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Monday, June 19, 2006

Logic has ceased to be

by @ 7:12 am. Filed under Guest Writer: Foeke

I read in Joe’s last post that DL Foster said

“While homosexuals exult over historical findings of homosexuality in ancient cultures they fail to see the obvious danger. All cultures which accepted and practiced homosexual pedophilia, particularly the Greco-Roman, vanished. The sordid images of pedastry left through iconography stand as grim reminders to the contemporary western world that such vile acceptance of the institutionalized abuse of young boys will end in destruction.”

Firstly, as is usual in DL Fosters circles, homosexuality is immediately equated with pedophilia. The organisations whose websites make for such good reads when you need something ridiculous to read time on time again “prove” that gay men disproportionally account for the molestation of young boys – a claim this page properly refutes.

Secondly, DL Foster apparantly single-handedly works out that pederasty (and thus homosexuality?) lead to the destruction of civilizations. The logic is thus as follows:

Following the same line of thinking, one may conclude:

It’s insane! A common denominator between several civilisations that have disappeared doesn’t prove a causal link! Both the Romans and the Greeks worshipped the Olympians. Who is to say that didn’t cause their destruction? Or the fact that they both border the Mediterrenean Sea?

Empires and civilisations come ago, as they always have. The Roman Empire lasted from 31 BC with the coronation of Augustus until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 – that’s nearly 1500 years. The United States has “only” existed for 230 years. When will these people learn that correlation does NOT establish a causal link?

Some fish live in the ocean. Does living in the ocean make you a fish?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

International Day Against Homophobia

by @ 5:04 am. Filed under Gay News, Guest Writer: Foeke

Today, May 17th, is the International Day Against Homophobia, organized by IDAHO. It takes place today because it is the 16th anniversary of the date that the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

If you have the time, please sign the on-line petition asking for international recognition of this event.

Monday, April 24, 2006

CWFA sums up a whole lot of lies

by @ 1:13 pm. Filed under Gay News, Guest Writer: Foeke

If you are looking for one page to pile up all possible lies, distortions and omissions when it comes to same-sex marriage: look no further. The Concerned Women for America have compiled the “Top 10 Reasons to Support the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment

This page goes all the way, from quoting studies “proving” gays and lesbians are more prone to domestic violence to stating that all proponents of equal marriage rights are out to destroy marriage itself. Over the course of time I shall quote particular “reasons” and attempt to logically refute them, with proper argumentation instead of the “they just are!” and “look at this Paul Cameron study!” arguments.

1) “Christians, Jews and Muslims would be forced to endorse behavior that they recognize as contrary to their beliefs.

This one is so self-righteous it’s beyond even the scope of sanity the Concerned Women must surely have stashed away somewhere in a dark corner. Do they really presume to speak for every christian, jew and muslim in the world? I know people of a wide-range of denominations and none of them thinks equal rights to marry force them to endorse behaviour – rather, they accept that people are all different. As an atheist myself, am I complaining that through “regular” marriage I should endorse behaviour I find contrary to my beliefs because I’m gay and they’re not? It’s ridiculous.

2) “If homosexual “marriage” is permitted, there is no logical stopping point at which to deny marriage to any combinations of people who want to “marry.”

Wrong again. As I referred to in an earlier post, this slippery slope argument really doesn’t fly. As keen as right-wing distorters are to quote studies referring to the destruction of marriage in the Netherlands and Scandinavia – even going so far as to lie and state that three Dutch persons who signed a cohabitation contracted had entered into a legal state of polygamy – they fail to mention that laws here in Europe still define marriage as a bond between two persons (whether these are two hetero’s or homo’s is, of course, subject to a particular country’s law). Neither in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada or South Africa (where equal marriage rights should be granted by December 2006) has any proposal yet been put forth to broaden marriage to allow any number of partners to enter into matrimony. Why? Because that’s not what marriage is. Marriage is ‘legally recognized relationship, established by a civil or religious ceremony, between two people who intend to live together as sexual and domestic partners; some dictionaries still have seperate entries under the article “marriage” to differentiate between marriage as it was everywhere before 2001 and what it might be since then, but nonetheless both meanings are defined under the same caption: marriage.

