Friday, September 21, 2007

Same Sex Marriage and the San Diego Union Tribune

I'm so disgusted with my local paper, the San Diego Union Tribune. I spent an entire day on Tuesday at the City Council meeting, for the vote on the resolution for the city to file an amicus brief with the CA Supreme Court supporting same sex marriage. Here is what I wrote to the Union Trib:

To the editor,

I was one of the many people present at the City Council meeting who oppose same sex marriage. Your reportage on this issue has consistently overlooked and marginalized us. Your readers would never know, for instance, that there were twice as many people speaking in opposition to same sex marriage as in favor of it. Your readers would never know that the “opponents who were angered by comparing same sex marriage to the civil rights struggle,” included three African-American pastors. These opponents also included the president of a teen chastity program, Angela King, a mixed-race woman who spoke movingly of her parents own experience with racism, but who has the sense to see the distinction between race, which is irrelevant to marriage, and gender, which is profoundly relevant to marriage.

You continue your bias with the fawning coverage of Mayor Saunders voting with his heart instead of his head. There are plenty of sound arguments against legally recognizing same sex marriage. For instance, it will destabilize the determination of parentage. In both Canada and Pennsylvania, courts have recognized three adults as legal parents. In the Pennsylvania case, Jacob v. Schulz-Jacob, the two members of the estranged lesbian couple as well as the biological father, all dispute one another’s rights and responsibilities. The children have all the trauma of divorce, multiplied. They have visitation with three adults, none of whom live together, none of whom are cooperating with each other.

We have all seen children of divorced parents shuttling from one household to another. If same sex marriage comes to California, we will be seeing children going among three or even more parents. Picture a little girl, going from her mom’s house to her mom’s former partner’s house, to her dad’s, to her dad’s former partner’s. Those little children, with their backpacks and their sleeping bags, are on your head, Mr. Mayor.


Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ask Dr J: Campus Sleepovers

Dear Dr J

You have discussed cohabitation in your writings, but not "sleepovers". In our college culture, it is common for dating couples to routinely spend the night at each other's house. In our campus ministry community, I have several friends that say that while they do share a bed they do not have sex.

I want to believe them, however, even without having sex, I do not think that this makes for a healthy relationship. It is also difficult as I live with several girls from my campus ministry that routinely sleepover with their significant other. I am torn between how I should respond to this; I do not feel like it is right but I realize we all have different moral compasses. I was wondering what your take was on this overlooked issue.
Katie in Kentucky

Dear Katie,
Thanks for your question. I have never heard this particular question. I think your instincts are sound. It is hard to believe that they aren't "having sex" when they are sharing a bed routinely. (In the Catholic tradition, we call this putting oneself in the near occasion of sin. We are responsible to keep ourselves out of occasions of sin!) Also, the evidence about the hormonal bonding suggests that sleeping together, even touching, can trigger some of the hormonal response. That means that your friends are bonding with each other and getting some of the "involuntary chemical commitment" that can cloud a person's judgment about whether the relationship is really right for them.
All in all, I suspect your friends are kidding themselves if they have convinced themselves that this is ok. It would be a better use of their time to spend time "doing stuff" that is not sexual, and that would allow them to get a realistic picture of whether this person is really right for them. If this is the right person for them, then, think about getting married. For most people, getting married right out of college is not too young. If you've really got a good match, you might as well get on with the business of building a life together.
Dr J