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Why Would I Have A Problem With Gay Voters?
I love bonehead PR people who send me crap without taking a peek at the contents of my column or blog. Sorry, but do I seem like a person who'd be worried about gay voters? Chances are, they'd vote kind of like me -- live and let live.

Here's a reply I wrote to one of them:

Judith Stacey's research shows that gays make excellent parents; odds are, they'll be better than heterosexual parents, since gays don't have kids by accident (ie, "oops the little strip turned pink!").

You seem to be behind a hateful, equal-rights-denying proposition -- perhaps just because that's what you get paid to do -- or maybe also due to a belief, without evidence, in god, and an ensuing belief that everything the church says is true and good...well, except when they're telling little white lies about moving around pedophile priests and such.

How do you sleep nights? I don't care how anyone has sex, or who wants to start a family, as long as they treat their children well -- and having equal protection under the law serves that purpose. You want to see a great environment for children? Look at the Lofton family in Florida -- a family a lot of children of hetero parents would probably petition to join if they could.

-Amy Alkon

And here's George Bush, with homophobia as a Republican campaign strategy, from the IHT, now that fear of terrorism is no longer doing the trick:

The moment the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a ruling on (gay marriage) last week, Bush began using every possible excuse to bring up "activist" judges and gay weddings on the campaign trail.

"I mentioned his love for his family," Bush said at a rally for a Republican Senate candidate in Michigan.

Do gay parents not have love for their families -- along with a good deal of worry that they aren't protected by the rights allowed to married parents? Our panderer-in-chief continues:

"He understands what I know, that marriage is a fundamental institution of our civilization. Yesterday in New Jersey we had another activist court issue a ruling "

The court in New Jersey, for what it's worth, was hardly activist.

The state Legislature had given gay couples the ability to unite in domestic partnerships that gave them most, but not all, of the legal protections available to married heterosexuals.

The court simply said that both kinds of partners deserved the same legal protection, and left it up to the lawmakers to figure out how to do it.

Hardly a thunderbolt from the sky, but Bush took up the cause of protecting the "sacred institution that is critical to the health of our society" as if a cadre of anti-family jurists had just abolished matrimony.

All this is, as everyone knows, just a show for rousing the base. If the last month has taught us anything about the Republican Party, it is that homophobia is campaign strategy, not conviction.

Congressmen who trust their careers to gay staffers vote for laws to enshrine second-class citizenship for gays in the Constitution. Gay appointees and their partners are treated as married people at official ceremonies and social gatherings. Then whenever an election rolls around, the whole team pretends it's on a mission to save America from gay marriage.

And, quite frankly, about all this bullshit language about "the protection of marriage" -- as other non-'nutters have noted before, what can gay people do to break down marriage that straight people haven't already overdone in spades?

Posted by aalkon at November 2, 2006 9:28 AM

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Comments

> a hateful, equal-rights-denying proposition

How are the rights not equal?

(I love this topic.)

> or who wants to start a family,
> as long as they treat their
> children well

Has it occured to you that the composition of a family, or the provision of "wellness" to children, might require proportions of masculinity and femininity?

I'll never understand how those two things mean so little to people politically when they mean so much personally.

> Do gay parents not have love for
> their families

There it is! Nutshell City! This is all about an belief in a cosmically simplistic aphorism, compressed to Disney digestibility: 'All you need is love!' Nothing, nothing is more important that allowing distant parties to imagine that good feeling is being expressed by other grownups. No other competence or rationality is applicable in this fantasy realm.

Tuppence a bag, When you wish upon a star, and all that.

Posted by: Crid at November 2, 2006 4:37 AM

Goddamit to hell, I wrote a long pissy comment and the fucking computer lost it. And I gotta gota work.

The usual arguments apply, seekers.

Posted by: Crid at November 2, 2006 4:41 AM

Oh wait, there it is. Never mind.

How embarassing. Let's cover with a joke!

Q. - What do you call a Filipino contortionist?

A.- A Manilla Folder!

Har!

Posted by: Crid at November 2, 2006 4:43 AM

>Has it occured to you that the composition of a >family, or the provision of "wellness" to >children, might require proportions of >masculinity and femininity?

Aren't there millions of kids raised by just ONE parent who end up quite well-adjusted? I don't think you're correct.

Posted by: Darry at November 2, 2006 7:35 AM

I think most problems for kids stem from abuse, lack of money, and apathy from their parents. There must be hundreds of thousands of kids in hetero families who would be better off being raised by a gay or lesbian couple. I understand your point about male and female influences, Crid, but I don't think a kid needs both a male and female parent to have both male and female influences in his life. If his parents take interest in his education, love him, and provide for his needs he will have a lot going for him.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at November 2, 2006 7:41 AM

I was going to post a lengthy reply, but I'm busy today, so I'll just shorthand it to, "I disagree with everything Crid says on this issue and he disagrees with me."

