Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Because I was asked

Back in the midst of the Prop 8 debate, there were a couple of people who were interested in considering possible reasons for supporting prop 8. While I realized that there wasn't any way to 'prove' many things either way, I wanted to start capturing many of the concerns I had.

Recently, I was asked once again why I chose to support Prop 8. I figured it would be worth sharing some of my thoughts here. This list doesn't represent all of my thoughts, but does capture many of them.

Please note: At this point, I'm not interested in debating with others on what follows. I realize others may have different points of view, and I respect your right to have your thoughts and ask for the same respect in return. In the end, as I said before, I think one of the challenges with this issue is that we can't necessarily prove things one way or the other, and so we each have to decide where we think all of this could lead, and choose accordingly.

I should note that I had already begun to formulate my list of concerns and reasons I supported proposition 8 before the Church came out with its reasons. (I have been accused of only blind following, but I have thought about and considered this issue for years, ever since Prop 22 in 2000. I did not make my choice about my stand lightly, or blindly. Did the Church's directness in this issue affect me? Of course it did. But in the end, I made my choice for reasons beyond just 'the prophet said so.')

Even still, and even if some people will refuse to believe it, taking a stand was difficult, because I know how charged and painful this issue is. and in my heart of hearts, I don't want to cause others pain. I have found, however, that there will be some who will not see my point of view or my decision as anything but hateful and prejudiced. At some point, there is probably nothing I can do to change those minds. But in a sense, such reactions only solidify some of my concerns. I feel that given our democracy, there must be room for respect for other people's viewpoints. And so, again, I would ask for such respect for mine. And ask that you consider giving the benefit of the doubt before commenting. At this stage of the issue, and given my weariness with some continued attacks on my character, unless I feel your comment is respectful, I will not post it. Thanks in advance.

---

Following are some of my reasons that I supported Proposition 8:

· Gays, through domestic partnerships, were already provided rights and protections under California law.

· The people of California already voted on this in 2000, and 61% of voters decided that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. Four of seven CA court justices overturned the voice of the people. The split vote demonstrates that even among experts, it is not agreed upon whether gay marriage should have ever been made legal in the first place. (In the two other states that legalized gay marriage at the time of Prop 8, the votes were also split 4-3.)

· I am deeply concerned that essentially that one vote at the court level could have (and has had) this kind of power to overturn the majority vote of millions of people. This is a precedent that concerns me greatly for future votes on issues yet undefined, in California or elsewhere.

· I am struck by the fact that 27 states in the nation had passed amendments such as Proposition 8 prior to the vote, and more than a dozen other states had passed other statutes or measures that also protect the traditional definition of marriage. Worldwide, I believe only 6 countries have legalized gay marriage. In short, legalized gay marriage does not represent what the majority of US citizens or the majority of nations of the world support. This presents not only an ideological clash, but also the very real potential for future legal and political fallout, which could be costly in time, money, and energy for all of us.

· I am concerned about the potential threats to rights of those who may have religious or other beliefs or opinions supporting traditional marriage as the ideal. This is not to say that I support intolerance of or unkindness to gays. In no uncertain terms, I believe that gays are no different from anyone else in that they deserve common decency, respect, compassion, and kindness. But it is not hard to imagine the effort to protect the rights of gays clashing with the free speech and/or religious rights of those who believe gay marriage is wrong, or who feel for other reasons that traditional marriage should continue as the foundation of our society. This kind of intolerance for those who support traditional marriage was part of the debate about Proposition 8, and continues post-Prop 8. Tolerance must go both ways, and I am concerned that we will see less and less tolerance for those who support traditional marriage if gay marriage were to become legal.

· I am concerned about potential public school curriculum issues. If gay marriage had become legal in CA, it would have had to be treated equally in courses that discuss marriage and family life. For parents, teachers, and taxpayers with viewpoints and/or beliefs that consider heterosexual marriage to be the ideal, again there could have been conflicts of interest and possibly even a threat to individual rights. As a parent and a taxpayer, this has concerned me. I also was concerned for teachers who may believe personally that teaching these things to children is not a positive thing.

