Thursday, September 6, 2007


"A video used to teach junior school students about diverse families will no longer be shown after some parents mounted an aggressive campaign against it for including a depiction of same-sex couples.

"The Evesham Township School District, in southern New Jersey, voted 7-1 to discontinue using the video, 'That's A Family,' because had so divided the community.

"The tape was shown last school year to third grade students at J. Howard Van Zant School. It included various types of parents and families - divorced, bilingual, mixed race, parents who have adopted, and step-parents.

"But it was the same-sex couple featured that angered parents."

[See here to read the full article.]

I've written before why constructions labeled, "Civil Unions," will never be equated with "Marriage" in the eyes of most people, and that that designation confers same-sex committed love to a lesser, an inferior, a deviant status; only the designation "Married," will confer the dignity and all of the civil and sacramental rights that accrue to that institution.

Here we have a case in New Jersey, that the court and Legislature mandated have Civil Unions for that state that must be given the same rights as does Marriage. Clearly, in just the short time that Civil Unions have existed in New Jersey, we have seen how far short the dignity and rights of committed Gay couples falls compared to the dignity and rights accorded married same-sex couples in Massachusetts.

Had Marriage been institutionalized for same-sex couples, I seriously doubt that the School Board would have capitulated to a vocal group complaining about the depiction of same-sex headed households. Indeed, the incidence of such complaints would also have likely been far fewer than the incidence expected in places like New Jersey where, despite the existence of Civil Unions, there is still vocalized revulsion against the very idea that same-sex headed households can be included in a film that seeks to educate children about the diversity that exists in a pluralistic society.

Moreover, as long as Gay people settle for Civil Unions, and not demand full marriage rights, they are not only settling for second best, but are worse off than if Civil Unions didn't exist, in that the short-term gains of Civil Unions are far outweighed by the retarding they bring to the acquisition of Marriage; those who so capitulate, are tacitly affirming that their love is somehow inferior to, lesser than, and different from the committed love of Straight people.

As long as Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships are viewed as acceptable by both the Gay community and by the larger society, there is the tacit, and not so tacit, affirmation that same-sex love is inherently of a different order than opposite-sex love, and that designation and belief in it being of a different order translates to the word, "deviant," that further encourages the self-righteous to get away with complaining that they don't want their children or grandchildren exposed to "those people."

Only when Gay people, and Gay couples, are both "mainstreamed," and consequently viewed by others as being "mainstreamed" in the larger society, with all of the civil rights and liberties attendant to being fully equal to others, will there be increasingly fewer such strident complaints, and far less cowardly capitulation to those complaints. Then, and only then, will such complaints, and viewing LGBT people as "deviants," become things of the past, and not before!

That's why I view the designation of "Marriage" to be crucial, beyond the above points, because along with that institution and designation will flow all other civil and sacramental rights, as it is that very institution that confers a "legitimacy" that no other designation can or will afford!
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