Thursday, August 17, 2006

All about "Argument # 6."

A fellow gal here in cyber space has a very interesting blog. She and I don’t have many coinciding political views, but I genuinely like her because she holds firm to her personal values and is not easily swayed from anything she believes is right. I admire that. Dani and I may disagree on damn near everything, and find cause for debate on every issue that has ever hit a newspaper headline, but I respect and love her anyhow. The only thing I really dislike about her at all is that I have never once seen her step back and say to anyone with opposing views, “yeah – you have a point there.” She seems to feel so strongly that she’s fighting a battle that she was divinely chosen to fight that she doesn’t always listen to anyone who isn’t nodding in full agreement.

I don’t think there are any arguments present in this world that don’t all have at least one valid point. For example, I support gay marriage as well as homosexuals adopting children. However, I absolutely agree that we have an issue within our society with regard to how small children grow up and learn family roles. In addition, I think that having homosexual parents would potentially make certain situations harder for a child.

So why do I support it? Simple. For any given issue, I weight the pros and cons. Sure, having homosexual parents might make certain situations harder for a child who would otherwise have a “Beaver Cleaver” family and fit into the current societal “norm.” But what about the children who would otherwise live a whole childhood in an orphanage? And/or passed around between foster parents? And/or subjected to poverty, abuse, hunger, or God only knows what else? So when I weight the odds, I am firmly of the belief that overall, it’s a good thing. If two homosexual people are willing to open up their home and offer a child a decent life and a future, then by God that child should be allowed that chance, much less the homosexual couple allowed to parent the child.

Now maybe if we didn’t have unwanted children in orphanages and bopping around the foster system, this wouldn’t be an issue. But we do. And in weighing odds of any situation, we must educate ourselves properly. Sometimes that takes a lifetime of paying attention.

The worst thing anyone can do, IMHO, is to just blindly make a call on an issue without a whole lot of thought; (i.e. I am Episcopalian, so I will believe with the Episcopal church says is correct no matter what, and I won’t think about it any further than that.) Or, similarly, make a call on an issue just because it fits in with other decisions made on related issues (i.e., being opposed to multi-racial people getting scholarships just because one is opposed to inter-racial marriages.)

I certainly don’t expect, or even want, people to agree with my position on any given subject. But I do expect everyone to be big boys and girls and acknowledge that people who have differing viewpoints are not automatically “wrong.” I’ve learned quite a bit about the world from paying attention and listening to people who are not like-minded.

And last, although some things we believe and do based on principle alone, overall, we have to focus on facts.

Nothing frustrates me more than when people don’t consider the facts. Please. Consider. Facts.

Dani has recently blogged “13 Bad Gay Marriage Arguments.” Now it’s not her original work, but it’s something she obviously agrees with or she would not have bothered to post it in the fashion she did. She credited the source, as she always does. I didn’t trace it back to the original source because I trust her.

It was one of a few posts she’s made over time that really made me wonder if she’s one who takes a stand based on what her church or family or husband or neighbor or whomever thinks, rather than gaining enough knowledge on the matter herself to have a position that is very personal and can be both explained and defended in an eloquent and thorough manner. I hope she is not that way. But I still have a hint of suspicion every now and then when I read her.

I don’t know if I’ll have the time, energy, or cause to debate all 13 arguments, or even if I would tend to disagree with all 13.

But one of them hit home immediately. My grandmother is dying. Right now as I type this, she’s inching closer to her moment to leave this earth and go experience heaven. It’s bittersweet. Of course it’s hard to say goodbye to anyone who leaves permanently, but yet it’s horrible to watch someone suffer in any way. She’s dying of liver failure. When the medication that pulls toxins out of her body can’t work fast enough, her levels of toxins rise, and her brain function and neurological function is impaired immediately. Eventually, she falls unconscious. The event of her levels rising to the point of “being mentally loopy” and sometimes even further to loss of consciousness, is getting more often just as the doctor informed the family it would. In time, she will eventually fall unconscious and then likely pass quietly into a coma, and then into heaven.

