Guest commentary: Recognizing gay marriage isn't part of the solution

By Matt Kaufman

Can't we all just accept gay marriage and come together in a common cause — promoting a society where children will be raised by married parents?

That's the position Kathleen Parker takes in her syndicated column, "Rearing children within marriage is what matters," in the Feb. 4 News-Gazette. She quotes David Blankenhorn, a former opponent of gay marriage who now supports it: "Once we accept gay marriage, might we also agree that marrying before having children is a vital cultural value that all of us should do more to embrace?"

It's an argument that will appeal to a lot of people. But recognizing gay marriage — as the Illinois Senate may vote to do this week — is not part of the solution. If anything, it's part of the problem.

To understand why, we need to understand why unwed and single parenting is such a bad idea in the first place.

There's more than one reason: the sheer amount of work for one person, for example, or the fact that single parenting often goes hand-in-hand with economic distress. But neither of those is the main reason.

The main reason is that children need a mom and a dad. They need the unique, gender-specific contributions that each has to make.

There are things mom can do that dad simply can't — not the way mom does, if he can do them at all. There are things dad can do that mom simply can't — not the way dad does, if she can do them at all.

Neither is an optional accessory. Both are essential in so many ways — above all, in shaping a child's identity.

A boy needs his dad to identify with — to show him who he is and who he is to become. He needs his mom to show him who women (those fantastically different, yet utterly indispensable creatures) are. And he needs both dad and mom to show him who men and women are together.

He can't get that from two men or from two women. Nor can a girl get what she needs. Whatever a gay couple's intentions toward children, there's no getting around the importance of gender. It's the greatest single factor in human relationships.

When a child doesn't have both a mom and a dad, adults around them often try to compensate as best they can. But it doesn't diminish their efforts to face reality: Those children are missing out on something valuable, something precious. We must not pretend otherwise.

Yet that's just what we'll be doing if we ratify gay marriage. In fact, we might even say it's one of the goals of gay marriage.

The purpose of gay marriage is to make a statement — that homosexual relationships are equal in every way to the most honored and central institution in society.

That's especially clear in Illinois. Here, we already have civil unions, conferring virtually all the legal benefits of marriage.

But advocates of "marriage equality" (as they've taken to calling their cause) want to claim the name of "marriage" too. As one testified to the Senate last week, "marriage is the standard in our society."

That logic, if followed through, has unavoidable implications for children.

There was a time when supporters of gay parenting argued using apples-to-oranges comparisons: "Isn't it better for a child to be raised by a loving gay couple than by parents who are alcoholic or abusive or neglectful?"

The question they didn't talk about was: "Isn't it better for a child to be raised by a loving mother and father than by a gay couple?" They knew what most people would say.

When that question comes up now, however, the answer they'll give will be "Absolutely not."

Adoption and foster-care agencies, as well as courts deciding on child custody, soon will be forbidden to give any preference — any at all — to heterosexual couples. That would be "discrimination," the ultimate sin in the modern world, punishable by the ultimate penalty: lawsuit.

In our state, it's already started. Once civil unions were recognized, Illinois officials demanded that adoption and foster-care agencies must place children with same-sex couples. That drove out principled faith-based providers like Catholic Charities and the Evangelical Child and Family Agency, which had been highly effective due to the trusting relationships they had established with churches. Their track record meant nothing to the state. Equality uber alles.

This amounts to a kind of child sacrifice, in effect if not in intent: Some children must be deprived of one parent — either a mom or a dad — in order to satisfy the demands of the ideological gods of our age.

Surely we can do better. If we want to do what's best for children, we'll work to ensure that as many as possible grow up with a father and a mother in lasting wedlock. That is the "vital cultural value that all of us should do more to embrace."

Matt Kaufman is an Urbana-based freelance writer and a contributing editor to Citizen magazine, published by Focus on the Family.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on February 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm

There are more than enough children growing up in foster families lacking the permanent security of adoptive parents.  The only thing the opinion lacked in it's bias was a reference to the Bible.  I have known children of gays, and lesbians to be just like other kids.  They play soccer, Little League baseball, earn good school grades, and are well adjusted.  The author's opinion is biased, and lacking verification.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 10, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Yeah, that stupid state with it's demand of "Equality." How terrible!

Despite the fact that Kaufman is a bigot, I question what his point is here. Is his point that gay adoption is bad, or that gay marriage is bad? The two are not necessarily interrelated, though the basis of both is still bigotry.

If it's that gay marriage is bad, there is absolutely NO OTHER REASON to fight gay marriage other than absolute bigotry. Others being able to publically declare their love for another consenting adult does not affect you in the slightest. It doesn't harm you or anyone else, despite your religious beliefs. You are still entitled to believe what you want. If homosexuality still scares you, you are entitled to stay as far away from homosexuals as you want - I'm sure they would prefer that anyway.