There! Just think of the bandwidth I just saved! :lol:

Great reply to the PR-bot, Amy.

Posted by: Melissa at November 2, 2006 9:39 AM

The rights aren't equal because homosexuals are prevented in most states from willingly entering into a civil contract (which is what civil, as opposed to religious, marriage is). The right of adults to enter into contractual obligations is pretty fundamental.

Posted by: justin case at November 2, 2006 10:16 AM

> Aren't there millions of kids
> raised by just ONE parent who
> end up quite well-adjusted?

You're speakin' to one of them, and thanks for asking. The point is, the odds are agin' in. Nothing causes more childhood poverty than single parenthood, and nothing's more common in prison than fatherlessness.

Great news from the Kiwis today!

http://tinyurl.com/sfawr

Does this mean that we should casually let babies sleep on their stomachs, since many --perhaps a flat majority-- will survive? Does this mean we should let barflys drink like they want, since most will drive home safely? Nope, the magic phrases for the campaigns are "Back to Sleep" and "Don't drink and drive." We favor close odds because the stakes are so high. If you decide to have kids, a loving mother and a loving father is the best imaginable combination.

Don't you want what's best for little kids, Darry?

> kids in hetero families
> who would be better off

That blog comment is so fucking magnificent that we need to again highlight the two pivotal words:

> better off

Some people want what's better. I want what's best.

> I don't think a kid needs
> both a male and female parent
> to have both male and female
> influences

That's great, if you think parents are merely "influences." I think that's a silly word for people so central to our lives. Sexuality is not some magic fairy dust that a Catholic Big Brother in a Tercel can step in and sprinkle around during a kid's 13th year. The thing I hear over and over from my friends and family who have kids is that you never know when the little fuckers are watching you.

> love him, and provide
> for his needs

That's the topic under discussion: What are the components of a loving home? I think every child born deserves an intimate understanding of what masculinity and femininity can do to people.

> I'm busy today

Anyone with enough free time to type "lol" ought to be able to dash off a couple of convincing sentences. Now, Amy posts this topic every few months like she's throwing me a bone, and it's good clean mindless fun for everyone. Call me suspicious, but there's a *reason* that you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of making your case, Melissa. (Internet) bandwidth ain't the problem.

> homosexuals are prevented in
> most states from willingly
> entering into a civil contract

They can enter the same contracts as anyone else, and have always had that power. Who you callin' fundamental, buddy?

I love this topic.

Posted by: Crid at November 2, 2006 4:10 PM

Darry writes:

>Has it occured to you that the composition of a >family, or the provision of "wellness" to >children, might require proportions of >masculinity and femininity?

Aren't there millions of kids raised by just ONE parent who end up quite well-adjusted? I don't think you're correct.

Stupid is as stupid does. Crid has belabored this issue many, many times on this blog and has yet to raise one valid point.

But in terms of nonsensicalness (is that a word?), Crid has outdone himself.

You'll notice that he insists that a child requires "proportions of masculinity and femininity." The problem arises in defining the terms. Think that's simple? Think again.

What constitutes masculinity that cannot be adequately demonstrated by either gender? Are there truly masculine qualities that cannot be demonstrated in a household of two lesbian parents?

And don't think you're being clever if you suggest "a penis." Trust me, they have that covered. It's in the night stand.

So, if you're going to insist that a child needs for his well-being "proportions of masculinity and femininity," you first have to defind those terms and harder still, you have to prove that this "masculinity and femininity" are bound immutably by gender.

Good fucking luck.

Posted by: Patrick at November 2, 2006 4:15 PM

Patty, the great thing about being principled is that it saves a lot of typing. You should try it.

Posted by: Crid at November 2, 2006 4:32 PM

Crid, in many states, homosexuals cannot "enter into the same contracts as anyone else." Laws deny them the right to marriage, or other agreements that provide for the "legal incidents" of marriage (i.e., agreements that confer comparable rights and obligations). I'm afraid you're incorrect on this, but have fun explaining why I'm wrong.

Posted by: justin case at November 2, 2006 4:52 PM

By the way, I did enjoy this:

Who you callin' fundamental, buddy?

Thanks for bringing some good humor to the debate.

Posted by: justin case at November 2, 2006 4:56 PM

"Nothing causes more childhood poverty than single parenthood"

Then you're for gay marriage?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 2, 2006 5:01 PM

I rarely say much here, mainly because all sides are pretty well covered by the time I tune in.

Crid, while I rarely agree with you, you're generally clear-spoken and polite to others. This time I think your response to Patrick was pretty simple-minded. Implying he's unprincipled simply because his principles differ from yours is just a cheap shot, one I would have said was beneath you.

