Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Mary Cheney is Pregnant

The Washington Post reports that Mary Cheney is going to be a mother, along with her longtime partner Heather Poe. I would really love to hear one of the Cheneys’ religious right pals explain to Mary, or to her parents, how Mary and Heather are undermining marriage and destroying civilization and working for Satan, as their absurd rhetoric constantly claims. Dobson? Falwell? Keyes? Bauer? I think this should be put on television. I want to see these bigots get on TV, face to face, and I want to see them look Mary Cheney and Heather Poe in the eye and tell them why it’s so damn important that laws be put in place that discriminate against them and that deny them the most basic rights and protections that the rest of us take for granted. Such rhetoric is easy to aim at an invisible and undefined Them; it’s a lot harder when you’re standing face to face with someone you can’t so casually demonize. It makes you look like the foolish bigots you really are.

Comments

  1. #1 Will
    December 6, 2006

    It would be nice if Dick Cheney would grow a pair and start standing up for his daughter.

  2. #2 Jeff Hebert
    December 6, 2006

    Ed Said:

    I would really love to hear one of the Cheneys’ religious right pals explain to Mary, or to her parents, how Mary and Heather are undermining marriage and destroying civilization and working for Satan, as their absurd rhetoric constantly claims.

    He’s not Dobson or Falwell, but Kevin McCullough at Town Hallhas a response, here. Money quotes:

    5. Is it healthy for a society to celebrate inadequate sexual unions that lead to everything except what it was designed to be?

    6. Knowing from scientific data that children excel best when given the full and natural parental structure of one mother and one father, is it moral to bring a child into such a scenario – purposefully, simply to stroke one’s own desire to have a child – sort of like a new handbag, or pair of shoes?

    As Andrew Sullivan says, I’m unclear on how considering children the equivalent of a “handbag” helps advance the discourse at all.

    Furthermore, you could replace the idea of “homosexuals” in McCullough’s post with “infertile heterosexuals” and it wouldn’t change the “logic” of the basic argument he’s making at all. If it’s wrong for two people who can’t procreate together the old-fashioned way to have children through artificial insemination or whatnot, why is not also wrong for an infertile heterosexual couple? They also are “inadequate sexual unions” by his reasoning, and thus shouldn’t be allowed to be married or to have children through the intervention of science.

    On the plus side, the children of infertile heterosexuals won’t have the danger of catching “teh Gay” so that’s a good mark in their favor. ((rolls eyes))

  3. #3 MJ Memphis
    December 6, 2006

    Who says Cheney isn’t standing up for his daughter? I’m sure he will make sure his daughter and her family do just fine in life. As for those people who don’t share a few of his chromosomes, he couldn’t care less.

  4. #4 John
    December 6, 2006

    I went over to the Free Republic to catch their reaction. They are remarkable tolerant of Mary. Very few negative comments.

  5. #5 Ed Brayton
    December 6, 2006

    I agree with Will. By every indication, Dick and Lynne Cheney are loving parents to Mary and fully accept her and her partner. For that, they are to be commended; I only wish that more families were as supportive. But Cheney is in a unique position as the Vice President and as a very prominent conservative voice (and his wife as well, as a widely respected conservative intellectual) to speak out on the broader issue and potentially make a real difference. The daughter whose identity and relationship they clearly accept and respect on a personal level is directly harmed by the policies they chose to stay silent about. As far as I am aware, the Cheneys have only once even mentioned in the mildest manner that they did not support a Federal ban on gay marriage, when Dick said in an interview that he wasn’t really for it but that he supported the President and his policy choices. But the truth is that they had an opportunity to stand up for their daughter’s rights and her claim to equality and they shrunk from that opportunity out of political expediency. They were, and still are, in a position to make a real difference in this battle. They could stand up, as prominent social conservatives, and defend their daughter’s rights, her equality, even her humanity, in the face of the constant onslaught against all three by those they choose as their political partners. They could be a very powerful voice for equality and they choose not to be. And unlike a lot of people, they ought to know better. I only hope that once Dick leaves office in 2008 and no longer has any political limitations, both of them will discover at least the minimal amount of character and fortitude necessary to do what is right.

  6. #6 Jake
    December 6, 2006

    They live in Virginia, which has some of the most anti-Mary Cheny laws in the country. Poe would have absolutely no legal rights wrt to the child. If they move out of Virginia, it would almost certainly be because of the anti-Mary Cheney laws there. I still could never understand how Mary Cheney could support her dad and his pals at all.

  7. #7 Raging Bee
    December 6, 2006

    I still could never understand how Mary Cheney could support her dad and his pals at all.

    Charitable answer: loyalty to family and friends — which isn’t so insane, given their loyalty to her.

    Less charitable answer: walking out on her family means leaving the sphere of their protection (both emotional and psysical).

    Totally uncharitable answer: probably for the same reason so many people who call themselves “libertarians” slavishly cling to the GOP: their heads are so clogged with the old Randroid “liberal = socialist = commie collectivist” meme that they can’t possibly bring themselves to leave the GOP however un-libertarian they may get.

    Pick a guess. I’m leaning toward #2.

    Ed: eloquent comment, that. Do you mind my quoting it in my own blog?

  8. #8 Coin
    December 6, 2006

    Well, congratulations to Mary and Heather.

    Meanwhile, there’s something I’ve been trying to decide for awhile.

    While what’s going on in the head of George W. Bush is as always a complete mystery and I don’t include him in the remarks that follow, it is beginning to appear that most of the “top-down” leaders of the modern conservative moment– even the ones whose careers have specifically depended on feeding off of the loose hatred toward gay people– really seem to have no problem whatsoever with gay people themsleves. And I don’t even mean the Ted Haggard “condemn yet guiltily indulge” kind of thing. Increasingly all signs are that a surprising number of these leaders simply don’t share the homophobia of the people they lead. Dick Cheney speaks with earnest pride of his daughter and her family; Condoleeza Rice thinks nothing of introducing the new Global AIDS Coordinator, his partner, and his mother-in-law; Hannity plays gay matchmaker. And I just can’t figure out: Which is worse? To promote and exploit homophobia because one is a bigot? Or to legitimately have no problem whatsoever with gays, yet promote and exploit homophobia because doing so brings you money and power?

  9. #9 Ed Brayton
    December 6, 2006

    Raging Bee: Of course not, feel free to use it.

  10. #10 Ed Brayton
    December 6, 2006

    Coin wrote:

    Which is worse? To promote and exploit homophobia because one is a bigot? Or to legitimately have no problem whatsoever with gays, yet promote and exploit homophobia because doing so brings you money and power?

    The latter, I think. They ought to know better. And at least the first group is expressing itself honestly.

  11. #11 Raging Bee
    December 6, 2006

    Coin: they all know the gay-bashing rhetoric is a crock, and they use it to get support anyway. And that, in my opinion, is far more reprehensible than a garden-variety moron spouting such nonsense because he/she sincerely believes it to be the truth. Knowing that discord need not exist, yet choosing to sow discord anyway, gets you a special place in Dante’s Hell.

  12. #12 Flatlander100
    December 6, 2006

    Ed: you wrote I think this should be put on television. I want to see these bigots get on TV, face to face, and I want to see them look Mary Cheney and Heather Poe in the eye and tell etc. etc….

    Well, Ed, we disagree. Ms. Chaney and her partner are not public servants, they do not hold and are not running for elective office. They have as much right therefor to privacy as you and I do. I don’t see why her pregnancy should be subject to public comment, punditry etc. Nor do I see why she and her partner should be subjected to facing bigots on TV or in any public venue to hear them comment on her pregnancy. It’s none of their business, or mine, or the public’s or your, unless or until they choose to make it so. They don’t work for us, they don’t represent us, this is manifestly a private matter. We should leave it at that unless they choose to make it a public one. Which so far as I can see they have not.

    Many years ago, when I was a young an callow asst. prof. of history at an Enormous State University in the deep south, I a polisci professor and a few graduate students, one a black woman, decided at the end of a seminar to go get some pizza. We all piled into a car, and I was seated in the back with the black woman as the polisci professor announced we were going to X’s restaurant, which had a reputation for contriving reasons not to serve blacks. The young woman next to me frowned and leaned over to me and said “I don’t want to make a racial statement. I just want a pizza.”

    She was entitled to her privacy that night, to not make a public statement on race or worse, have someone else contrive to make it for her. So is Ms. Chaney and her partner entitled to the same.

  13. #13 Ginger Yellow
    December 6, 2006

    I would really love to hear one of the Cheneys’ religious right pals explain to Mary, or to her parents, how Mary and Heather are undermining marriage and destroying civilization and working for Satan, as their absurd rhetoric constantly claims.

    Hell, I’d like to see Bush explain it. It’s a shame the two rarely appear together in a context where a journalist could put the question to him.

  14. #14 MJ Memphis
    December 6, 2006

    Flatlander100- I would agree with you *if* Mary Cheney was just an “innocent bystander”, as it were, with no connection to the Bush-Cheney campaign other than familial ties. However, that is not the case- she was one of the top-level directors of the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, which relied on the support of Dobson, Falwell, etc. Mary Cheney wasn’t dragged into the political mud, she jumped in herself.

  15. #15 Raging Bee
    December 6, 2006

    Flatlander100: you’re absolutely right — Mary and her partner have a right to privacy, and her sex life is no business of the public or the pundits. That’s what the entire gay-rights and privacy-rights movements have been on about from day one: the bigots whose asses the GOP can’t avoid kissing have no legitimate reason to make a public issue out of other people’s private lives.

    Unfortunately, those bigots already have made a public issue out of it, to the detriment of innocent people like Mary Cheney; which means their opponents have to join the debate in order to defeat them. If Mary et al find their privacy invaded, it’s the bigots’ fault, and no one else’s.

  16. #16 Raging Bee
    December 6, 2006

    Here’s what an evangelical Christian wrote to Andrew Sullivan on this issue:

    I do agree that this child will do just fine when it comes to male role models. My sister is recently divorced with a 5 year old son. My grandfather, who lives a few blocks away, plays a major role in his life. Regardless of what you think of VP Cheney, he does seem to truly love his daughter and to fully accept her lesbian relationship. I have a feeling he’ll be a great grandfather.

    As an evangelical who believes that fatherless homes are a very serious matter that’s killing our country, I do believe that Mary Cheney and her partner will make much better parents than most of the heterosexual couples in today’s America.

    Britney Spears or Mary Cheney? Who would you want watching your child?

  17. #17 Raging Bee
    December 6, 2006

    WTF? I could swear I put all three paragraphs in italics…

  18. #18 tacitus
    December 6, 2006

    Mary Cheney is not being villified on the wingnut Free Republic message board simply because of who her father is. And some of the posters themselves (on both sides of the issue) have pointed this fact out.

    And this sort of thing happens quite a lot. It’s easy to be a hater in the abstract. Bit if the issue directly affects you, someone you care for, or someone you admire, then it suddenly becomes a lot more difficult to villify and loathe people you can relate to.

    For all the people like Alan Keyes, who tossed his lesbian daughter out on the street when it became clear she did not want to be “cured”, I suspect there are many more like Dick Cheney who, although they might not be happy about it, come to accept their offspring for what they are.

  19. #19 Jeff Hebert
    December 6, 2006

    Raging Bee said:

    WTF? I could swear I put all three paragraphs in italics…

    Try using [blockquote][/blockquote] (using the standard greater than and less than carats instead of square brackets) surrounding the entire block(s) of text you want to offset as a quote. ScienceBlogs is nice and supports that tag, whereas most commenting systems (like Blogger, unfortunately) do not. It gives the quoted text a nice offset on the left and that grey dashed line on the left, making it easier to differentiate from the italics tag.

  20. #20 Ed Brayton
    December 6, 2006

    flatlander-

    Well, I certainly wouldn’t force Mary Cheney to take part in such a show if she didn’t want to. But that really is irrelevant to the point I was trying to make, which tacitus captured well: it’s easy to spew hate in the abstract. It’s a lot harder to do it face to face, especially with someone you might otherwise respect or care about. I would also note that Mary Cheney has, in fact, inserted herself into this debate. She worked for her father’s last two campaigns, she’s been a very open and visible symbol for the gay community, and she wrote a book addressing it directly. So she’s involved, by her own choice.

  21. #21 CPT_Doom
    December 6, 2006

    Totally uncharitable answer: probably for the same reason so many people who call themselves “libertarians” slavishly cling to the GOP: their heads are so clogged with the old Randroid “liberal = socialist = commie collectivist” meme that they can’t possibly bring themselves to leave the GOP however un-libertarian they may get.

    I’ll go even one step further on the uncharitable answers – how about she sticks close to Dad to ensure she gets her share of the Halliburton millions?

  22. #22 MAJeff
    December 6, 2006

    By every indication, Dick and Lynne Cheney are loving parents to Mary and fully accept her and her partner

    Does that include denying publicly that Mary is a lesbian on national TV, as Lynne did during the 2000 campaign. She absolutely freaked on CNN when the reporter brought it up. This was after Mary had worked as a professional lesbian for Coors, selling crap beer to gay communities.

    Does it also include keeping her off the stage at the 2004 convention when their other daughter and all the Bush kids took to the stage. She was the only kid not there.

  23. #23 Chris
    December 6, 2006

    aaahhh how funny it was to see alan keyes in Borat, when Borat was asking about the guys he meet and the rubber fist.

  24. #24 Chairm
    December 7, 2006

    deny them the most basic rights and protections that the rest of us take for granted

    There is no basic right to third party procreation technologies.

    There is no basic right to adoption.

    However, what basic rights did you mean?

    If it’s wrong for two people who can’t procreate together the old-fashioned way to have children through artificial insemination or whatnot, why is not also wrong for an infertile heterosexual couple? They also are “inadequate sexual unions” by his reasoning, and thus shouldn’t be allowed to be married or to have children through the intervention of science.

    Well, before asking about right and wrong consider the facts about infertility.

    No one-sexed combination can be fertile and, thus, is never infertile. A lone individual might be fertile with the other sex, but not alone. Same goes for two men or two women, whether or not they are same-sex attracted.

    The nature of humankind is two-sexed and the nature of human generativity is both-sexed. We are born equal, of man and woman.

    A both-sexed combination experiences infertility due to misfortune or old age. It is a disability. In the vast majority of cases, infertile couples resolve infertility by adjusting their behavior, not by using novel technologies. Of those who seek medical assistance, about half already procreated so what they experience is secondary infertility. Less than 2% of couples who seek fertility treatments have a disability due to medically necessary surgery, such as treatments for cancer, and their disability is a loss experienced out of tragedy. Almost all IVF/ARTs procedures include women who use only the sperm of their husbands or partners. Maybe 8% use only sperm supplied by a non-husband/partner.

    Is that tiny segment of the both-sexed universe, and the much tinier segment of the infertile/subfertile universe wrong for using third party procreation technologies? Depends on your view of abortion, for example, which is commonly part of the package. Also, it depends on how compassionately one views a medical disability.

    If the two men or two women are incapable of procreating together, it is not due to such a disability but due to the form of their chosen relationship type. They lack the other sex.

    So your question is based on a false equivalency claim.

    Now, with adoption, a child-parent relationship is established. Second-parent adoption would do what SSM or Civil Union could not do, on that score. Adoption does not bestow marital status. But as a related social institution, adoption can be legitimately prioritized based on marital status. However, unlike third party procreation, the adoptive parents can at least make the case for acting in the best interests of an existing child — a child who has needs arising from a shortfall. The users of third party procreation — regardless of sexual orientations and regardless of coupledom types — act to fill their own needs, only.

    In simple terms, yes, third party procreation is generally wrong.

    In terms of marriage, such procreation is extramarital even for married couples.

    It is also contrary to the marriage idea in which the sexes are integrated and this is combined with responsible procreation. We have a basic principle throughout our society’s customs, traditions, and legal systems: each of us is responsible for the children we create, barring grave circumstances. However, third party procreation is premised on parental relinquishment in the process of creating children. So it is contrary to marriage which bonds men and women with their children.

    There may be merit in third party procreation. What is it? There may be merit in a sex-segregative relationship type. What is it? Whatever the merits, they do not stand on basic rights. Third party procreation is not a medical treatment that restores health or saves lives. It is basically about commodification of human babies. Maybe there is merit in that. What is it?

  25. #25 Altabin
    December 7, 2006

    The Washington Post reports that Mary Cheney is going to be a mother, along with her longtime partner Heather Poe. I would really love to hear one of the Cheneys’ religious right pals explain to Mary, or to her parents, how Mary and Heather are undermining marriage…

    Undermining marriage? No! This is a Christmas miracle! Mary is pregnant! And there is no natural explanation for it…

  26. #26 tacitus
    December 7, 2006

    Here’s an example of what happens if you are unfortunate to have an unforgiving right-wing fundamentalist for a father:

    Maya Keyes’ Weblog

  27. #27 Marty
    December 7, 2006

    So Ms. Cheney, her girlfriend, and a man who refuses to take responsibility for his offspring have decided to create yet another fatherless child.

    Under any other scenario, this would be considered tragic, yet Ed feels the need to gloat as if fatherless kids are some sort of triumph for gay rights (“how how Mary and Heather are undermining marriage?” he asks).

    Meanwhile, we have one more kid who will grow up without a father, for no better reason that the sexist bias of his mother — she just cannot tolerate a man around the house.

    If you asked me, I’d say the kid’s civil rights have just been violated. This is far more than an assault on Marriage — it is a child abuse specifically, and a crime against humanity in general.

  28. #28 Mithrandir
    December 7, 2006

    Marty,

    You make a serious charge – child abuse – based on a TOTAL lack of evidence of any harm to the child.

    The kid will have two parents. It just so happens that neither of them will be male. Why should this be of any concern whatsoever to anyone? It’s not as if there’s any evidence whatsoever that children are in any way harmed by not being raised by people of each gender.

  29. #29 John
    December 7, 2006

    “There is no basic right to third party procreation technologies.

    I beg to differ. I believe I have exactly such a right. It is none of the government’s business whether I choose to take advantage of third party procreation technologies.

  30. #30 MartinM
    December 7, 2006

    Under any other scenario, this would be considered tragic

    Only by bigotted assholes.

