Saturday, June 30, 2012

Well Something Has to Be Done About This State of Affairs...

B'H

On opening my email after Shabbat I received an email from a friend with this article from the Herald Sun. As a VIT registered teacher I find this quite disturbing. I would not want to work alongside someone who has been charged and convicted of the sexual assault of a child.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/teachers-allowed-to-apply-for-working-with-children-certificates-despite-sex-assault-convictions/story-fn7x8me2-1226412211101


Morality seems pretty skewiff these days. We have some 'gay activists' like Mikeybear aka Michael Barnett of the Aleph fame or notoriety (depending on your point of view) and Bruce Ilama (I quite like ilamas as unique animals but there is nothing unique about the sleeze peddled by our dear ‘friend Bruce’) up in arms and running around like flapping chooks on amphetamines cackling furiously about Dr Miriam Grossman’s talk at the Glen Eira College theatrette at 2pm tomorrow. I am totally annoyed as I cannot go. It clashes with the Glen Eira Literary Awards at the Glen Eira Council Chambers for which I am short listed again this year. So I am tossing up whether to stay for the whole event or go dashing out down the road to Glen Eira College as soon as possible to hear Dr Grossman speak.

I like the sound of Dr Grossman despite the rubbish being spouted by Mikeybear and his mate Bruceywoosy.

Don’t get me wrong on this. I am very aware that yes, some people are gay by nature and that is who they are. They are human beings who live a different way to the norm and there you have it. They should not be discriminated against. They have rights just like the rest of us. They also have responsibilities, JUST like the rest of us.

Most modern democracies recognise gay partnerships and they can collect pensions and etc etc and the partner in a gay relationship has the same rights as a heterosexual couple in a defacto relationship or marriage.

Marriage however is the privileged state for a man and a woman who want to sanctify their union before G-D and inherent in that privilege is a great responsibility. Mikeybear and Bruce Ilama would not understand that, given that they are both probably atheists and hate religion of any sort from the brief over view I have given Mikeybear’s ranting and railings against all manner of people who disagree with him. It beggars belief to wonder why a person who is not religious and living a life style contrary to most religious beliefs would want to join an institution who foundations rest on the very beliefs that they are either a non believer or against.

I have never once in my trawling of Michael’s grubby little blog found one sensible rational post about anything of consequence. I tend to come away feeling icky and like a need a hot shower to wash away the mental grime and to say at least ten tehillim to cleanse the mind of his putrid postings. Apart from ogling near naked men in the gym he sleazes around (then posts about it) when he is not posting rants against Dr Grossman and Rabbi Shimon Cowen or anyone who holds views contrary to his own, he puts himself out on the net as a supporter or advocate for young ‘gay people.’

Now it is the last part that is the worry. Adolescence is a time when young people go through many changes that challenge them and form them. From being quite asexual, they begin to have an awareness of their sexuality and the sexuality of others to a much greater degree than before. It is certainly not an easy time. Yes, there are some people who know at an early age that they are gay, others who are uncertain and could go either way, others who are definite about their sexuality and heterosexual. It is the middle group I would not want Mikeybear or Bruce Ilama fiddling around with their heads.

Unbeknown to Mikeybear I have known quite a few gay or lesbian people in my time during Uni in the 80’s. Most of them were lovely people, but that does not make me want to try their lifestyle or even experiment with it.

In this uncertain world there are some kids who do experiment with or flirt with gay lifestyles before finding out it is not for them and vice versa. They may hero worship someone of the same sex who turns out to be gay. That places a lot of power in the hands of the gay individual to form a part of that young person’s awakening sexuality for better or worst.

The same thing with a young teacher who may have a student who is only four or five years age difference come on sexually to him or her, especially if he or she is an attractive and charismatic person.

What is the requirement for the teacher? Yep, you guessed it. It is not on. There must be appropriate distance at all times between a student and the person who has duty of care for this child. We live in sad times and sexualisation of everyday life has certainly taken over.

Gone are the days of innocence in year seven or eight. Now they all have boyfriends in primary school and some children I am told even have sex in primary school. I find the idea of children being sexual at that age quite repugnant. Childhood is for growing up not sexual relationships. Childhood is a time for children to be children and free from sexual relationships until they leave school at least. In our community, it is until they get married.

There is so much more to a healthy relationship with family and friends than sexuality.

Sexuality is a private and intimate affair between consenting adults of age who are preferably married. People have forgotten the real essence of relating to others. When we sexualise our lives haphazardly, life gets very messy. Believe me I do know having had a life before being religious and I would not swap any sexual relationship for what I have now, however sexy the guy and charming etc etc.

I believe marriage is a state of sanctification and holiness between a man and a woman. By denying the rite of marriage to same sex couples, I do not believe I discriminate because to be honest, there is no advantage other than the aspect of sanctification. Gay couples have all the rights that heterosexual couples have.

They are perfectly welcome to create their own rite of unification and call it ‘garriage’ if they like, but not marriage. Marriage is for a man and for a woman to be joined in holy matrimony and get the part holy or wholly. To make a marriage, we need one man and one woman. We need to teach our children to respect each other who ever we are and to relate respectfully to each other in life.

Lets bring back into our lives:

Respect

Equality

Sanity

Purpose

Elegance

Courage

Tact



Gut Voch


46 comments:

Chrys Stevenson said...

I know Michael Barnett personally. I have personally seen him interact with a gay teenager struggling to cope with discrimination. The young man had been introduced to Michael by his mother expressly because Michael is kind, gentle, encouraging and, quite frankly, an inspiration. I was moved to tears by the way he spoke to this young man.