Perhaps you heard that recently, a class of California first graders was taken to their lesbian teacher’s wedding. From an academic standpoint alone, I believe that such outings (funded by taxpayer money) are unnecessary and inappropriate for school. I could imagine that a parent or taxpayer opposing such a field trip could be viewed as engaging in discrimination, or even ignored -- even if the concerns expressed are about academics and not gay marriage per se. I am concerned that legalizing gay marriage could justify more of this kind of specially “protected” curriculum decision. I can appreciate the desire for “diversity education” but think it not unreasonable to be concerned that, given the nature of “political correctness,” this kind of thing could be taken to an extreme that doesn’t consider or protect others’ rights, particularly the rights of the parents of the children involved and the rights of taxpayers whose money supports the schools.

· I am concerned about changing the definition of something that has been the foundation of society for millennia. Even with its exceptions, where divorce or other less-than-ideal things occur, traditional marriage has proven over time to be a foundational institution for societies and in the lives of children in a positive way. The failings of marriage are not because of the institution, but because of individuals, and those problems would exist with gay marriage as well.

The full impact of legalized gay marriage – negative or positive -- cannot fully be ascertained, because the concept of gay marriage, let alone its very limited practice, simply has not been around for very long. As such, I am not comfortable with the idea of submitting society (including, and perhaps especially, children) to an experiment that, in my mind, could have potential significant, lasting, negative consequences in many ways and challenges the wisdom and experience of millenia. My concern is not just for the immediate future, but for generations to come. (I realize that those who opposed prop 8 could use their concerns for children and the future as support for their position. Again, I am not interested in debating, and I realize that it's possible to come down on completely opposite sides of points like this. But given my worldview, I come down on the side of traditional marriage.)

· My last point for my purposes here, but not my least, is that I am concerned about the impact that legalizing gay marriage could have on children. I’m not questioning the reality that gays could and do provide loving homes for children. However, I believe that policy and law should consider what is, in general, best for children now and in the future. It is my belief that children deserve, wherever possible, to be raised by a mom and a dad, and that societies, in general, benefit from the stability that traditional marriage can offer.

I believe also that legalizing gay marriage could create a confusing environment for children, where roles like husband, wife, dad, mom, male, female, etc. could end up being altered. For example, I have already seen men called "Mum" and “like a bride” in videos that obviously support gay marriage. While I believe there is lots of room for sharing of family responsibilities, to me, to be a mom and a bride is to be female. These are simple examples of how I think this all could be very messy, and not just in terms of semantics, but in terms of what these terms and concepts have truly meant for millennia in the fabric of society and family life. I think these roles and definitions are important as children grow and develop personally, socially, sexually, and in other ways. (Again, I realize not everyone will share this view.)

And it probably goes without saying that for some, these words and roles have tremendous religious significance for many Americans. Again, parental (and/or religious) and societal teachings could clash -- where it matters most – in the raising of our children and grandchildren.

There is no one reason why I supported Prop 8. To me, it was a complex mixture of legal, political, social, educational, and religious reasons that led me to make the choice that I did. I may never be able to convince some people that it was hard, and continues to be hard, to take a stand on something that has caused many people pain.

43 comments:

Kristin said...

Very well put. You expressed yourself very well. I may have to copy this to my journal because it states much better than I could have ever written myself how I feel. My favorite part is simply the reminder that tolerance must go both ways. Thank you for sharing your feelings on such a controversial and attacked issue.

Ginny said...

well said...as usual!

djinn said...
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RoAnn said...

I'm so glad you decided to post this on your blog. I have admired how well you have defended your position on other blogs, despite being constantly attacked.

When I read djinn's comment I just had to sigh.

It illustrates perfectly the two points you made when you said, "there will be some who will not see my point of view or my decision as anything but hateful and prejudiced," and then, "in a sense, such reactions only solidify some of my concerns."