  31. #31 MJ Memphis
    December 7, 2006

    “for no better reason that the sexist bias of his mother — she just cannot tolerate a man around the house. ”

    Actually, I bet she has plenty of men around the house- friends, family, etc. She just doesn’t want to sleep with them. Or is that what you mean by having “a man around the house”?

  32. #32 Jeff Hebert
    December 7, 2006

    Marty said:

    Meanwhile, we have one more kid who will grow up without a father, for no better reason that the sexist bias of his mother — she just cannot tolerate a man around the house.

    You can tell this is true because homosexuals, being the spawn of Satan, are incapable of feeling any positive emotion like love, parental care, a desire to improve the world of next generation, etc.

    Well, before asking about right and wrong consider the facts about infertility.

    I wasn’t the one who started asking about the right and wrong of Mary Cheney having a baby. To me, anyone committed to raising a child in a loving, supportive, positive, healthy environment is “right” to do so. My point is that if you’re going to claim it’s “wrong” for lesbians to have children (whether through adoption or insemination) then it’s just as wrong for married couples to do so. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, no matter who does it or how infrequent it might be.

    Of course it’s not wrong in either case, but I don’t expect you to understand that.

    In simple terms, yes, third party procreation is generally wrong. In terms of marriage, such procreation is extramarital even for married couples.

    Wow. Just … wow. I’ll go inform all of the children born through medical intervention that they are, in fact, evil bastards.

    As far as “rights” go, my general presumption is that you have the right to do whatever you like, so long as you neither harm another adult nor infringe on their rights without their consent. The right in question here, as John said, is the right to be free to choose what you want to do with your life without the government’s interference.

    The rejoinder, I imagine, will be that the child in question doesn’t get to choose to be born without a father (gasp!) but then, no child has a choice about to whom and in what situation they will be born. Unless you’re prepared to have the government decide who can and cannot be born, and how, in every single case, this is a non-starter.

  33. #33 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 7, 2006

    So Ms. Cheney, her girlfriend, and a man who refuses to take responsibility for his offspring have decided to create yet another fatherless child.

    Under any other scenario, this would be considered tragic, yet Ed feels the need to gloat as if fatherless kids are some sort of triumph for gay rights (“how how Mary and Heather are undermining marriage?” he asks).

    Meanwhile, we have one more kid who will grow up without a father, for no better reason that the sexist bias of his mother — she just cannot tolerate a man around the house.

    If you asked me, I’d say the kid’s civil rights have just been violated. This is far more than an assault on Marriage — it is a child abuse specifically, and a crime against humanity in general.

    Poor Marty. He/she suffers from the same affliction many fundamentalists suffer from. Lots of baseless charges with zero supporting evidence reeking of sophistry.

  34. #34 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 7, 2006

    While I don’t always agree with Ed, I think he does a fine job of using sources and facts where necessary to support his claims.

    That’s quite the claim coming from someone who likes to remain “Anonymous”.

  35. #35 MAJeff
    December 7, 2006

    to Marty and Anonymous,

    take a look at Judith Stacey’s work. She’s a sociologist of the family, and has done a few comprehensive meta-studies, looking at the data on gays raising kids compared to straight folks. The few statistical differences that appear actually favor gay parents. We raise kids who feel more loves, who are less aggressive, who are more open and accepting. Guess what. We queers parent better.

  36. #36 Prup aka Jim Benton
    December 7, 2006

    MAJeff:
    I have been tempted to agree with you based on my own experience — raised by Lesbian Parents in the 50s — and comparing my own childhood with those of my friends who have been raised by heterosexual parents. Mabe I was just lucky, but I wouldn’t have traded Billie and Claire for any of my friends’ parents. My childhood was not perfect, nobody’s is, but I had many fewer psychich wounds to overcome.

  37. #37 CPT_Doom
    December 7, 2006

    Meanwhile, we have one more kid who will grow up without a father, for no better reason that the sexist bias of his mother — she just cannot tolerate a man around the house.

    Watch out Katie Couric, the “pro-family” movement is going to come take your “fatherless” children, whom you have left in that state ever since you refused to do the proper female thing and get remarried after you were widowed, and put them in a “normal” home.

    As for the real issue of fatherless children, perhaps “social conservatives” can start going after all those heterosexual males who refuse to take responsibility for their children and walk away from them. In fact the only fatherless children I have ever known personally were ones left that way when Dad found a younger, better option and took off. The funny thing is that being fatherless has never condemned anyone to a life of misery and sadness. When single parents do their work well, and have a lot of help from friends and family members, their kids can and do turn out just fine. As do most motherless children, most orphans (raised outside of institutions), most children raised by grandparents or aunts, uncles or cousins. There are, and have been since the dawn of civilization, many different types of families, and every single type has managed to produce both good and bad citizens.

    take a look at Judith Stacey’s work. She’s a sociologist of the family, and has done a few comprehensive meta-studies, looking at the data on gays raising kids compared to straight folks. The few statistical differences that appear actually favor gay parents. We raise kids who feel more loves, who are less aggressive, who are more open and accepting. Guess what. We queers parent better.

    And that is probably not due to any innate superiority of homosexuals (although I do believe we are inherently better decorators), but due to the totally planned nature of most families headed by gay people. A gay couple has never become parents by accident, and the children taken into these families, whether through reproductive technologies or adoption, are wanted and loved children. That is all that is really needed to be a good parent – to want, love and care for your children.

  38. #38 Jeff Hebert
    December 7, 2006

    Anonymous said:

    Hebert>To me, anyone committed to raising a child in a loving, supportive, positive, healthy environment is right to do so.

    Still trying to impregnate your sister, I see.

    Hey, second grade called and they miss you.

  39. #39 doctorgoo
    December 7, 2006

    Can you imagine the ramifications if Mary Cheney’s pregnancy was announced BEFORE the elections last month?

    Quite frankly I’m surprised that Mary and Heather have been able to maintain their privacy in this matter for so long. And I hope that now they’re front and center in the debate that they’ll take an active, positive role in this issue.

  40. #40 Russell
    December 7, 2006

    John wrote:

    I went over to the Free Republic to catch their reaction. They are remarkable tolerant of Mary. Very few negative comments.

    Are you reading the threads about Mary Cheney by name? Or also the threads that talk generically about homosexual couples raising children? My impression is that the denizens of Free Republic rarely show more vitriol than they do when discussing homosexuals, and especially homosexuals raising children. A generic thread on this topic is just as pertinent to Mary Cheney as one that names her. If the freepers are more kind in the latter case, it shows only that their hatred is mixed with a dose of hypocrisy.

  41. #41 John
    December 7, 2006

    “Are you reading the threads about Mary Cheney by name? ”

    Yeah, I know what you’re saying. They cut Mary a lot of slack, but on generic threads about homosexuality, I have noticed they express a subtle disdain for gay people.

  42. #42 Ed Brayton
    December 7, 2006

    My goodness, when did the wingnuts discover my blog? For the record, anyone leaving comments under “anonymous” will just be deleted.

  43. #43 F. Rottles
    December 7, 2006

    ” believe I have exactly such a right. It is none of the government’s business whether I choose to take advantage of third party procreation technologies.”

    You may believe that, but that does not make it so.

  44. #44 F. Rottles
    December 7, 2006

    ” My point is that if you’re going to claim it’s “wrong” for lesbians to have children (whether through adoption or insemination) then it’s just as wrong for married couples to do so. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, no matter who does it or how infrequent it might be.”

    It is extramarital. It is not something that is done to cure infertility or subfertility. In the case of two women, it is done to create children for homes that are fatherless. This is not a response to the needs of the children, who have yet to be conceived, but it is about the desires of the adults who make the choice to use these methods to create children. Thus, the equivalency that is at the root of your previous remarks is false.

    Likewise with your comment above regarding adoption.

  45. #45 John
    December 7, 2006

    “It is extramarital. It is not something that is done to cure infertility or subfertility. In the case of two women, it is done to create children for homes that are fatherless”

    You are entitled to your opinion of course, but that is all it is; you opinion.

    Whether it is right or wrong, we can disagree. But the law should have nothing say on the matter.

  46. #46 F. Rottles
    December 7, 2006

    “I’ll go inform all of the children born through medical intervention that they are, in fact, evil bastards. […] Unless you’re prepared to have the government decide who can and cannot be born, and how, in every single case, this is a non-starter.”

    Hyperbole.

    1. You over-generalized by referring to “medical intervention” rather than remain focussed on third party procreation.

    2. No one has said the children are evil or at fault. In fact, you shrugged when you spoke of the children.

    3. No one has proposed killing the children created through third party procreation, however, abortion is often part of the process as the term “excess embryos” exemplifies.

    4. Prioritizing access to fertility treatments based on medical infertility is a reasonable approach. As was noted above, no one-sexed scenario is infertile. In the case of a both-sexed scenario, the sperm of another person does not cure the medical condition of the man. Same goes for ova from another person. Human procreation is both-sexed and pairs are fertile together, not as lone individuals.

  47. #47 F. Rottles
    December 7, 2006

    John is it your opinion that third party procreation is NOT extramarital? If yes, on what basis?

  48. #48 Ed Brayton
    December 7, 2006

    This claim that fatherless households are a disaster is nonsense. Studies that compare two parent families to single parent families do, of course, show that a higher percentage of children raised in single parent families will drop out of school, get involved with drugs, commit crimes, and so forth. But studies comparing two parent families headed by heterosexuals and two parent families headed by homosexuals shows that there’s no significant difference at all in how the children turn out. The key appears to be maximum parental oversight and involvement. A single parent is generally going to have much less time spent directly involved with their kids because of work and financial pressures and the result is children getting involved in other things (that’s an oversimplification, of course; there are many factors involved in such outcomes). But that’s the whole point: we don’t decide who can and can’t have children based on probability studies.

  49. #49 Ed Brayton
    December 7, 2006

    I simply couldn’t care less whether third party procreation is “extra marital” or not. That seems to matter a great deal to you; it matters not at all to me.

  50. #50 John
    December 7, 2006

    “John is it your opinion that third party procreation is NOT extramarital? If yes, on what basis?”

    I’m sorry, I was unclear. Of course what you say is fact. I got the sense that you feel that it is wrong. That’s where I disagree. I see nothing wrong with it, but even if I did, I would not see it as any of the government’s business.

  51. #51 F. Rottles
    December 7, 2006

    “We queers parent better.”

    The vast majority of kids in same-sex households have arrived there via the previously procreative relationships of their both-sexed parents. The kids have both mothers and fathers; they just happen to be children of divorce or parental estrangement.

    Did the study you mention isolate a group of children who were not attained in this way? In other words, the children studied were attained via third party procreation and the noncustodial parent has never been part of their lives?

  52. #52 John
    December 7, 2006

    “We queers parent better.”

    Whether this is true or not, I am grateful. Here in Massachusetts 40% of children are adopted into gay families.

  53. #53 F. Rottles
    December 7, 2006

    “This claim that fatherless households are a disaster is nonsense. […] we don’t decide who can and can’t have children based on probability studies.”

    Neither should we decide that non-infertile couples should have unrestricted access to treatments for infertility.

    The actual claim with which you seem to object is that on average children do better with the parents (both mom and dad) who created them. It makes sound public policy to encourage responsible procreation and sex integration, combined.

    Are you ruling out of bounds the consideration of probabilities when making public policy?

    The policy that favors both-sexed parenting does not mean that other arrangements must be banned or the government must intrude to wrip kids from the arms of their moms and dads. Preference, not prohibition, is at issue.

    As a friendn of mine often says in discussions like this, the choice to form a one-sexed arrangement is a liberty exercised, not a right denied.

    The alternative one-sexed arrangements are more like divorce (most kids in such arrangments come from estranged mom-dad combos) or lone parent arrangements (lacking sex integration). More study is needed to control for these factors that might differentiate the sexual relationship of two moms and two dads from other similair situations.

    The presence of two adults does not seem to be the big differentiator that some people hope it would be. Moms and grandmoms raise more children together, minus husbands, than do two-women arrangements.

    What is it that you think is so very different — in terms of outcomes for the kids — if the two adults are not sexually attracted to the same sex?

  54. #54 F. Rottles
    December 7, 2006

    “Here in Massachusetts 40% of children are adopted into gay families.”

    John, do you recall the source for that statistic? If you have a hyperlink or just a reference, I’d be interested in looking at it. Thanks.

    On its face such a disproportionate share would strongly suggest that there has been some kind of affirmative action type bias in the adoption process in that state. That should concern anyone — even those who support same-sex couple’s adopting needy kids.

  55. #55 F. Rottles
    December 7, 2006

    “I simply couldn’t care less whether third party procreation is “extra marital” or not. That seems to matter a great deal to you; it matters not at all to me.”

    John Brayton, what persuaded you to take that view?

  56. #56 CPT_Doom
    December 7, 2006

    The vast majority of kids in same-sex households have arrived there via the previously procreative relationships of their both-sexed parents. The kids have both mothers and fathers; they just happen to be children of divorce or parental estrangement.

    I am unaware of any research that shows the “vast majority” (implying >75% or so) of children in gay/lesbian couples are products of previous heterosexual relationships. Given the parenting activities of my friends in the gay community, even if this were the case in the past the situation is changing rapidly as more and more committed gay/lesbian couples choose to have and/or adopt children.

    More importantly, the issue with gays and lesbians raising children is not, from what I’ve read, an issue with the mechanics of their procreation, but rather the contention that families headed by gays and lesbians are always inferior to families headed by “normal” people. The means by which those children ended up in the gay or lesbian-headed household is irrelevant to that argument (which itself is not backed by the available data).

    The very idea of some innate superiority to het child rearing is often based on the mistaken assumption that ALL women bring X to raising children and ALL men bring Y (all puns intended), and there is no way to replace X or Y without each gender being present. However, that ignores the reality of even het child rearing, in which individuals, not stereotypes, are doing the actual parenting. Look at any sample of het couples w/children and you will see a huge variety of individuals – not all fathers are the disciplinarians and the mothers nurturers, as the “pro-family” movement would have us believe. In my own family, my mother was very much the disciplinarian, while in my sister’s marriage that role is fulfilled by her husband. Neither set-up is better than the other, but rather is based on the individual skills and abilities of the parents involved.

  57. #57 Jeff Hebert
    December 7, 2006

    F. Rottles said:

    The actual claim with which you seem to object is that on average children do better with the parents (both mom and dad) who created them. It makes sound public policy to encourage responsible procreation and sex integration, combined.

    Do you have a source for the claim that on “average children do better with the parents … who created them”? This would seem to indicate that adopted children do worse than non-adopted children, which seems counter to the practical, real-world experience I’ve had. Anecdotally at least, the adopted kids I know have about the same odds of turning out either great or crappy as kids who are raised with their birth parents. What’s important to a kid’s healthy development is the presence of adults who care for them, who show them love and give them structure, who provide for both their material and psychological needs, and who ensure that the children in their care know they are cherished. Whether that’s a mom and grandmother, a biological mother and father, two women who are lovers, an extended family of brothers and sisters, foster parents, or whatever seems to me to be irrelevant as long as those other conditions are met.

    As a friendn [sic] of mine often says in discussions like this, the choice to form a one-sexed arrangement is a liberty exercised, not a right denied.

    I have no idea what that means.

  58. #58 F. Rottles
    December 7, 2006

    “As for the real issue of fatherless children, perhaps “social conservatives” can start going after all those heterosexual males who refuse to take responsibility for their children and walk away from them.”

    You may not be aware of this, but the longstanding principle is that men are responsible for the children they helped to create. But in the case of third party procreation, such as the use of supplied sperm by a woman (homosexual or not), that principle is overturned by enabling legislation. Otherwise, as far as I know, we have some pretty harsh laws, and enforcement, of “going after” the dads who walk away from their kids.

    “A gay couple has never become parents by accident, and the children taken into these families, whether through reproductive technologies or adoption, are wanted and loved children. That is all that is really needed to be a good parent – to want, love and care for your children.”

    So “The Plan” is what makes third party procreation superior to the contingency for responsible procreation that is intrinsic to marriage?

    Adoption serves a needy child.

    Third party procreation creates a child to fulfill the desires of the adults.

    The needs of children should be paramount. The needs of adults in the creation of children, not so much.

    Hence the normative nature of marriage which bonds men and women with their children.

  59. #59 Jeff Hebert
    December 7, 2006

    F. Rottles (is that really your name? It’s kind of cool) said:

    Third party procreation creates a child to fulfill the desires of the adults.

    How is that different from regular ol’ baby-making between hetero parents? In what way is their two-party two-gendered procreation not “creating a child to fulfill the desires of the adults”?

  60. #60 John
    December 7, 2006

    I am not sure where the 40% figure comes from. Democratic state Sen. Therese Murphy cites the numbre and WND picked up on it.

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39222

    I’ve heard it so often I never thought to question it, since both sides acknowlege it.

  61. #61 Ed Brayton
    December 7, 2006

    F. Rotties wrote:

    The actual claim with which you seem to object is that on average children do better with the parents (both mom and dad) who created them. It makes sound public policy to encourage responsible procreation and sex integration, combined.

    Dozens of studies involving tens of have now shown that children raised by two gay parents are no worse off than children raised by two straight parents. Yes, your claim is wrong.

    Are you ruling out of bounds the consideration of probabilities when making public policy?

    I’m ruling out of bounds the notion that we can decide who can and can’t have children based on such probabilities. Studies also show that children of well educated parents are better off, statistically, than children of lesser educated parents. Do we now require anyone with less than a bachelor’s degree who gets pregnant to have an abortion? Of course not. You do not violate a very basic right – and yes, choosing whether to have children is about as basic as it gets – based on such probabilities. You especially don’t do it when the studies don’t support the premise in the first place.

    The policy that favors both-sexed parenting does not mean that other arrangements must be banned or the government must intrude to wrip kids from the arms of their moms and dads. Preference, not prohibition, is at issue.

    Okay, great. If you don’t want to stop them from doing it, then this whole discussion comes down to A) you don’t like what they’re doing; and B) they don’t care. I don’t either. Like it, don’t like it, rail against it to your heart’s content; but it’s really none of your business what they do and you have no rightful authority to stop them.

    The alternative one-sexed arrangements are more like divorce (most kids in such arrangments come from estranged mom-dad combos) or lone parent arrangements (lacking sex integration). More study is needed to control for these factors that might differentiate the sexual relationship of two moms and two dads from other similair situations.