That said, I totally agree with Patrick. I work at an elementary school, and believe me, having a "mom" and "dad" doesn't particularly benefit the kids. The only thing that benefits them is having at least one parent who's tuned in to them, who gives a shit what they do and what happens to them. I've seen two-parent homes where they don't have even that, and single-parent homes where they have it in abundance.

I only have about half a dozen kids from gay families (that I know of), and they all are well-adjusted, cheerful kids. Two of them have 4 parents, one set of each gender.

Posted by: Kimberly at November 2, 2006 5:04 PM

> Laws deny them the right
> to marriage

There are states where homosexuals are forbidden to marry a member of the opposite sex? Hadn't heard. You should let more people know about this.

> some good humor

This week Patrick and I begin our fourth year of mutual disregard... One needs to keep one's chin up.

> Then you're for
> gay marriage?

Think carefully about the context of your question. The first time this came up I acknowledged that sane gay couples had a role to play in helping a weak society care for its most defenseless members. What I'm -for- is acknowledging that some arrangements are better for children and for society than others, and where kids are concerned, I want what's best. This means some grownups shouldn't get to do things that they really feel like doing. I'm OK with that.

There's a generation of self-righteous people who think that by being cartoonishly pro-gay, they're demonstrating sexual sophistication and admirable compassion for the underdog. I think such people are assholes, and cowards besides.

> your response to Patrick
> was pretty simple-minded.

Patrick and I have history here. Review his comment... Does he deserve more? Rather than actually answer my points, he merely announces that they don't hold, and expresses fear that the words masculinity and femininity are hazy rhetoric.

But for me, and probably for you, they're not: I mean a loving mother and a loving father. Any questions? No? Good, explain this to Patrick and I won't be sarcastic.

> a cheap shot, one I would
> have said was beneath you.

Angel, I'm a blog commenter, not a noble Senator from Massachusetts.

> The only thing that benefits
> them is having at least one
> parent who's tuned in

That's the only thing that can benefit a kid? You don't believe that for a fucking moment. Don't kid a kidder. Stop lyin'.

Swear to God, it's like people *want* children to have bad odds.

> having a "mom" and "dad"
> doesn't particularly
> benefit the kids.

I didn't say (any) "mom" and "dad", I said a loving mother with a loving father. (And would add: both in the home, committed to each other in raising them.) That's what's best.

Amy talks all the time about essential reason. This is the plainest imaginable case of apples and oranges, but people trip over it every time. Why?

It's more fun to appear sophisticated than to actually be smart... It's the only explanation.

Posted by: Crid at November 2, 2006 5:35 PM

Crid,
Good discussion, but in your fun reply above you chose not to address the substance of my point - that many laws deny homosexuals the right to enter into "other agreements that provide for the "legal incidents" of marriage (i.e., agreements that confer comparable rights and obligations)."- which was the main one I was making regarding being denied freedom of contract...

Posted by: justin case at November 2, 2006 6:17 PM

But regarding this, Crid's probably right:

I didn't say (any) "mom" and "dad", I said a loving mother with a loving father. (And would add: both in the home, committed to each other in raising them.) That's what's best.

Posted by: justin case at November 2, 2006 6:28 PM

> the right to enter into "other
> agreements that provide for
> the "legal incidents"

Gotcha, but there's no reason they should take it personally, right? It remains that case that gays have as much right to marry as anyone. The people who can't acknowledge this are the ones who are trying to pull a fast one around one of civilizations pillars. And they're doing so because "Come on, you guys! Stop being such BIGOTED JERKS!" (That's an old line from Jackie Harvey.)

Your phrasing implies that that the contract is private to the two parties. I think there's lots to be said for acknowledging that society --not the government, but the society-- has a stake in the trade as well. Failure to think about things that way has lead to more divorce, which may be a good thing. But it's also lead to a lot of thoughtless and irresponsible parenting, which is bad. I think it's causal if indirect.

Posted by: Crid at November 2, 2006 6:41 PM

Can something be causal and indirect?

Posted by: Crid at November 2, 2006 7:03 PM

Yes, something can be causal and indirect. Epidemiologists call them "mediating variables." Unfortunately, I'm too tired to come up with a good example for you right now.

Posted by: Lena needs to be orally serviced at November 2, 2006 8:36 PM

Crud, surprise me. Raise a valid point this time around.

And yes, I did address your points. You said that a child requires proportions of masculinity and femininity. You have not defined those terms, nor shown how these qualities of "masculinity and femininity" are bound by gender. Prove that these traits -- whatever they are -- are monopolized by either gender.

Finally, once you have defined these terms and proven to the satisfaction of all that males have a monopoly on masculinity and females have the exclusive rights to femininity, you still have the burden of proof of the actual statement that the child does indeed require (or at least do best) with proportions of this vague masculinity and femininity.