Kaufman's claim that the goal of gay marriage is anything other than people demanding that their love for another consenting adult be seen as equal is simply laughable. Gays aren't trying to convert your children, Kaufman. They aren't trying to convert their own, either. All they are doing is trying to live their own American dream, with a family, love, and happiness. Would you prefer that the state start deciding who can and can't have children? If they do, I think the state should take Kaufman's children away as well. It's harmful to children and the rest of society for children to be raised by bigots.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm

People should check out Citizen Magazine on the web.  It is a conservative political, and religious publication.  Basically, right wing propaganda wrapped in family values.  Granted that people have the right to believe that they are right in their views; but forcing their views on other's lives via legislation is not really Christian.  I am not surprised that the News Gazette has Mr. Kaufman as a guest commentator in regard to the political views of Citizen Magazine.  People should make up their own minds by reading Citizen Magazine on the web. People should, also, investigate it's funding. 

Zoe B wrote on February 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

That's extremely rich, calling Mr. Kaufman a bigot for having an opinion that's different from theirs. Rather intolerant of another's beliefs, I would say. The standard liberal m.o.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Bigot: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

The definition fits just fine. And I do not have to accept hatred and idiocy - I see no reason that I should. I treat someone who tries to impose what Kaufman does with hatred and intolerance. Not a group. An individual who makes the choice to restrict the liberties of others because he fears gay people. Kaufman can believe what he wants, and I'm very tolerant of that. But then he wants to legislate that belief in a way that restricts the freedom of others. Why? Bigotry. He doesn't like gay people. He's scared of them. Whatever. 

Regardless, he's fine with imposing his views and opinions onto others. I wouldn't put up with that, and if that makes me liberal, that's fine. I'd do the same with klansmen - wouldn't you? Better than being a bigot.

 

Zoe B wrote on February 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Not one speck of hate or fear mentioned in the opinion. Just a concern for children. Your boilerplate is showing.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Quote: 

Yet that's just what we'll be doing if we ratify gay marriage. In fact, we might even say it's one of the goals of gay marriage.

(No, it's not.)

Quote:

But recognizing gay marriage — as the Illinois Senate may vote to do this week — is not part of the solution. If anything, it's part of the problem.

Then he goes on to make a lot of unfounded assertions that children of gay couples are deprived parents, etc. This despite the fact that every single study not funded by fringe socially conservative groups says otherwise.

Seriously, why are you people so adamant about being on the wrong side of history?  I just don't get it.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Zoe B;  I took the time to read the articles written in Citzen Magazine by Mr. Kaufman.  I would ask you to google his name along with Citizen Magazine.  Please remember that Mr. Kaufman earns his living by writing.  He is a paid writer in a highly competitive occupation.  Please read his articles on abortion, gays, rape, and most importantly politics.  I would suggest to you that he writes inflamatory articles appealing to religious, right-wing political followers.  He has found a niche in writing for a paycheck.  You may agree with his views; but please understand that the views are not held by others.  Your religion, and my religion maybe different.  Your views on pro-choice, planned parenthood, and contraception maybe different than mine.  Your views on politics maybe different than mine.  However, neither of us like having others views propagandized.  Mr. Kaufman is a paid propagandist.   

Zoe B wrote on February 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Let me see if I get this right. A liberal opinion is just an opinion. A conservative opinion is propaganda. Yikes. Why not just admit that your knickers are in a twist because somebody disagrees with you and quit yelling "bigot" and "propaganda"?

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Your opinion as a commentator is your opinion.  My opinion as a commentator is my opinion.  Neither of us are paid to write articles for social causes.  Mr. Kaufman is a paid writer for social causes.  A paid writer for social causes is a propagandist.

By the way, I don't wear knickers.  I never did.  I don't know if knickers are still made, or not.  I, also, am not a liberal; whatever that means.   I have not heard "Yikes" in a long time.  I think it went out with "Jeepers".   Do you read Citizen Magazine?  Are you a member of Focus on the Family?

Mattk wrote on February 11, 2013 at 11:02 am

I've been accused of various things in my life, but being in it for the money is a new one. I got a laugh when I read that. If readers knew how low my annual income is, they'd laugh too. If selling out were my goal in life, I sure picked one of the least lucrative ways to do it.

Incidentally, payment for a News-Gazette guest commentary is zero dollars, zero cents.

Thanks for the chuckles, Sid. The rewards of writing are modest, especially these days. But who can put a price on a smile?

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Matt Kaufman;  You are still writing for pay.  It maybe modest pay; but it is pay.  You must really believe the stuff that you write for such alleged modest pay.  I found your articles in Citizen Magazine to be intellectually offensive in contemporary America.  You have to admit that you writings are slanted toward the religious, political right-wing.  People should take the time to read your articles; and make up their own minds. 

I am not chuckling; but I am smiling.  Thanks for responding.

Zoe B wrote on February 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Those quotes are somehow supposed to exude hate or fear? Sorry. You've failed again. Your name calling isn't working.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm

No one is "exuding hate, or fear".  Mr. Kaufman is a paid writer.  He is paid to write articles for social causes.  A writer who writes articles for social causes is a propagandist.  That is not name calling.  It is his profession.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm

The only reason to deny gays equal rights is hate or fear. Certainly no valid reason exists. If you think it's okay, then it's because you hate or fear them as well. Again, I just don't see why you wouldn't just want to be on the righ side of history.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Well; Zoe B did use the terms "knickers", and "Yikes".  I don't know if it is on the right side of history; but it is history.

