For the record, I am not gay, I have no gay relatives and this matter has no direct connection to me at the moment, other than gay marriage has become a major subject of public debate in Australia and seems to be involving very strong emotions on both sides.
In fact, this post was Tsoof’s idea. He came in a couple of days ago and said, “Dad, maybe you should write about the gay marriage thing. It’s all over the news”. So here goes.
The issue of whether gay marriage should be made legal or not is tough, because different people have different basic assumptions about homosexuality being a choice. Broadly speaking, there are a few ways to look at this issue:
- Homosexuality is a genetic disorder that cannot be changed and it is a horrible thing. It is not what God sees as pure and holy in a person and should therefore be hidden, rejected and treated as a manifestation of the Devil. From this point of view, gay people should be kept away from society, shunned and even killed for the good of normal society. From this point of view, gay people are mentally disabled and should not marry, let alone care for children. In fact, it is best if they had no rights.
- Homosexuality is a choice and because it is unholy, it is a test of faith. Gay people should renounce the Devil, become as God intended and rejoin normal society or suffer the consequences. From this point of view, by choosing to be gay, these people clearly demonstrate their inability to make sound choices and should not marry, let alone care for children. In fact, they should be prevented from influencing normal society to avoid the spread of their choices.
- Homosexuality is (mostly) a genetic predisposition that puts people in a minority group, like many racial, ethnic, religious and political minorities around the world (like, say, African Americans or Indigenous Australians). Because their “condition” cannot be “cured” but does not affect their abilities to reason and carry out their civil duties, marriage is a matter of civil liberties. From this point of view, gay people should be allowed to marry if they wish in countries where marriage is a legal contract and people from different faiths or those who are not religious at all can marry.
- Homosexuality is (mostly) a personal choice, which affects the gay people strongly and has little or no effect on others. From this point of view, a person choosing to be gay is no different to converting from Islam to Christianity (I wonder what your reaction would be if I wrote the reverse) – the family is likely to object, but they cannot do anything to stop it legally. Therefore, gay people should be able to marry in countries where civil marriage is recognized. Also, democracy dictates they should be able to share their choice with others, just like anyone with an unpopular political view would.
Fundamentally, gay people’s sexual preferences are in conflict with Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In democratic countries, although the law may not be directly religious, a religious majority may be able to pass laws to the same effect. That is just the way things are in the world.
But this is not a legal blog.
This is a parenting blog. This is a personal development blog for parents.
So let’s change the image of “gay people” for a second and take a look at this:
Is this a gay baby, with the fireman gear and all? When you look at him (or maybe it is her), do you consider excluding him from society and forbidding him to marry? Or maybe your reaction is more like, “Awww, so cute!”
Would you desert a newborn baby like him?
If your baby boy posed nude with fireman gear on, would you leave him out in the cold and walk away?
Here is another one. Is this a future gay woman who will roam the street with her Sporty Spice outfit, swearing at the opposing football team with a beer in her hand, or just a cute little girl trying on a cap?
Would you tell your little toddler girl to go and live somewhere else because she wore a boy’s hat?
What if you knew right from the start your cute newborn baby was gay?
What if you found that out when they were 2? 4? No?
So what is the difference when they are 25? Does that really change anything?
I believe that children are made by parents and that this makes the parents responsible for them. As soon as their baby is born, its parents should commit “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish ’till death do us part”.
I see my job as a parent to make sure my kids grow up to be HAPPY. It is not easy when they make different choices from the ones I make. Eden is now starting to make this painfully obvious in my life, if only because she has grown up in a society with very different values from the one I grew up in (because Ronit and I brought her there). That is why I find it hard to imagine her marrying her boyfriend, who is a really great guy and “normal” in every way. Still, I want her to be happy and I see her happiness as my responsibility.
Is there ANYTHING that makes people happier than having a strong and supportive relationship with their parents?
In her song Dear Mr. President, Pink asks:
What kind of father would take his own daughter’s rights away?
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
So I do not think the issue of gay marriage is a legal matter. I think it is a matter of how many parents will decide that gay marriage is good for their children and how many will decide it is bad for them. Rather than making your judgment based on the rhetoric in the media, think of your kids when they were little (maybe even take out a photo of them and look at it) and decide from your heart.