This is why you do poorly in this topic (and most others). You simply make bald assertions and have nothing in the way of evidence, as if you decided, ala Leona Helmsey, that supporting your arguments is for the little people.

That said, with this topic, among others, you simply make your claims ad nauseum, and when arguments surface that you don't like, you ignore them and keep right on making your claims as if nothing was said.

Your question "What can gay marriage DO for society?" asked God knows when is a perfect example. I answered. You ignored.

Finally, "mutual disregard"? I'm afraid you have sorely underestimated me. You have already exposed your bigotry on this blog, including your homophobia and ageism. There's probably more, but you finally became adept at hiding them. As well as the undeserved disdain you dumped on my neighbor's twenty year old son who was killed in Iraq by sniper fire.

"Disregard"? I must contain myself very well if that's all you think I feel toward you. Let's be clearer, Crud. You are scum. Does that help you understand?

Posted by: Patrick at November 2, 2006 11:12 PM

Crid, as I see it, your all-or-nothing approach may be academicallly correct but it misses the reality. Of course I suppose one can argue that we all should want only what's best, not merely what's better. Who wouldn't want the best? But for those of us who live in the real world, "better" ends up being pretty damned good. It's not the lesser alternative to "best", it's the superior alternative to "a hell of a lot of what else is out there".

Crid wrote:
> I didn't say (any) "mom" and "dad", I said a
> loving mother with a loving father. (And would
> add: both in the home, committed to each other
> in raising them.) That's what's best.

Yay! Bring it on! Let's hear it for the best!

But wait. Do you, personally, know of even one such family? I sure don't. I know a few who come pretty close. I also know two families headed by gay partnerships who come equally close. Maybe not best, whatever that means, maybe not good enough for you. But still damned good.

Yes, these are just a few anecdotal datapoints. So were the examples cited by Kimberly, who probaby knows a thing or two about kids.

My point is that, although you might deserve a nod to the philosophical purity of your arguments, you are entirely missing the point about gay parenthood.

Believe me, I don't mindlessly approve of it in order to sound liberal and sophisticated. I approve of it because it seems to work. Listen to people like Kimberly. She works with kids and their families. In the reality of child-rearing, there's only a choice between relatively "better" and "worse", not between the extremes of "best" and "anything less than that is unacceptable".

So, Crid, here's the nutshell: The gayness of the parents isn't the crucial issue at all. It does, unfortunately, serve as a big, rainbow-colored target for homophobes, pandering politicians, and what Amy calls fundanutters. The real issue is the commitment required to raise a family. As Amy has repeatedly pointed out, gay couples do not become parents by accident. This aspect alone -- the conscious decision, the commitment part -- gives it a crucial advantage.

No rude and hurtful response, please. Keep it civil. Thank you.

Posted by: Marie at November 3, 2006 3:40 AM

> too tired to come up with
> a good example for you
> right now.

Looking forward.

> You are scum.

See, Kimberly? I recognized my congestive old friend. Our old exchanges are still on disk out there, which is good.

Posted by: Crid at November 3, 2006 4:06 AM

But it's ok if you call me "cartoonishly pro-gay". I'd consider pro-gay the optimum, but cartoonishly pro-gay is at least better than homophobe.

Posted by: Marie at November 3, 2006 4:31 AM

> I'd consider pro-gay
> the optimum

Care to say why? Nobody ever does, which is how it all seems sketchy and cartoonish

Posted by: Crid at November 3, 2006 4:41 AM

Whoops, I missed some, but I have to get to work. More later this afternoon. The short version goes like this... You want what's best or you want something else; the fact that many of us can't achieve standards doesn't mean we should ignore the standards.

Meanwhile:

> No rude and hurtful response, please.
> Keep it civil. Thank you.

People who can only converse with their pinkies extended while sipping tea *deserve* to have their feelings hurt.

Posted by: Crid at November 3, 2006 4:52 AM

Aha. Well, here's an original claim you've probably never heard before: Some of my best friends are gay. Haha!

Why should one have to justify being homophilic? To me, it's just evident. Far, far more questionable and doubt-provoking is why people are homophobic. Now why would that be, do you suppose?

Sorry, I'm going to have to end this for the moment. I'm off to my Italian lessons.

Posted by: Marie at November 3, 2006 4:54 AM

Crid wrote: > People who can only converse with their
> pinkies extended while sipping tea *deserve*
> to have their feelings hurt.

Oh dear, Crid, Crid, Crid. There you go again, making a lot of assumptions about someone you don't even know. Not a good idea. Not at all the best thing to do, and we all know how devoted you are to the best.

I don't even like tea.

Having and recognizing standards is one thing. Blind adherence to them is another. You remind me a little of the big crisis in the German Green party years ago between the fundamental-minded and the reality-minded. It nearly destroyed the party, which would have been a real loss. You would have been in the fundamental camp, always arguing for some hypothetical standard instead of going with what works.