Zoe B wrote on February 11, 2013 at 5:02 am

Obviously, you're going to keep making that assertion, even though no evidence of either hate or fear exists in the article. I see.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 11, 2013 at 7:02 am

Perhaps I'm not being clear. Hate and fear are the only reasons for opposing equality. Every single argument against gay marriage was also used against miscegynation (mixed race marriage). It's for the SAME REASON. If you oppose marriage equality, YOU. ARE. A. BIGOT. End of story.

Mattk wrote on February 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Ah, "bigotry" Now there's a familiar accusation. (Unlike "in it for the money" -- see my response, # 11.) If I had a nickel for every time it's been recklessly tossed about, I'd be as well-off as Sid thinks I am. The term does tend to lose its power through being used so promiscuously.

It's especially weak in this case, though. Throughout human history, virtually no one supported same-sex marriage -- or even thought to propose it -- until roughly 10 minutes ago. If opposing it is by definition bigotry, that would make pretty much everyone who ever lived a bigot. A sober person might stop to wonder whether it's our own age that's gotten things wrong.

But epithets like "bigotry" aren't meant to induce sober refection. They're meant to pre-empt it. The attitude behind them was nicely captured in a line from a Ring Lardner story: " 'Shut up,' he explained."

Arguing with such people is much like arguing with a 6-year-old: pointless. Which is why I make it a rule not to get drawn into back-and-forth in online comments; it only encourages them, and I have other things to do with my time. So I'll let this (and comment #11) be my only ones in this thread. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Promiscuity, and prostitution have different meanings.  One is frivilous without pay, and the other is professional for pay.  The price of payment is not the point. 

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Perhaps bigotry being such a familiar accusation should lead to some honest reflection. But I'm guessing it won't.

Interracial marriage was banned for a long time, too. I'd still say opposing that makes you a bigot. Basically, not one person has provided one reason other than hate or fear to oppose gay marriage. And no, "we didn't have it before" isn't a reason. We didn't have iPhones before, either. That's not justification for banning them.

Gay marriage does nothing to you, so your advocating the continuing inequality is, yes, nothing but bigotry. You can carry on however you like, but you and I both know the real motives. You just don't like gay people and what they do.

rsp wrote on February 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I never thought I'd see the day when the argument against gay marriage was that they would have kids. For years it was "but how can you be gay, you'll never have kids"? Probably by the mother hoping for grandkids. By the way, I'm curious what you would say to all those kids who lost their fathers or mothers in WW1, WW2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan? Who either grew up in single parent homes or are doing it now? Are they less than? Without one of their role models?

Zoe B wrote on February 11, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Mr. Kaufman, your decision to not waste time in this forum is the wise way to go. I know this is true, because I. SAID. SO. End of story.

Thanks for the thoughtful article.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

How is that article even remotely thoughtful? It connotes an absolute absence of thought.

rsp wrote on February 13, 2013 at 7:02 pm

It's that absence of thought. 

johnny wrote on February 12, 2013 at 2:02 am

I love this "wrong side of history" claptrap.  Since union membership is down, I take it supporting labor is being on the wrong side of history?

And thanks for speaking on behalf of everybody gay.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 12, 2013 at 7:02 am

And thanks for speaking on behalf of everybody gay.

Yeah, like the Jewish leaders who protested at civil rights marches in the 50s and 60s - HOW DARE THEY TRY AND SPEAK OUT AGAINST INJUSTICE! It's someone else, for Pete's sake - it's none of their business!

As for the wrong side of history "claptrap", as you call it. Injustice is ALWAYS on the wrong side of history. That's why it's called "progress."

Are you against gay marriage? If so, why?

Bulldogmojo wrote on February 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Isn't this always the circular logic of these people? That is to say abortion is immoral but once the kid is born into a single parent home that is a crisis that we must address and could have prevented and for this their political leaders refer to them as the 47% ers and parasites on the system. A system that makes every effort to judge and perpetuate their lack of opportunity and poverty. Now once someone comes along and says hey I'll claim you and give you a loving home all of a sudden that's not quite the acceptable home the "Christian" right is comfortable with.

Didn't we already have this argument when Dan Quayle thought that Murphy Brown was a real person or when Alan Keyes stupidly said "Gay people shouldn't adopt because the kids won't know who their parents are and might unknowingly interbreed later in life with their siblings adopted elswhere"? These absurdists who live by their own guilt and shame and who wish to impose it on others are exersizing more than opinon they are attempting to place different values on different people as a justification to marginalize them.

Stand up to bigotry or become a victim of it yourselves.

 

Utowner wrote on February 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm

 

Quote:

"That's especially clear in Illinois. Here, we already have civil unions, conferring virtually all the legal benefits of marriage."

Are you kidding me?  Please do your research. 

