Monday, February 23, 2009

Sean Penn's Oscar speech

Like many of my friends, I watched portions of the Academy Awards (I cannot bring myself to watch the whole entire show - it is just so boring). Inevitably, some Hollywood type who just won an award and thinks they are ALL THAT, takes the opportunity to express some political opinion during their acceptance speech. Sean Penn was one of these last night.

"I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone."

I shouldn't have been surprised - after all, he won for playing Harvey MIlk, for heaven's sake. But I just wanted to answer Sean:

I am not ashamed for defending traditional marriage. I am not ashamed of my opinion that sexual preference does not define a person, OR deserve special rights. It is not on the same playing field as race or color. And same-sex couples ARE different from heterosexual couples, so it makes sense that their union should be called something different. And they still have all the same rights that married heterosexual couples have. It all comes down to the definition of one little word. I do not condone violence of any kind and do not consider my support of traditional marriage as hateful in the slightest. And, wow, are my kids proud of their mom! I am not afraid to look into their eyes, nor will I be ashamed to look into the eyes of my future grandchildren! It takes courage to stand for something, especially in the face of blatant opposition. I hope my kids inherit the moral backbone.
Wish I could say that to his face, but hey, don't you love blogs? Almost as good...


Don said...

Think about this: More than half of Californians voted against gay marriage. So Sean Penn just called more than half the population of CA "shameful." I mean, it's not like it's some fringe, whacko element of the population! What if a conservative had stood up there and called those who favor gay marriage "shameful"? That's all you'd be reading and hearing about today! I would say this is unbelievable, but sadly, it's pretty much what I expect from liberal Hollyweird and the liberal media that supports them.

Thomas said...

As a white man married to an asian woman, it is easy for me to see a pattern. Opponents of same-sex marriage come to this debate, knowing or unknowingly, wielding rhetorical tools forged during the history of miscegenation law. The arguments a majority of whites used to justify miscegenation laws--that interracial marriages were contrary to God's will or somehow unnatural--are echoed today by the most conservative opponents of same-sex marriage. Here are the arguements used: 1) they began to define and label all interracial (insert homosexual) relationships - even longstanding, deeply committed ones - as illicit sex rather than marriage; 2)they insisted that interracial (insert homosexual) marriage was contrary to God's will - only between an white man and white woman; and 3) they declared, over and over again, that interracial (inseet homosexual) marriage was somehow "unnatural." The reality is that those racists and bigots (even though they were the "majority" viwepoint) who denied interracial marriage years ago didn't consider themselves bigots and racists at the time, but history speaks otherwise. I'm confident your time will come too.

Michael-in-Norfolk said...

Hmm. A lot of Germans did not think their support of Hitler and anti-Semitism was hateful either. I'd further add that the majority is NOT always right. Hence why we have the courts to restrain the tyranny of the majority.

My last comment: it might do you well to watch the movie Milk. It might just help open your apparently very closed mind.

Don said...

My point is that Sean Penn called more than half the population of CA "shameful" and nobody seems to think this is a big deal! If a conservative had called those who favor gay marriage "shameful," this would be the headline news of the day and all anyone is talking about.

Laura said...

Thomas, you obviously haven't ever read my blog. You must be one of those people who surf blogs and leave comments, looking to make your point whether it applies or not. I have never once used my religion to argue against homosexuality in general. I have never commented on the "illicit sex" label homosexuals get. (however, if the shoe fits...) I focus on the scientifically proven needs of children, and the ridiculousness of a group of people trying to get special rights because they choose to define themselves by their sexual orientation (surely there are character traits that are more important to self-identification). In CA, same-sex couples have all the same applicable "rights" that heterosexual couples have. No one is trying to take that away. No one is trying to pass a law enforcing jail time or violence toward gays and lesbians. Why is this word, "marriage" so overwhelmingly important?

Anonymous said...

i love this. thank you laura.

Anonymous said...

thomas, i agree with laura, it's obvious you are a blog surfer, just randomly posting comments.

but, the man & woman definition of marriage is something that is uniform across cultures and time periods. Even polygamous marriages are one man and one woman (the man, in this case, is allowed to marry more than one woman).

The miscegenation laws were a product of an isolated region and a specific time period.

They were wrong, race has nothing to do with marriage-- but gender is part of the definition.

Thomas said...

