Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Social Goals of Those Promoting Same Sex Marriage

The website, BeyondMarriage.org, has a vision statement crafted by leftist social activists, which serves as a strategy piece for those promoting same sex marriage today, a manifesto for heating up the culture wars. (The names of the signatories are given on the site and they include many well-known academics, lawyers, activists etc.)

The document is called "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision" and I reproduce here the Executive Summary with my comments. The quotes are in regular text; my comments are in [bold and square brackets].

"The time has come to reframe the narrow terms of the marriage debate in the United States.
Conservatives are seeking to enshrine discrimination in the U.S. Constitution through the Federal Marriage Amendment. [Note, the website name itself makes it clear that the issue for these people is not including same sex couples in the existing institution called "marriage," but rather moving beyond marriage altogether. This will become clear as we go along.] But their opposition to same-sex marriage is only one part of a broader pro-marriage, “family values” agenda that includes abstinence-only sex education, stringent divorce laws, coercive marriage promotion policies directed toward women on welfare, and attacks on reproductive freedom. [The concern of this movment is not merely with a single issue, SSM, but with the whole family values agenda, which they oppose.] Moreover, a thirty-year political assault on the social safety net has left households with more burdens and constraints and fewer resources. [Integral to their vision is the expansion of the welfare state, which is needed to replace the family in supporting children.]

Meanwhile, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) movement has recently
focused on marriage equality as a stand-alone issue. While this strategy may secure rights and
benefits for some LGBT families, it has left us isolated and vulnerable to a virulent backlash. We
must respond to the full scope of the conservative marriage agenda by building alliances across
issues and constituencies. Our strategies must be visionary, creative, and practical to
counter the right's powerful and effective use of marriage as a “wedge” issue that pits one
group against another. The struggle for marriage rights should be part of a larger effort to
strengthen the stability and security of diverse households and families. [Note how this document seeks to place the current political issue in the context of the broader agenda. When conservatives talk about this broader agenda, the friends of this leftist agenda in the main-stream media always accuse the conservatives of "alarmism" and of using "slippery slope arguments." But here we get the real story.] To that end, we advocate:

Ø Legal recognition for a wide range of relationships, households and families – regardless
of kinship or conjugal status. [Not just SSM, but presumeably polygamy, incestuous relationships, group marriage etc. No limits are specified.]

Ø Access for all, regardless of marital or citizenship status, to vital government support
programs including but not limited to health care, housing, Social Security and pension
plans, disaster recovery assistance, unemployment insurance and welfare assistance.

Ø Separation of church and state in all matters, including regulation and recognition of
relationships, households and families. [This is code for overturning morality which religious people advocate for and atheists do not. Atheist morality, however, may be imposed without any problem. Strictly speaking, marriage law is not about religion. Marriage existed before Christianity started.]

Ø Freedom from state regulation of our sexual lives and gender choices, identities and
expression. [Interestingly, no conflict is perceived between saying the government should fund my sexual preferences but have no say in my sexual choices whatsoever, even if a compelling state intrests exists, eg. children.]
Marriage is not the only worthy form of family or relationship, and it should not be legally and
economically privileged above all others. [Here we come to the heart of the matter. All the laws privileging and encouraging marriage have their roots in precisely this conviction: that marriage is the best institution for raising children and unique becaue it is rooted not in social convention or law, but in nature, and thus precedes the state.] A majority of people – whatever their sexual and gender identities – do not live in traditional nuclear families. [This statement was not true 50 years ago, but it is today. Here we see that SSM is just another step in the degneration of marriage and family in the late modern West. First there had to be widespread acceptance for contraception, abortion, companionate marriage, no-fault divorce, extending the benefits of marriage to cohabiting couples, and child-less marriage. Then and only then SSM makes sense as the next logical step in the destruction of marriage altogether.] They stand to gain from alternative forms of household recognition beyond one-size-fits-all marriage. [These trends toward individualism and the separation of reproduction from sex are accepted as unquestionable goods and as inevitable. Of course, there is another option. Rather than continuing further down this road, we could instead try to reverse the negative trends of the sexual revolution, strengthen marriages and acknowledge the natural goodness of the link between procreation and mutuality in marriage. But this would mean calling into question the hedonism and individualism of contemporary consumerist culture.] For example:

· Single parent households
· Senior citizens living together and serving as each other’s caregivers (think Golden Girls)
· Blended and extended families
· Children being raised in multiple households or by unmarried parents
· Adult children living with and caring for their parents
· Senior citizens who are the primary caregivers to their grandchildren or other relatives
· Close friends or siblings living in non-conjugal relationships and serving as each other’s
primary support and caregivers
· Households in which there is more than one conjugal partner
· Care-giving relationships that provide support to those living with extended illness such
as HIV/AIDS. [I guess this list covers just about everybody except those living alone. So the ultimate goal here is that marriage means anybody living with anybody, even in non-congugal relationships. Under this scenario, the singling out of marriage, i.e. parents raising their natural children together, for special protection and support, would have ended. This is the end goal of this movement.]