Claiming that extending full marital rights to two people regardless of either party’s gender will lead to people marrying three others and eventually their pets is just not a reality. I have yet to hear a single Dutch MP direct attention to the matter. It’s just not an issue because it’s not going to happen – marriage here has become gender neutral, but it’s still inherently and vehemently something two unite TWO persons. Not three. Or fifty-four.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Anonymous calls for maiming and killing of homosexuals in Michigan

by @ 12:52 pm. Filed under Gay News, Guest Writer: Foeke, Nonviolence

This is not a lie that needs to be replaced by the truth in the regular sense of the word, but as you may or may not have heard, an unknown number of persons has been chalking down violently anti-gay sentiments on the pavement of the Michigan Technological University. Among other things, it declared a “Kill a fag week“, asking the passers-by to “bring their own gun“, and informed readers that the author of the graffiti “kills any fag he sees” – the sentiments were supposedly brought on by the Pride Week organized on university grounds this week.

If you want to, there’s some pictures of the graffiti here. Please, anyone, if you have any information as to who did this, you should call 487-2216 and tell the Public Safety Commission of the university what you saw. After the sentiments were discovered, the university’s president issued a statement stressing the fact that the university should be open for people of all walks of life – which is more than can be said for the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky, where a student was expelled on April 10th last for outing himself on his personal website.

I can deal with people who either rationally or irrationally but PEACEFULLY explain their arguments against same-sex marriage, adoption and sex. What I find inexplicable are people who call for the mutilation and death of people because of an innate feature of their being.

And sadly, I cannot help but wonder if any major right-wing organization will denounce the cries for violence as displayed by this sick person in Michigan.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

The slippery slope: same-sex marriage and polygamy

by @ 6:24 am. Filed under Gay News, Guest Writer: Foeke

An argument that the religious right keeps shoving down our throats when it comes to legalization same-sex marriage – aside from the fact that gays and lesbians are immoral, disease-prone and promiscuous and therefore deserve no legal recognition of their relationships – is that it would open up a whole can of worms that they claim would lead to the legalization of polygamy.

As such, many of these right-wing organizations and news sources were over the moon when news reached the American press in September 2005 that three people had engaged in the first legal three-way marriage in the Netherlands. LifeSite, “your life, family and culture outpost” (which apparantly doesn’t really care if what they publish is accurate) therefore reported that

Many Canadian MP’s, journalists and marriage defenders warned that the degradation of marriage in law would lead from the legitimizing of homosexual relationships to polygamy. They have been roundly ridiculed for it by supporters of the same-sex “marriage” legislation. Now, with predictable promptness, the Dutch have proved that the warnings have been on the mark.

The article even includes a remark asking if Dutch citizens may also contract a marriage with animals.

Once again, the people so bent on proving the justness of their cause have either manipulated or misunderstood what actually occured in the Netherlands. Three people – a man and two women – visited their local notary and entered into a cohabitation contract (“samenlevingscontract”) – this is NOT state-recognized civil union or marriage. The fact that these three people agreed to share the rent of their appartment and celebrated their signatory status with rings and a honeymoon does not make it a state-sanctioned marriage.

The argument that the legalization of same-sex marriages in the Netherlands will lead to state-recognized polygamy is ridiculous. The Dutch marriage law still requires marriage to consist of two people – no more, no less. Prior to the amending of the marriage law, it read:

“A marriage can be contracted by two people of different sex”

Since the amendment entered into force on April 1st 2001, the law no reads

“A marriage can be contracted by two people of different or the same sex”

Not since, nor before, has any member of parliament ever petitioned to have the requirement of “two people” abolished or replaced with any number you fancy. Polygamy is not legal in the Netherlands, marriages of more (or less?) than 2 persons are not acknowledged and there is no intention to amend the law to broaden the marriage scope.

I know the rumour of “Dutch polygamy” has been well and truly debunked on a lot of websites (including ExGayWatch and Anonymous Liberal), but being Dutch I cannot help being angered at these lies and manipulations that are being hurled our way just to prove their faulty reasons to oppose marriage equality for TWO PEOPLE who love one another.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Lying to discredit same-sex marriages

by @ 5:43 am. Filed under Gay News, Guest Writer: Foeke

Same-sex marriages is currently one of the “hottest” items on the agenda of both conservative and progessive organizations in the United States. In Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain it is now legal for homosexuals to marry, and South Africa will follow in December 2006. In the US however, the debate is fierce; a significant number of states has adopted constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriages and an amendment to the US constitution is still seen by many conservatives as the ultimate mean to “protect marriage”; marriages legally contracted between to persons of the opposite sex in other countries are currently only recognized in Massachusetts, the one state to have legalized same-sex marriage – because they were forced to by the state’s highest court.