Thanks for being willing to stand up for your beliefs. There are many of us who greatly appreciate the way you are able to articulate our personal thoughts and feelings about this issue in such a comprehensive and logical way.

I also hope for more toleration for all points of view, but amongst those commenting on the Bloggernacle that seems to be in short supply right now.

djinn said...
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m_and_m said...

djinn,

Please note that I haven't talked about adoption here at all. I know how you feel about that issue, but please keep your comments relevant to what I have discussed here.

And note that I even acknowledged that gay parents can be loving parents. I spoke of what I feel is ideal (I believe children deserve a mom and dad whenever and wherever possible -- even their own mom and dad if that is feasible), and I won't back down from that. Beyond that, we are dealing with less-than-ideal situations. I will always maintain that gay parenthood is not the ideal. Could it be better than a child living on the street? Of course it could, and I have never said otherwise.

Your continued insistence that I am not kind, not caring, not caring of children especially, is growing old. And it also makes assumptions about me about things that you and I have not discussed.

And let's be very, very, very clear. There is no room for hatred in our doctrine, and anyone who wants to interpret doctrine and commandments in that way is wrong.

On the flip side, the continued effort to equate certain choices and boundaries with hate is another argument that I think is inappropriate and unfair in its own right. And it doesn't really help discussion.

If you want to talk issues, talk issues. Please stop insinuating that somehow I am unkind, hateful, not decent, etc. because I don't necessarily share your viewpoint or opinion on certain things. Or because you *think* you understand all the facets of my point of view, which I don't believe you do.

djinn said...
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djinn said...
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djinn said...
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m_and_m said...

Genie,

I understand why you are asking about where I stand on gay adoptions, but 'calling me out' has felt more like cornering me. Understanding your role at the state helps me understand better your strong feelings, but please remember, I am an individual, and placing me in a box with people you have had bad experiences with is not fair to me.

You have created a situation where either I accept gay adoption, or I am an evil, uncaring person who is harming children. Such extremism is not fair, and really, again, hinders discussion. If you insist on painting that kind of extreme picture, it should be no surprise that I wouldn't want to explore my thoughts, because I don't see this issue quite as starkly as you do. That doesn't make me evil, though, or uncaring about the well-being of children.

For the record, in response to another question you asked, I would not want your children to be taken from your home because you are a single parent. (Again, such extremes want to pigeonhole me. Can you try not to assume the worst with me?) That doesn't to me require that somehow I must accept gay adoption, or that not accepting gay adoption is the equivalent of taking your children from the only home they have ever known. I don't see gays as being the magical answer to the problem of foster care. A possible partial solution? Maybe, but to me there is more to consider here both from the side of why children are cast aside in the first place, why the system doesn't work better, etc. Also, there are other issues that complicate the concept for me...more that you and I don't agree on, so at some point, it's not something I want to go around and around on. I believe children in the long run could be affected by gay rights. I know you disagree, and I think on that point, we need to leave it at that.

m_and_m said...

Secondly, I am very sorry for what you have experienced in your life. I have sensed for a long while that there is a lot of pain behind your comments, and that you have experienced pain in the name of faith and belief and how people have interpreted or implemented the Church's positions on things. I understand that in some ways I have somehow come to represent all that has caused you pain.

But I ask you to please not hold me responsible for what others have done (in your life, in Utah, in the church, etc.), and leave room for the fact that maybe I wouldn't have done what they did in those situations.

Part of why I have let your comments through (even as they have really violated the boundaries I had put on comments on this topic) is that I didn't want you to feel cast aside from yet another person.

But in a sense, pigeonholing me casts me aside. And it hurts. I hope you can find it in your heart to give me some benefit of the doubt.

If you are not in a place to do that, I understand, too, but then perhaps we ought to hold off on more discussion. That kind of anger for you can't be good, and at some point, it becomes unhealthy for me to continue teh conversation with of intense emotion that ends up being channeled in a way that feels pointed and personal to me. (I have my own pain and insecurities I struggle with,. believe it or not! :) )

Again, I'm sorry for the pain you have experienced. I honestly have no intent of adding to that pain, so let's not continue if discussion with me does.

djinn said...
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m_and_m said...

