Share the fruit. Share the love.

25 Jan

Sometimes I think that my college education wasn’t very useful, and other times facebook shows me that I’m wrong.  People post links to articles with flawed arguments on their pages, and they caption it with ‘well-stated’ or ‘great argument.’  In methods of sociology, we learned how to recognize good arguments and evaluate (tear apart) bad arguments.  Not everyone has taken that course, it seems.  I am going to Miami next week with one of my best friends, who is gay, to celebrate my upcoming marriage, but there is an argument I need to have a public beef with before I do that. It is a testimony that was delivered on Monday, January 13, 2014 to the Indiana House Judiciary Committee by Ryan T. Anderson, author of ‘What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense’, and a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Notre Dame. I don’t know why a doctoral candidate at Notre Dame presented an argument without strength.  Not only is it unsound and colorless, but it is deceptive, unrealistic, twisted, shallow, and full of holes.  Standards are looking pretty low over in Indiana, what’s going on Notre Dame?  It would make more sense if he were a doctoral candidate in tap-dance.

ImageFor real.  Buckle up, let’s do this.

This is a blog so I am going to take creative freedom and refer Mr. Anderson as Andy.  No need for formality here.

Andy opens his argument by claiming that he is in support of marriage equality, but only if what defines a marriage is between a man and a women.  Well, that’s twisting words.  When most people talk about marriage equality, they’re talking about gay couples being able to get married.  Come on, Andy.

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And then he goes into this:

“Marriage exists to unite a man and a woman as husband and wife to then be equipped to be mother and father to any children that that union produces. It’s based on the anthropological truth that men and women are distinct and complementary. It’s based on the biological fact that reproduction requires a man and a woman. It’s based on the sociological reality that children deserve a mother and a father…marriage is the institution that different cultures and societies across time and place developed to maximize the likelihood that that man would commit to that woman and then the two of them would take responsibility to raise that child.”

It’s a sociological reality, Andy, that there’s a ton of freaking kids out there with cracked out mothers and deadbeat fathers who deserve a stable home.  I don’t need statistics to back this up- it’s an obvious and sad truth, but I’ll throw some out there anyway.  Over 500,000 children were put in care in 2011, just for neglect. The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2008 is $124 billion.  The President’s National Drug Control Strategy estimates that 100,00 cocaine expose babies are born each year (and this was in 1990). Over 650,000 children in the foster-care system have spent time in out-of-home care this year, and 15% of foster children live in group homes. Just for fun, I’d like to mention Pope Benedict XVI defrocked 400 priests for sexual abuse of children in just 2 years (and gay marriage freaks you out? Get real)  Turn on the news, turn on Law and Order:SVU, use that newfangled iphone CNN app. It’s an anthropological reality that some people are not mentally stable enough to reproduce, but they do it anyway (you’ve heard of Darwin, no?)  There’s Octomom, Kate Gosselin, inbreeders, and millions more.  What’s even worse, someone even decided that Joan Crawford could adopt a kid.  Seriously.

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There are a lot of kids in foster care and groups homes who need loving families because of these sociological and anthropological realities.  Abandoned children, crack babies, orphans.  Children deserve a mother and a father…even if the mother is a crackwhore and the father is a wifebeater?  Tie up those loose ends, bud. Traditonal marriage is not cutting it.  It is a SOCIOLOGICAL REALITY that MARRIAGE IS NOT PERFECT.  There’s lots of divorce, there’s lot’s of children born out of wedlock, there’s child brides, there’s 7th husbands, there’s all those silicones marrying Hugh Hefner, and there’s lots of abuse in marriage.  Let’s do some simple, simple math here Andy.

A bunch of kids without homes + loving gay couples who aren’t able to bear children + marriage equality – people being assholes about gay marriage = Homes for children = balance = good = problem improved.

Did it occur to you, Andy, that if we get over ourselves and let it happen, gay couples can provide a beautiful balance they we need in our society?  Well, now you get it.  You’re welcome.  Simple math solves sociological and anthropological problems.   Let’s give those children loving homes, let’s not deprive them because we think straight marriage is a superhero with a mighty red glittering cape, although it’s super cute and sheltered that you believe that, because this world isn’t perfect and people aren’t perfect.  It’s a reality that sometimes when babies are born, their teenage mothers throw them in the trash or try to flush them down the toilet.  Face the facts, Andy.  Just in case you were wondering, gay parents don’t yield gay children.  The math doesn’t add up that way.  1+1 does not equal 1.  2+2 does  not equal 2.

