Gay Marriage Laws Sacrifice Principles for Tolerance

Restricting rights is a bad precedent. But laws around the country legalizing gay marriage aren’t about winning freedoms, they’re about making divergent lifestyles seem normal. That means reeducation, starting in our public schools.

Most Americans accept the idea of giving lifetime gay couples access to benefits similar to those of married couples. What scares many is that this new found tolerance will go wild in sex education curriculum for teens.

For the small proportion of students who identify themselves as gay, learning how to perform anal sex may be validating, but for the rest of the students it will simply promote gender blindness in the name of tolerance. We don't need a blanket policy for all sex education. There are some things all students need to know. There are others that should be handled privately.

Gender blindness is a kind of institutionalized self deception. This is always disturbing. But the most disturbing self deception is the kind meant to remove the social and self conscious shame of casual sex. And the result won't be a healthy respect for human rights, but an anything goes mentality. No one wants to be seen as the intolerant one. For teens, peer pressure can outweigh self respect, wishes of their parents, or their own beliefs about propriety and wisdom. Can anyone who has gone to high school deny this?

This is not a call for abstinence only education, but neither should we be coaching kids to go out and have sex, gay or heterosexual. They don't need this kind of pressure from their teachers too. Training people to have sex should never have become the job of the public school system.

What the public schools can and should do is teach kids how to live in a diverse society. This goes hand in hand with fortifying self respect. Sex is a separate discussion. But in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is already legal, homosexual relationships have begun being taught to kindergärtners as “normal” without the consultation of parents. Religious organizations have been targeted as well.

“But sexuality is a natural thing and teens shouldn't feel ashamed to explore it,” some may say. Ford forbid! Kids, by definition, don't need to feel comfortable talking about sex. They should blush at the subject. And teens are kids. Sexual maturity doesn't prepare someone to deal with issues of pregnancy, STDs, or the complex emotions of sexual relationships. Neither do demonstrations of putting condoms on bananas. A little shame is a good thing.

What did people do to deal with these issues before we became so enlightened? Well, these are only widespread problems for a promiscuous society. Self discipline is a lost value to many of us. It's what this country was built on. The decay of self discipline is nothing less than reverse evolution.

How can anyone who values a loving relationship, gay or straight, support legislation that would lead to policies that encourage young people to hump anything with a pulse? People who are fighting for that condition ought to be honest and differentiate themselves from those who really believe “you can't help how you were born”. Do we want a safe place for people to live with their loved ones, or do we want to be surrounded by people who use sex as a way to scratch an itch so we don't have to deal with our own shame?

Shame and self discipline are two things that keep our society from destroying itself. If these attributes have to be abolished to make room for gay marriage or anything else, then it's not worth it.

Posted by Mark Montie at October 22, 2008 5:44 PM
Comments
Comment #267976
For the small proportion of students who identify themselves as gay, learning how to perform anal sex may be validating

What a bizarre statement. We should allow adult homosexuals to marry who they love because we don’t want gay teens to be taught how to perform anal sex in school?????

It’s hard to count how many non sequiturs there are in this claim. We jump from adults to students. We jump from marriage to education. And we make up the claim that instructions for a particular sex act would be taught (believe me, we got no instructions for how to perform vaginal sex in my sex ed classes).

But the most disturbing self deception is the kind meant to remove the social and self conscious shame of casual sex.

Supporting marriage promotes casual sex? Wouldn’t promotion of casual sex come about from the prohibition of marriage?

How can anyone who values a loving relationship, gay or straight, support legislation that would lead to policies that encourage young people to hump anything with a pulse?
And how can we focus on the actual issues instead of straw men like this? Posted by: LawnBoy at October 22, 2008 10:52 PM
Comment #267977

Errr… “We should allow…” should be “We should not allow…”

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 22, 2008 10:54 PM
Comment #267980
But laws around the country legalizing gay marriage aren’t about winning freedoms, they’re about making divergent lifestyles seem normal.

No, they are just that, about ensuring that people aren’t treated differently because of a personal, private, choice in how to live their lives. The government should not, nor cannot, treat one individual differently than another for that personal and private choice they have made.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2008 11:00 PM
Comment #267983
personal, private, choice in how to live their lives.

And for many (if not all) of them, it’s not even a choice.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 22, 2008 11:01 PM
Comment #267991

Lee,

This is truly a rambling, bungling set of prose…you sound like Biden on a tear…teens learning how to commit anal sex in school??? Teens humping everything with a pulse??? Gawd, I’m glad I don’t live in your world…how about we just rip out all the boy’s peckers and put chastity belts on the girls?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2008 12:01 AM
Comment #267992

How can these people not see how mean spirited this is. Jesus went out of his way to eat a meal with a tax collector to prove a point. That we should treat all as equals.

How does gay marriage hurt anyone anyhow? How will gay marriage take rights away from anyone?

Posted by: NapaJohn at October 23, 2008 12:24 AM
Comment #267993

the blind leading the naked.

Posted by: NapaJohn at October 23, 2008 12:26 AM
Comment #267998

Lawnboy,

First. I don’t know how you can say the relationship between gay marriage and homosexual curriculum being taught in school is a non sequitur.

In Massachusetts and California where gay marriage has been legalized (among others), curriculum from kindergarten up is very much an issue. And in some instances it has gone into explicit detail. Here are a few additional examples.

A first grade field trip to a lesbian wedding
A sexually explicit event for teens sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Education
A Maryland school board mandated sex ed curriculum promoting gay lifestyle and ignoring opposite points of view

Second. This article does not argue that supporting marriage promotes casual sex, but that casual instruction on sex promotes casual sex. I support civil unions where it doesn’t become a pretext to promotion of a homosexual lifestyle in schools.

Third. Straw man? This statement was a commentary on a general trend of loosening of values including but not limited to some who support gay marriage, not the entire gay marriage movement itself. Whether or not anyone reading this article fits into this category makes no difference. There are those who will use and have used gay marriage laws to promote casual sex in school curriculum. Whatever other pretexts to promote casual sex for teens you can think of, I’m against them too.

P.S. Anyone who is here to argue about whether homosexuals deserve equal rights is in the wrong place. That is not what this article is about. It’s not about whether homosexuals should be treated with respect and love. My thesis is that tolerance at the expense of character is not an improvement. Please focus on the arguments, not the prose.

Posted by: Mark at October 23, 2008 2:49 AM
Comment #268000

Montie,
Haven’t read a thread before, nice to see another writer on the red side of WB.

I think this is a very well written post and speaks directly to my issue with the whole matter.

I could truly not care less what any man or woman does with another man or woman in their lives and homes. But I take GREAT issue with the idea that they have a right to establish to my children that their behavior is healthy and morally equivalent to traditional marriage - both without my consent and when I am not there. In a school that MY tax dollars go to support.

I live in Wasilla, AK (Yes THAT Wasilla) and there is a little controversy that has been brewing up here in Palmer - our nearest neighboring town. At Palmer High School, because there was a Christian group allowed to form and use the choir room during lunch hours for bible study, a gay teacher got the ACLU to write a threatening letter to the school administrators (before he asked permission) to allow a “diversity” group to meet in another school room. This teacher uses school copiers and paper to print up leaflets on gay sex, which the few members of the group accidentally leave laying around the school with the basic focus being “You cannot say you are straight until you have explored your sexuality.” One had a picture of a hot dog on the trifold with a subtext question being, “how do you know if you don’t like hot dogs until you’ve had one?”

Teens are going through enough emotional and hormonal challenges without having what 99% of local parents deem flagrantly irresponsible ideas shoved down their throats. No you are not forced to attend these classes, but seeds are easily planted in young minds.

The Christian group uses no such school resources, and was warned when they formed that religious advocacy outside of the meeting place would not be allowed, but no one in the school district dares address this matter for fear of a lawsuit by the ACLU.

