Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

In the midst of heated debates with other bloggers/commenters on issues like gay marriage and gay rights, it is easy to forget the many luxuries that I do have. For today I would like to forget about debating and just appreciate what I have in the now. Not only am I privileged for living in the United States, as a (relatively) free person, but I am privileged as a white woman who is educated and employed. While I have worked very hard to get to where I am today, I am not blind to the fact that I have also been privileged in many respects compared to what others in our own country and world face.

So, in great Thanksgiving tradition, here are the things for which I am thankful:

-the delicious food I will eat today (most importantly)
-my family and friends
-my girlfriend who, I have no doubt, loves me very much and is good to me (even when I spend too much time in the blogosphere)
-my dog, who also loves me (unconditionally)
-that I have a stable job in tough economic times
-my career is one of a select few in which job prospects will only increase for me over time
-that I am furthering my education and learning a great deal
-that many people in our country likely set aside personal prejudice to vote for Obama, and that he won
-that nearly half of our country believes in equal rights for gays. While, of course, not ideal by any means, it is a huge step from where we were even 10 years ago.
-other bloggers and commenters (on all sides of any debate that I enter), for they truly help me sort out issues, strengthen my arguments, and encourage me to delve much deeper in my thought processes.

Thanks to all who have helped along the way, and have a great day!


Seda said...

Hey,Jane, good things to be thankful for! Hope your Tday was great.

Grace said...

Happy Thanksiging, Jane!

I Love you very much.


John Howard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Howard said...

Hello Jane and friends, Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

So, with Prop 8 and Obama both winning comes a great opportunity to get equal protections and federal recognition to same-sex couples via Civil Unions that are defined as "marriage minus conception rights".

California cannot go back to giving same-sex unions equal rights but under a different name, because the Supreme Court said that was unconstitutional. There has to be a difference in rights so they are no longer substantially similar to marriage. The court didn't say that same-sex couples must be given the rights of marriage.

So, California has to come up with a new definition (well, they could just ignore the court decision, which seems to be the plan). I suggest (and here is where you come in, Jane) that we push for a new definition that will make it possible for Congress to give federal recognition as marriages. Congress is not going to find consensus to give recognition to Civil Unions or marriages, in spite of Obama's desire to and Congress's Democratic majority. It just isn't a viable solution, too many people oppose CU's that are marriage in all but name, and it isn't constitutional or logical. It won't be a real resolution, it will leave too many questions and raw feelings.

But if we preserve marriage in a principled way, and make a principled distinction between marriage and civil unions, I think it would be a great resolution that will help same-sex couples and make like really good for everyone.

Please don't pass up this opportunity, please don't insist on same-sex conception rights, please accept that people should have a right to conceive with someone of the other sex, only.

This is where the debate is now, y'all. Let's achieve equal protections now with the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise.

Grace said...

errr.... giggle.

Jane Know said...

Do you know something the rest of us don't? I am willing to listen if you can provide sound evidence.

John Howard said...

about Prop 8, or support for DOMA, or what? I was making pundit-style observations based on my reading of the situation as it stands.

I'll start again with a general point that you might agree with: in figuring out what to do in California (assuming Prop 8 stands) we should take into account other states and the federal DOMA debate, with the goal of achieving federal equal protections ASAP.

John said...

"But if we preserve marriage in a principled way, and make a principled distinction between marriage and civil unions"

We already have a principled distinction between marriage and civil unions.

Marriage is a clearly understood system of rights, benefits and responsibility, and civil unions are subject to challenge and the whim of petty officials.

Civil unions kinda suck.

John Howard said...

Exactly, that's not a principled distinction, is it? That's why they suck and no one likes them. Protecting conception rights in marriage and prohibiting attempting conception in Civil Union is a principled distinction, reflecting what should also be the difference in rights for same-sex couples and both-sex couples.

I think if people accepted and understood why there is a distinction, then Civil Unions would be accepted by everyone.

Jane Know said...

John Howard, can I just get a clarification in your own words, why you are against genetic engineering? What are your fears concerning furthering technology in the field of genetic engineering? And where does all that stop? Is it only when dealing with procreation? Or are you against using genetic engineering to fight certain diseases?

I am honestly asking you, no ill-will here. I am just curious.

John Howard said...

Creating people with modified genes will require spending tons of money on research and then funding a huge government agency to regulate and approve conceptions, and we'll have to do everyone's baby this way, in order to allow every baby the advantages of genetic engineering. It'll threaten our natural conception rights, by making it right to choose modified or third-party genes instead of your own. At first it would be "liberal eugenics", supposedly free choices by the parents, but the fact is parents will be coerced to choose the improved genes, and eventually we will flat-out prohibit people from using their natural genes, and subject everyone to genetic tests before allowing their conception.

Even if it that stuff is just future possibilities that might or might not happen that way, the bad effects of genetic engineering being a possibility are felt right now in the present. It makes us currently disrespectful of marriage, for one thing, and family, and sex, and confuses children who might be thinking that it doesn't matter what sex they are, because the future will be postgendered and transhuman. It causes us to waste money and resources on research instead of helping and caring for sick people right now and looking for causes of diseases.

I've written lots of little essays like this, some better than others, you can find them at my blog and here's some recent ones at Volokh Conspiracy. I recommend reading Bill McKibben's Enough, CS Lewis's Abolition of Man, Brave New World, watching Gattaca, etc. Also, reading the insane books in favor of genetic enhancement by John Harris and Jonathan Glover and visiting some Transhumanist blogs will open your eyes to how blind they are to the world around them and how misanthropic and devoid of meaning their view of life is.

Jane Know said...

Thank you John Howard. I have read a couple of those books already, but I will definitely look into some of the others. There are a couple of things that I (off the cuff) agree with that you said, and some that I don't. However, I would like to become more informed on the entire general topic.

However, I think we should switch to a different forum to discuss these. Maybe I could venture to your blog? Or would you like to do a guest post here?

John Howard said...

My blog would love some new comments, thank you very much. Musclehippy needs some company.

I don't have a recent comment feature though, it's too old. But I'll get an email if you post a comment on an old post, so pick any that interests you, or, feel free to make any general point you want to make in the most recent post if you want my few lurkers to see it too.