Thursday, December 04, 2003

Loathing Disguised as Love

The sad thing about this column by Kathleen Parker is that she clearly thought she was displaying wisdom and tolerance when she wrote it. In the first half of the article she professes her profound love for her gay friends and for "well, the whole gay thing. I love my gay friends and relatives, not to mention my hairdresser; I love what gays do to urban neighborhoods; I love gay humor, gay style and whatshisname in 'My Best Friend's Wedding.'"

So, OK, Ms. Parker loves gays as long as they're entertaining her. In the second half of her piece, however, she reveals her truly virulent bias--a bias simply steeped in traditional thinking, which doesn't even begin to hold up under the lightest scrutiny. She says:

"Making homosexual unions equal to heterosexual unions -- the superior natural order of which cannot be disputed -- is not just a small step for equality. It is a gargantuan leap from a natural order that has served mankind throughout civilized human society."

Huh. Well, for thousands of years folks believed that men's superiority to women was part of a natural order too. And white people were supposedly naturally superior to blacks. Clearly, folks were wrong about those opinions, and they're wrong to believe that a heterosexual union is innately superior to a homosexual one, too OR that heterosexual parents are innately better than homosexual parents.

Elsewhere, Parker says, "Surely no one needs a scientific study to 'prove' what is written in our human DNA -- that sons and daughters need the qualities of both their parents, mother and father." Ignoring for the moment that she would rather ignore science and trust her gut, let's note that Parker says here that kids need the contribution of two parents, a male and female. Would she logically then say that a single parent couldn't raise a child as appropriately as a couple? If so, wouldn't a child of two gay parents be better off than the child of a single parent? Wouldn't the child of a gay couple certainly be far better off than the child of abusive heterosexual parents? In fact, don't the qualifications for being good parents have far less to do with traditional gender roles and whether one parent is male and one female and far more to do with specific qualities which should be valued in either gender: strength, tenderness, intelligence, tolerance, compassion, patience, and simple common sense, for example?

There are so many holes in Parker's arguments--arguments she declares beyond disputation--that I don't even know where to begin. Allow me to zero in on this one though: To pretend that a few thousand years of human tradition justifies discrimination is an outrage. In the larger scheme of things, ten thousand odd years of recorded human history is a drop in the bucket of time. Humanity is still young as a species and the sooner we escape the youthful trappings of hate and ignorance, the better.

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