Monday, February 19, 2007

Defining family down

Ed Brayton has a post up about a California court case, Good News Employee Association v. Hicks. In short, some employees of the city of Oakland formed the group GNEA in order to, in Mr. Brayton's words, "counter what they viewed as city policies that favored gays and lesbians more than they would like them to." They put up a flier on a bulletin board, a lesbian employee complained, and they were told that they couldn't put that flier up on the bulletin board anymore. What I found interesting were the described contents of the flier, from the court's ruling:
GNEA's stated purposes are "[t]o celebrate our Faith and Liberties by preserving the integrity of the Natural Family, Marriage and Family values"; "[t]o provide a forum for people of faith to express their views on contemporary issues of the day"; and "[t]o oppose all views that seek to redefine the Natural Family and Marriage." In its "Statement of Faith," GNEA explains that "we believe the Natural Family is defined as a man and a women their children by birth or adoption, or the surviving remnant thereof (including single parents)"; that "[w]e believe Marriage is defined by a union between a man and a woman according to California state law"; and that "[w]e believe in Family Values that promote abstinence, marriage, fidelity in marriage and devotion to our children. "

I find the inclusion of adoption in the definition contrary to everything one would expect of the word "natural", and I really have to wonder about the fact that it says nothing about stepfamilies or in-laws--apparently my brothers aren't really my brothers despite the fact that we've grown up together since I was two. These attempts to narrowly define the notion of "family" to exclude gays will omit a lot more families than just those headed by same-sex couples.

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