Buy My Book Here

Fox News Ticker

Please check out my new books, "Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney's Kafkaesque Divorce and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the World's Last Custody Trial"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is Gay Marriage Inevitable?

Anna Quindlan, liberal syndicated columnist, sure thinks it is.

One of my favorite Supreme Court cases is Loving v. Virginia, and not just because it has a name that would delight any novelist. It's because it reminds me, when I'm downhearted, of the truth of the sentiment at the end of "Angels in America," Tony Kushner's brilliant play: "The world only spins forward."

Here are the facts of the case, and if they leave you breathless with disbelief and rage it only proves Kushner's point, and mine: Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving got married in Washington, D.C. They went home to Virginia, there to be rousted out of their bed one night by police and charged with a felony. The felony was that Mildred was black and Richard was white and they were therefore guilty of miscegenation, which is a $10 word for bigotry. Virginia, like a number of other states, considered cross-racial matrimony a crime at the time.

It turned out that it wasn't just the state that hated the idea of black people marrying white people. God was onboard, too, according to the trial judge, who wrote, "The fact that He separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." But the Supreme Court, which eventually heard the case, passed over the Almighty for the Constitution, which luckily has an equal-protection clause. "Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man," the unanimous opinion striking down the couple's conviction said, "fundamental to our very existence and survival."

Now, it should surprise no one that a supporter of gay marriage believes that its future legality is a matter of inevitability. What is remarkable and revealing about this piece is the manner in which Quindlan sees gay marriage one day becoming legal and what this means about her world view and that of many that support it.

Opponents will scream that the issue should be put to the people, as it was in Arizona, Florida and California. (Arkansas had a different sort of measure, forbidding unmarried couples from adopting or serving as foster parents. This will undoubtedly have the effect of leaving more kids without stable homes. For shame.) Of course if the issue in Loving had been put to the people, there is no doubt that many would have been delighted to make racial intermarriage a crime. That's why God invented courts.

Before I get to Quindlan's view, let's lay out some facts about how proponents of gay marriage view the world and the institution itself. Proponents of gay marriage see marriage as a fundamental civil right. By extension, this also means that they see the institution, in existence for about fiv thousand years, as almost entirely bigoted. That's the only logical place one can wind up. The institution has functioned for all of its existence without allowing gays entry. If it is a fundamental civil right to be married gay or otherwise, then the institution has been functioning all this time in a bigoted manner. That's why it has always been puzzling to me why gays want entry. An African American isn't demanding entry into the KKK. Why would gays demand entry into an institution that is fundamentally bigoted against them?

Now then, let's move onto Quindlan. According to Ms. Quindlan, gay marriage is an inevitability because eventually the courts will see the right way and make it legal. In Quindlan's view, courts have righted many wrongs that the electorate couldn't do on their own. Where the will of the majority was bigoted, unfair, or unwise, the courts were there to right such a wrong.

As such, in the view of Ms. Quindlan, if you are against gay marriage you are by extension bigoted, homophobic, stupid and wrong. Your vote must be overturned by the will of unelected courts because they are wise enough to see what your own bigoted perspective is blind to see. She sees the ruling in Loving as mandating gay marriage. Because a judge once, fifty years ago, said that marriage is a fundamental right, that makes all marriages, gay and otherwise, a fundamental. We should all never mind that the judges in that case never once thought their words would be used to justify gay marriage. Furthermore, in that case, an interracial married couple was thrown in jail for sleeping in the same bed. No such thing is happening to gay couples.

More than that though, Quindlan is perfectly comfortable making a single Supreme Court case the one and only power as long as that case fits her world view. The will of the people isn't on her side. She doesn't want to engage in the sort of debate that has moved the will of the people to her side in other cases of civil rights like the end of slavery, women's suffrage, and the civil rights movement. Rather than waiting for such trivialities, Quindlan would much rather leave the entire matter up to unelected judges that will be perfectly willing to subvert the will of the people.