It is THIS kind of example that lies at the heart of my (and I suspect most) people’s opposition to gay marriage being institutionalized in our society.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at October 23, 2008 3:13 AM
Comment #268001

Also, and this is speaking as previously (2001) the only straight member of a NAGVA (gay) volleyball league in San Francisco, the vaaaaaaast majority of male gay sex, in all age ranges, is sex to scratch the itch. It is not about two loving men committed to each other, it’s about getting off. And I actually don’t know a single person who is against equal rights for gay partners, male or female. But the agenda is pushed using the teeny-weeny minority, to validate the vaaast majority. The same is true of abortion (not to get off topic). I don’t know of anyone (literally) who would fault a mother who let her baby die or be aborted to save her life. It would be a tragedy worthy of hugs and tears and flowers. But the vaaaaaast majority of abortion is about sexually irresponsible choices and subsequent birth control, but the cause is championed for the tiny fraction of abortions where the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Same issue. It is shoving an irresponsible culture down the throats of our children, and against our parental consent.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at October 23, 2008 3:23 AM
Comment #268002

Mark
Most if not all “laws around the country legalizing gay marriage” are not actually new laws but rather court rulings. These rulings that are comming about are the natural outcome of a conservative SCOUTUS ruling voiding state laws criminalizing sexual behaviors between consenting adults. The rulings concerning gay marriage are based on the US Constitution and most state constitutions that provide for equal treatment under the law. IE If you can get a drivers license so should everyone else with equal qualifications. What could be more fair?

Posted by: bills at October 23, 2008 5:29 AM
Comment #268006

Mark,

It’s a non sequitur because you’re committing the logical fallacy of Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. You’re inventing a relationship that doesn’t exist. All of your points rely on this invalid assumption.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 8:51 AM
Comment #268007

It seems silly to me that some people think that if homosexual relationships are legitimized, then somehow we’ll go extinct as all the men and women indulge in same sex relationships.

Folks, let’s be honest: most people are naturally inclined to pursue the opposite sex. marriage merely regulates, and puts the stamp of approval on a kind of relationship that has happened naturally for millions of years.

If Christian, heterosexual marriage were required to keep straight people from become friends of Dorothy or fish discarding the bicycle, then humanity would have gayed itself out of existence long ago. Romans and Greeks indulged such relationships, and yet we survive.

I’d say, let it happen, and then sing the praises of good old fashion heterosexual marriage. Let the social liberals have gay marriage, it won’t stop straight people from cherishing and advocating straight marriage, if they really care. Don’t make gay marriage a scapegoat for the rest of societies ambivalence about the institution.

What the problem with modern marriage is, is the general selfishiness and self-absorption in society. If love is all about sex alone, legitimizing a sex life without considering the emotional life, then marriage will suffer.

In my mind, sex is never safe. It’s intended to serve procreation, no matter how we approach it culturally. We can beat our heads bloody against the point, but the point, if we can speak in evolutionary terms, is that if you’re in a sexual relationship with a member of the opposite sex, you run that risk. So what happens if the risk is realized? Well, then the priority becomes the child. It’s easier to raise a child if you have a stable committed relationship to do it from.

But instead of focusing on that angle, they focus on something unrelated, gays trying to get into committed, long term relationships. Jeez, do we really want gays to be promiscuous, to bounce back and forth between lovers? If people are going to be in such relationships, what’s the point of opposing the domesticization of such relationships.

Perhaps it would settle things down, return it to the non-concern. A lot of middle schoolers would be grateful to have that particular part of the culture war over. It used to be that you just didn’t talk about it, it was something that was barely remarked upon, that people moved on from, rather than dwell on it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 23, 2008 8:56 AM
Comment #268008

Marysdude,
“Lee,

This is truly a rambling, bungling set of prose…you sound like Biden on a tear…teens learning how to commit anal sex in school??? Teens humping everything with a pulse??? Gawd, I’m glad I don’t live in your world…how about we just rip out all the boy’s peckers and put chastity belts on the girls?”

Please check the byline on an article before you start attributing things to my hand. I have never, and will never use such wordings or such arguments as these.

I do oppose “gay” marriage on the grounds that marriage as an istitution is not about sex. It is about raising children. For that reason I believe some of the benefits and, frankly, the constraints, of marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples legally joined for the formation and life-long nurture of families.

I’ve been attacked in the past by people claiming the logic of my argument would deny older couples, even heterosexual couples, the right to marry. If people wanted to enforce such a ban in retribution for denying homosexual marriage it would be worth it to preserve marriage as an environment for the nurture of children.

As to other issues, for people in committed lifelong partnerships I fully support laws extending legal familial rights, especially the right to hospital visitation, rights of heritability of common property, and the extension of family rights in such matters as employer health insurance. The law should be blind to sexuality in such relationships as long as they can be shown to be long-term and in some way legally binding (i.e. difficult to step away from).

Watch a comment string on an article such as this and you will nearly always see someone attack the necessity of marriage in the raising of children. Numerous studies show, however, that the children of single-parent households fare far worse on nearly every scale of adult success than children raised in homes where a man and a woman raise a family together. This debate is not about equal rights.

It is about destroying marriage as a social institution.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 23, 2008 9:07 AM
Comment #268009
marriage as an istitution is not about sex. It is about raising children.

This is too funny. The rest of us, who don’t want or can’t have children, should just have sex wherever and whenever we want. Yeah, that’s moral. Just to prevent gays from having legitimate, long term relationships and the legalities that go along with marriage. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 23, 2008 9:15 AM
Comment #268010

>A lot of middle schoolers would be grateful to have that particular part of the culture war over. It used to be that you just didn’t talk about it, it was something that was barely remarked upon, that people moved on from, rather than dwell on it.
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 23, 2008 08:56 AM

Stephen,

Yeah, like they used to say about black people (or not say), those who spoke sometimes spoke too loudly and the rest remained silent. Sometimes the quiet is more of a problem than the noise.

These folks that yell about how gays will take over the world if they get their way, are the same ones who yelled that the black would rub off on us, and we’d turn into jungle-bunnies if we integrated.

Hate and a disrespect for our Constitution by the very ones who claim a franchise on patriotism…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2008 9:16 AM
Comment #268013

>It is about destroying marriage as a social institution.
Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 23, 2008 09:07 AM

Lee,

If ‘marriage as a social institution’, is so weak that it cannot withstand additions to its numbers, woe unto us as a society…but, your point about this not being a ‘rights’ issue??? Now, that is rambling and bumbling…

I got married by a Justice of the Peace, in a quiet civil ceremony…not in a church under the mantle of religious formality, but we still called it ‘getting married’. As long as gays don’t demand that a church with a bigoted doctrine marry them, why should a civil ceremony to wed them not be called a ‘marriage’?

It’s the RIGHT thing to do, even if those on the right don’t agree…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2008 9:27 AM
Comment #268016
Restricting rights is a bad precedent. But laws around the country legalizing gay marriage aren’t about winning freedoms, they’re about making divergent lifestyles seem normal. That means reeducation, starting in our public schools

Mark - this sounds like you are saying that gay men and women should wait for the rest of the country to be ready to accept them before they should have the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Why should anyone have to wait to have rights? I also don’t have a problem at all with having a discussion of homosexuality in high school. This period in anyone’s life is difficult and if you happen to be gay and feel like there is something wrong with you because you are taught that you live a “divergent lifestyle.” The last thing a teenager needs is to be ostracized - it leads to depression, even suicide. I don’t think teaching sexual techniques in school is appropriate for anyone but teaching about contraception and protection from disease is of vital importance. Hiding from these issues doesn’t make them go away.

I do oppose “gay” marriage on the grounds that marriage as an istitution is not about sex. It is about raising children.

Lee - where in our laws does it say this? Marriage is a business relationship between two people to the government. It is about property. I didn’t sign anything saying that as a condition of the state granting me a marriage license that I was going to having and raising children. Gay people have children too, should gay people with children be allowed to be married?

Posted by: tcsned at October 23, 2008 9:47 AM
Comment #268017

marysdude,

First you’re still trying to hang this article on me, a factual mistake. Or, maybe, not a mistake.

Second, one sees all the time where someone has a trademark infringed by other’s generic use (the use of the term “xerox” for a photocopy, or the use in the South of the term “coke” for any soda drink are good examples) the distinction that made the trademark worth something is diluted.

Why, for example, are we now fighting over polygamy when the offenders are people most of us think of as religious oddities? Aren’t they simply extending the reach of marriage? How is what they are doing worse, since they profess, and practice, a committed nuturing relationship for their offspring, than the informal serial polygamy without any nurture whatsoever so fervently practiced in communities across the country?

