The other day I posted a reminder to finish watching the Dan Savage vs. Brian Brown dinner table debate.
Last night, I listened to a little more of it, and there was a part that really stuck out. Savage talked about the definition of marriage and how heterosexuals are the ones responsible for redefining it. Brian Brown’s responses were hardly good enough to counter the thought and emotion (albeit withheld) from Savage.
Brown sounds like a callous asshole. Savage comes across intelligent, thoughtful and prepared. If nothing else, see the screen capture of the debate to see how strewn Savage’s notes are. Brown has one notebook to scribble thoughts as they come up.
The other big part that has come up is the question of adoption. Most of you know, I’m adopted.
And I would have it no other way. As an adoptee, it has afforded me a life that I would never have experienced otherwise. The limitations of the environment I might have had compared to the one I experienced is barnone better than any other possibility.
But, and this was reflected in last night’s republican convention, the religious right seem to not understand the value of infertility and of adoption. Rick Santorum and someone else directly offended me by saying that “they” are trying to redefine marriage as something other than a fertile relationship where a man and woman produce children together.
So by their own admission, republicans think my relationship with Tina is inferior. They think of me as an adopted person is inferior. Yes, republican value adoption, but it’s a limited view. I have friends who want to adopt as a show of their love for god.
Perhaps this is a stretch, but this is reflected by the ideology within the construct of my family that our value — Tina’s and mine — to our loved ones is essentially diminished by the absence of children.
But the misallocation of the conservative’s value of life is beguiling. Abortion is an abomination, but guns, violence, war and flag waving hooha are awesome investments.
Yet, when your culture’s foundation is based on stories of God destroying people how many ever times in the bible and that 2/3s of the population will roast in hellfire for the minor crime of belief in one god, it’s no wonder that violence is hoisted on their flags and valuing differing mindsets are stomped down into the bloody mud.
I honestly don’t think conservatives get it. It’s as if they surround themselves in childish ideas without a shred of recognition of it or of its large presence in the room.
I don’t think the Republican party is going to go away. Although, I do believe they need a major facelift. There are so many periphery issues that they are holding on to that need letting go. And their views of the economy are clearly not as great as they think.
Returning to the debate above, I tried to transcribe one major part by Dan Savage, and I’ll let you read it below. If you want to follow along, I think it starts around 36-ish minutes. But I strongly recommend listening to about 34 or 35 where he talks about the FRC getting the “hate group” label. It’s amazing how he distinguishes that Catholics and boy scouts are anti-gay, but they haven’t been given a “hate group” label. And they weren’t given that label by “the gays”. They were given the label by a group who read the crappy things the FRC has published about homosexuals.
The beginning of my transcript is in reference to the controversial speech Savage gave in which he called Christian students names as they were walking out.
There have been a lot of Christian writers who agreed with me. I was talking about selective readings of the bible. For example Leviticus.
[Snip of cliche discussion of biblical views. Some lost to oblivion and others still recognized by the "moral majority."]
Why this selective cherry picking just to attack gay people? It’s really anti-gay bigotry. And I’m sorry, there’s no other word for it.
There’s this argument on your side that we want to change the institution of marriage. We don’t want to change the definition of marriage. The fact of the matter is heterosexuals have changed the definition of marriage. Marriage for most of recorded human history was polygamist. Marriage for most of recorded human history was a property transaction, where one man took possession of another man’s daughter and during that property transaction she became a wife. And this was the case for many, many centuries.
And about a hundred years ago, we started to redefine marriage to be an egalitarian institution where two people create each other as their next of kin through the institution of marriage.
It’s not a gendered institution anymore. It’s not about babies. It’s about commitment and love. It’s about establishing that next of kin. It’s about finding that one person in the world who will be there for you, whom you will be there for. And marriage isn’t defined by sex roles anymore or the presence of children. The only time we hear that marriage is defined by children or monogamy, or faith, is when gay people want to get married. Suddenly marriage is defined by when gay people want to get married.
You just had dinner with my son. We have children. Gay people have children. Adoptions by same sex couples over the last decade have tripled in the United States. Marriage is about Children in the US, why won’t the state give us a civil marriage. Not a religious ceremony, but a civil marriage license that the rights and responsibilities that any other straight couple that the state gave children to and made parents would be afforded.
This isn’t an attack on anyone’s faith. Legal civil marriage doesn’t require anyone’s church to approve or officiate or accommodate. It takes nothing from you or your definition of marriage.
We are three-ish percent of the population. We are not going to de-center what it means to be a man and a woman from what it means to be married by allowing same sex couples to marry. If anything it affirms the original understanding of marriage and its importance to family life.