Friday, February 06, 2009

Sutherland's Ground

Last night I was supposed to go to that Sutherland Institute event. I was personally invited ;-) but others hoped to "infiltrate".

However, I've been up two nights in a row with sick fevery kids, and I came home from work yesterday to find everyone but me had finally shared the germs. As any parent knows, it's much easier to be sick than the only healthy person in your home :-).

So I skipped the event and took care of dinner for my three sick men. Fortunately many others from the gay community went, and even though the Sutherlands tried to keep gay people out, some got in and were able to hear what they were selling our fellow Utahns.

This morning, the fevers were gone and just a cold remained for the kids, and so I got them ready for school, after a brief debate about germ theory and immunology. No, Alan you'll not get a worse version of the cold you gave to Brian if you use Brian's bath tub... I only won by invoking my Dr. title and an argument from authority; thank goodness he's still young enough to fall for it :-).

I read the paper before taking the boys to school, and found the Tribune article on the Sutherland gathering, though. It turns out they're main hope is that lawmakers will fall for a bunch logical fallacies, much more blatant than the one I used to get my kid in the tub.
600 Utahns gathered inside to answer what they saw as a "challenge to family and freedom."
Appeal to fear, begging the question... It's just simple double speak: we have to limit their freedoms and harm their families to answer a challenge to family and freedom? But people buy it easily. Very often here, limiting a person's and their entire family's rights just on sexual anatomy is called standing up for freedom. I have to wonder what these groups will do when faced with the business end of their own tactics; how will they react if given the sort of freedom they now want gay citizens to have?
The Common Ground Initiative, declared former Rep. LaVar Christensen, the author of Utah's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, Amendment 3, "is actually very uncommon."
Well, that's just demonstrably false. According to public opinion polls and even the church to which most of them belong, there is common ground. It's there in words and PR at least, and only seems to disappear when anyone tries to stand on it.
"It would be groundbreaking and lead to what we just witnessed in California," he told the crowd,
Slippery Slope fallacy, one countered just today even by one of the anti-marriage equality architects of our Amendment 3. But that won't matter, not up on the hill. Rights for gay people mean pride marchers will be sauntering through the Celestial Room, and jacuzziing in the baptismal tubs in a matter of months.

Groundbreaking, though? I'd love to take a look at Christensen's dictionary, right? :-) Yeah, truly new and shocking to all sensibilities if my husband could sue a drunk driver who killed me, as most people could and as has been possible for gay couples for a long time in many other jurisdictions.
"Some claim that standing up for the enduring, even sacred, definitions of marriage and family is showing hate for those who disagree," she said. "They are wrong. Defending marriage and family is an act of love for our children and our children's children."
Where to start in this mess of non sequiturs? Who doesn't want to defend marriage and family? How is making it illegal to fire or kick someone out of their home because of their sexual orientation (gay or straight) even touching their definition of marriage? This is just weird and yet I know it sells with an easy nod.

Anyway, I don't think, Sutherland Institute, you're hateful; I think you can be hysterical and cruel to your neighbors and still enjoy feeling a sort of love for them. History is ripe with so many good intentions.

I wish you'd listen to us, though. No one is mad at you for "standing up for the enduring, even sacred, definitions of marriage and family", no matter how wrong you are in this fallacy of argument from tradition (e.g. 1, 2). Stand up and believe all you want; I won't care. Just stop trying to take my tax dollars with one hand and push your rules about which anatomy goes with which into my home with the other. It's your harm to real people and real families that get's them frustrated, not your special dictionary or beliefs or what you want for yourself. The problem is your hope to, based only on their sexual anatomy, make legally invisible another family's "enduring, even sacred, definitions of marriage and family". From my view, you are a threat to the definition of marriage and family.

The difference between us, though, is that I want the government we are all forced to share and pay into to respect your family and how you want to define it. I want your family to be treated in law the way I'd want my family treated.

Again, I have to wonder, these people who disdain the idea of finding common ground and claim to be the only side holding sacred ground, how would they defend themselves if the tide turned and the weapons of thin "love" and "freedom" they work to establish now were pointed back at their families? I bet the Golden Rule, live and let live, and common ground would look a lot better to them than it does now, and I would hope to be the person to do my best then to be on their side.

Anyway, I guess I'm glad I missed it, took care of my sick guys, and stayed in our world. This morning was "Moms and Muffins" day at our boy's school. We all went, had a great time, runny noses aside. No one shows any care if two dads sit on the floor and read books and eat muffins with their kids along with a bunch of mothers. We have as many friends there in parents as our boys do in classmates. No one there sees excluding our family as somehow "upholding" anything near right or sacred. They're all reasonable enough to understand that there are exceptions, and there's no threat to the majority to treat the minority how they'd want to be treated. If only we could have muffins with all those other folks :-).


Queers United said...

I hope some gay people went as partners and brought their families.

Kengo Biddles said...

Scot, thanks for going through this and ripping apart the logical fallacies. This is what any group thrives on to push people into making decisions they wouldn't under normal conditions.

The same, unfortunately, goes for some folks agitating for GLBT rights... said...

You know what I just can't understand no matter how hard I try to see another side of the story, are comments like this:

"Defending marriage and family is an act of love for our children and our children's children."

There are so many things about that which make me cringe "Defending marriage" when in actually they've attacked marriage in California. It was doing just fine before these people showed up. And to bring OUR children into the argument when they are damaging OUR children with their mind-boggling hatred and intolerance is something I just can't see - HOW are OUR children being harmed?

Ok... sorry... I've been cranky all day so I'm feeling a bit more like screaming at these people than normal. Thanks Scot for the great post.

kevin said...

I was actually invited to this event.

An unknowing co-worker asked if my wife and I were politically active.

I said yes.

He wondered if we wanted to go to a meeting about how to legislate against homosexual marriage rights.

Even though I was cringing at the thought of attending such a meeting, I didn't speak up. I wish I were more vocal when it comes down to it. I just said that we were both busy (half true: my wife had a research meeting).

I hadn't even thought of going to be a "trouble maker." It would have been fun. ;)

Scot said...

"I hope some gay people went as partners and brought their families."

I know couples who went but don't know anyone who'd bring their kids to their ground. It's just too shaky.

"The same, unfortunately, goes for some folks agitating for GLBT rights..."

Yeah, we all do it. It's just more forgivable when it's done by those not in power... and on my side ;-).

Ah, Jay I know exactly what you mean.

"they are damaging OUR children"

And theirs. I just added some research to that showed the effects on gay kids of being raised by parents who have negative views of homosexuality (eg). They include increased unsafe sexual activity and suicide attempts... Sad that.

Kevin: "He wondered if we wanted to go to a meeting about how to legislate against homosexual marriage rights."

I'd love to know his take on the meeting if it comes up again. That and I hope you steal his lunch out of the company fridge one day or something ;-).

"I hadn't even thought of going to be a "trouble maker." It would have been fun. ;)"

Actually, neither did anyone from the gay community as far as I can tell. The invite I saw specifically asked everyone to be respectful and calm and to just be there to listen. The news report seemed to confirm that's all that happened.