Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the foodie hunter gets political

tonight i went to an event "Same Sex Marriage: State vs. Fed" put on by inforum, a division of the commonwealth club. there were two people providing arguments against same sex marriage and two people providing arguments for same-sex marriage.

before i go into my random thoughts about the event and my subsequent reaction afterwards, i think i should be very forthright about my position and who i am.

  • i was born in san francisco, spent my early years in the 'loin, then spent quite a few years living in south bay in a very conservative household headed up by one person from texas and the other decidedly not from texas....but very catholic, and i went to berkeley for university.
  • i am a straight american female. i married and divorced a white male who is able to trace his ancestry back to the american revolution. i cannot trace my ancestry back to the american revolution. there was a time in american history where our marriage would have been illegal due to our differing ethnicities.
  • my family is not the nuclear family. my family consists of a very select group of loved ones that i have no biological ties to and who i will know until it is my time to pass on. they know that i love them and i know that they love me. there is no doubt.
  • i am for same-sex marriage. i have always been for same-sex marriage.
  • while i was in hong kong for the election, i registered to vote by mail....not because i wanted to ensure that my vote for president would make it in.....from my perspective it was a given who would win california.....but rather because i wanted to vote against prop 8.
so now that you know where i stand, i can provide my very candid thoughts about the event. i decided to attend the event because i wanted to hear the arguments against same sex marriage. i do not own a tv and given my ongoing source of news and outlets i choose to expose myself to, i am not in the demographic that would have seen any of the campaigns against same-sex marriage. i was hoping that given the venue, i would hear arguments against same sex marriage that were not religious based....not because i sought to change my position on same sex marriage....but because i wanted to understand why, from their perspective, why people were against an effort to understand.

to be able to listen to discourse on an incredibly emotionally charged topic where everyone is provided the opportunity to state their arguments and there are no fears of imprisonment, assassination, death, etc..... is an amazing right that we americans have. i felt this quite keenly as i listed to the various arguments.

as i rode home on BART, i tried to not cry on BART ...and was semi-successful. i wrote down these words in my journal (see top pic) once i reached a local place to grab a burger.

yes, i went to the non-sustainable place again. i was really in no mood to think about eating local, sustainable, etc. i just wanted to eat a big burger cooked over a flame in a very low-key surroundings within a couple of blocks of my place. if there was a sustainable place that fit my requirements for this evening, then i would have gone there. but there isn't.

anyway, as i was munching through my burger and not reading my comic book....i was thinking about how i really had no idea that some of the arguments used against same-sex marriage were based on a premise that same-sex couples should not be parents. i also had no idea that arguments also included wanting to protect young children from sexuality-oriented discussions or the idea of same-sex couples. there was also an argument that being gay is not an immutable state but that gay sexuality is a fluid state including a choice. if the courts decide that being gay is immutable than that will impact gay rights substantially.

as i was sitting there, listening, and thinking "wow".

my thoughts are

1) being straight and/or a biological parent does not give you a leg up on anyone else about being a good parent. look at all of the "my-mom-and-or-dad-fucked-up-my-life" stories out there. there are a lot. there are people in this world that are good parents. there are people in this world that are shitty parents. from my perspective, being straight, gay, the bio parent/donor, or an adoptive parent, etc. does not mean that you will automatically be a good parent or not.

2) i don't think that conversations with young children have to be about sex. from my perspective, it is just "here are two people that are in love and decided to get married." why does the conversation have to be about sex?

3) if being gay is not immutable and sexuality is seen as "fluid", could we not argue that sexuality is fluid for everyone? this would mean that being straight is not immutable. from my perspective, i think there is a core set of the population that is gay, born that way, and know that they are gay immediately. i also think there is a segment of the population that has stronger inclinations toward being gay, another segment that has stronger inclinations toward being straight, and a segment that is born straight. however, if the law is going to assume that sexual categories must be one or another, then i would argue that if the books indicate that being straight is immutable than the books should also indicate that being gay is immutable. while "two wrongs don't make a right", i think that there should be consistency in the treatment of perception of sexuality, especially if it pertains to being used to impact rights of a group of adults that are being classified by whom they decide to have sex with.

4) i do not see what is "wrong" with being gay. i do not see what is "wrong" with being straight.

yet, why did i cry on BART? because the event made me realize that there are people who really believe things such as marriage being a sole channel for reproduction and being a biological parent somehow makes you a better candidate for parenthood.....and they are true believers. also, instead of acknowledging that many of the arguments stem from an emotional attachment to an idealized vision of marriage and parenthood (which i get less defensive that is an acknowledgment of where they are at emotionally)....instead seek to say that gay people shouldn't be parents...which is to i have stated earlier in this just so wrong on so many levels....and it makes me so sad. there i was...the super duper analytical foodie hunter....crying at the injustice of it....and the amount of pain i could feel that these arguments inflicted upon many people in the audience. yet, attending the event also made me admire folks such as molly mckay for having such passionate articulate grace when confronting these sort of arguments on an ongoing basis. she has become one of my heroes. maybe i can be like her when i grow up.

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