Laura, I don't surf blogs, I actually have a job. I simply came across your blog by happenstance and felt compeled to respond. You are correct, the word "marriage" is overwhelming important to me, as it apparently is to you as well. If that was truly our only difference of opinion, I think we would be able to work things out. For instance, all couples who wish to enter a long-term commitment would participate in a civil union that is recognized by the State for purposes of the State (e.g. health benefits, taxes, contracts). Marriage would, in turn, be a separate religous union recognized by one's faith but with no recognition or bearing upon the State. But I don't believe you when you say that your only complaint is the use of the word "marriage". Your true feelings about homosexuality come through loud and clear. You feel sexual orientation is no more than a character trait (and not a very valid one by your standards) being used by a group looking to have special rights. You feel homosexuality is not illicit sex (although if the shoe fits). You feel marriage (between a man and a woman) is the only scientifically-proven way to meet the needs of children. Are you kidding me? I guess in your case "soccer mom" means "uneducated and untruthful".

Laura said...

I guess "uneducated and untruthful" can be your opinion. Actually, I am VERY educated regarding this subject - I did get a degree in Human Development, besides striving to stay up-to-date with all the latest research on the subject. And like you, I do have a job: I am a full-time stay at home mom who educates my children and others who enjoy reading my blog. I don't blog irresponsibly. I do my research because I know if I don't, I will get called on it. I don't post lies. Just because my opinion differs from yours doesn't mean I am a liar.

Thomas said...

I'm back - just returned to the office. I'm not typically a blogger but this is an interesting topic. Here's my thoughts on your latest entry. One: I think it is great that you are a stay at home mom and it is definitely a full-time job. My comment was that I don't "surf blogs all day", because I too have a full-time job.
Two: Opinions are fine. It's when these opinions cross the line of infringing upon a person's rights and then, more sadly, become institutionalized that I take issue.
Three: I called you out for being a liar because you claimed you simply had an issue with using the word "marriage". Clearly, you have bigger concerns beyond the word itself.
Four: Children need to be raised with positive influences (both men and women) that provide love, support, nurturing, guidance, etc... Being raised by one man and one woman is not, by itself, a guarantee of a postive environment. I know plenty of gay couples who have raised wonderful, well-adjusted children. I also know, unfortunately, enough children that have been raised by "traditional" families that aren't as fortunate.
Five: There has been plenty of "scientific" evidence presented over the years that attempt to validate reprehensible opinions and acts. More often than not these "studies" don't stand up to peer review, duplication by other independent groups, and other scientifically acceptable methods. Feel free to cite those peer-reviewed studies that support your premise and I would be willing to take a look. Your turn!

Laura said...

I was waiting for you to ask me to cite the studies. I will do you one better. I will send you to a blog written by a social scientist who not only researches on the subject of same-sex attraction, but also has years of experience counseling with people who struggle with all kinds of sexual issues. Her link is on my front page, it is called Mindful Matters. I have found her information to be not only accurate, but also very well-written. No matter what side of the issue you are on, educating yourself is ALWAYS a good idea.

Laura said...

I forgot to mention that the blog that I sent you to cites multiple studies. I was surprised at the results of some of those studies, considering the fact that much of today's society accepts certain facts to be truth, when they clearly are not. Based on scientific studies.

Euripides said...

The gay activists might have some merit to their discussion of marriage, IF marriage were only a private concern instead of a public institution that, at its core, creates the core social institution of family.

But marriage isn't a private concern, it isn't a civil right (as the gay activists would like us to believe), and it isn't a fundamental right (as the CA Supreme Court would like us to believe).

30 states have amended their constitutions to protect marriage from being hijacked by the gay community. I expect more states will follow.

The Playful Walrus said...

State-issued marriage license requirements are subject to the will of the people of the state. People should have freedom of association. They do not have the right to force someone else (the rest of the people of California) to give them something against the will of those people. There simply is no right to a state-issues license, nor do I agree that the state should stop issuing "marriage" licenses entirely.

Penn had every right to say whatever ABC would allow him to say. But we have a right to counter him.

Thomas said...

Who is "forcing" something on you? No one is advocating that all marriages be among same-sex couples. No one is promoting gay marriage as the preferred method. No one is asking our children to consider turning gay. The issue is that sometimes people find themselves being attracted to members of the same sex. If they want to find love and companionship in a monogamous, long-term relationship, why do you take issue? Ensuring that same-sex marriage is legal and carries the same rights as heterosexual marriages doesn't mean the breakdown of the traditional family. There will be more than enough men and women having babies and keeing our world populated that you won't have to worry about the gene pool! I guarantee that in another 25 years (hopefully sooner), the traditional family will be alive and well, yet gay men and women will be afforded the same rights as other protected classes.

Teri said...

How long will it take an Oscar-winner to want the definition of marriage to include animals? The PETA people think they need rights, too.

