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Sunday, September 14, 2008

"All societies have found it necessary to establish norms, which we define as cultural ideals - models, paradigms, collective preferences - that are supported by rules. This is because no society can have it all, just as no individual can. Every society must make choices. And choosing one thing — one form of behaviour, say — inevitably means nor choosing others. This lies at the very heart of culture and therefore of human existence...

To the extent that norms affirm some forms of behaviour but not others, they are indeed discriminarory... In our opinion, gay relationships are neither evil nor neurotic. Even so, we see no compelling reason for the stare to promote them. It does have a compelling reason to promote straight relationships, on the other hand... our point here is that just because norms establish a majority, does not necessarily entail the persecution of minorities. Otherwise, no liberal democracy could exist.
[Ed: This is why the "Liberal State", which does not privilege any conceptions of the good life, does not and *can* not exist.]

... The possible effects on boys and men: Our inability to create and support a healthy form of masculine identity has already become a major social problem. Consider the high rate at which young men, unlike young women, not only drop out of school but also commit suicide... Because fatherhood is the one remaining source of a healthy masculine identity... legalizing gay marriage could leave men with a major problem. We are referring specifically to lesbian marriages, which would legitimate the already widespread notion that fathers are unnecessary...
[Ed: I love how they take a leaf from the book of political correctness, but use it for opposite purposes.]

The possible effects on single people: The main premise of those who demand gay marriage is not that marriage confers financial or legal benefits, because these could be attained just as easily through benefit packages or civil unions, but that marriage confers self-esteem or dignirv. If that were so, then one implication would be that single people cannot — perhaps should not — have self-esteem or dignity. Single people have always been treated with condescension (especially single women) or suspicion (especially single men). Instead of solving that problem, those who demand gay marriage would exacerbate it. Or, to put it another way, they would solve the problem for themselves by imposing it even more harshly on others. Single status would be even more marginal than it already is. As some gay people have pointed out, albeit with their own collective self-interest in mind, redefining marriage to include gay people would actually increase the level of conformity rather than create a truly "diverse" society."...
[Ed: This bit is even better. I'm half-inclined to think that this article is a parody of the theory of "heteronormativity" and claims of "discrimination", especially given that they earlier point out that "just because norms establish a majority, does not necessarily entail the persecution of minorities".]

The possible effects on education: In Trinity Western University v. British Columbia College of Teachers, the Supreme Court overruled a lower court that had tried to prevent a religiously affiliated institution’s teacher-education program from being certified by the province because of that institution's views and policies on homosexuality. Certification was allowed, because the “proper place to draw the line between freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination is generally between belief and conduct. The freedom to hold beliefs is broader than the freedom to act on them.” No evidence had been offered that graduates of Trinity were likely to act in a discriminatory fashion when teaching in public schools, by condemning homosexuality or disapproving of homosexuals...

A worrisome tendency to privatize religion is accompanied by a tendency to suppress public debate. The supposed celebration of diversity, in the name of tolerance, simply ignores the fact of conflict between competing worldviews and the resulting conflict between competing views of family and marnage. Students need (at an appropriate age) to discuss and debate these conflicts, giving due consideration to etiquette, in order to understand the society in which they live. But it the courts [do all this, they will] punish teachers for discrimination if they present nonconformist views in class. And the same scenario will be repeated in universities despite our vaunted academic freedom. All this amounts to state-sponsored social engineering on the basis of a state-supported ideology — which is tantamount to an official state religion."...
[Ed: This bit makes somewhat more sense: whether we should be tolerant of {alleged} intolerance; "I know there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that!"]

The possible effects on democracy: ... Advocates of gay marriage are confused. They want to be a proud minority but also, paradoxically, not to be a minority. They want to be different from the majority, in other words, but not to pay a price for being different. And there is always a price (no matter how minimal) for being different (no matter which way). If minority status itself becomes intolerable, if the very fact of difference is said to be inherently degrading and destabilising, then how can we sustain a democracy, let alone a “pluralistic” one?
[Ed: This could have done with a clearer distinction between "discriminatory" treatment and "different" treatment]"

--- Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, 2004, “The Future of an Experiment,” in Daniel Cere and Douglas Farrow eds. Divorcing Marriage: Unveiling the Dangers in Canada’s new Social Experiment
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