Can A Man be a "Mother?": Gay Marriage is a Nonsequitur

In a conversation with a friend about gay marriage I tried to make the following analogy to explain my position against so-called “Gay Marriage.”

I said that the roles of men and women in raising children overlap to a large degree. There are lots of things that men do now when parenting that our fathers and grandfathers did not do. We change diapers, we give baths, we cook and clean baby’s clothes, etc. Although in past generations these were things that women did mostly, today’s men are parenting in ways that some could arguably define as female gender oriented. BUT, does that make today’s men “mothers?” I would say absolutely not. Because although male parenting has changed in the United States over the past 2-3 generations to encompass more “mothering” kinds of activity, one cannot help but conclude that a male parent brings a male-ness into parenting that cannot be confused, and which negates the possible redefinition to include a male parent under the definition of “mother.” Although the overlap is greater than during the generation of our grandfathers, the two roles - “mother” and “father” can never be interchangeable, because men will always lack that natural femaleness that in necessary for a woman to be a real mother.

In the same way, I argued, marriage and “gay” unions may share some similar characteristics. But the two states can never fully overlap because, as a matter of human nature, the same-sex union is unable to fulfill (and indeed closed off from) that basic function of a marriage - procreation.

Thoughts? Reactions?

Peace,
Robert

I could imagine a few counter-arguments:

In your grandfather’s time and your father’s time, gay “marriage” was not accepted as much either.

IVF or surrogacy can easily solve the procreation problem, or something descended from those technologies in the near future. Besides, many heterosexual couples contracept and abort - their relations are not procreative either.

We mess with procreation (IVF and surrocgacy) at our peril. Why does man mess with what God has intended for marriage and parenthood?

Homosexual (I will not use the word ‘gay’) ‘marriage’ is NOT MARRIAGE AT ALL! AND NEVER WILL IT BE!!! IT IS STERILE!!! IT IS AGAINST THE LAWS OF GOD AND THE LAWS OF NATURE!!!

NO STATE (and no country, for that matter) CAN CHANGE THAT!

HOMOSEXUAL ‘MARRIAGE’ IS AN ABOMINATION IN THE EYES OF GOD!!!

How much clearer can I make that?

I know I’m shouting here, but I’m angry as ‘you know what’ because this has been legalized in my home state of New York. There were ‘weddings’ :frowning: :mad: performed beginning yesterday.

I am heart sick over this-we are in big trouble because we mess with God’s Laws!

Obviously, men can’t be mothers, and women can’t be fathers. It takes both a man and a woman to produce children. The natural means of conceiving children is through marital intercourse, which is impossible to a gay couple.

But this is the end game of contraception. When the unitive and procreative aspects of marital relations are separated, numerous ill effects come about, ending with stripping marriage of its essential meaning.

I perfectly understand and agree with you. I was simply posting counter arguments the OP could face with their argument. Please be calm: using religious arguments do not work. They may be true, but they do not work. Sacred Scripture is useless against our foes today - at least in the direct sense It is normally used.

We can only win this war through holy action, through sound philosophy, and through honest government - because they will not listen to any reference to God.

It is a shame that it was Catholics who caused the bill to pass in New York. O how the Sacred Heart must grieve!

I don’t think either of these are very persuasive. My point was that the parenting roles have changed over time, much as society’s attitude toward “gay marriage” has changed. But the underlying truths simply don’t stretch far enough to honestly consider a committed same sex couple relationship as a marriage, just as the truths simply don’t stretch far enough to honestly call a modern male parent a “mother.”

As for the IVF/surrogacy comment, it is an argument based upon anecdotal evidence. There are bad marriages that never should have been, and there are loving marriages that turn out to be infertile. But that does not undermine the purpose behind marriage as an institution, any more than the reality of corrupt politicians can undermine the importance of democracy.

I’m sure that you are correct to assume gay marriage advocates would raise these arguments. But are there others?