Marriage that becomes everything becomes nothing. The fight on the left is to make marriage everything.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 23, 2008 9:51 AM
Comment #268021
If people wanted to enforce such a ban in retribution for denying homosexual marriage it would be worth it to preserve marriage as an environment for the nurture of children.

My second son was just born, and that’s as many children as I want, so I’ve scheduled a vasectomy. If your thinking ruled the world, I wouldn’t be allowed to remarry if my wife died after my vasectomy. You would really prefer not to let a widowed father of two children remarry than let same-sex marriage happen? Bizarre.

Watch a comment string on an article such as this and you will nearly always see someone attack the necessity of marriage in the raising of children. Numerous studies show, however, that the children of single-parent households fare far worse on nearly every scale of adult success than children raised in homes where a man and a woman raise a family together. This debate is not about equal rights.

Nice bait-and-switch. You support disallowing gay couples to be married and/or raise children together because problems with single parents. You’re banning A because there’s a problem with B. It doesn’t make any sense.

Actually, since you would allow me to remarry if I am widowed, you would want the law to force me to be a single parent instead of letting me find a new mother for my sons. But didn’t you just say that having two parents is better? I guess that goal matters only when it helps you ban gay marriage.

It’s amazing the knots people have to tie themselves into in order to justify denying basic rights to others.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 10:12 AM
Comment #268024

Ack… “would allow me” should be “would not allow me”

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 10:18 AM
Comment #268025

Lawnboy,

That’s some pretty good bait and switch yourself. What I said was if people wanted to deny marriage to heterosexual couple who could not have children (and I was thinking primarily of couples past menopause with no children of their own) out of retribution for not permitting gay marriage it would be worth it to preserve marriage as an environment for the nurture of children. Would such a prohibition prevent you from re-forming a household with a new wife?
No.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 23, 2008 10:22 AM
Comment #268027

Lee,

What did I switch? If I have a vasectomy, then I would not be able to have more children. Therefore, any marriage I enter into would be a “marriage (of) heterosexual couple who could not have children”, a marriage you would find it acceptable to prohibit in order to “preserve marriage as an environment for the nurture of children”.

I didn’t switch anything.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 10:32 AM
Comment #268033
(and I was thinking primarily of couples past menopause with no children of their own)

Even with this disclaimer, I find your thinking to be shocking. My wife’s grandfather lost his first wife to heart disease when they were in their 50s. When he was around 70, he married again, to a widow who was herself in her 70s. Obviously, she was post-menopausal, so they wouldn’t have children. Why would you deny them a marriage that provided each of them love and support for the last decade of their lives?

Would you really tell the 70-year-old widowed Reverend that he shouldn’t be allowed to remarry in order to be able to keep young couples in love from marrying each other? I’m appalled.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 10:52 AM
Comment #268034

You HAVE children. You are nurturing your children. That is the process for which marriage evolved as a fundamental institution in human culture.

Beyond that process (which, I can tell you, does not end when the kids leave home, or even have their own kids) marriage is just a domestic partnership.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 23, 2008 10:52 AM
Comment #268036

Lee - where in the legal code does it say anything about children being the reason for marriage? I understand about the traditional role of marriage but since we live in a country supposedly run by the rule of law, not the rule of traditions, where does it say this? I contend that to the state marriage is just a business relationship even though it is much more personally, culturally, and religiously.

Posted by: tcsned at October 23, 2008 10:58 AM
Comment #268037
You HAVE children. You are nurturing your children.

Ok, so what if I decided that the partner with whom I would be able best to nurture my children is another man? That would be an environment for the nurture of children. So it would qualify, right?

And same-sex couples can adopt (or use donor sperm) to have children they want to nurture. If you are changing your argument now that raising children is the key, not procreation itself, then there’s no reason to restrict marriage to heterosexual relationships.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 10:59 AM
Comment #268058

>Marriage that becomes everything becomes nothing. The fight on the left is to make marriage everything.
Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 23, 2008 09:51 AM

Lee,

Nope, just trying to make it ‘right’. It is a matter of ‘rights’, and has nothing to do with dilution of the word ‘marriage’.

If the word ‘marriage’ is so weak, how does it survive the divorce rate among hetros?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2008 12:31 PM
Comment #268059

I’m pretty sure this thing about word dilution is about the same as the old ‘separate-but-equal’ program that tried to insinuate between civil rights and actual freedom for black people.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2008 12:34 PM
Comment #268064

Lee,

Mea Culpa! I have tried to hang this posting on you…I didn’t know anyone else filed over here…my bad…it doesn’t change anything about the things I’ve said, I just said most of it to the wrong guy…oh, well…

Mark Monte,

You presented well…you are wrong, but you present it well…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2008 1:08 PM
Comment #268070

Can any anti-gay marriage advocate point to anything in our code of laws or the Constitution that says the state’s interest in marriage is for raising children? Otherwise it is just your opinion of what the government’s interest in marriage should be, which is fine. We are all entitled to opinions and to air them in public but opinions and wishes are not enough to discriminate against same sex couples getting married in the eyes of the state.

Posted by: tcsned at October 23, 2008 1:37 PM
Comment #268071

Welcome Mark Montie
You said-
“But in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is already legal, homosexual relationships have begun being taught to kindergärtners as “normal” without the consultation of parents. “

However your Massachusetts link said “We don’t view telling a child that there is a family out there with two mommies as teaching about homosexuality, heterosexuality, or any kind of sexuality,” he said. We are teaching about the realities of where different children come from.”

So it seems the school district believes it isn’t teaching sexuality in particular but different families structures in general. I question whether kindergarten is the right age level as I’m not sure 5 year olds care one way or the other about “diversity”, but teaching sex is a leap isn’t it?

The quoted article goes on to say “The bag of books promoting diversity is sent home with one student at a time, said Rachel F. Cortez, copresident of the Estabrook parent-teacher association and a member of the school’s Anti-Bias Committee.”

Which leads me to believe that the school is not spending class time on the books. Is that incorrect?


The article also states “The kids don’t have to take them [the materials] home,” she said. Parents can either opt out entirely or use whatever materials they want.”

Which leads me to believe that the instruction on the diversity subject is left up to the parent as to whether the kids receive it or not. Is this a correct assumption?

Finally the article says “David Parker said the topic of Wednesday’s meeting was not about the book bag, but about concerns that his son could be exposed to more books and lessons about “gay-headed” households.

Which leads me to believe that the school is not teaching sexuality to grade school age kids. It also causes me to question Mr. Parkers motives in this case as well as your motives as you use this link as an example to validate your comment “What the public schools can and should do is teach kids how to live in a diverse society. Am I missing something here?

I would agree that at the grade school level the public schools would serve our kids and grandkids better to spend the limited time and resources available to the school to teach the children the three R’s but I just don’t see the “teaching sex to kindergarteners” claim to be valid here. Most kids learn about different family structures on their own through friends and other families, I’m not sure the schools should spend to much time on the issue, but to use the “sex to kids” arguement doesn’t do the issue justice does it?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 23, 2008 1:50 PM
Comment #268073

j2t2,

Good catch on the misrepresentation of sources. I was more caught up in the “we’ll teach students how to perform anal sex” red herring/scare tactic to notice that.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 2:00 PM
Comment #268076
Beyond that process (which, I can tell you, does not end when the kids leave home, or even have their own kids) marriage is just a domestic partnership.

Lee, you’ve spun your own words and thoughts around so much to try and force your opinion on everyone else, that you’ve lost your own argument.
Most of you are merely trying to control the lives of different thinkers, literally, from birth to death. Not only to control that span, but its’ conception……literally.

Posted by: janedoe at October 23, 2008 2:18 PM
Comment #268084


“Good catch on the misrepresentation of sources.”

Lawnboy I am not really sure anything is misrepresented but it is confusing to me because it appears kids are being brought up as a reason to void the gay marriage laws in Mass, I think. It seems to be two separate issues in my mind.

I can understand David Parker being concerned about what his grade school aged children are being taught in public schools. I can agree with questioning whether a “bias committee” is necessary for grade schools. But I don’t see the link between getting married in Mass and diversity training in grade schools.