    We have dozens of studies involving tens of thousands of children raised by same sex parents all over the world. Every single one of them has had the same conclusion, that children raised by gay parents are no worse off than children raised by straight parents. The studies that the anti-gay folks cite showing that a mother and a father are necessary compare 2 parent families to single parents families; they simply do not apply here. The direct comparison of straight parents vs gay parents have been made over and over again; they support my position, not yours.

  62. #62 Davis
    December 7, 2006

    I’m sensing an underlying case of the naturalistic fallacy from F. Rottles, if I’m reading these posts correctly. F. seems to be implying that, because normally a man and a woman must couple in order to have children, that’s the way it should be.

  63. #63 boltgirl
    December 7, 2006

    Adoption serves a needy child.

    Third party procreation creates a child to fulfill the desires of the adults.

    That settles it, then. No more home-grown babies for any couple, straight or gay, until all the orphanages and adoption centers are empty.

  64. #64 Ompus
    December 7, 2006

    I call bullshit on the “It’s all about the children” argument.

    Social conservatives will allow an alcoholic, heterosexual couple to have children, but focus there energy railing against lesbian mothers? That’s not “about the children.” That’s about ideology.

    If it is “about the children”, then announce your test, and make *all* women, heterosexual or otherwise, pass it.

  65. #65 Russell
    December 7, 2006

    Jeff Herbert innocently asks:

    How is that different from regular ol’ baby-making between hetero parents? In what way is their two-party two-gendered procreation not “creating a child to fulfill the desires of the adults”?

    Well, see, they’re a straight couple, just like the Bible ordained so it’s alright for them to want a child. Just like it’s alright to harp on the mythical harm it does a child to have two women as parents, but not alright to talk about the significant harm it does to have fundamentalist parents.

  66. #66 Troublesome Frog
    December 7, 2006

    The actual claim with which you seem to object is that on average children do better with the parents (both mom and dad) who created them.

    The claim that you seem to be making is that the children of gay couples turned out OK because the third party father or mother who helped produce the child is still around “helping out” somehow. I’m not sure where you get this idea, but if we do away with it–which seems reasonable, given the fact that you appear to have made it up–we’re left with the raw data that gay couples and straight couples appear to raise children equally well.

    I can’t help but wonder if you’re switching from confounding variable to confounding variable for a reason. On the one hand “third party” fertility is bad because it cuts the original parent out of the equation. At least, it’s bad for gay people and may be bad for straight people as well. Do you have any data that indicates that children of heterosexual couples who conceived by these methods are demonstrably worse off?

    Next, we skip to the question of whether it’s OK to conceive a child because you “want” one instead of adopting. Of course, the logic behind that applies equally well to both gay and straight couples unless you apply some other variable (Gays are bad parents again? Not so.). Perhaps it’s a problem when gays do it because it involves a third party. Of course, as noted above, there’s no good reason to believe that genetic material from a third party is any problem in and of itself.

    Each of your two core arguments each seem to rely on the other being true to work, and I don’t think that either one has any real evidence behind it beyond what appears to be your intuition. Do you have any data covering any of this?

    I would also like to quickly address to “40% of adoptions to gays” number from earlier. Whether it’s true or not, I think you’re asking the wrong question. Gay couples make up less than 40% of the general population of couples, but what percentage of the infertile couples (or couples otherwise prone to adopt rather than conceiving children at home) are they? Given that 100% of gay couples have to adopt or rely on a third party for fertility and only a small percentage of heterosexuals are in the same boat, it doesn’t surprise me that gay couples make up a larger percentage of the adoption seeking parents than they represent in the overall population.

  67. #67 Kim
    December 7, 2006

    Ok, lets take the (bullocks) point of view that a father and mother are essential! If that is true, heterosexual couples should be forced to live together in one house, denied divorces, etc.

  68. #68 MAJeff
    December 7, 2006

    But studies comparing two parent families headed by heterosexuals and two parent families headed by homosexuals shows that there’s no significant difference at all in how the children turn out.

    Sorry Ed, but they do show a few differences. As I mentioned, Judith Stacey’s meta-analyses (see her book “In the Name of the Family” as a starting place) show that those few differences favor same-sex couples. Of course, I was being a bit facetious when I mentioned that we queers parent better. It’s more likely a result of those families being intentional, while lots of heterosexuals have “oops” babies. I think the issue of kids in gay household feeling more loved is probably really related to this point; while the issue of open-mindedness is more likely related to the fact that their parents have been discriminated against and are actively trying to raise more open-minded children.

    All of this would seem to indicate to me that wanted children, no matter the gender composition of the parental relationship, are what we should be pushing for, including in policy. Damn, that seems a hell of a lot like what feminists, comprehensive sexuality education advocates, and family planning advocates have been saying for a hell of a long time.

  69. #69 Wade
    December 7, 2006

    Note to MARY: Honor they father & muddah is not a military command. It’s OK to disagree MARY… and publicly. You WERE a high profile GAY activist before 2000. Your muddah – author of a LESBIAN themed western novel – almost CHOKED Cokie Roberts for even bringing up your sexual ORIENTATION (not preference)in 1999 ABC News interview. GIVE ME a break. Defending Mary as per Ms. Ephron post is more hypocrisy added to the already overly DEEP DO DO pile! Soon you’ll be asking us to feel sorry for Lynne and her unfortunate slip of the published pen… SISTERS!

  70. #70 On Lawn
    December 7, 2006

    Ed,

    Dozens of studies involving tens of have now shown that children raised by two gay parents are no worse off than children raised by two straight parents. Yes, your claim is wrong.

    The reliance on “tens” of households in that sentence almost smacks of parody. But I expect you mean it straight faced.

    Jon Rauch, a strident neutered marriage supporter, has given probably the best analysis of those studies.

    The evidence provides a great deal of information about the particular families and children studied, and the children now number more than a thousand. They are doing about as well as children normally do. What the evidence does not provide, because of the methodological difficulties we outlined, is much knowledge about whether those studied are typical or atypical of the general population of children raised by gay and lesbian couples.

    Similarly, there is no doubt that in the dozens of studies of tens of families single parents show that they can raise children as well as double parent households. However the breadth of research shows that the most important indicator of child success is being born and raised in a family joined in marriage. Even the number two doesn’t hold much significance beyond that as statistically single parent households look like step-parent families.

    In short, the error in your categorical dismissal of F. Rottles’ statement is showing quite a bit about where you are coming from. And it doesn’t appear to be consideration of children or consideration of science.

    I’m ruling out of bounds the notion that we can decide who can and can’t have children based on such probabilities.

    I could agree with you from that perspective. One need not, and should not look at who people are to decide who makes fit prospective parents. But certain decisions they make can show they are acting in interests that are not good for the child. Some examples of these…

    1) Having the children only to sell them. The ramifications of selling human beings and the slave trade make this one obvious.
    2) Having children with the intent to rip them from their heritage. The UN recognizes that children have a right to their heritage, so do many human rights organizations. This is tantamount to cultural genocide.
    3) Having children in a state where you really don’t have the means to support them. Many teenage pregnancies fall in this category.
    4) Ripping children from their genetic heritage, lying to them and posing them for potential harm from not understanding or knowing the their genetic ancestry. This is related to #2.

    It could be argued, and right has been argued, that planning to have a child as a same-sex couple violates all four of these provisions. Someone is (in the case of extra-marital) is selling their parental status away, as well as their child. The house is planning on not having equal gender representation for proper childhood development. The house may even try to keep the children away from their heritage as a compact with the real parent, or as a way to complete the illusion of intact familyhood.

    In short, as people no one is being denied the ability to be a parent. In practice, their decisions are showing that same-sex parenting, especially through purchasing the child from the other parent in means such as IVF, is egregious. So much so that it is very distasteful how so many people overlook these violations of human rights in an effort to play more-progressive-than-thou games. More on this topic from Prof Velleman of NYU…

    http://left2right.typepad.com/main/2005/08/why_i_cant_supp.html

  71. #71 Russell
    December 7, 2006

    It likely is futile to respond to patent nonsense, but nonetheless. (1) Children aren’t born with cultural attachments. They acquire a culture in the process of growing up. If you doubt that, speak to any child of immigrants. In fact, it is almost impossible in the modern world for parents and children to share quite the same culture. The world changes too fast. 21st century America is not the same as late 20th century America. (2) Non-biological parents need not lie to children who are adopted or conceived by IVF. That would, in any case, be pretty futile for a lesbian couple, don’t you think?

  72. #72 Ed Brayton
    December 7, 2006

    On Lawn wrote:

    The reliance on “tens” of households in that sentence almost smacks of parody. But I expect you mean it straight faced.

    Actually, it was a typo. I meant to write “tens of thousands of children”, as this is the reality. There have been dozens of studies done in a wide variety of ways and every single one of them has reached the same basic conclusion, that children raised by gay parents are no worse off than children raised by straight parents.

    Jon Rauch, a strident neutered marriage supporter, has given probably the best analysis of those studies.

    “The evidence provides a great deal of information about the particular families and children studied, and the children now number more than a thousand. They are doing about as well as children normally do. What the evidence does not provide, because of the methodological difficulties we outlined, is much knowledge about whether those studied are typical or atypical of the general population of children raised by gay and lesbian couples.”

    An absolutely wonderful example of quote mining. There is no such thing as a perfect study; all social science studies have methodological limitations, which is why there is so much emphasis on reviewing lots of different studies with different methodologies and different sample groups. Now let’s look at what Rauch, by your own admission the “best analysis” of such studies, says about the result of such an overview:

    So what do the studies find? Summarizing the research, the American Psychological Association concluded in its July 2004 “Resolution on Sexual Orientation, Parents, and Children,”

    “There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation. . . . On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. . . . Overall, results of research suggest that the development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.”

    Our own review of the evidence is consistent with that characterization. Specifically, the research supports four conclusions.

    First, lesbian mothers, and gay fathers (about whom less is known), are much like other parents. Where differences are found, they sometimes favor same-sex parents. For instance, although one study finds that heterosexual fathers had greater emotional involvement with their children than did lesbian co-mothers, others find either no difference or that lesbian co-mothers seem to be more involved in the lives of their children than are heterosexual fathers.18

    Second, there is no evidence that children of lesbian and gay parents are confused about their gender identity, either in childhood or adulthood, or that they are more likely to be homosexual. Evidence on gender behavior (as opposed to identification) is mixed; some studies find no differences, whereas others find that girls raised by lesbians may be more “masculine” in play and aspirations and that boys of lesbian parents are less aggressive.19 Finally, some interesting differences have been noted in sexual behavior and attitudes (as opposed to orientation). Some studies report that children, particularly daughters, of lesbian parents adopt more accepting and open attitudes toward various sexual identities and are more willing to question their own sexuality. Others report that young women raised in lesbian-headed families are more likely to have homosexual friends and to disclose that they have had or would consider having same-sex sexual relationships.20 (Just how to view such differences in behavior and attitude is a matter of disagreement. Where conservatives may see lax or immoral sexual standards, liberals may see commendably open-minded attitudes.)

    Third, in general, children raised in same-sex environments show no differences in cognitive abilities, behavior, general emotional development, or such specific areas of emotional development as self-esteem, depression, or anxiety. In the few cases where differences in emotional development are found, they tend to favor children raised in lesbian families. For example, one study reports that preschool children of lesbian mothers tend to be less aggressive, bossy, and domineering than children of heterosexual mothers. Another finds more psychiatric difficulties and a greater number of psychiatric referrals among children of heterosexual parents.21 The only negative suggestion to have been uncovered about the emotional development of children of same-sex parents is a fear on the part of the children–which seems to dissipate during adolescence when sexual orientation is first expressed–that they might be homosexual.22

    Finally, many gay and lesbian parents worry about their children being teased, and children often expend emotional energy hiding or otherwise controlling information about their parents, mainly to avoid ridicule. The evidence is mixed, however, on whether the children have heightened difficulty with peers, with more studies finding no particular problems.

    And again, there is not a single study of children of gay parents that I am aware of that reaches a contrary conclusion. The overwhelming weight of the social science research is firmly on my side.

    I could agree with you from that perspective. One need not, and should not look at who people are to decide who makes fit prospective parents. But certain decisions they make can show they are acting in interests that are not good for the child. Some examples of these…

    1) Having the children only to sell them. The ramifications of selling human beings and the slave trade make this one obvious.
    2) Having children with the intent to rip them from their heritage. The UN recognizes that children have a right to their heritage, so do many human rights organizations. This is tantamount to cultural genocide.
    3) Having children in a state where you really don’t have the means to support them. Many teenage pregnancies fall in this category.
    4) Ripping children from their genetic heritage, lying to them and posing them for potential harm from not understanding or knowing the their genetic ancestry. This is related to #2.

    None of those 4 things have anything whatsoever to do with whether gays should be allowed to adopt, or whether they should be allowed to use the same technological tools used for infertile heterosexual couples. They are pure red herrings. For crying out loud, who on earth do you think is having children to sell them, or for the purpose of ripping them from their cultural heritage?

    It could be argued, and right has been argued, that planning to have a child as a same-sex couple violates all four of these provisions.

    Only by someone who is abysmally stupid. This is absolutely insane rhetoric. That you cannot recognize that speaks volumes.

  73. #73 Troublesome Frog
    December 8, 2006

    It could be argued, and right has been argued, that planning to have a child as a same-sex couple violates all four of these provisions. Someone is (in the case of extra-marital) is selling their parental status away, as well as their child.

    Granting, for the sake of argument, that this is a problem (and I honestly can’t see how, assuming the child will be born into a caring family), it is not specifically a gay marriage problem. If you believe that any technology involving third party fertilization is wrong for anybody, that’s a different issue.

    The house is planning on not having equal gender representation for proper childhood development.

    And given that there is no evidence that having equal gender representation is necessary for proper childhood development, what are we to make of this claim? As discussed here, the weight of the evidence is that equal gender representation is not necessary. When the results of a real experiment conflict with the results of a thought experiment, reality wins.

    The house may even try to keep the children away from their heritage as a compact with the real parent, or as a way to complete the illusion of intact familyhood.

    Your “cultural genocide” histrionics are really not relevant here. Unless I’m mistaken, the type of thing the UN and human rights organizations want to avoid is children being taken away from their families to be raised in an alien culture for the purpose of preventing the expansion of that culture. Purposefully conceiving a child with a particular heritage in order to remove it from that heritage would be silly–nearly as silly as the idea that children have some sort of need to be raised by the people whose DNA they possess. Children inherit the culture of the people who raise them.

    You’re stretching pretty desperately here, but I suppose that the fact that there is no data whatsoever to support your assertions that any of this is harmful to a child could be part of the problem. Wouldn’t it be easier just to come out with it and say that the whole idea makes you feel icky even though there’s nothing demonstrably harmful about the practice?

  74. #74 Marty
    December 8, 2006

    In response to Mith, (among others)

    The kid will have two parents. It just so happens that neither of them will be male. Why should this be of any concern whatsoever to anyone?

    As it just so happens, the kid would not exist if not for a male “parent” (this one “just so happens” to have been abandoned by his father before he was even conceived).

    Children of same-sex couples don’t “just so happen”.

    Under any other scenario, this would be considered tragic

    Only by bigotted assholes.

    I can think of only a few ways children wind up fatherless:
    Abandonment. Death. Divorce. Prison. All are considered tragic.

    A kid with two lesbian mothers is just as fatherless as those listed above, yet you call ME a bigotted asshole Martin?

    Seems to me, the kid would have a father if not for the sexist bigotry of Ms. Cheney. That he does not, is tragic in my opinion. And anyone who is unconcerned with the crisis of fatherlessness in this country, much less the pernicious effects of gender bias, has a heart made of stone.

  75. #75 GH
    December 8, 2006

    Seems to me, the kid would have a father if not for the sexist bigotry of Ms. Cheney.

    I can’t believe another human being actually wrote that sentence. Lesbians are now praticing sexist bigotry? Wow, that is quite a new line of thought.

  76. #76 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Ed,

    I meant to write “tens of thousands of children”, as this is the reality.

    You lose the reliability of your message in exaggeration.

    Perhaps you could cite your research, I know of particularly 42 studies that are often quoted to judges and the like. Taking each of their samples as unique, that would luckily sum over a thousand. But perhaps you have other studies to relay.

    An absolutely wonderful example of quote mining.

    I was expecting you to say that. Lets review the exchange with F. Rottles. And so to counter any more claims of stacking the deck, I’ll use your own quotation:

    [Frottles >>] The actual claim with which you seem to object is that on average children do better with the parents (both mom and dad) who created them. It makes sound public policy to encourage responsible procreation and sex integration, combined.

    [Ed >>] Dozens of studies involving tens of have now shown that children raised by two gay parents are no worse off than children raised by two straight parents. Yes, your claim is wrong.

    If I read it right, you said that the studies show F. Rottles’s claim based “on average” is wrong. What Jon Rauch who reviews the same data is much more cautious to come to the same conclusion. He believes, and rightly so, that there is no data to show that the samples “are typical or atypical of the general population”.

    Now, you quote the rest of what Jon Rauch says. I’m curious if you are insinuating anything nefarious in my reference since I provided you the link to corroborate the claim. Now it is up to you to say where Jon must have contradicted himself and said that on average children in homosexual households do as well as intact households.

    Where you accuse me of quote mining, it is clear you are engaging in vague hand waving. I’m sure succinctness is not really the sin you attempt to make it out to be.

    there is not a single study of children of gay parents that I am aware of that reaches a contrary conclusion.

    I’m shocked. I would expect such a “lack of contrary conclusion” from a mind-numbed creationist. In the absence of evidence, you would have us believe that is evidence in and of itself.

    The overwhelming body of evidence shows that the in-tact household under marriage is the best way to raise children. Do you deny this?

    The largest body of same-sex couples raising children are non-sexual. They are mother-daughter teams or sister-sister teams, or two roommates who team up to raise their children. These have a great wealth of scientific study behind them. And the above statement holds true — even in step-parent situations. So I will also ask you this, what is different from the mother-daughter pair, or other same-sex but non-sexual arrangements than the romantically inclined same-sex arrangement?

    You can’t say that the limited study of cherry picked households amounts to showing there is a difference. Not while being intellectually honest. These households probably have kids every bit as successful also.

    So what is the difference?