Liberty Belle said...

Thomas, setting up the scenario so that legally same sex relationships are equal with marriage is a mistake. It forces same sex relationships to be promoted like marriage is promoted. This idea, if accepted, would work its way into the schools and society. Take a look at the statistics of other countries where this has happened. Good grief. They've stretched marriage until it is meaningless. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Two genders. Playing with definitions as a way to legally weasel broken ideas into the mainstream is deplorable.

Kids need a mom and a dad. It's that simple. Society promotes the gold standard of families for a reason. Everything else, is just that, something else. Not marriage.

DeAnn Carter said...

I always get such a kick out of Hollyweird when they try to "teach" us how to live. Whenever one gets married we place bets on how long it will last or who will go to rehab next. I've lived 46 years, 26 of those years being married to the same wonderful man and with him raising four responsible, confident children who are all paying their own way in the world. I'm going to stick with what works. My own life and the lives of my five siblings (some who are pushing 30 years of married life)prove it to me more than the lives of any "stars."

Thomas said...

Liberty Belle, you are right - ideally speaking - kids need a mom and a dad. They also need love and nurturing from their parents. They also need to be raised by a family with good financial stability. They also need parents that are reasonably intelligent so they can assist with their education and studies. So, if these are the ideal requirements to raise strong, healthy, well-adjusted children, then your arguements would include other measures to protect our kids. For instance - it should be illegal for gay couples to adopt children. Sounds reasonable. It should also be illegal to get a divorce since this robs the child of a mom and a dad. Sounds about right. If a single woman gets preganant, she must either marry or give up the child for adoption if a dad will not be present in the child's life. Another reasonable idea. Maybe having children without a minimum income level should be illegal, since it lowers the chances of having their needs adequately met. Now we're on to something. Maybe a minimum I.Q. should be required in order to have children, otherwise it will be more difficult for them to compete in the world.

Of course, all this is hogwash! There are a multitude of circumstances that determine the health and welfare of our children. The idea that a mom and a dad (while ideal) are absolutely required to properly raise a child is just false. As an example, I would rather have a gay couple raise a child in a strong, nurturing environment over a traditional family that can't provide in other ways.

Again, no one is promoting homosexulaity as a choice that you (or our kids) has a right to make. Nor is it an "idea" that doesn't work. As parents, that is what you are teaching your kids, but it is not true. It just so happens that some people are born with a predisposition to be attracted to the opposite. If it was purely a choice or environmentally based, then there would never be gay children in mormom families (which of course there are). Children are quite tolerant of others and will freely interact with all types of kids/people up until the point where their parents instill beliefs that are intolerant.

Thomas said...

DeAnn - you stated it well. You - along with everyone else on this blog - should be happy and confident with their own families. We all should continue to raise our kids in a great environment, but also teach tolerance and acceptance of differing viewpoints and lifestyles. I don't personally agree with the entirety of the evangelical christian point of view, but I don't believe it should be illegal for someone to practice it. That's the differece.

Laura said...

Thomas, they are already "practicing it". Same-sex couples have all the same rights that heterosexual couples have. They can file joint tax returns, adopt children, get full insurance coverage, & enjoy inheritance rights, just to name a few. Whether Prop. 8 passed or not, these rights went undisturbed. Since gays and lesbians have all these same rights, I do not understand why they are making such a big deal about the use of that word, "marriage". I keep asking this question and no one will answer it.

Thomas said...

Laura - looks like you've converted me into a blogger after all! Open debate is healthy, so here's my response. Since you have a degree in Human Development, you must understand the power words themselves have. For instance, mental and verbal abuse in a marriage (while not inflicting physical pain) is often just as harmful. While domestic partners receive most of the benefits of marriage, several differences remain. These differences include: 1) couples seeking domestic partnership must already share a residence, married couples may be married without living together; 2) couples seeking domestic partnership must be 18 or older, minors can be married before the age of 18 with the consent of their parents; 3) California permits married couples the option of confidential marriage, there is no equivalent institution for domestic partnerships. In confidential marriages, no witnesses are required and the marriage license is not a matter of public record; 4) married partners of state employees are eligible for the CalPERS long-term care insurance plan, domestic partners are not; 5) there is, at least according to one appellate ruling, no equivalent of the Putative Spouse Doctrine for domestic partnerships.

In addition to these differences specific to CA state law, domestic partners in California don’t enjoy all the federal benefits of marriage, including constitutionally-required recognition of their relationships as marriages in the rest of the United States under the Full Faith and Credit Clause. Outside the U.S., some countries that recognize same-sex marriages as valid in their own country, (e.g. Israel), do not recognize same-sex domestic partnerships performed in California.

