Saturday, September 24, 2011

A New Response to an Old Argument of Anti-gay Bigots

I do not throw words like "bigotry" around lightly. If someone is personally squeamish or morally against something, but keeps that to themselves, their own home, their own religious community, and doesn't advocate for laws that actively discriminate against others, I would never call him or her a bigot. Misguided, perhaps misinformed, and just plain wrong, sure. But not bigots.

Bigots are the people who want to prevent gay couples from getting legally married. Bigots are people who think it is fine when employers refuse to hire someone, or think it is fine to fire someone because they are gay. Bigots are people who want to prevent gay couples from adopting and fostering children. And sadly, surveys show that America is full of bigots.

Over the years I've encountered a number of (stupid and often cruel) arguments against equal rights for homosexuals. One that recently came up on a discussion forum I frequent was the old line about how nature (read: God) clearly "intended" a man and woman to raise children since only one man and one woman can biologically bring a child into the world. I can't say how many times I've heard/read variations of this argument over the years, some worded more crassly ("You can't fit a square peg in a round hole"), and some of which attempt to sound more philosophically profound.

They all ignore the fact that there have been numerous studies, and yet still no evidence that gay parents do a worse job than any adoptive parents (although there is evidence that their kids can be hurt by discrimination and homophobia.)

They all ignore the fact that the nuclear family is a relatively modern cultural construct, and that in most traditional societies children have been raised by a whole extended family.

They all ignore the fact that before the dawn of modern medicine, many mothers died in childbirth, meaning scores of children in history have been raised without their biological mothers.

They all ignore the fact that single women can and regularly do have children, and that without a test, paternity isn't obvious, and men can die young too, so scores of children in history have been raised without their biological fathers.

In short, to anyone with a brain and a little curiosity and compassion, arguing that gay couples shouldn't raise children just because they can't biologically produce children (with each other - obviously gay individuals have biological children using surrogacy and donor insemination, or from a previous heterosexual relationship) is a stupid and heartless argument.

That said, soon, the argument will also be just plain false. Think homosexual couples can't biologically reproduce with each other? Think again.

The last twenty years have seen incredible developments in reproductive technologies, not just for heterosexual couples, but both gay men and lesbian couples. Specifically, technologies which can be used to create female sperm and male eggs, which can then be used to conceive a child with two biological mothers or two biological fathers. The technology is far enough that young gay men and lesbians who expect to be affluent enough to pay for expensive procedures (as many well-to-do straight couples with reproductive difficulty already do) are talking up hopes and plans for their future family planning.

In a few, short years, that tired old line "gay couples can never have their own kids" will be obsolete, and people who say it as if it is something profound to base public policy on, will continue their steady march toward being seen for the bigots they truly are.  

No comments:

Post a Comment