    Only by someone who is abysmally stupid. This is absolutely insane rhetoric. That you cannot recognize that speaks volumes.

    Oh really? Don’t let me stand in the way of such an easy slam-dunk. There is a discernible difference between dismissing people who are crazy that are crazy, and dismissing people as crazy because they disagree with you in ways that entirely contradict one’s belief system. And that is by showing what is crazy about it.

    Perhaps I am guilty of excess (I doubt it, having had this debate so ofted) but I’m open that after all the times I’ve discussed this topic that you will be able to rise above petty name calling and actually show where the statement is crazy.

    Consider the evidence brought by Prof. Velleman of the strong correlation of nations and states that have neutered marriage, and those that treat birth certificates like receipts of a commercial transaction. A sort of proof of ownership that is re-written for each child who’s mother or father was paid to remove themselves from the child. A way to erase for propriety of sperm donation the genetic history of a child, no matter how useful that information could be in diagnosis of future diseases in the child. Those that treat having children as a commercial exchange for human life, as Ms. Cheney did.

    Now for Russel, who actually made an attempt:

    (1) Children aren’t born with cultural attachments. They acquire a culture in the process of growing up.

    Children are born as a product of a rich heritage of genetics and culture. And if you deny that their attachment to that heritage is not a human right, take it up with the UN and a number of other respected human rights organizations who disagree with you.

    If you doubt that, speak to any child of immigrants. In fact, it is almost impossible in the modern world for parents and children to share quite the same culture.

    If I can boil down what you are saying into how I am hearing it, you are challenging that a child has no use of their cultural heritage? Because you are stating that cultures are dynamic, and that doesn’t negate the right a child has to their heritage.

    A white couple I know adopted a black child. They were more than extatic to learn african-american hair styles, and the heritage of their child so they could teach it to them some day. I could see you arguing that same-sex couples could do the same, or that one of them might be the real parent who can give them access to that knowledge. But you didn’t, and that is interesting. You tried to tell me that someones heritage is not important to them, they have no right to it. Of all the arguments you chose the one that is the most inhumane yet most convenient to advocacy to neuter marriage.

    It because of everything thrown under the bus for the sake of pampering and preferring an already well-off class that I cannot support neutering marriage.

    The world changes too fast. 21st century America is not the same as late 20th century America.

    Yep, you are arguing that culture is dynamic. At best that is an argument that the progeny gets to decide the future of the culture. And I agree to that. I’m not arguing that heritage and culture be imposed, I’m arguing that it not be thrown under the bus because one class of individuals do not feel validated enough in their self-identification.

    (2) Non-biological parents need not lie to children who are adopted or conceived by IVF. That would, in any case, be pretty futile for a lesbian couple, don’t you think?

    A good example of this, I’m not sure anyone is advocating that a Lesbian couple pretend they have presumed paternity. Its simply a non-sequitor. Yet that is one of the incidents of marriage vaguely referenced as out of reach of lesbian couples by law, not by nature.

    Where do they lie? The birth certificate names both lesbians as the parents of the child. Tell me how that is not a lie.

    Troublesome Frog, thanks for your post. It will take a bit of time before I can get to it though.

  77. #77 Marty
    December 8, 2006

    GH, if you have another explanation, i’m all ears.

    I can perfectly understand a woman (lesbian, straight, or otherwise) wanting to be a mother and have a child of her very own — this is natural. But to go out of her way to exclude the father from her child’s life, just because she’s not particularly fond of men?

    What else would you call it, but sexism? Is fatherless not a problem in our society? Is gender bias no longer worthy of discussion, when gays and lesbians are involved?

  78. #78 Troublesome Frog
    December 8, 2006

    I can perfectly understand a woman (lesbian, straight, or otherwise) wanting to be a mother and have a child of her very own — this is natural. But to go out of her way to exclude the father from her child’s life, just because she’s not particularly fond of men?

    Not particularly fond of men?? Is that what you call it? I suppose that the fact that I’m happily married to a woman and have no desire to enter a romantic relationship with a man means that I am “not particularly fond” of men either. Am I sexist, or am I just a normal heterosexual man?

    What else would you call it, but sexism?

    Homosexuality?

    Is fatherless not a problem in our society?

    I haven’t seen any data that it is when the father has another parent to take his place. I try to avoid calling somebody’s family “a problem” unless I have a compelling reason to think that it is one.

    Is gender bias no longer worthy of discussion, when gays and lesbians are involved?

    I think the problem is that you’re changing the meaning of “gender bias” to include gays and lesbians by definition. There’s no meaningful discussion to be had there because you’re just playing word games to try to trivialize the very real feelings that homosexuals have for one another. I’m guessing that if I implied that your choice of spouse was an arbitrary and wrong-headed whim rather than a deep and meaningful emotional commitment, you might find it offensive.

  79. #79 Marty
    December 8, 2006

    I haven’t seen any data that [fatherlessness is a problem] when the father has another parent to take his place.

    Sure you have, you’re just denying that you’ve seen it. There is ample evidence that children of divorce+remarriage, stepparents, adoptive kids, etc, are at a severe disadvantage compared to children born and raised by their own mother and father. It is your own sexist bias that blinds you to facts that are painfully obvious to everone else, TF.

    You try to prentend that homosexuality is not sexist by its very nature. A fairly harmless sexism when two men or two women decide to remove themselves from the gene pool, but a pernicious form of sexism when those couples decide that creating fatherless or motherless kids is somehow less tragic than it otherwise would be, simply because they are gay and deserve special consideration.

    I’m guessing that if I implied that your choice of spouse was an arbitrary and wrong-headed whim rather than a deep and meaningful emotional commitment, you might find it offensive.

    Your choice of a “spouse” is certainly between you and the person who has agreed to become your spouse. But your choice — for your child — that his father will be yet another mother, is a matter of concern for a society that disdains fatherless children and gender bias.

    Sooner or later, you’re going to have to look beyond your own sexual yearnings and consider the rights of a child, and the obligations of the man and woman who brought him/her into this mess. Your disdain for sleeping in the same bed with a member of the opposite sex is not his/her cross to bear. Everyone knows they have only one mother and one father, no matter how much you would prefer to pretend otherwise.

  80. #80 Troublesome Frog
    December 8, 2006

    Sure you have, you’re just denying that you’ve seen it. There is ample evidence that children of divorce+remarriage, stepparents, adoptive kids, etc, are at a severe disadvantage compared to children born and raised by their own mother and father. It is your own sexist bias that blinds you to facts that are painfully obvious to everone else, TF.

    Try me. Let’s see the research. Not “common sense” but actual data. I’ll buy that children of divorce + remarriage are at a disadvantage on average because a number of them end up going through some pretty rough trauma at an early age. That’s a definite confounding variable that’s not relevant to the topic at hand. Let’s look at your best example: adopted children. Can you find any evidence that children who were adopted at a young enough age not to have been affected by the actual adoption experience turning out any worse than those who were raised by their biological parents? *That* would demonstrate your point because it actually controls for all of the relevant variables. I’m willing to bet that you can’t find any data to support the position, though. Again: When the results of a thought experiment conflict with the results of a real experiment, reality wins.

    You try to prentend that homosexuality is not sexist by its very nature. A fairly harmless sexism when two men or two women decide to remove themselves from the gene pool, but a pernicious form of sexism when those couples decide that creating fatherless or motherless kids is somehow less tragic than it otherwise would be, simply because they are gay and deserve special consideration.

    The problem is that you’re defining yourself into correctness. There’s no more reason to equate homosexuality with sexism than there is to equate heterosexuality with sexism. Both types of people use the sex of a potential partner as a distinguishing variable. There’s no logical difference between the two except that the homosexuals are hurting children–because you say so, apparently.

    Your choice of a “spouse” is certainly between you and the person who has agreed to become your spouse. But your choice — for your child — that his father will be yet another mother, is a matter of concern for a society that disdains fatherless children and gender bias.

    The question is whether that disdain is justified by the data in this case. I know that society has disdain for such things, but society has had disdain for a lot of family arrangements that are now perfectly normal and have proved to be completely functional. Interracial marriage and the children that result from them spring immediately to mind. “It’s not natural!” “It’s not what God intended!” “Think of the children!” We’ve heard it all before. You might try throwing terrorism into the mix to bring those arguments into the 21st century.

    Sooner or later, you’re going to have to look beyond your own sexual yearnings and consider the rights of a child, and the obligations of the man and woman who brought him/her into this mess. Your disdain for sleeping in the same bed with a member of the opposite sex is not his/her cross to bear. Everyone knows they have only one mother and one father, no matter how much you would prefer to pretend otherwise.

    Show us the data. Until then, you’re just blowing smoke. Just like you can’t say “Gays raising children is bad” by fiat and hope to win an argument, you can’t make a logical argument based on data that you’ve made up. The sky wasn’t falling the last time appeals to emotion, tradition, and “common sense” like yours were brought up over the marriage issue. I don’t see any reason to believe that it’s falling now.

  81. #81 cd
    December 8, 2006

    Marty, my parents divorced when I was an infant. And thank God they did. There are many cases out there when a single-parent household is far, far better than having both parents involved, and this hangup of yours on having a male in every house no matter what smacks of insecurity and perhaps feeling a little unnecessary?

    Having enough adults around to ensure children’s safety and emotional security is important, IF those parents are loving, and want to be there. If they are not, the child is better with one parent who loves them. Or with a grandparent who loves them. Or in a loving foster/adoptive family. Gender and biological relationship don’t matter as much as love and support to a child.

    The happiest, most secure children I have ever met have been the progeny of polyamorous families – more than two adults in a stable relationship. The adults have more help, more money, less stress, and the children always know that someone will be at home.

    All of this bleating about “fatherlessness” is pathetic – men trying not to feel superfluous when faced with the fact that women can decide to live their lives in a way other than marry young, have kids because you don’t have birth control, be dependent on man until death or divorce. Where was the noise about “fatherlessness” when it’s a man walking out on his family? Oh wait, that’s when the whining about the mother suing for child support starts, the selfish whore.

    There is no biological or psychological evidence that being raised in a household without a man is detrimental (if you think there is, find me a link from a reputable scientific journal). If you look at the course of human history overall, men have been the ones who travel to work or to hunt, and children are raised by – wait for it – *women*. Without men. And the species still seem to be procreating just fine, don’t you think?

    Get professional help for those insecurity isssues of yours. You’ll be happier, and there will be less uniformed hot air on the internet.

  82. #82 Raging Bee
    December 8, 2006

    There is no basic right to third party procreation technologies.

    There is no basic right to adoption.

    Maybe — but on the other hand, who has the authority to dictate who may or may not adopt, or what “procreation technologies” we may or may not use? You can’t just say “You have no basic right” to something and then take it from them without further justification.

    All this bloviating about how “fatherless” families are intrinsically wrong suffers from two fundamental logical flaws:

    First, it considers one single factor — presence or absence of a male parent — completely separately from all of the other factors that contribute to the growth and development of real children in the real world — factors which cannot be separated in real life. Even if we accept that fatherlessness is bad, we have to ask whether it is worse than such alternatives as, say, an abusive, neglectful, drug-addicted or distant father, or a father who has no strong emotional bond with the mother.

    Second, the more we preach about how an ideal family SHOULD look, the more we must face the fact that 90% of families are not, and can never be, the ideal we demand. In real life, there will almost always be some flaw — a parent dies, a parent gets sent to Iraq, parents divorce, parents are poorer than they’d like to be, an aunt fills in for an irresponsible or overworked parent, parents set a less-than-perfect example for their kids… Pick a factor, it will go wrong for huge numbers of families, and we can only adapt and work around the problems, not wish them away.

    Preaching about the “rights of a child” to have what may or may not be available does no good for the billions of families who must raise children as best they can in a less-than-perfect world.

  83. #83 Raging Bee
    December 8, 2006

    Seems to me, the kid would have a father if not for the sexist bigotry of Ms. Cheney. That he does not, is tragic in my opinion.

    I don’t hear any right-wing moralists bewailing the “tragedy” of kids raised without fathers when the father has died, and/or when the mother is unable to find a suitable replacement right away. Nor do I hear such bewailing when the father is sent to war and the mother fails to find a replacement at home. Nor when a woman chooses — or is forced — to have a baby knowing that its father will be either absent or unworthy. This sort of outrage only gets directed at “unusual” people like gay couples. Funny, that.

    And anyone who is unconcerned with the crisis of fatherlessness in this country, much less the pernicious effects of gender bias, has a heart made of stone.

    If you’re not concerned enough to get your own facts and logic straight on this issue — which you’ve just admitted is important — and see the issue clearly, then you’re in no position to question anyone else’s compassion.

  84. #84 MAJeff
    December 8, 2006

    Raging Bee…the issue here boils down to Teh Cock. To Marty and his ilk, it’s not a family unless there’s a cock in it. Likewise, Mary’s lesbianism has nothing to do with an actual desire for women and everything to do with rejection of Teh Cock. These guys are operating more strongly from a source of deep misogyny than of homophobia…or maybe it’s an exceptionally misogyinst form of homophobia.

  85. #85 Marty
    December 8, 2006

    My what an amazing set of hoops you guys will jump through to justify gender bias and segregation. It would be amusing, if there weren’t children involved.

    You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  86. #86 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    MAJeff,

    An interesting analysis. Many like to play the civil rights card in this debate. I have heard some say that equality comes from neutering marriage. There are some real problems with that assessment. But I will deal with only one in this post.

    I see people complaining against Marty, when is point is absolutely valid. In MAJeff’s point of view, “These guys are operating more strongly from a source of deep misogyny than of homophobia”. And that startlingly frank rebuke is wielded against someone arguing for equal gender representation in the family.

    So if this is a game of claiming civil rights like some flag in a paramilitary tactical game, then I can’t help but take this and run with it.

    Lets look at the civil rights analogy. The civil rights analogy argued for racial integration. Schools are integrated racially, businesses are integrated racially or they are sued for being biased.

    So… thought exercise. A school wants to open up that is racially segregated — whites only. And they sue to be recognized by the state as a public school for “equality” to have access to the protections and resources the state offers schools. After all, how would a segregated school hurt the existing schools?

    In the heat of the debate, one of the people arguing for the school comes in to the public hearings and argues, “the issue here boils down to Teh Black. To [the opponents of this school] and his ilk, it’s not a school unless there’s a black in it. Likewise, an all white class has nothing to do with an actual desire for whites and everything to do with rejection of Teh Black. These guys are operating more strongly from a source of deep racial bigotry than of homo-racial-phobia…or maybe it’s an exceptionally racially bigoted form of homo-racial-phobia.”

    Because MAJeff, in all his honesty has argued that direct analog here, and has been unchallenged.

    The backwards thinking of MAJeff that segregation is the new integration is yet another real human rights issue thrown under the bus to pamper a sexual lifestyle.

    I’ll still get to the other points in just a bit. I just couldn’t resist such low lying fruit for the taking.

    The war to neuter marriage is a war against equal gender participation and representation.

  87. #87 MAJeff
    December 8, 2006

    According to On Lawn’s example, in order to fully integrate society racially, we must mandate interracial marriages.

  88. #88 gwangung
    December 8, 2006

    My what an amazing set of hoops you guys will jump through to justify gender bias and segregation.

    This reminds me of the white people who complain about the “racism” of Black History month.

  89. #89 Ed Brayton
    December 8, 2006

    On Lawn wrote:

    Perhaps you could cite your research, I know of particularly 42 studies that are often quoted to judges and the like. Taking each of their samples as unique, that would luckily sum over a thousand. But perhaps you have other studies to relay.

    Actually, I was wrong. I was going to cite the Golombok and Wainwright studies, but as I went back to make sure I was citing them accurately I realized that I was not. The subjects were taken from a pool of 14,000 and 12,000 respectively, but the samples used were much smaller. My memory was failing me. Still, those two studies are very important because they are an example of more recent studies that have not relied on convenience sampling, a major criticism of some of the earlier studies done on the subject. That seriously undercuts the argument that such studies do not represent the typical family, an argument that is much easier to use against studies using convenience sampling than against random sampling.

    The key point when it comes to such studies is this: every single study says the same thing, despite numerous methodological differences. Every single study concludes essentially the same, that children of gay parents are no worse off than children of straight parents. Now, you can nitpick the methodology of each specific study, as you can any study in the social sciences; there simply is no such thing as a perfect study in this field, all methodologies have their limitations. But when you’ve got more than 3 dozen studies using a range of methodologies that all reach the same conclusion, and not a single study reaching the opposite conclusion, that’s about as solid a finding as you can possibly get in social science research. All of the evidence is on my side and none of it is on your side, which means the only thing you can do is try and handwave it away. Rational people aren’t going to be fooled by that.

    Oh really? Don’t let me stand in the way of such an easy slam-dunk. There is a discernible difference between dismissing people who are crazy that are crazy, and dismissing people as crazy because they disagree with you in ways that entirely contradict one’s belief system. And that is by showing what is crazy about it.

    Perhaps I am guilty of excess (I doubt it, having had this debate so ofted) but I’m open that after all the times I’ve discussed this topic that you will be able to rise above petty name calling and actually show where the statement is crazy.

    You claimed above that having a child in this manner is “tantamount to cultural genocide.” Nah, you wouldn’t exaggerate, would you? As I said, this rhetoric is so over the top as to be mind boggling.

  90. #90 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    According to On Lawn’s example, in order to fully integrate society racially, we must mandate interracial marriages.

    Since I mentioned race and marriage in the same post, you figured that I was talking about racial integration in marriage. What you probably didn’t notice that they were an analogy, meaning one relates to the other. You took both ends of the analogy and mixed them in the middle. In mixing the analogy you hope to divert attention from your egregious commentary, and exit the conversation.

    What you leave us with is tantamount to the pile left by a snake scared off the road.

    But I’ll clean it up in any case. Two races integrate in the classroom what do you get? People with a more diverse understanding of humanity. Integration produces in us tolerance towards diversity so that people can be different, and still admired for those differences. A person steeped in a culture can continue in that culture and we respect that. That way diversity is improved.

    If everyone combines races we do the opposite, we destroy diversity by homogenizing everything. I wouldn’t be one to argue such an Orwellian strategy to solve racial bigotry. And nothing I wrote can be construed that way. Yet you attempted to anyway.

