As senator after senator takes to the floor to rail against same-sex marriages, several have cited an article in the Weekly Standard that supposedly talks about large numbers of children born out of wedlock since the more "permissive" Scandinavian societies the article cites have legalized homosexual unions. This argument is so fully bogus. It really has nothing to do with the United States or same-sex marriage.
How did the article define "wedlock"? If one or both partners of a lesbian couple has a child, is that considered out of wedlock?
When In Denmark...
To stand on the floor of the Senate and pretend that Scandinavians and Americans have the same magnets swaying their respective moral compasses assumes a commonality that just does not exist. They simply do not have the same qualms about the "out of wedlock" issue that we do. As our society hangs on to the last vestiges of Puritan morality that even make Victorian era conduct seem edgy, that very old part of the world just south of the Arctic Circle has not had a puritanical thought for centuries. (I'd say where we hold back they go forward, except that is only partly true because they move forward whether our status quo is in stasis or flux - neither of which is progress).
I'd like your input on this, because I may be off base, but to my thinking the stigma of having children out of wedlock is as faded as a 40-year-old draft card. As long as you're not still in high school, I don't have a problem with it. Your body. Your choice.
The Evolving Human Condition
Maybe that's why Americans under thirty don't see what the big deal is with Gay marriage. You don't have to be married to raise wonderful children. Many of them know that from their own experiences as children of divorce. Having a mommy and daddy is just another way to experience life, as is having no daddy, two dads or two moms.
Social spiritualist and philosopher Gary Zukav talks about society evolving away from the need for formal marriage, opting for commitment to a spiritual life partner. On last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart referred to this social change as part of "the evolving human condition" and implied that gay marriage as an institution is inevitable.
To paraphrase the Guess Who, "Seasons change and so do societies. There's no time left for your kind of ignorance."
Bear the Pandering
In the end, the consensus is that the President and the conservative senators who are making this an issue are just making their base happy, and for that base, a principal of children as part of a "complete" (read: heterosexual) family is important. Yesterday James Inhofe, a Republican senator from Oklahoma, actually showed a big foam-core poster of his own large family, saying something like, "...and nobody's ever had a gay relationship. We're proud of that." (Not surprisingly, that little statement is missing from the text of the speech on the senator's website and from the "substantially verbatim" Congressional Record. That's why I watch C-Span.)
I truly believe no notion of family is wrong as long as love, guidance, support and true partnership are present to sustain it. And you know, in a hundred years family may mean so much more.