I have tried to work my around Mr. Kaufman's logic but I just can’t do it.  

Children being raised by heterosexual couple:  More desirable than being raised by homosexual couple.

Children being raised in institution/foster system that have OPPORTUNITY to be adopted by heterosexual couple:  More desirable than being raised by homosexual couple.

OPPORTUNITY is defined as the chance a child in the institutional/foster system has of being adopted by a heterosexual versus the chances of the child never knowing a permanent stable home and obtaining a family structure for later in life.

I am too disgusted to even think about how one would begin to calculate OPPORTUNITY.

Nice Davis wrote on February 11, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Utowner is spot on. When anti-equality activists hide behind the welfare of children, they undermine they very thing they seek to protect.

If you are against marriage equality because you think it is bad for children, please watch this video from 50:31 to 53:18, and especially from 52:25. I've linked to the 50:31 timestamp below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=oG804t0WG-c#t=3...

To paraphrase: the choice between children adopted by gay parents is not between straight parents and gay parents. It's between gay parents and no parents. There are more children waiting to be adopted than there are parents willing to adopt them. To deny gay couples the responsibilities of parenthood is to sentence more children to orphanhood.

It's a despicable position, and no amount of mealymouthed whining and wordtwisting can obfuscate the fact that the author of this piece his lending his political voice to a policy that harms children.

Local Yocal wrote on February 12, 2013 at 5:02 am
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"A boy needs his dad to identify with — to show him who he is and who he is to become. He needs his mom to show him who women (those fantastically different, yet utterly indispensable creatures) are. And he needs both dad and mom to show him who men and women are together.

He can't get that from two men or from two women. Nor can a girl get what she needs. Whatever a gay couple's intentions toward children, there's no getting around the importance of gender. It's the greatest single factor in human relationships."

This above seems to be the heart of Kauffman's argument. Have child psychologists determined this "gender necessity" to be paramount in a person's healthy development? Define this "correct identity," that is implied in the above argument? Having grown up in a household where "the man" was an alcoholic and spouse beater, (once a month,) I am skeptical his gender still qualified him to be my role model. In fact, there were parts of him that were admirable in his sober moments, but his addiction and his own past demons were not love, and were too intrusive and destructive to be a trustworthy guiding force on a child's life.

Role models come in many forms and many ways and in different times of a person's life. Nothing is perfect, nor guaranteed amongst the humans. Jesus, if that's the basis of your "morality," commanded any follower to renounce their top-priority allegiance to their father and mother if they desired to be His disciple. It's seems Jesus implied a person needed to unlearn all the traditional training of humans to expand their souls to be followers of The Way. This teaching alone unravels and debunks Kauffman's social engineering plan.

Are the offspring of the Old Testament Abraham damaged goods because they grew up with a father and 5 mothers?

There are so many variables nowadays that shape a child's life. A well-to-do kid living in the "correct" nuclear family of a man and wife, might be the most neglected and spoiled child on the block if they are the latch-key type where a television raises the child more than the parents. Conversely, a child raised in the worst of neighborhoods by one devout grandmother can become a solid man/woman of character and integrity that later on leads churches or entire institutions. There is no one formula as to how a person can develop into a quality human being, no one type of household arrangement can guarantee success.

I've seen hardened "criminals," with all the signs of an early death, suddenly become an entirely new person once an intervention occurs into the heart of their symptoms, and the support of nurturing role models surrounds that person. And this miracle happens late in life, not during those formative young years. People can change, and change can happen at any time.

Due to the state of heterosexual marriage (what is it, a 50% divorce rate now?), due to the addiction epidemic that swallows what? 15% of the population? Due to the rates of depression, the rates of poverty (24% of this county is below the poverty line), due to a food supply high in sugar and saturated fats, and due to the technological distractions that numb a person's mind into a sedetary trance, (this computer being one of many) I suggest that a large percentage of our children are raised in difficult circumstances no matter how agreeable those circumstances appear to be to Mr. Kauffman. God makes no distinction about a person's background to determine their worthiness for rescue. Likewise, it's difficult to say what is the ideal situation for every person, and the care for children nowadays has to be flexible to accomodate all the various situations people are coming from.

Nonetheless, there is the everyday world of the state, property, rights, and orphanages. I have heard it said, if marriage be a religious institution and practice, then the government has no business in defining what the religious practice is to be. This argument suggests the state cannot sanction a heterosexual union, let alone a homosexual one. If King David had 5 wives, does that create a legal license for polygamy, if we are basing our laws on a judeo-christian ethic?

The only obligations and responsibility the state can impose on households is that children are not given into forced marriages and sexual abuse, that no household be allowed to practice malicious physical and sexual abuse on children, and no household can neglect reasonable medical precautions for the welfare of a child.

As for rights, any one should be able to name any one as the person who should be given another's personal medical and legal information, their property and finances, and custody of their offspring, assuming the person named is of sound mind.

This bickering over who the state will recognize as a marriage is swinging at a pitch in the dirt and has little to do with the welfare of children.