    You should think about these things more before you write them. Left out of the half-baked snark you attempted is any commentary that would assuage concern that you are heading into a backwards world where segregation == integration. Are you for school integration or not? How do you justify arguing for gender segregationist in establishing governance of a household?

    These are issues you might not want to deal with, but they remain just the same.

  91. #91 Jeff Hebert
    December 8, 2006

    On Lawn said:

    The war to neuter marriage is a war against equal gender participation and representation.

    How does Mary Cheney being married to a woman neuter my marriage with my wife? Do I have to stop loving her when Mary Cheney has a baby or did I already stop loving her when Mary Cheney got married and I just didn’t realize it? Because that’s going to be a real bummer, thinking as I foolishly did that the honor, love, and integrity we have between us as a married couple are dependent not on what someone else does in some other place, but rather in what we do with each other. Silly me.

  92. #92 Raging Bee
    December 8, 2006

    I have heard some say that equality comes from neutering marriage.

    I’ve never heard anyone say that, either here or anywhere else.

    There are some real problems with that assessment.

    I agree — which is why so few people in grownup blogs like this actually say it.

    If you don’t care enough about the children to actually understand what’s being said about such issues, then you don’t care enough to question our compassion. And given your shabby “logic” and willful distortion of what others are saying, I sure as Hell wouldn’t want you teaching any children I might have in the future. False witness is more harmful to kids than not having a father.

  93. #93 kehrsam
    December 8, 2006

    On Lawn: I think you missed the point of MAJeff’s snark. He wasn’t arguing about miscegenation so much as how your school intergration analogy is inapt. He is right.

    The problem with the whole argument of “A proper family requires two parents, a father and a mother” is not that such a family is wrong, but that it is a misplaced ideal. It is not a sufficient condition for raising a child, nor a necessary one. Good outcomes arise out of all manner of bad situations; the Menendez brothers were the product of a ridiculously good one. It happens.

    With regard to the “selfish” meme that has chocked the right-wing blogosphere, ALL planned pregnancies are equally selfish, unless we are merely doing our duty to Dear Old France or some such.

    In other words, there really is nothing to argue about here. Peace.

  94. #94 Chairm
    December 8, 2006

    From the original post at the top of this discussion:

    I would really love to hear [how two women using third party procreation to attain children] are undermining marriage […] I want to see them […] tell them why it’s so damn important that laws be put in place that discriminate against them and that deny them the most basic rights and protections that the rest of us take for granted.

    [Original namecalling omitted]

    The issue of infertility was raised almost immediately. And it was answered thoroughly: no same-sex pair is infertile because no such combination is fertile. Using fertility treatments for non-infertile combinations is wrong.

    The original post asked about marriage specifically. Well, as has been pointed out already, third party procreation is extramarital. It is based on parental relinquishment and it is based on rejection of the principle that each of us is responsible for the children we helped to create, barring grave circumstances. With third party procreation the children are created not for their ownsake but for to satisfy an adult desire. This requires a father, in the case of a sperm supplier, to enable procreation while evading the core of marriage.

    The core of marriage is conjugality: the integration of the sexes combined with responsible procreation.

    This is not a naturalist fallacy. The nature of humankind and the nature of human generativity is directly manifested in the nature of the social institution of marriage. If you have another explaination for the both-sexed core of human procreation, please provide it.

    The original post also declared that the two-woman arrangement is denied “the most basic rights and protections”. This has been challenged but that challenge has been left unanswered. Yes, there has been some heated reaction and namecalling, but thusfar no substantive response.

    As for studies of children of one-sexed households, there is very little evidence available because most of the kids in such households migrated from the previously procreative relaitonships of their moms and dads (both-sexed, typically marriages). Certainly, nothing comparable exists today that could stack up against the 30 years of studies — longitudinal, quantitative, qualitative — and the very broad consensus that the intact married household is the best predictor of optimal outcomes for children. And, yes, this comes with the oft-repeated and well-established observation that high conflict relationships are determental and that the adults involved need to lower the conflict level by improving their relationships or dissolving their relationships. The failure of some marriages does not displace the significance of the consensus on married households with children.

    That is not an attack on other types of parenting households. The alternative approach to the evidence is to first declare no differences, or only insigifnicant differences, and then do advocate research. In fact, most of the studies that are cited by SSMers on this point were done in aid of lesbian mothers who were in custody disputes with their estranged husbands or male partners.

    In any case, people are free to make huge mistakes. Society is also responsible for establishing preferences for what serves societal interests.

    As F. Rottles said when he paraphrased me: the choice to form a one-sexed arrangement is a liberty. It is not a right denied.

    Adoption establishes the child-parent relationship, at law. SSM would not do so, unless you are prepared to stretch the presumption of paternity to mean that a woman could father another woman’s child. If that is the leap taken, then, the status of marriage will be merged with all forms of nonmarital parenting. And what would lead such a change? Third party (i.e. extramarital) procreation for the sake of sex-segregative arrangements.

  95. #95 Ed Brayton
    December 8, 2006

    If you guys don’t want to prohibit what Mary Cheney and Heather Poe did, then there’s really not much to discuss. I frankly could not possibly care any less whether you or anyone else thinks it’s immoral for gays to have kids by whatever means they choose. You are more than free to weep and wail and complain to your heart’s content, you just can’t stop it. And I haven’t the slightest desire to try and change your views, only to stop them from being made into law.

  96. #96 Chairm
    December 8, 2006

    How does Mary Cheney being married to a woman neuter my marriage with my wife?

    Objectively, two women cannot marry each other.

    But replacing recognition of the social institution of marriage with nonmarriage does indeed neuter the definition of what is recognized. “Gender neutral marriage” is “neutered marriage”.

    The particular (your marriage, my marriage) is not the social institution. To define the institution by this or that particular instance would be nonsensical: would you define marriage by the wife-beating husband in the neighborhood?

    At the core of marriage is its both-sexed requirement. To shift from that to the secondary and tertiary aspects of marriage is to abandon the social institution in favor something that defined by the one-sexed relationship’s limitations or boundaries. This shift would form a replacement, a substitution, of marriage.

    The one-sexed arrangement may have its merits, and demerits, independant of the core of marriage. In that case, it ought to be made to stand, or to fall, on that basis, rather than piggybacked on the sex-integrative social institution of marriage.

  97. #97 Chairm
    December 8, 2006

    If you guys don’t want to prohibit what Mary Cheney and Heather Poe did, then there’s really not much to discuss.

    You brought this subject up in your orignal post, Ed. Might as well see it through as you had invited the discussion.

    Calling people names on the basis of your disagreement with them contradicts that invitation.

  98. #98 kehrsam
    December 8, 2006

    Chairm: I suggest you go back through your post and tell me why, based upon your arguments, anyone would not believe that this particular child will not turn out to be well-adjusted, attend an Ivy-League school and wind up in politics. Generalizations are nice, but useless on a case-by-case basis.

    And what is wrong with 3rd party procreation? It has a rather long history, not to mention it is responsible for some of the better theater in history.

  99. #99 Chairm
    December 8, 2006

    kehrsam , what isright about third party procreation?

    It is not marital. If it has a long history, it is not as short as the technologies that treat infertility and which are used, inappropriately, by non-infertile couples.

    Ed, there is disagreement about preference. You seem to transform that into disagreement about prohibition. In fact, from your comments here, you seem to assert that there is no preference with which you could agree and any who disagree with that are dismissed with namecalling.

    For example, do you feel, or think, that there ought to be a preference for coupled women over uncoupled women? Put aside the sexual orientation distinctions and focus on whether or not preference should be reflected in public policy or in public commentary on this issue.

    * * *

    To be upfront, I will say that I favor repealing the enabling legislation that allows a supplier of sperm or ova to abandon children created with his or her help. However, given the mess in our largely unregulated reproductive techno industry to-date, a compassionate exception would be maintained for embryo adoption. This must not be exploited to promote the creation of “excess embryos” just for the sake of such adoptions. Now this is a legitimate social policy issue and is not waved away with weak rights claims of adults over the most vulnerable human beings. Respect for the human dignity of the individual does not mandate the unrestricted access to these technologies. This is a principled position and is not based on the motives ascribed through the various pre-emptive namecalling I’ve seen here. Let’s rise above that or the discussion will implode upon itself.

  100. #100 Raging Bee
    December 8, 2006

    I don’t have time to deal with all of Chairm’s laughable logical fallacies, so I’ll just pick a few more or less randomly and maybe get to the others later…

    The particular (your marriage, my marriage) is not the social institution.

    A SOCIAL institution is made up of particulars within the society, and its benefits — or harmful effects — accrue to the particular participants. Without the particulars, a social institution is nothing but a concept on one’s own mind, which can be imagined in any direction without reference to reality.

    Objectively, two women cannot marry each other.

    Objectively, they can, and have, at least in some parts of the world.

    With third party procreation the children are created not for their own sake but for to satisfy an adult desire.

    How do you know that kids created the old-fashioned way aren’t created “to satisfy an adult desire?” Inferring motive from technical means is a non-sequitur, and dishonest non-sequiturs make Baby Jesus cry.

  101. #101 Raging Bee
    December 8, 2006

    Oooh, the logical fallacies continue…

    To be upfront, I will say that I favor repealing the enabling legislation that allows a supplier of sperm or ova to abandon children created with his or her help.

    If such a child is created with the full knowledge that someone (whether or not it’s the biological parents) will at least make a sincere attempt to give the kid all the love and care he/she needs, than no “abandonment” will have taken place. QED (that’s Latin for DUH).

    All I see here is someone frantically trying to rationalize his irrational prejudice against certain recent reproductive technologies, totally oblivious to the fact that the same arguments can be applied to old-fashioned adoptions.

  102. #102 Leni
    December 8, 2006

    Chairm, did you not notice kehrsam’s question?

    Here it is again:

    Chairm: I suggest you go back through your post and tell me why, based upon your arguments, anyone would not believe that this particular child will not turn out to be well-adjusted, attend an Ivy-League school and wind up in politics.

    I think this is a very fair question. You should answer it.

  103. #103 Ed Brayton
    December 8, 2006

    Chairm wrote:

    But replacing recognition of the social institution of marriage with nonmarriage does indeed neuter the definition of what is recognized. “Gender neutral marriage” is “neutered marriage”.

    The particular (your marriage, my marriage) is not the social institution. To define the institution by this or that particular instance would be nonsensical: would you define marriage by the wife-beating husband in the neighborhood?

    The same stupid argument we’ve heard a million times – the institution of marriage will be harmed without doing anything at all to any particular marriages. Harmed in what way? No one ever says. Because they can’t. Because this is all utter nonsense.

  104. #104 Chairm
    December 8, 2006

    Raging Bee,

    Marriage integrates the sexes. No one-sex-short arrangement integrates the sexes.

    Marriage combines sex integration with responsible procreation. Extramarital procreation is contrary to the first principle of responsible procreation; adoption is not procreation.

    I realize that you have substituted your own axiomatic declaration that marriage is neutered, but your fallacy is in mistaking a newly proposed definition, a substitution, for the objective reality of what constitutes the conjugal relationship. Your first step is a misstep: you misapproriate the language of marriage and in evade putting forth the merits of the sexualized one-sexed relationship.

  105. #105 Ed Brayton
    December 8, 2006

    Chairm wrote:

    To be upfront, I will say that I favor repealing the enabling legislation that allows a supplier of sperm or ova to abandon children created with his or her help. However, given the mess in our largely unregulated reproductive techno industry to-date, a compassionate exception would be maintained for embryo adoption. This must not be exploited to promote the creation of “excess embryos” just for the sake of such adoptions.

    Oh, of course. We must save the little snowflakes. Seriously, just go away. I don’t have the patience to deal with such stupidity.

  106. #106 kehrsam
    December 8, 2006

    Okay, so Chairm is a Platonist as well as a legal positivist. So be it. But he can’t tell us why we need to take his categories seriously, or at least why the category is more important than the particulars of a given situation.

    “Marriage integrates the sexes,” unless, of course, when it doesn’t, which has been frequently, from an historical viewpoint. “Extramarital procreation is contrary to the first principle of responsible procreation.” Whatever that may be.

    As long as we are reifying the relationship, isn’t it simpler to call the whole thing a partnership and not assume sex has anything to do with it?

  107. #107 Chairm
    December 8, 2006

    The same stupid argument we’ve heard a million times – the institution of marriage will be harmed without doing anything at all to any particular marriages.

    It may or may not be a stupid argument, and you may have heard it a million times already, but I did not make that argument in my comments here.

  108. #108 Raging Bee
    December 8, 2006

    Extramarital procreation is contrary to the first principle of responsible procreation; adoption is not procreation.

    And what, exactly, IS the “first principle of responsible procreation?” Creating (or adopting) a child with the intent of raising it through thick and thin, and giving it all it needs, to the best of one’s ability, sounds like responsible procreation to me.

    Marriage integrates the sexes. No one-sex-short arrangement integrates the sexes. Marriage combines sex integration with responsible procreation.

    This kind of wild abstraction has absolutely no bearing on any objective reality. Have you even bothered to define any of your terms?

  109. #109 Chairm
    December 8, 2006

    kehrsam, the nature of humankind and of human generativity is central to the social institution of marriage. It may not be so for the homosexual relationship but that does not require society to define the conjugal relationship according to the experience of the homosexual population.

    Just base the reforms you’d seek on the merits of the homosexual relationship and leave marriage out of it.

    Ed Brayton, now you invite me to leave without your having addressed the substance of the very points you raised in your own post at the top of this discussion. It is your blog. So I’ll step off. Thanks for raising these issues.

  110. #110 Jason I.
    December 8, 2006

    Chairm said:

    Marriage combines sex integration with responsible procreation. Extramarital procreation is contrary to the first principle of responsible procreation; adoption is not procreation.

    Where is this definition of marriage? Marriage itself is a purely social construct. As such, shouldn’t it be adaptable as our society changes?

    Marriage alone does not guarantee responsible procreation. Mary Cheney and Heather Poe are making a far more responsible decision than many married heterosexual couples I know who decide to have a child. They are far more financially stable, and they will without a doubt be able to provide a safe, stable and loving environment to raise a child.

    As far as this concept of “extra-marital” procreation that Chairm and others have mentioned, I have yet to see it explained why a same-sex couple is wrong for using it, but a heterosexual couple is not.

    I’ve also seen it said many times that same-sex couples are being selfish in wanting a child, but apparently heterosexual couples who use “extra-marital” assistance, or even heterosexual couples that don’t use it, are not selfish. I believe Jeff Hebert and several others have made this point, but I have yet to see the point actually reasoned out.

  111. #111 Jason I.
    December 8, 2006

    Just for clarification, I said:

    I’ve also seen it said many times that same-sex couples are being selfish in wanting a child, but apparently heterosexual couples who use “extra-marital” assistance, or even heterosexual couples that don’t use it, are not selfish. I believe Jeff Hebert and several others have made this point, but I have yet to see the point actually reasoned out.

    What I intended to say was that Jeff and others have said the same thing I have. How are only homosexual couples selfish for wanting children, but no one else is?

  112. #112 Chairm
    December 8, 2006

    Sorry, I missed your comment Jason.

    If it is extramarital then it does not provide the basis for recognition and preference for marriage. Adoption is a related social institution but it is not the basis for marriage either. This is so regardless of sexual orientation politics.

    And marriage is not a purely social construct. It is based on the two-sexed nature of humankind and the both-sexed nature of human generativity.

    That’s where I’ll step-off. Cheerio.

  113. #113 MAJeff
    December 8, 2006

    And marriage is not a purely social construct. It is based on the two-sexed nature of humankind and the both-sexed nature of human generativity.

    And this is based on false assumptions regarding the two sexes as being absolutely different in every way and opposite to each other.

  114. #114 kehrsam
    December 8, 2006

    kehrsam, the nature of humankind and of human generativity is central to the social institution of marriage. It may not be so for the homosexual relationship but that does not require society to define the conjugal relationship according to the experience of the homosexual population.

    Just base the reforms you’d seek on the merits of the homosexual relationship and leave marriage out of it.

    I haven’t advocated a policy in this thread, so you presume too much. As for marriage, it is now and has always been a social construct which evolved to meet the needs of the society, the formost of which were to create alliances between families and to regulate the ownership and control of property. Sex and procreation are afterthoughts, for the simple reason that people are going to have sex anyway and, until modern times, there was little chance of a child not having multiple adults involved in the rearing process.

    Chairm’s argument depends upon the assumption that the “ideal” family of the 1950s is somehow different from and superior to all other possible iterations. The fact that the form has had great success in the past century in this country and Western Europe is interesting, but something of a given: The fact that it works well is precisely why it became the dominant form. What Chairm denies is the possibility that this form is itself capable of evolution, based entirely upon his mistaken assumption that “marriage” is a logical and legal category. It is not.

    Note also that there exists other social structures for sex and procreation in existence, particularly in inner-city culture. Whatever one may call these structures, the fact is that they serve the analogous function of marriage, and the form itself is stable over time, despite the best efforts of public policy. “There is more under Heaven and earth than is dreamt in your philosophy.”

  115. #115 John
    December 8, 2006

    “Note also that there exists other social structures for sex and procreation in existence, particularly in inner-city culture”

    I don’t understand. To what other social stucture are you referring?

  116. #116 kehrsam
    December 8, 2006

    You may have noticed a pattern in inner cities of unmarried women having children. Daniel Moynihan had a few things to say on the subject.

  117. #117 GH
    December 8, 2006

    And marriage is not a purely social construct. It is based on the two-sexed nature of humankind and the both-sexed nature of human generativity

    Marriage is totally a social contract. Unless of course one thinks any animal that makes has a marriage.

  118. #118 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Ed,

    Actually, I was wrong. … the samples used were much smaller. My memory was failing me. Still, those two studies are very important because they are an example of more recent studies that have not relied on convenience sampling, a major criticism of some of the earlier studies done on the subject.

    It was good of you to admit that.

    The key point when it comes to such studies is this: every single study says the same thing, despite numerous methodological differences.

    I can respect that the methodologies were different, but as Rauch points out they all had the same problem in common. Multiple studies with the same flaw does not negate the flaw.

    Every single study concludes essentially the same, that children of gay parents are no worse off than children of straight parents.

    Rauch was very insightful to separate the claims between being able to raise children successfully, and whether or not that was the typical case. In contrast I see you as hammering on the former, hoping to chisel away at the latter.

