3 January 2005

Love doesn’t matter

 In Jeff Jacoby’s column in the Boston Globe yesterday
(read fortuitously, only because the Times did not make it to our
house), Jacoby talks about how he and his wife chose to adopt abroad,
so as to avoid the problems that often come with adopting domestic
children.  The aspect that Jacoby focuses on is how children, even
after being adopted and integrated for years into their adoptive
families, can be pulled away by the claims of the biological parents.

This is what comes of attaching more importance to DNA than to
years of devoted parenting. Only a legal system that believes ties of
blood are the truest expression of parenthood could order a boy
stripped of the parents who have raised and cherished him from birth.
The universe as Evan Parker Scott has known it is about to implode. He
is going to believe that his Mama and Daddy sent him away. What did he
ever do to deserve that? And who among us would wish the confusion and
heartbreak he will suffer on any child we loved?

But this does not differ remarkably from the situation that gay
people find ourselves in with regard to the legal system. 
Consider the following arguments, drawn in implication from Jacoby’s
piece:

  • Our legal system has always privileged the “institution” of
    biological relationship.  It has served as the bedrock of our
    social cohesion and functioning for centuries
  • Biological relationship is simply what defines a family, legally
  • Biological relationships trump relationships of love.

But note how these are essentially the same arguments used in reference to the debate over gay marriage:

  • Our legal system privileges the institution of heterosexual-only
    marraige (and always has), because it has served as the bedrock of our
    social cohesion for centuries.
  • Opposite gender is what defines a family, legally
  • Opposite-gender relationships (no matter what their character) trump relationships of love

I might note, as I have before,
that the first point in both of
these arguments, whenever introduced in a political “discussion” is
always asserted self-evidently, as fact.  But how true might it
prove to be? Can we really say that it’s marriage and blood that
have kept our human societies going for milennia?  And, as the
author quoted in my previous post noted, are institutions what we hide
behind when we can’t find our principles?

We may sing all sorts of songs about love, claim that it’s what is
most important in our lives, and so on.  But when it comes to
social “order”, love makes little difference.

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3 Responses to “Love doesn’t matter”

  1. Lisa Williams Says:

    Sadly, Jacoby wouldn’t support the rights of gay parents, or of gay spouses, since he’s virulently right-wing and anti-gay marriage. See his piece entitled “Gay Marriage isn’t Civil Rights”: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/03/07/gay_marriage_isnt_civil_rights/
    Or don’t, you probably know what it says anyway, and who needs the bile?
    I don’t see why left-wing papers like the Globe feel required to keep a “pet conservative” when right wing publications don’t.

    I look forward to seeing gay marriages become a total yawn in Massachusetts :). For the rest of the country, well, maybe in my lifetime.

  2. Nate Says:

    That’s why I blogged the piece. Jacoby would never support my right to get married. But like so many people of his viewpoint, when confronted with parallel cases, his moral blindness proves remarkable.

  3. Lisa Williams Says:

    Ah! I’m blogdom’s Gracie Allen. But Gracie…that was the whole point!