Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prop 8 trial update

Here we go again: Gay on Trial. Can you imagine how dehumanizing and hurtful this feels, straight people, for others to once AGAIN debate the most personal and intimate and tender aspects of our lives to decide if we are sufficiently human to deserve civil rights?

Based on the first day, we can see the trends.
1) THe defendants will focus on the role of marriage in the procreation of children (theChildren Question). It seems to me this can be challenged in several ways, principally:
  • We do not restrict marriage to fertile people, and nor do we require married people to reproduce. Therefore, marriage is uncoupled from procreation.
  • GLBT families are raising children, often their own biological children from former relationships, or from IVF, or adopted and fostered children. Therefore the status of marriage protects OUR kids too. or are they not worth protecting?
2) The defendants will focus on whether the presence of married gay people will affect what children are taught in schools (the education question). I would challenge this by saying
  • What children are taught in schools is the reality around them. There are already GLBT parents with kids in schools, just like there are single parents, divorced parents, or inter-racial parents. Whether or not we are married doesn't change the fact we are already present and children are ALREADY taught that.
  • Parents must already deal with the challenge of families and relationships they may religiously disapprove, for example, Catholics must contend with divorced/remarried families, or unwed parents.
  • You don't get to teach bias in schools. THey needn't approve to tolerate and coexist. That is the requirementof a pluralistic society.
3) The defendants will focus on being GLBT is immutable--if it's not, they will argue against "suspect class" status, as for race. I respond thus:
  • Whether it is changeable for some does not affect the reality that it is not changeable for all. Sexuality is on a gradient, that's well established. Along these lines, when did your average straight person choose to be straight, and why on EARTH would gay people choose to belong to a villified despise minority?
  • Religion is a choice. We do not allow discrimination on the basis of religion; we do not prevent Jews or Wiccans or Hindus from marrying just because they are a small minority.
4) The defendants will argue that if you let gay people marry, straight people won't, and how can you PROVE no harm?
  • You can't prove a negative, of course, and a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument is fallacious --it attempts to establish causality by coincidence. There is good evidence that marriage rates are declining in Europe regardless of marriage equality. But why let quantitative analysis get in the way of breathless hyperbole.
The bad guys are already saying the judge is prejudiced, that he has made up his mind, and that they can't get a fair trial. They are also accusing him of being gay himself. The mud they are flinging is quite remarkable.

I feel sick to be back on this merry go round again listening to the same vile lies and bigotry again. Let's face it, the two sides are talking past each other. There is no common ground: either you believe I'm a full citizen, entitled to the love and respect of any other, or you don't. Kudos to Susan Russell and others for keeping the religious freedom question on target: freedom of religion means one religion doesn't decide who you can and can't marry!


Wormwood's Doxy said...

I can only surmise how hurtful this is to you, IT. It pains and angers me so much I can barely stand to read anything about it---so it must be infinitely worse for you and BP.

I am trying to have faith in reason and justice. I am praying. That is all I can do now. But I wish there was more I could offer to you...


Grandmère Mimi said...

IT, it's awful. I send healing hugs to you and BP.

"...if you let gay people marry, straight people won't"?

That doesn't make any sense. Straight people will marry if they want to marry and not marry if they choose not to.

dr.primrose said...

In this week's New Yorker there's a review of Elizabeth Gilbert's new book on getting married despite a great deal of trepidation against doing so --"Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage." There's a great paragraph on how marriage has been viewed across different cultures:

For contemporary political purposes, marriage is often depicted as a timeless and unchanging institution; actually, it has been enormously elastic throughout history and across cultures. In nineteenth-century China, it was perfectly acceptable for a young woman to marry a dead man, an arrangement called a “ghost marriage,” which enabled families to consolidate their wealth and power and allowed enterprising young women to pursue their ambitions without the interference of a living husband or children. (Such husbands were very popular. “It was not so easy to find an unmarried dead man to marry,” a ghost bride is quoted as saying in Janice Stockard’s “Daughters of the Canton Delta.”) Among Eskimo in northern Alaska, there was a tradition of creating co-spousal arrangements in which a quartet swapped husbands and wives. Shiites and Babylonian Jews recognized mut‘a: temporary marriages. If a man was granted a “wife for a day,” the couple could be seen in public together and even have sex. “The man and woman had no obligation toward each other once the contract was over,” Stephanie Coontz writes in “Marriage, a History.” “But if the woman bore a child as a result of the relationship, that child was legitimate and was entitled to share in the father’s inheritance.” Couples in modern revolutionary Iran can still petition mullahs for a similar marital day pass.

JCF said...

News today: US Supreme Court blocks televising the trial . (Read story here)

I fear that if a same-sex marriage case comes to SCOTUS, there's your 5-4 decision denying it.

God forbid anything untoward should happen to the Conservative Five in the next 3 years, but if the choice were between that, and anything untoward happening to anyone in an unable-to-marry same-sex couple, then...