A more honest argument might be, "I don't like gay marriages because they're icky and gays have cooties." The religious right need to demonstrate the harms created by homosexual parents. Frankly, I see no end to the damages created by half of the heterosexual unions I see around me. But I wouldn't start passing laws to prohibit them, nor demand they stop having children.

B-Evs wrote on February 12, 2013 at 9:02 am

Wow.  Do you realize how low you appear to think of all parents in this opinion piece?  And hatred of a group is not always blatent in a ranting Yosemite Sam 'ooooo, I hates them gays!!!' *stomp stomp stomp* sort of way.  It can be subtle.  Separate but equal, 'them', we don't provide services to your kind, you don't really think that you're a family, do you?

What do you think we should do with single parents?  Do you propose that we take the children away until they can get 'real parents', two of them of two different genders?  And if one of those parents dies, well, back into the system until we can get you a new set of parents or the leftover marries again?  That's a real example to set for the kid: shotgun/Vegas wedding just to get your kid back.

There are things mom can do that dad simply can't — not the way mom does, if he can do them at all. There are things dad can do that mom simply can't — not the way dad does, if she can do them at all.   ...

A boy needs his dad to identify with — to show him who he is and who he is to become. He needs his mom to show him who women (those fantastically different, yet utterly indispensable creatures) are. And he needs both dad and mom to show him who men and women are together.

And what do girls need?  Or are you okay with just worrying about the boys in this scenario?  Are you one of those people who think that all gay men are pedophiles?  A child's identity is shaped by multiple people and it's not like there will be no men or no women in the child's life.  Urgh, and your comment on women is cloying.  Why not have dad and dad or mom and mom or dad and mom show the kid how people are together?  Then again, you are supporting gender standards in this piece of how moms and dads are different.  You don't say what it is that dad can do that mom can't.  Because you might actually get someone telling you that their dad did that fine, or their mom did that fine and that would get your knickers in a twist.  (And guess what?  Moms and dads have had to have 'the talk' with their opposite gendered children before.  It's embarassing but so is having 'the talk' with your kid whose gender you share.  Moms have had to wash the sheets from nocturnal emissions and dads have had to wash the sheets from periods.  It's just laundry.)

That drove out principled faith-based providers like Catholic Charities and the Evangelical Child and Family Agency, which had been highly effective due to the trusting relationships they had established with churches. Their track record meant nothing to the state.

Correct, their track record shouldn't mean anything.  Because we are asking them to comply with the laws.  And if they say they aren't going to comply, then they shouldn't be funded/used.  Also, it's a very weird situation to have a group that purports to be doing things 'for the children' but who then say that they will take their ball and go home if they don't get their way about the icky gays.  Shall we also support the Klan adoption agency who will only place completely white babies with completely white parents?

Bulldogmojo wrote on February 12, 2013 at 9:02 am

This notion of one man and one woman and 2.5 children conceived in the missionary position was an absurd notion even when it was a fashionable notion. It's not the world we are living in!! If you want to see how infallible the heterosexual family unit is maybe Mr. Kaufman should watch a few episodes of cops because it is almost all domestic violence shows of married men and women. Maybe Mr. Kaufman would like to seek feedback from some prominent hetero church going family men like Jerry Sandusky, Ted Haggard, Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, Larry Craig, Todd Akin and the list of these pillars of the "Christian family unit" goes on and on. Maybe they could help us to understand where we are deficient in wanting children to have a stable home with loving parents of any sexual orientation who by their nature are more tolerant because of their surviving the very prejudice that Mr. Kaufman is advocating.

 

billbarnes wrote on February 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Hello Champaign?  How are you?  I hear what the writer is saying but I can't roll with that.  I used to think like he does.  However, upon reflection, I realized my position on the issue was based upon ideas that are not universally accepted.  I'm sitting out here in Oregon and they're having the same argument as you.  The bottom line is that not everyone thinks the same but public policy must be applied equally to everyone so compromises have to be made.  Where do we draw the line on those compromises?  I draw the line at life and death.  Life begins at the point of conception.  After that, if it doesn't involve an unacceptable burden on social order, I say let it slide.  It's not worth arguing about.  I've been studying gays and their children for almost 30 years now.  I can't find anything wrong with them.  I may not agree with their lifestyle but they probably won't agree with mne.  So, since it is not a matter of life or death, we just let it slide and learn to live better with one another.  After 30 years of thought, that's where I've landed on that.  I heard it got cold out there (as usual).  I haven't seen anything below 20 degrees in 22 years.  I'm actually looking forward to freezing again upon my return.  Take care.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm

How is your harvest going?

read the DI wrote on February 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm

By definition, children with married parents (straight or gay) are not growing up with single parents, so there goes the author's whole argument (not that he had one to begin with).

 

asparagus wrote on February 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

The author wrote: "The main reason is that children need a mom and a dad. They need the unique, gender-specific contributions that each has to make."

I know that there has been conflicting research on this issue over the years but I believe the prevailing and emerging opinion is that this is not true.  What is most important is that a child receives love, attention, guidance and security.  There is nothing about being gay that dilutes those essentials.

