A long time ago, I signed up for something called "Friend Circle", which seemed to be like the old "Six Degrees" site of years ago. Well, I don't have any friends in my circle, but I occassionally get spammed or propositioned over there. I was reading an interesting business proposal, got bored and decided to check out the interest groups. I found one about protecting families. As my one regular reader knows, I'm really big on that, so off I went. I kinda liked my rant/commentary I posted, so here is the initial post, and my comment, for those who can stay awake for it
the traditional family is being threatened today in almost every aspect of society and in many endeavors being conducted by those who view the traditional family as a hindrance to development and world domination. it is our duty, we who believe in the sanctity and dignity of the family, to preserve, protect and promote the family - to save the family - and we can only do it by a united effort, and with the help of God.
I'm not sure what the agenda is here.For folks whose policies, rather than rhetoric, seem bent on world domination and destruction of traditional families, I hear a lot of rhetoric about preserving families coming from politically active proponents of lessening support for health care, not paying a living wage, reducing education in the sciences to conflicting "matters of opinion"-ie. creationists vs evolution-starting wars to try and dominate the middle east... These folks seem to want to make it impossible for a family to exist with a stay at home parent, or for parents to have time for their kids-after all, need to keep that Wal-Mart 24 hours, don't we?- refusing to recognize the need for qualified foster and adoptive parents even if the prospective parents are gay or lesbian, refusing to legally recognize the legal families formed in one state when they visit another, refuse to extend protections to children raised by gay or lesbian couples enjoyed by other children.
I would hope that every good concerned person would read up on history, read up on science and the scientific studies done on families these last couple decades, and figure out that the "family" and "marrige" as defined by the hard right is a recent invention of the West. Even as short a time as 100 years ago, a family was often defined as a household, some of who may have been servants, with one common goal-the preservation and well-being of the "family". The same held for the Old clan and tribal relationships of earlier times.
In it's essence, this IS the definition of family-folks bound by blood or desire to the common well-being of the group, people who will sacrifice their own desires for the well-being of the group, folks who will assume the responsibilities(such as medical care, child-rearing, and support) of the ther members of the group as necessary. Even Ozzie and Harriet fit this definition. Yet our society, where 51% of adult females are unwedded, is no longer the world of Ozzie and Harriet. It in reality wasn't then either, but no one wanted to admit it.
The family as a unit is economically important to a stable society. If my dad had chosen to abandon my mom to nursing care after her stroke, taxpayers would have spent a heck of a lot more, and she probably would not have lived and enjoyed her last 19 years. Countless children have nursed and supported aged parents out of love and duty. Countless parents have kept their disabled children at home and educated and taught and brought them to a far better and useful place in society than if no bonds of "family" held. Countless gays have nursed their partners through the final stages of AIDS with absolutely no thanks or support from society. Yet these gays were a "family", and worthy of the same support as my dad with mommy, or I get with my son with DS.
I know two women raising the son of one by a previous relationship. In our state, they are legal strangers. Yet be there at school functions, visit their home...they are a family, by any definition. Maybe even more so, in that they by necessity must take the hard road, face the kinds of uncertainties modern families no longer face due to all kinds of automatic protections and bennies of a government sanction. Should a celebrity's 15 minute marrige grant that couple more rights than the gay or lesbian couple who have spent decades working on their life together? When this happens in the name of defending families, or marrige, or whatever, all I can say is someone has done some fast talking and made the whole concept-the almost holy concept-of marrige and family into a political discussion about plumbing, with absolutely no discussion about committment, love, facing adversity, or sharing a lifetime. Plumbing. We must fight to make sure the plumbing fits, who cares if the couple are drunks, who cares what kind of parents they would make, who cares if the ceremony is performed in the prison while he serves time for assault, the plumbing is right, so they are a family, and must be protected. THIS IS SICK. They will let a murderer on Death row get married but not my son's teacher and her partner? The girlfriend and her condemned man are a legal family, but my friends aren't, despite huge positive impacts they make on the community and their 3 or 4 kids? Does this make sense?
Just to be totally honest here...my family/household consists of my wife of over 10 years, our two sons by her-7 and 3- and it is by the grace of God that we have acceptance both at school, our family physician, the DS therapists and daycare that our sons have two mommies, or this would be twice as hard as it is sitting in a state that says we can not even enter a legal contract together that would "mimic" marrige. We own a house. We share our money. We work like dogs to be good parents. But our "family" is undeserving of protection to many. To many, if my wife dies, they would think I should not get custody...I was there for everything but their conceptions, I was the first non-medical person to hold them, to talk to them, to sing to them. I have no right to them legally. The little one makes no differentiation between the two of us-the older one gets the "birth mom" concept, but is proud of his two moms-besides, he got to pick who his "dad"is(his bio dad is dead) . Is there any logical, valid, moral justification to say that legally she cannot assign custody to me, or allow me to share legal custody? Is there any moral justification to, if something happened to her, take my kids and give them to either a stranger, or split them up with the younger going to his birthdad(who is soooo clueless about kids, but tries hard)and the older to his grandparents 600 miles from his home and friends? I'm lucky, and there are contingency plans in place because her parents are supportive. Hundreds of families don't have that luxury. We agreed before anything else to visitation rights if by some impossible stretch of the imagination we split up. Our verbal understanding has no force of law, yet I know that neither one of us would ever break that promise. How many heterosexual couples would ever think of that beforehand, let alone the large numbers that can't even get to see their kids even with a court order, no matter the harm to the kids. Kids are one of God's most precious gifts, and any pain to them should be avoided. Taking away a significant adult is one pain. Using a child as a tool to "pay back" a spouse is abhorrent. Turning a child against a parent out of revenge is abhorrent. Yet we all hear stories about this.
Lets start protecting ALL families, and lets start by encouraging those that actually behave as a family should, and penalizing those that treat marrige and familial obligations as disposible. Let us not be distracted by politicos and perverts with hyperactive imaginations who are more "focus on the fellatio" than on the family. We know what it takes to build strong families. We also know that strong families can be headed by single parents, grandparents, gays, bis, and lesbians. Support the folks who are supporting each other, who are raising our kids, who are there for each other. Ridicule and shame and for heaven's sake ignore the Brittneys and Courtneys and their multiple trips down the aisle-agitate for for waiting periods for full legal rights to kick in with a marrige licence, demand congrss and our state politicians worry about making sure kids are healthy and fed and loved, not who they call mommy or daddy. Protect the rights of these kids to stay with mommy or daddy even if there is no blood relation. For that matter, get government out of the business of church and call legal marrige what it is-a contract between two individuals for the formation of a state supported family. Call it what it is, a civil union. It has no religious significance whatsoever. I am just as married now to my wife as I would be if the state suddenly issued me a piece of paper. Heart, mind, spirit-we are bound. The small difference it would make to me is purely legal, and the ability to get a lot of stuff without legal fees. It would change my life not one iota in its basics. Married before God is married before God, and nothing man's laws do affects this, except to make it easier or harder.
Back in slavery days slaves sometimes married, had kids....owners would sometimes decide to split up these families by selling them to differnt places. In these days, we look back and decry the sundering of families. Tell me how a law saying I cannot get custody of my kids that I have raised since birth because I am not the birth mother if she died is any less a crime against family? Or in several states with their "protect marrige and families" amendments where heterosexual couples who never got around to marrying are finding themselves in the same boat, where kids go to strangers or blood kin they hardly know, rather thanto the parent they've known for years.
Posted 03/21/2007 at 02:56 AM by wildclover