I will if you really want me to, but I've spent an awful lot of time responding, and I think we were making some headway.

I'd rather not delete at this point.

Can you tell me why you want them deleted?

m_and_m said...

(Send me an email if you prefer.)

djinn said...
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djinn said...

I actually deleted the comments prior to your sweet note and would have left them if I had read it; forgive me of this, among my many internet faux-pas.

djinn said...
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m_and_m said...

All I was saying, djinn, is that I didn't want to continue a discussion *if* the pointed character attacks continued.

And no, I'm not trying to reconvert you.

And I'm still sorting out some of my thoughts on the specifics on this issue, such as civil unions. I think in the end, that would be the kind of compromise that will allow marriage to remain a distinct institution and still allow gays some rights. Still mulling (and musing, of course), over that one.

And I probably would Mozart-it more than rock-it.

As to humor, of course it's not against my religion, but it has to be funny to both people, and I hate to say it, but I missed it all. I did get the humor in your rock/Mozart comment, so that's good, eh? This medium makes it really hard, so ya gotta make it really obvious for me. :)

Thanks for the compliments, btw. And no, I'm not a lawyer. :)

djinn said...
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djinn said...

Oh, the joke humor thing was a joke. Sigh.

djinn said...
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m_and_m said...

djinn,

Thanks for your comment, and also for being willing to share some of what you deal with. While my struggles are different, I understand how one can feel/respond differently depending on the day or the hour. Hang in there. I'm sorry for your struggles. I know health issues can be so frustrating.

I actually knew the humor thing was a joke, but also wanted to explain how I have missed most of what you had meant to be humor before (indeed, most felt like blows, but now I understand that you agree that they were).

AS to your question about the stuff going on in Utah, that is why I said I'm conflicted. I'm not just looking for a cheering section (although who doesn't need some of that once in a while?). I honestly am conflicted on some of this stuff, and am still sorting through it. So the fact that you don't see me talking about it all specifically is evidence of the fact that I am not sure what I think of it all specifically. I'm apt to want to find middle ground so that gays get some rights. Where to draw that line, I'm not sure.

I think civil unions might be a reasonable compromise at some level, but how the specific rights should play out with that...I'm still not sure what to think. And how things have played out in CA (gays had rights already, and they claim that somehow we took away rights through prop 8 -- I understand that the ultimate goal is to make gay partnerships equal in every way to marriage and I don't think that is the right way to go...so if gays were happy with civil unions, I'd be more willing to just say 'sure, let's go that way').

Again, to me, it's all pretty complex.

I don't take such questions as attacks, btw. You asked reasonable questions. Just realize that I may not have answers that you want, or may not have answers for all of them yet. I know that probably bugs you, but that's where I am.

(I'll try hard to be more boring. hehe)

djinn said...
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m_and_m said...

You'll be proud of me. I got it.

yay.

(Hey, reasonable could be considered boring, couldn't it?)

djinn said...
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djinn said...
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m_and_m said...

djinn, yes, I understand that the current definition may not reflect all that marriage entailed, but 1) it was still heterosexual and 2) I still hold to the notion that, for our society and millenia of history, (yes, even with the times of polygamy that showed up in our day), the pattern has been marriage between a man and a woman (even polygamy was still about one marriage at a time, between one man and a woman).

The pattern has encouraged procreation and offspring staying with biological parents (again, I'm talking ideals here), and has never brought in new arrangments that remove the importance of sex (as in gender) from the definition.

I don't deny that some may have their reasons for changing that definition, and not caring so much about history, or picking the worst parts of history to somehow undermine marriage as a whole. I'm just not one of them. I don't think that such logic strongly supports drastically changing the fundamentals of what marriage means and why it has existed in this way.