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And then Andy says this:

“We should disavow the notion that mommies can make good daddies, just as we should the popular notion that daddies can make good mommies. The two sexes are different to the core and each is necessary—culturally and biologically—for the optimal development of a human being.”
This is ridiculously passively offensive to women and men who have successfully raised their children without a partner, for whatever reason- be it death or desertion.  My Uncle Ray raised four children, largely on his own.  He worked hard all day, put farm-fresh food that he grew and cooked, on the table, after coaching his kids in Little League, Football, Soccer, Basketball, and Tennis.  He helped all four children graduate from High School and College with top honors.  He raised a marine, a successful engineer daughter, and two passionate musicians.  So f$%# you Andy.  He did a fantastic job without your little equation.  And let’s not pretend that kids who grow up with parents in a same sex marriage are magically safe and happy and successful.  There are a million factor to consider, so put them in your argument next time please, Andy.  I know I am sheltered up here in Seattle where people are fantastic and open-minded and full of equality, but spend some time up with me and the children I babysit with gay parents and then let’s argue.

“Redefining marriage will make it much harder for the law to teach that those fathers are essential.”  He also twists a quote from Barack Obama to support his argument:   “…children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school, and twenty times more likely to end up in prison.” Not to mention causality, outlying factors, etc.,  I’m going to show Andy how it’s really done.
It is so easy to argue.  Two gay men adopt a child.  That child has not one, but two essential fathers.  With those statistics, they will super extra get stay in school and stay out of prison!  Furthermore, if fathers are so essential, we should be in families of one mother and several fathers.  Goodbye polygamy.  Hooray!  Oh, Andy. You got served.

And then Andy says this about gay marriage:

“First, it fundamentally reorients the institution of marriage away from the needs of children toward the desires of adults. It no longer makes marriage about ensuring the type of family life that is ideal for kids; it makes it more about adult romance. If one of the biggest social problems we face right now in the United States is absentee dads, how will we insist that fathers are essential when the law redefines marriage to make fathers optional?”  Marriage is not working, and keeping loving couples out of the institution ain’t gonna fix it, bud.  Where is the evidence for your argument?  And what about marriages that don’t produce children…what about those ‘golden years’ second marriages that produce no children- are they irrelevant?  Do you want to restructure marriage so that every married man and woman is require to recreate?  Because that’s pretty messed up.  So, read the points I made above, and that should sort you out.  And then take a look at this picture.

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Jane Lighty and Pete-e Petersen, partners for 35 years, were married during a performance by the Seattle Men’s Choir last year. According to Andy’s way of thinking,  their lifelong partnership is a sexual and selfish ‘adult romance.’ Please, sir.  Get your argument together.  Let’s recognize that anyone would be ridiculously lucky to have a marriage with that much joy and longevity.  Any child would have been lucky to grown up in a home full of joy.  And the epic ceremony? I would have been so happy to witness an occasion with that much love and support and joy and excitement.  It’s momentous, and a beautiful representation of love.

Andy talks about the social liberties that will plague florists and bakers if gay marriage is enforced.  They’re business, not people, and it’s called the law.  It’s the law to treat people equally, it’s the law to recognize marriage.  Sometimes I feel like God is telling me to speed down the highway at a million miles an hour, but I don’t.  Not just because I’m a speed wimp, but because it’s the law, and it the law for a reason.  It’s selfish and harmful to do so, and therefore I abide.  If the WDOT changes the speed limit in my neighborhood from 30 miles per hour  to 35 or 25 (haha, it’s Washington, I’m sure the speed limit is 2 mph everywhere) I will recognize that that is the law.  If I get a speeding ticket, I will not create a giant fuss about it.  The florists and bakers in states where gay marriage is legal can certainly deny service to gay couples, but they will have to face the law.  Everybody has to abide by the law in this country- it’s called order.  Andy, maybe have heard of Martin Luther King, Jr.  He and a lot of people around him did a lot of cool stuff.  It used to be illegal for black people to attend school with white people.  They were denied a ton of civil liberties, and they were treated like secondary citizens.  Then people protested enough and put their lives and hearts on the line to changed the law.  It took a while to get used to, some a$$##%($ are still trying to get over it, but now we are all benefitting from a bigger pool of educated people- more Doctors, more lawyers, more engineers, more programmers, more people making a positive impact.  It’s been a process, long overdue, but well worth it.

