Friday, April 03, 2009

Class Warfare

So, again, last Tuesday we spoke to a class about the family up at the U. We've done this a number of times, about once a year since our boys were born.

Gayle Ruzicka of Utah's Eagle Forum, Paul Mero of the Sutherlan Institute, and a couple other anti-marriage equality activists had already spoken to the same class. We were there to make the case for marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

I don't think there's much point in going over the arguments. I've got all my arguments for marriage up in detail and with many referees here and here, and my counter arguments to people like Mrs. Ruzicka and Mr. Mero here. So I'll just go over what stuck out to my mind then:

--I thought Senator McCoy made a good closing remark. Something to the tune of "If you pay attention to their arguments, you'll see all they have is fear. Don't buy into their fear." They have predictions of the family crumbling, church's being forced to close, and such, and those do sell. They have scared a lot of people (Look at Beck's experience, with a S.I. follower for a great example). No, we can't in good concious make similar threats, even if they work. But I have to think, especially when their predictions are so demonstrably false is places with equal rights, that hope for equality and facts will win the day.

--We were talking about how legal marriage helps give gay men and women a path and structure on which to build strong relationships, as it does for many heterosexuals. The topic of gay promiscuity came up and was related to the fact that most all gay men are not guided into dating or responsible relationships, like straight men often are, by their parents, church, or society. I brought up the fact that, when I came out, my parents expected nothing different of me, and I feel that's one of the biggest reasons I've only ever had one sexual partner. Out of the audience then came the observation that Gayle Ruzicka has had more sexual partners than I have, that she's been divorced! If true, I wish, the next time we're in the same room, I could muster the sort of "I love you all but you're so-called family is a civilization-destroying abomination" thing she puts off. Ah, but who am I kidding? I may have thought that way about divorce when I was a young Chrstian and took the Bible's word on it (That's Mat 5:32, and Mal 2:16, Gayle ;-)), but, even if divorced, I'm sure she has a good reason for her family choices, reasons for which I'll even want to give her the sort of rights and responcibilities she'd not return.

--That other team must be losing it. They must see that long arc of history doesn't have much further to go for the gay community (For example, Iowa!). It came up a couple times how the students felt the anti-marriage equality group came there ranting, angry, and were even belligerent on some questions. They were relieved we weren't the same way. Heck, I always go to these things and encourage the students to ask the tough questions, those they're afraid to ask right up front; I told them to feel free to "rough us up a bit". One student observed that the other side really didn't even present anything like a cogent argument as much as fear mongering, which made me feel good to be there with the research under my belt collected for isocrat.org.

--Lastly, we've got some great folks in our local gay community; there were about 4 other people on the pannel with me and they all brought something unique and important to the table. Thank goodness, because they don't teach us scientists how to do speaking or politics particularly well :-).

8 comments:

Amanda said...

I was so excited to hear the news about Iowa this morning. Jumping out of my chair, screaming it out on Facebook and Twitter (I wonder how many FB friends I lost that way...). Now if CA can just decide to overturn Prop 8 in the next couple months, that'd be BRILLIANT!

Evan said...

"they don't teach us scientists how to do speaking or politics particularly well :-)."

I can relate to this oh so well :)
I'm glad you were able to speak.

And I'd also like to add my appreciation for Isocrat. I have found it to be one of my new favorite websites as of late.

Java said...

I'm glad you had the opportunity to speak your peace at the U. Back when I was in college, my sociology teacher had a gay couple, friends of hers, come in and talk to her classes. That's the first time I ever knew that I was in the presence of gays. They seemed so normal! It helps young people to see happily partnered gay and lesbian "normal" people.

I say "the first time I ever knew I was in the presence of gays" because of course I was with gays all the time. I just didn't know it. I have since discovered that the step-brother I spent my entire teen years with is gay. I know of a handful of guys from high school, and a few from college who are gay. I just didn't know it then. I've come so far!

MoHoHawaii said...

This is great. I'm sure you make a difference with these classes.

Ultimately the anti-gay argument boils down to an appeal to authority or tradition. It won't stand for many more years.

chosha said...

I really like your intelligent observation re how your parents raised you with the same attitude and expectations as parents of a straight son.

I also really like how it was obvious that the students were not just weighing the arguments, but also noticing the anger and the fear in the people presenting an anti-marriage equality message to them and realising how that was relevant to the debate as a whole.

Over the Rainbow said...

Listening to Margret Lifferth speak at General Conference this morning I thought continually of your family. I am always amazed by the love and strength you exhibit and I only wish LDS church members could develop the same Christlike qualities.

Sister Lifferth spoke on the importance of having respect and reverence, specifically when we are responding to those whose political and lifestyle choices differ from ours. I thought to myself, is anyone REALLY LISTENING to this talk, because about all of Utah should be changing their actions if they are! She continued to say that we have to teach our children about respect and demonstrate through our actions how we know everyone is a child of G-d. I don't generally see many church members doing this.

Then it got even better- Sister Lifferth mentioned how we need to focus on similarities and see the beliefs we value in others. Your family values the same things LDS families value- marriage and children. If we are focusing on similar values how can we deny those who care about marriage, love, and children?

I've always seen how ridiculous paradox is of saying that everyone is a child of G-d and yet expressing far less than love to those who live outside the Gospel, and of claiming agency is the most important gift while striving to take agency away from those whose actions go against Church beliefs.

This steps into a whole new realm. From everything Sister Lifferth spoke I would think that following her words involves respecting all political viewpoints as well as respecting people living all conceivable lifestyles. Focusing on the similarities of those who differ from us should bring us closer to the homosexual population, which generally cares about love and agency, and cause us to support gay marriage and adoption. What else is more similar to our core beliefs?

As always, thanks for your thoughts and your amazing lives!

Ophidimancer said...

The ruling from the ISC had some REALLY GOOD points!

Scot said...

Oh Amanda, I know! I wonder if Des Moines is pretty this time of year :-)?

Even: "I have found it to be one of my new favorite websites as of late."

Thank you for saying so, Evan. It's a big help to know it finds use even as it. One of these days I'll have to work to promote it more, but I just never feel it's quite ready; I've got too much on the back burner there.

Java: "I say "the first time I ever knew I was in the presence of gays" because of course I was with gays all the time."

Don't feel bad; when I came out I was pretty sure I was the only gay person in Utah :-).

MoHoHawaii: "It won't stand for many more years."

What gets me is that I think they know it and yet they do all they can to slow down protections and responsibilities for our families.

Chosha: "I also really like how it was obvious that the students were not just weighing the arguments, but also noticing the anger and the fear in the people presenting an anti-marriage equality message to them and realising how that was relevant to the debate as a whole."

I wish I could have heard the opposition's presentation. From the students' perspective that commented on it, it seemed they offered no evidence, only emotion and fear mongering, and I'd like to know if that was accurate.

Over the Rainbow:

Thank you for bringing that to my attention. It is heartening to know that message is being spread and I hope it takes hold.

"If we are focusing on similar values how can we deny those who care about marriage, love, and children? "

Wish I knew.

Ophidimancer: I've only seen excerpts so far; I'll have to read it. I couldn't get your link to work, but I think this is it.