Mark
Comment 267992 has links to back up information but they don’t seem to work for me. Is that because of me?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 23, 2008 3:27 PM
Comment #268086

“Lee, you’ve spun your own words and thoughts around so much to try and force your opinion on everyone else, that you’ve lost your own argument.
Most of you are merely trying to control the lives of different thinkers, literally, from birth to death. Not only to control that span, but its’ conception……literally.”

Posted by: janedoe at October 23, 2008 02:18 PM

janedoe,

The real conflict here is about whether culture is about entertaining adults or nurturing successful people. Gay marriage is about entertaining adults.

I’ll have more later.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 23, 2008 4:08 PM
Comment #268091
The real conflict here is about whether culture is about entertaining adults or nurturing successful people. Gay marriage is about entertaining adults.

Huh?? Are you trying to say that you don’t believe anyone in a same-sex union is, or can be successful?? And to you, that same union is only “entertainment”?? A novelty, perhaps?

Posted by: janedoe at October 23, 2008 4:23 PM
Comment #268092

Lee - there are plenty of gay couples that have kids - are they exempt from discrimination? Also, who cares if someone’s marriage is just entertaining adults. If straight couples are allowed to have a marriage that is entertainment why not gay couples? Straight couples don’t have to be in love with each other, plan to have kids, or even like each other. Larry Craig was allowed to have a marriage of convenience to prove to the world that he is not gay but someone not living a lie cannot.

I guess there is no legal or constitutional grounds for denying gay marriage or someone would have come forth with some evidence. As far as I’m concerned that pretty much ends the argument in favor of allowing gay marriage.

Posted by: tcsned at October 23, 2008 4:25 PM
Comment #268096
Huh??

janedoe,

Lee is just trying to pull the “think of the children” gambit. Since his logical arguments are falling flat and becoming self-contradictory, he’s going for the emotional appeal that he cares about children and we don’t.

It’s silly.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 4:40 PM
Comment #268098

Yukon Jake writes; “The Christian group uses no such school resources, and was warned when they formed that religious advocacy outside of the meeting place would not be allowed, but no one in the school district dares address this matter for fear of a lawsuit by the ACLU.”

My friend, the very best organization I have found for fighting the ACLU in court is the “Alliance Defense Fund”. This group of Christian attorneys, mostly unpaid, devote their time and talent to fight against those who would destroy the values that most American’s cherish. I donate to them on a regular basis as they have been successful in numerous court cases against the ACLU on issues that involve my core beliefs. In fact, many school districts, cities and others threatened by lawsuit by the ACLU, with advice and help from ADF, have found the ACLU backing off from their attempts to sue.

Many times the ACLU has tried to bully those targeted with threats of lawsuit knowing full well that their position is not constitutional.

Here’s just a small sample of what the ADF stands for.

Protecting Family Values
The Power of Alliance

Support ADF in prayer

The family is the most basic unit of any society or nation. Without healthy, functioning families, a culture cannot survive.

God created marriage as the unity of one man and one woman. This has been both the legal and traditional understanding of a marriage – literally – for millennia, since Eden.

Sadly, many radical activist groups in the U.S. are attempting to twist the law to change the definition of marriage and the family to include same-sex “marriage,” polygamy, polyamory, and other structures. These groups scoff at the idea that there is any fixed or known set of values or beliefs that is generally good for families or culture.

ADF has fought against numerous attacks on marriage and family values, including efforts to:

* Allow children unlimited access to pornography over the Internet in public libraries
* Allow those engaging in homosexual behavior to have preference to adopt children and be foster parents
* Allow those engaging in homosexual behavior to serve openly in the military
* Expose children to explicit sex education materials contrary to parental approval
* Deny parents the right to raise their children before God as they see fit

The Alliance Defense Fund provides case funding, strategy and coordination, attorney training, and litigation to oppose such attacks because:

1. Weakening the family and undermining the values that support it will ultimately destroy our society and dramatically impact religious civil liberties.
2. Weakening the family harms individuals, and especially children.

Related information

Read about victories protecting family values

Learn more about Defense of Marriage Acts

Learn more about halting pornography

Their website can be found here; http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/main/default.aspx

Posted by: Jim M at October 23, 2008 4:54 PM
Comment #268100

Tcsned,

Good comment. I’m not advocating making gays wait for their rights. This is a complicated issue. I wish it had been dealt with years ago so we wouldn’t have to do it. But I don’t think it’s any more moral to try to force anyone with strong beliefs that a gay lifestyle is wrong to suddenly be ok with having it taught to their children. We all don’t have to agree on whether being gay is a sin or a born in trait, etc. But we should all be able to talk about diversity without bigotry. That discussion doesn’t need to have anything to do with sex. That’s how we should be taking care of the gay teen who feels ostracized.

“…teaching about contraception and protection from disease is of vital importance. Hiding from these issues doesn’t make them go away.”

I agree that this is part of an appropriate discussion about sex. But there is a difference in teaching it as a way to act responsibly and as a way to avoid responsibility for one’s actions. To teach about sex in a way that presupposed the students are going to go right out and use it, makes it more likely that they will.

J2t2,
Another good comment. If the Massachusetts school teachers were talking explicitly about sex to kindergartners I don’t think any of us would be ok with it. What bothered me about that example was that the school took it upon itself to visit a controversial subject without bringing the parents into the discussion. In that article, you will remember, there was disagreement about whether the material was presented to parents at the back-to-school night. It also confuses me that the school said they allowed opting out of the program when the Parkers didn’t find out about the material until they saw it in their child’s book bag. I think a situation like this gives a parent more than probable cause to be worried about what his child is being taught. I would like to hear your thoughts on the controversial sex education curriculum approved last year in a Maryland school district.

The issue of parent involvement is key. Presenting a homosexual situation to children, of whatever age, without allowing parents to provide a moral context is a back door approach to diversity teaching and it undermines the goal. The first quotation you cited about the school not believing what they were teaching was sexual was a direct response to a question about why they didn’t feel they were bound by Massachusetts law to tell parents about the curriculum. The article quotes Governor Romney describing the law.

“Schools under our parental-notification law are required to inform parents … of matters relating to human sexuality that may be taught in the classroom and to allow that child to be out of the classroom for that period of the education.”

You may not consider books about same-sex couples raising children as “relating to human sexuality,” but the parents should at least be part of the discussion.

Posted by: Mark at October 23, 2008 5:01 PM
Comment #268104

Mark -

(note - this is a modification of a prior reply in another thread)

“All men are created equal.” Today we understand that to include women as well. EQUAL, Mark. No human being is LESS of a human being than any other and is EQUALLY deserving of the SAME rights and dignity of every other human being.

Now, Mark - when it comes to gays and lesbians…are you attracted to guys? I assume that you are of course NOT. I assume that there is NOTHING that could ever force you to be attracted to other guys. Ever.

So taking into consideration your own experience of enjoying one type of sex (hetero) and NOT the other type (homo), then what makes you think that a true homosexual can be ‘convinced’ to be attracted to the opposite sex?

So if a homosexual can NEVER be convinced to be attracted to the opposite sex, then what American right have we to tell him he has NO right to the pursuit of happiness as our Founding Fathers laid down in the Declaration of Independence? And don’t give me “the Bible says so”, because we have freedom of religion in America…which means we have NO right to force our disparate religious beliefs on anyone else!

And let’s not stop there! If marriage is to be only between a man and a woman, then WHY did God allow true hermaphrodites? And then there’s women with AIS - Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome - which gives them all the parts of a female…but also an internal set of testes AND the ‘Y’ chromosome? How could God, being perfect as He certainly is, demand that homosexuality was so sinful, yet allow hermaphrodites and AIS? The only other possibility is that those who recorded the Bible allowed some of their cultural mores to influence their writing…and even Jeremiah railed against those who were not accurate in their recordings of Scripture.

Mark, I am very much a Christian…but I also know that Christianity has to agree with scientific and logical fact. Those who feel they ignore hard scientific fact to protect their faith…are simply weak in the faith.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at October 23, 2008 5:10 PM
Comment #268106
But I don’t think it’s any more moral to try to force anyone with strong beliefs that a gay lifestyle is wrong to suddenly be ok with having it taught to their children.

But what does this have to do with the subject of the title of the article, Gay Marriage Laws?