    But besides that, broader studies do contradict your conclusion. There were many questions and concerns that you dropped from the former post, that would like to bring to your attention.

    I’m shocked. I would expect such a “lack of contrary conclusion” from a mind-numbed creationist. In the absence of evidence, you would have us believe that is evidence in and of itself.

    The overwhelming body of evidence shows that the in-tact household under marriage is the best way to raise children. Do you deny this?

    The largest body of same-sex couples raising children are non-sexual. They are mother-daughter teams or sister-sister teams, or two roommates who team up to raise their children. These have a great wealth of scientific study behind them. And the above statement holds true — even in step-parent situations. So I will also ask you this, what is different from the mother-daughter pair, or other same-sex but non-sexual arrangements than the romantically inclined same-sex arrangement?

    You can’t say that the limited study of cherry picked households amounts to showing there is a difference. Not while being intellectually honest. These households probably have kids every bit as successful also.

    So what is the difference?

    In short, there is no meaningful evidence that suggests that two lesbians raising a child are an exemption from the general body of knowledge that suggests an intact family that stays intact without high-conflict is the best foundation for child development. The ability to create small samples (even without much cherry-picking) showing that children can be raised as well in both environments is not one of those differences.

    All of the evidence is on my side and none of it is on your side, which means the only thing you can do is try and handwave it away. Rational people aren’t going to be fooled by that.

    As you can see, taking in account the larger body of available studies in same-sex (but not romantic) householse, the overwhelming majority of evidence is on my side. Until you can provide a meaningful difference that corresponds to collected data, you are simply engaging in conjecture and speculation.

    Rational people aren’t going to be fooled by that.

    I’m actually interested in just what kind of person would accept your blinder and consider them rational at the same time. However, I’m sure they’d appreciate your kudos to them for doing so.

    You claimed above that having a child in this manner is “tantamount to cultural genocide.”

    Ahh, now that is not only quote mining — it is deliberately absent of its context. Here’s the full quote…

    Having children with the intent to rip them from their heritage. The UN recognizes that children have a right to their heritage, so do many human rights organizations. This is tantamount to cultural genocide.

    The relation to that act and cultural genocide might not have been obvious to you, but your readership picked up on it. While objecting to the same language as “histrionics”, they described the situation rather well…

    Your “cultural genocide” histrionics are really not relevant here. Unless I’m mistaken, the type of thing the UN and human rights organizations want to avoid is children being taken away from their families to be raised in an alien culture for the purpose of preventing the expansion of that culture.

    And while they are correct in identifying a concern of the UN, identifying one concern does not explain the total concern. Their worry could be reprimanded with other language, but specifically it is considered a basic human right for a child to have access to their heritage. Certainly there are other concerns, ones that you seem to have either lost sight of or are purposefully diminishing in an attempt to homogenize sexual lifestyles.

    Children should know their heritage for the sake of that culture and the child’s innate desire to understand their connection to history. When a cultural context is lost to global knowledge, it is a sad day in anthropology. It is like an extinction of an animal we’ll never be able to interact with again. But none of us will likely have opportunity to enact cultural manipulation on such a global scale. It is still wrong on the small scale of removing a child from access to their heritage, and replace it with your own. It is not a global cultural genocide, but it is the same act for that one child.

    And admitting how readily your mind gets boggled is an appreciated admission from you.

    Assuming you are the same person, I should also let you know I took the liberty of replying to an open letter you wrote to “gay marriage opponents” back in July of 2005. Actually what I gleaned is pieced from two different sources. If I have mis-ascribed any of it to you, please let me know so I can fix the error.

  119. #119 Coin
    December 8, 2006

    Their worry could be reprimanded with other language, but specifically it is considered a basic human right for a child to have access to their heritage.

    I think many people involved in the various adoption programs around the world would be rather surprised and possibly even offended to hear that.

  120. #120 Jason I.
    December 8, 2006

    On Lawn said:

    it is considered a basic human right for a child to have access to their heritage

    I’m curious as to how a homosexual or heterosexual couple using third-party procreation prevents this?

    In the link provided, On Lawn said:

    When in fact, neutering marriage diminishes the protections we have for each other and our children.

    I’m also curious as to what protections my daughter loses by the possibility of recognizing the love that two people can share for each other, what you call “neutering marriage”.

  121. #121 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Now for other comments…

    Jeff Hebert,

    How does Mary Cheney being married to a woman neuter my marriage with my wife?

    The definition of “one man and one woman” is removed of any gender reference, thus being rendered “neuter”. In order to call their relationship a marriage, one must have already neutered it for themselves, in which case the damage was already done for that individual.

    Do I have to stop loving her when Mary Cheney has a baby or did I already stop loving her when Mary Cheney got married and I just didn’t realize it?

    Fair question, I’m glad you asked. The answer is “no”. But the answer is also no to Ms. Cheney if she asked if not being “married” means she cannot love the child. That line of reasoning is a wash either way.

    the honor, love, and integrity we have between us as a married couple are dependent not on what someone else does in some other place

    Nor would Ms Cheney’s relationship with her partner be dependant on whether or not someone else does something like neuter the marriage definition for their sake.

    And there are no silly people, just silly comedians.

    Raging Bee,

    I don’t hear any right-wing moralists bewailing the “tragedy” of kids raised without fathers when the father has died, and/or when the mother is unable to find a suitable replacement right away.

    I would think that if you haven’t heard of the circumstance of being a widows as anything but tragic, you are profoundly naive on the subject.

    Nor do I hear such bewailing when the father is sent to war and the mother fails to find a replacement at home.

    Again, I’m not sure where the plight of the military wife is considered anything but tragic. I know a few, and I am very appreciative of people who help them out. One such project is Operation Homefront.

    This sort of outrage only gets directed at “unusual” people like gay couples.

    Empathy is extended to the previous examples (hence the use of the word “tragic” even in your writings). The outrage comes when the child is deliberately thrust into the same circumstance, not out of death or valor, but out of the selfishness of the parents. That outrage is common for the cheating spouse, the negligent parent, and the same-sex couple who pays someone to leave the child as much as have them.

    Second, the more we preach about how an ideal family SHOULD look, the more we must face the fact that 90% of families are not, and can never be, the ideal we demand.

    I agree with this, except for your assessment of 90%. No one is perfect, and no family is perfect. But the science suggests that the intact family is peculiar in its ability to promote child development.

    Later you said:

    If you don’t care enough about the children to actually understand what’s being said about such issues, then you don’t care enough to question our compassion. And given your shabby “logic” and willful distortion of what others are saying, I sure as Hell wouldn’t want you teaching any children I might have in the future. False witness is more harmful to kids than not having a father.

    Such woeful superlatives and epithets. I will hope that you can put them down so we can have a much more meaningful dialog. It is better, for example, for you to show me where my logic is shabby then tell me. The latter is too easily confused with the frustrated rhetoric of a ideologue to stuck in their Ptolemy cave.

    kehrsam,

    I think you missed the point of MAJeff’s snark. He wasn’t arguing about miscegenation so much as how your school intergration analogy is inapt. He is right.

    Oh, I caught the point of his snark. By mixing the analogy, he only showed poor reading comprehension. As a grander construct to evaluate the race analogy, forcing racial integration of marriage falls short in that it promotes homogenization, which the civil rights movement is completely opposed to.

    Take your pick, but neither work out to show the analogy as flawed.

    Or, if you see some value in it I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter. While I can appreciate cheer leading, it furthers team spirit more than rational discourse.

    The problem with the whole argument of “A proper family requires two parents, a father and a mother” is not that such a family is wrong, but that it is a misplaced ideal. It is not a sufficient condition for raising a child, nor a necessary one.

    It may not be sufficient, or necessary, but it is proper. Perhaps Ed needs to school you better on the science of the issue. We employ statistics in areas where the outcome is not deterministic. I think everyone has agreed that family conditions are not deterministic, yet I see you as attempting to apply such math to our discussion here. While not deterministically impacting the way a child turns out, it does impact it in identifiable and measurable ways. Ways which I would hope anyone really concerned with their children would take into primary consideration when choosing to bring a life into this world.

    Marriage, in its reference to gender integration, directly creates a construct to teach this responsibility in procreation. In each of the virtues we ascribe to marriage, fidelity, love, security, sacrifice, etc… we ascribe the virtues of responsible procreation. In establishing the head of a household with equal gender representation, with love and respect for both genders, and with commitment to an uncertain future of perhaps unexpected babies that romantic relations between them can bring.

    Peace.

    And I wish you the same.

  122. #122 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Coin,

    I think many people involved in the various adoption programs around the world would be rather surprised and possibly even offended to hear that.

    I have to admit to being taken back by that remark. Which adoption agency in the world demands that children who are placed in their services not be given access to their own heritage and genetic history information?

    A recent case is Oregon, where they have a law where people can have a birth certificate re-issued for adopted families. There are reasons they do this, and I without getting into them I’ll simply say I accept them. But as a state, when confronted with the children who claimed they wanted access to their heritage, they passed by referendum legislation that made these new birth certificates temporary. Preserving their original certificates and giving children the access to their heritage they requested.

    To my knowledge, no adoption agency would be taken back by this request or, similarly, the UN’s position on this matter.

    Jason I,

    I’m curious as to how a homosexual or heterosexual couple using third-party procreation prevents this?

    I provided a link above to Prof Velleman’s article on this matter. Please read that and then get back to me.

    I’m also curious as to what protections my daughter loses by the possibility of recognizing the love that two people can share for each other, what you call “neutering marriage”.

    Again the afore mentioned article.

    But you hit on another point that needs addressing, and that is that “recognizing the love that two people share for each other” is marriage. Marriage is one way people can express their love for each other, along with fidelity to the vows taken in that expression. Marriage, then, describes a small subset of relationships where people love each other. You love your daughter, but that isn’t a marriage. Someone else loves their daughter and wants to get married, and what do you say to that?

    Yes, marriage recognizes a love and commitment between two people, but it would be absurd to extend that to mean every commitment of love is a marriage.

  123. #123 Arden Chatfield
    December 8, 2006

    Seems to me, the kid would have a father if not for the sexist bigotry of Ms. Cheney.

    And I think you’re horribly bigoted against men for not being willing to have sex with them, Marty. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  124. #124 Jack Last
    December 8, 2006

    Where do they lie? The birth certificate names both lesbians as the parents of the child. Tell me how that is not a lie.

    My wife and I have adopted a child in California, and it’s our names on the birth certificate. SOP for the state of California. Please tell me why you only complain about this when it’s homos doing it, and why it’s even the tiniest bit of your business in any way.

  125. #125 Jack Last
    December 8, 2006

    Someone else loves their daughter and wants to get married, and what do you say to that? Yes, marriage recognizes a love and commitment between two people, but it would be absurd to extend that to mean every commitment of love is a marriage.

    So let me get this straight. If we legalize gay marriage, suddenly we’ll have people marrying their daughters. Is that your point?

    Wow, that’s breathtakingly stupid.

    If I were in your position, and thank god I’m not, I’d be analyzing why I hate gays so much as to say all these long winded moronic things. I’d suggest gays are not your real problem here.

  126. #126 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Now I need to re-wind to some posts that I promised earlier to get to. Then if I have time, I’ll engage in some of the discussion with Chairm’s excellent points.

    Troublesome Frog,

    Many thanks for your reply. I’ve been looking forward to getting to it, and I’m glad I have the chance to do so now.

    If you believe that any technology involving third party fertilization is wrong for anybody, that’s a different issue.

    Actually, I do. I think of myself as rather homosexual-agnostic. Or to put it better, I really don’t care about gender orientation at all. Each lifestyle has their pluses and minuses, and we should be careful not to let our own biases get in the way of evaluating this dispationately and honestly.

    I am against third party IVF and other extra-marital genetical transfer techniques (such as hiring a prostitute). I am not yet convinced on surrogate motherhood, but for now I find it an extreme measure where people are better served with adoption. I am also personally against IVF in general for my own family, but am not ready to council others to do the same.

    And given that there is no evidence that having equal gender representation is necessary for proper childhood development

    In my above post, I corrected Kersam in this same error. It is not a matter of being a necessity, I’m saying it is proper. Children are born out of wedlock all the time, divorces happen, and death happens. While it is not coincidental that the conditions required to create children requires equal gender representation, it is more than that.

    Step-parent families wind up looking statistically like single-parent families. The evidence is striking in that it points to something in the in-tact family which is a great advantage to children. You know what, a great article on this topic comes from Kay Hymowitz, “Marriage and Caste“. I should just point you in that direction.

    You’re stretching pretty desperately here, but I suppose that the fact that there is no data whatsoever to support your assertions that any of this is harmful to a child could be part of the problem.

    I can appreciate a good bit of grandstanding. Especially when it shows the hubris before the fall. Its sad really…

    You might listen to people like Ed, and assume that there is no prospect of harm to the child. Yet the evidence points to the fact that children in general do best when raised in an intact family. I’ve not seen anything that contradicts that absolutely massive body of scientific work. Yet so convinced are you in such fundamentally faith based principles that you find yourself in direct contradiction to that data.

    And to see you complain I’m stretched too thin, in the very same paragraph just puts a sort of ironic twist on it, don’t you think?

    Either way, many thanks for your reply.

  127. #127 Ed Brayton
    December 8, 2006

    On Lawn wrote:

    I can respect that the methodologies were different, but as Rauch points out they all had the same problem in common. Multiple studies with the same flaw does not negate the flaw…

    Rauch was very insightful to separate the claims between being able to raise children successfully, and whether or not that was the typical case. In contrast I see you as hammering on the former, hoping to chisel away at the latter.

    This is a nonsense reply. The only possible reason one can argue that the prior studies weren’t “typical” is because they used convenience sampling. Convenience sampling, in and of itself, does not necessarily mean that a sample is not typical, it just means that it’s difficult to know whether it’s typical or not. But random sampling fixes that problem, and the more recent studies, like the two I specifically mentioned, used random sampling; they also came to the same conclusion as all previous studies. So we don’t have multiple studies with the same flaw, we have multiple studies with multiple methodologies, some of which do not have this one particular flaw, all reaching the same conclusion.

    Also bear in mind that even if that flaw was present in every single study, it’s still a very weak argument in light of the volume of evidence. It comes down to “well we can’t know for certain that every situation is like that”. But when you’ve got study after study with hundreds and hundreds of data points and they all show the same thing, in order for the “might not be typical” argument to have any significant meaning in disputing the conclusion you at least need to offer some coherent, evidence-based reason why most situations would not be like the ones that are studied. I’ve seen no such criticism from you or anyone else.

    But besides that, broader studies do contradict your conclusion.

    By all means, name them. And not studies that compare two parent families to one parent families, either; those are irrelevant. Studies that compare families headed by gay parents vs those raised by straight parents.

    In short, there is no meaningful evidence that suggests that two lesbians raising a child are an exemption from the general body of knowledge that suggests an intact family that stays intact without high-conflict is the best foundation for child development. The ability to create small samples (even without much cherry-picking) showing that children can be raised as well in both environments is not one of those differences.

    You’re misrepresenting what those studies show. They do not just show that it’s possible for a gay couple to raise a child well; they specifically compare groups of children raised by gay couples to groups of children raised in a more conventional environments and conclude – again, every single study, not just a few of them, every single one of them – that statistically, the children of gay parents are no worse off by a wide range of measures than children of straight parents. And again, these studies use a wide variety of methodologies – different sets of controls for other factors, different measures of social and psychological well being, and different means of measuring those factors – and yet they all reach the same conclusion. Only someone with a preconceived conclusion based on non-rational reasons would so casually dismiss this enormous body of evidence. There is a reason why every major child welfare and adoption advocacy organization takes the position that gay parents raise children as well as straight parents and should not be discriminated against – because the evidence for that conclusion has reached the point where it is all but indisputable.

    I tire of this sophistry and bullshit. I’m tired of the ridiculous rhetoric about “cultural genocide”. Just go the fuck away.

  128. #128 Jason I.
    December 8, 2006

    On Lawn suggested:

    I provided a link above to Prof Velleman’s article on this matter. Please read that and then get back to me.

    I did, and I have a few questions. It seems that Prof. Velleman is opposed to the idea of anonymous sperm and egg donations. It also sounds like he would ideally demand that any child conceived using third-party procreation would be given details of their biological parentage, regardless of the wishes of the donor. Am I correct in my interpretation, and do you share those views?

    I did not come across any protections that my daughter might lose by acknowledging a committed homosexual relationship as a marriage in Prof. Velleman’s article. If there are any that I may have missed, please feel free to point them out.

    Someone else loves their daughter and wants to get married, and what do you say to that?

    Yes, marriage recognizes a love and commitment between two people, but it would be absurd to extend that to mean every commitment of love is a marriage.

    Indeed, that would be absurd, and yet so many people that argue against homosexual marriage use that tired rhetoric. Committed homosexual couples wishing to be considered married obviously have nothing to do with incestuous relationships, yet they are constantly compared as if they are in any way similar. That shows a heinous bigotry that is entirely unjustified.

    Regarding the point I believe you are trying to make, I argue that any two people that would otherwise be allowed to marry, except for the fact of their homosexuality, should be allowed to marry, and be afforded all of the rights and protections that come with marriage.

  129. #129 MAJeff
    December 8, 2006

    Where do they lie? The birth certificate names both lesbians as the parents of the child. Tell me how that is not a lie.

    The birth certificate is not a statement of biological parentage but of legal parentage. Thus, adoptive parents may be listed as parents on birth certificates when they adopt infants, and with the assumption of marital legitimacy, husbands are presumed to be the legal parents, even if they aren’t the biological parent (see SCOTUS decision Michael H. v. Gerald D., written by everybody’s favorite pro-family Justice, Antonin Scalia.)

  130. #130 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Jack Last,

    My wife and I have adopted a child in California, and it’s our names on the birth certificate. SOP for the state of California. Please tell me why you only complain about this when it’s homos doing it, and why it’s even the tiniest bit of your business in any way.

    Actually, you’ll note that I decry it in every circumstance. Please show me where I might have strayed and given exception only on terms of heterosexuality of the adopting couple.

    and why it’s even the tiniest bit of your business in any way

    “Its none of your business” is the intimidation tactic of thugs, and the request to overlook problems by the errant.

    I find the position of looking out for the innocent and defenseless (in this case children) to be my business. I hope everyone makes it their business.

