Gay and Lesbian Marriage

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Re: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

Unread postby James » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:59 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:To be honest and factual with her child. Marriage is not entirely analogous with love, and marriage doesn't even have to include love. Marriage is a civil institution, a formerly religious institution which was codified. Marriage, throughout history, has been many things..but never solely about love. To do otherwise would be to mislead her child about the realities of marriage and all of its implications. Also to let her child know that the reason behind the law may not be to 'outlaw love' at all, or have anything to do with love.

I would suggest this is a poor way to raise a child. If the child, as an adult, wishes to approach marriage from a utilitarian perspective (for example) that's great, but in younger years, it is more important for the parent to teach a child lessons which will reinforce success and happiness. As far as marriage goes, the most important thing to teach the child is to marry for love, and to view marriage as an institution of love. As they grow older the important things to address, again in this subject, are the important building blocks of a successful relationship or marriage, and how to make them a reality; and on the flip-side how to approach common relationship dangers, such as money.

You can't really treat children like college-educated adults because they're not.

They see the world through very different eyes.
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Re: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:06 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:
Shikanosuke wrote:To be honest and factual with her child. Marriage is not entirely analogous with love, and marriage doesn't even have to include love. Marriage is a civil institution, a formerly religious institution which was codified. Marriage, throughout history, has been many things..but never solely about love. To do otherwise would be to mislead her child about the realities of marriage and all of its implications. Also to let her child know that the reason behind the law may not be to 'outlaw love' at all, or have anything to do with love.


I agree with you to an extent. It certainly seems wrong and damaging to give children Disney-esque expectations about romance and marriage which may prove destructive to their future relationships. But, at the same time, love has been (if nowhere near the primary reason) integrally connected with marriage at least since the time of St Paul. The onset of the Industrial Era and the rising expectations correlating to quality of life made love a more important aspect (as opposed to utilitarian concerns about producing offspring and having a helpmeet, or political concerns about securing resources and stable relationships with competing powers). Marriage became, in essence, a means of socially recognising an exclusive sexual partnership with affection becoming a primary focus.

So the child's criticism of the law that it has the consequence of outlawing love, if not precise, is nonetheless a valid criticism. It is denying same-sex couples equal access to the social benefits of marriage, and in essence dehumanising or denying recognition to the way their lives are arranged.



Not coming to the discussion about equal access etc, I have to agree and disagree. Sure, love has been incorporated into our conception of marriage for some time now. At the same time, it still viewed as simplistic on many levels. People still get married for social reasons, be to merely to be married, it being proper that a woman marry by a certain age, to have children, or for economic security. I'd wager in this country the notion of being married for love wasn't so important 100 years ago. I think many people married for lesser reasons.


EDIT: I'm also not sure how valid it is, considering he lacks any information outside a mislead concept of what marriage is.

James wrote:I would suggest this is a poor way to raise a child. If the child, as an adult, wishes to approach marriage from a utilitarian perspective (for example) that's great, but in younger years, it is more important for the parent to teach a child lessons which will reinforce success and happiness. As far as marriage goes, the most important thing to teach the child is to marry for love, and to view marriage as an institution of love. As they grow older the important things to address, again in this subject, are the important building blocks of a successful relationship or marriage, and how to make them a reality; and on the flip-side how to approach common relationship dangers, such as money.

You can't really treat children like college-educated adults because they're not.

They see the world through very different eyes.


Sorry, I don't view misleading children as a proper way to raise a child. Note I didn't say it wasn't entirely antithetical, but that it wasn't entirely analogous. I find it folly not to let a child know that people are married for reasons other than love. Especially if you're discussing political views, why try to use a child like that?
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Re: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

Unread postby James » Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:32 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:Sorry, I don't view misleading children as a proper way to raise a child. Note I didn't say it wasn't entirely antithetical, but that it wasn't entirely analogous. I find it folly not to let a child know that people are married for reasons other than love. Especially if you're discussing political views, why try to use a child like that?

You're being a little idealistic here. Actually, you're being a lot idealistic. We are talking about very young children—children who have yet to form a fundamental understanding of what relationships are and how they should be approached and maintained—and at this stage in their learning it is most important to build a proper foundation for that knowledge. The other questions will come as they go through puberty and beyond. When the child in question has this basic understanding, that is when you can introduce a greater understanding, and even then, it is important to introduce negative things only where they serve to improve understanding of important factors in life.

For example, it would be stupid to teach a child about pro-marijuana views if that child does not already have a thorough understanding of drugs, what they do, and how to avoid them. You do not teach your child how to break into cars until that child has an understanding of the law and theft, and even then, you wouldn't share that knowledge unless your child were pursuing a career of, say, a locksmith.

Like it or not, there are times when a child is ready to hear things, and times when they're not. Times when honesty is great, and times when you need to be very careful; "Daddy, Timmy called me a disgusting fat monster!" A point at which their brains can comprehend things, and a point at which they cannot. A point at which they see things in a completely different light than they will five years down the road.