Did you just mislabel this article? I characterized your article as full of non sequiturs because your text was all about education, while your title was about something else. It seems more that Gay Marriage isn’t the focus of your article, but just the hook.

If your thesis is that kids should be taught about sexuality in a careful, age-appropriate manner, then I agree (in principle if not in detail). If, instead, your thesis is that teaching sex ed responsibly requires prohibiting gay marriage, then I maintain that the two are not related.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 5:19 PM
Comment #268107

Glenn asks; “WHY did God allow true hermaphrodites?”

Good question Glenn. The answer is for the same reason that God allows death, sickness, war, pestilence, hunger, privation, and a myriad of other human conditions. It’s the same reason that God allows atheists to exist. Glenn, in case you haven’t noticed, earth isn’t heaven. Man controls the world and reaps his own rewards and punishments. Jesus promised paradise with him for those who believe in him. Until then, man is in control of man.

Why does God allow bad things happen to good people? Anyone asking this question would first of all have to believe there is a God…otherwise why ask? (Please understand Glenn, that as an admitted Christian I am not addressing you) God did not create us as puppets on a string. Rather, God gave man free will and full responsibility for our actions and for what we would become. He also gave us a guidebook that, if followed, would result in eternal life free of all the maladies that afflict us on earth.

What confuses me is why, if gay marriage is a constitutional right, is the California Supreme Court even allowing a vote? If it is a settled “Constitutional Right” issue, why has the “Defense of Marriage” act not been struck down? Just curious.

Posted by: Jim M at October 23, 2008 5:42 PM
Comment #268108
If it is a settled “Constitutional Right” issue, why has the “Defense of Marriage” act not been struck down? Just curious.

Because the ballot option is an amendment. Amendments can change Constitutional Rights - laws can’t.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 5:49 PM
Comment #268109
The answer is for the same reason that God allows death, sickness, war, pestilence, hunger, privation, and a myriad of other human conditions.

So, hermaphrodites are the result of Free Will? How does that work?

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 5:50 PM
Comment #268110

Glen,

I don’t think my article contains any religious arguments for denying rights to gays. Nor does it argue that gays should try to be attracted to the opposite sex. But I think it is essential, as a Christian, to uphold the principles of a strong society our country was founded on such as self discipline, self respect, and self conscious shame - even as we get better at treating all men (and women) as equals.

I think it’s interesting that you pointed out that we now understand “men” in the Declaration of Independence to include women. They didn’t see it that way when they wrote it, but we still don’t see them as intolerant bigots.

Posted by: Mark at October 23, 2008 5:54 PM
Comment #268111

Mark:

I’m not advocating making gays wait for their rights. This is a complicated issue. I wish it had been dealt with years ago so we wouldn’t have to do it. But I don’t think it’s any more moral to try to force anyone with strong beliefs that a gay lifestyle is wrong to suddenly be ok with having it taught to their children.

Would you have also stood against trying to “force anyone with strong beliefs that an interracial marriage is wrong to suddenly be ok with having it taught to their children”? Because the arguments you make against gay marriage, for the sake of keeping children from being taught that it is acceptable if their parents believe it to be wrong, would have been just as applicable to interracial marriage before Loving v Virginia.

Btw, regarding your attempted links: the field trip was to celebrate the marriage of their teacher, and was made at the suggestion of one of the parents. That was the only one I could find based on the titles you gave, the links themselves don’t work properly.

Posted by: Jarandhel at October 23, 2008 5:57 PM
Comment #268115

Lawnboy asks; “So, hermaphrodites are the result of Free Will? How does that work?”

Lawnboy, I don’t know if you are asking this question out of a desire to understand or to just generate more questions based upon my answer. One could ask the same of medical conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer etc or babies being born cojoined, deaf, blind, with missing or deformed limbs and so on. Let me know of your true and honest intentions and I will respond accordingly.

There is a good answer to your question.

Posted by: Jim M at October 23, 2008 6:18 PM
Comment #268116

I guess it depends on whether you actually think there’s an answer to my question. That sin results from Free Will I understand. But I don’t see the theology that developmental irregularities do as well.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 6:24 PM
Comment #268122

Mark replied ” What bothered me about that example was that the school took it upon itself to visit a controversial subject without bringing the parents into the discussion.”

I agree Mark,the whole issue of diversity and bias wouldn’t be on my list of important things that kindergartners need to be taught. The article doesn’t make it clear if other parents were informed or not so it seems to be a “he said they said” problem at this point. I would be amazed to find out that the book in question would be overtly sexual and still be given out to five and six year old children to take home to parents. I would also be amazed that were it overtly sexual Mr. Parker would be the first parent to complain as the school year was only 2 or 3 months from being over as the incident happened in April of 2005. I usual side with the school districts on issues like this as I don’t see where they benefit by intentionally providing overtly sexual material to youngsters in their charge.

From the religious organizations link to the PBS site-
“same-sex couples are beginning to challenge policies of religious organizations that exclude them, claiming that a religious group’s view that homosexual marriage is a sin cannot be used to violate their right to equal treatment.”

Which it seems is the main point of your post. After reading the various cases in the PBS article I do find where I agree with one side on some of the cases and the other side on other cases. The issue seems to be more complex than just civil unions or marriage of same sex couples when the same sex couples insist churches or persons of a particular faith conform to their wishes despite the churches/persons stance on the issue. I fail to see why a well crafted law allowing a same sex couple to marry/civil union would allow them any greater rights than the right to marry, especially rights that usurp other peoples religious beliefs.

Not having an ax to grind either way I only hope that this doesn’t become a federal issue as I would not want federal government interference in marriage laws that state have managed for so long. The thought of a constitutional amendment favoring either side doesn’t appeal to me and I would most likely be opposed to it.

Seems to me the social conservatives that oppose same sex marriage should separate the marriage issue from the diversity at school issue from the religious rights issue in order to gain support for the religious rights issue and a closer look by others to the diversity issue.


Posted by: j2t2 at October 23, 2008 7:17 PM
Comment #268124

LawnBoy, thank you for your response which I choose to believe contains an honest and fair question.

My original statement that you responded to included this; “God gave man free will and full responsibility for our actions and for what we would become.”

Let us assume that at some point we had original parents in human form given free will and full responsibility by God. Let us also assume those original parents didn’t have the deformity you spoke of. This is logical…if they were hermaphrodites (genderless) the human race would hardly have continued. So, one could be fairly certain that our original parents were capable of reproducing offspring.

Between the time of our original parents and now something must have happened to make it possible for the existence of hermaphrodites. At this point Lawnboy, your guess is as good as mine as to the cause, although as we better understand our genetic make-up, at some point we may better understand how genes mutated to allow such abnormalities. My point is that an infinitely powerful God created humans in his likeness and without the condition you cite.

Posted by: Jim M at October 23, 2008 7:36 PM
Comment #268127

Lawnboy,

I do believe gay marriage is linked to teaching explicit sexual material in public schools as well as promoting homosexual relationships as normal for students as young as kindergarten without consent of parents.

In Massachusetts, gay marriage was legalized in 2004. Almost immediately, this became a premise for teaching about gay sex. Deb Allen, an 8th grade sex ed teacher in Brookline, MASS, gave an interview to NPR in September, 2004. Here is part of the transcript.

DEB ALLEN: In my mind, I know that, `OK, this is legal now.’ If somebody wants to challenge me, I’ll say, `Give me a break. It’s legal now.’
TOVIA SMITH: And, Allen says, teaching about homosexuality is also more important now. She says the debate around gay marriage is prompting kids to ask a lot more questions, like what is gay sex, which Allen answers thoroughly and explicitly with a chart.
DEB ALLEN: And on the side, I’m going to draw some different activities, like kissing and hugging, and different kinds of intercourse. Alright?
TOVIA SMITH: Allen asks her students to fill in the chart with yeses and nos.
DEB ALLEN: Alright. So can a woman and a woman kiss and hug? Yes. Can a woman and a woman have vaginal intercourse, and they will all say no. And I’ll say, `Hold it. Of course, they can. They can use a sex toy. They could use’—and we talk—and we discuss that. So the answer there is yes.