Ironically enough, it is exactly this sort of tyrannical world view that builds the grass roots effort for the federal marriage amendment. The proponents of the federal marriage amendment fear exactly what Quindlan proposes. The more we have people like Anna Quindlan making cavalier proclamations that if the ballot box doesn't work the courts will, the more chance there will be that a grass roots effort will be raised to put into the Constitution that marriage is one man and one woman.


Anonymous said...

I feel that gay marriage is inevitable in the same way womens rights were inevitable, all we are doing is delaying that day. Why? Does anybody really believe that living near a same sex couple will turn the neighborhood sour? This is not a disease and it is not contagious. And who is to say that marriage is not already a failing system? I for one never plan to marry. Do not get me wrong there is a woman I want to spend my life with but we are not planning on "legally" marrying ever. The divorce rate is ridiculous and religions flawed and people believe in the craziest same sex marriage being wrong.

Thats my piece anyways this article says it all for me

mike volpe said...

You're making an entirely different argument. It is one thing to be bigoted against gays and something entirely different to say that keeping marriage defined as it always has is the right thing to do. Folks like you are dying to make the leap because then it turns the debate from a culture war debate into a debate about bigotry. YOu want so badly to paint anyone against gay marriage as a bigot because that strengthens your argument.

If that card is taken away, then you have a much weaker argument. My problem with such an argument is folks like you stop at gays. Where is your concern fro swingers, hermaphrodites, and polygamists. Why can't they have the same rights that you want to give gays?

Jay said...

I don't think the African-American - KKK analogy really makes sense here. Sure, the KKK is fundamentally bigoted against the African American. However, there are other benefits that those seeking a homosexual union are looking for, such as taxes. There are also other things that are much easier to do if one is engaged in civil union, such as adoption. Going back to the analogy, there is really no potential gain for an African-American in joining the KKK. That's the whole reason why homosexuals are seeking entry into civil unions and African-Americans are not seeking entry into the KKK.

Also, a point of any argument is to portray your view as valid and the other's as skewed. As such, it is almost textbook argument to try and paint your opponent as a radical. Don't generalize about "you folks," since by doing that you portray those "folks" as arrogant and elitist. Defining the opponent is common.

I'd have nothing against swingers and hermaphrodites going for the rights they deserve. They just have to speak up and make it an issue that people have an opinion on. Sure, we'll give them rights, we just need to know what rights they're looking for. Polygamists are another matter. There's a whole taxes issue that's associated with that - imagine trying to file accurate taxes for a household of 29.

mike volpe said...

Well, giving gay couples similar rights to married couples is one thing. I will tell you that the gay rights movement is not looking merely to get the same rights. They are looking to get their union to be recognized by the term marriage. They want their union to be considered a family and be equal to a straight family and eventually make gay adoptions on equal footing to regular adoptions.

I know this because I was at a rally against Prop 8 and all of this they openly said they wanted.

Jay said...

so this is all about the term used? It seems a little ridiculous that that's the underlying issue here. If I got it correctly from your post, you oppose allowing gays to enter into marriage because marriage is a fundamentally bigoted (towards straight) institution. What exactly is your argument against why it can't be changed? Is it just political inertia?

mike volpe said...

Hold on. We have a few issues.

First I oppose gays entering marriage because marriage has been defined for five plus millenia as one man and one woman. It's been defined that way because one man and one woman is the best environment for child rearing.

Once you redefine it, it can't and won't stop. Soon marriage will be open to anything and everything and the family unit will have no definition. A family can be two mommies, two daddies, two mommies and a daddy, four mommies and four daddies.

What gays want is for their lifestyle to have equality and have that equality be recognized by equality in marriage. Except their lifestyle is not equal. Gays can't have children naturally. There is a clear inequality and now they want to have equality.

Jay said...

Just throwing it out there, how would you know with certainty that (on average), homosexual couples would not provide good environments for child rearing? Sure, heterosexual couples naturally make sense, as it is biological - but humans do not run solely on primal instincts. The complex thought patterns of humans are the reason why we are even having this argument. In many gay couples, one is more representative of the masculine, and the other of the feminine.

Come to think of it, how do we judge child-rearing?

