Thursday, August 20, 2009

Can you help me destroy the fabric of society?

I know, I know, where have I been? But now I am in the centre of a media storm, it's that exciting, and I need your help to work this out, so please comment...

The government has announced plans to recognise same sex parents here in Queensland. Yesterday L & I were on the local TV news (I'm trying to get a copy) and in the main rag here, and today I wrote an opinion piece, sharing the page with a family-values type.

Now a current affairs show is proposing a 'discussion' with people with different perspectives, including us. L is not so sure this is a good idea - that it will just validate the loopy fringe groups. I'm wondering whether it would be useful to be there, and come across as normal.

Their reasons why we bad are always predictable - I need to be clear on what I think in response, even if I don't actually say them.

I am trying to hold onto the idea that we are all concerned with the best interests of the child.

Reasons most commonly cited why we shouldn't have children:

- The Great Sky Fairy says it's wrong (aka 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve')
As I don't believe in this version of the Great Sky Fairy, this argument is irrelevant so I am not going to argue verse for verse, although I could. As we are a secular state, it is also irrelevant to lawmakers. Although I really try to resist the temptation of getting into a theological argument, I am sorely tempted to point out that if you believe in a God that made Adam, you must also think S/he made Steve.

- It's not normal/natural
Actually it is normal, it's just not positioned at the centre of the bell curve. Normal - naturally occurring - is different to common.

- We don't need to pander to the desires of a minority
I would say that how we treat our minority groups is a measure of us as a society

- The children will be bullied
Umm, and when did your child bullying my child become a reason for me not to have children?

- The children need the complementary love of a man and a woman
Children need loving men and women in their lives. I think it would be unhealthy for the parents to be the only role models in any family. The nuclear family is a modern invention, and perhaps not so relevant to many gays and lesbians, who form strong interconnected communities in the absence of biological connections. Good parents can find an abundance of positive role models of many different ages, races, abilities and interests

-The traditional family will collapse
Assuming this is a bad thing (because it would just be too mind-boggling to consider that perhaps the 'traditional' ie current Western family structure is not the best or even only way to bring up children), how exactly will that collapse happen?

- It's just sick and disgusting and I don't like it
Yeah, sorry about that. There will be things you don't like in the world.

Have I missed any general themes?
What would you say in response to them?


Anonymous said...

Other potential arguments:-

Not natural - neither are IVF, intrusive operations, processed food, etc. What is deemed natural comes from people's acceptance.

Gays can't produce children - neither could infertile hetero couples, old people, etc.

Gay parents raise gay kids - this one is easy; to date, most gay people are raised by straight parents.

Traditional family and fabric of society will be torn down - firstly tradition is not always good, eg, slavery, racism, imperialism. Secondly, there is no evidence of anything being torn down where gay are afforded equality in other parts of the world.

Gay rights should be decided by the people, not the law - which is why the law is there in the first place, which is to protect the right of minorities.

Religion - separation of the church and the state; multi-cultural/diversity type arguments.

Legalisation legitimises gay lifestyle and confuses otherwise straight people to adopt a gay lifestyle - hello, that's the very reason when we are pushing for legalisation - to be validated and legitimised. If that logic holds, gay people would be turning straight because society is predominantly set up for straight people at the moment.

Kids will be abused - typical argument that confuses homosexuality and pedophilia. The facts and statistics are - most pedophilic perpetrators are straight.

Kids can't function without a mum and a dad - obviously not backed by evidence. Many kids have grown up as functional individuals from single parent families, same sex parent families, etc.

Kids will be abused growing up - well, yes, as long as the bigotry is alive and well.

Kelly & Sam Pilgrim-Byrne said...

You're doing a fabulous job!

Anonymous said...

remind them that it's not a theoretical argument about what "could" happen "if" we let gays have kids. gays have kids, regardless of the law. our families exist now, our children are happy, healthy and well-adjusted (and certainly not abused, thanks alan baker). the law needs to catch up.

feel free to browse our rainbow families site for ideas. our campaign material is still up there.

Anonymous said...

oh, also, remind them that the research says that it's not "who" brings kids up that has the greatest impact, but "how" they're brought up.

Mikhela said...

Thanks for that! Lots of things I forgot.

Yes, Twinkle, I was thinking over the weekend about how this argument is presented as if we are pressing for the 'right' to have children. We already have that right - it's about our children's rights to have their existing families recognised.

L is ambivalent about whether we should participate in any 'us vs them' debates. She thinks the Religious Right is a kooky fringe group and it makes us look like we are on an equal footing with them. She's been re-watching the West Wing for inspiration from CJ Craig about how to handle it!

Anonymous said...

look, for what its worth, I'm a straight (whatever that is) mother and grandmother and I wholeheartedly support you. To my knowledge noone in my family (oh I forgot, a cousin on my kids father's side) is gay but I think it is about stopping marginalising (spelling?) people. For goodness sake its not my business except that all the "gay" people I know are very very functioning and remarkable members of our society. And if I may add generally very considerate. It seems that along with the being gay thing they inherit/develop/ are prone to exceptional humanistic tendancies. Don't give up.

blue milk said...

Your article rocked too.

Mikhela said...

Thanks so much for all of those comments. The campaigning is starting in earnest here, so hopefully I'll have time to keep you updated. I'm going to use this stuff to make a 'top 10 myths' to hand out to politicians when we go visit them to show our normal-ness.

E, SS and the Little Man said...

I would just stick to the fact that it is a civil rights issue, and if there is truly separation of church and state, then it shouldn't be an issue at all. We all deserve the same rights under the law.

E, SS and the Little Man said...

Oh, and perhaps point out that the fabric of society in places like Canada and Spain where marriage equality has been legal for years, is just fine.