At one time in our culture, marriage was primarily about having children.  For a long time now it has been redefined in our culture as being for two people who love each other.  On those grounds alone gays should have the right to be married the same as anyone else.  I don't believe that the child rearing issue even matters. 

As a society we have evolved to a point that cultural rejection of same sex parents has been pushed out of the mainstream and therefore no longer poses a significant threat to the child's development (to whatever extent that ever mattered); and the "gender modeling" argument is a red herring.

 

 

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Agreed, but the only reason there has been conflicting research on this issue are non-independent (i.e. Focus on the Family, etc.) studies. *All* independent studies show that this is not true. Of course, Kaufman doesn't pay attention to that and instead simply lies, then makes up false explanations as to why those lies are true - again with no facts or studies to back them up.

Basically, Kaufman is a bigot, and I'm ashamed that the N-G would allow bigotry to be advocated in my hometown paper. Not surprised, but ashamed.

jlc wrote on February 13, 2013 at 10:02 pm

LOL. I wonder if Mr. Kaufman's head would explode if he visited my family, where the wife of the partnership follows professional sports religiously while the husband is vegetarian and doesn't know how to drive. Anyone who considers men and women to be separate "creatures" is not someone who has any business telling other people how to live their lives.

Britt wrote on February 14, 2013 at 12:02 am
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I felt compelled to rebuke Mr. Kaufman's asinine commentary as he erroneously postulates on the consequences of 'marriage equality' and its subsequent implications on family values.  I'll be absolutely transparent - my fight for marriage equaility is about one purpose - equality.   It's about strengthening and cultivating family values, not diminishing them.

My marriage to my husband was never about making a statement; it was a celebration of love cemented in the same traditional values that we all earnestly pursue- gay or straight.  Your assumption that marriage equality and advocates of our cause are out to undermine the traditional family structure couldn't be further from the truth; you provide no evidence, only conjecture and speculation, that gay couples are incapable of raising children solely because we 'can't' provide gender-specific contributions.  My husband was raised by a lesbian mother.  I have never met a man more capable, confident and self-assured.  His generosity, selflessness, and sensitivity are strengths that we as a society need more of, not less.  He's not broken.  He's not ashamed.  He's strong and courageous.  These are attributes that will make him a great father and a formidable family leader.  

And our marriage is not a mirage or misrepresentation - it's a formal commitment with all the rights and protections granted by the state of New York - protections you take for granted. These are protections I need for my family. Separate but equal must end.  And it starts with you.  Make your voice heard.

 

-Britt

Married October 13th, 2012 ~ Long Island, NY

rsp wrote on February 14, 2013 at 1:02 am

I keep coming back to his idea that gay marriage should be compared to a fantasy of straight marriage that never existed. And opponents keep moving the goal of marriage around to suit their needs, like for having kids. Not everyone who gets married is going to have kids so they change the goal. They just don't want to come out and say "we don't want you people to do it it's icky" and get it over with. But that's what they are saying. And they sound icky when they say it. Maybe they should get out more. 

Swimmer93 wrote on February 14, 2013 at 1:02 am

Dear Mr. Kaufman, I was very intrigued to read your article. I am a 20 year old gay male. I have to say that I disagree with absolutely everything you have said here. Not only am I gay, but I was raised in a single parent household. Let me start of with replying to your statement about gay marriage, " The purpose of gay marriage is to make a statement — that homosexual relationships are equal in every way to the most honored and central institution in society.", in no way is gay marriage a statement. The purpose of marriage, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual, is to be an expression of love for one another. Civil unions are just another way of saying gay people are not equal to you and should not have the same rights as straight people. If I can not have the same rights as you, then why in the world should I pay the same taxes as you? If my money is good enough for the government to take and use, I should be able to marry the person that I love. You see Mr. Kaufman, we are all people trying to live our lives to the fullest extent and to pursue happiness, is not the goal of life to be able to pursue happiness? I do believe if you were sitting on the other end of the table, you would want to be able to have the pursuit of happiness and to have the same rights as others, am I right? Sir, people like you are the reason that LGBTQ teen and adult suicide rates are so high. We live in the United States of America, Land of the free. I will tell you that I am not so free. I am taught by society that it is wrong to be who I am, that it is wrong to want to love the person that I love, and that I can not marry the one person that I want to spend the rest of my life with.
Now lets talk about this single parenting issue you bring up... Let me tell you a little about myself. I am a 20 year old male who was raised by a single mother, my father wanted and still wants to have no part in my life. At the age of 12 I became a cadet on a local volunteer fire department, at the age of 16 years old I successfully completed and had the top score of my Emergency Medical Technician- Basic class, at the age of 18 upon graduating from a well known Christian school I received the American Legion's Patriot award, at the age of 19 I successfully completed the Illinois State Emergency Medical Technician- Intermediate class, also that year I successfully completed my Illinois State Emergency Medical Technician- Paramedic class, and now at the age of 20 I am a supervisor of an ambulance service. Now please tell me again about how children form a single parent household suffer. I can not explain to you how much love and respect I have for my mother, she has been by my side through all of my ups and downs. Yes sir, you are correct sometimes as a family you hit a rough patch and it's hard to get back up, but that is what has made my family what we are today. So sir in regards to your post, I do not and can not understand why you as a American and as a human being would want to hinder someones pursuit of happiness. Thank you,Cody Carpenter

EMT wrote on February 14, 2013 at 4:02 am

The question remains in any culture: How do we define what is right and wrong?