To have you write a post like this which implies that Michael Barnett is somehow a danger to young people because he is gay is appalling! Nothing could be further from the truth.

Margaret said...

By denying the rite of marriage to same sex couples, I do not believe I discriminate because to be honest, there is no advantage other than the aspect of sanctification.

If this argument were correct, how is it that the ~70% of marriages now celebrated in Australia are officiated by civil celebrants, and not in the context of religious institutions? Clearly, for the majority, marriage is not about "sanctification" but about a publicly-declared commitment that is recognised by the state. These people (my husband and I included) obviously believe that there is an advantage to the process, which is why we get married. For the majority, it is a secular institution. Why should this secular institution be denied to gays and lesbians, simply because minority groups feel that it has particular significance to them because of their religious beliefs?

I entirely respect the right of religious institutions to refuse to celebrate same-sex marriages if it conflicts with their ideology. But religious institutions do not "own" marriage. That has been amply demonstrated by the millions of us who have married outside religious contexts.

Mandie said...

Marriage is not a religious institution. In Australia, there is no state religion. The Marriage Act is secular. More than half of the marriages performed in Australia are civil ceremonies.

Marriage in Australia is not some "holy rite" - but a legal contract.

Your argument is invalid.

Phil said...

Tact, eh? Can't see much of it in this piece.

Gay people have all the responsibilities of anyone else- we pay taxes, we obey the laws, we drive on the correct side of the road- but we don't have all the same rights.

We deserve the right to marry. If you believe in God, then you must believe that God created us the way we are, and God enables us to fall deeply in love. But are we asking to be married in a church of God? No. We are merely asking for the state to recognise secular same-sex marriage. So in fact religion is irrelevant to this issue and the fact that religious people are always being asked about it makes no sense, since same-sex marriage doesn't affect the church, or heterosexuals, or- I would contend- children. It exclusively concerns gay and lesbian adults, and it is above all a matter of equality. The more we are perceived as equal, the less justification people can have to discriminate against us in areas like bullying and homophobic attacks.

Ms Grossman sounds like a ratbag but she has every right to speak. As do Michael Barnett and other gay activists.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
Sure. This is about an open debate and I do acknowledge and respect the rights of others to differ from my viewpoint.
@Mandie I have to disagree with you about marriage being only a 'legal contract'.I believe it is both an act that sanctifies the contractual arrangement which is a commitment between a man and a woman.
@ Margaret again there are many rights available to same sex couples and I am not so narrow minded that I would close my mind to such couples enjoying the rights available to heterosexual couples except when it comes to marriage per se. It is kind of like saying I as a Jew want to go on the Haj or receive communion which are respectfully Muslim or Christian rites. Those rites are closed to me unless I want to revert or convert to that particular religion. I know that may not be an excellent analogy but off the top of my head it is the best I can do at the moment.
Margaret you do say and I quote,'Clearly, for the majority, marriage is not about "sanctification" but about a publicly-declared commitment that is recognised by the state.' A publicly declared commitment is available to gay and lesbian couples and they do have most rights and responsibilities available to the heterosexual counterparts in society. I find it ironic that an athetist would want to be 'married'. I won't go down that path here but when I have more time perhaps.
@ Chrys given Michael Barnett's extremely defamatory posts about me, most of which contain absolute bunkum about me, e.g. that I was supposedly unmarried when I had my son by IVF and other rather ridiculous statements, I have found Michael Barnett to be a narrow minded extremist who has placed at my door the blame for all gay suicides in the last twenty odd years and he has made assumptions about me that I would discriminate against gay students in a classroom or 'bully them'. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am allowed to hold the belief that 'marriage is a religious rite of commitment before society and G-D that is solely between a man and woman, although by the same token I acknowledge and respect the rights of same sex couples to be honoured and respected as contributing members of a society. Michael Barnett has denied my right as an older single parent to be treated fairly and honestly as a contributing human being in society. Why? Presumably because I am not 'Lesbian' and therefore in his eyes a lessor human being or strange because I am a heterosexual.
Dr Miriam Grossman does not believe the way you or Michael believe and therefore you attack her personally and call her a ratbag. If you do not like her ideas challenge them and explain why. It is your right to do so and to be answered even if you do not like the answers.
I am pleased at the responses.

Mandie said...

Ilana - we are not discussing the morality of marriage. We are discussing the Marriage Act of 1961 as it stands in Australian law.

Therefore you cannot "disagree" that it is a legal contract -that is what we are discussing!

The majority of Australian marriages are CIVIL - not religious. Religious ceremonies are different- you can be married in a church, for example, and not sign the legal documents - then this is a religious marriage and NOT a legal one. You can do both - have a religious marriage and a legal one. You can also just sign the contracts and have a civil ceremony - therefore having a legal marriage, not a religious one.

I am heterosexual, from a Jewish background. My husband is an atheist from a Christian background. We were married by a civil celebrant. We have all the legal rights and protections and benefits of marriage in society -and our marriage has nothing whatsoever to do with religion.

You state that defacto couples have the rights of marriage - this is untrue. For example, in WA, where I am from, there is no such thing as a civil union/civil partnership.

When I got married,I automatically received the right to use my husbands name, even got a free passport with my new name on it, received rights to his superannuation, life insurance, property etc. I received rights as his next of kin. If he had children, I would become their stepmother automatically. If my husband was being tried for a crime,I would not have to testify against him.

None of these things happen in a de facto relationship - same sex couples face a difficult legal battle of beaurocracy and paperwork to achieve these same rights -and in many situations they are open to challenge by court.