The current debate over marriage, same-sex and otherwise, ignores the needs and desires of so many in a nation where household diversity is the demographic norm. We seek to reframe this debate. Our call speaks to the widespread hunger for authentic and just community in ways that are both pragmatic and visionary. It follows in the best tradition of the progressive LGBT movement, which invented alternative legal statuses such as domestic partnership and reciprocal beneficiary. We seek to build on these historic accomplishments by continuing to diversify and democratize partnership and household recognition. We advocate the expansion of existing legal statuses, social services and benefits to support the needs of all our households." [In the end, it the vague notion of "households" that replace marriages. It is good to know the enemy and his plans. But make no mistake, the SSM debate is not about same sex couples wanting "into" marriage, it is about moving beyond marriage.]

13 comments:

nero_null said...

Jesus was a leftist.

Craig Carter said...

Nero Null,
Do you mean Jesus Cruz, the Latin American Marxist priest who makes books on the side? Or do you mean the figment of Adolf von Harnack's bougeois imagination?

BTW, check out Matt. 19:8-9 where the Jesus of the Bible blows his liberal creds.

nero_null said...

Well, you know how it is. As is so often the case with biblical characters, he seems to say one thing at one time, and some other, completely different thing at another.

ivh said...

Three things that frustrate me are:

a) Taking an example of "leftist social activists," and portraying them as speaking for everyone "promoting same sex marriage". Without making a distinction between the two groups, you have labeled all SSM supporters as "the enemy and his plans." Dishonest, isn't it?

b) Ignoring the innate diversity of sexual orientation and differing reproductive ability amongst heterosexual couples.

c) Fear tactics. Suggesting that "wide range of relationships, households and families" means "presumeably polygamy, incestuous relationships, group marriage." They later give a list that does not include the types of "relationships" you had suggested.

If you hope for reasonable dialogue, can you try to avoid these types of overgeneralizations and fear tactics?

Craig Carter said...

IVH
If you are really open to rational debate, here are some answers.

a)What part of the generalization "leftist social activists support SSM" do you disagree with? Are you arguing that there are a distinguishable group of left wing activists in society who oppose SSM? Who? Where? There are none or so few as to be not even a blip on the radar. I think this is the safest generalization in the world. The alliance of the cultural left and the economic left in the NDP and the Democratic Party is documented fact. Show me examples to the contrary.

b) What is "innate diversity of sexual orientation"? You speak of that as if it were an empirically observable fact, when actually it is a romantic myth spun in the minds of gender studies gnostics. Sexual behaviour is observable.
"Orientation" is a concept, a rationalization created out of whole cloth as a cover for certain unnatural behaviours. Why shouldn't a reasonable person ignore such myths?

Differing reproductive ability among heterosexual couples is the biggest red herring in this whole debate. It has absolutely nothing to do with the morality of homosexual behaviour. Human beings were obviously meant by nature to walk upright by their own power on two legs. That is obviously true. Now you can point to all the war amputees and all the polio victims you want to argue that humans are "differently enabled with regard to walking" but everyone knows that war and disease are tragic things that interfere with nature and cause some people to lose the ability to walk. That does not make being crippled equally "natural" or equally as "good" as being able to walk. An infertile couple (because of genetic defect or disease) is not going against nature in trying to conceive. They are just being prevented from conceiving by something unnatural and beyond their control.

A homosexual is a person made in the image of God with a rational mind and free will to make moral choices. Regardless of what genetic predisposition he or she may have, he or she still has the ability and responsiblility to decide what moral choices to make in response to that predisposition in exactly the same way as a person with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism or a person with a genetic predisposition to obesity. Being tempted to self-destructive behaviour is part of the fallen human condition and homosexuals are just like everyone else in that respect.

c) Fear tactics. You really are sticking to the usual talking points aren't you? Well, I'll call your bluff in this case. Let's suppose that SSM is actually the very last innovation and from now on there is never another revision of marriage - ever. Let's even assume - though there is no reason to - that SSM is modelled on traditional marriage. Let's merely assume that the list given in the article is the desired and likely outcome. All households get the same benefits as married couples, even non-conjugal relationships. That itself is the end of marriage as we have known it.