The historical position Kaufman alludes to is based on the word of God, and because of that it is not a position of "hatred/bigotry/propaganda", but a position consistent with the beliefs of the Bible, which he apparently believes.  The deeper issue beyond traditional / gay parenting is this: Is gay marriage right?

God is the only one who has the authority to give us a moral standard of right and wrong.

Though God created the world (and marriage) perfect in the beginning, the rejection of God by mankind has made us sinners, and so the natural, sinful desires we have are our own, but that does not make them right.  

Being gay justifies homosexuality no more than being a liar justifies lying.  God knows our tendencies and that we are prone to things that he is displeased by, and God calls us to repent of our natural sinful desires and follow him.

It's God's standards that our lives will be examined by on judgement day.  Which of course, all of us have fallen short of.  That is why God sent his Son to redeem sinners.  His command was simple: Repent (turn from sin) for the kingdom of God is at hand.

So why are Christians opposing gay marriage?  Because we take a stand for what we believe--God's word.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 14, 2013 at 7:02 am

If that is the sole reason, then why make up things about why gays want to get married and how it's detrimental to children? Just say so. The answer is "because my conception of God says so" is not a good argument. You don't get to make other people live in a way that you agree with. 

You're entitled to your argument, but you should know: your argument would make it 100% unconstitutional to pass a law restricting gay marriage.

Nice Davis wrote on February 14, 2013 at 7:02 am

Your post makes a great argument for why certain Christians should not marry someone of the same sex.

Your post makes absolutely no argument for why the state should disfavor a class of marital relationships between two consenting adults.

I'm curious, EMT: You mention following "God's standards" and "God's word". Do you agree with the bible that divorced women should not be allowed to remarry (Matthew 5:32, Luke 16:18)? Do you agree, further, that divorce should not be allowed at all (Matthew 19:6, Mark 10:9)? Or are you one of those hypocrites who doesn't think the state should follow every policy outlined in the Bible, just the ones that conveniently support your worldview?

Local Yocal wrote on February 14, 2013 at 10:02 am
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"...the natural, sinful desires we have are our own, but that does not make them right. Being gay justifies homosexuality no more than being a liar justifies lying."

Your definition of what the former serial killer Saul meant by the word, "homosexuals" in his ancient letters from jail,would be disputed by theologians better trained than you in the languages of the day. 

Which is the higher priority: sincere love, or the sexual technique between sincere lovers?

I could never debate with the religious righties on these matters, their busy body nanniness over everyone else's household is always amazing. Where do they get the energy? 

Luckily, the gays and their marriages won't bother my heterosexuality and my religious faith in the least. And I suppose if the righties want to speak at their legislators with their views, they are entitled; and if The News-Gazette wants to print this opinion piece, let the First Amendment have a robust debate then.

These debates over everybody else's lifestyle, status, priviledges, this worry over another's "rightness and wrongness," always brings to mind Apostle Peter's inquiry of the Resurrected Christ, "What about this man?" Peter asked of the Savior, speaking of John, the disciple Jesus loved. "What is that to you?," replied Jesus, "...follow Me." If a good man's fate is none of my business, neither should the fate of sinners or saints.

Like it or not, freedom in these United States is guaranteed to all. We used to begrudge those 3/5ths worth of a man, the negro slaves were not entitled to U.S. citizenship, nor the indigenous civilizations we displaced, the "indian savages," were never entitled to U.S. citizenship either. And neither could those "indispensible creatures" Mr. Kaufmann thoughtfully mentioned, be allowed to vote for their governance. It takes centuries of evolution to catch up to Jesus' commands, I guess.   

Until you can show homosexual parents damage kids most of the time, and that witches cannot float in water, the argument by Mr. Kaufmann is just using children as a shield for his real problem: he don't like no homos and resents his government equating their marriages with his marriage to his nice wife, "the indispensible creature." 

rsp wrote on February 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Would men being married to creatures be considered a mixed marriage? 

jlc wrote on February 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

"God is the only one who has the authority to give us a moral standard of right and wrong."

Maybe in Iran or Saudi Arabia, but this is the United States. You're perfectly free to oppose gay marriage for yourself and your fellow believers. But that's not how the law of the land is made.

B-Evs wrote on February 15, 2013 at 9:02 am

If fear of God is all that is keeping you from murdering someone, for example, that's not a very good moral code.  Especially since there were laws created before the Bible was written.

asparagus wrote on February 15, 2013 at 11:02 pm

lol

Marti Wilkinson wrote on February 14, 2013 at 8:02 am

This commentary is a good example of how women's rights and GLBT rights are so intertwined. As a single mother I'm unfortunately used to the underlying misogyny that presumes, that I'm somehow a defective parent because the father of my kid chose to not take responsibility for his child. I can easily point out that having an education and a support system have been critical in enabling me to raise my daughter to be the fine young woman that she is.

