you acknowledge your children as your own. Marriages were created to organize families, not to validate lovers’ feelings.

If we allow same-sex marriage on the grounds that it is discriminatory to prevent any two people who love each other from getting married, then it is only one more step to incest. It is only one more step to legalizing marrying children who are too young to be married. Beyond that, it is only one step further to legalizing polygamy. After all, these people all just love each other, right? What’s wrong with that?

What’s wrong with that, is that gay marriage, incest, child marriages, and polygamy, are not good for society. They are bad for society because of their effects on the gene pool, and they are bad for society because of their social effects. When we tear down the traditional family, we tear down the last place our children are safe from the world. By making marriage all about the couple and forgetting about the children, as society has been doing for the last several decades, we wound our children terribly. Look at divorce rates; look at fatherless children; look at gang violence; look at teenage promiscuity and teenage pregnancy rates. All these things are on the rise, because we’ve become selfish as a society. We are all about Me, My, Mine. Marriage ought to be about creating a home for our families, not about personal gratification. Perhaps there would be less adultery if we stopped to remember that – it’s not just about meeting an individual’s sexual needs (or, more often, wants). It’s about providing security for each other, providing emotional support, providing a refuge, a safe haven. It’s about responsibility. It’s about providing a safe place for children to grow up, taking care of their needs, until they are ready to go out into the world. And as much as they may want to, two moms or two dads will never be equal to a mom and a dad in their abilities to raise a child.

What is tolerance

My husband read this great article by Orson Scott Card the other day, and I have to share it with you all. Go read it at http://mormontimes.com/mormon_voices/orson_scott_card/?id=4740.

Card writes about how we should be able to disagree respectfully, and why the LDS Church opposes legalizing gay marriage. His point that really caught my eye, though, was this:

“I speak from experience: My family and I have close friends who are gay, some of whom have entered into lawful marriages. They know we don’t agree that their relationship is the same thing or should have the same legal status as our marriage, but we all accept that strong and clear difference of opinion and move on, continuing to respect and love each other for the values we share.

Only when a gay friend demanded that I agree with his or her point of view or cease to be friends has the friendship ended. What is odd is that in every case they called me intolerant. They misunderstood the meaning of “tolerance.”

Tolerance implies disagreement — it means that even though we don’t agree with or approve of each others beliefs or actions, we can still live together amicably. When we agree, we aren’t being tolerant, we’re being uniform.

It’s uniformity or submission these former friends wanted, not tolerance at all.”

You might object and say that this refers only to Orson Scott Card’s understanding of the word tolerance. But you’d be wrong. Here’s what the dictionary has to say under the entry “tolerance”:

1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.
2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.

Tolerance, therefore, can only exist when we agree to disagree. Some gays are opposing Proposition 8 under the guise of desiring tolerance from heterosexuals. However, the ones doing the name-calling and vandalizing signs are more often opponents of Prop 8 than not. Legalizing gay marriage; requiring that we treat it the same as heterosexual marriage; teaching it as the same in school; suing photographers, doctors, newspapers, adoption agencies, and newspapers for expressing a different opinion and standing by their religions; threatening to even remove the people’s right to vote on the issue in San Diego… None of these things sound like tolerance to me. This is not peaceful co-existence. This is not agreeing, politely, to disagree. This is attempting to force the opinion and habits and standards of a vocal minority on the majority of the population under the guise of “rights” – even though the right to marry is not protected, and establishing gay marriage directly contradicts existing federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, which states: DOMA defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws.

How can forcing the 96% of the population that isn’t gay to endorse homosexuality truly be considered tolerance? Gay activists aren’t fighting for tolerance of their behavior. Their rights are already protected as domestic partners under the California family code. They gain nothing by marriage, except the validation of the rest of the community, and the ability to force others to support their beliefs. Legalizing gay marriage does not gain them more rights; all it does is undermine our society and confuse gender issues until we are all one homogenized, featureless lump. They are fighting to PROMOTE A GAY LIFESTYLE. Not for tolerance. If they were so big on tolerance, perhaps they’d be a little more TOLERANT of their opposition. You know, those of us who are out there fighting for our children, our educational system, our right to parent our children and teach them our own morals, our religious freedom, our freedom of speech, and the rights of future generations of children to be born into a home with a mother and a father who love them and are socially responsible to them.

Please support real tolerance, and vote in favor of Proposition 8. Otherwise, dissent becomes illegal.

What is marriage?

It seems to me that the heart of this issue isn’t so much about equality, but about how we as a civilization define marriage.

To me, marriage is a mutually loving relationship between a man and a woman; they provide support for each other economically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. They provide the same support for any children that they bring into the world or choose to adopt. As parents, they also provide role models for their children on how to become a happy, successful adult who knows how to interact with others in society. Parents model appropriate behavior, teaching their children how to act in a loving relationship to family members and a future spouse.

To me, marriage is not only about the relationship between the spouses. It is also about providing stability and support to the rest of the family. Just as I think that every infant who is conceived has a right to be born, I also think that every infant has the right to join a family with both a mother and a father. Children need the influences of both a male and female parent in order to grow up in a truly healthy environment. (For more influence on actual studies that support this, go check out Troy’s blog post about Prop 8.) A gay couple cannot provide this to any children they might adopt. Their marriage cannot bring children into the world, they cannot provide all the nurturing a child needs no matter how hard they try and how loving they are, and many homosexual relationships are less stable than heterosexual ones (again, go check out the stats on Troy’s blog.) How does endorsing gay marriage, then, benefit our society as a whole?

Now I know I define marriage differently than many of you out there. So go ahead, tell me what exactly marriage means to you?

Published in: on October 14, 2008 at 2:08 pm  Comments (3)  
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More on Prop 8

As I find other discussions out there, I’m going to add them to this list for your reading enjoyment.

http://beetlebabee.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/its-not-just-about-love/

http://www.iprotectmarriage.com/

http://www.preservingmarriage.org/

http://www.protectmarriage.com/

Check ’em out.

Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 2:33 pm  Comments Off on More on Prop 8  
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