Single Gal and What Topic is Off-Limits?

As we gear up for the election in a few weeks, I thought about a few situations that bring up a question for our public schools. We have all seen the advertisement for Proposition 8, where a little girl comes into the kitchen and tells her mom that today in school she learned that a prince can marry a prince and she can marry a princess. Then the deep voice comes on and says something to the effect of: “Don’t want this to happen to you? Well it can!” (A scare tactic at it’s worst, isn’t it?)

This raises the question: Should this topic be off-limits when it comes to our kids?

Regardless of what you feel about gay marriage and its morality, it is a fact in our society. Yes, many people are trying to block it, but that doesn’t make it any less real (right, Gavin?). So: Are teachers supposed to glance over this topic because some don’t agree?

I think arguments can be made for the age-appropriateness of the topic (just as sex education should not be taught before 5th grade). But are public schools supposed to make moral judgments like this—such as not mentioning that there are many types of families?

In schools now, there is a large push to be “multicultural,” that is, to make sure classrooms are stocked with books with African American characters, for example, so that children don’t always see the same white hero or heroine in their literature. What about the student or child that may be having questions about his or her own sexuality? Should they be given the same consideration, so that they don’t feel so alone or different?

That is a moral issue that can probably be argued to death right here. But the question is: Who are we hurting by not acknowledging this topic?  Is it for people who disagree with the whole concept, or are we forgetting about our kids? 

It is a sticky issue that I am sure will be debated for years to come. Remember, there have been times in history when many other groups were treated this way. And history was written as a biased, white-centric story. Are we censoring history by not including this?

I will brace myself for the comments to come….

36 Comments

  1. Why are proponents of tranditional man/woman marriage depicted as haters, equivalent to racists?

    Can’t people live with and love who they want, and have the same rights as everyone else, without changing the definition of marriage?

  2. 1: This “definition of marriage” is such crap. It’s an argument made of cardboard. Are women still property? Are interracial unions still illegal? Was “marriage” even a word when God supposedly created man and woman? Marriage has never been static and you know it.

    Yes, you are a bigot hiding behind flimsy shelter because you’re afraid of how your hate will be viewed by the rational among us. I guess you’re free to hate, though, so long as it doesn’t impact anyone else (like with this ban).

  3. Good post.  Even if Prop 8 passes, there are still families out there that are untraditional.  Are we going to prevent children from learning about them?  When your child goes to the house of a friend and discovers that she is being raised by a same-sex couple, what then?  Are you going to pretend they don’t exist?  Are you going to ban them from associating with the girl (good luck with that)?  Or isn’t that a teachable moment?  Shouldn’t our teachers (whether they be parents, or those in school) help our children understand these various situations? 

    Again, that doesn’t change regardless of Prop 8.  Prop 8 won’t prevent these non-traditional families.  It will only stigmatise them.  Either way, our children are going to learn about them, whether you like it or not.

  4. #1: Take your second sentence and change it to “can’t blacks live in our society and have the same rights as everyone else, but just use separate water fountains and bathrooms?”  Separate but equal is always separate, but never equal. 

    And who cares about the definition of a word.  Preserving a dictionary definition of marriage isn’t going to help the child being raised by a single mother with a father in jail, or the one being raised by a drug-addicted father whose mother died when he was 1.  It certainly won’t prevent the pain and personal issues that result from the divorce of a child’s parents. 

    Who exactly are we protecting here?  Just your cultural sensitivities, as far as I can tell.

  5. “your hate will be viewed by the rational among us”

    Classic.

    I suspect that Nov. 4 is going to be a rough day for the “rational among us”.

    Any chance we can get early warning APB’s on 11/4 to help us avoid accidentally bumping into the “rational among us”?

  6. Nam-  Wow, now I’m full of hate, a bigot and irrational.

    Let me ask you this.  Should I be punished for my belief?  Not be allowed to vote?  Should I have to attend a program to teach me that my views are wrong and the state’s are right?

