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Mon, Aug. 9th, 2010, 07:28 pm
[politics] Musings on Family First

This election is hotting up, with Family First bringing the issue of gay marriage to the forefront. Kind of odd, seeing as they seem to be the only ones obsessing about it. Family First lead candidate for Queensland, Wendy Francis, touchingly pleaded with the major parties to "end the gay marriage debate". An odd plea, seeing as both party leaders have stated they're against it. What more does she want them do; outlaw discussion on the issue? I'm in two minds about the media attention Family First is garnering. On the one paw, I'm pleased to see them being exposed as the bigots they are, but on the other I don't want their campaign to be getting any oxygen. I'm mindful of the old adage, "any publicity is good publicity" and I worry that this will actually increase their vote: ill-informed bigots may see this in passing and think to themselves, "At last! A party that stands up for what I believe in!" Those who can see through their flimsy logic probably weren't going to vote for them anyway.

But it does me no credit to condemn Ms Francis as a bigot without addressing the substance of her argument (such as it is). It seems the only way religious groups such as Family First think they can gain traction on this issue is by conflating gay marriage with other hot button issues; and what could be more emotive than the spectre of gay couples raising children? Now, if there is indeed "evidence" as Ms Francis claims (beyond her own prejudices) that gay couples inflict emotional abuse on children in their care, then surely any competent adoption agency isn't going to adopt out to a gay couple, no matter how legally married they are. Lesbian couples of course don't need to resort to adoption in order to "abuse" a child; a woman can legally have a baby regardless of her marital status. Is Ms Francis suggesting that any woman in the family way "caught" in a lesbian relationship have the pregnancy terminated or be forced to hand it over to an adoption agency? It seems to me that denying a committed lesbian couple the protections entitled to a heterosexual couple would be much more likely to inflict harm on the young child caught in the middle of their religious crusade. Family First would do themselves much more credit if they came out and admitted their real concern with gay marriage (or even civil unions) is about denying legitimacy to gay relationships. But I think a party that did a preference swap with the Liberty and Democracy Party (a party supposedly diametrically opposed to much of Family First's policies but still happy to share preferences with them) at the last election and allegedly proposed a preference swap with the Australian Sex Party at this election doesn't have much in the way of moral fortitude.

Mon, Aug. 9th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)

That's always a tough question — is it better to debate these people, even though thereby, you're lending some a priori validity to their positions, or is it better to ignore them, even though that means their claims will go unchallenged as a result? I guess it depends on how much leverage they already have with the general population (and the other parties).

Maybe the best thing to do is not so much to debate them on their grounds but rather advance your own position and provide a counterpoint. Don't acknowledge them, and don't validate their positions by accepting them; don't argue against *their* position, but rather argue in favor of your own.

Supporting the Australian Sex Party probably would be a good thing. :) (Well, depending on whether you otherwise agree with their stances.)

Mon, Aug. 9th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)

Now, if there is indeed "evidence" as Ms Francis claims (beyond her own prejudices) that gay couples inflict emotional abuse on children in their care

On the contrary: there are long-term studies following children through school and finding that kids of lesbians are psychologically well-adjusted and have fewer behavior issues than any other group. (They didn't study children raised by gay parents b/c it's comparatively a newer, smaller group; they went for more data points.) My personal, not-backed-by-statistics opinion from *mumblemumble* years of teaching is that there are a lot of side benefits to having gay or lesbian parents: they tend to be older, be well-educated, and be/have been dual-income. But those are ancillary: the biggest thing is that committed homosexual couples do not accidentally have kids. A child in such a family is wanted, has been planned for, and frequently fought for. A straight couple may also do this, of course. (Timothy, for example, was very much a planned pregnancy.) But gay couples must. And if there is one thing that I can point to, in all the kids I've taught over the years, that makes the biggest difference in a child's life, it's having a loving, committed, supportive family.

Wed, Aug. 11th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)

Oi, you coming to the rally for same sex marriage this Saturday? - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=121421167880153

Wed, Aug. 11th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)

That sounds like a good idea, especially now that FF has made it an election issue. Unfortunately, I'm already booked out this Saturday.

Wed, Aug. 11th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)

In America... Conservatives aren't necessarily the Christian Right...

Wed, Aug. 11th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)

Yes, we too have conservatives who are not from the Christian Right; they're not the ones I'm ranting about here. Family First is especially odious because, although their provenance is clearly from the Christian Right, they continue to deny it and insist they are only trying to represent "families" (with their own narrow definition of that word). At least the Christian Democratic Party are honest about what they are.