Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What is it really about?

I was talking to a friend about SB 267, which would do away with Ralph Becker's domestic registry. She said it's about defending marriage and standing up for families, because our families are failing, and are causing society to fail.

I agree that we have some real problems in our society, and I believe many of those problems come from homes where children are not getting all the things they need to become healthy, productive members of society*. There's just been something that didn't sit right with me and I couldn't figure out what until today.

"Standing up for marriage" and "Defending Marriage" are terms I associate with the LDS church. My church. I believe it was Elder Oaks who said that sexual intimacy outside of marriage is a sin. It doesn't matter if it is homosexual activity or heterosexual activity, it's the same seriousness sin-wise. The thing that gets me is that with SB 267, and anything else like it that I have ever heard talked about, the justification for it is that we can't allow homosexuals to have too many rights. Granted, this bill would affect unmarried heterosexual couples as well, but no one talks about that, leading me to think that the main reason the bill is brought up at all is because people are scared or grossed out or whatever by homosexuality.

If we're so concerned about legislating morality, lets at least be consistent.

Or we could follow Jesus' example of love and compassion. In our rush to deny rights to anyone different than ourselves, we're missing out on an opportunity to make sure that more families and more children are protected. From the Tribune article: Melanie Schertz, who insures her ailing mother under the city's adult-designee provision, said the Legislature should not have the right to determine what constitutes a "family."
"If they're going after this because a few gay people get benefits," she said, "they're not seeing the whole picture."

*I've heard that decent health coverage helps children become healthy productive members of society, regardless of the sexual preference of their parents...


Emily said...

I haven't read the text of this bill so I can't comment on what it does or doesn't proscribe. No doubt though, as you say, that fear of giving same-sex couples too many (or any) rights is the motivation for it...though I don't know what rights SLC's registry purports to convey other than the symbolic value of having one's name on a piece of paper with one's beloved.

One point on which I must differ is that there are completely different standards for what is acceptable outside of marriage for straight people vs. gay people. An unmarried man and woman in love can demonstrate and / or express a great deal of affection and attraction to one another depending on the setting, and still be well within the boundaries of appropriate behavior (assuming neither of them is married to anyone else). But if two men walked across the quad at BYU holding hands, or gave each other a fairly chaste goodbye kiss in a public place, would that be considered OK? In LDS culture "dating" has clear boundaries but also room for some expression of feelings that are sexual. It is intended as a preparation and selection time for marriage. I don't think there is any similar allowance for gay people in LDS culture because they aren't supposed to be 'preparing' for a committed relationship or selecting a partner to whom they are attracted and and are compatible. I think this fosters a lot of risky behavior that is not very likely to lead to a person's happiness. It seems that marriages could be better protected by encouraging / acknowledging, rather than trying to prevent, the human need for partnership and the value of commitment. These lessons are difficult and can take a long time to learn even under ideal conditions...but they're probably
THE core lessons of life. A major part of the whole reason we're here, right?

Anyway, retailers of housewares, sporting goods, etc. should be lobbying like crazy against this bill...before people get registered at City Hall they could register at Target...I bet some big box money applied in the right places could stop the bill in its tracks.

WP said...

Sadly, homophobia seems to reign and directs most responses from our friends and neighbors here in Utah and other places.

adam said...

Honestly, I don't even think hetero marriages should be recognized by the state. It's my own dang business who I married, when, and where... I wish I could keep my own marriage out of politics... Along with that everyone should have equal rights to some sort of civil union or "domestic registry," and then we can all marry how we want to in whatever church or temple or park we want to...

Emily--I appreciate your viewpoint here. It is one that we need to be reminded of quite frequently, unfortunately. Not that it's the same issue, but it reminds me of a good African American friend I have who constantly gets stared at on campus. Or others will look down when they walk by him.

q said...

I am homophobic of guys with frosted hair.

I will seriously support any UT legislation that results in a ban of such public displays of frosted-ness by Gay males.