I also go back to one of my reasons for being against gay marriage...because it's in essence a social experiment with way too many unknowns, and I think the ultimate consequences of that experiment would outlive us. As such, I tihnk we each have a ersponsibility to think through potential consequences, and be willing to accept them. In a sense, we are all guessing to soem degree, so no one can fully prove anything. But my gut feeling is that things will not end up being a net positive if we go the route of gay marriage. The reasons are legion, and many represent some fundamentally different beliefs we have, so for now, I will refrain from explaining my thoughts there.

but suffice it to say that some uncomfortable and now unlawful marriage definitions somewhere in the OT do not justify dismissing the definition of marriage that, for most civilizations, has remained teh foundation of society, necessary to its growth and stability, weakness of humans notwithstanding.

p.s. you are not a no one. :)

djinn said...

Don't worry, I'll delete, but believe me, or do the work yourself to find out, but "the definition of marriage that, for most civilizations, has remained teh foundation of society" has been, by quite a long shot, polygamy; or if you're a stickler for accuracy, polygyny. You can reference Brigham Young, if you like. He's right.

The Romans brought Monogamy to the west; but they had their own definitions of marriage very different than our own. For instance, a woman could be married for a single year; in which she was (officially) still under the protection of her father; this gave her much more freedom than previously.

The Romans were also big on adopting their sons with slave girl mothers. Also forgotten is that Judaism was definitely polygynous until the 11th century in the west, and up to about now in certain parts of the middle east. Once you understand this, the NT reads somewhat differently.

Read something. Some bloody history, anything. You are not a stupid woman, but you seem to have learned everything you know from (will not put something horrible here).

Don't worry, I'll delete (if you don't) so your chorus (minus deux ex machina) isn't subject to my inconsiderate remarks.

My mother was a brilliant woman who deliberately kept herself stupid. I see the same thing here. Why? I actually know the answer. If I'm healthy enough to get out of bed tomorrow, I'll delete all of this.

Suggestions for learning stuff that doesn't offend you -- history podcasts! Fascinating! Also useful when down for the count.

djinn said...

Feel free to disagree with me, just do so with a bit of knowledge, which, with your obvious over-the-top intelligence, you must posess. What I was trying to say with the cape comment, was that you were a worthy adversary, and the only way one (that would be me) is to speak to people that take us out of our comfort zones, tell us stuff we don't know. You're failing. This surprises me. Tell me something I don't know. Please. Change my mind; I really like nothing better (I'm weird that way.)

m_and_m said...

You actually missed what I said, djinn. My emphasis was not on monogamy when talking about marriage (I actually never mentioned monogamy in my comment), but on the *heterosexual* nature of marriage throughout history.

I realize the use of the word definition probably tripped you up. Sorry I wasn't more clear.

djinn said...

Oh, I just read that you're OK with civil unions (let's treat me, totally unfairly, better than I havve been known to treat you) would you be willing to vote for repeal of DOMA?

The Puritans (my peeps! a remark met with derision elsewhere in the blogosphere, but there you go) were Calvinists who believed only in civil unions, so why not us?

This means that civil unions would have the same benefits of marriage, but the random 26 letter alphabet used to reference them would change. Are you really ready to give that much weight to an 8 letter word that doesn't mean what you think it does? (The word in question is Marriage.)

Ah, whatever, hate who you want, let your mormon relatives/neighbors gay kids kill themselves, who cares. Scholarly ref. deleted which shows that gay kids rejected kill themselves at something like 8 times that of the general population, so you at least know that I am angry over something real.


I actually think that you do care, and would provide a sanctuary, because I sense a deep well of decency in you. But, I have rather more experience than I care to reference with other mormmon parents willing to abandon their offspring who show such tendencies. Bitterness, I confess. But it is the only human response.

Signing off, and deleting,

I remain

Stupid and spinning

djinn (or as I prefer to reference myself these days "The Evil Djinn." Doesn't it sound like I could match my lipstick with my spike heels? Not happening, but illusions can be important.

djinn said...

