Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What is marriage for?

Two men sit quietly on adjacent couches. Their daughter is playing on the floor when she glances up.

"Daddy?"

Both men respond to the call.

"Where do babies come from?"

The two men look at each other, eyes wide with the unspoken exchange: Here we go. Did you see this coming? I didn't see it coming. How're we going to deal with this? The expression on both the men's faces are not new to anyone. Everyone dreads this question.

"Mommies have babies, dear," says the first man. "That's where babies come from."

"Can boys ever have babies?"

He chuckles to himself. "No, dear. Only mommies can have babies."

The second man looks on, rather disturbed by this onslaught of perfectly normal questions, questions any couple sees coming years before it actually does.

"Megan says you have to have a mommy and a daddy to have a baby."

The annoyed and uncomfortable daddy chimes in. "Maybe we should spend less time over at Megan's house."

The first daddy ignores the second man. He wants to answer his daughter's question. "What Megan means is that it takes a man and a woman to make a baby. That's all."

"She said that mommies and daddies have to get married first."

The second daddy shifts in his seat. You start to wonder if he's feeling guilty or just angry that they have to discuss this at all.

"N-no, sweetheart. You don't have to be married to have a baby."

Cue Full House music.

"Then..." The little girl casts her eyes down before lifting her chin back up to finish voicing her thought. "What's marriage for?" She looks at second daddy, and second daddy raises his eyebrows to the first daddy.

End clip.

Yep, that's a Yes on 8 commercial.

Personally, I don't see the point of this video. I know it says that we shouldn't confuse children...but isn't this more of a teaching moment than anything else?

The subtleties involved here spoke volumes compared to the rest. I was glad to see a parent speaking so directly to his daughter about what would have to be a very difficult subject, especially in a gay household. So much of this conversation was left out.

Undoubtedly this little girl may have to deal with some issues. She may wish for a mommy, but in some situations two daddies is better than a bad mommy and daddy. While no one can replace a mom or a dad, role models can be substituted. After all, what do single parents face on a daily basis? Sometimes this is just how things work, and given certain alternatives, it's not always as bad as it seems.

Aside from that, problems at school may arise from other children who have been taught that it is a sin to be gay and that she or her fathers will go to hell for the heretical "family" they've created.

Like I've said before, this proposition will hardly rid the world of homophobia.

I wince whenever this point is made though, that marriage is solely for the creation of children, to ensure the lineage. In the past, marriage has been solely for the man. The woman was just his means to an end of ensuring his name carried on through the eternities. Women were given to men along with a dowry - as if the woman wasn't enough, the man needed extra incentive at times to take her on. After all, women can be so demanding.

If this is the "traditional marriage" we want to keep, then I say begone with it.

(and no, that's not originally my train of thought. go visit Feminist Mormon Housewives - they say it eons better than I can. Props to those girls - excellent posts, and please don't let the title turn you off. I know how the church feels about feminists. Give these girls a chance.)

Marriage has evolved through the years. Women are no longer property, but co-equals (at least in most households. Unfortunately no religion lacks chauvinistic asses in a man's clothing). Marriage is no longer about ensuring the family name gets passed down, it's about love.

And now, for the most part, American marriages are more about love than they are about creating children. Yes, it is written in the law that if a couple marries and the man or woman finds that their partner is infertile or barren, this is legal grounds for annulment. I don't imagine this happens very often lately. Our problem in the here and now is the fact that people don't understand that love doesn't protect you from heartache and misunderstandings. The divorce rate is as it is because too many people don't hold marriage sacred anymore. It's a convenience. It can be, especially for many strict Christians (hello fellow LDS), an excuse to have sex.

It is not entirely about the children. Yes, many couples marry and expect to rear families, but anymore this is more about love and wanting to share the rest of your life with each other. There is safety and security in that. There is stability, respect, the commitment - ideally - to work with each other through anything.

Gay couples, like infertile couples, can adopt children. This one of the noblest causes, I believe. Yes, these children may face unique challenges by having two daddies or two mommies, but we can't reject this for fear that a child may face bullying. The most important thing is that a child has a home to go to where they can find security in their parents. The world is full of idiots, and we can teach our children to stand up for themselves. We can protect them.

(And, uh, by the way: Dude was right. You don't have to be married to have a baby. Whether you should is up to individual beliefs and values.)

So what is marriage for?

I know exactly how I would've answered that question.




