Public Duties, Private Rights

It’s a bitch having to share the country with other people. Especially when so many of them are so wrong about everything.

A friend of mine just sent me the most recent tantrum (excuse me, newsletter) from the Indiana Family Institute’s Micah Clark, and that’s pretty much the message. According to Micah, those of us who don’t share his belief that “kids do best with a mom and dad”–that is, those of us who oppose a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions –are thereby labeling people like him “bigots.”

I realize that needs a bit of deconstructing. Or, perhaps, psychiatry.

Here’s what Micah and his fellow “victims” don’t get: we live in a society with a lot of other people, many of whom have political opinions, backgrounds, holy books, and perspectives that differ significantly from our own. The only way to govern such a society–the only “social contract” that allows us to coexist in reasonable harmony–is by respecting those differences to the greatest extent possible. That requires treating everyone equally within the public/civic sphere, while respecting the right of individuals to embrace different values and pursue different ends in their private lives.

I know this is hard for you to understand, Micah, but a refusal to make everyone live by your particular interpretation of your particular holy book is not an attack on you; it is recognition that we live in a diverse society where other people have the same rights to respect and moral autonomy that you claim for yourself.  Ironically, a legal system that refuses to take sides in your religious war is also the only system that can safeguard your own religious liberty. I know you don’t want to believe it, but most Americans really don’t share your religious certainty and belief in your own moral superiority. If your right to live in accordance with that certainty had to be put to majority vote, you might find your own “lifestyle” legally marginalized.

As I’ve noted previously, poison gas is a great weapon until the wind shifts.

As to your accusation that those of us who support marriage equality are calling you a bigot–well, here’s the dictionary definition of the term: “a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group.”

If the shoe fits…..


  1. Those of us who are intelligent enough to understand there are many individuals and groups of people we do not understand but we accept them and their differences as their right. The problem is that so many of those bigots – and they come in many forms these days on multiple issues – are elected officials passing laws against those they do not understand and REFUSE to accept. “Christian charity”, “Do unto others…” and “Love thy neighbor” have gone by the wayside during the past few decades of greed and selfishness, clothed in pseudo religious excuses…and they are excuses – NOT reasons. People will never change; I accept this but it doesn’t mean I like it nor will I accept it as long as I can speak out against bigotry and sign petitions on line that reflect my veiws. In my own life; along with the passing of above mentioned adages, friends and family members have gone by the wayside. They are not missed and not needed in my life so I let them go their way; sure wish they would allow me the same right minus their ugly rants on their way out.

  2. “This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

  3. So, what about the research that’s been done that proves that children do better in homes with a Mom and a Dad? Or do we disregard the facts to push our own agenda? Name call if you want but take responsibility for the breakdown in society caused by your agenda.

  4. The late Ann Landers (in life, Eppie Lederer) had a way of telling it like it is…whenever she felt like it. Right about now, with Clark’s nose and the noses of other saintly, self-righteous folks in business where they clearly don’t belong, Annie would say, “MYOB!”

  5. Janet: Below I have copied and pasted a portion of an article from BU Today, Health & Wellness, dated 4/11/13. Please quote the source of your information.

    “Siegel, a School of Medicine professor of pediatrics, coauthored a report, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics the week before the court case, arguing that three decades of research concur that kids of gay parents are doing just fine.

    “Many studies have demonstrated that children’s well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents,” Siegel writes with coauthor Ellen Perrin, a Tufts University professor of pediatrics and director of developmental and behavioral pediatrics.”

  6. Studies have shown that children do better with two parents — turns out the gender of said parents doesn’t matter. You can, of course, skew a study by failing to include the children of same-sex couples in your sample, but that would be dishonest, now, wouldn’t it? Further studies have shown that children raised by couples committed to parenting do best of all, which should be no surprise. If we as a society would put the energy we are now wasting on trying to limit the rights of LGBT persons into providing ALL kinds of families with the resources and knowledge they need to flourish, what a blessed difference that would make!

  7. JoAnn, There have actually been 59 studies done on this subject and the APA. But on closer examination of these studies, A 26 of 59 APA studies on same-sex parenting had no heterosexual comparison groups. ► In comparison studies, single mothers were often used as the hetero comparison group. ► No comparison study had the statistical power required to detect a small effect size. ► Definitive claims were not substantiated by the 59 published studies.

