Monday, May 19, 2008
It was five years ago when I published my first novel, a fictional account of two men attempting to legalize their marriage in a story titled "Almost Paradise." As an openly gay author, it's probably not going to come as any surprise to find out that I'm in favor of gay marriage. What I find interesting is the number of homophobic people in our society who are against it. I say these people are homophobic because I truly don't see any other possibility.
The issue of gay marriage is once again in the news, due to the California Supreme Court's recent ruling that overturned the state's ban against it. Conservative groups are now coming out of the woodwork threatening to put an initiative on the November ballot to allow the voters to change the state's constitution making marriage strictly between one man and one woman. The people who write such an initiative are, to my mind, homophobic. I can't find any other term that adequately defines them. They have an unrealistic hatred of homosexuals and are showing this in their actions.
I have yet to hear one compelling argument against same-sex marriage that would make me change my mind on this subject. I've heard plenty of arguments, but they are easily seen as works of hatred, not logic. Look, for example, at the website belonging to the National Organization for Marriage, one of the groups threatening the November initiative. I searched their site for anything that would give a logical reason why they oppose same-sex marriage, but found very little. They do have a pdf file called "Why Marriage Matters" and that lists "Seven Scientific Reasons" why marriage is important, but they fail to demonstrate that these reasons are truly scientific. Note that these reasons are only for marriage, not against gay marriage. Here are the seven reasons, along with my response:
1. Marriage reduces the risk of poverty for children and communities. Wouldn't this also include gay marriages? What evidence exists that this statement a) is true and b) only refers to heterosexual unions?
2. Fatherless households increase crime. Again, what evidence supports this, and if it is accurate, then doesn't that say that two father households would be the best defense against crime?
3. Marriage protects children's physical and mental health. Again, no support is given as to where this statement originated, but the American Psychological Association states that children of gay parents are at no disadvantage psychologically or socially compared to children of heterosexual parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children who grow up with gay parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social and sexual functioning as children with straight parents. The National Association of Social Workers agrees that research on gay parenting shows a total absence of pathological findings in their children. Finally, Charles J. Patterson, researcher at the University of Virginia, stated that "Not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by gay and lesbian parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children’s psychosocial growth.” (More on this can be found at http://www.openadopt.org/adoptive-parents/gay-and-lesbian/facts.php).
4. Both men and women who marry live longer, healthier and happier lives. Again, no support, but where is the research on the life expectancy of married homosexuals?
5. Just living together is not the same as marriage. All the more reason why gays need to be allowed to marry.
6. Parents who don't get or stay married put children's education at risk. What studies prove this, and do those studies include children of same-sex couples?
7. When marriages fail, ties between parents and children typically weaken too. I don't how they could even print this. I know plenty of children of failed marriages who have great relationships with both of their parents. To me, this statement is purely fictional.
For gay marriages, the flier states that "Marriage teaches that men and women need each other and that children need mothers and fathers." Again, no justification is given for this statement, other than that the author (and it doesn't say who wrote it) says so. It should say "Heterosexual marriage teaches that men and women need each other" and that would probably be a true statement, but to state that marriage teaches this is false. Marriage is a union between two people, be they opposite sex or same sex, and in and of itself, it does not teach heterosexuality.
The second statement, that "children need mothers and fathers" is also false. See the response to number 3 above and you can see that no reputable organization supports this claim. The American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics are both scientific organizations (unlike the National Organization for Marriage), and both these organization show this statement to be false.
The flier also claims that "every same-sex home ... intentionally deprives children of their own mom and dad." Note that I did not add the emphasis, it's in the original. This statement is so obviously untrue it amazes me that they would print it. If I have a child with a woman, and my lover and I raise that child, how would that child be deprived of their mom and dad? Just as children of divorce are raised primarily by one parent, so would mine be.
If, as a gay parent, I chose to adopt a child, then they are deprived of their parents, but not by my doing. Their parents either gave them up for adoption, and therefore the deprivation comes from the biological parents, or died, in which case the deprivation comes from whatever caused their deaths. The gay couple who adopt these children are providing them with loving homes, not depriving them of anything.
Okay, more lies in the flier. "The law will teach your children and grandchildren that there is nothing special about mothers and fathers raising children together, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a bigot." Note again that the emphasis is in the original. You can always tell when a writing (or speech) is relying more on fiction than on truth when it appeals largely to emotions. This statement has no basis in fact, but relies heavily on making people believe that the law will call them bigots. The law doesn't call anyone a bigot, that's a social construct, not a legal one. The law also doesn't say that there is nothing special about mothers and fathers raising children together, it simply says that this is not the only way of raising children. In fact, if this was so important to this organization, they should be trying to make divorce illegal rather than trying to stop gay marriages, since divorce is what stops men and women from raising children together.
"Marriage is about brining male and female together." Again, that's a definition of heterosexual marriage, not marriage.
The National Organization for Marriage does not, in my opinion, give any good reason for putting an initiative on the ballot to outlaw same-sex marriage. Based on their writings and on their website, I have to conclude that their actions are driven by nothing but homophobia.
Links I Recommend
- Common Dreams
- Crooks and Liars
- Democracy for America
- Democratic National Committee
- Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
- Media Matters
- Mick's Blog
- Nation, The
- News Hounds (we watch Fox so you won't have to)
- Patt's Adventures in Cooking
- Political Research Association
- Progressive Majority
- Public Citizen