  7. Single Gal,

    How are we supposed to argue about a “moral issue” when the state, in overturning the Ban on Gay Marriage, effectively declared that the people of this state have no say in the matter? Using the specious standard of “real and appreciable harm” to replace the collective values of the people, the state court put us on all notice that it, not the people, is the final arbiter of morality.

    What public schools do or don’t do with sex education is no longer for you or I to say. Should the court rule that the failure to teach pre-schoolers about gay people, transsexuals, or cross-dressing daddies does “real and appreciable harm” to an identifiable group, then it shall be done. Likewise, should the court rule that teaching fourth-graders about masturbation is necessary to protect them from the “real and appreciable harm” caused by ignorance, shame, and parental scorn, then count on the kiddies bringing home illustrated copies of “Secret Toys for Big Girls and Boys.”

    But before any of you liberal thinkers start celebrating the great victory, consider…

    A future conservative court ruling that the failure of schools to fully (read graphically) educate fifth-graders about the harsh realities of abortion exposes them and the unborn to the “real and appreciable harm” of naivete, ignorance, and political indoctrination. Or that the failure of the university system to adhere to strict admission standards of achievement and intelligence, without regard to race or gender, does “real and appreciable harm” to high achievers.

    How long before an insomniac trumpet player asks the court to protect him from discriminatory laws regarding late night noise limits? Why should the “normal” majority be allowed to do “real and appreciable harm” to him and his musical future?

    We’ve fashioned our daily lives around a culture composed of the majority opinions of countless generations. It is a culture that defines and comforts the majority. Americans don’t take siestas, dine late at night, or allow plural marriage—even though some would like to change this. Californians banned gay marriage because the traditional definition of marriage suited them, as would be expected were they asked to vote on most any tradition. This is not evidence of hate, it is evidence that we are normal. All cultures fight for their traditions.

    The only way we allow the court to dictate morality is to agree that we can’t. Prop 8 is a chance to send a message.

    Nam Turk, when you find evidence that a people anywhere, at any time in history, has thrived without having defined its own customs and morality, then your I-know-hate-when-I-see-it bullshit might sound like something besides politically-correct intolerance. But until then, your calling anyone a bigot for simply defending tradition is indefensible.

  8. Nam and Traditional: It was my turn to moderate the forum this morning, and I meant to delete this statement: “you are a bigot.” Apparently there was a technical glitch and it got through.

    That kind of statement violates our Comment Policy, which disallows “comments that constitute a slur against a person or group.”

    Nam: If you judge a statement as bigoted—that’s fine. The problem is taking the next step, and judging that the person making the statement is a bigot.

    Many blogs have similar rules against “ad hominem” attacks, defined as “attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his/her argument.”

    Nam, I don’t mean to be a scold here; you are a valued member of this community.  We just need to keep things civil.

    SJI’s Comment Policy is posted at the bottom of the home page; you can find it here: http://www.sanjoseinside.com/sji/blog/Comment_Policy/

  9. SG- You’ve asked some very good questions, and your column is very thought provoking. I think we under estimate our children. They are pretty incredible, flexible, accepting beings. Hence the term, “Out of the mouths of babes.” It is our fears, judgments, and attitudes that turn them from accepting to intolerant.
    My own personal opinion is that voting yes on 8 is a vote to encourage discrimination, and to create inequality. I will be voting NO on 8. And as others have already stated, the problem of explaining non-traditional relationships, families, unions, commitments, marriages, whatever you want to call it, won’t disappear after Nov. 4th, whether Prop 8 wins or loses. Teachers are not supposed to be judgmental they are educators who are just supposed to teach the facts, nothing more, nothing less.  Parents are the ones who are supposed to provide their children with the rest.

  10. Traditional, #1: 

    The answer to your first question is because it is often easier to discredit political opponents by trying to associate them with an extreme subsection on their side (see Obama/Ayers).

    Regarding the second question, I’d have to say no – it’s not possible for everyone to have all the same rights if you are denying some people the right to marry.  I guess you could say that gay couples should be able to enter into civil unions that confer ALL of the same rights and responsibilities as marriage without calling it marriage, but then I don’t really understand the hang-up regarding what it’s called.  If, however, you want to say that gay people should only be allowed to live together or that civil unions should not confer ALL of the same rights and responsibilities as other marriages, then it is clearly not treating people equally.