Dear m&m, Heterosexuality is no more inherent than, uh, monogamy. Here in the US, somewhere around 130 Native American tribes have been documented to accomodate the berdache, or two spirits. These were men who married other men.

Other societies (the Greeks anyone?) have also provided outlets for such behavior, etc. Wrong on the heterosexuality bit.

djinn said...

The idea of heterosexuality and homosexuality is of such recent origin, read about David and Jonathan lately? 2 Samuel, 1:26

I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.


For a clue, the first usage of the word "Homosexual" occurs right around 1900 (too lazy to look it up) by Havelock Ellis, where he complained how ugly the term was (It's a portmanteau term, combining roots of different provenance.) Most amusing, except for the actual humans you are harming.... signing off now, suspect need more medicine, getting sicker and meaner...


But still correct, look it up, all and sundry.

Please make some argument, m&m; perhaps I won't delete this comment. Reading is fun.

m_and_m said...

djinn, you and I will have to agree to disagree. I do not think that some exceptions (or your interpretations of a scripture) mean that heterosexuality has not been the norm for marriage.

I understand the desire to provide marriage to gays, but let's not make it all more than what is real. Gays still do make up a minority...and that is part of your passion, no?

So, part of the issue we disagree on is if the minority should be able to change something of this magnitude.

And no I would not support the overturning of DOMA. I do think the institution of heterosexual marriage is something that deserves its own name. Sorry.

As to bitterness, I'm sorry for the pain you experience, but I don't believe bitterness is the only response possible, except if your health really makes it impossible to choose anything else.

But once again, when you are feeling healthy enough, please remember that it's unfair to hold me responsible for all the harm that has been done toward homosexuals, or in the name of religion.

Believing in and holding to principles can never fairly and unequivocally be equated with hate in my mind.

But we have been to this place before, no?

djinn said...

"So, part of the issue we disagree on is if the minority should be able to change something of this magnitude." Actually, this the whole point of our three-tier system of governance. The needs of the minority can totally override the concern of the majority. If not, we'd still have jim crow laws, "separate but equal," and forbid interracial marriage.

Laws must be constitutional, no matter what the majority wants; good thing too, or the whims of the majority could take away the rights of an unpoplar mi1867nority. For example, interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia until 1967. !!! 1967. There's this lovely Tennessee case (State v. Bell) from 1867, that argues that makes similar arguments against allowing interracial marriage that you do, to wit:

"Extending the rule to the width asked for by the defendant, and we might have in Tennessee the father living with his daughter, the son with the mother, the brother with the sister, in lawful wedlock, because they had formed such relations in a State or country where they were not prohibited. The Turk or Mohammedan, with his numerous wives, may establish his harem at the doors of the capitol, and we are without remedy."

m_and_m said...

djinn,

I point you to my original post. You seem so certain that your view is the right view, but even experts, judges charged with interpreting constitutions and weighing out all the facets, have been split on their decisions, every time this issue has been taken to a state supreme court.

The issue is just not as clear-cut as you want it to be, friend. And trying to convince me that it is isn't working. :)

m_and_m said...

djinn,

I point you to my original post. You seem so certain that your view is the right view, but even experts, judges charged with interpreting constitutions and weighing out all the facets, have been split on their decisions, every time this issue has been taken to a state supreme court.

The issue is just not as clear-cut as you want it to be, friend. And trying to convince me that it is isn't working. :)

Lisa LeMoyne said...

I am new at this and as usual have kids to get to school and little time to devote.

I am disappointed that most of Djinn's comments were deleted by Djinn. The rest of the discussion alluded to some issues that sounded interesting.

I don't live in Utah, I don't live in the US for that matter, so I am both free and somewhat ignorant of cultural issues there.

There is such a thing as a Mormon culture, any community group is bound to develop its own culture. However any culture that springs up in LDS (I like that term better than Mormon) communities is distinct and separate from LDS doctrine. That is a topic for an entirely different discussion!

