Saturday, October 18, 2008

Gay/Lesbian Marriages, Glen Beck, Lou Dobson

I was very disheartened as I watched the Glen Beck show on Headline News October 14th. Between him and his guest, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, they opined and whined that with the looming Christian "crisis" of yet another state, Connecticut legalizing same-sex marriage the church was going to begin to come under attack as homophobic, biased, separtists, elitist, etc.

They are correct because it is true; but they were opining because they do not believe it to be true. They believe all the attacks in those quarters will be somehow fundamentally wrong.

The Connecticut Supreme Court voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

"A team led by partners Paul Smith and William Hohengarten co-wrote a legal brief on behalf of the American Psychological Association and other organizations in support of eight same-sex couples who sued in 2004 after they were denied marriage licenses.The document cites scientific research to strike at some of the conventional notions about gay parents not being as fit as heterosexual parents and children of same-sex couples struggling with sexual identity issues. These arguments have been used to support gay-marriage bans in several states.

"In ruling that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry, the Connecticut court went beyond the constitutional principle of equal protection and into the sphere of social justice. It recalled past laws that banned interracial marriage and excluded blacks from some facilities. 'Like these once prevalent views, our conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection,' Justice Richard Palmer wrote for the majority in a 4-3 decision." Ameet Sachdev Chicago Tribune reporter,0,6385924.story

But the defence by the Christian right is one that they declare is a defense of the "definition of marriage [which] has rested on a foundation of tradition, legal precedent, theology, and an overwhelming support of the people," according to Dobson as quoted by Media Matters.

These are "the once prevalent views" cited by the Connecticut Supreme Court. However, they were never the prevalent view, until gays and lesbians began publicaly advocating for the idea.

I remember my gay friends and I used to talk about gay marriage in the early 1970s, hoping against hope that one day we might see it actually happen. After San Francisco, Oregon, Las Vegas, and a tiny town in New Mexico forced the issue into the national spotlight, I heard the comment made on TV by someone from the right that he and his congregation and his friends were upset "only because the gays sprang it" on them without warning.

If they had read the gay press, or if the straight press had done their job and reported the stories in the gay press to their own straight readers, they would have had decades of warning.

But that upset because of the lack of warning was a lie. After having had several years of warnings, the same straight right-wing evangelicals are now calling the marriages they have been privileged to be part of "tradition, legal precedent, theology, and overwheliming support of the people."

Untrue. The "tradition" comes only because until we had the help of the Mayor of San Francisco, the homosexual community was afraid to step up to the pulpit or the clerk's office and get married. The "tradition" was only a tradition of our fear.

Same goes for the "legal precedent." Nothing in law prevented gay marriages in most states except the homophobic interpretation of the laws by the Attorneys General. The "one man, one woman" rule did not exist.

Theology may be an entirely different matter. There are passages in the Bible that would support the religious-right views.

Dobson is so afraid of gays and lesbians ruining his country that in an effort to frighten people even more, "Dobson predicted on his radio program that allowing same-sex marriage in the United States would lead to 'group marriage,' 'marriage between daddies and little girls,' or 'marriage between a man and his donkey.'" [ibid Media Matters]

That is nothing but despicable, loathsome, and elitist. Between that and the theological source of it, it is also illegal to attempt to make theology into law. It violates the wall of the separation of church and state. There is no anti-gay/lesbian marriage legislation or amendment that could be supported without a religious/theologically based background. Basing it entirely on studies of gay families and children raised in gay households would prove the opposite of what Dobson and the religious right claim.

My (unmarried) husband and I raised his two little sons beginning in 1980. For the next 16 years we lived with homophobia shoved in our faces. Usually it was rubbed in the faces of the boys. And yet, in the same town in which the children rubbed it in the faces of our children, I was allowed to be a Bear Den leader in the Cub Scouts. I was the only Den leader who managed to keep all his boys in the den and was able to graduate them all to the next level.

"Describe, from your own experiences and objective examples, how Dobson’s propaganda has promoted doomed ex-gay marriages, discouraged healthy and lifelong gay relationships, advocated the denial of equal access to public facilities and services, and prevented brave and well-qualified men and women from serving in the armed forces," encourages

"Politely tell Mr. Beck how Dobson’s ex-gay conferences and antigay lobbying have fueled misunderstanding and division among your own families and friends. Ask Mr. Beck to invite ex-gay survivors, medical professionals, and researchers onto Beck’s program to offer the audience a look at the consequences of James Dobson’s war against families and science."

The best way to do the social work necessary to change society, other than taking your first grade class to city hall to watch you marry your lesbian lover, is to simply get married. Believe me, my first husband and I wanted to.

I came home from work one Sunday and discovered the kids were dressed in their best clothes, a "wedding cake" sat in the middle of the table, and the kids read a verse from the Bible then declared us "married."

It was one of the most touching moments of my life as a parent. Why did they do it? They asked their biological father while I was at work why we could not get married. Mike told them the truth. The oldest of the kids was the seven year old step-sister of the boys, who was living with us at the time. The kids said it was not fair, and asked if they could marry us.

That was in 1982.

My current husband is going on seventy-one and would not become legally married if our state allowed it. I'm ok with that. I'm just glad he does not have children, childrend who very likely might be on the religious-right, who would then criticize me for corrupting their father.

I've been accused of it before.

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