I am a doctor, and I like to look at this from a health perspective. There are many studies showing the benefits of marriage - married people live longer, have less disabilities, smoke less, drink less alcohol and are physically and mentally healthier than non-married people. This same benefit has NOT been shown in defacto relationships. In examples around the world, the physical and mental health benefits of marriage have been shown to exist in same sex married couples - and do not exist in these couples who are defacto or have a civil union.

On the basis of public health and anti-discrimination in the law (not on the basis of religion - because our law is NOT based on religion) - marriage equality is the only logical option.

CarolWocker said...

In May 2011 my 18 year old son told me he was Gay, this was no big deal for me as I was already supporting Gay rights from a natural human rights point of view. But I wanted to make sure that I was responding in the most supportive and positive way and to get some advice on how to best support my darling son. My husband was not coping very well with the news that his son was Gay, so I also sort advice on this. The first person I thought of having "met" on a GetUp forum was the above mentioned Micheal, and that is what I did. I can not express how grateful I am to Micheal for is words of support and wisdom in helping me to help my son and husband in what was a very tough time for them both. My son and I have since been meet Michael and his lovely partner and it has only increased my love and respect for them both. My son knows he can ask Michael for help and advice should he ever need too. It is great to know that there is such wonderful men out in the community that can support and care for youth who still have to struggle with the homophobic rubbish that is part of this blog.
I would trust Michael to care for either of my children how dare you even imply, and you have done more than that, that Micheal is anything but a wonderful, generous and caring man, who is working so hard to stop the kind of discrimination that this blog is continuing to espouse.
As for marriage being about religion, that is only true if that is what the couple being married believe. No marriage in a church is legal unless the couple sign legal documents that have no bases in religion.
MickyBear is one of the most awesome men I know.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
Nice Carol that your experience with Michael has been positive. I have found him nasty, over the top, vicious, making judgements about how a person behaves or not without prior knowledge of that person and defamatory, wanting to get in and kick a person when they are down. I put him on par with another person who is actually quite hideous in their character assassination and that is a woman called Shoshanna Silcove.
I have taught for many years before I was discriminated against by a NSW fundamentalist Christian principal who hated ironically both homosexuals and Jews.
whatever my personal viewpoint on political and social issues, IT IS NOT MY BUSINESS as an ENGLISH TEACHER to JUDGE another person's views EXCEPT where they are harmful to others in that they incite hatred of that group or persons or individuals. Michael Barnett has made a point to vilify me and spread slander about my personal life of which he has NO knowledge whatsoever and encouraged others to do so, so if you want me to respect him as a person I am sorry I will never do so. It has nothing to do with him being gay. It has everything to do with his personal attacks and vicious lies in an attempt to destroy my livelihood as a single parent and sole support of a child who has never hurt him. In fact, if I had treated any person let alone a person from a minority group the way he has treated me and written filth about them, I would expect to be called up to court for defamation. Unfortunately I am a single parent with not the means to call him to task for his defamation, vilification and attempt to destroy my means of earning an income.
Let's get this very clear. I take a religious viewpoint on marriage and what it means to me and how I define it may be very different from yours. I can sit at a table with a person whose views and lifestyle are different to mine and break bread so long as it is Kosher, I can work with a person who respects the fact that I am an observant Jewess and I RESPECT the fact that other people have different life styles and cultures and religions. If someone tries to tell me about the advantages of beating your wife, circumcising your daughter, hanging gays, killing people who do not believe in G-D the way they do, I am going to have a problem, because I do not agree with any of that.
I do have a very black and white view of marriage according to some and that is comfortable for me. I come from a conservative country background quite similar to Patrick White. Patrick White one of my favourity writers was an amazingly insightful writer and he was gay. I had an aunt who would not read him or go to his plays because he was that 'nasty poofter man who won a Nobel Prize for literature.' I love Patricks's writing even though I may not fancy his lifestyle and I used to enjoy stirring my aunt about books of his that I had read. I would describe say The Vivisector and she would say, 'Oh, that sounds interesting. Who's the author?' Then I would reply, 'Oh, Patrick White.' to watch her flare up and snort down her nose.

Ilana Leeds said...

I have had gay friends and work colleagues and gay students in my class and it never bothered me. It is a subconscious or conscious lifestyle choice to my way of thinking.
Would I be bothered if my son turned out to be gay? I would not be honest if I said no because it is not what I would hope for him in his life. I would by the same token be fiercely protective of him and his privacy and his personal welfare just the way I would be fiercely protective of any friend of mine who was gay or heterosexual and facing discrimination. I do not however believe that allowing same sex marriage is appropriate or correct. That is in keeping with my personal religious viewpoint. I refuse to apologise for it. It is not however correct for me to force my views on the rest of society especially if I am in the minority and I do believe that is what the same sex marriage push is all about. It is an emotive issue that an extremely articulate and powerful lobby group are trying to bully the rest of us into accepting. I am very aware that the way I conduct my life as an observant Jewess is not everyone's cup of tea. Definitely not. I do not advocate that they should follow my lifestyle. I would not agree with that. People are different and viva la difference!
I possibly, for the life of me, cannot understand why two men or two women would want to get married anyway. But then my views on what makes a marriage is not based on physical attraction or material gain or even companionship but something defined more by spiritual dimensions that even I have trouble putting into real detailed terms.
I do not see marriage as a secular institution and I guess that is where we part ways in our definitions of what marriage is. There in is the inherent problem. Obviously.

Mandie said...

Ilana - you can take a personal religious view of marriage if you wish. But you cannot refuse to see the law as secular - the law is what it is.

Another example - the law allows people to eat pork, but if you choose to keep Kosher, you are allowed to do this.

Do you think Australian law should be changed to exclude everyone from eating non-Kosher foods, because that is your belief?

