Friday, August 6, 2010

The real agenda is out of the closet

Writing at the Huffington Post, Sally Kohn, who is presently in a same-sex relationship, says what quite a lot, if not all, same-sex marriage advocates are really (if secretly) thinking:

For myself, as someone in a same-sex couple, the official endorsement of my relationship's equality is an important and lovely engagement in the event that I ever opt for state recognition of my romantic life. But the fact is that for millions of Americans like me -- both gay, straight and in the vast hinterlands in between -- the little box of traditional marriage is too constricting for our evolving notions of love and partnership. Judge Walker had it half right. Modern heterosexual couples are indeed pushing the traditional boundaries of marriage. But perhaps the next step isn't to, once again, expand the otherwise narrow definition of marriage, but to altogether abolish the false distinction between married families and other equally valid but unrecognized partnerships.

No, that doesn't mean I want to marry three women at the same time or a goat. It means that I think I should be able to decide what constitutes my family -- whether it's me and my same-sex partner and our toddler, or me and my elderly mother and father, or me and my best friend who want to care for and love each other but not necessarily be intimate. The job of the state is to protect my family and our rights -- not decide that two parents plus kids makes a family and everything else is an exception to the rule at best.

So, for instance, when the government of Canada was charged with expanding the country's conventional definition of marriage to include recognition of gay and lesbian couples, a commission was appointed to study the best path to equality. The commission came back with a startling but sensible option: Get rid of marriage. Not at the religious/ceremonial level -- you can still have your off-white dress and dance party -- but at the governmental level. I would think anti-government conservatives would certainly agree that the government has no business telling me how or with whom to form a family. For the rest of us who otherwise value the role of government in our lives, benefits and rights can as easily be based on family functions, not forms. If I am my best friend's primary caregiver, then I should be able to sign up to be one of, say, three people who have hospital visitation rights. If I want my closest aunt to be my Social Security beneficiary, why should the government stop me from signing her up? If I can use my cell phone to vote for American Idol, I'm sure I can press a few keys and designate my next of kin. [...]

All movements for equality struggle with one essential philosophical dilemma: Are we fighting for the right to be the same or the right to be different? Equal treatment and government benefits for gay and lesbian couples should not be based on whether couples conform to limited notions of marriage and family, whether antiquated or updated. While certainly worth celebrating, the Proposition 8 ruling says that gay people are equal to straight people as long as they act like straight people. But the fundamental right to be treated equally, even if you are and act different, remains beyond reach. In the meantime, don't hold your breath for an invitation to my wedding.

The next time some same-sex marriage advocate asks me how letting them "marry" hurts my marriage, I'm going to laugh in his or her face. What they really want, what they've wanted all along, is to take marriage away from everybody.

If you are a same-sex attracted person, I suppose this sort of thinking makes sense. Any notion that there is a normal way to live, that it's normal and even preferable from a societal standpoint for a man and woman to marry, to have their own biological children and to raise them themselves whenever possible--and, indeed, for either of them to abandon this duty only in the most dire of circumstances, and for society to create a safety net of married husbands and wives who are childless who are willing heroically to step in as parents in such dire circumstances--then same-sex attracted people must face the reality that their sexual preferences and practices place them far outside of this societal norm.

Better to destroy that norm altogether, than seek some kind of pseudo-admission to it. Better to make it illegal for a husband and wife to act in the law as the one person they are than to pretend to be one person with another person with whom they cannot have the same kind of unity--sexual or otherwise. Better to clamp down on any societal expression of a preference for married heterosexual parents raising their own biological children than to have to pretend that "their toddler" is really theirs, when it's obvious that the child has a father somewhere who has been removed from the child's life.

Sally Kohn has undone lots of careful pretending, though. Same-sex "marriage" advocates have worked hard to claim that gay "marriage" won't affect the overwhelmingly huge majority of heterosexual people and their families at all. Sally has revealed the truth about what they want; the real agenda is finally out of the closet.


Michael Maedoc said...

Interesting post Erin. I can't help but think, that it will be hard to sell the idea that gay marriage proponents want to dissolve the existence of marriage. Could it be they only want to place it on level with every other "family" structure? We would still have marriage but without any special standing in the eyes of the state. In many ways this would destroy marriage as we know it but not entirely. The logic of gay marriage activists wold destroy government support of marriage, the idea that it is the ideal way to raise children. They want to define the meaning of their own universe... maybe that's what this is all about? Destroy the foundation of culture, the traditional family and give American culture a new foundation. I wonder if progressive Catholics would fight that outrageous social injustice.