Peace,
Robert

Thanks ZD. I agree with you that we need sound philosophy. We also need sound arguments, which is why I was using the forum to present my thought about analogizing the change in “marriage” to changing the word “mother.” I think that most people would concur that men can be excellent fathers, but they cannot be mothers because mother is gender-specific term. In the same way “marriage” is a term that is gender specific in the sense that it requires one of each gender, and even if same-sex relationships can be argued to have many overlapping qualities of a marriage, they simply cannot be deemed as such without either (1) accepting an untruth; or (2) fundamentally changing the (thereby destroying) the institution.

Peace,
Robert

First of all, in response to this person, I can’t help but laugh at you :smiley: I love seeing bigots get all upset when they don’t get their way.

To the original poster, what I’m inferring from your post, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that at the end of the day a man cannot truly be a mother and vice versa, and that these are both essential factors in raising a healthy child, (and this is where I’m really inferring, so forgive me if I’m mistaken), therefore, one problem with allowing gay marriage is that if a child were to be adopted by a gay married couple it would not be good for the child because he or she is not fully getting the twofold aspects of parenting that a child needs.

If that is what you’re saying, I would respond by saying show me some legitimate data or studies that show that without a true mother figure and a true father figure, the child’s upbringing will not be good, or as good as it could be, etc…

Also, If my inference is correct, I would say, should a Defax van come take away a child from its family if one of the child’s straight parents happens to die?

If I’m totally wrong with my inference, please correct me.

So what do you say of single, male parents?

This is a probable counter, as well as the fact that places are seeking to de-gender people anyways. Canada, Sweden are good examples of that. Aside from that, scientists are seeking to create their own humans anyways, not only removing the unitive and procreative aspect from childbirth, but removing the ‘human’ aspect altogether.

I think this comment betrays more about your own personality than it does about anyone else. :frowning:

[quote=lolraichu]To the original poster, what I’m inferring from your post, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that at the end of the day a man cannot truly be a mother and vice versa, and that these are both essential factors in raising a healthy child, (and this is where I’m really inferring, so forgive me if I’m mistaken), therefore, one problem with allowing gay marriage is that if a child were to be adopted by a gay married couple it would not be good for the child because he or she is not fully getting the twofold aspects of parenting that a child needs.
[/quote]

You are wrong. This was not my point. I was saying that no matter how much a male parent’s role overlaps with a female parent’s role he is not and can never be a “mother” because mother is a gender-specific role. And just as this is so, a same sex union can never be a marriage even if it arguably shares many of the same characteristics of a marriage, because marriage is by its nature a gender specific institution, requiring a male and a female. In other words, it is nonsense to call a male parent a mother, just as it is nonsense to call a same sex union a marriage. And to change the definition of marriage to also include such a union is the equivalent of changing the word mother to also mean a male parent. In short, the change in definition robs the term of all of its unique meaning. I hope that clarifies my point for you.

[quote=lolraichu]If that is what you’re saying, I would respond by saying show me some legitimate data or studies that show that without a true mother figure and a true father figure, the child’s upbringing will not be good, or as good as it could be, etc…
[/quote]

Although this was not my point, there is legitimate data out there that corroborates just that… It is quoted as support in the CA Special Report on “Gay Marriage” that came out a couple of years ago. Here is a link.

[quote=lolraichu]Also, If my inference is correct, I would say, should a Defax van come take away a child from its family if one of the child’s straight parents happens to die?
[/quote]

Again, your inference is not entirely correct. I would not say that a “Defax” (not sure what that is) van should take the child away from a single parent home. My point was only that there is a real difference between a marriage and a same-sex union.

That they are fathers and not mothers.

My point is that there are concepts (language and meaning) that simply cannot be gender-neutral. Terms like mother and father cannot be applied to each gender without significantly changing the definition so that the term loses all of its original meaning. That is what is at risk when/if marriage is changed without respect to the fact that it has always been gender-specific - i.e. requiring by definition both a male and a female participant. “Marriage” simply loses any real meaning without this specificity.