So, apart from really leaving now for my class, I'm starting to find this discussion tiresome. One just goes round and round with you, Crid. You remind me of that old addage: Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.

Bye now.

Posted by: Marie at November 3, 2006 5:04 AM

Would a parent step up here?

Will a (loving) woman with kids please come out and say that her womanliness means nothing to her kids? Will a caring father please come out and say his manliness is worthless to his children?

Stand! Stand and be heard!

(crickets)

Posted by: Crid at November 3, 2006 5:45 AM

But Crid - you tell me that it's not enough that my boyfriend and I are in a loving relationship. You think that society as a whole is bettered if he and I marry, so that somewhere down the road there is a person who is legally and morally obligated to buy my Depends and help me get into them. Right? That's why you kept going ON and ON in that other thread about how it was so selfish and immature of me to keep talking about how my "relationship" was good enough without marriage.

But if it were a *girlfriend,* you would think it is better for society that I *not* be allowed to marry her? Huh?

Isn't it better that I have someone responsible for me in my old age in order to make sure I don't wind up on the dole, sucking up your tax dollars? Does it matter to you whether it's a woman or a man supporting me?

Posted by: jenl1625 at November 3, 2006 6:21 AM

No so much. Once everybody's a grownup, like, whatever.

Posted by: Crid at November 3, 2006 6:38 AM

Clearly, we should be living in fantasyland, where every kid has a married, committed, heterosexual couple raising him. And they should be financially secure, law-abiding citizens who get him braces for his teeth and maybe his own DVD player. Let's just forget about reality and the gay marriage issue and make Utopia happen. I propose we put birth control in the water supply and we only allow the couples who meet those criteria to receive the antidote. No problem.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at November 3, 2006 11:55 AM

The problem with the "birth control in the water" theory is that I don't trust those who would be in a position to decide who gets the antidote. (As one of my other favorite bloggers says, "advocates of central planning alway envision themselves as the planner.") They'd probably pick who's fit to be a parent by who shares the same imaginary friend - and it's unlikely to be the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Posted by: jenl1625 at November 3, 2006 1:07 PM

Alternate fantasy: Kids only need love, and self-interested adults get to decide what love means. In mapping out how society works, we're free to define our own casual impulses as paramount, especially when we consider what's happening to the distant kids forced to live in our whims, whose problems we'll never have to deal with personally, and certainly not in an intimate way. We can concentrate on reliable *things*, like birth control, instead of disappointing *intangibles*, like human nature. In this way, we can march through history as the white sharecropper did when whipping the slaves 300 years ago, confident that history is on our side.

I gotta know: If society were to perform an experiment wherein gay couples were allowed to adopt as many black babies as they wanted, but zero white ones, would you have a problem with it? This is an essay question. Use the front and back pages of your blue book. You have seven minutes: GO.


> "advocates of central planning alway
> envision themselves as the planner."

This is a powerful, powerful, principle. If first came to me as 'Advocates for communism always imagine themselves as the Chair of some committee.' It's mighta been PJ O'Rourke. But it's never failed. When you actually pin those fuckers down on how things are supposed to go, they imagine a nice little academic conference room, where they make their case to the others on a chalkboard....

Posted by: Crid at November 3, 2006 6:57 PM

OK, the plantation owners were doing the whipping, not the sharecroppers. Do I look like an ag, history major? No!

Posted by: Crid at November 3, 2006 7:22 PM

True to form, whenever Crid finds an argument he doesn't have a counter for, he avoids it. Although usually, he just continues to plod along as if it was never raised. This time, he attempts to reframe it and erect strawmen.

I post this for the benefit of everyone else; Crid is irredeemable.

Crid employs terms like "masculinity" and "femininity" (which he inexplicapably conflates with "manliness" and "womanliness" to add to the confusion) and insists that a child needs both, but obstinately refuses to define these terms.

So, what is it that a child needs that can't be met by either gender? Are there some intangible qualities that are absolutely monopolized by either gender to the exclusion of the other? What are they? What can a woman express to a child that absolutely, under no circumstances, be expressed by a man? And vice versa? I maintain there are none. Human nature is human nature and neither gender has a headlock on any apsect of human nature, good or bad.

Is it so necessary that a child actually have one parent that has breasts (in this age of nursing bottles and baby formula) and a vagina, while another has a penis, adam's apple, chest hair and facial stubble?

Regarding his rhetorical challenge for a woman/man to step up and say that her/his womanliness/manliness means absolutely nothing to their child, again, Crid is not defining these terms. Is he claiming that there is some psychic quality that only women/men can have to the exclusion of the other gender? And that these characteristics are essential to the well-being of a child? In a word, hogwash. Leona "Crid" Helmsey offers no evidence for this, just the self-righteous claim of being "principled." Like this is some kind of "common knowledge."

