Thursday, February 3, 2011

Think Of the Children

The perennial campaign from the “traditional marriage” crowd is that gays and lesbians are out to destroy families. They shouldn’t be allowed to get married because they can’t have children in the old-fashioned way, or raising kids in a home with two mommies or two daddies is not the best environment for children.

Aside from the fact that these people never really define what “traditional marriage” is; are they speaking of marriage from biblical times where a man could have as many wives as he could afford, or where a father sold his daughter to the guy in the next county as part of a land swap and slaves, or the arranged marriages between royal households to keep European nations from going to war, the same-sex marriage opponents deal in abstracts. They cannot point to any reliable scientific studies to prove their point that same-sex households are any less nurturing than straight ones. Their research is based on watching the Leave It to Beaver marathon on TV Land.

That seemed to be the mindset in Iowa as the state legislature voted this week to try to pass a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state. This is in knee-jerk response to the state supreme court ruling in April 2009 that overturned the state laws against same-sex marriage. However, the amendment still needs to go to the state senate, and then get passed again by both houses in the legislative session next year to go into effect.

The legal maneuvering is one thing. What is often left out is the actual people who live and form the families that this amendment is targeting. It’s one thing to talk about family values in the abstract — “oh, think of the children” — but it’s quite another thing when you hear from the children themselves, as the Iowa representatives did from 19-year-old Zach Wahls:

It takes an enormous amount of distance and lack of compassion to watch this young man talk about his family and not be moved.

But in another way, this battle is empowering. As GDad noted over at his place Cranial Hyperossification:

Maybe I should try to enjoy being so incredibly powerful that a state legislature goes into full panic mode to stop my destructive rampage through the fabric of society. Or maybe it just makes me f^(&!ng tired that my family and my life are used as political fodder for ignorant dumb@$$3$ who beat their chests and rant on about how they need to stomp on the heads of good and honest people just to protect themselves from having to acknowledge that the world is not and never will be the way they want it to be.