(side note: Maybe he asks everyone this, but I've just been asked to contribute to Mormon Democrats from time to time. Yay!!)

4 comments:

that girl said...

hi Lisa. sooooo, i'm about to post on this, but i am wavering. i thought you should be the first to know ... haha. not from your posts entirely, but because of a personal matter. it's like i had an epiphany today. you'll have to read to find out! and huge congrats on your new writing gig. the biggest high ever is seeing your name in print :)

Lisa said...

:D

I will definitely go read!

And thank you :)

JEREMY AND SARAHLYNN said...

Lisa,
We have to be careful with "questioning" things and challenging religious culture/views or principles. I know you value questioning and studying things out to develop your own beliefs, testimony, etc. I value that, too. But we have to be careful that we avoid giving half-truths. (i.e. mixing the philosophies of men with scripture)

Truth: Marriage is about loving and caring for your spouse and making a lifelong commitment.
Lie: Having children and rearing a family is not as important as the love a couple in a marriage shares.

Even if a couple is infertile, as my husband and I are, procreation and raising children is still a HUGE part of marriage. Love for spouse and love for children go hand in hand. You don't really have one without the other.

Truth: Some couples can't have kids.
Lie: Same-sex couples not being able to have kids is the same as heterosxual couples not being able to have kids.

Have you forgotten that marriage is meant to be eternal, that done in God's way, it lasts beyond the grave? That after our resurrection, we will have perfect bodies and the ability to procreate? Can you deny that after this life, when we are resurrected and our marriages/families continue to exist, that all of God's blessings will be granted to us, even if we were not able to have children in this life? Can you possibly believe that in Zion, God will change his mind and the laws of nature so that two men or two women can make children? Same-sex partners cannot have children because the laws of science- which are the laws of God- did not intend for the human race to survive that way. There are fundamental reasons- biological, social, physical and spiritual reasons- why children are created and raised by a man and a woman. Even if the man and woman cannot actually create the children, children were always meant to be raised by a man and a woman.

Turth: Some people don't get married before having kids.
Lie: Since this is accepted by society, there really is no purpose to marriage.

Just because families exist out of wedlock doesn't mean it's right. Have you forgotten that marriage is essential for families to be eternal, to be legitimized by God beyond the grave?

Truth: Having two good parents is better than having two not-so-good parents.
Lie: Having two parents that practice a serious sin that demeans the divine role of gender and procreation is okay.

To me, that's like saying that two good parents that are alcoholics is better than two bad parents that don't drink. BTW- I believe that homosexuals face a real temptation/drive to be with the same sex, just like children born from alcoholic parents have a real drive to drink. But having that "natural" desire does not legitimize the act.

Truth: There are men in all cultures in every civilization that view marriage as nothing more than a right to have sex.
Lie: "Traditional Marriage" is about men wanting to have sex.

I trust that you know just as well as I do that marriage was instituted by God to Adam and Eve as a religious union between man and woman to signify their love and commitment to each other, and to seal their power to bring children into the world. Really, I'm ashamed that you would use history's abuse on marriage as an argument for supporting homosexual marriage.

Truth: The role of a mom or dad cannot be replaced.
Lie: A role model can substitute the role of a mom or a dad.

EVERY child, no matter who their parents are, needs to have a mom and a dad. No matter if they are adopted, abandoned by one parent, etc., they find security in knowing who they are biologically related to.

Truth: Single parents work extra hard and face unique challenges raising their children.
Truth: Many single parents or dis-functional families make life work and come out on top.
Lie: Since there are so many single parents out there, this is normal, and/or better than two parents.
Lie: Being a single parent or having a non-ideal family is not as bad as it seems.
Lie: Since families are already so dis-functional or non-ideal, it won't matter if we add homosexual marriage/parents into the mix.

Although the most ideal situation for families is not always attained, we should do all we can to achieve the best circumstances for our families and children. Allowing homosexual marriage will take away from the most ideal circumstance for children to be raised. Even if same-sex couples don't choose to raise children, same-sex marriage degrades the best model for children to follow when they start their own families.

When considering all the views on this issue, we must make sure that we are pondering things with the companionship of the Spirit, not with the philosophies of men.

JEREMY AND SARAHLYNN said...

By the way, I realize that most of what you pose in your post is more of questioning and getting us to think and look at things in a different light. I'm not trying to call you a lier. I'm just trying to distinguish what I believe to be facts and misleads.