Your point must be true, if it was not, why try to redefine marriage and give it a new core. Their motivations are numerous. one thing for sure, the creation of gay marriage, especially along Judge Walker's lines would strip traditional marriage of its pride of place and further shroud, which could be positive in some ways, but really I mean further hide it's real meaning and nature from the next generation.

So, it is culture war. And again its the left that provoked it.

David said...

I could easily find Catholics and other Christians who want me dead or impose something similar to Leviticus 20:13.

There's nothing to stop me from believing that you consistently deny that's your true fear and wish with opposing gay marriage! Everything else you say is just a lie and a mask (and a good one too)! Those others are being honest and frank about how they want to treat gays...

Thank goodness for the labyrinths of paranoia and their self-supporting circles, their inability to be debunked, and their persuasiveness.

Michael Maedoc said...

David, What in the world are you talking about?

David said...

Michael, from the post:

Erin: "Writing at the Huffington Post, Sally Kohn, who is presently in a same-sex relationship, says what quite a lot, if not all, same-sex marriage advocates are really (if secretly) thinking:" - first paragraph.

"Sally has revealed the truth about what they want; the real agenda is finally out of the closet." - last paragraph.

Could I do the same with those Catholics and Christians who want me dead? Can I claim with a reference to a blog post or article that most (if not all) Catholics secretly want that based on the opinions of a few? Does it offend your conscience that I would even suggest such a thing? Does it equally offend your conscience when Erin does the same sort of (shoddy) generalization?

I mock how these things, like 9.11 Truthism, Trig Birtherism, Obama Birtherism, Global Warming, Evolution denialism, Freudian theories of development....they all function based on self-supporting paranoid fantasies, burgeoned by the good friend that God left us, confirmation bias.

Is my world a bit clearer? I was being facetious in that earlier post...

David said...

Not to imply Catholics aren't Christians...that was an offensive error on my part, and I apologise.

Please substitute "evangelicals."

Michael Maedoc said...

I can see your point that its certainly not all gay marriage supporters. The average gay marriage supporter and gay marriage activist are often very different. Keep in mind Erin did say "advocate" which could mean activist. She may have in mind a specific group... but I can't speak for her.

Here's how I see it. Some of the ideas that come from gay activists are quite offensive and not much like the ideas of many everyday supporters. Rather than arguing for an across the board agenda, I argue that its the culmination of the logic of many groups on the progressive left and many gay activists that will create the unfortunate result of marriage losing its meaning. I've seen this dynamic in other areas. A friend of mine who advocates for mandatory public education and very large increases in the budget of public schools did not understand my objection to her ideas. When I pointed out that popular ideas of separation of church and state from the left, and she would consider herself left wing, when combined with her ideas would eliminate my freedom to have my children educated in their faith at school. She was surprised. She had not considered her ideas in light of the agenda of others. In fact, our laws are the result of a cluster of different ideas some of which are quite contrary.

So, I think Erin's concern for the effects of Walker's decision, if taken on his words, is a legitimate concern. However, it is not clear that she intended it to be a blanket claim.

Red Cardigan said...

David, I don't know anyone who has ever said they want all gays dead. Oh, there's that lunatic guy with his 20 member "church," but why I as a Catholic or any other serious Christian would listen to that sort of person remains totally unclear.

My Church has specific rules about how same-sex attracted people should be treated. All *unjust* discrimination is to be avoided.

Now, are you willing to tell me that Sally Kohn is a member of a lunatic fringe, and that so are all the other same-sex attracted people who write about "queering marriage" or moving society "beyond marriage" are as well? We should just discount what they say, and ignore the many ways they've written about this part of the agenda? Why, exactly?

Red Cardigan said...

Oooh, ignore the totally awful sentence structure above. I was interrupted mid-sentence and forgot to proofread before posting.

Michael Maedoc said...

Only if promise you ignor mi poor wrod groop structire. :)

David said...


I have the unfortunate history of knowing people who do. I grew up in Eastern WA, which as you might know, is the more conservative half of the state. There were things said while I was a closeted young man that horrified me in ways that no child should properly have to endure, with a perpetual stress of being on guard in case people might notice, might take action to their threats. Don't pity me...I'm very glad I came out of that atmosphere with a somewhat sensible view of it, i.e. that very few people going by Christian are bigots. Unintentionally prejudiced, like everyone else, yes, but on the whole "bigots," no.

I am, however, glad you are in a place or history not exposed to such animus, but I would hasten to add a caveat that in the same way I don't recognize the anti-Catholic bias you see everywhere, you probably wouldn't recognize the same sentiments and motivations toward those who are gay. Rod's shock about employment discrimination toward gays kind of enlightened me again to how nice a cloak of privilege really can be, when you don't have to worry about it all the time (same with my probably not recognizing anti-Catholic bias where it occurs).

