Thursday, November 06, 2008

Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud

The astonishing sensation of Barack Obama winning the presidency has most American feeling euphoric and optimistic, but it wasn't all good news.

In California, Arizona, and Florida, conservatives made some headway into 'social issues' with their constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage.

It's caused enormous consternation in California, especially since more that 18,000 gay couples have tied the knot since same-sex marriage was legalized in June.

Already, conservatives are launching legal bids to have those marriages annulled.

Personally, I'm disgusted.

Coming from Europe, the idea of discriminating against people because of their sexuality is as abhorrent to me as discriminating against people based on their race, or gender.

Yet in California, straight-faced conservatives argue that it's not about bigotry. It's about 'freedoms.' Like how banning gay marriage would preserve their 'religious freedom' to refuse to rent their church halls and accommodation to same-sex couples, just like those same conservatives had fought for similar 'freedoms' to exclude black people during the days of segregation.

I really don't see what their problem is. This is 21st century America. If two people of the same sex want to have a committed, monogamous relationship, what problem does that cause?

Why does their gender give conservatives the right to refuse them the most basic of constitutional rights - the right to marry who you want to? The right to the same goods and services as everybody else?

It's not just the term 'marriage' that they're fighting over, either.

In Britain, people overcame the bigots by reclassifying same-sex marriage as a 'Civil Union,' which meant two people could make a commitment that shared all the same legal and social rights and duties of a traditional marriage, just avoided the religious ones.

Rights like being able to file a joint tax return, or share a spouse's benefits and become the beneficiary of their life insurance if they die. Basic stuff...

But Californians refused them that right - basically saying: "No, your relationships are not equal to ours."

I think it's disgusting.

It's gets better/worse, though. In Arkansas, the voters passed a law banning unmarried couples from adopting children. This is a blanket ruling, which covers common-law heterosexual couples, but is clearly aimed at lesbians and gays. Basically, unless you are in a traditional, Christian marriage, you're unfit to be parents.

It's so stupid, it makes my head hurt.

The statistical 'evidence' they have to support this hypothesis is so blindingly one-sided, it astonishes me.

Yes, according to your figures, middle-class, white, married heterosexual couples are more stable and secure.

Yet by those same statistics, middle-class, white, homosexual couples actually fair better than, for example, middle-class African-American married couples.

So if you're working on the idea that human achievement is limited purely to demographics, the good people of Arkansas should have just out-and-out admitted their old-school racism and banned black people from adopting kids as well as the gays and unmarried couples.

But, of course, that would be morally reprehensible. Thankfully, even they realize that your ability to be a parent isn't defined by statistics. It's defined by you.

So, instead, regardless of demographic origin, couples are allowed to prove to an Adoption Board that they will make good foster or adoptive parents, as is absolutely right and appropriate.

Whether you're black, white or purple, your ability to be a parent should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, not on the color of your skin.

But gay couples and the unmarried can't take that test. Why? Because there's the conservative fear that they might go right ahead prove themselves suitable or even excellent potential parents.

It's disgusting. Redneck conservatives in Arkansas complain bitterly about abortion, yet then go and limit the number of financially secure, committed couples who can adopt kids.

"We have a thousand children still waiting to be adopted," said Julie Munsell, spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Human Services, which oversees adoptions and foster parenting. "We will have to target our recruitment efforts to those folks who are eligible under the law."

Like in all matters relating even remotely to abortion, the conservatives are the first to throw practical solutions towards reducing abortion under the bus, just so they can push their retarded, bigoted agenda.


On a day that has given so many Americans hope for a better future, these conservative victories serve as a chilling reminder that the shadow of bigotry didn't die when we elected our first African American president.


Coffee Bean said...

Hmmmm... I've gone round with you a bit on this before.

For me, the caveat is where churches are concerned. You made a point somewhere... I don't know if it was here or on my blog... that churches already have the right to deny marrying couples and/or not allowing couples to marry there. It was a good point as I know personally of pastors refusing to marry couples that they felt were marrying for the wrong reason. Many churches have couples go through pre-marital classes/counseling before they can be married in their church. We did that. However, I still see that area as being too gray an area to feel comfortable with agreeing to gay marriage.

Now... I break with my more conservative fellows on some points. I do not have a problem with Civil Unions (so long as businesses, specifically non-profit religious organizations, are not forced to hire people that are in a lifestyle contrary to what they deem acceptable).