Grandma’s deteriorating condition has caused the issue of “quality” of life vs. “quantity” of life to come up in conversations. That further caused the Terri Schiavo case to come up once or twice as well. I was really surprised how members of my own family didn’t really know the facts of her case, but rather went ahead and drew a conclusion based on either what was readily published, or what seemed ethical, religiously speaking, at first glance. Not a good way to form personal values. But I digress.

Number 6 out of Dani’s “13 Bad Gay Marriage Arguments” is as follows:
Bad argument No. 6
"Marriage is necessary for gays to gain important legal benefits."
Homosexuals don't need marriage to gain most significant legal benefits. For example, hospital visitation depends on the wishes of the patient. If families disagree about medical treatment, even marriage won't solve the problem, as the Terry Schiavo case has demonstrated. The answer is medical power of attorney, which is open to anyone regardless of sexual orientation. Another example is Social Security benefits. Children's benefits are not dependent on the marital status of their parents, and the only certain benefit is a one-time death benefit of $255. A wife can access her deceased husband's Social Security, but if she has had her own work history, her Social Security benefit would usually be higher than the survivor's benefit—and she must choose one or the other. Most other benefits are based on work history.


Let’s take this line by line, shall we?

“Homosexuals don't need marriage to gain most significant legal benefits.”
Oh no? Let’s first discuss what “legal benefits” are as they commonly pertain to marriage. Health insurance. Custody rights to minor children. Survivorship of assets. Actually, I’ll just stop at those three, although there are many more.

It’s quite publicized how huge the population of our country is that goes daily without health insurance. My husband got laid off in April 2004, only found contract work afterwards in this pitiful economy, and hasn’t had health care available to him since. Sure, he had cobra for awhile. It was VERY EXPENSIVE. When we got close enough to the wedding, we just dropped it and took a chance for several months. Not really smart, in the big picture, but we didn’t have a whole lot of choice. Now had we any children, or one single bill more than what we’ve had, there is literally no way we’d have been able to pay for the cobra coverage at all. Further, it doesn’t go forever. What do people do when it ends? Besides just go without? We happen to be opposite genders, and heterosexual. So when we made our commitment, it became legal to insure one another on one policy. So he’s covered now. What if we were gay? He would not be covered. He’d be going without. Only. Because. We. Were. Gay. No other reason. All other details are the same. And another thing… Many companies have recognized this business of disparate benefits offered to employees based on sexual orientation. This is evidenced by the handful that has offered benefits to “life partners” or some such term. I happen to know the details of this, because when the e-mail came out announcing this new policy at my place of employment, it listed the qualifications, i.e. cohabitating partners, joint finances, etc. This struck me as interesting because even though we weren’t gay, we were unmarried, so it fit the bill. I went and checked out these “life partner” benefits to get him insured before the wedding. The benefits for a same-gender life partner are unbelieveably more expensive than they cost for a hetero spouse. To the tune of twice as much. And? The employee must also claim the small portion that is company paid as income, and pay taxes on it. Overall, the deal would have cost us more than to continue his cobra, which was too expensive on its own.

So, to be on one health insurance policy, which is often necessary, you must be legally married, or work for the handful of companies who have alternative policies which cost a fortune. Clearly, the status of being legally married makes a huge difference with regard to health insurance. My husband and I, a heterosexual and legally married couple, are living proof of that.

And one last comment – please note how easy it would be to lose sight of the whole issue and just focus on the issue of homosexuality in general if one had never been in a position to worry about health insurance, be without health insurance, or worse.

Let’s move on to custody rights to minor children. If a homosexual person has a biological child, and currently lives with a same-gender partner, and dies, the partner has no legal rights to the child. Sure, there are wills, living trusts, and the like. How many people have them? And even when they are held, are they air-tight? How many cases do we have in history where a child becomes a ward of the state because the unmarried partner of the only biological parent either loses the court battles, or worse, doesn’t have the money to fight them. So who suffers the most? The children do. Clearly, the status of being legally married makes a huge difference with regard to custody rights of minor children.

