It has proven to be a most interesting stretch of time for me in the blogosphere. Apparently, as I’ve come to discover, all one needs to do to attract venomous e-mail and comments is to, one, say that banning peanuts from public schools is wrong, and, two, say that even though you defend the traditional definition of marriage, you do not hate homosexuals.
Even throwing stones at President Messiah doesn’t bring on the heat like this.
Two days ago, I posted an article called “I Don’t Hate Gays, Okay?“
Yesterday, thanks to a thoughtful response from a blogger by the name of Alan, I posted a follow up called “I Don’t Hate Gays, Okay? Part Two – Fielding Hate Mail.”
Today, I still don’t hate gays.
That is for certain, despite the many who have corrected me and told me that I actually do.
Another certainty is that this will definitely be the final “installment” of what was only intended to be a one-time article on why I defend the traditional definition of marriage, and why doing so does not mean I hate anyone.
This time, I am responding to a blog comment from Richard.
Richard, thank you sincerely for your post.
I am a gay man, a great parent, and the widow of a wonderful but undocumented marriage.
Richard, I have no reason to doubt that you are a great parent, and I am sincerely sorry for the loss of your “undocumented spouse.”
You do not hate me but you think a man-woman household would have been better for my daughter than my parenting.
I don’t know you, Richard. We happen to disagree on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Thus, my question to you would be … knowing we conflict on this matter, why is your reflex presumption that I hate you?
If we disagreed, for instance, on which President of the United States did more good for his country – Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton – would your inclination be to assume I hate you? If we disagreed on which pizzeria makes the best calzones in town, would you say, “Anyone who likes DaVincis calzones over Rocco’s is a hater”?
If so, it genuinely pains me, Richard.
Disagreement is not hate.
As far as I know you are a wonderful man.
But it is irrelevant to my argument. I have no idea how you parent. My argument is not an indictment on your parenting skills, nor a judgment on how much love you have for your girl. You may very well be “Daddy of the Year,” and I certainly hope you are.
It is important for you to understand that I argue my position, not because I am demanding agreement, but because I am looking for clarity.
Remember, there isn’t a civilization, a religion, a school of thought, a leader or even a fortune cookie in all of recorded human existence that has ever endorsed or promoted the idea of same-sex marriage. It is not unreasonable to suggest that there are valid reasons for this – even in societies that were more accepting of homosexuality in general – like the Ancient Greeks, for instance.
And what about the multitude of gays who don’t want the institution redefined? Are they haters, too? What exactly do they hate? And whom?
I’m not saying gay people cannot make good parents. Don’t misunderstand. I have never said that. My point is there are very real differences between the sexes … and those differences play an immeasurably critical role in the raising of children.
And please don’t fall into the trap of those who argue the point by asking the questions, “If traditional marriage is so great, why is there so much divorce? What about the children who wind up in orphanages?”
It sounds like good expostulation, but it really isn’t. In fact, it is deeply flawed.
For example, there are white people who are members of the KKK. Does that fact somehow make the case that all Caucasians are evil?
There are black gangs in South Central Los Angeles who commit crimes. Does that fact somehow make the case for the criminality of all blacks?
That divorce exists does not argue against marriage.
You do not hate me, but you think any man-woman marriage is more worthy of respect and dignity than my 10+ year marriage with my now deceased husband.
I’m not sure I understand what this point has to do with the discussion of whether or not marriage should be redefined.
And what on earth does this have to do with personal respect, Richard?
You and your deceased partner are worthy of respect if you’ve earned it – the same way anyone is worthy of respect if they’ve earned it. Your “undocumented marriage” doesn’t automatically procure respect due to its mere existence any more than someone’s traditional marriage does.
It is the institution of marriage, however, that merits my respect.
And how does any definition of marriage affect your dignity?
Richard, these are non sequiturs.
The fact is, there are heterosexuals I have little or no respect for, and homosexuals I have immense respect for.
Again, the point you make is irrelevant to the discussion.
Please understand, that with every fiber of my being, I am so terribly sorry for the loss of your loved one. I mean that. You can choose to believe it or not. But I don’t shy away from the fact that I admit to having the utmost respect and regard for the institution of marriage as it has always stood.
That is the entire point.
Understand that respecting the institution is not the same as respecting the people who may or may not participate in it.
For instance, let’s say there is a married couple living next door to me. And Let’s say I happen to know that they are terrible parents for whatever reason. Add to that the fact that they regularly cheat on each other (and everyone knows it) and continually fight like cats and dogs out in the middle of the street for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. I would have no respect for them as individuals, nor would I respect their marriage (as they obviously don’t).
That doesn’t, however, affect the reverence I still hold for the institution of marriage.
