Wednesday, May 31, 2006

So I did as the AFA requested. . .sort of

Donald Wildmon, Grand Poobah of the AFA, urged me to contact my senators about the plan to take a wiz on the US Constitution and enact the mis-named "Marriage Protection Amendment", so I did. By way of the AFA web-site, I sent emails to that guy who doesn't really qualify for PA state residency and Arlen Specter to let them know how utterly disgusted I am with the idea of this amendment that isn't doing anything to protect the institution of marriage:
Regardless of your religious or personal views on homosexuality, the purpose of the marriage protection amendment is institutionalized bigotry no less based on hate-mongering and irrational fear than the old miscegination laws. The sanctity of a relationship between can not be undermined by the status of a relationship of others; it is the duty of those within the couple to make and continue to keep their bond sacred.

Using the US Constitution, the very document that protects the religious
freedoms of all Americans, to codify and impose the religious and personal views of a sector of the population on the entire population is an abomination. There are much more important issues that need to be
addressed in this country that will not be addressed as long as the
religious right and the Republican party continue to focus on their quest
to make the US a "Christian" Country.
Today, I received a reply from Rick "Coverture is the bomb" Santorum. Sadly, it was a canned response in which he proudly proclaimed how this amendment will save marriage and protect children from the dangers posed by families that are not "traditional". Shockingly, based on his response, I'm not sure how this amendment will protect marriage, let alone children, as he claims in his email to me
I believe that redefining marriage sends a message to the next generation that children do not need mothers and fathers, and alternative family forms are just as good as traditional families. Furthermore, I cannot think of anything more vital to the preservation of our society than encouraging traditional marriage in which children are raised by a mother and a father.
This statement implies that a "traditional family" (defined as a family headed up by a married couple limited to that comprised by one man and one woman) is, by default, a superior family "form" just by the nature of the arrangement. While I, personally, do believe that the ideal family is comprised by a man and a woman in a stable, committed, monogamous relationship raising their children in a warm, secure, positive and nurturing environment, I am under no illusion that any marriage based on a "traditional" heterosexual relationship meets my definition of ideal (or even acceptable) purely based on the fact the family is headed up by a heterosexual couple. "Traditional" is no guarantee of appropriate involvement and support for a child from both his/her father and mother. Additionally, non-"traditional" is no sure sign of sub-standard parenting or quality of life.

While one may find non-traditional families objectionable for personal/religious reasons there is no evidence that children raised in traditional families are, by default, any healthier than those raised in non-traditional families (let alone those headed by a gay couple). As a society interested in protecting an extremely vulnerable group within our population, we have an obligation to support any and all family types in an effort to maximize the stability, security and overall health of the environment in which our children are raised. Stripping away freedoms via an amendment to the constitution and enacting legislation to prevent consent adults who are not already legally bound to another by a mutually exclusive marriage contract from obtaining a legal contract of marriage with each other purely because they are of the same gender does neither improves the overall health of our society nor affects the stability or sanctity of the "traditional family".

I think it is wrong for the government to legitimize the concept that children do not need mothers and fathers.
And yet, he doesn't explain or supply supporting documentation/evidence how preventing gay couples from obtaining a marriage license has or will (further) erode parental involvement in the lives of their off-spring. Do those supporting this amendment also plan to:
  1. Remove children from all families in which both the child's father and mother are not available to provide the child with the support and guidance (s)he needs and foster/adopt out that child to an acceptable traditional environment?
  2. Force all pregnant women who are single to marry a man to be a father to her child if she does not agree to terminate her parental rights to ensure the child is adopted by a more suitable traditional couple?
  3. Require traditional couples raising children to provide an approvable parental involvement plan and hold them accountable to ensure they live and raised their child(ren) in accordance with this?
  4. What about widows with minor children, are those families less legitimate until a suitable re-marriage takes place?

Those who sponsor this amendment seem to be under the impression that all traditional families are comprised of adults who provide children the maternal and/or paternal support that child needs. I think we call all agree that what matters most is that children are raised by stable, loving, responsible and nurturing parents. One parent meeting that definition or two parents of the same sex who meet that definition are far superior to parents who do not.

Santorum also saw fit to remind me that
There is an abundance of research and literature supporting a healthy marriage's positive effect on children. Children that are a product of a healthy marriage are less likely to be poor, less likely to fail at school, and less likely to have an emotional behavioral problem requiring psychiatric treatment.
but then goes on to ignore the fact that there is no legitimate research that supports the ihis implication that heterosexual couples necessarily have healthier marriages/relationships than gay couples. I've asked him to supply evidence that children raised in a healthy gay (equivalent to) marriage do not benefit from the same positive effect that children raised in a healthy traditional marriage. I'll let you know if he does.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Something different

Thom from Societas has been living and working in Dakar, Senegal for some time now, so I was excited when he sent some news that the 10,000 Girls project he and his students having been working on was ready to be unveiled. The purpose was to create a self-sustaining organization run by the very girls that are being provided with educational and work opportunities the program hopes to offer. Please check it out and, if you like what you see, donate.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Missing Monday - sad follow up from August

I forgot to post for Missing Monday and, two seconds ago, just remembered that this is the first Monday of the month when I heard the announcement on the news that the body of Taneke Daniels has been identified. Daniels, the mother of 3 boys, was last seen leaving her boyfriend's house 12 May 2005. My heart goes out to her mother, sons and the rest of her friends and family.

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