Seablogger Alan Sullivan points indirectly to a George Weigel article in Commentary on . . . something. Culture Wars A and B, or some such matrix. There's an edge of barely suppressed pre-hysteria to the Weigel piece, which could easily be reduced to a single sentence: The European project is doomed by demographics and by the elevation of the myth of tolerance. That's a debatable point. I'm obviously no optimist, but as I've noted elsewhere on this blog, the eschatological imagination is essentially narcissistic--what generation, after all, is more important than the final one? Hence the delusion among Christian millenarians, various socialists, and pre-repentence Fukuyamans that each stand at the edge of the end of history.
Nonetheless, I'm struck by the same passage as Mr. Sullivan, which I'll also reproduce here:
Earlier this year, five days short of the second anniversary of the Madrid bombings, the Zapatero government, which had already legalized marriage between and adoption by same-sex partners and sought to restrict religious education in Spanish schools, announced that the words "father" and "mother" would no longer appear on Spanish birth certificates. Rather, according to the government’s official bulletin, "the expression 'father' will be replaced by 'Progenitor A,' and 'mother' will be replaced by 'Progenitor B.'" As the chief of the National Civil Registry explained to the Madrid daily ABC, the change would simply bring Spain’s birth certificates into line with Spain’s legislation on marriage and adoption. More acutely, the Irish commentator David Quinn saw in the new regulations "the withdrawal of the state’s recognition of the role of mothers and fathers and the extinction of biology and nature."You can see what I mean about the hysteria: "the extinction of biology and nature!" Gracious.
However. Friends, acquaintances, and colleagues routinely express shock when I, as a gay man, express my disapproval of gay marriage and my discomfort with the notion of gay parenthood (by which I mean, the "married" same-sex couple with child(ren) acting out a facsimile of so-called traditional marriages and parenthood). Do I not wish to be equal?
To which I reply: not particularly. Regarding marriage, it seems odd to on one hand grant the institution social primacy and eternality, as if the union of two coequal partners for life till death were indeed the principle foundation of all things good, decent, and fair, while on the other hand arguing for the revision of that relationship by pointing out the dramatic changes in institutional marriage from the days of the Patriarchs through the days of Rome through the various Medievalisms and on down to the present day, Mormons and other sidetracks y compris. Leaving lesbians aside, I have my sincere doubts about the capacity of two men to live in monogamous matrimonium for their entire lives, and I certainly see no reason to tether myself or my shield-carrier to a life of sexual repression simply so as to acquire a swifter and less expensive means to assuring hospital visitation rights or durable powers of attorney.
As for parenting, I only know that my life and the lives of every gay couple to whom I'm close are distinctly incompatable with good or successful parenting. What advantages the children of gay parents have are entirely matters of class, since it's principally upper-class, well-educated gays who acquire children. Upper-class, well-educated gays practicing an extraordinary self-denial. Let's be frank: orgies, drinking, and drugs are no way to raise a child, at least not until she's well into her teens! Is that essentially selfish of me? Yes. But it seems far less selfish than demanding all society hew to my personal paternal desires, for which I make the reciprocal promise to reinvent myself as a moral monogamist.