Should a husband and wife need a special will and testament to insure that if one dies, the child(ren) is(are) not taken away? Of course not. It should be automatic that if one parent dies, the other parent retains continuous custody. Well then, should it matter if the “parents” are both female, both male, or one of each? Do you think it matters to a child already living in that scenario?

Again, folks, the argument as to whether it’s okay for homosexuals to co-parent a child is a whole different ballgame. It’s not the argument here. This is focused on the importantce of marital rights in our society – and how necessary they really are.

Last on my super quick, off-the-top-of-my-head list was survivorship of assets. You can put all sorts of scenarios in here. Let’s say a woman owns a house. It was her birthright. No money is owed on it. She covers her taxes, and lives comfortably. She marries a man, and together they have 4 biological children. She gets cancer. The husband supports her, the children, and the home for several years. She dies. What would happen if her husband got kicked out of the house? Her four children would be out on the street, and so would their only living parent.

Tragic.

But, thankfully, the legal institution of marriage guarantees survivorship in a case where there is no proper will and testament, or living trust, or other instrumental device.

So if a homosexual woman owns a house, same scenario, and has a life partner who she adopts four children with, and she dies of cancer after the partner supported everyone and the home for years, the remaining five are out on the street.

Tragic.

Now there is no “but.”

Clearly, the legal institution of marriage makes a huge difference with regard to survivorship of assets.

"For example, hospital visitation depends on the wishes of the patient."


I can’t even be calm and sweet about this. My response is: BULLSHIT. I lived with a man, engaged to be married, for several years. I had emergency surgery. Do you think he could see me in recovery? Or immediately after recovery? Nope.

Did I have all sorts of issues getting his name on all the directives for decision making? Sure did. He wasn’t a blood relative, or a LEGAL SPOUSE. Did y’all catch that? LEGAL SPOUSE.

A friend of mine, over a decade ago, got pregnant. Her fiancé, who she’d been with for years, heard her cry in the room and wanted to comfort her. The office “could not legally allow him to be past the limits of the waiting room” because he wasn’t yet a “LEGAL SPOUSE. So if legal marriage matters so much for heterosexual people, why wouldn’t it make a difference fore homosexual people? And folks, notice this isn’t even hospitalization. This is just a urine test at a doctor’s office.

But who would really think of these issues if she hadn’t lived through it?

Clearly, the legal institution of marriage matters with regard to hospital visitation far more than the wishes of the patient.

(Quick side note – they married, and she had a beautiful baby girl.)

"If families disagree about medical treatment, even marriage won't solve the problem, as the Terry Schiavo case has demonstrated."

Ah, but marriage did solve the problem. The courts upheld the legal institution of marriage, and Michael Schiavo was regarded as the expert on knowing his legal spouses’ wishes. Her parents fight to overpower him as her LEGAL SPOUSE was without merit.

I don’t care whether you agree that her tube was pulled or not. Michael Schiavo’s position and Terri’s parents’ position could have easily been switched. That’s not the issue here. The issue is simply that the legal system, and medical community, each regard a legal spouse in a special way. Common law marriage is as close as you can get without having a marriage license, and that’s not even good enough. You must be legally married for the benefits our society offers married people, and this includes automatic directive on medical treatment.

(Also please note that Terri spelled her name with an “i” not a “y.”)

"The answer is medical power of attorney, which is open to anyone regardless of sexual orientation."


The answer COULD be medical power of attorney, depending on the situation, the needs, and of course whether one exists. Should a husband and wife need a medical power of attorney for issues such as ensuring a person’s wishes are held if he/she dies? Nope. Society has clearly shown this shouldn’t be necessary, because it’s not necessary. Medical power of attorney would not have gotten my fiancé in to see me in recovery, or even immediately after recovery, because it wasn’t an issue requiring a decision from someone who held power of attorney. It was an issue of whether or not he was a LEGAL SPOUSE.