My argument is that the use of the word “marriage” itself (vs. domestic partnership) constitutes a significant social difference. The CA Supreme Court agreed, suggesting an analogy with a hypothetical that branded interracial marriages "transracial unions". Prop 8 mandates one set of rules for gay and lesbian couples and another set for everyone else. Equality under the law is a fundamental constitutional guarantee and I contend that anything less than full marriage rights extended to same-sex partners is analogous to the "separate but equal" racial laws of the Jim Crow era.

Anonymous said...

If a couple moved to Israel, couldn't they be officially married in that country?

All of the differences you brought up can be achieved in other ways besides extending the definition.

And, no matter what CA does, it has no effect on the federal recognition of marriage.

There should be a social difference between marriage and other kind of unions, because marriage is the only government contract that encourages couples to provide children with what any resulting children might need: a mom and a dad living together in the same house.

So why do same-gender unions need the term "marriage"?

Anonymous said...

I guarantee that in another 25 years (hopefully sooner), the traditional family will be alive and well, yet gay men and women will be afforded the same rights as other protected classes.

I wonder if people said that 30 years ago with issues of divorce.

We don't need to extend the definition of marriage.

We need to strengthen the entire institution. children need a mom and a dad. children's rights trump selfish adult wants.

Anonymous said...

Laura, I know you provide a link to a great site, but here are some more (i realize i'm taking over, so forgive me):

While study after study shows that children do awesome in traditional marriages--there is no evidence that shows children do the same in same-gender households. I don't think it's a good idea for government to sanction a social experiment.

Extending the definition of marriage strips children of the only legal & social contract that encourages them to have a mom and a dad living in the same house.


William Meezan & Jonathan Rauch, Gay Marriage, Same-Sex Parenting, and America's Children, 15 FUTURE OF CHILD. 97, 104 (2005)

"We do not know how the normative child in a same-sex family compares with other children. . . . Those who say the evidence falls short of showing that same-sex parenting is equivalent to opposite- sex parenting (or better, or worse) are . . . right."

According to this source from a magazine devoted to same-gender parenting…no one knows what the outcomes are for same-gender parenting.

2. American college of Pediatricians:
Data on long-term outcomes for children placed in homosexual households are very limited and the available evidence reveals grave concerns. Those current studies that appear to indicate neutral to favorable results from homosexual parenting have critical flaws such as non-longitudinal design, inadequate sample size, biased sample selection, lack of proper controls, and failure to account for confounding variables.

3. Bonus Problems with the studies

"Numerous reviews of the literature on sexual orientation and parenting have been conducted. At least three such reviews have pointed to the serious scientific limitations of the social science literature on gay parenting.

Perhaps the most thorough review was prepared by Steven Nock, a sociologist at the University of Virginia who was asked to review several hundred studies as an expert witness for the Attorney General of Canada.

Nock concluded:
Through this analysis I draw my conclusions that

1) all of the articles I reviewed contained at least one fatal
flaw of design or execution;

2) not a single one of those studies was conducted according to general accepted standards of scientific research. Design flaws researchers have found in these studies include very basic limitations:

a. No nationally representative sample. Even scholars enthusiastic about unisex parenting, such as Stacey and Biblarz, acknowledge that "there are no studies of child development based on random, representative samples of [same-sex couple] families."

b. Limited outcome measures. Many of the outcomes measured by the research are unrelated to standard measures of child well-being used by family sociologists (perhaps because most of the researchers
are developmental psychologists, not sociologists).

c. Reliance on maternal reports. Many studies rely on a mother's report of her
parenting skills and abilities, rather than objective measures of child outcomes.

d. No long-term studies. All of the studies conducted to date focus on static or short-term measures of child development. Few or none follow children of unisex parents to adulthood."

Laura said...

Apple, no problem!
My full-time job got really busy yesterday and I did not have time to address all of Thomas' concerns.

Thomas, you are so grasping at straws. I mean, "secret marriage"? What? I thought the point here was for same-sex couples to be openly together and totally accepted by society. Now you are asking for them to have the right to secret marriages? As well, the insurance issue is a moot point - there are thousands of alternative insurance providers who by law must provide coverage for domestic partners. I'm with Apple - there are a multitude of solutions to the problems you raised that don't include changing the definition of the word marriage.

Chairm said...

Ask Sean Penn for the core meaning of marriage and he'll pretend that's not the issue.

His rant was all heat and no light.