Challenge: Commitment Makes a Family

Posted: December 6, 2011 by Amy Hall in Do the Right Thing, Weekly Challenge

This week’s challenge is a video that’s currently being passed around: How can you be against same-sex marriage? Families with same-sex parents are really no different from any other family, and their children do as well as any other children. Families are defined by their commitment to each other. So why would you want to codify discrimination in the state constitution?

There are many arguments and claims made in this video. Can you identify them? Can you respond? Which do you see as most important to respond to first? In a real-life conversation, you have to be able to pick out what is most central because you probably won’t have time to cover everything. And in this case, you also have to consider the powerful emotions involved. So let us know how you would graciously approach this challenge.

Make sure you’re here on Thursday to hear Alan’s response.

  1. “….why would you want to codify discrimination ( prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category -ed.) in the state constitution?”
    If we understand the discrimination afforded by the proposed legislation to be ‘preferential or prejudicial treatment afforded, by the state, to committed long term loving relationships between one man and one woman, then the question really becomes:
    “Why would you want to give relationships between one man and one woman preferential treatment?”
    IMO, there are good sociological reasons for this traditional preferential treatment of this category of relationship. I did not hear Zach Whals comments address this aspect of the issue.
    His comments were solely directed at preferential treatment denied to one class of relationships that fall outside of the “one man/one woman” category. If his same logic were rigorously applied to all such relationships, where would HE draw the line, and why?

  2. topothemornin says:

    The primary argument goes something like this:

    1. If gay marriage were bad for children, then I would not have turned out great.
    2. I turned out great.
    3. Therefore, gay marriage is not bad for children.

    My main objection is with the first premise. You can’t answer a sociological question about a whole group of people by looking at just one example. One person is not a representative sampling of the whole group of people who are raised by gay parents. This fellow may have turned out great, but that tells us nothing about how most kids in his situation turned out.

    And, it tells us nothing about whether he would’ve been better off with a father in his life, much less whether anybody would be better off with a father in their lives.

  3. KARL 105 7 says:

    Okay, Zach, I’m game for allowing same-sex marriage. Just answer me this one question:
    Which civilization in the past recognized relationships between men as equal with relationships between a man and a woman?

    The reasons past civilizations like Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ancient Africa, etc., recognize traditional marriage is because the man and the woman can do something same-sex “marriages” can’t – produce children, and continue society.

  4. Albert says:

    If Zach had such a great life as a child of to gay women, what does he need the courts to justify or acknowledge anything that he considers a family? Seems to me he believes that he was raised perfectly fine without his two mothers being married. So why change that now that he is older and they are gone?

    Pulling on the emotional heart strings of those in the court room does nothing for advancing a justifiable argument for allowing same-sex marriage.

    I too would be curious where Zach would draw the line to what marriage should be redefined to.

  5. Adrian Urias says:

    “Our family isn’t so different than any other Iowan family” How many Iowans have two moms? That’s quite different, I think.

    “We go to church together” Well, I would suppose if you go to Church, you are at least trying to adhere to Biblical teachings, which is quite clear on the issue of marriage.

    “We just hope for equal and fair treatment from our government” Denying SSM is not unequal or unfair treatment.

    “The question usually comes down to: can gay’s even raise kids?” Well, I don’t think that should be the question. I think it should come down to, what is marriage? It’s obvious gays can raise kids. My lesbian aunt(s) raised me for a few years. So what? That doesn’t mean it was supposed to be that way or that it was the best environment for me.

    “Your family doesn’t derive it sense of worth by being told by the state “youre married, congratulations. No, the sense of family comes from the commitment we make to eachother.” Then why do you want the state to recognize SSM again, if it will give your family no sense of worth? Hmm…

    “It comes from the love that binds us. That’s what makes a family” Then you’re a family. Stay out of the issue now, thank you! Also, what about the families that don’t have love? Are they therefore not a family anymore because the have bitter or indifferent feelings for each other? That’s obviously false, and therefore, love is not a necessary condition for a family.

    “You are voting to change how the law views us.” And this is what it is about right here. It has nothing to do with marriage, but with social approval. If gay couples or individuals want social approval, fine, but doing it through redefining marriage is not going to help your case. Also, I have a right to disapprove of the gay lifestyle. And if this is what that law is about, I have the right to vote against SSM, so please don’t call it discriminatory when I do.

    “…How the law treats us.” Which is? How much different does the law treat you? Not that much I bet, and for the differences that do exist, there is a good reason for them that can be tackled on a case by case basis.

    “…codify discrimination into our constitution.” Like I said, not discrimination. If marriage is a thing, then we apply it to those who qualify, and those who don’t qualify cannot legitimately complain about it. You are assuming that marriage can be freely redefined, and you have not argued for this, you’ve just assumed it, and begs the question. Also, I believe Greg Koukl has an article explaining why there is no discrimination here, another reason why STR is such a wonderful resource!

    “Will this vote affect my family? Will it affect yours?” If I had a nickel for every time I heard “how will SSM hurt your family!?” Frank Turek has a book documenting the effects SSM has had in Europe.

    It is difficult to answer an emotionally charged argument. I usually affirm and recognize the love that they have received. I think it is important not to downplay or ignore it. Personally, I have a bit of advantage when I discuss this issue with people because as I mentioned earlier, I too was raised by homosexuals for a while. So I tell them I love my gay family members and friends as well, and I totally understand how they feel. In my case, that usually disarms the emotional bomb, but I can’t say others have this card that I can play. But still, we have to somehow address the emotions first, quickly, but firstly, and then we can actually move on to the issue at hand, which should be, what is marriage.

    So that is the first thing we need to respond to, is the emotion. That’s the most important, and that’s basically what he is asking for. He wants affirmation. And we can give them love, but not necessarily affirmation of the lifestyle. But love still. After that, what do they have left? Poor reasoning for SSM, which can be easily dealt with now.