    BTW, I hope California displays (or has displayed) compassion on the adopted by legislating a provision much like Oregon did where these re-written birth certificates are temporary.

    So let me get this straight. If we legalize gay marriage, suddenly we’ll have people marrying their daughters. Is that your point?

    I refuse to allow problems in another’s argument to be ascribed to myself. For you that is entirely dishonest.

    The above poster asked a question. I answered and asked one back. No one has taken the position yet that a father-daughter relationship makes a marriage. I certainly haven’t and won’t. But he made an argument, and his argument for now does not take that condition into account. I’m simply calling him on it, and thus should not be held accountable for the problems in his argument.

    Wow, that’s breathtakingly stupid.

    Or in your case, poor reading comprehension :)

    But thats okay, I can overlook your over-exuberant epithet.

  131. #131 Coin
    December 8, 2006

    I have to admit to being taken back by that remark.

    No, you’re not.

    Which adoption agency in the world demands that children who are placed in their services not be given access to their own heritage and genetic history information?

    In America, this varies from state to state, but in many places adopted children cannot receive information about their parentage– and usually, the biological parents cannot receive information about their biological child– except under certain circumstances clearly defined by state law. The form this commonly takes is that all identifying information about the parent is kept sealed unless both biological parent and child register a desire to meet with the state. Although there has been a consistent trend toward “openness” in state adoption laws in recent decades, there were times and places earlier in the 20th century where unsealing parentage information was far more difficult than it is today or impossible.

    Biological parent medical information, of course, including relevant genetic history, is provided to the child in any adoption system. But this is clearly not what you referred to by your use of the phrase “genetic heritage”, since similar medical history information will be provided just the same to offspring from anonymous sperm or egg donor banks, or any other method that could be used by a same-sex couple to intentionally conceive a child.

  132. #132 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    MAJeff,

    The birth certificate is not a statement of biological parentage but of legal parentage.

    It is a registering of an event, a birth. The term “parent” in that context can only mean biological. Establishing guardianship over a child is neither required by having a birth certificate, nor is it warranted.

    Having it your way means exactly all of the problems I’ve already decried in this post. Yet you hold on to its egregious philosophy like, perhaps, slave owners had in their ability to buy and sell life as a misplaced legal substitute of reality.

    husbands are presumed to be the legal parents, even if they aren’t the biological parent

    Citing the reference is good, but misplaced. I’m not a lawyer, but here is how I understand it. The legal reality is that many states allow a married husband to challenge the presumed paternity with a DNA test. Also, a man can be assigned parental status even if he has never impregnated a woman and the sperm was taken under fraudulent circumstances. And bottom line, a woman can write any name on the birth certificate she wants, and that is the father (who has an opportunity to challenge).

    I’m not against presumed paternity, for many reasons. But I don’t believe the infidelity it seeks to mask is a valid one.

    These issues are better served with a stronger ideal of marriage as a pro-creative moor. Not by removing it in a expression of despair.

  133. #133 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Coin,

    in many places adopted children cannot receive information about their parentage

    And there are good reasons for that, which happen to expire as the child reaches adulthood. I agree that the current momentum is to not destroy that information, and give children access to it as they become adults and seek after it. I support that movement.

    The form this commonly takes is that all identifying information about the parent is kept sealed unless both biological parent and child register a desire to meet with the state.

    Preserving the anonymity of the true parent is something that I see as diminishing in importance in general. For a time it can be a good thing, but the point is that it is not destroyed and kept from the child. This is except in one case, sperm donation and other genetic material purchases. Here I’m afraid that the influence of the bio-genetics industry is very strong in preserving the conditions favorable for their business models.

    Biological parent medical information, of course, including relevant genetic history, is provided to the child in any adoption system.

    And in some ways the bio-industry is making strides in making that information available also. But as long as they place the anonymity of the donor first and foremost, I do not expect there will be any real progress in that.

    I have many views on adoption, and it would be fun to discuss them with you. You have my email address. But for this discussion it is sufficient for me to say that what happens in one case necessitated by tragedy does not justify the actions of others taken in sport. An example of my thoughts on this subject are presented here.

    As you will see, the construct is not one of hetero-v-homosexuality, but one of preserving and respecting the children’s needs first and foremost.

  134. #134 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Ed,

    Good to hear from you again.

    Convenience sampling, in and of itself, does not necessarily mean that a sample is not typical, it just means that it’s difficult to know whether it’s typical or not.

    I do not disagree. In fact, that would be the precise reason (albeit a bit narrow on your perpective) that your dismissal of F. Rottle’s claim was over-reaching. Yet as you put it here it is much more measured than the rhetorical assurity and strength you put behind that dismissal.

    However, I somehow doubt just how much you were over-reaching has completely sunk in. But I could be wrong.

    But random sampling fixes that problem

    The sampling was not that random. And still, the sampling size is crucial in determining the reliability of the data to draw conclusions from. Your conclusions are far honestly more like cheer-leading than respectful scientific review.

    Studies that compare families headed by gay parents vs those raised by straight parents.

    You have yet to distinguish a gay family from one where a single parent receives assistance from another of the same sex. Those situations we know quite a bit about. We know quite a bit about step-parenting, which the gay family also looks like. Both of these examples show a wealth of data on just how the in-tact family impacts child development. You haven’t denied this fact, you just keep demanding a certain position of the goal-posts.

    And in so doing you are dodging the very pertinent question of just how a gay family is an exception from this data. So far the small set of studies do not provide enough evidence to show they are an exception, nor have I seen any theories on why such an exception would be made.

    I will continue to wait, because of all the people I’ve seen unable to do that, you just might be the first.

    Only someone with a preconceived conclusion based on non-rational reasons would so casually dismiss this enormous body of evidence.

    Oh really. Well, I quoted where even rational marriage neuterists feign from making the sweeping conclusions you do. Perhaps in your exuberance you would try to call everyone who disagrees with you irrational. But the merits of the current discussion do not warrant that. Not even on this point.

    You’re misrepresenting what those studies show. They do not just show that it’s possible for a gay couple to raise a child well;

    Speaking of irrational discourse, they do in fact show it’s possible for a gay couple to raise a child well. I’m surprised to see your refusal of that fact.

    Oh, I see, you don’t want to disagree with that statement you simply want to replace it with something far more sweeping and further away from the body of scientific research…

    they specifically compare groups of children raised by gay couples to groups of children raised in a more conventional environments and conclude – again, every single study, not just a few of them, every single one of them – that statistically, the children of gay parents are no worse off by a wide range of measures than children of straight parents.

    Well, maybe not so sweeping at all. Perhaps here you are simply equating a same-sex parenting situation to a single-parent, a step-parent, etc… Perhaps not. I’ll await why you feel the hundreds of studies on these family conditions are insufficient compared to your “huge body” of dozens of studies.

  135. #135 Coin
    December 8, 2006

    And there are good reasons for that, which happen to expire as the child reaches adulthood.

    If so, that’s not reflected in the law of many states.

    Preserving the anonymity of the true parent is something that I see as diminishing in importance in general.

    “Diminishing in importance” or not, it’s still the law in many states.

    But for this discussion it is sufficient for me to say that what happens in one case necessitated by tragedy does not justify the actions of others taken in sport.

    Pure garbage.

    So we go from first “the child has a right” to their “heritage” in your earlier posts, replete with comparisons of legal reparenting to slavery; to this post, where the best you can offer is that state laws granting the parent a right to anonymity in adoption are “diminishing in importance”. This heritage thing is a funny kind of “right”, if its importance waxes and wanes depending on the whims of a state law. Then of course by the end of that same post you seem to have abandoned the idea entirely that “heritage” is an absolute right, and retreated to some vague position where apparently anonymity is acceptable in cases of “tragedy” but not acceptable in cases of “sport”. And of course, when you say this, no one will fail to notice that you mean heterosexuality when you say “tragedy” and homosexuality when you say “sport”– because, of course, this entire sophist nonsense about “genetic heritage” is just a set of sliding goalposts erected to cloak your base position, which is that behavior which is acceptable for heterosexuals should be barred for homosexuals.

    I a little bit wonder, exactly how much further can you move these goalposts if we keep pushing on them?

  136. #136 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Jason I,

    Thank you for following that link…

    I did, and I have a few questions. It seems that Prof. Velleman is opposed to the idea of anonymous sperm and egg donations. It also sounds like he would ideally demand that any child conceived using third-party procreation would be given details of their biological parentage, regardless of the wishes of the donor. Am I correct in my interpretation, and do you share those views?

    So far I don’t disagree with that. Yes, I share his views on this matter.

    Indeed, that would be absurd, and yet so many people that argue against homosexual marriage use that tired rhetoric.

    Funny, it wasn’t my statement to begin with. It was you who suggested marriage was “recognizing the love that two people can share for each other”, were you not?

    Then you tell me why the interpretation by a father who wants to marry their daughter is invalid in your eyes? Tell me, “what protections my daughter [or your relationship] loses by the possibility of recognizing the love that two people can share for each other, what you call “[incestuous] marriage”.

    The problem is that your statement is overly broad, and that makes it absurd from many viewpoints. It is funny that it is so absurd that even me pointing out how absurd to you produces a great deal of backtracking on your part.

    Perhaps you could rephrase or explain yourself a little more clearly :)

  137. #137 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Coin,

    So we go from first “the child has a right” to their “heritage” in your earlier posts, replete with comparisons of legal reparenting to slavery; to this post, where the best you can offer is that state laws granting the parent a right to anonymity in adoption are “diminishing in importance”.

    Hmm, perhaps the cause and effect of the first part of that statement to the latter is lost on you.

    You tell me, why are these birth certificates re-written? Is it because in so doing it recognizes the rights of the adopting parents? Could you show me where these rights are recognized?

    Yes, that does bring a smirk just writing it. Perhaps it is time to delve into the details here, because without them you seem lost.

    Your move.

  138. #138 Jason I.
    December 8, 2006

    On Lawn said:

    Funny, it wasn’t my statement to begin with. It was you who suggested marriage was “recognizing the love that two people can share for each other”, were you not?

    Indeed. And it was you who took the obviously ridiculous step of equating that to mean I support incestuous marriage.

    The problem is that your statement is overly broad, and that makes it absurd from many viewpoints. It is funny that it is so absurd that even me pointing out how absurd to you produces a great deal of backtracking on your part.

    I made no backtracking, as I never said that every loving relationship between two people should be recognized as marriage. You decided that’s what I meant. And it was you who decided to take a statement that was obviously directly related to homosexual marriage and make it an overly broad generalization. And of course, you never bothered to answer my question.

    Perhaps you could rephrase or explain yourself a little more clearly :)

    I believe I already did:

    Regarding the point I believe you are trying to make, I argue that any two people that would otherwise be allowed to marry, except for the fact of their homosexuality, should be allowed to marry, and be afforded all of the rights and protections that come with marriage.

  139. #139 Jack Last
    December 8, 2006

    “Its none of your business” is the intimidation tactic of thugs, and the request to overlook problems by the errant.

    So if I deny you the privilege of meddling in my family life, that makes me a thug.

    I reiterate my original statement. You are very stupid indeed. Pretentious, bigoted, longwinded and stupid.

    (Though I would like to hear your explanation of why we’re supposed to be afraid of people marrying their daughters.)

  140. #140 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Jason I,

    I never said that every loving relationship between two people should be recognized as marriage.

    So why the bias? Apparently marriage should just be extended to homosexual relationships? Is that homosexual relationships of just two people? Or what about heterosexual relationships between more than two people?

    You decided that’s what I meant

    I’m not saying you included incestuous relationships. In fact, here is what I said:

    But you hit on another point that needs addressing, and that is that “recognizing the love that two people share for each other” is marriage. Marriage is one way people can express their love for each other, along with fidelity to the vows taken in that expression. Marriage, then, describes a small subset of relationships where people love each other. You love your daughter, but that isn’t a marriage. Someone else loves their daughter and wants to get married, and what do you say to that?

    Yes, marriage recognizes a love and commitment between two people, but it would be absurd to extend that to mean every commitment of love is a marriage.

    Later I noted your statement was imply overly broad, open to too much frivolous interpretation.

    I’m asking from the overly broad statement you wrote, where do you draw the line and why. Perhaps your avoidance is due to my not making that point explicit enough.

    Perhaps you feel probing your thoughts on the matter does represent a flaw in my reasoning? That would be interesting, but misplaced. As it is I politely await your reply.

    except for the fact of their homosexuality, should be allowed to marry, and be afforded all of the rights and protections that come with marriage.

    So why is homosexuality an exception? It seems you have values, strong morals on this subject. You would exclude these alternate arrangements, but on what grounds?

    And, why do lesbians need with presumed paternity? What do gays need with it for that matter? Surely not all provisions are needed.

    And what about the mother-daughter team who are raising a child. Why are you being so stingy and exclusionary to them? It seems everyone who is partnering up to solve domestic issues in a long-term committed basis should have access to the very same provisions of marriage. Or at least one could argue that, but do you exclude them from your consideration and why?

    And since you concede that marriage needn’t describe every loving relationship, why change the definition at all?

  141. #141 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Jack Last,

    So if I deny you the privilege of meddling in my family life, that makes me a thug.

    Thats funny. Because extending marriage to homosexual couples is exactly that, inviting the government to meddle in even more households. I’m unsure of why one would hold such libertarian ideals, yet be in favor of expanding the government role in romantic regulation to homosexual couples also.

    Perhaps there are reasons the government has an interest in recognizing the establishment of families. Do you know of any? Or are you really out to just destroy the marriage institution altogether and remove it from having any government recognition?

    You are very stupid indeed. Pretentious, bigoted, longwinded and stupid.

    Judging by your epithets, and Ed’s foul language it would seem that the monopoly on childish behavior favors the marriage neuterists here.

    But no matter, I’m curious how you resolve what appears to be a logic in your advocacy that is mentioned above.

  142. #142 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    Sorry Jack, that last post was meant to have read, “I’m curious how you resolve what appears to be a contradiction in your advocacy, as mentioned above.”

  143. #143 Jack Last
    December 8, 2006

    Thats funny. Because extending marriage to homosexual couples is exactly that, inviting the government to meddle in even more households.

    So granting civil rights to people is ‘meddling in their households’.

    I’m unsure of why one would hold such libertarian ideals, yet be in favor of expanding the government role in romantic regulation to homosexual couples also.

    Again, granting civil rights to a group of people is ‘expanding the role of government’.

    Good thing you weren’t around to debate whether blacks should be given the vote. What horrible governmental intrusion THAT is!

    Brilliant. Keep going, your record for bullshit doublethink is flawless so far.

  144. #144 Ed Brayton
    December 8, 2006

    On Lawn:

    You carefully edited out the most important part of my post: go away. You’ve turned in to another Larry Fafarman and I have no patience for your bullshit. You can go away voluntarily (and feel free to declare victory to all your friends, I couldn’t care less) or I can take care of it.

  145. #145 On Lawn
    December 8, 2006

    So granting civil rights to people is ‘meddling in their households’.

    So your issue is that you see this as a narrow example of civil rights. Were that this issue were simply removing arbitrary barriers and granting civil rights.

    But the wealth of family law that would incorporate homosexual households (indeed that they are asking for in 1000+ incidents of marriage) is regulatory. And worse yet, by removing marriage from its pro-creative moor you turn it from an establishment of civil rights and family governance into a matter of romance regulation. One where the precedence is on the government solving issues of romantic breakups and squabbles than looking out for anyone’s rights.

    Besides, we’ve already been over how it throws children’s rights under the bus. To do this move in the name of human rights is most distasteful, it borders on heresy.

    Ed,

    You carefully edited out the most important part of my post

    Actually, I have no such editorial powers on this blog. I assume everything you wrote is still there.

    If there was something you felt I didn’t address, I would hope that you would be so kind as to re-iterate it. Just as I have repeatedly asked you to respond to a point I made (and re-iterated at least three times).

    At least allow me the courtesy of knowing what you felt was the most important so I can reply to it properly…

  146. #146 gwangung
    December 8, 2006

    And worse yet, by removing marriage from its pro-creative moor you turn it from an establishment of civil rights and family governance into a matter of romance regulation.

    WHich is, these days, where it belongs.

    You keep insisting that marriage is about procreation. That was NEVER it’s sole purpose. It’s been pointed out to you, yet you keep ignoring it.

    THink Ed’s justified in thinking we should ignore you.

  147. #147 F. Rottles
    December 9, 2006

    gwangung,

    1. That is correct, procreation is not the sole purpose of marriage nor of societal preference for marriage in our customs, traditions, and laws. But I haven’t seen anyone assert otherwise.

    2. Also, it is not merely procreation but rather responsible procreation.

    3. And not merely responsible procreation, alone, but in combination with the integration of the sexes.

    Someone asked earlier about the first principle: it is that each of us is responsible for the children we create — with the caveat of extenuating circumstances. You’ll find this in our customs, traditions, and laws. For example, when someone relinquishes a child for adoption, until there is an actual adoption that parent remains responsible for support. And even after adoption, that parent remains a parent for reasons such as inheritence and incest laws and the like. The marriage idea is that the children born to the husband and wife, as a presumptively procreative pair, are their direct responsibility. This is for the good of the children and the parents; it is also the way society orders itself so as not to require massive intrusions into each and every family to establish child-parent relationships, at law or for everyday socialization. Adoption and third party procreation are clearly exceptions and are not the basis for responsible procreation.

    These things are social constructs, just as the preference for marriage is a construct and the social institution is a construct. However, it is not just a social construct, purely. It arises from the nature of humankind (two-sexed) and the nature of human procration (both-sexed). If you doubt this, consider the two alternatives to attaining children: adoption and third party procreation. Both cannot ignore that which I’ve described as the sex integration and responsible procreation. Adoption makes up for a shortfall in a child’s needs due to the loss of a parent, one way or another; and third party procreation is enabled by an explicit exception to the first principle of responsible procreation — and it obviously does so because human procreation is both-sexed.

    A social construct, yes. Purely so, no.

  148. #148 Troublesome Frog
    December 9, 2006

    Step-parent families wind up looking statistically like single-parent families. The evidence is striking in that it points to something in the in-tact family which is a great advantage to children. You know what, a great article on this topic comes from Kay Hymowitz, “Marriage and Caste”. I should just point you in that direction.

