Thursday, March 11, 2010

Homosexual Marriage – A Debate with My College Roommate

My roommate from Michigan and I have stayed in touch over the years. She went on to Veterinary school at OSU, and worked at a major university in research for many years. I moved to LA and got an MPA from USC. We both got married, and have stayed married to the same men. She has two girls and we have one son. Our lives have unfolded along similar lines, and yet she veered left and I pulled hard to the right. She stayed in academia and I’m in the private sector. That will influence a soul along the way, so when I saw a link on her facebook page in support of gay marriage I decided to ask her about it.

It’s a divisive topic of course, and it’s difficult to have a discussion without falling into sound bite simplicities. I know this woman personally, I know she is intelligent so I really want to know how she had reasoned her way to her position.

From the Right Side of the Fence

The germ of my argument against same sex marriage rests on the possibility of adverse impact on children. I argue that children are, by virtue of biological necessity, the exclusive byproduct of relationships between men and women and are historically the main beneficiaries of marriage. Furthermore, that the deterioration of family life over the last forty years has had a profound damaging effect on children. I argue that gay marriage could add fuel to the flames rather than help put out the fires and that arguments in favor of gay marriage such as property transference or medical decisions regarding an ailing partner can be managed via other contractual mechanisms such as wills, trusts, power of attorney documentation etc. In any case, the needs of the most vulnerable, our societies children, should trump the interests of adults in same sex relationships.

From the Left Side of the Fence

Her argument revolved around same sex attraction as occurring in the animal kingdom, and therefore biologically natural. That same sex partners should be afforded all rights granted other members of society so as to not be excluded. She drew parallels with the civil rights struggles of blacks and oppression of Jews as comparably problematic issues in human history.

From the Right Side of the Fence

I countered that marriage does not include or exclude individuals from participation in any area of society and that same sex attraction as a naturally occurring condition does not necessitate it’s codification into the law of the land as the basis for a marriage between two people.

From the Left Side of the Fence

She was busy and would talk about it later.

The Take Away

I find it troublesome that the most vulnerable appear to be disregarded in this argument from the left. When one individuals needs are deemed greater than another’s, who speaks for the weakest in the equation?

I ask this question, I think about the issues impacting children in our society, because I have contact with the most vulnerable. Not daily like the caseworkers, but regularly when I ask about adopting kids from foster care. I find out about them, about their histories, about their needs about what happened to them before they came into the system. I see how they are often un-tethered from birth, how every few years they have new “parents” as the biological parents hop from one relationship to the next. I see the devastation, the complete destruction of these, the most vulnerable among us.

Like nine year old Sara. A cute little girl with big brown doe eyes. Our caseworker told me all about her last week. How she is improving in residential treatment. How her outbursts are fewer as time goes on. How seven men sexually abused her and that with a boy so close in age they don’t feel our home would be a good placement for this child.

It’s difficult to listen to, difficult to hear about a nine year old child that has been treated so brutally. Difficult to imagine the living hell she has gone through, but I know how it happened. Family life is disintegrating, and children are vulnerable. Now is not the time to take any steps that could add fuel to that fire. Now is the time to exercise some common sense and put the needs of the most vulnerable first.

St. Joseph, Patron of Fathers, Pray For Us.


Katie said...

My prayers for Sara.

Good arguments from your side.
I really hate the "it's natural because animals do it" argument. Animals also commit serial incest and eat their young, that doesn't make it okay for human beings. Not to mention, animals generally only resort to homosexuality under extreme circumstances, such as living in captivity.

Gays are not "oppressed" like Jews and blacks. That's unbelievably absurd. Whether or not homosexual attraction is inborn, the decision to act on the inclination is a choice. People don't choose to be black (and they can't hide the fact that they are), and you can't even choose to be Jewish, if you're an ethnic Jew (and again, can't really hide it).

More to the point, homosexuality isn't illegal. The government simply doesn't recognize homosexual unions as legal marriages, much like it doesn't recognize polygamist unions as legal marriages. That's not "oppression."

Anne Marie said...

I have to say, I’ve been working over and over in my mind the argument that because same sex attraction is, or more accurately may be, a naturally occurring phenomenon, it stands to reason that marriage rights must immediately be accorded the same sex attracted population. I’m really not making the connection.

I’ve read the argument on the pro same sex marriage side that the case of traditionally defined marriage as foundational to procreation and raising of children is negated by those infertile or past childbearing age. However, the simple fact remains that any joining of a man and a woman in sexual intercourse, even if highly unlikely, could result in the creation of a child. Whereas, the joining of two men or two women in sexual intercourse cannot under any circumstances result in a child. There simply cannot be any refutation of these facts, no matter how you come at the issue. It seams to me that this is the point at which the discussion turns to some other side issue such as natural attraction etc.

Thanks for your prayers for Sara. She has been very heavy on my heart. When the case worker told me that it was seven men, Mary Magdalene and the seven demons driven from her, as well as the number seven being of such importance to God. The day he rested, the number of the sacraments, etc. As I was listening Sara’s story I kept getting the impression of Satan attacking this child and mocking God by attacking her via seven of his servants so I’ve been asking St. Mary Magdalene to intercede for Sara.