I’ve already discussed the David Parker case. There was another one as well. In 2006, Joey Wirthlin’s teacher read a book called King and King to her second grade class. The book is about a prince who rejects several princesses and ends up marrying another prince. The last page is a picture of the princes kissing with a heart covering their faces. The parents in both of these cases sued the schools to make it mandatory for teachers to notify parents when these subjects were taught and allow the students to opt out. They lost their case and appealed it. Here is an excerpt from the appellate court’s opinion.

“Joey has a more significant claim, both because he was required to sit through a classroom reading of King and King and because that book affirmatively endorses homosexuality and gay marriage. It is a fair inference that the reading of King and King was precisely intended to influence the listening children toward tolerance of gay marriage. ”

Still the appeal failed. One reason they gave was because gay marriage was legal in Massachusetts.

“Given that Massachusetts has recognized gay marriage under its state constitution, it is entirely rational for its schools to educate their students regarding that recognition.”

These were second graders. The case was not to stop all discussion about homosexual topics, it was to ensure parents knew when they were being addressed and had the right to opt their kids out.

That’s one for one on states where gay marriage has been legalized for longer than five months. Teachers and courts use the legalizing of gay marriage to justify teaching it in schools. These sentiments don’t have to be the majority. Each teacher gets to decide how they will present gay topics to their students where gay marriage is legal. Non sequitur?

Posted by: Mark at October 23, 2008 8:46 PM
Comment #268128

Jarandhel,

I don’t care what the example is. Telling anyone they have to accept their kids being taught something they feel is morally wrong is going to get them fired up. There are some things we would all agree is morally wrong, and others we wouldn’t. We as a nation should not, as a rule, be standing between parents and their children.

Posted by: Mark at October 23, 2008 9:02 PM
Comment #268130

j2t2,

“I fail to see why a well crafted law allowing a same sex couple to marry/civil union would allow them any greater rights than the right to marry, especially rights that usurp other peoples religious beliefs.”

I think “well crafted” is the key word. But I also think we need to have the collective will to see that we don’t lose out to those who would use the law as a premise to trash American values. One renegade teacher, such as the one I mentioned above to Lawnboy could do a lot of damage. I just don’t think we’re there yet.

“Not having an ax to grind either way I only hope that this doesn’t become a federal issue as I would not want federal government interference in marriage laws that state have managed for so long. The thought of a constitutional amendment favoring either side doesn’t appeal to me and I would most likely be opposed to it.”

I completely agree with you there. We don’t need another Roe v. Wade.

Posted by: Mark at October 23, 2008 9:23 PM
Comment #268131

The federal government has already gotten involved in marriage in 1967 when they decided that Virginia’s interracial marriage law was unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia. They ruled that the while marriage is generally a state issue, they did not have the right to violate the 14th amendment. Which the same arguments they made in that case are relevant to this issue.

Posted by: tcsned at October 23, 2008 9:45 PM
Comment #268132

Mark,

Well, it seems that you had more in mind when you made your jumps from one topic to another. Since you didn’t actually include it but assumed that we knew what you didn’t put on the paper, yes, it was a non sequitur.

In terms of the issues at hand, you’re still focusing too much on the connection, in my opinion. The concerns you express could be address by laws that focus on the educational system instead of withholding rights from fellow citizens. If your goal is to modify the educational system, focus on the educational system.

Use a scalpel, not a howitzer.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 23, 2008 10:08 PM
Comment #268134

In my church, you’re not supposed to get divorced, much less remarry while your former partner’s still alive. In that view, it is conceivable that permissive laws regarding divorce might destroy the institution of marriage.

But people still get married, and there are still those who value the institution. It’s still seen as a wonderful thing.

You can look at one as corrosive to the other, but then you have to ask, “how?”. I mean, think about it this way: is some redneck in Georgia going to have second thoughts about marriage because he’s heard that gay people get married too? Is that just going to ruin it for everybody?

It’s one of these “liberal beliefs are going to destroy the county” things. We can’t possibly sit here, mind our own business and love our own part of the culture, making a good and positive example out of ourselves. No, we got to get strident about it, and contrary to our other stated beliefs, get the federal government involved in keeping things the way we want them. And if we don’t get what we want, we’ll call it judicial activism, regardless of the real quality of the legal reasoning.

Too many cultural conservatives hold the illusion that they can actually get enough power to force back the shift in the country away from traditional values. Unfortunately, I think they badly misidentified the central core of the problem, and got hung up on sins that were more about confronting and rolling back the cultural part of the new left, instead of confronting the overall trend towards socially amoral behavior.

They essentially helped promote a culture that was decidedly anti-Christian in its own way, that disparaged being merciful, being a peacemaker, being open to those beyond one’s own nation and people. They allowed it to be dominated by movements that were unfriendly towards science, unfriendly towards the development of the intellect, and by those who supported the kind of irresponsible behavior and stewardship that has marked this era.

By doing that, they surrendered the true moral center. But there was nowhere for it to come to rest. The Democrats were too busy, for the most part, responding politically to the Reagan Revolution.

We need to stop treating character in America as a matter of what dragons you seek to slay, and instead focus on reviving the value of integrity in ordinary life.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 23, 2008 10:34 PM
Comment #268136

Mark Montie thanks for the link to NPR and the interview. As NPR is an excellent unbiased source that treats the issue fairly it is hard to argue with what we hear on the interview IMHO. Seems to me your article’s assertion that there is a link between same sex marriage laws and public sex education is true and correct.

If I recall correctly the original need for sex education in the public schools was because of high pregnancy rates and STD’s coupled with a lack of education outside of the schools to counter the high rates of both. Assuming that this is still the case today, it appears there is still a need for sex education. Pregnancy in homosexual sex isn’t a problem, although STD’s are. Why would explicit sexual instruction be needed to prevent the spread of STD’s? Or for that matter for avoiding unwanted pregnancies? Seems the curriculum may need to be vetted a bit.

On the issue of diversity and sex education in public schools perhaps it is time to reconsider whether public schools are still the appropriate venue for sex education. After listening to the comments of all sides on the NPR tape I wonder if the focus in class has shifted to sexual instruction as opposed to sex education. Seems no one is really satisfied with the current approach, at least in Mass., and a rethinking of the issue and serious discussions by all should be considered at the local and state level.

I can understand how a gay youngster and or their parents may feel they are entitled to the same quality of instruction at a public school as the hetro youngster with same sex marriage legalized but I’m not sure I agree with it. I don’t see how it falls into a civil rights issue as it appears to be more of a wants issue to me.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 23, 2008 11:01 PM
Comment #268137
I can understand how a gay youngster and or their parents may feel they are entitled to the same quality of instruction at a public school as the hetro youngster with same sex marriage legalized but I’m not sure I agree with it. I don’t see how it falls into a civil rights issue as it appears to be more of a wants issue to me.


Huhhh???

Posted by: janedoe at October 23, 2008 11:12 PM
Comment #268139

Huhhh??? What? janedoe. Listen to the “interview to NPR link” above and it might make sense. If not what do you question?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 23, 2008 11:49 PM
Comment #268146

“Well, it seems that you had more in mind when you made your jumps from one topic to another. Since you didn’t actually include it but assumed that we knew what you didn’t put on the paper, yes, it was a non sequitur.”

Well, I won’t belabor that point. We wouldn’t have had as much fun if I gave it to you right off.

“In terms of the issues at hand, you’re still focusing too much on the connection, in my opinion. The concerns you express could be address by laws that focus on the educational system instead of withholding rights from fellow citizens. If your goal is to modify the educational system, focus on the educational system.”

That would be ideal, I agree. But let’s try to get it right in Massachusetts before we subject all of our schools to that kind of turmoil. There’s no reason this has to be as long and painful as the civil rights movement has been. Hopefully we’ve learned something from it. But there is always a learning curve between knowing we need to change and being able to do it in the right way without lots of negative results.

Posted by: Mark at October 24, 2008 1:40 AM
Comment #268151

If the church in question is one that advocates that political position is within the purview of the church, it should be open to suits by gays to marry within that church. That church should also be open to taxation, but argument is for another day.

This is a complex issue at best, but one thing cannot be denied…human and civil rights are being violated, under our Constitution, if we continue to deny gays the same rights the rest of us enjoy.