However when talking about the LDS church here and on other sensitive issues it is important to separate the culture of groups in specific areas from the teachings of the gospel.

For official church standpoints on homosexuality I would point readers here: http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=27f71f1dd189f010VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD&vgnextchannel=726511154963d010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD&vgnextfmt=tab1

There is nothing here about hatred or the rejection of one's children if this occurs then it is the members involved not church teaching that is a fault.

I think it is very possible for people of the LGBT and LDS communities to be friends and accepting of differences, even when they disagree. My husband's friend and closest work-mate is homosexual. He knows my husband has a deeply held religious belief that homosexuality is morally wrong. They have discussed it, yet they continue to be good friends, allies against the vagaries of the government department they work for and respectful of one another professionally and personally. Why? Because each allows the other the freedom and dignity of holding their own views without recourse to slander or accusation.

As for other issues I will re-post (and add to :-) )questions I posed on another thread: Are Gay Marriage Rights and/or the LGBT movement in general religious or secular topics? Both? Is that dependent on the specific issue at hand? - If so on each new issue we need to define which it is and discuss accordingly, mixing the two up all the time just makes it messy and confusing.
And what defines 'wrong' when it comes to homosexuality? Is it wrong? Or is the question perhaps is the practice of homosexuality detrimental to the individual, to the family, to society? - This last question is I think the most important of all.

m_and_m said...

Lisa, when you have a little more time, I'd love to hear how you answer the questions you have posed. :)

Lisa LeMoyne said...

Are Gay Marriage Rights and/or the LGBT movement in general religious or secular topics?

First a definition is needed for both terms: One definition of religion is: "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."
Other definitions include: "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects" and "something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience" Religion
For the purpose of this question I would define religion as a fundamental set of beliefs and practices, something one believes in and follows devotedly.

A definition of secular is: "not pertaining to or connected with religion" Secular

Based on such definitions same-sex marriage rights and indeed the issue of homosexuality in general is both a religious and secular topic. Religious because many parties, including the LGBT community have a fundamental devotion to their beliefs and consider them a matter of both ethics and conscience. Secular because despite the passion involved on both sides much of the debate surrounding it has to do with social issues independent of any individual religion or belief.

Clarity, when discussing any one issue in the topic of same-sex marriage and homosexuality, would be best obtained by first defining whether it is religious, secular or has elements of both.

Lisa LeMoyne said...

IO should have added ... I would love to know how I would answer my own questions too! I am still organizing my thoughts. I have very much enjoyed reading your thoughts M&M and the ideas of others who have commented here including those with a differing view point. Any comments, suggestions or other questions would be wonderful.

Lisa LeMoyne said...

Wow, a massively busy week. A friend sent me an email about a Marriage Equality Bill currently being reviewed by the Australian Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Public submissions were due in three days and we are moving house! ... so it was a bit of a rush, but I think my letter to the committee (in two parts, its a bit long, sorry)outlines pretty much everything I have learned so far.

****

To the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee

I understand you are holding an inquiry into the Green's Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009.

I would like to take the opportunity to make known my opposition to this bill and discuss briefly my reasons why.

The Green's spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young in her second reading speech stated that: "...discrimination such as that espoused by the current Marriage Act 1961 must be overturned to ensure that freedom of sexuality and gender identity are recognized as fundamental human rights, and that acceptance and celebration of diversity are essential components for genuine social justice and equality to exist."

This is a fundamentally flawed statement. Freedom of sexuality and gender are not at issue here, as there are no laws in Australia that prohibit the lesbian, gay and transgender community from expressing their sexuality or gender preference. What is really at issue is the ability for homosexual couples to marry, have that marriage recognised under Australian law, and have their relationship endorsed by society in general.

To open marriage to homosexual couples has social implications that I believe Australia and a good part of the rest of the world have not yet given full consideration to. It is a popular 'politically correct' view that homosexuality and marriage within that community does little to impact on the rest of the community. Is this really the case? Have there been studies done to support that thesis?