The whole point of marriage in Western civ. is that society has embraced the worldwide traditional wisdom of nearly every culture in history that a married couple raising their natural children together is the very best arrangement for socializing the next generation and so should be singled out for social approval, legal reinforcement and economic benefits. Everything possible should be done to prevent divorces and everything possible should be done to make it possible for married couples to raise their own children. That is progressive.

The agenda of beyondmarriage.org is to destroy this social consensus and replace it with a society in which the family as defined above no longer exists excpet as the eccentric lifestyle choice of the few. This is tragic even if no one ever marries his sister.

ivh said...

Thanks for your comprehensive reply. A response:

a) Maybe I wasn't clear the first time around. I got the feeling from your post that everyone that supports same sex marriage can also be considered both a "leftist social activist" and "the enemy as his plans." My point is that there are people who are not "leftist social activists" who support SSM, some of them committed Christians.

b) You said ""Orientation" is a concept, a rationalization created out of whole cloth as a cover for certain unnatural behaviours." I have never seen any evidence for this, but if it is what you truly believe, I can see where we depart on the issue. My understanding of sexual orientation and claim that it is "innately diverse" is based on observations of homosexuals coming to terms with their sexuality, and from my understanding of psychological research.
I also am curious as to why you understand homosexuality as "self-destructive behaviour."

c) "That itself is the end of marriage as we have known it." If marriage is natural and God ordained, why does it need exclusive state sponsorship to survive? Haven't you created a false dichotomy?
"Everything possible should be done to prevent divorces and everything possible should be done to make it possible for married couples to raise their own children." I agree.

Craig Carter said...

IVH,
You write: "My point is that there are people who are not "leftist social activists" who support SSM, some of them committed Christians." So do you mean you know some Christian who support SSM who are not left wing? Who? How do you come to that conclusion? Are they conservative on all issues but one? Or do you mean that by virtue of being a Christian one necessarily is not a leftist? That makes no sense to me. I guess I really don't see your point. My position is that anyone who embraces SSM has thereby embraced the therapeutic culture and the individualistic ideology that drives the sexual revolution and thereby has become a leftist, whether he admits it or not. To reject left wing ideology is to embrace Christian ethics, which would entail rejecting homosexual behaviour and defending traditional marriage.

You write: "I also am curious as to why you understand homosexuality as "self-destructive behaviour." Any "lifestyle" that reduces one's life expectancy by 20years, as male homosexuality does, is self-destructive.

You ask: "If marriage is natural and God ordained, why does it need exclusive state sponsorship to survive?" I ask in response, "If marriage is natural and God ordained why would the state not want to sponsor it?" Unless the state was controlled by an anti-God and/or anti-nature ideology, I suppose, and why would that be a good thing?

You claim to agree with me that children should be raised by their natural, married parents. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, left his wife and children to live openly with his male lover. Now, do you condemn that behaviour? If not, then we definitely do not agree.

ivh said...

Thanks again for your response. Here is my response to your four questions:
a) Again, my point is simply that not everyone who supports same sex marriage would sign the "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage" declaration.
My understanding of your original post is that you accused every SSM supporter of supporting any agenda promosted by the "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage signatories."
b) Homosexuality does not reduce life expectancy by 20 years. You are confusing orientation with behaviours of a subsector of a certain population, and using discredited research in an attempt to support your position. I'm disappointed. What is your source for this?
c) No Same-Sex Marriage supporter wants the state to stop sponsoring Opposite-Sex Marriage. This is why I accused you of fear tactics. Your responding statement doesn't make sense, because no one is arguing for what you are saying they are arguing for.
d) You have distorted the life of Gene Robinson. He was actively involved in the parenting of his children, even after he separated from his wife. Are you suggesting that gay men should be encouraged to marry women to cover up their sexual orientation?

Craig Carter said...

IVH,
You are becoming extremely evasive. You write: "Again, my point is simply that not everyone who supports same sex marriage would sign the "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage" declaration." Really? So you must not support all of it. Which parts of it then do you repudiate? I'll bet I can argue all day and never get you to disagree with any part of that agenda or condemn any kind of LGBT behaviour. So all your protestations that "not everybody" believes that are empty. The effect is the same even if only 98%believe everything and 2% disagree with one minor detail.

