Thursday, February 05, 2009

Homosexuality: The "Rights" Line is Drawn at Marriage

I oppose homosexual marriage because of its effect on children. Some people seem to be opposed to a lot more things that I think homosexuals should be allowed to do. They seem to be afraid of giving an inch, but having a mile taken from them. That has never been a good reason to oppose the rights of another.

I don't think that homosexual marriage is a right. As I have discussed in various articles elsewhere, something that is almost sure to have a profoundly detrimental effect on children should never be considered a right.

However, there are a lot of things that homosexuals are not now legally allowed to do that they should be allowed to do. Equality Utah commissioned a

I don't think that homosexual marriage is a right. However, there are a lot of things that homosexuals are not now legally allowed to do that they should be allowed to do.

survey in January 2009 that asked the sentiments of Utahns regarding various homosexuality rights issues. Here are a few of those questions and my responses.

1. Do you support changing Utah’s current employment law to make it illegal to fire someone from their job solely because they are gay or transgender? I do support changing the law in this manner, as I supported a bill from the 2008 legislative session that would have changed the law similarly. However, I do not support anyone flaunting their sexuality in public, and I think that employers should be allowed to fire anyone who does so.

2. Do you support changing Utah’s current housing law to make it illegal to deny someone housing solely because they are gay or transgender? I support such legislation as well. What

A landlord's religious feelings should be prioritized such that "loving your fellow man" comes just above advocacy of sexual purity.

two people do together in the privacy of their own domicile, whether rented or owned, is their own business. A landlord's religious feelings should be prioritized such that "loving your fellow man" comes just above advocacy of sexual purity.

3. Do you support providing employees of the State of Utah with optional health insurance coverage for a spouse, a partner, or another designated adult? I support this as well. What I am concerned about is how legally easy it might be for someone to change the partner so designated. Homosexual commitments should be as difficult to break as are heterosexual commitments.

4. Do you support changing Utah adoption laws to allow qualified gay couples to foster or adopt? I supported such legislation during last year's legislative session as well. What I specifically supported in last year's legislation was that homosexual couples should be allowed to adopt only when it is determined to be in the child's best interest. In nearly all cases, a loving mother and father can be found for adoptive children, but I can think of much worse situations than being raised

Despite how we feel about homosexual marriage, it shouldn't change the way we feel about the rights that homosexuals should--but currently don't--have.

by two loving female adults or even two loving male adults.

5. Do you support changing Utah adoption laws to allow qualified non-married hetero-sexual couples to foster or adopt? Yes, with the same stipulations as in number 4 above.

6. Do you support changing Utah adoption laws to allow qualified gay or lesbian adults to legally adopt their partner’s child? Yes, so long as the relationship between the two adults has proven to be long-term and stable, and with the stipulations in number 4 above.

. . .

Do I feel comfortable that homosexuals, if they become legally entitled to a host of new rights, won't continue to advocate for homosexual marriage? No. I'm rather sure, unfortunately, that they will agitate for what would amount to the destruction of marriage. But that's where the line must be drawn, and no closer. Because despite how we feel about homosexual marriage, it shouldn't change the way we feel about the rights that homosexuals should--but currently don't--have.



34 comments:

  1. How exactly does marriage equality hurt children? Don't homes with committed parents benefit children?

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  2. Frank, I appreciate that you are more fair-minded and progressive on the issue than many other conservatives.

    I agree with you that the rise of single-parent homes has had a profoundly detrimental effect on children. I’m unaware of any data showing a similar effect of same-sex parent homes on children. It is erroneous to conflate the two.

    You have mentioned before that bugaboo of conservatives, homosexuals “flaunting their sexuality in public.” What does that mean? If a homosexual couple holds hands, is that grounds for dismissal? How about a hug or a peck? Homosexual couples should not have to be in the closet. They should have the right to as much public affection as we heterosexuals.

    Your answer to the third question is ironic, given that it was precisely the sorts of formally committed relationships which homosexuals want, and which the Utah constitutional amendment prevents.

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  3. It is also ironic that you would allow adoption to a couple if it could be proven that they were in a "long term and stable" relationship, yet deny them the commitment of marriage, something I would argue has drawn my spouse and I closer together, and therefore made us better parents than we would have been had we been simply living together.

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  4. So...

    If I have a home with a basement apartment that I rent out to people, and I think homosexuality is wrong, even repulsive, and I don't want my children around people who engage in said activity, do you think I should be forced to rent to them?

    Should a religious organization or interest group opposed to homosexuality be required to hire, or keep hired, someone who engages in activity that goes against their standards?

    We have two conflicting principles here. One, letting people live their lives as they wish and not discriminating against them, and two, protecting people's property rights and freedom to run a business as they wish. Which principle is greater? I choose the second.