The next three lines go together, and can’t easily be separated because they all relate to social security benefits.

"Another example is Social Security benefits. Children's benefits are not dependent on the marital status of their parents, and the only certain benefit is a one-time death benefit of $255. A wife can access her deceased husband's Social Security, but if she has had her own work history, her Social Security benefit would usually be higher than the survivor's benefit—and she must choose one or the other."


Now first of all, the statement regarding children is fine. But then we read on.

A wife can access her deceased husband’s social security, but basically in some cases, her own benefit is higher, so she wouldn’t need it. So in other words, because this benefit legally married people have is not always required, it shouldn’t matter that it doesn’t apply to those who are not allowed to be legally married?

That’s baloney for sure. If a person can stay home and keep house, raise children, feed the cat, water the garden, and do the “domestic” stuff, then draw benefits if his/her breadwinner partner dies, it’s a serious benefit. My grandmother, the one who is dying, had five young children when her husband had a massive heart attack and died in his early forties. What if that same scenario occurred with a man who adopted five children and never worked a day in his life, as my grandmother did not, and his breadwinner partner died? What would happen to him and those five young children? How were my grandmother’s children more important than five children adopted by a gay couple would be? How is a gay domestic engineer more important and “entitled” to different benefits than a heterosexual, legally married domestic engineer? The end result is no different. These are human beings, whether you agree with the lifestyle or not. Society can’t decide that it “owes” someone something based on whether that person chose to spend a lifetime with someone of the same or opposite gender. Yet it does. And it uses the term LEGAL MARRIAGE to draw the line in the sand.

If a heterosexual woman can draw social security benefits on her deceased husband, based on the fact that they were legally married, then clearly the legal institution of marriage makes a huge difference.

And last….
"Most other benefits are based on work history."


Oh? Like what? And more importantly, do these “other benefits” change or disappear with regard to a LEGAL SPOUSE?

You can bet they do.

And in conclusion, yes, homosexual people DO need the benefits of legal marriage, or an equivalent, to experience any of the benefits that society affords legally married heterosexual people.

If I have any time, I’ll address the other 12 reasons in the days ahead.

Have you or your current partner ever been without benefits because of not being legally married, or have you or your current spouse obtained a needed benefit through legal marriage?

5 Comments:

Blogger Dani said...

Hi Espresso – I just popped by to see what’s new. Thanks for writing about me. I am not going to spend the time debating with you about homosexual marriage benefits, but I just wanted to make a few comments.

This remark of yours kinda confused me:

“I genuinely like her because she holds firm to her personal values and is not easily swayed from anything she believes is right. I admire that. Dani and I may disagree on damn near everything, and find cause for debate on every issue that has ever hit a newspaper headline, but I respect and love her anyhow. The only thing I really dislike about her at all is that I have never once seen her step back and say to anyone with opposing views.”

So you like me cause I’m not easily swayed on my beliefs, but you dislike me cause I never step back on my views? Huh?

I will have you know that I am one who takes a stand based on what my church or family or husband thinks because our worldviews are already aligned together. I have taken the time and gained enough knowledge on the matter myself to have a position that is very personal and can be both explained and defended in an eloquent and thorough manner. But I have three children at home to take care of, along with running a home daycare so time doesn’t always allow for me to devote detailed responses.

Real quick about homosexual marriages, you said – “But what about the children who would otherwise live a whole childhood in an orphanage? And/or passed around between foster parents? And/or subjected to poverty, abuse, hunger, or God only knows what else? So when I weight the odds, I am firmly of the belief that overall, it’s a good thing.”

Clearly it might be better for children to be placed with a same sex couple when you are comparing it to worst case scenarios like these. But generally speaking, I think we can agree that growing up in a homosexual family is not in the best interest of the child. Children who are raised with a mother and a father in the home grow up to be the most happy, healthy and well adjusted adults. You don't need scientific studies to confirm this - we all know that children need both a mom and a dad!

