Sunday, 19 May 2013

Clear thinking, please

I don't have a strong opinion about same-sex marriage.  I don't.  Because the problem isn't whether or not people's rights to marry are restrictied--the problem is that marriage is used to define certain rights of kinship, and those rights are improperly restricted by the restricted definition of marriage.  But that's not what I want to blog about today.

What I want to blog about today is clear thinking, about some arguments against same-sex marriage.  Now in my mind, the only clear argument against same-sex marriage is the desire to restrict kinship.  The slippery slope arguments which ends with men marrying dogs (notice the argument never ends with women marrying dogs) or legalizing polygamy is, as all slippery slope arguments, fallacious.  Yes, there's a slippery slope.  It doesn't mean you'll end up where you are afraid you'll end up.  You can stop the slide anywhere you want.

The moral argument also doesn't wash--if God only wants men and women to marry (and only one) for the purpose of producing children, then regardless of your gender arrangements, any marriage which does not involve direct procreation is suspect--people in their 60's, people known to be infertile, people who use birth control.  Also, it is worth noting, people who marry without the intention of having sex, let alone having children, for instance, for political expediency, social advantage, or to disguise an unorthodox sexual proclivity.  So if we're going to start scrutinizing marriage, we have a lot bigger issues than selective kinship between two men or two women.

The one that gets me recently is the repeated message that children need both a strong male and strong female role model in the form of a mother and a father.  Who presumably must be married, and present.  This is a new twist on an issue which was current in the early nineties, that of women choosing to have children without being married.

No one is saying role models aren't important.  What I'm saying is that they aren't critical.  If they were critical, then all those single parents--be they single women who choose insemination, surrogacy or adoption, single men, who choose one of those options, divorced or abandoned people or those *generations* widows or widowers of police, firefighters, soldiers, raising their fallen spouse's children alone--are raising intrinsically and irrevocably damaged children.

And the simple fact is, they're not.  And if they're not, then obviously the premise, that children critically must have a mommy and a daddy in the home, who are married, is obviously untrue.

I would further argue that two same-sex parents in a cordial and respectful relationship, or a single parent of moderate mental health and ability, is infinitely preferable to the case of a mommy and a daddy who are indifferent or abusive to each other (or certianly the children). 

So anyway, I don't have a strong opinion about same-sex marriage. I do have a strong opinion about crap reasoning.  Come up with a good argument, and I'll listen. Spew the same old crap, and I'll happily just sling it back at you.  On any subject.