This is a big subject and one worth reading about (well, if you plan to become a parent; and I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest you're not). Developmental learning is wonderful to learn about, has many real-world applications, and should be something any parent has at least some knowledge of. Unfortunately, it seems only professionals who are responsible for children have any exposure to it.
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Re: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:48 pm

James wrote:You're being a little idealistic here. Actually, you're being a lot idealistic. We are talking about very young children—children who have yet to form a fundamental understanding of what relationships are and how they should be approached and maintained—and at this stage in their learning it is most important to build a proper foundation for that knowledge. The other questions will come as they go through puberty and beyond. When the child in question has this basic understanding, that is when you can introduce a greater understanding, and even then, it is important to introduce negative things only where they serve to improve understanding of important factors in life.


How is the one arguing for the realistic to be noted (when asked) idealistic when you're the one suggesting you teach the idealistic and therefore non-realistic viewpoint? Furthermore, if I stipulate to your viewpoint, it should invalidate any cute little comment from a child. Don't use a child saying 'they're outlawing love!' to make a point if they don't have the capacity to understand an iota of what they are saying. They can't be right if they don't know what they are talking about, and thus we shouldn't pay attention to such a childish and uninformed statement.


For example, it would be stupid to teach a child about pro-marijuana views if that child does not already have a thorough understanding of drugs, what they do, and how to avoid them. You do not teach your child how to break into cars until that child has an understanding of the law and theft, and even then, you wouldn't share that knowledge unless your child were pursuing a career of, say, a locksmith.


I think these are all poor analogies. Teaching a child about a subjective concept is quite different. In fact, many societies do teach differing views on the subject of marriage..many of them not centered around love as the sole reason of marriage.

Like it or not, there are times when a child is ready to hear things, and times when they're not. Times when honesty is great, and times when you need to be very careful; "Daddy, Timmy called me a disgusting fat monster!" A point at which their brains can comprehend things, and a point at which they cannot. A point at which they see things in a completely different light than they will five years down the road.


Again, that is fine. If you believe that though, don't use kids in political pieces as if they bring some sort of cute and unbiased knowledge.


This is a big subject and one worth reading about (well, if you plan to become a parent; and I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest you're not).


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Re: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:15 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:Not coming to the discussion about equal access etc, I have to agree and disagree. Sure, love has been incorporated into our conception of marriage for some time now. At the same time, it still viewed as simplistic on many levels. People still get married for social reasons, be to merely to be married, it being proper that a woman marry by a certain age, to have children, or for economic security. I'd wager in this country the notion of being married for love wasn't so important 100 years ago. I think many people married for lesser reasons.


I agree. My point was merely that love is more important in modern times, through a modern conception of what marriage is, than in pre-modernity. Marriage tended back then to be a far more hard-nosed, pragmatic institution (you want support in your old age, then damn it, you'd better get yourself some kids to work for you) than it is today.

James wrote:You're being a little idealistic here. Actually, you're being a lot idealistic. We are talking about very young children—children who have yet to form a fundamental understanding of what relationships are and how they should be approached and maintained—and at this stage in their learning it is most important to build a proper foundation for that knowledge. The other questions will come as they go through puberty and beyond. When the child in question has this basic understanding, that is when you can introduce a greater understanding, and even then, it is important to introduce negative things only where they serve to improve understanding of important factors in life.


Hm. On one level I agree with you entirely - a child's knowledge expands as it builds successive interpretive paradigms (what Hegel called Begriff) and basically throwing all new knowledge into that paradigm until it breaks (that is, when a datum comes along which contradicts that child's Begriff), at which point the child begins building a new paradigm to fit. It would be incredibly poor parenting to attempt prematurely to shatter a child's Begriff without regard for their learning process, and attempting to force them into one that is beyond their comprehension. A parent's role in a child's education should rather be cooperative, allowing the child to push against the boundaries of their comprehension largely on their own terms.

At the same time, though, how early do kids start asking questions about death? Four? Five? I think that I agree with Shikanosuke's general thrust that our culture has gotten much too squeamish about dealing with uncomfortable topics when they are brought up by children, largely to their detriment. For example, I got 'the drug talk' when I was still in elementary school, and I haven't been traumatised by it. Why can't 'the sex talk' be handled the same way, for example? Or, in this case, 'the marriage talk'?

(That said, I think my preferred moral content for 'the marriage talk' might differ considerably from Shikanosuke's...)
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Re: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

Unread postby James » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:30 pm

Maybe our disagreement here simply stems from a different understanding of relationships.
Or perhaps different experiences with relationships.
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Re: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

Unread postby James » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:40 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Hm. On one level I agree with you entirely - a child's knowledge expands as it builds successive interpretive paradigms (what Hegel called Begriff) and basically throwing all new knowledge into that paradigm until it breaks (that is, when a datum comes along which contradicts that child's Begriff), at which point the child begins building a new paradigm to fit. It would be incredibly poor parenting to attempt prematurely to shatter a child's Begriff without regard for their learning process, and attempting to force them into one that is beyond their comprehension. A parent's role in a child's education should rather be cooperative, allowing the child to push against the boundaries of their comprehension largely on their own terms.