It may be "common belief" but it's not "knowledge" until it's proven. Crid will not/cannot do this.

So, again, I want to know what is involved in this "masculinity" and "femininity" that is so essential to a child's development and why these qualities are monopolized by one gender to the exclusion of the other.

And I'd like to hear from loving parents, too. I want them to tell us all about what is involved in this womanliness/manliness, how it's so important to their child and how it's so exclusive to their gender.

And that is why Crid has consistently failed to present a single valid point in this discussion every single time it's brought up.

Posted by: Patrick at November 4, 2006 3:30 AM

Patrick, I think children deserve a loving mother and a loving father.

Posted by: Crid at November 4, 2006 4:31 AM

Crid,

Look at it this way:

Child A has a mother who got pregnant as a teenager, while she was trying to hide her sexual orientation. The father has no interest in the child and never will. The mother has no interest in having a long-term relationship with a man. She does in fact have a long-term relationship with a woman. If the laws allowed it, this other woman would marry the mother and adopt the child, giving the child a two-parent married home. Isn't this child harmed by preventing this marriage? Isn't society harmed (at least a tiny little bit) by the impact on this child?

Child B was the product of a married hetero relationship, but had to be removed from the home due to abuse. Eventually, all parental ties were severed. After a couple of bad placements, the child is now in a home with two gay men. They would like to adopt him, but they live in a state where two gay men can only foster, never adopt. How is that child benefited by that law? Wouldn't Child B be better off if the parents who are providing him a loving home could marry and adopt him?

You can go on all you want about how you believe that children are best served by having a loving mother and a loving father, but unless you have some way of making that happen, you are actually hurting children by saying "you get what I think is best or you get nothing."

Posted by: jenl1625 at November 4, 2006 6:31 AM

> Look at it this way:

You (literally) put with the parent's "interests" first, and used the most whimsical, touch-feely sense of 'interests.' We're not talking about selecting a Wednesday night sitcom. Once you're old enough to be licensed to drive, we shouldn't have to care about your "interests" in this lesser sense.

> unless you have some way of
> making that happen

We can pressure each other in all sorts of ways. Shame, law, that sort of thing.

You didn't answer the point about the black babies. Point being: Which kids do you get to throw overboard first? When do you decide that a kid's fate is so unimportant or corrupted that he deserves less than the best?

Posted by: Crid at November 4, 2006 6:51 AM

Also, what's so special about 1625?

Posted by: Crid at November 4, 2006 6:56 AM

I really wanted to stay out of this.

Patrick -- I also appreciate the ambiguity around the terms "masculine" and "feminine." It's always been a personal goal to develop and integrate for myself the many fine characteristics that have traditionally bifurcated alone the gender line (ie, trying to be both caring and analytic, compassionate and competitive, etc, etc). I have a feeling, however, that when Crid uses "feminine, he's alluding to something else -- namely, tits. Babies like tits. They like to smell them and suck on them. Tits are good food. Studies have shown that babies surrounded by tits are happy babies. Child-rearing policies that don't address the tit issue are seriously flawed.

Crid, You Tit Baby -- Stop already with the "gays can already legally marry to people of the opposite sex." It's cute, but it got tired a long time ago. Gays want to marry other gays. Is this so inconceivable (the desire, that is)? Most people want to be attracted to their spouses, at least until they file for divorce.

I adore both of you for your fine minds and sharp tongues. May we please just have a group hug now, and leave this one be for a while? It's the weekend, for chrissake. Go out and get some fresh air. Leave the laptop at home.

Posted by: Lena at November 4, 2006 11:06 AM

Lena, sorry/nothing personal, but the challenge continues on both counts. Firstly -

> the ambiguity around the terms
> "masculine" and "feminine."

There's no ambiguity, those are just general terms. "Vegetables" isn't specific either, but if you were told that's what was for dinner you'd know what's coming. In these arguments I use them mostly for variety, to get people thinking about the magnitude of what they've asking little children to sacrifice when they encourage gay parenthood.

I think Patrick's resistance --and yours, frankly-- is a human but cowardly embrace of chatter in the face of unpleasant truth. 'We have to *TALK* about this a lot! For a long time! We need words and studies! And Powerpoint slides! It's terribly complicated! The UN commitee hasn't finished its report, which might make the unpleasant thing less true!'

I'm willing have the whole matter condensed to: Children deserve a loving mother and a loving father. Tell me how I'm wrong about that, then we can move forward.

Secondly -

> It's cute, but it got
> tired a long time ago

You mistated the sequence, Lena. I don't pull it out of thin air as "gays can already legally marry to people of the opposite sex." I respond to people who say that gays don't have the same rights as straights. Well, actually they do, and I don't mind saying so. It's logic in resistance of *their* linguistic cuteness. They're pretending that they're Rosa Parks asking for a minor adjustment in policy, and it just ain't so.