And with respect to the slippery-slope theory, a marriage occurs between two. As I said before, when we get into polygamy, civil issues revolving around marriage take precedence and it becomes impractical.

Gays want equality, it would seem, because they love much like us heterosexuals. Although they cannot have children naturally, keep in mind that every adopted child would got to a loving, albeit different, home. Surely a homosexual couple's household is a better environment for child-rearing than an orphanage.

mike volpe said...

They wouldn't necessarily provide a bad environment. that said, everything else being equal which of course never happens, a child is best brought up with one mom and one dad. Any other combination is not as good as that. It takes one mother and one father to have a child and that's the best environment to raise the child.

I don't necessarily have a problem with gay adoption however not on the same plane as adoption by a heterosexual couple.

For anyone to say that a gay environment is no different than a traditional one is patently false.

Jay said...

I want to know, is there physical evidence that points to your conclusion? You make it a fait accompli that a heterosexual couple is inherently superior in child-rearing, when there is little evidence to either side of the coin. Sure, we might think that heterosexual couples are the only way to raise a child, but that's only because we are, in fact, heterosexual. We can't concretely determine one way or another because we have a nonexistent basis of comparison - we don't know the extent of the difference between homosexual and heterosexual thought processes.

Simply put, I don't think that we can simply assume the point you assume.

We can make a comparison between life in an orphanage and life in a family, whether it be of a homosexual couple or a heterosexual couple. There are distinct variables that we can scrutinize. These might include attention given to the child, ability to provide for the child, love for the child, quality of life for the child...all of which are lower in an orphanage than in a household. We know this because orphanages will only let people adopt if they can prove that they will do better by the child than the orphanage itself could do.

mike volpe said...

There are lots and lots and lots of studies that concur that the best environment for a child is one mother and one father.

It's also not only logical but in line with nature. Are you really saying that while it takes one mother and one father to make a child that some other way is the best way to raise the child?

No you don't have to take my word for it. Just look at any legitimate study over the span of all time. One mother and one father is the best environment for child rearing, period.

Jay said...

All I am saying is that alternate ways can be equivalent. The google search you provided shows little. The first result discusses a child's latent attraction to his father. The second result is a study guide for some story. The third result is a bible study group. Other results include: A news article saying that a stay-at-home dad is beneficial, a yahoo-answers question asking about dog breeding, and a blog about a father and his autistic children. These aren't helpful studies at all. None of them have any relevance to the articles at hand, whatsoever.

Agreed, the natural way involves a male and female. However, without evidence from controlled studies, we can't assume that one is overtly superior to the other. I certainly won't take your word for it, and the "lots and lots and lots" (RE: zero) of "studies" that can be found through a simple google search doesn't help the argument you're making.

mike volpe said...

They aren't equal. Period. A child can be brought up in such an environment and wind up being healthy and developed, but to say that the environment is equal to an environment with a mother and a father is ridiculous. there were plenty of links in that google search. There are plenty of studies about this issue and it is beyond debate that the best environment, all things being equal, that a child be brought up with one mother and one father.

mike volpe said...

this is done by a pro traditional marriage group, but here is a study about the viability of a traditional environment for children.

Jay said...

You can say that one thousand times, it still does not make it a concrete fact. It is still your opinion unless the valid studies proving heterosexual couple superiority are brought up.

The links in the google search were of no relevance to the issue at hand. As I said previously, there were NO links to relevant studies on the first 2 pages. Actually, there is one seemingly relevant article on the second page, that supports my argument. It deals with single-parenting vs. dual-parenting, so it is not perfectly relevant, though they do draw an interesting conclusion:

It is the abstract of a published study, and it clearly concludes that, "Children who have at least 1 Supportive parent score higher on cognitive assessments, regardless of parent gender." It would seem that support and love is what is required, but that too is a premature conclusion drawn from this sole study.

The issue is obviously not beyond debate. But I see that we're done here. I'm not about to concede my point, and neither are you. Thanks for the debate.

mike volpe said...

I did link to a study, and frankly, given that one mother and one father create a child it would be up to you to show that they aren't necessarily the best environment to raise the child not for me to prove that they are. There's no way to satisfy some folks and clearly you aren't going to be satisfied unless god actually comes down and tells you it is one mother and one father.