Same sex marriage is the same - for many Australians, they do not have a problem with it. Why should the law reflect the personal/religious views of a minority (and yes, there is a minority who oppose same sex marriage)?

Again, you cannot redefine the Marriage Act of 1961 to be non-secular - that's not how law works - you would need to get a member of parliament to bring in a bill and get it passed for your definition of marriage as a religious institution to be true.

Ilana Leeds said...

Mandie if you read my posts you would understand that I would not want it set as law that people are forced to eat kosher products. That is definitely NOT where I am coming from. I would however like my right to eat kosher and keep kosher laws respected. That is the difference.

Mandie said...

Indeed.

And I would like non-heterosexual people to have the right to be married and have that right respected.

It would affect you about as much as it does when a non-Jewish person eats pork.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
Marriage for me is a holy institution and I respect it as such, despite having been married several times I have not treated it lightly as say, a couple of ex husbands. That is probably why I am now permanently a single parent. Maybe I have a totally idealistic and overly romantic ideal of what a marriage should be or the opposite. :-) I also see it as a secular institution that has its foundations in a religious ritual to sanctify the holy union between a man and a woman. That union has a purpose which is to create the next generation the the coming together of two individuals who are capable of creating life by their union and can you say the same of two men or two women? It is physically impossible, isn't it?

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H

I have to say that it is halachically impossible for me to sit at a table where even a non Jew ate pork. If they were at my table in my house they would have to eat kosher or I guess do what I would do if we were at their house and that is not to eat. I would be polite about it though.

Mandie said...

For you it is a holy institution - Catholics are against divorce - if they had their way in law (as you seem to want yours), your divorces would not be legal.

Please review the history of marriage - it originated as a way of transacting money and property, and the woman was seen as property - it was nothing to do with love. Marriage has changed quite a bit over the years.

I'm glad you brought up the children argument. Do you think that all marriages should produce children? And 80 year old woman and an 80 year old man have as much chance as producing children as two men or two women - should we exclude them from marriage? Should we force people to undergo fertility testing prior to marriage, and if infertile, don't allow them to marry?

Again - this debate is not about personal opinion. It's about law. The legal construct of marriage in the Australian Marriage Act of 1961 does not refer to children - therefore, you should also refrain from bringing them into the debate.

Mandie said...

And your analogy about not having people eat pork at your table is fine - no church/religious institution will be forced to marry same sex couples if they wish to.

But why should they be allowed to prevent people from doing this in their own homes, own churches etc where everyone else is fine with it?

It would be as if you were campaigning to make non-kosher food illegal - not only would you prevent people eating pork in your house, you would prevent people eating it in their own house.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
ah Mandie you make me laugh. We are getting off topic here with fertility testing of older people. I must say I know it happens but I can see no purpose, except companionship for two eighty year olds to get married and I also cannot for the life of me see the purpose for that at such a stage in life. I see no point for it at 58 my age let alone 80 LOL.
The desire for companionship is not adequate basis for marriage. There has to be a spiritual purpose for such a union to take place. We are obviously talking about two different aspects of a union and your perception, correct me if I am wrong, is based on the assumption that two people meet each other and either feel some mutual sensual attraction or mutual financial advantage or mutual desire for companionship based on shared interests that makes them envisage a shared life. None of the above are good foundations for a marriage. Marriage has a spiritual dimension that can only be fulfilled by two people of opposing genders. What happens when two positives or two megatives meet in electrical currents? They repel each other. then if a negative and a positive are put together they attract. Basic physics.
Now gay people should not be subject to bullying attacks or homophobia any more than other minority groups and have the right to legal redress if they are discriminated against or treated unfairly. Gay couples deserve and have the right in this country to receive joint pensions if they are a recognised partnership and the right to many other benefits enjoyed by defacto couples or partners.
I do not want to keep this argument up at this moment but truthfully, I can see no rhyme or reason for a same sex couple to marry. they have rights to a legal unions recognised by the tax office, the centrelink office, social services and other government departments, really what more do they want? No one has yet even the good doctor Margaret has given me adequate reason to suppose that they are being gravely disadvantaged by not having the right to marry as a heterosexual couple has.

Mandie said...

Ilana - check out the resources at drs4equality.com/about . There is a large body of evidence that excluding same sex couples from marriage increases suicidal ideation, mental health problems and exacerbates physical healthproblems. In places where marriage equality has been legalised, mental and physical health of non-heterosexual people has improved. There is no evidence of harm to heterosexuals.

On that basis alone, same sex marriage should be legalised - to printout public health.

Aside from that, as i mentioned earlier, marriage confers specific health benefits and this effect not shown in de facto relationships.

You claim you have not been told of any advantage to legalising same sex marriage- you have, you are just ignoring the facts.

You are yet to present evidence-fact, not merely your opinion-that marriage equality will cause harm.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
It is late. Tomrrow I will find and post some resources about the psychological harm done to children of same sex relationships and how they feel torn by conflicting emotions in dealing with their unusual family situation and also there is research being done on confusion created by young people being forced to condone relationships that they are clearly not comfortable with.
I do remember being told by a rather agressive woman once that 'You should try a lebsian relationship. How can you judge if you have not tried to be in a relationship with a woman. You are afraid to experiment.' Honestly I am not afraid. I just know it is not for me and that is not the way I run my life. I don't believe that I should try something that CLEARLY I am not comfortable with. I remember thinking to myself, boy what happens if that woman bullying a young sensitive woman and mucks up her life because she is not strong enough to say No as definitely as I was. I am not going to be bulldozed on this.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
Oh and another thing, much of the research done to back homosexuality unfortunately is often biased and there are flaws in the population samples. You have to be careful because some people can be very clever and try to present research as valid when it is cleverly manipulated data misrepesented.