Ten times over the years here I've suggested that gays do have parenting role to play in a decent America, but nobody's ever asked what. As soon as people figure there's no cheap, Rosa-style heroism for them in the fight, they close the comment window and move on to Dlisted.com.

The topic seems to encourage elision. Consider PJ's comment. Think of all the things a typical mother does in two decades for a child, and all the ways her sexuality plays into that. Is such a person an "influence"? Fuck no, she's your Mother. And here you are, trying to reduce motherhood to tits. Now, I like tits, and it's been an intense, lifelong fascination. But tits are a marker for femininity, they're not femininity itself. You put tits on Schwarzenegger, you don't get a woman, you got a fading action star making a bad comedy.

The best group hugs are at http://grouphug.us/random

> Leave the laptop at home.

Fresh air is for the gays! Manly men got no tan!

Posted by: Crid at November 4, 2006 12:22 PM

Also, I got'cher integrated bifurcation. Right here.

Posted by: Crid at November 4, 2006 12:24 PM

Lena writes:

I have a feeling, however, that when Crid uses "feminine, he's alluding to something else -- namely, tits. Babies like tits. They like to smell them and suck on them. Tits are good food. Studies have shown that babies surrounded by tits are happy babies. Child-rearing policies that don't address the tit issue are seriously flawed.

Prove it. Also prove that babies that are breast fed do better than their bottle-fed counterparts.


Crid writes:

There's no ambiguity, those are just general terms. "Vegetables" isn't specific either, but if you were told that's what was for dinner you'd know what's coming.

You would? I wouldn't. Some vegetables I like, others I don't. Also, how are they prepared? No, you would NOT know what's coming if you were told you were having vegetables for dinner. Could be a salad, could be steamed broccoli and could be a bean casserole.

Actually, Crid, your accusation of cowardice is projection. As I have said many times, you have simply avoided or rephrased every argument you don't like or don't have an answer to. Think back on the original "gay marriage" discussion. You asked directly, What can gay marriage do for society. I answered it. You ignored. Like you always do.

Don't pretend you wish to talk. You don't. You want no opinions forwarded but yours and the last word in every discussion. And for God's sake, no goddamned counterarguments. You're right, right right, and there is no arguing with you.

Posted by: Patrick at November 4, 2006 2:15 PM

Golly Patrick, everyone else is having a great time. Don't be upset.

Posted by: Crid at November 4, 2006 2:51 PM

Crid, how many times must I tell you, STOP PROJECTING!

Posted by: Patrick at November 4, 2006 4:05 PM

"I respond to people who say that gays don't have the same rights as straights. Well, actually they do."

A hetero can legally marry his sweetheart. A homo can't. How's that equal?

"Think of all the things a typical mother does in two decades for a child, and all the ways her sexuality plays into that."

You mean how the typical mother likes to stick the tip of her finger into your urethra while she's changing your diaper, just for kicks?

Posted by: Lena at November 4, 2006 11:07 PM

Crid,

On the 1625 bit, I'm just used to using jenl1625 as my username on sites where you have to register . . . . too many Jen L's around, so I slapped my street address in front of it.

You (literally) put with the parent's "interests" first, and used the most whimsical, touch-feely sense of 'interests.' We're not talking about selecting a Wednesday night sitcom. Once you're old enough to be licensed to drive, we shouldn't have to care about your "interests" in this lesser sense.

It's not so much that I choose to put the parents interests first as that I am realistic enough to realize that the parents' interests DO come first. The days of keeping the marriage together until the kids are grown are mostly behind us, and the marriages I've seen where the parents did it were the ones with the most messed-up kids.

It's a simple fact that there are a lot of kids out there without those "ideal" families that involve loving mothers and loving fathers who put the interests of the children first.

But you keep changing the issue. When I talk about not needing to marry, you tell me I should think about the benefits to society as a whole (and you as a taxpayer). When I talk on your terms about the benefits to society of letting gays marry, you brush it off and move on to the "best interests of the children."

If you think that marriage is good, then why are you against marriage when it's between two people of the same sex?

If you think it's all about the children, then why do you care if I marry - there are no children involved.

If you think it's a balance, then I think your balance is off, because you seem to think it's all about the taxpayer until there's a child involved - but if you say to a mother that she can't marry her partner, then you're increasing the chances of mother and child being supported by taxpayers instead of the partner. And you're not helping the child at all.

Posted by: jenl1625 at November 5, 2006 6:48 AM

Computer probs this morning: Forgive any dupe comments.

> legally marry his sweetheart

You overstate by overpersonalizing... The world isn't built in response, or opposition, to your personal feelings (or mine). A hetero isn't allowed to marry who he wants. He's allowed to marry an unrelated, sane adult of the opposite sex who will have him. Works out best for everyone that way.

