Monday, February 20, 2012

a reply to Dina's reply

While trying to reply to Dina’s reply to Gattina’s comment on my post “more on magda and marriage” some text kept disappearing from the "comment box" because I talk too much.
This post is just an extension of that conversation with the full text of what I was trying to say.

Gattina said:

I have nothing against gay marriages as long as they don't want to adopt a child !

I replied:

Hi Gattina, I'm glad we agree about gay marriage.
With respect to children, I can understand your doubts but will disagree. There are already gay people in Australia who have children.

Maybe the real problem is how to make sure ALL parents - whether gay or not - will be good parents.

to which Dina replied:

What ARE the doubts? Are there any that exist outside religiously-inspired prejudices?

It seems to me that two mothers or two fathers could be as capable of taking care of children as a mother/father pair or a single mother or single father.

Or they could be as awful as some straight or single parents.

I don't think gender has that much influence on parenting.

If a child shouldn't be adopted by gay parents; is it better that they have no parents? Better that they have unloving and/or abusive parents?
The whole of what I was trying to say:

I tried to reply to Dina’s reply:

Hi Dina,
I suspect there are still many people who have doubts about the wisdom of letting gay people adopt, and I would like to address that part of your comment first.
The people of the generations who dealt with WWII and its immediate aftermath are now the elders in our communities, and I'm prepared to accept they are a product of a time and place which no longer exists in the west. They deserve a little credit, perhaps, for some of the social changes which have happened in their lifetime. If they were not all responsible for initiating change, many of them have nonetheless responded to the changes in good faith and not necessarily from a position of hate.

Over the past few decades we've learned an awful lot about abuse by too many people in "social or charitable" positions of authority, and as someone who was raised a Catholic it pains me to know that too many of my "own" have been responsible for a range of crimes including physical or sexual assault, mental cruelty, exploitation of children for slave labour, and the transportation of children to fill anticipated labour force needs.
The good news is that these social and religious authorities are now reaping what they have sown, and are becoming increasingly irrelevant to the generations they once claimed to serve. I'm enjoying watching these arseholes squirm. I'm enjoying the death throes of religiously inspired prejudices. Yes, these prejudices were/are religiously inspired and supported. The influence of religion is different from one country to another, but it's shrinking . If anything, the increasingly strident calls on god to justify hate are evidence that the influence of religiously inspired prejudices is waning.

The rules of logic would tell me I shouldn't argue from the particular to the general. On the other hand my own experiences are all I have to go on. I've grown up listening to most [though not all] older people parroting ideas they've never questioned. In this, they were only doing what I have always done, which is filter the world through my own [limited] personal experiences.
Their unquestioned ideas caused me quite a bit of anguish when I was younger, and made me wonder if they would be as hostile to me as the rest of the world if I began to live a more openly gay lifestyle. Thankfully, they were willing and able to question these assumptions when the issues became personal, and see me as a person rather than just as a "difference", and they didn't need any coaxing. In fact, in my whole vastly extensive Irish Catholic family, only one person let me down - and it wasn’t my grandmother who was born in 1902.

The more we learn of the abuse of authority, the more these issues become personal to people who once parroted ideas without questioning them. People like the man in Dunnolly who knows 44 poofs and thinks they are okay has shifted from an unquestioned idea to a positive idea based on his personal experience.
He's no longer neutral but an active campaigner for reason in his own way.

Then there are people like yourself - I doubt you've ever been neutral about anything. You have a passion for reason and justice and have probably always questioned everything. The unfortunate reality is this doesn't make other people “wrong”, so much as it just makes you special. But neutrality is a disappearing norm.

The second point you make, which is spot on, is that gender and sexuality have bugger all to do with the quality of parenting. Again, the neutrals have little to go on except their own personal experiences. To some extent, the power of the pulpit has been replaced by the power of media, and the media can't even claim to come from some inherently good place.

What's unspoken in the unquestioned "they shouldn't adopt" idea is partly the assumption that all poofs are paedophiles and all paedophiles are poofs. Of course this is crap.
Our man in Dunnolly, through personal experience, can be counted on to know this is crap. If he ever once believed or said gay people shouldn't adopt, it was probably because he thought the welfare of children was more important than gay rights.