Mandie said...

I will eagerly read your research and will provide links to my own - including the extensive review article in "Pediatrics" and the American Psychological Association, Australian Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics position statements that over 30 years of research has shown no difference in outcomes to children raised by same sex couples.

You forget that having married parents can indeed benefit children- giving their parents the security and support of marriage, as well as conferring next of kin and custody rights, among others. Same sex couples have been raising children for years and will continue to do so in the future - over 6000 children are living with same sex parents in Australia as of the 2011 census.

The question is whether we will give these childrens parents the right to access all of the benefits of marriage. Or if we will continue to discriminate and stigmatise, and harm the children by stating publicly that their families are inferior.

Mandie said...

In reference to the bias in research? Post your studies and I shall point out all the ways they are incredibly biased and poor science. I'm a doctor - trained to evaluate the medical evidence.

Bring it on.

Zoe Brain said...

As an observant Jew, what is your position on Tumtum and androgenous people getting married?

I'm assuming you have at least a basic working knowledge of the Talmud on this issue, since you're an expert in marriage and spirituality.

In particular, cases like this one.

Can Gentiles be said to be "married" if there's no proper ceremony before G_D?

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
So Mandie who is saying that they are inferior? Did anyway state that? Aren't you jumping to assumptions. I would also like to see your medical qualifications. You do not write like a doctor. I have a sister in law who is a doctor and I have some friends who are doctors. I could be wrong and I apologise if I am but something does not sound right the way you are battering me over the head with the 'doctor credentials' as though I should bow down before you the 'doctor'. Most genuine doctors do not draw attention to the fact that they ar doctors. They are nowhere near so insecure about their arguments as to pull the 'HO HO I am a doctor therefore you must believe me and I am right' ticket. I don't go around telling people with a prissy little look on my mug, 'I am an English teacher' toss of the head and legs crossed at the ankles like a prizzy puss, 'therefore I know everything there is to know about language. Derreehh' I am aware that there are people around with amazing knowledge and intellectual prowess and these people do not even have uni degrees. Now fancy that! LOL
You have made me curious now. I want to know where did you study and what your speciality was or is? Is it health and nutrition, genetics, social engineering? Just curious of course.

Mandie said...

Ilana - I am a doctor - I hold a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Western Australia and a Diploma of Child Health (post grad study) from Children's Hospital at Westmead NSW. I now work as a rural GP and am in the final stages of gaining fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Feel free to check the Medical Board - Dr Amanda Villis.

With all due respect, the reason why I bring up that I am a doctor is because it is relevant to my position. I am not arguing for marriage equality on religious grounds, or any personal grounds (I'm heterosexual and married, in fact). I'm arguing on the basis of public health - based on my review of the medical literature.

I mean no disrespect, but unless you are arguing against same sex marriage on the basis that it is grammatically incorrect, it is probably not relevant that you are an English teacher. Much as it is not relevant to the debate that I am a scorpio, or heterosexual, or female, or have a sore ankle.

Whenever you're ready to get back to the debate at hand, and present some facts to support your position - let me know.

Mandie said...

Oh, and you said that you had evidence that children were being done psychological harm by their same sex parents - I interpreted that to mean you felt they were inferior as parents. Please correct me if I am wrong - are you suggesting that same sex parents are equal to or superior to opposite sex parents?

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
Of course Zoe Brain I am all ears and wait with bated breath to hear your words of wisdom on the eerrhhh Tumtum and the other sorts of individuals getting married. I really haven't got time to waste and I am not an expert on Talmud. You will find that being an observant Jew and expertise on Talmud does not go hand in hand. Yes, there are many people in the observant community who are far more learned than I am so I suggest you consult a rav. I did not have the advantage of a Beth Rivka education so yes I am sorely lacking in that direction. Maybe when my son is grown up and I have the time to devote to Talmud after I am familiar with all the chumash and the tanach I may learn some Talmud. There is a lot to learn before Talmud of course. I am no expert and nor do I pretend to be an expert.
You sound as though you are looking for some one to shoot down in flames or who is trying to misrepesent herself. LOL :-)
I am not an expert on spirituality. I express my personal beliefs. That's all. Just like you do yours. Read the first tehillim and take it to heart. I have no time for scoffers and people who use others as their fun in a really nasty way. Your sort have tried to ruin my little boy's life by telling him he is not Jewish and using him and abusing him in a most vile and unkind way. What you may think is a joke is nasty and has gone quite far enough. He was told he was adopted and some people tried to poison him against me, his mother with some really vile comments to him in the school yard. I take that sort of vicious abuse of an eight year old child seriously and have removed him from the school. People like you make me feel ill. You have no respect for others and yet you pretend you are oh so respectful and sensitive to the sensitivities of others and yet you try to destroy a child because you do not like his mother. Shame you cannot find some humanity in yourself.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
Equal mandie. Why would they be inferior? Please explain in what way and I will read it in the morning. It is late and I have to be alert for my child in the morning.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
sorry just rereading my comment before I close. I have overreacted. Thinking about something else. Read your post and went to the link. to be honest, that is not my field of expertise, and yes I have heard and read of those cases. I used to taxi drive when I was at Uni. Drove a lot of sex workers home some of whom were women in male bodies and many of them were trying to get money to have surgery and sex changes. I actually think that is very sad, in fact tragic. Genetic testing and DNA has proved that some of these people have felt from the earliest age as young as five or even three years of age that they are in the 'wrong bodies' so to speak. I have no answers for that. It is incredibly sad for them and there families. I have read of a case where a man had four children and later divorced his wife and became a woman through hormones and surgery and married a man. I am not qualified to form anything but a personal opinion on that and would be very hesitant to pass any sort of judgement on the right or wrong of it. I think there was a problem about this man being a man later on his birth certificate when clearly he was now a she and I cannot remember when he was 'married' or allowed to 'marry'. Yeah, I think you have to be very careful passing judgement on people's situation and sometimes it is better not to do so.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
Last post directed at Zoe. Sorry.

