21 September 2012

On Happiness and Hatred: A short essay

Here's another article in response to something that happened today. Again, I feel I unfortunately need a disclaimer. It goes as follows: please keep in mind that this is simply my opinion in relation to this issue; I do not expect anyone to agree or to disagree, and I am not trying to change anyone's mind about the issue in this short essay. Even if your stance on this issue puzzles, confuses, saddens, or angers me, I fully respect your opinion to have it. Please don't stop being my friend over an opinion; they happen, okay? I will be happy to engage in meaningful discussion or answer questions regarding this article.

On Happiness and Hatred: A Short Essay

Recently, I read a story posted to my Facebook feed about a woman who got pregnant under unpublished circumstances, and realized throughout her pregnancy that she didn't have control of her own person, and would not be able to provide adequate care for the child. As a result, she decided to carry the child to term and offer him for adoption. She was able to choose who adopted the baby boy, and chose a male gay couple, 2000 miles away from her home. She confirmed this decision even after staying in hospital for his initial care (he was premature), and wrestling with herself. She stated that she loved this child; he was a physical part of her for many months. Still, she knew she could not provide him everything he would need, and went through with the adoption process. She currently receives photo, video, and email updates, and visits whenever she gets the chance.
The comments for this story (which number upwards of thirty THOUSAND at time of writing), are split unevenly, with more support than not for the mother and the couple who adopted the baby boy. Much of the disapproval came in the form of just a simple "dislike," statement, but a lot of hate fell into the conversation. One person in particular pointed out an old fear that comes with this argument, "A child raised in a gay relationship will be confused about the world, and/or will become gay themselves."
Growing up in a world where this idea of "gay" was only really starting to blossom into what it is today, I've heard this concern stated many times. The argument is usually followed with the idea that children need both a mother figure and a father figure to create a balance in the family; a relationship of love and fear, trust and punishment, with the mother being associated with the former and the father with the latter. Many still argue that the necessity for a mother and father is to ensure that someone will be the breadwinner and the other will be the caregiver.
This argument may have held true in the earlier part of the twentieth century, when most women stayed home to care for children. But the family structure has evolved beyond what it used to be. Women now hire babysitters and nannies and work the same hours as their husbands or boyfriends. The idea of a dinner table is being lost to televisions in every room. Punishments have gone from the confinement to a room and removal of all entertainment to removal of computer and cell phone privileges. Yet, the idea of a family does not seem to change. Many women still feel bound by the "obligation" to be the only one to raise the children, to do the housework. Many still think even just being gay -- regardless of whether you're in a relationship or not -- automatically condemns you, makes you foreign.
Having experienced religion in an unfavourable way, I have never followed a named religion. I have my own spiritual beliefs which are not relevant here, but I realize that my opinion is not supported by the religious fervor with which many approach this issue. That said, I don't think anyone in a homosexual relationship is wrong -- everyone should be able to love who they love. In many ways, though, love itself is not the issue that comes up in these discussions; it is whether these couples should be "allowed" to marry or adopt children.
I personally do not believe in the conventional sense of marriage, having seen that this idea has too-often become a front for violence, betrayal, and other troubles. I have seen it be used as a mask for something far deeper and more troubling than the surface, and many will stay in a "marriage" for the "sake of their children," blindly believing that their children are ignorant to the often-horrible truth: that their parents hate each other.
Contrarily, I know full well that their are many marriages that go very well. There are couples who stay together for upwards of fifty years, staying close and loving the whole time. What I simply imply here is that my personal experience has led me to feel that marriage is not something that I personally am eager to participate in.
Given my view on marriage itself, I feel that everyone has the right to be "married," regardless if they are marrying someone of the same gender or the opposite one. Those who take the religious side claim that a marriage between individuals of the same sex is a sin, an affront to their deity. Some argue that it's offensive to their beliefs and that government law allowing same sex marriage attacks their right to conserve a true "marriage" as something under their god. Those for same sex marriage argue that denying marriage to same-sex couples is denying them their rights as people.
The question here, then, is whose rights is it more okay to violate?
I think that, since the actual institution of marriage is evolving naturally under the social, economic, and technological circumstances, that we perhaps just need to redefine what a "marriage" is, or perhaps come up with a better word. Are those who get married just by going to a judge to sign papers considered married, or not, because they didn't go to a church? Those against gay MARRIAGE suggest that same-sex couples be permitted to engage in a "civil union." Perhaps "Union" is the word that we're all looking for here. Maybe we all just need to think of marriage just as a union, but with a potential for different classes of union: A Union Under God, A Civil Union, all encompassed under the title "marriage."
The last point I guess I would like to make is that the level of care given to opposing homosexuality is astonishing to me. Why do so many people care? If it doesn't directly involve them, why should a person try to say who someone can and cannot love, or marry, or raise a child with? Next time you go to work with these ideas of hatred and disdain, ask yourself: how many people did you encounter today? How many of them are gay? Can you even tell?

We all deserve to be happy.

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