I also do not have a problem with gays adopting. Of course, they would have to go through the same screening process as everyone does. I would rather see a child in a loving gay home than being shuffled from home to home in the foster care system. We know kids that are in or have come out of the foster care system...

This is one of those areas that is going to take time to figure out. The thing I struggle with as a Christian is that we have been given a free will by God. He does not force us to choose Him. I think it is wrong to force my beliefs on others and I certainly don't like it when someone tries to force theirs on me. Gay people should not be discriminated against but it is a sticky issue where the church and faith based organizations are concerned. Can you not see that?

Roland Hulme said...

You have always been very progressive on this one, Coffee Bean. I deliberatly tried to write this without doing any of my normal 'those Christians' or 'those conservatives' generalisations, because I knew tarring all conservatives with the same brush was as bad as thinking that all gay couples would make unfit parents.

My major problem with all of this is that we're repeating history: Sixty years ago, it was conservative Christians who interpreted scripture to support segregation and oppose interacial marriage. These days, Christians agree they'd 'mininterpreted' that scripture. What's to say that, in thirty years, Christians won't say the same about scripture on homosexuality?

I get annoyed when conservative Christians refuse to accept that as a possibility.

But you've also got to look at Christ's message. He never ONCE mentioned homosexuality explicitly (Paul attibuted some quotes to him, but Paul was a horse's arse.) I am SURE he would stress that brotherhood, peace and justice should be the emphasis of a christian's faith, supporting even a commited GAY relationship in the absence of no committed relationship at all.

If a church is lucky enough to have two Christians who want their same-sex union recognized by God, then I think Jesus would have been the first person to support that. He advocated finding Christ in all men, not finding a reason to exclude people from their church and community.

Coffee Bean said...

Well... you may be right that this issue is like some others that were initially fought and now commonly accepted (like inter-racial marriage). Only time will tell, eh?

In the mean time I think that if people could just take a step back and see others as being human that maybe some of the anger and fear could be reduced. I wish more Christians would be concerned with grievous sins in their own lives rather than hollering about how other people are choosing to live theirs.

I wish I had answers. I'm still trying to figure everything out for myself. Sometimes it is hard to reconcile faith with the world as it is today. But, as you know, I believe regardless. Someday I hope to have figured this out.

Reverse_Vampyr said...

As a conservative (well, more of a libertarian with conservative leanings), I'm disgusted by the thousands of people who find it acceptable to discriminate against homosexuals. I've yet to hear an argument how gay marriage in any way demeans or even affects traditional marriage.

Like Coffee Bean said, as long as churches aren't forced into performing marriages that violate their beliefs, there should be no problem with sharing the term "marriage" between hetero and homo couples.

I'll be glad when we, as a society, get over this kind of dogmatic bigotry.

April said...

I too was surprised the amended constitution passed here in AZ. I honestly thought I was voting with the majority and was shocked to have conversations with people who were voting yes. I found myself saying over and over, "What difference does it make to you if two people who love each other want to get married?" And I HATE it when my fellow Christians start spouting off about gay people being an abomination. We are not the judge. I believe in a loving God who asks us to love one another as well. It's not my place to tell someone how to live their life. And it makes me sick that this country is celebrating the election of the first African Amercian president, yet gay people can't get married. I agree with you whole heartedly. This is disgusting.

Sunnivie said...

*headdesk* doesn't even begin to describe the way I feel about this outcome. I can't decide how many steps forward Obama's election is, and how many steps backward Prop 8 is. I was honestly astonished at the results, all around.

Also, I love the argument in favor of civil unions...(which, in my opinion, are a form of the separate-but-equal situation... and I seem to remember some kinda important court saying something about that once or something, right?)... Where people say that not granting "marriage" is simply an issue of nomenclature. But, obviously, if it really WAS just such an issue, there wouldn't be a problem guaranteeing that. The term "marriage" has larger social implications that "civil unioned" just doesn't. And while I agree with you that churches shouldn't be forced to perform ceremonies they don't believe in, when it comes to marriage, it's no longer simply a religious institution. It's a civil right, and as Americans, we have the RESPONSIBILITY to ensure those rights are protected for ALL citizens. Disgusted doesn't even begin to cover what I'm feeling about this.

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