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It’s called, ‘History 101.’  Did you not take that class in Notre Dame?  There are a lot of great pop-culture movies you can watch to catch up.  I can make you a list, Andy.  By the way, this is 2014.  Just so you know.

Andy goes into a lot of weird talk about group marriage and monogamish.  My question pertains to relevance:  What are you talking about, Andy?  I’m not following you, and your argument is getting weird.  You are trying to correlate gay marriage with a bunch of weird horseshit, and I’m not eating that, Andy.  It’s not delicious, and it makes me think that you’re mildly delusional.  What are they feeding you over there at Notre Dame?

There’s a lot more empty words, and he talks a lot about social costs, and how gay people have all the rights they need, but it’s simply not true.  The truth is that we are making it much harder for children in need to have loving homes.  Put that truth on your silver spoon, Andy.

The whole thing is really like those diets that tell you to avoid certain fruits.  No.  Fruit is natural, it is healthy, and I am going to eat it (ok, ok,  I do avoid citrus fruits because they hurt my mouth- but that’s not the point).  Same with love.  It is natural, it is healthy, and everyone should experience it, man woman, child, LGBT.  Like a doctor who would tell me not to eat fruit, I would be suspicious of anyone who preaches that any love is not natural, and certain people who love each other should be denied all the joys, tears, happiness, and sweet, sweet, natural love that everyone deserves.  We aren’t living in the Garden of Eden, and no-one is afraid of apples anymore (not to mention the separation of church and state).

I love my gay friends.  I love my gay family.  I love my equal state that supports my gay friends and family.

SHARE THE FRUIT, SHARE THE LOVE.

Thanks,  Andy, for the inspiration.

One last thing while we are on this topic.  Religion.  I just don’t understand why the nicest people in the world are so against sharing something they cherish so much.  The selfishness baffles me more than outer space, more than Madonna’s face.  Love spreads.  If you love family and partnership, and children, and all of those beautiful moments you shared with your family, then why would you want to DENY people that experience and shut down love?  There was a facebook discussion a year or two ago when a very nice married Mormon woman whom I attended high school with, was really trying to wrap her head around gay marriage.  She has gay friends, and really likes gay people, and wanted to support them, but just could not support gay marriage.  She was getting bashed, which was ridiculous because she was being so earnest.  Instead of being explanatory, people were getting irate. Her biggest concern was that because she believed wholeheartedly that marriage is a special thing between a man and a woman, and that two women or two men getting married would take away from her own marriage.  Among other things, I replied something along the lines of, ‘if two people sharing the joy of marriage is going to take away from your own marriage, then your marriage isn’t that strong and you should really evaluate that (I think I said it in a less bitchy, Dr. Phil way)  If divorce, 6th wives, starter wives, polygamy, molygamy (is that a thing?), abusive husbands, marrying for money, pervert priests, and child brides, haven’t ruined your marriage already, then gay marriage is probably not going to ruin your marriage either.  Two people joining together in a loving partnership is only going to reinforce marriage.  Please think about that before you decide that two people should not partake in all the joys that come with having a family.’  So think about that.  Talk it over with your preacher, your priest, your pastor, your partner, your person.  Talk about why you’re denying love, why you’re denying family, loving homes for children in need.  Think about it, reflect on it, and think about all of the beautiful things that you haven’t been sharing, that you don’t want to share.  I wonder if it will make you sad.  I wonder if you know how badly you are hurting people, including your gay friends and family, and the children without a home for Christmas.  I hope it will begin to change your mind, and I hope you talk about it.

 

There is no good reason to ban gay marriage.  There is a separation of church and state.  Religious arguments don’t apply to the law.  If you don’t agree with gay marriage, don’t get married to a person of your same gender.  Thank you.

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