    I agree with the article that single parents tend to raise children that are not as successful. I agree with the article that less educated and less financially stable tend to raise less successful children. The thesis of the article is a good one, but you’re stretching it to make your point. There’s no reason to beleive that those conclusions somehow apply to children rasied from birth (or a very early age) to a homosexual couple. There’s really no parallel that can be drawn aside from the parallel that homosexual couples are not married heterosexual couples.

    The article points out a piece of data that is particularly interesting and relevant, though. Unmarried but cohabitating couples of the same socioeconomic status as married couples raise children less effectively than their married counterparts. This is very telling, as it can either be ascribed to an unquantifiable magic property of marriage or to different value systems or personality traits associated with people who opt for marriage when compared to those who do not (a question which is also irrelevant to gay parenting in most states). I would lean strongly toward the latter. Essentially, from the article: Poor isn’t good. Uneducated isn’t good. Single isn’t good. Divorced and then remaired isn’t good. Widowed isn’t good. None of these problems is directly analogus to a homosexual relationship, and in many ways, each one brings in confounding variables that makes drawing a parallel unjustified. Those same confounding variables simply aren’t present in the case of Ms. Cheney, an intelligent, educated, financially stable person in what apppears to be a very healthy, long term relationship.

    On the one hand, you have a mass of studies that don’t deal specifically with the variables we want to isolate, and those studies are just great. On the other hand, those studies that do actually address the specific question we’re trying to answer are to be dismissed for sampling biases that you can’t quite put your finger on. All of the data that actually controls for the variables we’re interested in makes a case against you. You may have a massive body of somewhat related data to torture until it talks, but I will opt for a study designed to answer the specific question over regressions on related data with confounding variables any day.

    You might listen to people like Ed, and assume that there is no prospect of harm to the child. Yet the evidence points to the fact that children in general do best when raised in an intact family. I’ve not seen anything that contradicts that absolutely massive body of scientific work. Yet so convinced are you in such fundamentally faith based principles that you find yourself in direct contradiction to that data.

    When your massive body of data actually addresses an intact homosexual family rather than broken heterosexual families, it will become more interesting. Until then, the most meaningful data is that which specifically addresses the question, and that body of work *does* support the conclusion that statistics on single family households and children of divorce simply don’t apply as well as you want them to.

    And to see you complain I’m stretched too thin, in the very same paragraph just puts a sort of ironic twist on it, don’t you think?

    No, I referred to your “cultural genocide” argument as a stretch. I see that you seem to have since abandoned it, so I’ll let it drop, but you must see how somebody going that far out on a limb to try to connect *something* bad to gay parenting might look ever so slightly like they’re just trying desperately to rationalize a conclusion they’ve arrived at too hastily.

  149. #149 yazz
    December 9, 2006

    There is the attempt to establish homosexual relationships as no less preferential to society than heterosexual relationships, and this is especially true when arguing about the role of children as it concerns these relationships.

    Having children bridges the past and the future. Doing this represent continuity. Homosexual relationships, however, represent a rupture of this continuity. Mere homosexual acts in and of themselves may be more tolerable, actually, than “committed homosexual relationships” insofar as they might be regarded as no more of a hinderance to proper social functioning than masturbation, for example. But societal acceptance of committed homosexual relationships through gay marriage would effectively bestow social sanction upon a type of sexual relationship that implies the rupture of the social and political continuity of a nation.

    It just sets a bad example, so is not to be encouraged. The state, I believe, has the responsibility to encourage the best example.

    Homosexual relationships, then, are to sexual relationships what picking your nose or farting in public are to etiquette. It may do no one any real harm, though it is likely to offend. But as no one has a right to not be offended, I suppose we might all accept these types of behaviors, also, and perhaps even encourage those that engage in these behavior out of a concern for the principles of tolerance and equality. Yes, I am being facetious…. but I hope you do see the point.

    It sets something other than the best example.

  150. #150 F. Rottles
    December 9, 2006

    Troublesome Frog,

    Two women depend utterly on the other sex to create children. The father must relinquish parental status if the child is to be raised solely by the mother, in the case of IVF. The two parents, mom and dad, are joined by a third person, a woman, who then undertakes to substitute for the father.

    So until the accumulation of longitudinal studies (not merely snapshot qualititative studies) that compare child outcomes for the above scenario (low conflict, intact, third party procreation couples) with the standard to which all other arrangements are compared and are currently found lacking (low conflict intact conjugal relationships raising their own children), the claim that the above scenario is as good as or better is a very long stretch.

    Based on conjecture and speculation, sure, you may have a small point. Based on the evidence, no.

    The above scenario lacks a father. In this way, even controlling for income and education, mother-only scenarios — including those that incorporate at least another adult or more adults (i.e. grandparent householding) — the child outcomes are markedly inferior to that of the standard arrangement.

    The above scenario depends on parental relinquishment. Children of third party procreation — especially the first generation from the new practice of anonymous sperm supplies that feature the explicit enabling authorization and the explicit choice of the mother and father not to share responsibility for their children — are already speaking out about the harm done to them. In this aspect, children of divorce, or of estranged unwed parents, are an apt category, and well-studied category, of alternative family arrangement.

    Neither of these — the mother-only scenario nor the dissolved procreative pair scenario — are exact matches to the scenario that is being speculated about. But the commonalities are chief predictors of lesser outcomes in comparison with the standard scenario.

    That standard is not something brand new. It is not something out of the 1950s only. It is as old as civilization. A man and a woman bonded with the children they have created together. In our modern times, due to the increasing array of alternatives, society has undertaken to study child outcomes as one way of assessing the common good in terms of what is best for the children. The alternatives have shortfalls to which, thusfar, primary characterstics, such as intactness, presence of mom and dad or one or the other, marital status, and the like, have served as predictors of measurable outcomes for children.

    Who knows? Maybe it will be shown that on average children do not need both mom and dad and that the intact conjugal relaitonship is inferior to the new fangled one-sexed arrangment of two-moms. But to determine that requires more than “who knows?” and “why nots?”

    But more basically, we are all born of man and woman. We have moms and dads. That’s the starting line, always. If you wish to promote a different starting line, please describe it and explain how it should be preferred over the current standard against which all others have been compared and found lacking.

  151. #151 Leni
    December 9, 2006

    Having children bridges the past and the future. Doing this represent continuity. Homosexual relationships, however, represent a rupture of this continuity.

    So now gays have the ability to stop time? Or do they just represent the ability to stop time?

    Hoosexual relationships don’t represent anything but what they are: part of the human experience. It always has been, and somehow people managed to continue to survive.

    It sets something other than the best example.

    Best example of what? How to keep from rupturing the space-time continuum? I guess we do need one of those, now that I think about think about. I can’t imagine how humanity survived with all these sub-par examples running around disrupting the flow of time. Or rather, disrupting representations of the flow of time.

  152. #152 Leni
    December 9, 2006

    F Rottles wrote:

    But more basically, we are all born of man and woman. We have moms and dads.

    We all have biological parents, that’s true. But we are not all raised by them. We don’t all know our biological parents. And we don’t all need to.

    So the starting point is sperm and egg, and I doubt anyone here would dispute that. As to what this has to do with a family headed by lebians, I don’t know.

    That’s the starting line, always.

    Starting line of reproduction yes, family no. The starting line of family is what we make it, not necessarily the coupling that resulted in pregnancy.

    And it is not always a two parent family, as I think you are implying. Welcome to humanity. We have a variety of complex social and child rearing strategies that are part and parcel of our amazing ability to adapt, improvise and change our circumstances.

    So far, we’ve been pretty fucking successful, despite the ongoing attempts of gay people to live their lives without interference from incredibly nosy strangers. Strangers who seem to think that gays should have to prove their worth as parents when no one else does.

    If you wish to promote a different starting line, please describe it and explain how it should be preferred over the current standard…

    Since when is this about making homosexual marriage the preferred method? It’s about family, it’s about humanity, and it’s about equality. It’s as simple as that.

    In any case, all of this is an excercize is hoop-jumping.

    You aren’t asking for longitudinal studies before “letting” poor people (who’s children fare worst of all…) procreate. You aren’t asking about alchoholics, assholes, bigots, smokers, people with heritable diseases, gamblers, people who like to be tied up and spanked, porn watchers, illiterates, people with low IQs, or any other kinds of person. And it’s obvious why.

    You aren’t advocating for children, and you certainly aren’t advocating for families. You are merely arguing against homosexuals, whom you think need to have papers in order to function like the rest of us.

    Gay people have families whether you like it or not. So why not advocate for them then? Aren’t their children worth it?

  153. #153 kehrsam
    December 9, 2006

    If you wish to promote a different starting line, please describe it and explain how it should be preferred over the current standard against which all others have been compared and found lacking.

    First let’s deal with the small issue: The Cheney child will have a wonderful outcome regardless of parental status, and not having a father is not going to change that. Not having a father may well be preferable to the relationship between, say, W and HW.

    The larger issue is single sex parenting in general, and what accommodations – if any – which society should grant it. The argument contra appears to be that proponents cannot show that the “outcomes” for children of such relationships cannot be demonstrated to be at least as good as those for the traditional marriage. On Lawn et al have neglected several large holes in this argument.

    1. Since gay marriage has not previously existed, there is little data either way. Other than the “Children need both a mother and a father” argument (which is purely conclusory) there is no reason to suspect that such families will have outcomes different from those of other two-parent families. Give it twenty years, we’ll see who is right.

    2. Government’s interest is in helping people to make good choices; there is no particular mandate to ensure that they make the best choices. Freedom itself is a societal good, even when people choose to make “bad” choices, that’s why alcohol and tobacco are legal.

    Therefore, unless F. Rottles can show me why gay parents are unlikely as a class to have “bad outcomes” with their progeny, his argument fails. The standard is not to show how gay marriage “should be preferred” over straight marriage: This is purely a straw man.

    3. As I pointed out earlier, there is a certain class and cultural bias about the nature of “good outcomes” as a measure of relationship and child-rearing success. There is an enormous underclass in our culture that do not marry and where the children are raised by a single mother, generally with the help of extended family. Further, this group shows continuity of culture (it appears to be spreading). It also has extremely poor “outcomes” for the children involved – if you are using a middle-class model of outcomes.

    The mere fact that this class has successfully reproduced itself over generations, however, seems to demonstrate that the outcomes involved are perfectly acceptable to the families involved.

    Now no normal middle-class person is going to wish they lived a ghetto life (although lots of teens seem to). However, government (and On Lawn and F. Rottles) continue to take steps through public policy to improves the lives of the underclass, and rightly so. But not gays, when all it takes, at a minimum, is giving these couples some of the rights I get to take for granted.

  154. #154 F. Rottles
    December 11, 2006

    Since when is this about making homosexual marriage the preferred method? It’s about family, it’s about humanity, and it’s about equality. It’s as simple as that.< .i>

    You have misunderstood. Marital status is a preferential status. It goes beyond tolerance and protection.

    So if you argue that the one-sex relationship should share this preference, you might have a strong reason. What is it?

    Further, if you argue that the meaning this preferential status is not based on the combination of sex integration and responsible procreation, as I thinkk you must if you support treating SSM as marriage, then, you also argue that some replacement will serve all of society, including the both-sexed conjugal relationship. What is the core of the SSM ideal?

    Your reason for a preferential status for the one-sexed relationship must move the hand of the State — minus the responsible procreation combined with sex integration.

    If it is just about protection, then, you seek a protective status — to either coexist with the preferential status accorded the social institution of marriage or to replace that preferential status.

    If it is just about tolerance, then, designated beneficiaries has been available and could be made more accessible and affordable. But beneficiaries is a trust relationship and the government does not need to enact a new relationship status, or to replace marital status.

    As for your reaction to my remark about the starting line, keep in mind I was explaining that the social institution of marriage is not purely a social construct. However, it would appear that the SSM ideal is presented as such, by you at least, and I think by most advocates of SSM.

  155. #155 F. Rottles
    December 11, 2006

    You aren’t asking for longitudinal studies before “letting” poor people (who’s children fare worst of all…) procreate.

    You are ill-informed on multiple levels.

    A claim was made about the social science evidence. It was pointed out that there is insufficient evidence to make that statement.

    Without longitidunal studies of children from conception to adulthood, the claim is merely a speculative assertion which ought not to be misrepresented as a factual conclusion.

  156. #156 John
    December 11, 2006

    I honestly can’t understand this “preferential status” concept. Prefertial to whom? “To society”? To God? To the people involved?

    I would susect the marriage is preferable to some people and not to others. And that would go for gays as well as straights.

  157. #157 F. Rottles
    December 11, 2006

    The Cheney child will have a wonderful outcome regardless of parental status, and not having a father is not going to change that.

    Yes, we can hope for a wondeful outcome for the child’s ownsake, apart from any argument about social science evidence, principles, and disagreements over how to accomodate the choice to purposefully create children for fatherless or motherless homes.

    I certainly hope for the excellent health of mother and baby. I wish the best for the two of them and Cheney’s partner.

    Not having a father may well be preferable to the relationship between, say, W and HW.

    Apparently, yes, that appears to be the choice made by one woman who engaged in third party procreation and a two-woman pair who presumably plan to deny this child the experience of fatherhood.

    They did not adopt. The child was created in contradiction of the first principle of responsible procreation. Neither they nor you can defend this choice, and the act, by pointing to the best interests of the child. The child did not exist before this choice was made.

    After the fact, and the father’s relinquishment, the existing child’s best interests are certainly served by remaining with his or her mother.

    Government’s interest is in helping people to make good choices; there is no particular mandate to ensure that they make the best choices.

    Is it?

    Then you might agree that there is such a thing as the best example, as per yazz.

    The preference for the social institution of marriage is not a preference for this or that particular couple. A preferential status is a non-coercive way of encouraging man-woman pairs to marry — to bond men and women and their children.

    As you remarks about an underclass demonstrate, especially in contrast to the remarks made about the advantages of income and education enjoyed by some children born to women outside of the conjugal relationship, the reprecussions for very large segments of society are severe when the core of marriage is replaced socially. The Law does have an inherent teaching and guiding effect on social behavior.

    Therefore, unless F. Rottles can show me why gay parents are unlikely as a class to have “bad outcomes” with their progeny, his argument fails.

    No, you have this upside down.

    The case has been made for a preferential treatment for married parenting, also known as sex integration and responsible procreation. You can discard the solid ground under the very wide consensus that has developed over the decades, however, what is left underneath but a mantra that all family forms are equivalent?

    I may be mistaken, but I think we have now agreed that we lack the needed evidence to make the claim that was made in favor of same-sex parenting via third party procreation. Ignorance does not prove the claim.

    The consensus is based on the available evidence: the intact, low-conflict, married couple is the standard by which all other family forms are measured and found wanting. It is very much a structural issue. Yes, other factors mitigate, but the consensus is also based on controlling for income and education.

    As for same-sex parenting, most of the children studied (and only a tiny sampling has been studied, mostly in qualitative studies nonrandomized) have come from both-sexed relationships of one or the other parent (usually the mother who is currently lesbian). So most of these studies are about children who have both moms and dads but are the parents are estranged i.e. divorced. So these families do resemble step-families — if there is a second woman in the home — and you cannot just wave away this by pointing to the alternative mans of attaining children.

    Step-families and adoptive families face problems that certainly are shared by the two-mom or two-dad arrangement. In studies these structures resemble long-parenting scenarios as far as outcomes for children. This is not to diss these other arrangements. We are looking at the available evidence.

    Now, third party procreation depends on parental relinquishment. In this way it does resemble broken procreative relationships, from the child’s perspective. This is becoming more evident with the new voice of the first generation of children created under the enabling legislation. And when the home lacks either a mother or a father, there is resemblance to the same lack experienced by children in lone-parent homes.

    Structure of family does matter. The child population now being raised by two-moms or two-dads is understudied. But they are a subset of the alternative arrangements that have been measured against the standard.

    Unless the same-sex parenting scenario can be sorted out from these other alternatives, and from the non-homosexual one-sexed scenario (mom and grandmom, for example), the claim made in this discussion in favor of one-sexed parenting is a speculative assertion not and not a solid anlaysis of the evidence.

    The argument against it (in principle, and not against this or that particular parent’s freedom to care for her children) is based on the available evidence upon which the consensus in favor, i.e. preferencing, married parenting still stands on solid ground.

  158. #158 F. Rottles
    December 11, 2006

    John, marriage is accorded as special status both socially and at law. The SSM argument is based on the preferential treatment that arises from this.

    The social science evidence adds justification for this societal preference. Marriage is also normative and where that is upheld the social institution benefits society. Thus the special interest in, or preference for, the social institution reflects the longheld understanding that society benefits marriage because marriage benefits society. The social institution, not this or that particular instance of a married couple, is at issue.

  159. #159 John
    December 11, 2006

    “Marriage is also normative and where that is upheld the social institution benefits society. ”

    All the more reason to extend the institution to Same-sex couples.

  160. #160 kehrsam
    December 11, 2006

    No, you have this upside down.

    The case has been made for a preferential treatment for married parenting, also known as sex integration and responsible procreation. You can discard the solid ground under the very wide consensus that has developed over the decades, however, what is left underneath but a mantra that all family forms are equivalent?

    Reality, meet F. Rottles, Rottles, Reality. Glad we got that out of the way.

    Two problems with your argument, aside from my prior points not addressed: First your argument suggests that society (through government) should do nothing for the millions of families with children that do not meet your “preferential treatment” standard. They exist, and the nature of societies is to evolve structures that assist people with the way they live, not the way you or I may think they should love. Societies which cling to some ideal rather than evolving soon become ex-societies.

    The second problem is that society is not going to stop giving preferential treatment to the families you favor. As I pointed out earlier, this is a straw man. However, it does not rule out making an addition to the good thing. If stable families are such a good thing for raising children, why not encourage more stable families, either among gays or the non-marrying underclass we both admit to exist. For instance, we would see a lot more single mothers marrying if we simply relaxed income restrictions on receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit.

    And, yes, I have agreed with you that I know of no data indicating that children raised by same sex couples do as well as those in tradtional families. Ed and some of the other posters disagree. Since I am not a sociaologist, I have chosen not to argue the question. However, I do know law, economics and public policy pretty well, and from the perspective of these fields, your conclusions are unwarranted. Peace.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.