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  5. I think JHP raises a legitimate issue. Does the same principle he espouses hold true if I as a business owner or landlord find blacks "repulsive?" How about Jews? What I find members of the LDS faith wrong and disgusting?

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  6. Tom,

    A plethora of case studies have shown the importance of having both a loving father and a loving mother in the home. (On the other hand, admittedly the same studies show that children are better off without abusive or ambivalent fathers.)

    Derek,

    I didn't intend to conflate the two. (See my response to Tom above.) I actually think in some cases that same-sex parent homes would be better than single-parent homes. It doesn't, however, change my opinion about the foolhardiness of granting a general "legal right" to homosexual marriage.

    JHP,

    No. I think you should tell your children to stop peeping through your renters' windows.

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  7. Frank,

    Which studies? Specifically. If a mother-father combo is best for children, why are homosexuals being singled? If it really were about children, wouldn't there be equal antipathy toward single mothers, single fathers, aunts and uncles, grandparents as parents? Why single out the gays for such aggressive campaigns? How many posts have you made on this blog about the dangerous consequences our society faces if we tolerate single parenthood?

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  8. Tom, Frank has peripherally mentioned the tragedy of single-parent homes many times in referring to the dangers of homosexual marriage. I believe he is sincerely concerned about single parentage, and has listed a number of resources to back up his concern for the issue. However, he has referred to no studies whatsoever regarding the problems of same-sex parents, and I think it is safe to conclude that his opinion on that matter is based pretty much exclusively on religious belief.

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  9. Tom,

    That's why I put several links to previous articles at the top of this article. Here's a book to get you started on the importance of fathers. Another, "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce" is discussed in one of the articles I linked to herein.

    Derek,

    Thank you for pointing out my previous writings, but I'm not sure why you claim my opinion is based on religion. It's based on the studies that say that children grow up better adjusted when they have a loving mother and father. It is, therefore, logical, to assume that two loving mothers or two loving fathers would NOT be better than a loving father and mother together, because each of the male and the female parents brings characteristics into the nurturing that the other usually can't.

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  10. Frank, those studies show that children are better off (generally speaking) growing up in two-parent families. There are plenty of advantages of two-parent homes which have absolutely nothing to do with gender. Until such time as there are studies which research same-sex parents versus different-sex parents, you are making a very unsubstantiated leap.

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  11. Frank,

    Why not ban single parenthood? If we are really interested in protecting kids, and kids are really better off with a Mom and Dad, let's use the force of the state to remove children from single mothers and we'll place them with willing married folk.

    What do you think?

    Would we get the same zealous turn out for this proposition as we saw for Prop 8?

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  12. Tom,

    Try not to let your emotions get the best of you. The time to decry single parenthood is not when it happens but before it happens. Of course we shouldn't take children away from their parents just because they are single parents. That's what neighbors and communities are for, to help each other when our family situations are less than optimal.

    For what it's worth, my wife was a single parent of sorts while I was in Iraq for a year, and she wouldn't wish something like that on her worst enemy.

    You seem to be sidestepping the issue of what's best for children in an effort to prove your point. What is usually best for children is a loving father and a loving mother. It baffles me, when a good father brings something beneficial to the child that the mother cannot bring, and vice versa, how anyone would want to advocate something that starts children off at a disadvantage.

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  13. "It baffles me, when a good father brings something beneficial to the child that the mother cannot bring, and vice versa, how anyone would want to advocate something that starts children off at a disadvantage."

    I strongly question the notion that men of necessity bring something beneficial to parenting that a mother cannot and vice versa. I do not believe that gender roles are as innate as conventional wisdom suggests. There are plenty of women who have character traits typically associated with men, and plenty of men with character traits typically associated with women. To say that a home with two mothers cannot provide whatever it is that a father is supposed to contribute is not true.

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  14. I side with the questions JHP raised, as they relate to my thoughts here. I believe that it's immoral to coerce an individual to associate with somebody they would rather not, whatever the reason. We can easily argue that they should not let such judgments affect their desire to relate with another person, but the proper role of government is not to force others to be kind and loving.

    So harsh as it sounds, I oppose any attempt to prevent an employer, landlord, or anybody, from firing or otherwise terminating a relationship with an individual that they would rather not associate with.

    The question was turned around by another commenter asking if LDS folk would like it if they were fired for being Mormon. Personally, I would rather not work for somebody that would take that approach, and though I may be upset that I lost employment, I ultimately would rather seek a better opportunity where I could associate with people who wanted to associate with me.

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  15. Would it matter, though, if they disassociated with you (i.e. took away your employment, etc.) for something that was not true?