You write: "You are confusing orientation with behaviours of a subsector of a certain population, and using discredited research in an attempt to support your position." You can't seem to make up your mind here. Am I actually wrong about that "subset" (nice euphemism!) that I am talking about? Or is my point irrelevant because it only applies to a "subset" not everyone? You are very hard to pin down. Is the gay bathhouse culture of hundreds of anonymous sexual encounters per year unhealthy or not? Are proponents of SSM ready to condemn it? You tell me.

You write: "No Same-Sex Marriage supporter wants the state to stop sponsoring Opposite-Sex Marriage." My turn to be frustrated. Here you seem to be missing the point on purpose. When everything is treated the same, nothing is singled out for special social approval. I think marriage should be singled out for special social approval - as has Western civ. for 2000 years - because it is better. You represent a novel idea thought up yesterday that is the basis of a dangerous social experiment, the ramifications of which no one understands right now. Yet the SSM steamroller must barrel ahead as if everybody who lived before the 1960's was just stupid.

(This is applying the "never trust anyone over thirty even to the dead." So much for Chesterton's definiton of tradition as democracy that includes the dead.)

Let me make it clearer. People living together without being married should not be treated as married, for tax purposes. Do you agree or not? (This is just one example. I could have used repealing no fault divorce or a dozen other examples.)

You write: "He was actively involved in the parenting of his children, even after he separated from his wife." With Jesuitical causistry and definitional hair-splitting like that, it is no wonder people get confused by pro SSM debates. So you actually are not against divorce, even while being in favor of society doing everything possible to prevent divorce. Translation: It's OK when self-identified homosexuals do it. Have I got it straight? (No pun intended.)

Remember, it was you who quoted me as saying: "Everything possible should be done to prevent divorces and everything possible should be done to make it possible for married couples to raise their own children." Then you said: "I agree." But Gene Robinson is emphatically not raising his children with their mother, so this is not a case of "married couples [raising] their own children." It is a case of what I meant to condemn and about which you pretended to agree with me.

Face it. You want SSM as government/society approved social policy and that means the end of traditional marrriage. So all this scholastic hair-splitting is designed to muddy the waters and get ordinary people to feel better while the social revolution rolls through.

ivh said...

Thanks for you extensive response, I will do my best to respond to it shortly. In the mean time, can you take the time to respond to the two questions I asked?

Craig Carter said...

1. You asked: "Are you suggesting that gay men should be encouraged to marry women to cover up their sexual orientation?" I'm not sugessting they 'cover-up' anything. I am suggesting: 1) that, if married, they remain faithful to their marriage vows like everyone should and 2) that whether married or not they should resist the temptation to engage in homosexual acts. Whether they marry (a member of the opposite sex) is up to them.

2. You asked for evidence to support my claim that the "gay lifestyle" reduces one's life style by 20 years. Here is just one study:

"Modelling the impact of HIV disease on mortality in gay and bisexual men" in International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol 26, 657-661.

It can be accessed at:
http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/26/3/657?maxt-show=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&searchid=QID_NOT_SET&FIRSTINDEX=&volume=26&first%2520page=657&journalcode=intjepid

I was alerted to this stat by an article entitled: "Catholic Moral Theology and Homosexuality" by Eric Brown, who is a self-identified chaste living homosexual who agrees with Catholic moral teaching. Here is the direct quote from his article:

"From a public health standpoint, these things are very important to remember. Because the anus is meant to absorb, the rates of STD’s sky rocket in homosexual populations. As a viral or bacterial load is released into the anus, it readily absorbs these things and allows it to colonize there, whereas the vagina has safeguards against this. Combine this with the generally high rate of promiscuity in homosexual populations and you have a very serious problem. The problem only gets worse. It is a frightening statistic that sexually-active homosexuals have a shorter lifespan when compared to heterosexuals (less by approx. 20 years)."

This article can be accessed at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/03/31/catholic-moral-theology-and-homosexuality/

Now, I believe you owe me some answers to my questions of you.

ivh said...

Thank your for your replies, I am sorry that you have found me evasive. Let me try to be very clear:

Your line of reasoning seems to be that everyone who (1) supports same sex marriage also (2) supports the Beyond Same-Sex Marriage declaration and consequently (3) "presumably" supports things such as "polygamy, incestuous relationships, group marriage," and should be (4) understood as "the enemy and his plans." As I misunderstanding you?
It seems to me that you have failed to provide evidence for the causal links between these assumptions.