And, if a church feels the need to interfere in government works, it becomes a PAC, and as such loses the separation right as stated under the Constitution.

If there are school systems out there that carry the messages of sex education too far,i.e., explicit portrayals to Kindergartners, etc., that can be dealt with on a case by case basis, but, for the most part, such charges are red herrings foisted on us by zealots and kooks.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 24, 2008 5:29 AM
Comment #268160

I do understand what a difficult issue this is for some people to accept - as I said in my post on the Dem side, I went through my own epiphany on this issue 20 years ago, before that I probably would have been on the conservative side of this issue because I didn’t understand what being gay was like. What it is like feeling like you are a pariah in your own community for something that you can’t exercise from your existence (nor should anyone have to).

Permitting gays the same marriage rights can’t possible interfere with anyone else’s marriage, cause straight people to turn gay, or ruin the fabric of society. It will simply allow people to pursue their personal happiness without interference from anyone else.

I do think some kind of educational component is appropriate. Thankfully, I am involved in university education and if it ever comes up in my class I can tell people exactly what I think. Though I never make political speeches or endorsements in a class, I will stand up for people’s civil rights. How to handle this for younger kids is a lot more difficult. But explaining to kids that some families are different is ok with me. My kids aren’t school age yet but I would have no problem with them learning that some families have two mommies or two daddies. I think the last thing we need is to make kids who live in same sex households that there is something wrong with them. No matter how you feel about their parents hopefully we all can agree that the person who’s fault it is not is the child. Making a child feel like an outcast because of his/her parents is wrong. Kids can be awfully cruel to each other and these kids will have a rough enough time with of the uptight people out there they should at least feel like their family is recognized as just as normal as anyone else’s not better or worse. As to sex education, I believe parents can have their kids opt out if they wish.

Posted by: tcsned at October 24, 2008 9:32 AM
Comment #268189

When I was a high school student, I used to post here occasionally under the name Warren P, but stopped because my parents were concerned with me communicating with unknown people on the internet. I’m older now, and attending college so I feel comfortable commenting here.

I graduated from my public high school in Massachusetts last spring, and I can tell everyone from my personal experience, that whatever happened in Lexington or Brookline is not an overall trend here. I was in eighth grade in 2004 and I participated in several sex-ed classes at my high school and middle school. I experienced absolutely no instructions on how to perform any “sex acts”. When we discussed sex, we were given information regarding how effective different types of contraception are; we also discussed that only abstinence works 100% of the time. Nevertheless, the only times homosexuality came up is when my teacher told us that non-vaginal sex spreads STD too, and we should practice abstinence or use contraception depending on how much risk we were willing to take. The other time was a suicide-prevention day when my teacher gave us a reading that talked about how homosexual teenagers are at risk for suicide, and that there are counseling resources for people who are having trouble with their family accepting their sexuality.

In any case, the lesson at the elementary schools was not “sex-ed”, but diversity. The same book covered traditional families as well as others ranging from different races and cultures. The author also included family different family structures, an orphan raised by a grandparent or with an Aunt/Uncle + cousins. Included in this discussion was an illustration of a household with a same-sex couple. Children need to know that they shouldn’t be intolerant of people who are different. The book also is probably a better tool to use than shocking the child when both of a classmates dads (or moms) come to pick him/her up.

This issue needs to be treated with delicacy, but that is no excuse for denying anyone their civil rights. I’m glad that Massachusetts has refused to use change its Constitution to conform with the standards of some; I only wish more states would make the same decision.

Posted by: Warped Reality at October 24, 2008 1:14 PM
Comment #268193

How many young kids want a university level answer when they ask us things? Why do “we” feel the need to get excessively technical when giving them information?
What’s wrong with “because they love each other” as an answer until they’re mature enough to absorb more information and exercise their own beliefs. Maybe they won’t be tainted by the bigotry sourrounding them. This really isn’t even all about the kids….it’s more for your own disparagement.

Posted by: janedoe at October 24, 2008 1:28 PM
Comment #268229

Warped Reality,

I’m glad to know the Brookline case is not typical. I’d be OK with diversity lessons mentioning homosexual families in a non-sexual way as long as the parents were given the respect of being told about it.

As for approaches to sex ed, it sounds like your schools were pretty responsible. What makes gay marriage such a controversial issue is that it makes a marvelous tool for people to use as an inroad into promoting casual and irresponsible sex. This kind of thing is a plague to our society. This is exactly what makes abortion such a contentious issue. If it wasn’t being used to such a broad extent to protect irresponsible people from the consequences of their immoral actions there would be no contention. Roe v. Wade wouldn’t mean a thing. If we can solve that issue legally or otherwise, I would agree with you 100 percent.

Posted by: Mark at October 24, 2008 6:42 PM
Comment #268257

Mark,
If you want to broaden the topic to abortion and how it relates to poor decision making, then I’ll give you what I think. While I generally consider myself as pro-choice, I can understand the reasons why someone might be concerned with abortion. You brought up the idea of solving the issue through legal means, which I think runs counter to the tradition of liberty upon which this nation was founded; that no one should be prohibited from doing whatever they want with their own property. In the case of pregnancy, the resources of the potential mother are siphoned off by the growing zygote/embryo/fetus. If a woman does not wish to donate her resources to a zygote or early stage embryo, then so be it. From what I’ve been able to decipher, it seems pretty clear that personhood does not begin at conception; there is no substantial difference between a newly formed zygote and the sperm and ovum from which it was made. A fetus a month away from birth, seems to be human; it has a functioning brain, which would therefore be capable of conscious sentient thought. At what point in between these cells gain personhood, I don’t know; only the Lord knows and if anyone tries to decipher when, I think it would be stepping on the toes of God. In any case, we live on an imperfect world where sins occur. If someone wishes to have an abortion procedure, that is a decision in which the only parties involved should be her doctor and her diety.

In any case, I think sex-ed should have an added emphasis on the availability of emergency contraception in the case that the planned contraception fails (condom breaks).

I also believe that there should be an emphasis in society towards insuring that abortions happen as early as possible in the pregnancy in order to lessen the chance that the developing embryo has achieved personhood.

That’s why I would like to add to the saying that states “abortion should be safe, legal and rare”. I think abortion should be safe, legal, rare and early.

One last thing: I have also participated in the Unitarian Universalist sex-ed program: Our Whole Lives (OWL), which is exactly the program that Social Conservatives imagine whenever they think the sky is falling. There are explicit diagrams and unashamed normalizations of homosexuality and other behavior. I think anyone who believes that this sort of program is harmful for adolescents is wrong; however, I do think that these topics are best handled by parents, churches, clergy etc.. (not in school unless it was an opt-in elective class that required a parent’s permission)

Posted by: Warped Reality at October 24, 2008 10:37 PM
Comment #268268

Warped Reality,

I didn’t intend to broaden the topic, just to point out that on both issues the central point of contention revolves around the actions of militant groups who advocate freedom without responsibility, and who have successfully propagated this point of view to teens all over the country. I don’t imagine that this would have been a problem in the OWL program you mentioned. I also take it that the program was opt-in, approved by parents and wasn’t paid for with tax money. So, I personally don’t think the sky is falling.

Posted by: Mark at October 25, 2008 12:01 AM
Comment #268275

Glen,

God does not “allow true hermaphrodites”, and neither does nature. You’ve assumed that in the case of hermaphroditism and AIS that individuals are between genders. Both conditions (as well as all other “hermaphrodites”)involved the incomplete development of some number of sexual characteristics. However, under no known circumstance can a human being be sexual neutral. Cerebral development is characteristically male or female (demonstrated by sexually dimorphic nuclei that account for neurological distinctions between male and female) and there are no known circumstances under which a brain is both.

As far as being created EQUAL, what do you mean? Is the Declaration of Independence the morally sound document that can define equality? You are pulling just as much religion into the argument as reference to the Bible. If you can provide a legitimate meaning to “equal” that is more valid than an argument against the morality of homosexuality than please do.

Posted by: Raven at October 25, 2008 3:44 AM
Comment #268295

Warped Reality thanks for the information, your comments have helped to educate me quite a bit on these issues.

The link to the OWL program seems to indicate that this group at the least uses age appropriate information and teaching methods. Seems to me this training is outside of the public school system and in the hands of parents and churches which is a good thing and I don’t find it to be inappropriate at first glance.