In closing - Homosexuals have the same rights – they have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex just like anyone else.

P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated!

Fri Sep 15, 01:37:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Dani said...

I just wanted to let you know that I added this post to my sidebar under, "See Who's Talking About Me..." - It's always fun to read what others have to say.

Fri Sep 15, 07:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Sue said...

Can I just say Dani, that this line of yours:

"Children who are raised with a mother and a father in the home grow up to be the most happy, healthy and well adjusted adults"

is complete hogwash. The most dysfunctional, unhappy, mal-adjusted, suicidal people I know are from "perfect, two parent, mom and pop" homes. This does not in any way, shape or manner guarantee "the most happy, healthy and well adjusted adults". It is all in HOW you parent and not in WHO you have sex with.

Wed Sep 20, 01:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger espresso bean said...

Dani,

Sorry for any confusion! It may have been caused by only looking at a portion of that last sentence...

What it says is: ...The only thing I really dislike about her at all is that I have never once seen her step back and say to anyone with opposing views, “yeah – you have a point there.”

This has NOTHING to do with "stepping back on your views."

If a person is pro-life, for example, that person can still acknowledge the appropriateness of EC or provisions for rape or incest without "stepping back on" his/her basic view on the issue.

Hope this helps clarify!

Onward... I'm very troubled by this: "I will have you know that I am one who takes a stand based on what my church or family or husband thinks because our worldviews are already aligned together."

I have really believed all this time that you were your own powerhouse of thought, wether I agreed or not was irrelevant. But this statement suggests that you simply align your thoughts with the views of your church, family, or husband. I hope that's not entirely true.

And now, most importantly of all, you have completely proved me wrong in my thoughts that you never step back and say anyone else has a valid point. You just did it here! You said, "Clearly it might be better for children to be placed with a same sex couple when you are comparing it to worst case scenarios like these."

You have acknowledged that someone else has a point. This shows me that you have an educated, analytical mind, and my respect for you just picked up major traction.

Yes, I did read on. I see and understand that your beliefs are clearly that a family is meant to be a traditional form. I didn't stop short.

I hope you don't really feel that you had to defend yourself for not always having time to have detailed responses to everything. That is certainly not expected. I honestly haven't even been on here in nearly a month! I completely understand being busy. :o)

No, I don't believe that scientific studies are needed on the whole "mom & dad" argument. But I do think we are obligated to keep our eyelids open when we look around us. When I see dozens of people who grew up in traditional households who are in serious therapy and can't handle normal daily responsibilities, and then see dozens of folks raised by a single parent contributing to society in positive ways and living productive lives, I have to acknowledge it and doubt that the existence of the traditional family model makes or breaks anything in a child's life. I think there are more forces at work there.

I do think that the traditional family model is the most stable and desireable in most cases. No doubt. We just can't generalize too far.

In closing - nice play on semantics. :o) Homosexuals have the right to marry someone of the opposite gender, sure, but they don't have the right to marry the people they fall in love with and choose to share their lives with. That right is reserved for heterosexuals. Along with all the benefits it brings.

Good luck with the daycare!! I hope it goes well for you. That's a great career for someone with children. You get the best of all worlds. A chance to be home with your babies and take care of your house, but a chance to have a career and make some money too.

Sue - I agree.... :o)

Mon Oct 02, 10:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Dani Kekoa said...

Greetings Espresso - It's been a long time since you wrote this post, but I thought you'd like to know that I've always remembered you and wanted to give you an update to say, "yeah - you have a point there" as over five years have passed and I'm finally Setting the Record Straight ~ An Open Apology to “Lesbian” Deb & Public Repentance for Following Bob Enyart

*Check it out if you want => http://worstgenerationseed.blogspot.com/2012/02/setting-record-straight-open-apology-to.html

Thu Feb 09, 10:20:00 AM GMT-5  

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