Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dear Ms. Lee of the lemon drops

From the comments:

"Defining marriage as between one man and one woman is not taking away anyone's rights. The definition simply distinguishes a union that is biologically capable of producing its own children. Whether a married couple has children or not, I feel like this deserves a separate name--even the potential is kind of a miracle.

Actually this definition can be seen as the ultimate expression of equality our society has to offer: it takes one man and one woman. One could see a lesbian union as a marginalization of men, or a homosexual union as a marginalization of women.

Equality is especially important when it comes to raising children. Children deserve/need a father and a mother. Neither parent should be marginalized.

Yes, many children are already growing up in single-parent homes. Prop 8 should be a reminder to everyone that as a society we need to assist and strengthen families as much as possible. Really, as a society we should be most concerned with the success and health of our families.

peace! "

You’ll all have to forgive my response. It is early in the morning and my brain is still a bit muddled from sleep. I am not quite as eloquent as I can be.

Ms. Lee: “defining marriage as between one man and one woman is not taking away anyone’s rights.”

Um, actually it is. Setting aside for a moment the fact that CA currently allows gays the right to marry, defining marriage as between one man and one woman DE FACTO takes away the rights of gays. But even setting that very obvious counter to your initial claim aside for a moment…defining marriage as between one man and one woman denies same-sex couples all the RIGHTS, benefits, privileges and responsibilities that come with marriage, all 1400 of them (400 state, 1000 federal). These include, but are not limited to:

Joint parenting
Joint adoption
Joint insurance policies
Immigration and residency
Automatic inheritance
Annuities benefits
Hospital visitation
Wrongful death standing
Etc etc etc.

So yeah, Prop 8 takes away someone’s rights.

Ms. Lee “The definition simply distinguishes a union that is biologically capable of producing its own children.”

Um, it doesn’t “simply” do anything. Please see above. The definition does not exist in a vacuum – it has real world consequences – like excluding a whole category of people from a whole mess of rights.

Additionally, your argument implies that those marriages of people that are incapable of “producing children,” like infertile couples, naturally or by choice, older couples, etc. that those couples should not get the vaunted label of “marriage” simply because they cannot produce children. And what of couples that don’t want children – they have the potential but are refusing to use it. What would you call them?

Your definition also seems to imply that children are only possible within the definition of marriage, as if two people can’t produce a child outside of marriage. Or, alternately, that if two people do produce a child, they are automatically “married.”

Ms. Lee says: “Whether a married couple has children or not, I feel like this deserves a separate name.”

Ok, here’s a name: “breeders” or how about just “parents.” And what’s with the emphasis on “producing its own children?” Because there are not so many parentless children in this world, that we have to be so insistent on bringing forth progeny of our own blood. Are you kidding me?

Ms. Lee says: “Actually this definition can be seen as the ultimate expression of equality our society has to offer: it takes one man and one woman.”

Hmm, this one is hard to approach because of its astounding inanity, but we’ll give it a whack. If you accept that equality = one man + one woman, you’d have to accept that two men + two woman = 2x equality. Or five men + five women = 5x equality. Since there are very roughly the same number of women and men in the world, let’s go for ultimate human equality, and we can all be married to each other.

On to the next ridiculous assertion…

Ms. Lee says “One could see a lesbian union as a marginalization of men, or a homosexual union as a marginalization of women.”

So, you could say that someone who stays single, refusing the company of the opposite sex is also marginalizing that opposite sex. Or you could say that since there are roughly the same number of gay men, and lesbians, that their unions cancel each other out, so there is no net gain of marginalization.

Or we could just agree that this argument is ridiculous, and gay unions do not marginalize either men or women. But, excluding gay people from marriage does marginalize those gay people.

Ms. Lee says: “Yes, many children are already growing up in single-parent homes.”

I like that she points out a major flaw in her argument and does nothing to counter it – I mean she doesn’t even attempt to make the erroneous and debunked claim that children that grow up in gay households have more social/psychological problems. At the same time, she concludes that allowing gay marriage, means that children will grow up in single-parent homes. First, that that marriage automatically results in children. And second, that two people that love a child cannot be called parents unless they are a man and a woman that have produced that child. I’m glad she has such a favorable view of foster and adoptive parents.

Ms. Lee says “Prop 8 should be a reminder to everyone that as a society we need to assist and strengthen families as much as possible. Really, as a society we should be most concerned with the success and health of our families.”

Really? Because to me Prop 8 reminds everyone that there are A LOT of misguided and yes, hateful bigots in this world. It reminds me that there are a lot of people that are so concerned with denying legal rights to an entire class of people, that they use children as rhetorical shields in their untenable position.

The truth is marriage is not defined by the presence or possibility of children. Very basically, it is defined as the legal contract, condoned by the state, of two people, that confer rights, benefits, privileges and responsibilities on the participants. Nothing more, and nothing less.

The truth is there are countless more productive ways to focus on the health and success of families, all families. Giving legal recognition of all kinds of families so they cannot be broken up. Promoting better work/family balances. Providing low-cost, quality childcare and healthcare. Providing more support for low-income families. More support for foster parents. More opportunities for gay adoptions. And a thousand other things. The way to not help families? Denying legal recognition for those families.

Ms. Lee says: “Really, as a society we should be most concerned with the success and health of our families”

I agree – we should be concerned with the success and health of ALL of our families.

So thanks, but no thanks on Prop 8.

1 Comments:

Blogger Kate said...

Jalynn, thank you for your insightful exploration of the issue. Very well put.

9:15 AM  

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