Some truth for Ruth's dare
Over on the blog of the Ruth Institute (an affiliate of the National Organization For Marriage), writer "leland" presents a challenge:
[I]n an article about their book published today in the Muskegon Chronicle [Steve and Cokie Roberts] ventured beyond issues of faith to comment on the same-sex ‘marriage’ debate and asserted that “…same-sex couples bring the same devotion to their relationships — and face the same challenges — as any straight couple.”
The first person to post a comment on the article had a few pointed questions about that:
“Like unplanned pregnancy? Do they make a commitment commensurate to that of many traditionally-married couples, who commit to raising any and all children they conceive, even though they cannot predict whether, when or how many such conceptions might occur? What kinds of problems result when same-sex couples don’t marry that would be addressed by expecting them to marry? Is it an ideal among same-sex couples to avoid intimate relationships outside of a publicly-declared union? And is there any reason to think that same-sex marriage will actually be more successful here than it has been in other countries, where it has been a dismal failure (I’ve seen estimates that only 10% to as low as 1% of homosexuals in The Netherlands are married)?”
Would any of our friends on this blog who are advocates of same-sex marriage care to go through those questions one by one and share their thoughts with us? [SOURCE]
We gladly accept:
- “Like unplanned pregnancy? Do they make a commitment commensurate to that of many traditionally-married couples, who commit to raising any and all children they conceive, even though they cannot predict whether, when or how many such conceptions might occur?"
This is a total canard. The procreation argument is a complete red herring, no matter the frequency with which the anti-marriage-equality side uses it.
And beyond just the usual response we tend to give here about procreation being a total and utter non-requirement of marriage, to this one we could also add the element of family planning. Because it's not just couples who can't conceive that we need to look at here: It's also the countless heterosexual couples for whom unplanned pregnancy is unlikely-to-impossible, due to their personal choices pertaining to contraception, procedure, or whatever. If the anti-equality crowd insists on painting surprise babies as a strategic key, then they must consider those straight couples who've snipped, tied, pilled, or abstained their way towards the exact family size they want.
We also must look at the number of heterosexuals who don't "commit to raising any and all children they conceive." Again, if the "protect marriage" crowd wants to throw this stuff in our face, they must deal with the full spectrum. We do not live amongst a heterosexual population that is completely Duggar-like in its reproductive habits.
- "What kinds of problems result when same-sex couples don’t marry that would be addressed by expecting them to marry?"
Not sure why expecting them to marry is the phrasing here. But as for the freedom to marry: It secures the family bond in a way that no other civil system can. Hospital visitation, spousal benefits, taxation, securing of the bond between parents and children, bereavement decisions and inheritance rights: Without marriage, gay citizens are force to make costly, time-consuming strides in order to secure some degree of parity. In some cases, we simply have no available option.
And of course there are the foundational elements of non-discrimination. American values. Fair and equal citizenship. The greater good. Right now, we live in a nation that is dividing rather than uniting. To be perfectly frank: Equal marriage rights would make for a better America that more fully protects its people, from birth to death. That is not an overstatement.
- "Is it an ideal among same-sex couples to avoid intimate relationships outside of a publicly-declared union?"
Well, it is for this gay man and his legally-married husband. That is the reality of my personal wants and desires, as well as the wants and desires of my spouse. To us, this is a non-conversation.
But that being said: This, like procreation, is another red herring. In terms of the civil marriage right (which is what gays are seeking), lifelong monogamy has never been a requirement. An expectation and even a stated ideal, perhaps -- but not a requirement. If those who are so interested in "protecting traditional marriage" want things like procreation and lifelong monogamy to be marital requirements, then THOSE ARE THE THINGS THEY SHOULD BE TARGETING! Because these kinds of wants and desires run the gamut. And this gamut is not divided neatly along gay/straight lines, but rather along the curvy lines that zig and zag throughout a fully realized population.
- "And is there any reason to think that same-sex marriage will actually be more successful here than it has been in other countries, where it has been a dismal failure (I’ve seen estimates that only 10% to as low as 1% of homosexuals in The Netherlands are married)?"
That stat is an outright lie. The latest stats from The Netherlands say that 20% of Dutch gay couples are married, well above the 10% claim. WAAAY above the 1% fabrication.
But yet again: This whole argument is an aside, misdirecting us from the pertinent points. Again, our fight is not for the demand to marry -- it's for the freedom! We all know, logically, that it's going to take a generation or so before same-sex marriage numbers come close to the long held heterosexual union stats. It doesn't take a great thinker to understand why, considering the complete and utter lack of support same-sex couples of the modern era have experienced in this nation and world. Once gay kids start knowing from an early age that they have the same dating and relating opportunities as their 'ro counterparts, then we will see this figure change. But that benign uptake is not going to happen overnight. In fact, it probably won't fully happen in our lifetimes.
And finally, to close out: How dare anyone paint our marriages as "dismal failures"? That there are so many married gay couples both abroad and here at home in America is a great, glorious thing. The worth of these rights and the bonds protected within is not determined by plurality, but rather by righteousness. Unlike our oh-so-deceptive opposition, we're not hitching our car to the train of polling popularity: We're building our case on what is constitutionally sound. The popular support will come once greater portions of the public realize how thoroughly Team Sanctity of Marriage has duped them into supporting abject bias. Of this I am certain.
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