Change I Cannot Support

Moving to home-state politics: California Proposition 8, the new, second, again, same ol’, do we have to, stupid judges, Marriage Protection initiative on the California ballot.

David Blankenhorn, a self-described Liberal Democrat, says he supports California Prop 8 and correspondingly does not support homosexual marriage because of the children:

Marriage as a human institution is constantly evolving. But there is one constant. In all societies, marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood. Among us humans, the scholars report, marriage is not primarily a license to have sex. Nor is it primarily a license to receive benefits or social recognition. It is primarily a license to have children.

I like the physical aspects of my marriage, but it is the focus on what is currently mostly a potential for us, the ability to have children and raise them, that directs and focuses our growth as a couple in our marriage. It is because I want her to be the mother of my children that I married her. She’s the right one.

David’s money line:

…Marriage says to society as a whole:

For every child born, there is a recognized mother and a father, accountable to the child and to each other.

7 thoughts on “Change I Cannot Support”

  1. Well said. It’s not about the rights of adults. They can legally partner with anybody domestically. It’s about the rights of children to have a mother and a father and adult responsibility to provide.

  2. And yet, we grant the right and marriage upon those who through infirmity, through choice, or simply through age are unable to have children, in far greater numbers than we will ever see for same-sex marriage. We do not bar those marriages, nor do they seem to have had an appreciable negative effect on the institution.

  3. Note that Blankenhorn’s argument is an utter red herring to the Prop 8 issue.

    Prop 8’s passage will not prevent same-sex couples from having children (either via adoption or natural childbirth). Same-sex couples enfold children into their families every single day in California. This was so before the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality back in May of ’08, and it will continue to be so, even if Prop 8 were to pass in November.

    All Prop 8’s passage will do is assure that all children adopted by (or born to) California same-sex couples will be adopted by (or born to) *unmarried* same-sex couples, rather than married ones. Blankenhorn, and you, will have to explain to me how *that* will be to the benefit of California’s children, ’cause I sure don’t understand it.

    And as an aside…

    “She’s the right one.”

    …is a lovely line. Now imagine if the state told you that you were barred from marrying that person, the right one, because they disapproved of her gender, or yours. Wouldn’t you wonder what business it is of the state’s?

    Patrick Meighan
    Culver City, CA

  4. "Nat: It’s not about how we wish to define marriage. "

    Yes, really it is. The whole point of Proposition 8 is to define marriage as a legal term in this state. And given that we're dealing with a legal term in this state, it is well within the appropriate use of the law to define what it means within the legal context. To the degree that that definition might conflict with how you would use it in other context, then you would be within reasonable right to ask them to use another term altogether instead of ever using "marriage".

    "It is the the state’s vested interest that sanctioned marriage not be whatever the prevailing winds of the current culture wish it to be."

    Which could well be an argument that gay marriage should have been sanctioned well before now, despite the prevailing winds.

    "Children grow and mature best in all aspects when they are in families parented by one man and one woman, this is an established, incontrovertible fact."

    It takes much more than the claim that something is an incontrovertible fact for it to be an incontrovertible fact. In this case, what you are putting forward is not only incontrovertible, it goes in the face of most reliable studies comparing mixed-sex parenting couples to other two-parent households. Really.

    "It can be said that those who seek to raise children in a relationship besides one best for the children are being selfish to a supreme degree."

    That is about as anti-family a statement as one can make, in that few kids are raised by the "best" set of parents. The incomes aren't optimal, their educational level isn't optimal, and so forth; there are plenty of things which studies have found can have impact upon the offspring. And yet, there's not a campaign to bar marriage for the poor, or undereducated, or other such things.

    (And of course, as Patrick notes, you're off on a red herring. Prop 8 does not alter whether homosexual couples can have kids. California law already protects their rights to have children, and to raise them as a pair of parents legally, and Prop 8 does nothing to reverse that.)

  5. Welcome to IPandora, all y’all. 🙂

    Willis: I didn’t say it. But thank you.

    Nat: It’s not about how we wish to define marriage. Marriage exists outside of our desire to define it. And that is a red herring.

    Patrick: It’s good to see a Californian here. Being a transplanted one, it’s like a wee bit of the “home country”. California is just different and none but Californians really get that.

    The state does not define marriage, it does not have standing to. It only has the ability to sanction, to approve.

    It is the the state’s vested interest that sanctioned marriage not be whatever the prevailing winds of the current culture wish it to be.

    Children grow and mature best in all aspects when they are in families parented by one man and one woman, this is an established, incontrovertible fact.

    It can be said that those who seek to raise children in a relationship besides one best for the children are being selfish to a supreme degree. Seeking to have all things just the way they wish them to be: with the partner(s) of their choice and the offspring of their choice in attained in the method of their choice. Disregarding the needs of the children for a parental structure of one man and one woman.

  6. “It can be said that those who seek to raise children in a relationship besides one best for the children are being selfish to a supreme degree.”

    I think you are making a vast generalization with this statement. Yes, there are children who grow up in dysfunctional families–or no family at all–and that’s just sad. While I think that, ideally, an aim (not THE aim) of marriage is to raise children, the world does not operate ideally.

    What about this scenario?: an unmarried woman in her 40’s decides to adopt a child because she feels called to do so, because there already exists a child living in less-than-ideal conditions, getting tossed around within the foster system (or is maybe in a cruddy orphanage, or even a well-run orphanage–this part of the scenario isn’t what matters). Should she be barred from doing so because she doesn’t meet the prescribed parental structure? Granted, I think we’d both agree that it’d be better for that child to be adopted into a two-parent family, but again, that’s theoretical–and this situation is reality.

    “It is the focus on what is currently mostly a potential for us, the ability to have children and raise them, that directs and focuses our growth as a couple in our marriage.”

    Is that potential truly the driving force/focus behind your marriage? Children are certainly a benefit, but Blankenhorn’s description as “a license to have children” is far too narrow. The creation of a family is a significant part of marriage–but I don’t see how it can be the main guiding force! Is the main goal of marriage to procreate? Or is it, with or without children, to love each other in an (imperfect, of course) representation of the way Christ loves the church?

  7. I like your thoughts and points Shark. Even I feel the description of marriage’s purpose to be slightly empty, but I’ve not found a better one yet.

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