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  16. Would it matter, though, if they disassociated with you (i.e. took away your employment, etc.) for something that was not true?


    Sure, it would matter. But is that standing for a complaint before the law? Seems to me that would be better left to private reconciliation and clarification, not legislative mandate.

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  17. Frank,

    Your open mindedness is a wonderful thing. As is your honesty about why this makes you nervous. Thanks for this great post.

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  18. Answers to some of the questions raised in the comments can be found here.

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  19. Frank, your argument on gay parents is based on studies that talk about single parents, not gay parents. No reputable study has ever shown that two gay parents are worse for children than two straight parents--in fact, they show the opposite. Just because you want to believe it to be the case does not change the reality that it is absolutely not true. You need to go spend some time in the home of a loving gay family or two before you make judgments. I am pretty certain that I am as good of, if not a better, parent than you are.

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  20. I would like to say to you sick mormons out there who are incredibly naive and incompetent, that you know nothing about anyone or anything outside your tiny bubble. My brother and myself were raised by our Lesbian mother and we are both successful adults now. My brother is an award winning independent film maker and I run a very successful restaurant in Ireland. We both have never been involved with the law, had psychological problems or for that matter had any problems of any sort. We are two highly educated adults who were raised in a loving mother. Any arrangement you have about children being raised by same sex couples is absolutely bullocks.I know many same sex families and their children; and none of those children are damaged, but rather they are loved and happy. I know more children from heterosexual families that are damaged from abusive parents, divorce and affairs. I bet none of you small minded people have ever met a same sex couple with children. Wake up and realize we are all humans with feelings and you are just as bad the devil for judging other peoples actions. you should be ashamed.

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  21. Frank, Your opinion on the issue of rights is clear. Thankfully, the courts have confirmed what Rights" mean in America.

    Your opinion would earn more credibility if you qualified is as an opinion instead of a Right.

    Constitutional rights are not subject to opinions supported by premises based upon more opinions but rather fairly well established law.

    Just do a search and replace "rights" with "my opinion" and you have a respectable editorial.

    Naturally, you may read and discuss the actual law and court findings on One Utah dot org

    Your Lover

    PS: When are you gonna dump this platform?

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  22. Just one question Frank. Do you as an individual in this society believe you have the right to marry the person you love and want to build a life with? What would your reaction be if the government denied you that freedom of choice?

    If you believe that you have or should have that right, why would you want to deny that right to someone else?

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  23. Answer to your last question: because children deserve the best chance at succeeding in life. Studies have proven that a good father AND a good mother are much more likely to make it happen.

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  24. Frank, that's a lie. As I've pointed out again and again, and as SpaceBetween mentioned earlier in this post, the studies to which you've referred compare single parent homes and homes with a hetero couple. To the extent that there have been studies of children raised by a homosexual couple, those studies indicate that there seems to be little if any difference in outcomes between hetero and homosexual couples. To continue to insist there is some objective proof that hetero couples do better is dishonest. You may believe that hetero couples are better, and that there is some innate difference based on gender stereotypes, but there is no "proof" to those differences and stereotypes.

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  25. Frank, what would your reaction be if the government denied you the right to marry the person you love and want to build a life with?

    Let's get to the core of the issue. You said that you don't believe that homosexuals have the right to marry one another. Yet you hold to that right for yourself as a heterosexual. Either a marriage is a right or it is not. If it is a right for some then it must be a right for all under our constitution.

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  26. JBT: As far as the relationship goes that you talk about, what I support in civil unions covers what you're suggesting as regards marriage. I think they have a right to have a relationship just like any married couple, except that they shouldn't generally be allowed to raise children, with certain exceptions.

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  27. Derek:

    Here's a study that doesn't make those kind of comparisons, and it appears to be authentic.

    http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles/DaileyGayAdopt.php

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  28. So finally, after at least six months of challenges on the issue, you are able to dig up a single report which supports your assertion that families lead by a homosexual couple do worse than hetero parents. Seems rather shaky grounds on which to assert that your assertion is "proven," wouldn't you say? For something to be objectively "proven," shouldn't it have much more corroborated by more than one obscure study?

    As to the content of the article itself, I find it curious that it would first claim that the research suggesting households with two-homosexual parents are just as healthy as those with two-hetero parents is flawed because of the political bias of the authors of those studies. Pot calling the Kettle black? The site and the authors of the article seem to have a pretty strong political bias themselves.

    Likewise, if the sample size of the homosexual population being studied is too small for the studies the article critiques to draw any meaningful conclusions, why should we assume that the conclusions of this article on the same population is any more legitimate?