Agreed with all here, including the last sentence.

The only qualification I would add is that during the developmental years a parent must be very careful what notions and ideas they introduce, especially when the child is forming their initial perspective. In the simplest possible terms, a typical child is learning all their first truths as they are first introduced to subjects. Because they accept this information without challenge, and will challenge contrary information as it comes along (not necessarily verbally), words and actions carry a disproportionate amount of weight. In any case, the real example of marriage is the one the kiddo gets from mom and dad.

WeiWenDi wrote:At the same time, though, how early do kids start asking questions about death? Four? Five? I think that I agree with Shikanosuke's general thrust that our culture has gotten much too squeamish about dealing with uncomfortable topics when they are brought up by children, largely to their detriment. For example, I got 'the drug talk' when I was still in elementary school, and I haven't been traumatised by it. Why can't 'the sex talk' be handled the same way, for example? Or, in this case, 'the marriage talk'?

I don't think there's actually a misunderstanding between us here. Some subjects can come along early (death, for example, can come along very early). Others later (there's a biological element to attraction-related topics). Any subject should be fair game when the child is ready to learn them, and when that is depends on the child's own experiences. The parent should be the guide, educating all along the way; not hindering. But the parent must know their child, and weigh the consequences of their words and actions as the journey unfolds.

I'm not sure where the drug talk example comes from. That's important information to convey to a child as soon as they're able to understand it, however early that might be. Probably even sooner in an effort to identify that point before classmates do. My example expressed the dangers of putting a positive spin on drugs—something the child will recall when they are offered drugs later—before that foundation is in place (not that I'd do that at any stage).

In any case, a parent finds they throw out most of their idealistic notion of parenthood once they actually become a parent and get to experience the way in which their child is growing and responding to all they say and do. There's no true substitute for actual experience here.
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Re: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:04 pm

My point is that when a child understands marriage enough to ask you why one marriage, which it recognizes as different than regular marriage, is illegal then the child is probably old enough to understand why society outlaws it. And I find it more responsible to explain it to the child then allowing him to believe that evil society is outlawing love. It can understand that love is not the only component of a marriage.
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Re: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:16 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:My point is that when a child understands marriage enough to ask you why one marriage, which it recognizes as different than regular marriage, is illegal then the child is probably old enough to understand why society outlaws it. And I find it more responsible to explain it to the child then allowing him to believe that evil society is outlawing love. It can understand that love is not the only component of a marriage.


There seem to be two different aspects of this argument going on, if I may venture an analysis.

Firstly, there is the aspect concerning parenting: essentially concerning what information and interpretations of that information should be withheld from the child (if any), and at what time.

Secondly, Shikanosuke, you seem to be taking issue with the point of view in the article that James linked, but I'm not exactly sure what it is about the article that you object to. Do you mean to say that the article itself offers no explanation for why society bans gay marriage and thus represents a naive editorial viewpoint? Or do you mean to say that the anecdote contained within the article is an example of poor parenting?

If the latter, I would argue that there is no indication that the parent narrating the article did not attempt to explain society's rules to her son.

If the former, there is a basic unfairness which the child easily grasps here - that two people who are of opposite gender have social sanction for their romantic feelings in marriage, and two people who are of the same gender do not have that social sanction. Regardless of whatever justifications there might be in perpetuating that unfairness, I don't think the young boy is mistaken or naive about the consequences.
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Re: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:01 am

WeiWenDi wrote:Firstly, there is the aspect concerning parenting: essentially concerning what information and interpretations of that information should be withheld from the child (if any), and at what time.


Indeed.

Secondly, Shikanosuke, you seem to be taking issue with the point of view in the article that James linked, but I'm not exactly sure what it is about the article that you object to. Do you mean to say that the article itself offers no explanation for why society bans gay marriage and thus represents a naive editorial viewpoint? Or do you mean to say that the anecdote contained within the article is an example of poor parenting?

If the latter, I would argue that there is no indication that the parent narrating the article did not attempt to explain society's rules to her son.

If the former, there is a basic unfairness which the child easily grasps here - that two people who are of opposite gender have social sanction for their romantic feelings in marriage, and two people who are of the same gender do not have that social sanction. Regardless of whatever justifications there might be in perpetuating that unfairness, I don't think the young boy is mistaken or naive about the consequences.


I take issue with the fact that the editorial seems to be attempting to use the child to put some immature point across. That is why I took issue with what the parent should have done. Its all cute and and nice when a child asks why the state may forbid two people, who may be in love, to take advantage of the civil institution of marriage. But that kind of naive view is useless. It is utterly useless. The child and his comment should not be used to make some poor political statement. Educate the child, then see if its answer is still all cute, naive, and cuddly.
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