In your previous comment, you said that male homosexuality "reduces one's life expectancy by 20years". Your next comment attributed the difference to "the gay bathhouse culture of hundreds of anonymous sexual encounters per year." A link to a study discussed "HIV infection and AIDS impacts on mortality rates for gay and bisexual men" living in a Canadian city from 1987-1992 where life expectancy is found to be "8 to 20 years less" than that of heterosexual couples. These are very important distinctions. Sexual orientation and sexual behaviour are not at all the same thing, and, as a result, you shouldn't be so quick to equate homosexuality (an orientation) with "self-destructive behaviour."

With that understanding, maybe you can see what I mean about Christians who support SSM. While condemning promiscuity, committed relationships between gay couples are affirmed. If you want to follow my 1/2/3/4 schema where I tried to describe your initial argument, this is where a Christian would definitely agree with #1, maybe with #2 but definitely not #3.

Why should marriage have the "special social approval" and not parenting? You say that marriage is "better." While it is a creational ideal, shouldn't governments be in the more in business of supporting child-rearing than traditional marriage? I ask this because your pro-marriage arguments all seemed to be based on marriage being the source of child-rearing. The "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage" document makes clear that other forms of family are also raising children. Situations like these arise from a variety of reasons, and should also receive support -- a Christian would be to be concerned that children are raised well.

In addition, thanks for responding at length to my two questions. I think the suggestion that gay men should marry people to whom they do not have sexual attraction is very dangerous, and what leads to sad situations like the divorce of Bishop Robinson.

I haven't yet answered all your questions about my personal opinions, and I guess that has caused you to find me "evasive". I'm not sure why all your questions are all relevant, and I don't have time to get into them tonight. While it seems clear that we are not going to agree with each other, I appreciate your thoughts -- they help me to clarify my own. I hope that you have appreciated my seeking clarification concerning some of your statements.

Craig Carter said...

IVH
You have misquoted me unfairly. I did not say that homosexuality (the orientation) reduces lifestyle by 20 years, I said the male homosexual lifestyle does and I find it telling that you cannot deny or disprove my claim.

Maybe it is your prejudice that all conservatives believe what you accuse me of believing, but I never said it and I think it is very uncharitable of you to make it look like I said something I never said or implied. I thought that my quoting a chaste homosexual brother in Christ would alert you to the calumny of assuming that anyone conservative in sexual morality necessarily is somehow intolerant of homosexuals as persons.

Your argument in the 4th paragraph boils down to this: as long as a Christian does not advocate polygamy, incest or other deviations, it is fine to advocate SSM and the end of priveleging the traditional family as the best setting for raising children. Well, that is like saying that as long as I am not in favor of using nuclear weapons to obliterate Iraq, it is fine to invade and enslave it. Rejecting something worse does not make accepting something morally defective all right. That is no argument at all.

Finally, you misquote me and misrepresent my statements again in the second last paragraphy when you leave the impression that I said that I think "that gay men should marry people to whom they do not have sexual attraction." I never said that at all and anyone reading this exchange can look it up. I said it was up to them to decide whether to marry or not. Some might and some might not.

As for Gene Robinson, I would like to know how you know he never had a sexual attraction to a woman. The children suggest otherwise. You seem to operate with what most "queer theorists" would regard as a rather naive binary view of sexual orientation in which it is all or nothing one way or the other. Where does that leave the bisexuals? Virginia Ramey Mollenkott is more honest in her book "Omnigender" where she deconstructs the whole idea of orientation altogether - we don't even know how many orientations there are - 5, 6, 7? The use of the rigid "homosexual orientation" ploy is a transititon argument tolerated in the SSM movement for now because it can be used to sell the idea of SSM to an unsuspecting population who have been found to be sympathetic to the argument that, since some people are inflexibly and unchangeably homosexual in orientation, therefore we can't deny them marriage. Once SSM is established, that is a myth that will no longer be useful to the SSM movement and will be quietly dropped. Liberal Protestant denominations who are going along with this ploy are either uninformed or devious themselves.

I think this should be the end of this conversation unless you post more distortions of my position, in which case I will decide whether to correct them or delete your comments. If you choose to apologize and retract the accusation mentioned above, and wish to continue this conversation, then I would be open to an email exchange.