To keep the debate going and discredit same-sex marriages, the religious right often relays on distortions and manipulation of studies or just down right lies. For instance, in 2005 “Concerned Woman” (thanks for that, GoodAsYou.org) Robert Knight claims that

“For over 10 years Scandinavian countries have allowed same-sex marriage” and the proceeding to cite what devastating effect this has had on their precious “sanctity of marriage”, claiming that divorce rates have already been replaced by “family dissolution, because you have to get married to get divorced.”

The first gross negligence in their faulty logic is that no Scandinavian country – that is to say, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark or Iceland – has currently legalized same-sex marriage. What the Concerned Women are referring to is a system of registered partnerships, that has indeed been implemented in all these five countries since Denmark was the first country in the world to do so in 1989.

Secondly, as I have explained in a previous entry, the United States have the highest divorce rate in the western world (which I define as Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand). Perhaps referring to Scandinavia’s family dissolution instead of divorce, the CWFA is attempting to hide the fact that marriage isn’t all that sacred in countries that oppose same-sex marriages, civil unions or registered partnerships either.

Let’s take Norway for example. The Concerned Women claim that the family is viewed as an outdated institution in that country (they refer to Scandinavia as a whole, which is rather peculiar in my opinion). One presumes they have Norwegian statistics to back them up – instead they link to the Weekly Standard, a magazine well known for the neoconservative stance it takes. Perhaps the organization themselves took a look at Norway’s official Statistics Bureau on the web and to their dismay noticed that in the year civil unions were introduced in Norway – 1993 – the number of divorces and seperations had already been rising for years, effectively annulling their accusation that civil unions – same-sex marriage as they call it – contracted by homosexuals made the heterosexual part of the population view marriage as outdated.

The same goes for Sweden: although the divorce rates are indeed rising, the statistics show this had already been the case before registered partnerships were introduced in 1995; Iceland, same story. In all Scandinavian countries the number of marriages has increased since the 1980s.

So where does that leave us exactly? Scandinavian countries have not legalized same-sex marriage, but have provided for a system that gives couples certain benefits regardless of their gender; simultaneously, divorce rates have not suddenly risen considerably and the number of marriages has increased. If I were to employ the same “correlation proves a causal link” theory the religious right is so fond of, then I could even state unambiguously that

The legalization of same-sex marriages would cause a rise in marriage rates and therefore strengthen the heterosexual bonds of marriage.

But I won’t. I refuse to construe vague theories and conclusions from two seperate facts just because it strengthens my case. As long as we all remember – de gustibus non est disputandum.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Adoption by gays: harmful?

by @ 5:38 pm. Filed under Gay News, Guest Writer: Foeke

In the light of the non-violence policy of this blog I shall refrain from saying anything too nasty about the Traditional Values Coalition (or any organization really that slanders people just because of their sexual orientation), and just stick to the facts concerning adoption by gays and lesbians.

Like so many of their counterparts, the folks at Traditional Values posted a new report on their website on March 22nd, entitled “No homosexual adoption”. In the article preceding the report, the TVC claims that:

“there is sufficient scientific research to show that children who are brought up in homosexual homes are far more likely to express stresses and potential physical harm.”

The article mentions Ignatius Insight, a conservative catholic website, and the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH; my bold emphasis) as its sources. I cannot comment on the former since I have never come across their website, but to use “evidence” produced by an organization whose very name implies their position when it comes to homosexuality to substantiate your claims that homosexuals shouldn’t adopt really isn’t all that fair.

Many organizations of like-minded anti-gayness have posted similar pseudo-scientific reasons that are in favour of an adoption ban for homosexuals. Concerned Women for America even goes so far as to claim that gays and lesbians seeking to adopt are doing this for selfish reasons rather than with the child’s best interests at heart – undoubtedly the organization thinks these reasons include the “normalization of homosexuality”.
To return to the quote from the people valueing their Traditional Valies, the scientific research as mentioned above obviously does not entail research by institutions not including the “homosexuality is a choice and can be changed” in their mission statement. For example, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute concluded quite recently that “the body of research on gay/lesbian parents is relatively small and has methodological limitations” and that “children reared by gay and lesbian parents fare comparably to those of children raised by heterosexuals on a range of measures of social and psychological adjustment.”