Mark said “just to point out that on both issues the central point of contention revolves around the actions of militant groups who advocate freedom without responsibility, and who have successfully propagated this point of view to teens all over the country.”

Mark I agree with you but don’t get me started on rights and responsibilities as,IMHO, everyone of us across the political spectrum have been negligent for decades on many fronts if our current state of affairs is any indication.

Judging from the information presented by you and Warped Reality it appears to me that some public school teachers may be to enthusiastic but it appears most have done a fair job with a tender subject, and militant groups on both sides of the issue may exacerbate the problem. Hopefully calmer heads will be able to prevail and the public school system can have a uniformed and workable sex education program that includes all without offending the militants on both sides of the issue. A happy middle ground if you will. I’ve learned a lot from this article and appreciate your effort.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 25, 2008 11:39 AM
Comment #268298

I keep missing the punchlines for these jokes. Teaching gender blindness? Why not just teach stupidity? Everyone has “divergent lifestyles”, but we’re just not aware of how the next person diverges from whatever we do. People writing in this forum should have been watching HBO for the last 7 or 8 years. Don’t the schools have enough to keep the students busy trying to learn how to take tests?

Posted by: ohrealy at October 25, 2008 11:53 AM
Comment #268305

>“just to point out that on both issues the central point of contention revolves around the actions of militant groups who advocate freedom without responsibility,

Mark,

You put the word responsibility to good use…do you feel the same way about gun ownership? Many who profess to believe the Constitution gives us all the right to own and bear arms, believe that, but never mention the word ‘responsibility’. Do you think it to be more important to use marriage, sex education, etc., responsibly than to use guns responsibly? Aren’t some of the groups advocating less gun laws actually pretty much militant?

In other words, if the Constitution gives all certain rights, i.e., the right to bear arms, the right to free speech, the right to worship, the right to pursue happiness, etc., but does not mention responsibility, are you being unrealistic to use the word the way you do?

As far as I know, responsibility is taught almost exclusively at home. And, as far as I know, it is not required under our Constitution, and is never mentioned.

If gay parents teach their children about responsibility, and heterosexual parents do not teach their children about responsibility, which will introduce the better citizen to life?

If in the sex-ed course taught in a particular school system, that teaches contraception, uses responsibility in the curriculum, but the abstinence only system, teaches only abstinence, without mentioning responsibility, which sex-ed class more meets your profile of what is best for America?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 25, 2008 12:57 PM
Comment #268309

I’m not sure if I made it clear; the OWL program was through my church and at the request of my parents (not associated with any school).

My only point was that although the OWL program goes beyond the scope of any public school sex-ed program, I think any parent would be foolish to not expose their adolescent to a similar program. I also wanted to say that I have a perception that those on the right keep fearing that such a program may be instituted in schools, which is hardly the case.

Posted by: Warped Reality at October 25, 2008 1:57 PM
Comment #268335

j2t2 wrote:

On the issue of diversity and sex education in public schools perhaps it is time to reconsider whether public schools are still the appropriate venue for sex education. After listening to the comments of all sides on the NPR tape I wonder if the focus in class has shifted to sexual instruction as opposed to sex education. Seems no one is really satisfied with the current approach, at least in Mass., and a rethinking of the issue and serious discussions by all should be considered at the local and state level.

I think this is exactly right. Massachusetts has become a laboratory for how we should look at sex education. And, Warped, the OWL program may be a good model for the rest of the country.

Marysdude,
I have no fundamental contention with anything you just wrote. Just because I’m writing in the conservative column doesn’t mean I think everyone should be able to walk into Walmart and express their right to buy a gun.

Responsibility isn’t expressly mentioned in the Constitution, but I believe it is implied in any society professing the rule of law. Police aren’t there just to babysit the rest of us. Doctors aren’t at the hospitals just waiting for people to come in after getting beaten up, or run off the road. Responsibility should first be taught in the home exactly for the purpose of living in a society under the rule of law.

Posted by: Mark at October 25, 2008 4:18 PM
Comment #268344

Mark,

You forgot to answer these…

>If gay parents teach their children about responsibility, and heterosexual parents do not teach their children about responsibility, which will introduce the better citizen to life?

If in the sex-ed course taught in a particular school system, that teaches contraception, uses responsibility in the curriculum, but the abstinence only system, teaches only abstinence, without mentioning responsibility, which sex-ed class more meets your profile of what is best for America?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 25, 2008 6:06 PM
Comment #268353

Obviously the child taught responsibility would be a better citizen. And it needs to be taught both at home and at school. That is one of my primary arguments, not that we should have only abstinence education, and not that gays are inherently unfit to raise children.

Posted by: Mark at October 25, 2008 11:27 PM
Comment #268375

Mark,

So, if gay couples raise more civic minded children, we should tolerate them, but not allow them to marry…and, if heteros raise less civic minded children, we should not tolerate them, but allow them to marry?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 26, 2008 11:10 AM
Comment #268402

You’re talking about aspects of the gay marriage debate I never addressed in my article. I’m talking about broad social effects of changing a law, not gay parenting skills.

I would change your statement to: If gay couples raise more civic minded children, we should thank them. Allowing them to marry is not inherently wrong, but is a much more complex question than whether they make good parents.

As for selfish dirtbag heterosexual couples, what do you propose we do there?

Posted by: Mark at October 26, 2008 3:41 PM
Comment #268404

I’ve thought of forcible castration, but that might have some complexities as well.

Posted by: Mark at October 26, 2008 3:49 PM
Comment #268411

Mark,

I understand you to be talking about broad spectrum effects on society if gay marriage is to become law…that said, since the law should not have to be changed in the first place, how can gay marriage effect anything, let alone society?

I’m still struggling with the fact that we find it necessary to talk about this issue…to go state to state to find out what their local complaints are and how they are handling those complaints…

To me, in my befuddlement, our Constitution, and its amendments give gays the right to do anything anyone else has a right to do, even white people, black people, women, poor people and, bless my soul, rich people too, and let’s not leave out religious folks…what in the world is so difficult to understand about human rights and civil rights?

This discussion about marriage LAWS makes my head hurt…

Ramifications on society??? Exactly what society, worth its salt, would be damaged by a gay marriage? It became clear a long time ago that there was a large percentage of human beings cohabiting that were of the same sex, later on it became just as obvious that those cohabiting couples could raise children just as well as straight couples…the biggest differences were that gay couples did not suffer the same benefits as straight couples, and as a result became second class citizens. The caste system is not a good system, and the caste system does not belong in what we laughingly call the freest nation on earth…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 26, 2008 4:36 PM
Comment #268434
…since the law should not have to be changed in the first place, how can gay marriage effect anything, let alone society?

Maybe we should be calling our forefathers intolerant bigots. (see comment 268110) In the nation they set up neither blacks, women, nor poor white men could vote.

Now that we’re all enlightened, anyone who worries about “ramifications on society” is promoting a caste system? It’s taken us more than two hundred years of struggle to progress as much as we have. And we still have a long way to go for perfection.

Posted by: Mark at October 26, 2008 9:44 PM
Comment #268458

>It’s taken us more than two hundred years of struggle to progress as much as we have. And we still have a long way to go for perfection.
Posted by: Mark at October 26, 2008 09:44 PM

Mark,

And, apparently, by your reckoning, we can’t get there from here. Just because a problem exists, does not mean it should not be solved…one of the major differences between conservatives and liberals is the first wants things to remain as is, and the second wishes to improve things that are not right. Change is anathema to you, but it is my bread and butter.

We are either the freest nation on earth and hold with the freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution, or we are not. Why should we not try to be better than we are?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 27, 2008 9:21 AM
Comment #268499

Marysdude,

If you think I am against change, you misinterpreted my whole argument. We don’t have to choose between civil rights and social values if we do it the right way. That means respecting and listening to all sides who have a stake in this country.

I don’t want to get into a long circular argument, so I’ll leave it at that. You get the last word.

Posted by: Mark at October 27, 2008 6:29 PM
Comment #269364

Taught anal sex? I think they can figure it out… Round peg, round hole…

Posted by: Brent at November 4, 2008 1:35 AM
Comment #375670

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