Zoe Brain said...

Worry not. If that's the worst sin you ever commit, you'll be doing better than me. Forgiven, of course. We're all human.

I obviously struck a nerve, and for that, I ask forgiveness too. I'm so sorry your son has been subject to such cruelty, and if it were in my power, I would have prevented it, not encouraged it. To that extent, you did me an injustice, but only because I inadvertently caused you pain.

My partner and I have been Married - or "Married" - since 1981. We took our vows seriously, and still do. Minor matters such as the fact that while my Birth Certificate says "boy", but the medical diagnosis is "severe androgenisation of a non-pregnant woman" - the result of the 3-beta-hudroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3BHSD) deficient form of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)- don't matter.

The point is, you haven't prefaced your remarks - hurtful ones to many people - with "I believe that..." or "In my uninformed opinion...", you've flatly stated what is and is not G_d's will.

Reality is more complex than your simplistic model. Had my body not started changing in 2005, I'd still be trying to pretend to be male, as I thought that was morally correct, so I can't blame you overmuch. I can ask you though not to be so certain about things you're not familiar with, and so less sure of your condemnatory judgements of others.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
Zoe
I am sorry. There are many things in this world that we all do not fully understand. Many of the 'boy' prostitutes that I 'met' through taking them to work which I am sure many of them despised but did to pay the expensive surgery and medical costs of changing their bodies into female were extremey tortured individuals and I still to this day have a lot of sympathy for them as they were often taken advantage of and to my mind abused but corrupt people who saw them as no more than bodies to satisfy their perverse sick appetites for the kinky and frankly vile use of another human being for sexual pleasures.
so I will never go so far as to say I 'understand your position', that would be demeaning and arrogant of me. I do empathise with your situation and wish there was something that could be done to rectify the situation of people like yourself. Even the case of this man who married, had four children and then felt he could no longer live a double emotional and psychological life and had to tell his wife he wanted to be a woman, that must have been traumatic for all concerned in the family but they did cope. This is a really serious ethical problem.
for the 'problem' of gay and lesbian youth in a classroom is not a problem. They are human beings just like the rest of us in many respects and just need a safe and secure learning environment that is supportive of their academic and social blossoming in teenager years and those who are uncertain will take some time to work out their feelings. People make assumptions about many things in life. I was told by several people that I must be 'gay' because I had no sexual relationships with guys in my early years. Desparate to be proved 'normal' I threw myself into a couple of sexual relationships at 18 and a half with disasterous consequences to escape the tauntings of my peers who were all in relationships with boyfriends. It wasn't that I did not like men, I just had not found the right guy and I guess I was shy and too choosy. For a while in my life I entered relationships because it was expected that a girl have a boyfriend to be considered 'normal'. It was only later in life I realised how sick this was and that the philosphy of saving yourself for a husband who was right for you in all ways is a much better and safer option. I did suffer a lot of emotional abuse and much of it I see was self inflicted and having no moral guidance in earlier years.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'h
@ Mandie I have put some articles on a separate post. I cannot at times do a cut and paste for some reason on my computer. I will have to get it fixed.

Mandie said...

If you believe same sex parents are equal to opposite sex parents - then I don't understand how you can argue against same sex marriage on the basis of children.

I try to look at this issue from a non-emotive point of view - while we all have different opinions, what should be made law is a different story. I feel that someone could be personally against same sex marriage and still pro legalising same sex marriage. For example, I recently met with some of the group "clergy for marriage equality" - met a lovely baptist minister who stated that while he would not marry same sex couples in his church, he believed law was separate and people should be treated equally under law. Therefore, civil same sex marriage could be allowed, and indeed same sex marriage could be performed in religions where that is also accepted, and some places can decide not to go ahead with it - and no-one would be negatively affected by it happening elsewhere.

Zoe makes a good point, the one I find most compelling in terms of marriage equality. As a doctor, I cannot easily separate all people into "man" and "woman". Based on chromosomes, based on hormones, based on anatomy - it's not possible to have a clearcut definition. There are many people who identify as "Intersex" - neither male nor female. They have the right to be listed as intersex on their birth certificate and passport - and if they do this, they are never allowed to marry ANYONE under current Australian law. This is clearly discrimination.

Amending the marriage act to "between two consenting adults" (as opposed to between a man and a woman) is the logical answer.

I have not yet gotten to look at your articles - will look later as work is again beckoning. You can find more information here: http://www.drs4equality.com/about

Ilana Leeds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ilana Leeds said...