In conclusion, the institute reports:

“Based on both the available research and growing experience, adoption by gays and lesbians holds promise as an avenue for achieving permanency for many of the waiting children in foster care.”

Of course, it’s entirely up to each individual to choose to believe either source. But it doesn’t end at the EBD Adoption Institute. Such organizations as the American Psychological Association (often discredited by anti-gay organizations for their removal of homosexuality from their list of mental disorders back in 1973) also back the principle that being lesbian or gay does not inhibit one’s ability to be a good parent:

“(…) beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents have no empirical foundation.”

The APA also refutes the claim that “children in the custody of gay or lesbian parents would be more vulnerable to mental breakdown, would exhibit more adjustment difficulties and behavior problems, or would be less psychologically healthy than other children”, saying “[r]esults of social science research have failed to confirm any of these concerns about children of lesbian and gay parents“.

Another APA – the American Psychiatric Association – affirms the Psychologists’ statement: “Numerous studies over the last three decades consistently demonstrate that children raised by gay or lesbian parents exhibit the same level of emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as children raised by heterosexual parents.”

Aside from the psychologists and psychiatrists, other large organizations supporting adoption by same-sex couples or gay or lesbian individuals include the Child Welfare League of America and the National Association of Welfare Workers (which is probably classified by anti-gay organizations as “advancing the homosexual agenda” because they are calling for equality); neither of these I have ever seen quoted in the anti-gay rethoric supposedly substantiated by “thorough research” showing that children raised by homosexuals develop all sorts of mental disorders because they have two dads or two moms.

Perhaps it is time for the people who make these outrageous sweeping generalizations to either have an independent authority conduct a professional experiment, or to inform the readers of their fear-mongering websites and magazines that there claims are not backed by any major organization in the field of expertise relevant to the subject.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Same-sex marriages and divorce rates

by @ 4:08 pm. Filed under Gay News, Guest Writer: Foeke

Opponents of same-sex marriage often fall back on the argument that legalizing gender neutral marriages would lead to the destruction of marriage as a sacred institution and make the divorce rates go through the roof. The Netherlands, as the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, and Scandinavia, the region that first introduced civil unions, are often used to "prove" this argument. CitizenLink, a website financed by Focus on the Family states:

"When the state sanctions homosexual relationships and gives them its blessing, (…) cohabitation and short-term relationships are the inevitable result."

Strangely enough, the official Dutch Bureau for Statistics (the CBS), reports conversely that in the Netherlands divorce rates are decreasing. Both the number of terminations of marriage, which include death of either partner, and the number of divorces have been going down steadily since 2001. Compared to the 37,104 divorces in 2001, in 2004 there were 16 per cent less divorces. So the myth that gay marriage will ruin "normal marriage" is wholly without merit, unless right wing organizations have gained the ability of clairvoyance.

Onto the accusation that broadening the scope of marriage will cause less heterosexual couples to engage in a marital status, because same-sex marriage supposedly encourages promiscuous behaviour and destroys the sanctity of "normal marriage":

It is true that in the year that same-sex marriages were legalized, there was a decrease of 7 per cent in the number of overall marriages contracted in the Netherlands. However, in 2003 they rose again, only to fall the next year. How will conservatives blaming homosexuals for the decrease in marriages explain the sudden boost in 2003? Was there an overall feeling of goodwill towards marriage in the "heterosexual community" all of a sudden? An act of defiance? Aside from the fact that correlation does not prove a causal connection, the number of marriages in the Netherlands has been decreasing steadily since the 1970s. In 1970, 90 per cent of women got married. Nowadays, that’s 75 per cent – and that drop didn’t spontaneously occur in 2001 because gays and lesbians were getting their licences. To compare: in 1994, 6.1 marriages were dissolved per 1,000 citizens in the Netherlands; of these only 2.35 occured because either party filed for divorce (by 2002 these figures had dropped to 5.7 and 2.05 respectively). In the same year, the US had 4.6 divorces per 1,000 citizens, giving it the highest divorce rate in the western world according to these Canadian researchers – begging the question, who needs to tell who to preserve the sanctity of marriage?

One last point I wish to make on the supposed promiscuity of gay men as opposed to lesbian women. It’s most often the men that are called child molestors and proponents of a sexual free-for-all; therefore, it’s perhaps interesting to note that marriages contracted between two men on average last longer than those of two women.

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