The question I urge Parliament and all of Australia to consider before we make any changes to our laws is this: Is the practice of homosexuality detrimental to the individual, the family, to society?

In recent months I have become interested in and concerned by this issue. I have therefore sought to educate myself.

Numerous studies have concluded that homosexual relationships are vastly more promiscuous than heterosexual ones, especially among males. Male homosexual relationships are generally short lived, around 1.5 years on average, during which there is little or no fidelity. Lesbians likewise have a tendency to short-term relationships.

In their study of the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals published in the Journal of Sex Research, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that "the modal range for number of sexual partners ever [of homosexuals] was 101-500." In addition, 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent had between 501 and 1,000 partners. A further 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent reported having had more than one thousand lifetime sexual partners.

It is little surprise then that homosexuals suffer from increased health risks including AIDS, Hepatitis A, B, C, anal and other cancers, syphilis (at ten times the rate of heterosexuals) and many other types of STDs.

There is also increased dependency on drugs, alcohol abuse, tobacco usage and a high frequency of psychiatric illnesses including eating disorders, depression, suicide attempts. These rates were found to be no lower in countries like the Netherlands where there is greater social acceptance of homosexuality.

Lisa LeMoyne said...

(Part 2)

Abuse in homosexual intimate relationships is also more prevalent than among heterosexuals, occurring at almost twice the frequency. A study, conducted by researchers with the US Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, reported victimization for homosexual men at 22% compared to 11.6% for heterosexual women and 7.7% for heterosexual men.

The US National Violence against Women Survey, found that "same-sex cohabitants reported significantly more intimate partner violence than did opposite-sex cohabitants. Thirty-nine percent of the same-sex cohabitants reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked by a marital/cohabitating partner at some time in their lifetimes, compared to 21.7 percent of the opposite-sex cohabitants. Among men, the comparable figures are 23.1 percent and 7.4 percent."

Marriage is the basis of families and as a nation we can hardly be seen to support equality in the case of marriage and not in the case of adoption. Which raises concerns for children who might be raised by same-sex couples.

With the aforementioned problems so remarkably widespread among homosexuals as individuals, they are far less likely than married heterosexual couples to be able to provide a child with a stable home. Furthermore decades of social science has demonstrated that children develop best in homes where a mother and father are present, that gender-complementary parent roles help children to navigate developmental stages more easily, be more solid in their gender identity, perform better in academic tasks at school, have fewer emotional disorders and become better functioning adults.

At all times the needs of the child should be paramount, and placing a child in a home that does not provide for their optimal development places the needs of the adults before that of the child.

All the above information points towards homosexuality being a lifestyle that is very unlikely to produce positive outcomes for individuals engaged in it. The cost to the community, both monetarily and as a result of potential social problems, is significant. Furthermore it is a lifestyle not conducive to the formation of stable families or the rearing of children.

While no individual should be forced to change, and all individuals, regardless of race gender or sexual orientation, deserve respect and compassion, the Marriage Equality Act 2009 would promote social acceptance of a practice that is harmful to all, especially the individuals engaged in it, and is therefore socially irresponsible.

Furthermore legalizing homosexual marriage undermines the very institution, marriage between a man and a woman, that our society so desperately need to upholds and ultimately ignores the needs of all children who are entitled to be raised in the best environment possible, a family with a mother and father.

When religious and social groups speak of protecting the family, they do not do this glibly or out of 'bias', 'discrimination' or 'bigotry'. Genuine social concern has nothing to do with any of these terms and the use of them simply derails any attempt at an objective view.

Surely as Australians we need not be swept up in the blind following of any persuasion, be it 'politically correct' or otherwise.

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Its far from perfect, as I said I had little time to write it, but it does address some of my social concerns about the issue and maybe other people will find it useful.

For further reading with more material and references try Here.
And Here.
...And Here.

This last one is the best, the general website having a host of information and research as well as a loving, understanding approach towards homosexuality.