I know Mandie but I am fairly unemotional about this and that is why I believe what I do. I think we do have to handle cases differently at times and judge them on their merits and according to individual circumstances, but I do not honestly believe that the best interests of children or society will be served by the legalisation of same sex marriage.
I hope Zoe will forgive me for using her case as an example or even going so far as to say that sometimes sex or gender might have to be determined by DNA tests and then there may be some surprisng results. I am tired at present and will work on an article which is going from the perspective of the benefits and pluses of heterosexual marriage rather than putting down same sex marriage, because then it becomes a very negative exercise where people get quite emotive and upset and see themselves as disadvantaged or some how 'inferior'. It is more than just breeding, love, financial gain there is a spiritual dimension to marriage which as a person who believes in G-D I believe should be a prerequisite to marriage in order to ensure it is long lasting and sound. Good marriages have to be worked at. The hard work starts after the dancing and celebration and ceremony. That is what it is about. The ceremony is a piece of paper or a scroll of parchment and that has as much significance as the people partaking in that ceremony with an awareness of a G-Dly spiritual element in their union, for me as a religious person that is.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
This is why I should not write when I am tired. The marriage document and marriage itself, has as much significance as is allowed or given by those who partake in it and those involved in it. Marriage was an institution whose power to change and challenge some have tried to deny and some wanted to do away with altogether when I was in my youth (;-) centuries ago) but now there has been a shift towards a more conservative attitude. It is certainly interesting and if you study History you will see other interesting debates that have gone on.

Zoe Brain said...

I'm with Reb Hillel on this one.

shabbat 31a

On another occasion it happened that a certain heathen came before Shammai and said to him, 'Make me a proselyte, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.' Thereupon he repulsed him with the builder's cubit which was in his hand.
When he went before Hillel, he said to him, 'What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbour: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is the commentary thereof; go and learn it.'


I try, however imperfectly, to follow this. I'm not an observant Jew, and only Jewish on a technicality - direct matrilineal descendence.

Whether my son is also Jewish is an interesting question, but I digress. He has a (tchnically) Jewish female parent.

Should Intersex people be forbidden from marrying anyone? Even if, as in my case, they are not completely sterile? What about their children, who would be legally prevented from having married parents?

This is a religious question only inasmuch as the current civil law contravenes natural justice, and offends the conscience - the heart of the Torah. Otherwise it's purely a matter of civil law, and we mix religious and civil law at our peril.

Defining marriage so it prevents the union of two people who are spiritually bonded is wrong. The only way our marriage was permitted was through a medical misdiagnosis. It is forbidden now, and has been since 2004.

And if I am to claim the right to remain married to the person I'm still deeply in love with - even though we're both of the same sex (and both straight, so we're celibate) - how can I in all conscience treat other same-sex couples differently?

'What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbour: that is the whole Torah...'

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
Yes Zoe I know the story. You are not technically Jewish, YOU ARE JEWISH if your mother is Jewish. For example, if I went back into my mother's line and discovered that her great great great great grandmother was a Jew(which is quite possible) then all those women even if they are not practising Jews, it would make me a halachic Jew without conversion. Trouble is you would have to prove it to the satisfaction of a Beit Din with accompanying documentation to their satisfaction. Note, I say both accompaning documentation that would satisfy the requirements of a competent and astute beit din. Now in your case, I am not a rav, but if it is proved that medically you are a female, what would stop you from marrying a man? I actually do not know how this is viewed halachically because this is not a new question. There is the case recorded of the Emperor Nero of Rome actually castrating a young boy to make him his wife. I wondered when I read that in my teens whether it was done with the child's consent or he was just a slave that a selfish pig of an emperor chose to bestow the 'honour' of his favours on. In your case, I am neither a doctor, not a rav qualified in this area, so I guess I reserve my opinion.
by the way, if you ever meet Mikeybear you should tell him the story of the convert standing on one leg and Hillel's answer. He needs to know that.

Mandie said...

The point here, Ilana - is that G-d or Allah or Jesus or any other deity has no say in Australian law.

So while I respect your right to believe in spirituality in marriage, and your right to believe that in your religious beliefs marriage should be between a man and a woman - I would like you to respect my right to have a marriage in law that is not religious.

If you are able to appreciate the separation of church and state - that religion has no place in Australian law according to the constitution - then you should understand that the argument against legalising same sex marriage on the basis of religion is invalid.

I'm married - and my marriage had nothing to do with religion. The law allowed me to marry outside of a religious institution (like most Australians) - so why shouldn't the law allow same sex couples to do the same?

Sometimes people claim that their religious freedom is trampled - that we ignore their religion by allowing same sex couples to marry. No church or any other religious leader will be forced to marry any couple (and they are not forced to do so now!). What about those who believe in same sex marriage (the majority of Australians in all polls), what about our rights?

In regards to the Intersex debate - as previously stated, you cannot define male and female easily - purely by chromosomes does not work - there is not just XY and XX - there is XXX, XXXY, XO, XXO, and just about any other combination you can imagine. Anatomically and biologically there is a significant amount of variance. It is not just a matter of "male" and "female" - there is also intersex. And as stated before, you can have intersex on your passport, and on your birth certificate - but if you do, you are never allowed to marry anyone in Australia - and if you got married overseas it would not be recognised.

I would appreciate if you could remove the lens of religion and look at this from a logical, legal standpoint - because that is how Australian laws are made.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H