  11. How sad that we even have to engage in this discussion. The ignorance displayed by some is astounding. I don’t mean that as an insult—someone lacking knowledge or awareness is ignorant. You can become educated if you so chose.

    You are certainly entitled to believe what you want just as I am entitled to disagree.  You can wrap your belief in whatever flag you want to, but don’t complain when others call you for being disingenuous.

    The anti-gay folks pushing for Prop. 8 know exactly what they are doing and we know exactly what to call it. If you don’t like same-sex couples being allowed to marry, OK. But when you try and prevent them from doing so, then you cross the line.

    If same-sex couples want to marry it doesn’t impact my heterosexual marriage one bit and it doesn’t impact my children either. I hope they learn about all aspects of our society and appreciate that if two people love each other and are committed to each other that’s all that matters.

    It is sad that so many are spending so much to prevent people from entering into a loving a committed relationship. Must be nice to have nothing better to do.

  12. How do civil unions “prevent people from entering into a loving a committed relationship”?

    If civil unions don’t provide all the rights that put them on a par with marriage, then fix civil unions.

    See how easy that was?

  13. I am in favor of parental notification any time California’s chickens spread their wings to engage in same sex marriage while on a bullet train.

  14. Frustrated Finfan said “the state court put us on all notice that it, not the people, is the final arbiter of morality.”

    No it did not. The State Court put us on notice that it is discriminatory to ban gay marriage. They based their findings on fact and law. Morality had nothing to do with it. The law is black and white, and it doesn’t care about morality. Thank God.

    We have a beautiful lady, who has weathered many a storm, and conflict standing blindfolded, holding a torch in a New York harbor reminding us that freedom, equality, liberty and justice is what makes our nation great. It is part of what makes me love the law, this country, and its people so much.

    Unlike other countries, whether we see eye to eye on issues or not, whether we chose the same traditions or not, we are lucky enough to have the freedom to express and/or live them, supported by laws and Constitutions to guide us properly.

  15. To Traditional and the usual devil’s advocates,

    I concluded my post with this: “I guess you’re free to hate, though.” It means that we live in country where you can believe whatever you want. People are free to practice their religion even if it preaches hatred of other lifestyles. That is their tradition and I already conceded that it is their right to adhere themselves.

    However, that doesn’t change the fact that people should not be able to impose such beliefs on others. Yes, the beliefs are perfectly legal but yes, they are also bigoted. Stop playing the anti-PC card and just assess the situation before you. Being an internet rebel solves nothing.

  16. SG,

    Thank you for raising this very important issue. Prop 8 was created by those who fear the reality that gay people reside among us – no longer is the gay community forced into hiding, often pretending to be straight just to be able to live in peace. In spite of this, the sad fact is that there are still many gays and lesbians who are in hiding – even here in beautiful Northern California where we pride ourselves on being accepting of others.

    One of the jobs of the Supreme Court is to recognize when the fears of a vocal group is impinging on the civil rights of a minority. Earlier this year they did just that and recognized that the State Constitution was not discriminatory and does allow same sex couples to marry.

    The proponents of prop 8 are putting forth all manner of silliness, based on information unrelated to our state laws, hoping that they will stir up enough fear in well meaning people and cause them to vote for prop 8. I certainly hope that the voters of California can recognize fear mongering when they see it and vote No on Prop 8.

    Everyone knows someone who is gay – and if you think you don’t you are fooling yourself. Do you really want to say to a friend, coworker or family member that you don’t want them to have the same rights as straight couples? The ability of same sex couples to marry does not affect the institution of marriage, it does not affect you.

    Think very carefully about why it is you are so fearful of same sex marriage. It wasn’t that long ago that mixed race couples were forbidden to marry. The same issues are at stake here. Be unafraid of allowing same sex couples to marry, be unafraid of a more loving world, vote No on 8.