> mother likes to stick the
> tip of her finger into
> your urethra

I can't imagine the rhetorical purpose of this. Amy's blog has got to be one of the most feminine corners of the web. I'd bet 66%-75% of her visitors are mothers themselves, and 98% had essentially loving mothers. (The two percent with violent, alcoholic moms don't make time for advice columnists: They're either dancing in strip clubs, or taking infusions of civility from high-octane sources such as psychotherapy.) If drunken-marine imagery like that is really what comes to mind when you think of motherhood, you're gonna have a difficult time being persuasive.

> When I talk about not needing
> to marry, you tell me

Different issue. In this one, the needs of the kids go for first because I think we need to defend the interests of those who can't defend themselves. Gays & lesbians are by definition grownups, and should understand that we each make choices which sometimes carry burdens. That's too much ask of someone who's not learned to walk. A loving mother and a loving father for a baby born this Sunday afternoon happens to be the best arrangement for me (an oblivious middle-aged taxpayer) as well. But I'm certain it's what's best for the kid, and you seem to agree.

> why are you against marriage
> when it's between two people
> of the same sex?

How much wordplay do you have time for? I think marriage specifically refers to a man and a woman. I want to defend that definition so long as it does what's best for children. I'm happy to let gays do whatever they need for property rights and so forth, I'm just not willing to say two daddies is the same as a loving mother and a loving father. Because so many people are being contemptibly smug about the "Rights!" of this, it's possible that gay unions will in fact be called 'marriage.'

> It's a simple fact
> that there

One reason that the fact is so simple is that we tolerate bad behavior. What would happen if we actually told people that more was expected of them?

I was in the library yesterday, and the New Nonfiction shelf had a book by Denzel Washington that looked like autobiography. I'd heard his wife caught 'im cheatin' once, so I decided to flip through and find that chapter to see how low he'd crawl for posterity. Turns out it was actually a collection of short reminiscences from other famous people about the mentors in their lives. Colin Powell's chapter came up first in the thumb-fiip.

It was the same description of childhood that he'd made in his autobiography: A poor but decent neighborhood called Banana Kelly in the Bronx. He talked about how the shared immigrant experience of the neighborhood helped all the children stay on the right track, because all the families had come to America to do better. Close paraphrase: "And almost every one of us made something of ourselves. There've been very few failures, and only a couple of divorces..." Powell's generation is probably the last to regard divorce as a burden to society, a regrettable failure akin to alcoholism or gambling.

Jenl, are you sure people haven't paired off so incompetently because they've been allowed to?

(To be fair, it probably helped in Powell's case that Alma Powell is a granite stone fox: http://tinyurl.com/ydb4jx )

> realize that the parents'
> interests DO come first.

Then it's a completely different value system. You and I are never gonna see eye to eye if you honestly believe that. But I don't think you do.

In olden days, when a human lived and died in the service of another's whims, it was called slavery. I seriously believe that if America continues to churn and improve as it has, then 200 years from now people will look back on childrearing in this time with the same revulsion you and I feel for slaveholders.

Posted by: Crid at November 5, 2006 8:13 AM

Crid said:
"We need words and studies! And Powerpoint slides! It's terribly complicated! The UN commitee hasn't finished its report"

Then:
"I'd bet 66%-75% of her visitors are mothers themselves, and 98% had essentially loving mothers."

Are you serving that up with pie charts or bar graphs, babe? Powerpoint or overheads?

"A hetero isn't allowed to marry who he wants. He's allowed to marry an unrelated, sane adult of the opposite sex who will have him."

Which is so wonderfully convenient, since said hetero wants only to bone someone of the opposite sex. (Laws are not all about restricting behavior, you know. They facilitate it too.) Why can't a homo live under a law of EQUAL convenience? I know, I know. The loving yin-yang of masculinity and femininity trumps everything. What-EVER.

"I can't imagine the rhetorical purpose of this."

Just clowning around, my dear. It picks up the slack where the Zoloft leaves off. Did you get outside yesterday? [Transitioning to less pressing issues now...] I saw The Prestige last night, which was totally complicated and stressful (except for the sight of the ever-lovely Christian Bale. I want to ravage him.). If you like entertainment, skip this one.

Posted by: Lena Reena Roo, eat a pile of poo! Lena Reena Rye, eat a big cow pie! at November 5, 2006 9:25 AM

> under a law of EQUAL
> convenience?

Nobody promised kids were supposed to be convenient. Otherwise, whatever.

> yin-yang of masculinity
> and femininity

I keep running into people who have strong preferences, y'know? So I figger there must be something to it.

Posted by: Crid at November 5, 2006 11:19 AM

Help the homeless down the street and persuade them to look for work

Posted by: Pcm Based Ringtone at May 12, 2007 4:33 AM

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