    Some of the other criticisms of the other studies may or may not be legitimate. I haven't investigated those other studies well enough to be able to validate or refute this article's claims in that regard. Then again, have you? Or are you assuming those studies are flawed because it suits your ideology? Seems to me that the burden of proof is on those who want to assert that homosexual couples create an unhealthy family environment: innocent until proven guilty, after all. If you and I are going to be good parents unless evidence proves otherwise, we should extend the same right to homosexual parents.

    Continued...

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  29. Now that we have their critiques of the opposing studies out of the way, on to their claims about homosexual parents and couples themselves.

    Its interesting that they lead off with the accused promiscuity of homosexuals. I actually suspect this is true--precisely *because* of the lack of any socially accepted partnership arrangement which would be provided if they were allowed to marry. Perhaps if marriage were available to them, they would feel a commitment to live up to the expectations of marriage (at least as well as heterosexual individuals do in marriage, anyway).

    Not surprisingly, this article then goes on to perpetuate old stereotypes and slanders about homosexuals that so many in the conservative community do (I saw Paul Mero make several such comments today on FB), trivializing their feelings for each other as being just about pleasure and sex, and implying that sexual relations are supposed to be primarily about procreation. I strongly disagree with this bigotry; I think that homosexual couples feel the need to share physical intimacy for exactly the same reason I and my wife do; not to procreate (despite the fact that medical tests indicate we are probably physically incapable of procreation, we have not given up on sexual relationships), but to express our deep and intimate feelings for one another. The sexual sensuality is a part of it, sometimes a large part of it, but not exclusively. Do you think that they are driven by any more base desires than I? I am not inclined to take very seriously the opinion of people or articles which demean that very human need, acting as if they are some alien, grotesque caricature of humans.

    As to the mental health problems of homosexuals, I again suspect that the article is in a sense right. I think that the widespread persecution and bigotry faced by homosexuals does frequently lead to mental health issues. But rather than using that as an excuse to deny them rights, I rather think the better course would be to eliminate the bigotry and hatred which helps spawn mental health problems.

    Lastly, I very seriously question the gender stereotypes which the article in the end uses to justify its supposition that children need both father and mother. Men and women are more alike than they are different, and simultaneously the diversity within the sexes is extremely wide. In our own marriage, my wife and I tend to reverse the traditional and gender stereotypes in a number of ways. Can anyone give any example of exactly what every man has that is exclusive to men (ie, is absent from the population of women), and vice versa, which necessitates a parent from both sexes? Because I've never yet heard of a single thing.

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  32. Derek: It isn't a single study. It is a study of studies. While I haven't had time to comb through all of the studies that Daly referred to, it appears that he makes some excellent points. Granted, in some cases the study sample was far too small to be very meaningful. As a read about the reenforcement of gender by heterosexual parents I could see how different people would disagree whether that is a good thing. I subscribe to the concept put forward in the LDS proclamation on the family that fathers are to be primary caregivers and mothers are to be primary nurturers as they generally best have those attributes.

    I'll try to spend some time researching deeper into Daly's sources.

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  33. I believe that concept is based on stereotypes and acculturation than on any real difference between the sexes. I see plenty of women with characteristics and traits stereotyped as masculine, who would do just fine as providers, and plenty of men with characteristics and traits stereotyped as feminine, who do just fine as nurturers. Trying to shoehorn people into stereotypical roles based on their genitalia is naive about the great variety we find among individuals and hurtful to those whose gifts differ from those stereotypes. But that is, I suppose, a whole new discussion.

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  34. Frank you are talking out of both sides of your mouth. First you say "homosexual marriage is not a right". Then you state: "I think they have a right to have a relationship just like any married couple, except that they shouldn't generally be allowed to raise children, with certain exceptions."

    If you haven't noticed same sex couples cannot have children with each other. Most states currently allow some form of GLBT adoption already. In many cases one of the gay partners has one or more children from a previous heterosexual relationship that failed.

    What gives you the right to legislate your moral standards on everyone else. Allowing a gay or lesbian couple to call their loving partnership a "marriage" does not detract from your LDS marriage whatsoever.

    If your church does not want to marry same sex couples in a religious ceremony that is their right. There are many other Christian denominations who marry gay couples, have openly gay clergy, and celebrate the diversity of all God's children. Which religion do you think more accurately represents true Christian ideals? I know which ones I would choose.

    Arguing that it is harmful to children to be raised by a responsible and loving gay couple is nothing more than constructing a strawman to cover up your prejudice and bigotry toward those you consider morally and socially inferior to yourself. There are far more children neglected, battered, molested, and abused in homes where there is a mother and father in the state of Utah than there would ever be in homes with a same sex couple.

    Take off the blinders of your LDS taught prejudice Frank and step into the light of the 21st Century. True Christian love and tolerance can be summed up with "love your neighbor as yourself" and "live and let live".

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