  17. A majority of Californians, and in other states, voted to continue the tradition of marriage, necessarily excluding same sex marriages. Were they all haters? Please. Lots of opponents of gay marriage use the Bible, god, and religious arguments to defend their position. Others base their decision on custom—which everyone, including gays would defend vigorously—depending upon the custom. Still others will object to gay marriage based on the semantics of the issue. How can “marriage” be marriage? It’s puzzling how a huge group of same sex folks, proud not to be “straight”, therefore, proud not to be “equal”, want to be equal—especially when
    equality before the law in most civil matters is possible—without “marriage”. The Canadian Supreme Court, usually far more liberal than the 9th Circuit Court has taken the position that legislating social change via gay marriage is a specious strategy. The PC folks are energized, at any rate; if you disagree with their bullshit you’re subhuman. What does that make them? At least SJI knows enough to keep the discussion civil. George Green

  18. George Green, here is your post:

    – You make no distinction between upholding a custom and excluding people from that custom. Marriage is not being banned here. Gay marriage is.

    – You insinuate that gay people began this whole spat by claiming that they’re proud of who they are, thus they are proud to NOT be what they aren’t. If they wanted to be different, they wouldn’t be fighting for the right that straight people have.

    – You defer to Canada as rationale for our laws. Why should their decisions determine ours? We aren’t voting for or against gay marriage in almighty Canada.

    – Civil discussion does not include jabs at politically correct “bullshit.” This is an issue of legal rights, not complaints about offensive language in a sitcom.

  19. Kathleen,
      The U.S.Supreme Court said Obama will lose and Gay mariage was a practice of siners.
      Don`t worry about the U.S. economy, it`s just fine. Chill out!

      Bless you Kathleen.

  20. As a single person I feel marriage is one of the more absurd social conventions we practice.  If someone is foolish enough to get married then that is their problem.  End of discussion.

  21. Funny how the same people who mock others for “wrapping themselves in the flag” find it irresistible, when given the chance, to elevate their every cause to a civil right.

    Prior to gays declaring the marriage issue one of civil rights, California law did not prevent any single adult, even a gay one, from marrying. What the law did do was to define marriage based on American and Western tradition. Thus, the gay marriage campaign was never about winning a previously deprived right, it was about changing the definition of marriage to suit them. In this their cause was no more nor less noble than had the campaign been by polygamists—a group that no one here seems to be championing.

    The question regarding the definition was tested and decided by Californians some years ago, and what they did was to affirm the original definition, not deprive any group of their rights. Of course, this particular group, one with considerable means and substantial support from liberal America, was not satisfied with majority rule, so here we are today, with a self-righteous minority group trying to hoodwink voters with the guilt card.

    The gay marriage campaign has been disingenuous from the onset. First they found a mayor who did not believe in the sanctity of the law (except for the law that gave him mayoral authority), then they found a judge, one gifted enough in wordplay to discover in the law a “right” that had gone undiscovered by all of civilization. Now, after the good people of California reacted as would be expected of any disrespected majority, they find themselves subjected to character assassination, branded as bigots, and accused of denying gays their human rights.

    There is no doubt in my mind that had Justice George and the court—the lawyers who discovered this “right,” ruled differently, they too would’ve been branded as bigots and accused of depriving gays of their rights, even without their “right” having been validated at any level. This campaign has from the start had zero respect for our legal system or the rule of the people. It has always been about people with MONEY and POWER waging an endless campaign to define marriage, civil rights, justice, and morality according to their self-serving terms.

    MONEY and POWER over the WILL OF THE PEOPLE. My, what a noble cause.

  22. I’m for traditional marriages.  I’m voting yes on proposition 8. Simple as that.  Feel free to call me names like hater and bigot, because it only goes to show that your more intolerant of my beliefs then I am of yours.

  23. #22,

    Seeing as how you have, because of your beliefs, been branded as intolerant by that great arbiter of all things moral, Nam Turk in Eastside, I suggest you seek professional counseling for a cure before Turk and his kind get the reeducation camps and gulags of their dreams.

    Oh, and don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking yourself adequately cured until you can’t, upon seeing naked homosexuals dancing in a parade down the main street of your town, help but enthusiastically exclaim, “Oh my, isn’t that wonderful!”