Mandie I find your last statement strange at the very least. You state categorically that you would 'appreciate it if you could remove the lens of religion and look at this issue from a logical, legal standpoint - because that is how Australian Laws are made.'
Firstly, it is debatable whether Australian laws were made purely from a logical, legal standpoint. I am sure that if you investigated the laws and law making process in many countries you would find that is not the case. Laws about removing aboriginal children with one caucasian or European parent from their natural mother? Is that logical or even legal under natural laws for the reasons given by the Australian Government. I think not.
To ask me to remove the lens of religion from my viewpoint is to ask me to think as a non believing person does and to ask me to kill off my brain cells and think like a bit of an instinctive animal who only does what he or she feels emotively and not logically set out the choices. I believe in G-D and nothing will change that. I have believed in G-D or a divine power from my earliest memories. It almost like trying to ask me to believe JC the fellow th Christians worship is the Messiah. I just do not think it is valid and am coming from a different viewpoint entirely.
I do view marriage as holy. If you look at marriage in the historical context you will see that it is defined as a rite of passage with greatr cultural and social significance than many do understand. I have lifted a quote from this article
http://garvan.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/marriage-a-mere-rite-of-passage/?year=2012&monthnum=02&day=28&like=1&_wpnonce=0205fafe85&wpl_rand=0ca6aa7d2f
which sums it up nicely
"Any parliament which sets out – as foolish legislatures across the western world are now doing – to redefine things “given” by nature is confusing, in this instance, the law written in men’s hearts and minds with the law written in their libido." There you have it in an essence, do not let emotionalism and the irrationality of sexual feelings sway one over to the side of 'gay or same sex marriages legalised.' It is far more an issue whereby those who are against the idea of same sex marriage are using their logic.
In some cases such as Zoe's legal minds need to look at that situation with medical practioneers and make a decision based on the circumstances.

Mandie said...

The "holy" rite of marriage or the religion marriage is very different to the legal marriage - legal marriage in Australia is essentially a contract between two people. Please read the Australian Marriage Act of 1961.

Legal marriage in Australia is nothing to do with religion - the administration is civil, civil celebrants can perform civil ceremonies and legal documents are signed.

Religious marriage is different - sometimes it is done at the time of a legal marriage (and the documents are signed then too) and sometimes it is done outside the law. This varies according to religion - I suggest you read marriage history for Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu and other religions as well as Judeo-Christian history.

I will not argue whether same sex marriage should be recognised by any particular religion - I think this is for each religion to sort out on their own. The different religions have different beliefs about everything else, so why not about same sex marriage?

I go back to the law. I believe you can be personally against same sex marriage on the basis of your feeling that marriage is spiritual, holy, and I respect your opinion.

However, the law is secular. Therefore to debate this particular law, we must indeed remove the lens of religion to discuss whether the legal contract of marriage can be afforded to same sex couples, and intersex/trans people.

The parliament does not "redefine nature". Marriage is not natural - do animals get married? Marriage within the law is a legal contract. People put different spins on it in their own personal view, but it is a legal contract.

If marriage is gotten rid of all together in law and left to religions - and in law we have civil unions, for all couples, gay or straight and everything in between, that would be fine.

But by leaving civil marriage as an option for opposite sex couples and NOT an option for same sex couples, it is clearly legal discrimination.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H

Firstly I do not think we can speak for animals. How do we know that some species of animals do not have marriage rites as they certainly do have courtship rites and birds like galahs and swans mate for life or until the death of one of the pair. Horses are polygamous but the stallion is very protective of his mares or wives and they in turn feel quite a lot of affection towards their herd stallion so much so that when an old stallion is driven from the herd many of the older mares say,'Nay, nay!' to the younger stronger stallion when he tries to mate with them.
There is marriage in natural law and human laws are based on natural laws as they have been formulated by men of wisdom for many thousands of years.
I do separate between the church and state on some things but honestly a well run government does have some spiritual foundations. It has to have. Look at Rome and Greece and many civilisations. They have all been founded on some elements of religious as well as secular beliefs. Of course, if you want to examine the French Revolution and Robespierre's rationale and reason in the reign of terror - I am not such a fan of chopping heads off people who deagree with me. I prefer sane debate and the ability to recognise we are on different wave lengths and agree to disagree. :-)

Mandie said...

I will disagree with your personal view of marriage as it does differ to my own.

Despite any historical evidence of other civilisations, the legalities of the Australian Marriage Act has nothing to do with Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam or ancient Greeks, or stallions.

The Legal Standing of the Australian Marriage act is in secular law. Read the constitution.

While we can all certainly have personal opinions on such things, the law is secular. We DO have separation of church and state. It does not matter whether you agree with this or not - it is the current state of the law.

Therefore, when arguing about the legal definition of marriage - I stress legal because legal marriage is a contract in Australian law, nothing more. Religion cannot be used in this debate.

Everyone will have different views on the spirituality of marriage, etc etc. But that is not the law. Otherwise, the law would dictate that marriages must occur within a certain religion, or by a religious leader.

I think it is time to stop this debate now - you are conflating your personal/religious/spiritual beliefs with the legal contract of marriage in law.

You cannot "disagree" that it is a legal contract and not religious - that is the law. It's like disagreeing that heroin is illegal. You may disagree whether the use of heroin is good or bad and you may have a different personal opinion as to whether people should be allowed to use heroin - but you can't disagree that it is currently illegal - the law is black and white.

Good talking to you - it's worthwhile having these rational discussions - it is important to understand where each other are coming from in debates such as these.

Ilana Leeds said...

B'H
Yes Mandie it is good to have rational debate. I will agree that marriage does have weight as a legal document as well, but where we differ is on the foundations on which the rite of marriage was and is based. Any thing else, stripped of the spiritual element of what is marriage and the intention behind a marriage document, then it is just a rubber stamp for legally fornicating adults to say,'the government has given us the ok to have sex.' It becomes a physical act of fornication or copulation that is not forbidden between consenting adults in today's society or even frowned upon. In fact, copulation between people of a certain age is actively encouraged in the media and literature of today. You have only got to look at shows like Sex In the city to see the light hearted and irreligious attitude to a physical bond between a man and a woman. Enough said I do think.

Mandie said...

Okay.. that last one was a bit weird. Surely you are aware that there is no requirement to be married to have sex?

Being married in the law is a legal contract - to do with property,finance, custody of children and ability to make decisions for the other partner when they are incapacitated. Nothing to do with fornication.

But you are right, enough said!