Wednesday, December 07, 2011
So, I came across this video last week, and I've been thinking about it ever since. I've wanted to have a response, even if it was simply my own private debate in the shower. Yet, I decided to write it out. Let it be the occasion for me to blog seriously on something after more than a year of silence and small, officious gestures of wit.
Here were my initial thoughts:
I always want to see what I can learn when I come across something like this. I'm a sucker for reason, so I would be amiss to not appreciate strengths and well-played points when I see them. I like this video, and Zach Wahls is clearly very gifted, educated, articulate, and someone I'd love to have a beer with (root beer, of course). He's no doubt very successful, and I'd hire him to do some engineering any day of the week. His Iowan drawl also makes him a captivating speaker.
He makes a great and compelling point: A lesbian couple can indeed raise a child just as competently as a heterosexual couple, and in some cases, probably better. No debate. Furthermore, it seems as though he has more of a promising future than most, period. He's definitely smarter than me--my ACT scores were, well, not in the 99th percentile. I will be the first to say that I agree with him that if I were to raise a son with similar accomplishments, I would indeed be very proud. As he mentions, I personally would never "independently" come to the conclusion that he was raised by a gay couple. So, does he have a point?
Yes, and no.
Yes, because he's right. Gays can raise competent, successful children. Successful in terms of becoming educated, morally upright (generally defined), influential, and outstanding citizens. And gays, no doubt, can have functioning relationships that are complete with affection and sacrifice and commitment. I would go a step further and say that those who hold a traditional view of marriage should not use poor examples of homosexual relationships as reasons against gay marriage, unless of course, we are free from hypocrisy.
No, because successfully raising children in the context of a loving relationship is no more a compelling argument for the legalization of gay marriage than to argue for the legalization--or mere commendation--of any other relationship (polygamy, incest, co-habitation, extra-marital affairs, etc.). This is a classic example of a red-herring fallacy--an argument that makes irrelevant and rhetorical points that distract from the essential issue. Basically, when I first watched this video, I was intimidated. As I've thought through it, I think I see why Mr. Wahls' argument doesn't fly for me. I'm ultimately unpersuaded by this well-articulated presentation because I don't think it really gets to the heart of why gay marriage should remain illegal. I have different notions of love, success, marriage, and overall relationships that are rooted in a worldview that Mr. Wahls and I do not share. Fair to him, I think we'd get along, but I have to part ways with his reasoning on this issue.
Now, I don't want to get in over my head. There are a number of issues here that deserve mentioning that I simply don't have the time or expertise to flesh out. I've left a few important things unaddressed, namely his huge statements regarding the law how family derives its definition and sense of worth from commitment and "the love that binds us." Frankly, that logic opens the door for all kinds of immorality--things Mr. Wahls would fire his employees over. If there were anything worth taking the time to address, it would certainly be that! I still may, depending on how the shower debates go.
For now, Keller is always helpful. Have fun thinking.
Put here by Eron at 1:20 PM