As for Kohn...I do consider her on the fringe, but honestly, I have a poor capability to assess the matter. It's not as if being gay suddenly ascribes to you a set of beliefs and morals, unlike if you proclaim to be part of a religion. Being gay crosses over into every political ideology, ethnicity, sex, race, intelligence, religion, age, and so forth. There are a myriad of opinions, coats, and colors.

My way of justifying that you'd see the more anti-disestablishment views, cultivated by feminist and queer theory, from the older gays because they come from a history of being cut off from society, stigmatized into their own counterculture.

I can't help you much in discounting it...I could delve into my reasons why I do, if you wish, but I'd probably do that on my blog if you really want"pleasure" of reading it all. I wish sexuality were easier, like a religion, and claim that Kohn isn't a "true" lesbian with "true" lesbian ideals...but there are so many opinions and levels of discussion (and lack of!) among gays that it's difficult to really peg a structure to it all, "activists" included.

Magister Christianus said...

This is such a difficult issue, and I have been wrestling with it for some time. Bear with me as I work out some of my thoughts in this comment.

The government is not involved in baptism or celebration of the Eucharist, so why should it be involved in marriage? Marriage is what God has revealed it to be through His Church. Yes, marriage existed before Christ, but so did baptisms and sacral meals. These, too, received their full revelation for what they are through Christ. So why is the state involved?

If its role is solely to regulate who gets to visit the infirmed and receive an inheritance, then Kohn is quite right. If, on the other hand, the state wants to promote that which is best for its citizens, as it clearly does through all manner of protective laws, then it has to decide on the issue of marriage.

Christians know and believe (note the distinction) that marriage is between a man and a woman and that no other arrangement can be called such. It matters not whether someone else believes this to be true. Its truth is independent on the number of those who believe it.

For this reason, Christians must not abandon the public square, but must work tirelessly and diligently for the state's acceptance of what is true.

Rebecca in CA said...


The distinction between baptism/Eucharist vs. marriage is that marriage is a natural institution. In the Church it is *also* supernatural, but it always has been not only a natural institution but the natural institution which is the basis for all society, by being the basis for the basic unit of society, the family. A society which does not publicly recognize and promote marriage on the natural level is in violation of the natural law. It cannot validly opt out of dealing with marriage. The Church recognizes that there are such things as natural marriages which are not sacramental and it is the state's duty to recognize and promote these, and its duty to recognize and promote sacramental marriages *on the natural level*.

Anonymous said...

One of my friends posted this YouTube on FB:
What is marriage?">
Grover from SS and a child talking about what marriage is. Turns out I have been married to my brothers and sisters, friends, roommates, co-workers, etc. Who knew? Sesame Street knew.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

IF the government gets out of marriage, then the government should get out ENTIRELY. No tax benefits, no contracts, no judicial referreeing of divorces.

In North America, civil marriage was actually predominant. The Puritans, for example (who certainly weren't Catholic), considered it a civil rite, not a matter for the church. Big church weddings didn't become the norm until the mid-19th century at the earliest.

It is true that whatever the government does, the church can marry, or refuse to marry, whomever it pleases, and it will be a marriage in the eyes of God, to the extent that the church reflects what God wanted said church to do.

I still wonder whether, one hundred years from now, we will all be laughing at that silly early 21st century fad, "gay marriage."

c matt said...

The job of the state is to protect my family and our rights -- not decide that two parents plus kids makes a family and everything else is an exception to the rule at best.

Well, the job of the state is also to protect the common good. Marriage involves the propogating and rearing of the next generation of citizens, so the state does have an interest in promoting the best conditions for marriage.

Many of the other things (insurance benefits, hospital visitation rights, inheritance, etc.) are really more matters of contractual nature that can be agreed to among the various parties. An insurance company won't cover your partner? Find one that will. There really is nothing preventing them from offering such coverage.

I think the issue, David, is that whether or not Kohn's views are fringe, the court's ruling certainly paves the way for her views to take root.

Anonymous said...


I beg to differ. There is nothing "natural" about marriage. It does not arise in nature or from nature. Is it good for the married couple? Sure. Is it good for society as a whole? Yes. But I don't see that it is natural. It takes 2 people to decide to change what is natural (existing alone among a community of others) and affirmatively select another person to bind yourself to for life. Frankly, the single life is natural. Married life is not.

Anonymous said...

Magister, when you say that "Christians know and believe (note the distinction) that marriage is between a man and a woman and that no other arrangement can be called such" all I can say is you certainly don't go to an Episcopal church. They believe in gay marriage. Many other followers of Christ do as well. Isn't Judge Walker a Christian?