Yet, you have offered no evidence that anything but one mother and one father is the best environment. You want me to argue a negative even though the negative is absurd. If we are to see things from your perspective, one mother and father have the child but they aren't necessarily the best combination to raise the child. Furthermore, unless I prove beyond a reasonable doubt, we should leave the question open.

Jay said...

The vast majority of the study you present discusses socioeconomic difference (income, substance abuse, violence, etc) and differences in attention and love given to the child. The piece also mentions that the American Medical Assn, and the American Psychological Assn. both make their criteria love and attention. If studies either way were prolific and compelling enough, then they would perhaps change their reccomendations.

Since they directly weigh the evidence, we must consider the potential bias of the organization before drawing our conclusions.

My perspective does not dictate that a homosexual couple is inherently better, or that a heterosexual couple is inherently worse. If either were to take possession of a child, though, I would beleive that, given loving parents who are stable and capable of providing for the child, both have the potential to do an equivalent job.

Anyway, that's all for today.

mike volpe said...

Yeah, the study just lists all the bad effects of not having one or both parents in the home, then it lists all sorts of positive behaviors that are amplified when the child in a home with one mother and one father. That isn't enough though.

You aren't saying that gays are better at raising children than one mother and one father, you just aren't ceding that they aren't worse. That is exactly the sort of equivocation that the gay community is using to get their couple lifestyle given equality with a family.

Anonymous said...

What this all comes down to is the child, not necessarily the parents. There are many emotional and psychological complexities that a child must endure with homosexual couples. I have a friend whose mother is in a same sex union here in a southern state; her mom was once married but is divorced and is with a woman. My friend is in college, and while her mom is funny and awesome and her partner is cool too, I can tell my friend has become withdrawn since the "transition" and speaks about her weak relationship with her father. She has also lost a friend due to her mother's orientation. She has become sexually active and desperately seeks approval from men. I, however, will never seek approval from men; my FATHER (not a masculine woman) has been instrumental in that. however, there are things I would only count on my mom for too.

In conclusion, it's not about homosexuals being good parents, I have no question that is possible. But since when is it about the parents anyway? Having a child for the sake of having one is selfish, as the impact of the child's emotional and psychological health takes priority.

Anonymous said...

Does the author of this article genuinely believe that inter-racial marriages should have been left up to voters to decide and that the masses were without bigotry? Is a 51% vote against a minority somehow democratic in protecting those minorities?
I would like to clarify that gay is not a lifestyle, it's what you do in your bedroom and affects only the sex-identity of your partner (READ: transgendered 'str8' relationships are legit and they obviously lack the ability to procreate). What is this 'lifestyle' that you speak of? Do you believe the bulk of gays are daily flaunting sex-toys on floats in leather harnesses, running amok in drag, or cruise for sex in bathrooms (believed to be married men, actually)? You'll be shocked when you find out who actually IS gay.
I think you should be more concerned about the divorce rate, which is highly destructive to the family unit, than allowing two people to make an attempt at happiness. Why would someone want into a bigoted establishment? What, like a place of employment?
America is presented with an opportunity to embrace and integrate a sizable portion of their neighbors into the overall community. I can't wait to see what we achieve when we're all working together.

mike volpe said...

If bigotry is a standard, then the voters should never decide anything. At some point, the voters should decide something.

If I said that I thought that interracial marriage should have been left to the voters, I don't remember, it maybe in the comments and I won't read them all.

That is a red herring so my thoughts on interracial marriage are irrelevant. Interracial marriage wouldn't have redefined marriage. Gay marriage would.

Furthermore, trying to pawn off gay marriage by pointing out divorce rates is another red herring. The divorce rates are separate from whether or not gay marriage should be allowed. It is not an argument to say that we should allow gay marriage because divorce rates are high. That is silly.

First of all, being gay is a lot more than what you do in a bedroom and second, it is irrelevant as well. It is a behavior. It isn't an ethnicity.

It comes down to whether or not you want to redefine an institution defined one way for thousands of years.