This evening I attended a Community Forum on the Proposed Marriage Amendment, sponsored by St. Luke's United Methodist Church's Justice Committee, St. Luke's UMC Reachout Group, and the Aldersgate Society. This forum was spearheaded by Dr. Jane Park Cutler, LCSW, Chair of the Justice Committee.
The forum consisted of four panelists: Dr. David Orentlicher, J.D., Indiana House of Representatives, District 86, Constitutional Law Issues; Dr. Gordon B. Cutler, Jr., National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, 1975-1997, Endocrinologist, The Science of Gender Development; Dr. Rebecca Van Voorhis, IU School of Social Work, Faculty, Family Structures & Function; and The Rev. Edward L. Wheeler, Ph.D., Christian Theological Seminary, President, Theological Issues. The Honorable John Mutz, Former Lieutenant Governor, State of Indiana was the Facilitator.
Each panelist discussed the proposed Marriage Amendment in relation to their particular field of expertise. They were all extremely articulate and well-informed. Some of the things I learned were:
There is no research that shows that children who live in gay and lesbian households are harmed - in fact, they flourish and learn tolerance (Dr. Van Voorhis).
We need to understand the biological variability of gender expression (Dr. Cutler)
You have to go beyond your moral view. You have to ask how would this negatively affect the safety of our children (Rep. Orentlicher).
Another reason I point out how knowledgeable the panelists were is because when I speak with opponents of gay marriage, they often drag out nonsensical and, well, ridiculous arguments. Even in the face of documented research, they will discredit it. Last night I was at a political debate and had the opportunity to speak to Rep. Cindy Noe, who is definitely opposed to gay marriage. At one point during our discussion, she remarked that if we allow gay marriage, that could lead to the legalization of ANY type of marriage - why, she could even marry her mother!!!! That is the sort of garbage that we should not expect from our elected officials.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions. But I think they should be presented in an informed and well-researched way. Dragging out bogus statistics and pushing religiosity on an already uninformed public is unfair and downright sneaky. These individuals should have been at the forum tonight - they could have learned a few things.