    I’m not even in the group of families with two heterosexual parents. However, I don’t believe statements such as the one from your one study should be taken as fact.

  8. Janet: The study I found by the APA was done in 2004; it did state that children in same sex parenting situation had some problems with gender identification. Our opposing statistics proves something I was told years ago; we can find statistics to prove any point if we know where to look. I will stand by the 2013 report by two university professors of pediatrics responding to comments made by Supreme Court Justice Scalia.

  9. As I’m preparing for ordination as a deacon in the Presbyterian church, I’ve been struck by the lengths to which my denomination goes to make explicit the “civil” requirements of our decision-making process. First, there’s a repeated emphasis on recognizing the freedom of conscience of others; second, we are required to recognize and abide by the majority decisions inherent in our governmental structure. (I’m not saying that Presbyterians always live up to those requirements.)

    I wonder what this means for us in other contexts, and especially for social contracts that are less explicit. For example, when we pledge allegiance to “one nation, indivisible,” I think we’re alluding to our requirement as citizens under the social contract to recognize the results of the process when we don’t get our way. We violate that pledge if we refuse to recognize or abide by decisions we disagree with, which is ultimately a refusal to recognize the views and values of our fellow citizens.

    Claiming “religious intolerance” when we don’t get to use the government to impose our views — well, that just shows that some of us want the benefits of the social contract without living up to our end of the bargain.

  10. JoAnn and Janet, would you both agree that children of parents with incomes of $1,000,000 do better than children of the homeless? Maybe it has less to do with sex and more to do with society’s ills.

  11. Earl; I’m sure that $1,000,000 would be benificial but I would gladly have traded my alcoholic, abusive father and crying mother for a GLBT couple while growing up. What does a “normal” family consist of? I am more concerned about heterosexual couples having babies left and right sans the sanctity of marriage who may grow up and marry their brother or sister or procreate while single. But…they would be products of acceptable hetrosexual folks who had the advantage of marriage at their disposal but chose not to avail themselves. Of course; if the GOP has it’s way there will be no birth control available so the number of possible sibling couplings would rise. As Yul Brenner/aka King of Siam so often said, “Is a puzzlement!”

  12. In the days of the early Christian church, the Romans thought the Christians were “crazy” because they gave and cared for others without expecting anything in return. It wasn’t because the Romans actually thought they really were “crazy”. Being a rigid ideologue attracts nothing but flies, so it would be much more productive, helpful, and a contribution to the society if Christians were Christian.

  13. Thanks, Stuart! What a concept…if Christians were Christian! That reminds me of the book recommended to me by a Chamber of Commerce president in a small Indiana town. The book was written by Quaker minister/writer/husband/father, Philip Gulley. The book is called “If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus”. Some of Gulley’s other works are “If Grace Is True” and “If God Is Love”. Powerful stuff!

  14. I grew up Jewish in a small Indiana town where Jews were considered (at best) exotic. My mother always said that a “real Christian” was a Jew’s best friend–and that it was a shame there were so few “real Christians.”

  15. Can I get an ‘Amen’, be it a Jewish or Christian one? They both work and are quite effective, really! We can do this…we really can! We have nit-picked ourselves into our pitiful current situation. Haters are so very good at what they do, aren’t they?

    Maya Angelou reminds us about it with her simple and beautiful quote: “When you know better, you do better!” We actually do know better, and it’s ‘way past time that we do better!

  16. I think they might have missed at least one in the choice of Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees: Sheila Suess Kennedy

    Jus’ sayin’. . . .

  17. Janet: Two thoughts. First, marriage is not only about procreation. We permit people to marry with no obligation or even capacity to bear children. So why should your alleged impact on children be a reason to dent marriage? Second, is any family with mom & dad better than all single parent or same-sex parent family? For example kids most likely do better in single or same-sex parent families than in a mom & dad family with an abusive or alcoholic parent. It’s not about the genitalia of the parents; it’s about the loving & nurturing environment that they’re willing & able to provide.

Comments are closed.