Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Gay Marriage and Afghanistan

Sounds like the Taliban's nightmare, doesn't it.

Paul, thanks for jumping in. Yes, ; )'s are ok in blogging and I love intemperate. I actually agree with you on gay marriage. I'm generally skeptical of the courts but I think gays face so much irrational discrimination that they can't get a fair shake in the normal democratic processes and need the courts to protect their rights. There's no way to make a legitimate distinction between heterosexual and homosexual marriages without relying on prejudice. Palooka (if you don't know who Palooka is, you'll soon find out) says that heterosexual marriage has shown its utility for 1000 years. Fine. Let's have homosexual marriage for 1000 years and if it doesn't work, I'll admit I was wrong.

As for Afghanistan, if you read the blog, I've been critical of the Bush administration on several points. Would Gore have done the same in Afghanistan? Probably. Could Bush have done a better job in Afghanistan? Certainly. Nonetheless, the Afghan election is a significant step forward by any measure and Bush deserves credit for that. Like the economy, presidents get credit for what happens on their watch whether or not they had 100% influence. For example, was Clinton totally responsible for the economy in the late 1990s? No. Could he have done a better job? Certainly. Do I give him credit for what successes there were? Sure.

Anyway, thanks for the post.

5 comments:

Palooka said...

"There's no way to make a legitimate distinction between heterosexual and homosexual marriages without relying on prejudice."

This is totally bogus, Klinker. Like it or not, homosexual relationships are dramatically different than heterosexual relationships. Let's just be honest about it without calling such conclusions "animus" or "irrational discrimination." The homosexual lifestyle is not, generally speaking, suited towards long term monogamy. Now, heterosexuals have enough trouble with this, but let's not confuse the issue by insisting that each group has equal propensities. There is a simple reason for this, especially with regards to male homosexuality. Men (I am part of this group) view sex differently. They are more aggressive seeking it, and view it unemotionally. Women, generally speaking, view sex emotionally, and require some level of commitment before engaging in it. Thus, when a homosexual man seeks sex there is not the tempering factor or resistance added by the woman's different priorities and values. The logic implies the opposite is true for lesbian couples, of course.

Homosexuals and heterosexuals get "married" for different reasons. Marriage has dual purposes in contemporary life. One purpose, the reason why the institution is the foundation of society and is afforded the special benefits gays not seeks for themselves, is the role of marriage in having and rearing children. The second, and the one reason which applies to homosexual relationships broadly, is the companionate aspect.

Homosexuals, of course, can not naturally reproduce but technology and relaxing adoption restrictions has made it possible for gay couples to have and raise children. But the fact remains that few homosexuals couple will marry (that is the result from countries that have legalized gay marriage), and even fewer will adopt or have children. Thus, the primary reason that marriage is afforded benefits does not readily apply to homosexual marriages.

"Palooka (if you don't know who Palooka is, you'll soon find out) says that heterosexual marriage has shown its utility for 1000 years. Fine. Let's have homosexual marriage for 1000 years and if it doesn't work, I'll admit I was wrong."

Frankly, that is an infantile response. Beyond the arguments that homosexual marriage will dilute the concepts of monogamy and the family (I am less convinced on these points), one is left with the fact that homosexual and heterosexual relationships are functionally and structurally different. It costs both the private and public sectors money to afford the special benefits and responsibilities of marriage. Why, if a relationship does not fulfill the purposes of marriage, must that same relationship be given equality? It's shoehorning a relationship into an institution which was not created with that relationship in mind.

Moreover, there is the idea that heterosexual marriage is the "optimal family structure." I do not see this as implausible. It's well documented that single-parent households are inferior, but study is less instructive thus far on the efficacy of dual-parent same-sex households. If you've known someone that lost a mother or father in early childhood, I think you will begin to see where I'm going with this. I have known a handful of people who have lost a mother or father in early childhood. Their loss was more than the loss of a parent, it was the loss of a mother or father role. It wasn't just that they lost a parent, it was that they lost a female or male role-model. Boys wished they had a dad to play catch with, girls wished they had mother to discuss clothes and go shopping with, etc. So, I do not think it unreasonable that the best and most efficacious environment for children is a family where there is both a mother and a father. When I think of my own rearing, I am very glad I had both masculine and feminine influence. It's a balancing. That factor is reduced, if not totally diminished in homosexual marriage.

Now, if one believes that homosexual and heterosexual marriage are equals in rearing children, you're still left with the fact that fewer homosexual marriages will produce children. That is, homosexual marriage is not a wise use of private and public resources (if you consider the having and rearing of children as the principal object of marriage).

It follows, then, that the state should afford any couple without children a set of benefits, and any couple with children the full benefits of current marriage. But, again, this is only rational if one believes they are equally desirable relationships to raise children.

But you and your ilk have not allowed for any such examination and reflection. In pursuit of the laudable goal of normalizing homosexuality (that is, removing irrational fear or hatred), you have sought to shoehorn homosexuals into an institution generally not suited for their goals and ambitions.

All this said, I am not categorically opposed to gay marriage. I just think there are legitimate reasons for the difference in treatment, and acknowledge there may be a more rational future treatment of the issue of relationships and relationships with children.

But what I am categorically opposed to is judges deciding these intricately complex problems riddled with uncertainty and moral ambiguity. These decisions concerning marriage are some of the most fundamental a society can make. They should and must be left in the hands of the people.

Philip Klinkner said...

Palooka,

Thanks for making my point.

Dorian Warren said...

Palooka, there is a vast array of social science research and evidence (surveys, ethnographies, historiography, etc.) that debunks every one of your claims about the so-called "homosexual lifestyle" (and, for that matter, "heterosexual relationships") that you state. Two quick studies that come to mind are Kath Weston's "Families We Choose" and the "The Social Organization of Sexuality" produced by NORC at University of Chicago. Many people of "my ilk" (I'm guessing you'd include me here) have done MUCH examination and reflection. But when it comes to ideology, I guess actual social science doesn't matter.

Palooka said...

Klinker,

Thanks for once again proving you're unwilling to defend the positions you take ;)

Palooka said...

"Palooka, there is a vast array of social science research and evidence (surveys, ethnographies, historiography, etc.) that debunks every one of your claims about the so-called "homosexual lifestyle" (and, for that matter, "heterosexual relationships") that you state."

What, specifically, are you claiming is "debunked" by these studies.