I've also have learned to be very independent and that has sometimes resulted in people questioning my sexual orientation. This also comes along with the patriachal notion that a woman is somehow 'incomplete' without a man in her life. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my mother was approached by women who shared their regrets in being pressured by society to marry someone just because they got knocked up.  We are now at at place where what constitutes a family is not limited to the "Leave it to Beaver" notions of a nuclear family.

I consider myself to be an ally of the GLBT community, and I have friends who are currently in civil unions. It is not the same as being married since civil unions are only recognized on a state level. State taxes can be filed jointly, but federal taxes still have to be separate. Plus if one partner dies than the other partner is stuck with federal inheritance taxes that heterosexual married couples don't have to deal with.

Marriage is not necessarily the best solution for every heterosexual couple. I have an uncle who has been living with his girlfriend for several years, and her income is solely derived from a pension established by her late husband. If she married my uncle that income would be lost, and he doesn't have the means to fully support the two of them. She is his wife in everything but name only.

If our policy makers are really interested in the welfare of children, a better job would be made of establishing resources for parents. Other countries offer paid maternity/paternity leave, medical care, child care, and safety nets that make it possible for parents to be able to work and take care of their families. One of the biggest challenges I faced as a single mom was seeing well over half of my income going to pay for rent/mortgage and childcare expenses. Many working two parent families are also feeling the same level of strain, and some women are staying home because it's not cost effective to work. The downside to that is that it may be harding for these ladies to re-enter the workforce down the road.

Other comments on this thread have managed to illustrate the underlying homophobia and misogyny that the article perpectuates. 

jlc wrote on February 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Excellent points, Marti. The original article made it very clear that the author thinks of men as naturally being superior to women, and without such an unequal partnership in place, how are children supposed to learn to maintain and reproduce that inequality when they grow up? Single parents or same-sex households threaten the conservative worldview for this reason, which is, as you pointed out, how misogyny and homophobia are linked.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm

It passed the senate this afternoon.  Rose voted against it; and Barrickman voted for it.  Now, it goes to the house.  Which of the reps are going to vote for it, or against it?

Marti Wilkinson wrote on February 15, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I tried to edit my previous comment earlier to correct an error, and it didn't take. It should read that for women who stay at home it will be "harder" for them to re-enter the work force. Also, it does diminish their earning power over time as well.

PacLady wrote on February 15, 2013 at 7:02 am

It's interesting how the anti-marriage equality editorial gets posted on the News Gazette website, but the pro-marriage equality editorial (the one based in actual, scientific research) is only in print (today), reaching less people.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 15, 2013 at 8:02 am

It is heartening to recognize, though, that in at least this one crazy corner of the local internet, the intolerant bigots seem to be shouted down by good hearted people who think that love is a good thing.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on February 15, 2013 at 8:02 pm

The NG no longer publishes the letters to the editor online. However, that is not enough to motivate me to take out a subscription.

dray wrote on February 16, 2013 at 10:02 am

I find it far more offensive that the government sanctions/licenses “marriage” or “unions” at all, regardless of the gender of the couple.  I find it distressing that in order to have a Christian church marry a couple FIRST they must obtain a license from the state.  It seems the protections and rights that supporters seek all boil down to a monetary issue.  The government has no authority to say who you will live with or even love, and that’s the way the vast majority of this society wants it.  Sure there is ignorance and hatred, but, that cannot be legislated out of existence.  Education, setting an example and perseverance are what is needed, in addition to MAJOR reform on income tax codes.

We need to be able to exercise the freedom to name whomever we wish as responsible for our estates, holds our power of attorney, and cares for our children in the event of our untimely demise.  There should be no tax penalty or benefit from filing a tax return as married or single or whatever.  If two people cohabitate, and decide to end that relationship, they can seek a legal, governmental arbitration as to how property will be divided, if they cannot decide for themselves.  It is really no one’s business who I choose to share my life with.  Obviously, laws against biological parents trying to shirk responsibility for offspring are important, but are not germane to this argument.

A MARRIAGE should be between God and two people.  If these people seek to sanctify their union before God, find a church to guide you to that end, but leave the government out of it.  Government’s job is not to pick sides in social agendas.  It is not a children/family issue.  That argument only clouds the real solution.  Once you remove the money from the equation thereby getting the government out of the marriage business, we all a little more freedom. 

rsp wrote on February 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Before making such sweeping generalizations it helps to know what marriage legally does. It's a legal contract. It confers legal rights to both parties. It's legally documented because of those rights and responsibilities. Things like inheriting property and debts. And divorce. This evolved into the legal system because the other way just wasn't working. How would you know if a paper was real? If someone was already married? All boil down to a monitary issue? How about protecting those you love?

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 16, 2013 at 5:02 pm

With the government out of the marriage business, and only the churches deciding; how would the atheists get married?  They have the right to marriage also.