The grounds on which same-sex unions go unrecognized by the state – as do all unions, save for that of one man and one woman – are not difficult to understand. They are, in fact, quite logical.
A blogger at the great Free Republic.com forum by the name of JayHamilton, made some excellent points on this subject. I’ll paraphrase and borrow from him to complement my position.
The reason the federal government has any vested interest in marriage at all is because traditional marriage can create offspring. Marriage is not a contractual agreement (contrary to leftist opinion) in the same sense a business partnership between two entities is. Rather, it is an institution that exists to support the procreation of the human race and the vehicle by which children are best reared. Thus, because traditional marriages can create the children that will quite literally make up the population of the next generation, the state – understandably – takes an interest in it.
This is the primary reason – and arguably the only reason – that government should even involve itself at all in marriage. And despite what homosexuals may think, feel or want, their same-sex relationships are of no interest to the state.
It is best that government remain neutral on the same-sex relationship.
The fact is, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – preventing gays from doing what they want behind closed doors. However, the sexual behavior of a small percentage of American citizens is not sufficient enough to demand the redefinition of marriage. Government has no reason to endorse or support same-sex marriage. In short, “from (a) legal perspective, the state’s interest – and their justification for claiming an interest – only begins and ends with offspring.”
Indeed, there are liberal churches that conduct and recognize same-sex marriages. Gays are free to pursue those avenues. However, there is nothing that a same-sex relationship can produce that the state would be remotely interested in.
As JayHamilton writes: “…its not hateful, its reality. Legislatures make laws. Their laws on this matter are not discriminatory to anyone. Any man can marry any woman, and vice versa. To claim discrimination is hogwash and intellectually dishonest.”
Society benefits from the endorsement of traditional marriage.
Putting aside wants and desires, how exactly does society benefit from the recognition of same-sex marriage by the state? And what purpose would it serve?
You do not hate me, but you believe that any straight family is better than my family.
Again, you are personalizing this … and to be fair, I do understand why. This is an important issue. But this is not a matter of who is individually “better.”
How can it be? I am not prepared to say that I am a better Dad than you are, and I would hope you would feel the same.
However, I do believe that the institution of traditional marriage is the best way for children to be raised. I have the entirety of human history on my side to support my claim.
But as far as your family goes, I never asserted, suggested or claimed that any straight family is better than your family. That does not even make sense. I don’t know your family. How can I draw such a conclusion? I only wish the very best for you and your daughter.
These points, too, are irrelevant to the discussion, Richard.
The question is (once again) … Why should marriage be redefined?
That marriage has always been defined as one man and one woman certainly didn’t affect the love you had for your partner, did it? That marriage has always been understood to mean the union of one person from each sex in no way detracted from the closeness you and your husband shared, did it? Or from the affection and respect you held for him? Or he for you? The state’s lack of endorsement of same-sex marriage should in no way affect your happiness, your family nor the way you interact with them.
Sorry, I do not buy it. Me, my parenting, my family is just as good as any straight family. Me, my parenting, my family is just as valuable to society as any straight family. No better, but as good as any you want to compare me with.
Your actions (words, votes, arguments, writings) speak loudly of your hatred and homophobia. If you do NOT wish to be a hateful homophobe, then change your heart. Understand that I am as good as you and deserve equality at law. Including the right to document my marriage with the State of California with a marriage license. Why? Because you are NOT better than me. You simply aren’t.
It is so very sad that your argument has come to this kind of rationale. It really distresses me.
I do not dispute your worth as an individual, Richard. Assuming you are not committing evil acts against your fellow human beings, you are as valuable to this society as anyone else – and certainly in the eyes of God. You may also very well be better at certain things than me, just as I may be better at others than you.
But none of this is related in any way to why the redefinition of marriage is appropriate.
Richard, you are far too mature to resort to this “you’re not better than me” childishness. I would never assert that I am a better human being than you. How can I? When did I? I don’t know you. I know not of your deeds, how you behave with others, or anything relevant to make that sort of determination. I have no desire to “compare” you with anyone to ascertain the value of your parenting skills. This is not a personal issue.
No matter how often you say it, or from which mountaintops you shout it, there is no right to marry whomever you choose. Like all facets of society, there are limits. There are regulations. Traditional marriage is not in the least bit anti-gay, just as it isn’t anti-cat, anti-soy sauce or antifreeze.
It is, instead, advocating for the union of one man and one woman as the only definition of marriage.
And no matter how many times you write it on a blog, and no matter how much better it may make you feel to be able explain away in your head that the reason for opposition to same-sex marriage is hatred and homophobia, it simply is not true.
To disagree is not to be hateful, Richard.
It really isn’t.
By the way … notice not one religious argument was proffered. (Something told me you’d appreciate that, Richard).
God bless you and your daughter, and may you live a long and happy life.