Peace,
Robert

Heheheh, yeah. I don’t know what exactly, that I’m immature, childish, something else? Yep, at times I am those things.

Sorry I misunderstood and thanks for clarifying. I follow you now, but I can’t accept the conclusion because I don’t accept this premise:

It does not suprise me, lolraichu. There is a fundamental difference between Western philosophy and Eastern philosophy. Eastern philosophy has become far more popular, although corrupted and, I think, misunderstood, of late. Buddhism is among the wellsprings of Eastern philosophy, whereas Catholicism is the apex of Western philosophy. Both religions are similar in that they are, at both their foundations and heights, philosophical in nature.

Of course, I am curious as to whether you are a true, practicing Buddhist or one of those Americans who claim Buddhism but neither understand nor practice the religion. I do not ask this to accuse you, but simply because I knew a young man, two years ahead of me, who claimed Buddhism only because he wanted a religion that would allow him to both feel religious and live out the homosexual lifestyle he wanted. He was, at one time, a friend, but we have since parted ways. I do recall another friend (also gay) who admired Buddhism but claimed atheism. We enjoyed cultural and philosophical discussions and debates - sometimes taking the same side, sometimes opposing one another, always, however, as friends. (I had an odd group of friends back in high school. As each person graduated, we slowly lost contact with each other.)

The above is relevant for this reason: Buddhism can either be a reason or an excuse, like any religion. I think the identity of the religion as its function in a person’s life reveals much.

Of course, I mean none of this as an attack on your person, but merely as a method of trying to further figure out your reasoning.

Of course, no argument is ever sufficiently convincing in text except for the weakest of minds. There is much to be said for one’s skills in oration when it comes to persuasion - and that is all an argument is, after all, - an attempt at persuasion persuasion.

As are we all sometimes…

[quote=lolraichu]Sorry I misunderstood and thanks for clarifying. I follow you now, but I can’t accept the conclusion because I don’t accept this premise:

Originally Posted by Robert in SD
because marriage is by its nature a gender specific institution

[/quote]

That’s fine, as long as you understand that from every conceivable context you are adopting a novel interpretation to the term - one that fundamentally alters its original meaning, which is rooted equally in history, culture and religion. Can you point to one historical or cultural context (aside from the current political firestorm) in which the institution of marriage was defined in a way that provided for same-sex unions? If not, how to you justify your denial of the premise?

Peace,
Robert

Is that to say that you frown upon their parenting in the same way?

I don’t think that this is his point. His analogy is that changing the definition of marriage to a gender neutral one wold be similar to changing the definition of mother to a gender neutral one. He was not saying anything about a single parents ability to raise children. Correct me if I am wrong Robert in SD.

I think their argument will be the same as lolraichu’s. They will not accept the premise. They will view marriage as an evolving institution and will make comparisons (as faulty as they are) to working mothers, women’s right to vote, and, of course, slavery. Just warning you, this will turn into a “Are Catholics Bigoted and Intolerant for not Allowing Gay Marriage” type of debate, but with a slight twist. :slight_smile:

Not at all. (BTW, I changed, burped, fed, and cuddled my babies many times as their Father and count myself lucky to have been able to do so.) It’s not my point to judge a more “maternal” role taken by fathers. I personally have enjoyed the experience. But my partaking in those kinds of activities does not make me a mother.

I’m saying that regardless of how much male and female parenting roles overlap, the distinction will never disappear to such an extent that a male parent is a mother. The term “mother” is specific to gender. I’m not making any judgment one way or the other about parenting roles, except to say that there will always be something unique and distinctive about parenting that arises from a difference in gender, so that no matter how good (or bad) a male parent may be, he can never properly be called a “mother” without robbing the term of its inherent meaning.

AND, here comes the ANALOGY folks…

IN THE SAME WAY, a same-sex couple can share many of the qualities that make a marriage. But that does not mean a same-sex couple can be called “married” unless you first rob the term “marriage” of all of its natural, historical, cultural, religious and societal meaning.

Peace,
Robert

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