Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Orson Scott Card on gay marriage.

My sister commented on this to ask:
So, according to OSC, marriage is defined as a relationship that can directly produce children?
I reread Card's article and tried to distill his points from it. I got this list:
  • Judiciary is redefining "marriage," and that's not its job.
  • It's a slippery slope leading to "anyone who upholds the fundamental meaning that marriage has always had [...] is [considered] mentally ill."
  • There will be devastating unintended effects.
  • Homosexuals have the right to marry (the opposite sex).
  • Parents model roles for children. Kids need them for confidence.
  • Lives of children without one parent are "deformed." They're "lost" children.
  • The prevalence of divorce in society makes children fearful.
  • Stable marriages make society stable too.
  • Stable marriages make civilized children who perpetuate civilization.
  • Homosexual marriage isn't marriage because it doesn't create/raise children in a way beneficial to civilization.
  • More kids will choose to be homosexuals. OSC states explicitly that homosexuality is not something people are born with.
  • As culture becomes hostile to parents, parents will stop supporting the culture, and it will die.
To nutshell this as much as possible, he seems to be saying:
  1. Homosexual marriage leads to...
  2. Kids who can't marry/parent leads to...
  3. Divorce leads to...
  4. Social/civil decay leads to...
  5. Chaos and madness.
If you think that's hyperbole, here's a quote:
So either civilized people will succeed in establishing a government that protects the family; or civilized people will withdraw their allegiance from the government that won't protect it; or the politically correct barbarians will have complete victory over the family -- and, lacking the strong family structure on which civilization depends, our civilization will collapse or fade away.
I think it's possible that gay marriage will have unintended consequences, though I highly doubt they will be as dire as the fall of civilization. There are things Card says that I agree with, but a lot that I don't. I think that the article, once I tried to understand it, has more of a point than I thought. What I mean is, I finally get a sense of why some people think that gay marriage will lead to the ruin of America, even if I disagree. I'll save the details of that for future posts.

Ultimately, what really irritates me about the article is the disrespect it has for its opposition. Here's a sample:
Parents in a stable marriage are much better than schools at civilizing children. You have to be a fanatical ideologue not to recognize this as an obvious truth -- in other words, you have to dumb down or radically twist the definition of "civilizing children" in order to claim that parents are not, on the whole, better at it.
(Emphasis added.)

I think I would have understood Card's points a lot better if I weren't recoiling from the vitriol every few paragraphs.

So, Lee, to answer your question, yes, I think his definition of marriage is one that's tied directly to children, but it's not so much a matter of bearing children as it's a matter of raising children. He thinks that homosexual couples cannot raise children as well as heterosexual couples, so they're not really marriages.
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