I’m all for abandoning religious prejudice, and I guess for me the scriptures have been replaced by a new benchmark: to paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr, in a better world, people will be judged for the content of their character.
This is not just the right ideal, but it is a value which I have always believed is one of the best things about the real Australia as I see it.

There are public figures in Australia who, I agree, have no excuse for their doubts. Julia Gillard's position on gay marriage is as despicable as it is inexplicable. It totally fails the “content of character” test.

Jeff Kennett recently jumped on the "all children need a mother and father" bandwagon. In this, he reveals himself as someone who is not prepared to allow either logic or personal experience to challenge his preconceived notions.
He was responsible for a huge mental health organisation, but could not see the role of prejudice in suicide.
He sees the same appalling stories in the media that I do - for example a "father" prepared to throw his little girl off a bridge just to spite his ex-wife. Well, examples abound but let's not make ourselves sick.
It seems he’s no more interested in the content of people’s character than Julia.


  1. my parents were straight and never got divorced, my father never drank, my mother never worked, and god they were absolute shite at parenting.

    Marriage is so casual these days - it is not 'Til death do us part' but 'til we change our minds', so any couple of any of the sexes, should be able to do it.

    1. Hi Ann,
      your point about marriage being casual is a good one. It makes a mockery, really, of the notion that gay marriage will destroy a solid tradition. It's already heaving it's last gasp.

      "Shite". Love that word, and haven't heard it anywhere for years. "Shite" :)

  2. I think the family is the most dysfunctional unit we have going in the U.S.

    What the heck does it matter what the parents might do behind closed doors? The fighting I used to hear from my female mother and male father was so messed up. Violence, emotional abuse, neglect--these are the things that should be addressed rather than what a parents' sexual orientation is. If two people or one person can give a child love, I think more power to them!

    1. You know that old cliche, Rubye; "All families are dysfunctional, it's just some are more dysfunctional than others".

      There is something rather silly about society/church insisting people stay in unhealthy situations rather than opt for a Win/Win/Win alternative.

  3. Well said Fruit. How does Ann O' Dyne know that her parents where shite at parenting, as a father of two children i've yet to read an instruction manual on how to raise children. Parenting is trial and error always has been and always will be no matter whether the parents are straight, gay or otherwise :-).

    1. Hi Windsmoke, I doubt there are enough manuals on anything though I'm relieved because I usually can't make head or tail of them !

      As for Ann, there might be a good reason for her to believe her parents were shite at parenting. Obviously her father never threw her off the Westgate Bridge [unless he was shite at that sort of thing as well], but everyone has their own story to tell.

      I suspect you and your children might have a relatively good story:)

  4. Taking a random survey of my acquaintances, those raised with 'religion' are the most likely to have ongoing issues. Of course there are exceptions to that rule, though - as there will always be for every other conceiveable combination of gender, orientation, nationality and belief system. The end.

  5. Well I was going to seal this off with a dinkus but of course the comment box won't cooperate. Then I thought I'll just type the word dinkus and then worried that someone might misinterpret the word. So I'll just have the last word thusly: :)

  6. I feel so honored to have a whole post dedicated to my comment!

    Yeah. I think you're right. People are hung up on misconceptions about homosexuality. They're not judging people on their character.

    As for shitty parenting...outside obvious abuse; I think it's in the eye of the beholder. One parent's behavior might seem wonderful to some and horrible to others.

    1. Dina, it's very nice of you to feel honoured by a long winded reply, instead of feeling pain because I've chewed your ear off.

      It's hard to imagine there is one single correct way to deal with children when children are born with such vastly different personalities.

  7. You have a good way with words and can put up a solid argument. I agree with you. I reckon there is too much fuss over gay marriage from both straight and gay sides. After all as some one has said, marriage is becoming a casual affair. If two people love one another and live together and live a happy family life, bringing up children, following careers, going on adventures what does it matter if they are married or not, or gay or not.

    1. Thanks Diane - I love agreeable people!