  24. Just a public service announcement to fellow SJI bloggers.

    ‘BLT’ is now considered hate speech by the Cuban editors at SJI.

    Going forward you must fully spell out the acronym. 

    When referring to a BLT sandwich, be sure to spell it out.  ie. Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato.

    When referring to BLT as in the oppressed, deeply loving, warm, caring, compassionate community that is currently having their human rights violated by the fascist, non-rational, jackbooted amongst us, be sure to fully spell it out.  ie. Bisexual, Lesbian, and Transgender.  And don’t forget to capitalize lest you be accused of an intolerant smear or slur of some sort.

    This now concludes this public service announcement.

    Gotta run, I’m off to thought camp.

  25. I just wanted to share with you how out of hand this issue has become. I was driving down 880 tonight, on my way to the County Building for a meeting. While driving, a group of Yes On 8 people were lined across the over pass. They were dropping things down onto the freeway to get the attention of drivers below. Everyone was slamming on his or her breaks trying to avoid what was being dropped. We were almost in a 10-car pile up thanks to these irresponsible idiots. I called the CHP and they informed me that they had already received at least a dozen calls from outraged citizens, and were on their way to take care of it.

    Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think this is the most dangerous irresponsible behavior I have ever seen by a group of ignorant people. And the worst part, they were ALL teenagers! Now how can we expect our young people to do any different, when adults are behaving just as badly? Is causing a pile up on the freeway, and possibly killing some innocent person, or family worth getting your way or your position heard? I think not.

  26. Haha, finfan, so if you legalize gay marriage, then gay men will strip and dance on your street? It sounds like you’re struggling with some issues if your mind immediately jumps to that point when dealing with all matters “gay.” You’re so manly!

  27. 23-

    I find it laughable that people say that we are trying to force our views on them.  I think it’s the other way around. They are the ones that are trying to pass this gay marriage agenda. So I think they are trying to force their beliefs on me and society.

  28. This is a message for Agent “Novice” (26) from “Fidel,” the Chairman of the Peoples Committee of San Jose Inside. We would like to offer you a promotion to the job of Minister of Counter-intelligence. No need to fill out the application or attend “thought camp.” You have already proven that you have the right stuff for the job. You can signal your acceptance with a post using the codeword: Siberia.

  29. “Agenda?” There goes another neo-con buzzword. Do you even know what it means? Can you describe this agenda? Does it include world conquest right after achieving equal rights?

  30. Since contracting mercury poisoning from a broken CFL lightbulb awhile back, little Grinder’s condition has taken a turn for the worse and he’s now in a pug sized iron lung.

    As I’m on a round the clock Grinder vigil I barely have time to attend thought camp – much less serve as SJI’s Minister of Counter Intelligence.

    PS.  Afghanistan banana stand.

  31. #28.  What is laughable is the accusation that the NO on 8 side is trying to force views on anyone.  It’s not the NO side that put something on the ballot.  The YES side is the one trying pass something.  Putting something on the ballot and pushing for it to pass is the very definition of forcing views on somebody.  Otherwise, the NO side is for the status quo.

  32. 32-
    I guess you have a short term memory and forgot that Californias overwelming voted against gay marriage and because the courts overturned the will of the people that we even have to have propostion 8.

    27- Have you ever even been to a gay parade? Give me a break. 

    And to all of you nay sayers who say that proposition 8 campaign is lying about schools teaching about gays. Here is an article about a school in Hayward teaching their gay agenda to the kindergarten students.

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.printable&pageId=78829

    but then why would you care since your trying to endoctrinate your own morality on children so they will be accepting of this lifestyle.

  33. Just got back from thought camp.  Today was really exciting – we’re learning new songs!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2nhr5zq_5A
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l46t_nrySg4

    There’s a lot of words and stuff but Teacher Vladimir is a really good and super patient.

    The bland snacks I’m not so crazy about but the good news is that the headaches I used to get in my first few thought classes have gone away.

    Well, dasvidania for now.  (that’s a new word I learned!)

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