The Thinking 

A Family Judge is Dumbfounded by Lesbian Divorce

November 3, 2013


BUSINESS INSIDER has an excerpt from a how-to book on divorce by Laura Wasser. In the book, Wasser describes a “divorce” by a lesbian couple who had conceived children with a sperm donor, one woman contributing the egg in each case and the other the womb. Interestingly, the judge in the divorce case (homosexual couples break up at a much higher rate than heterosexual ones so divorce courts should be busier than ever) could not conceal his utter amazement. He was apparently new to the decadent world of lesbian reproduction.

As Wasser put it, the judge (even though he was a family court judge in California and must have adjudicated many cases of spectacular family breakdown) was still “clinging” to an antiquated and romanticized notion of family. Wasser wrote:

The judge hearing the case was an older man—old enough, in fact, to be the grandfather of the couple’s children, and how those children came into the world seemed to transfix the judge’s mind to the point that it became a sticking-point in the proceeding. Befuddled by the formula the women had devised, hung up on the lengths to which they had gone to ensure their kids’ origins, fascinated and at the same time repelled by a situation utterly foreign to his experience, he simply could not get past what he persisted in calling the couple’s “lifestyle.”

His emphasis on this issue was irrelevant and wide of the mark, as both lawyers agreed, and the judge’s insistence on raising it was both time-consuming and offensive. It was Melissa who first hit the bursting-point, proposing to Jennifer that the two take their fate out of the hands of a guy who struck her as very much a caricature of the quirky judges on “The Good Wife.” He simply could not get his head around who they were as people and what they had at stake.

Melissa and Jennifer were not comfortable with this person making decisions that would affect their lives—lives he clearly did not understand. Instead, the couple agreed to go to mediation to settle the issue on their own. And that’s exactly what happened.

To me, this case seemed to exemplify the disconnect between outmoded perceptions and current reality when it comes to relationships and their dissolution. To oversimplify a bit: On one side was the generation the judge embodied, still clinging to the idea that “family” means father, mother, two kids, refrigerator, and split-level—a template that was never as pervasive as claimed but that served as a kind of Madison Avenue standard for many years.

On the other side was a family configuration that shattered that notion noisily, and then had the temerity to break up and seek resolution in the law, which, by the time the twenty-first century rolled around, in fact protected the new configuration.

— Comments —

Walter writes:

I suppose our society is rapidly accepting gay marriage as a civil right protected by the constitution, and equal in every respect to tradition male-female marriage. Many of my friends accept these premises as logical and are often surprised that I do NOT support gay marriage. After all, I have gay friends, and I have always treated them with respect.

Why do I not support it? Well, to begin with every society throughout all of history has regarded marriage as an institution between a man and a woman (or more than one woman). Even societies that accepted homosexuality never regarded homosexual relationships as the same thing as marriage. Society valued marriage because it signaled that the values and customs of that society will be transferred to a new generation. Marriage was critical, not just for its family bonds, but for ensuring a strong society.

So why can’t we change the definition of marriage to be more inclusive? Basically it’s because human life is special, even sacred. Our society is better served when we believe that all humans should be treated with respect, not because they are rich or popular, but simply because they are humans. We believe that we should not kill. We believe we are to follow the golden rule. We may even dare to believe that humans are made “in the image of God.”

If we believe that human life is sacred, then it follows that the origin of human life is to be treated as if it was sacred as well. All human life has its origin in the heterosexual union. That is why society establishes sexual morals. Our sexuality should be treated as something sacred, even holy. Heterosexual unions are intrinsically associated with the origin of human life. Even if all heterosexual unions do not result in pregnancy, they are nonetheless associated with it. By contrast, no human life has its origin in homosexual unions. It just isn’t the same thing, and society has no reason to treat it as it if it was.

Currently marriage is under threat from a hing divorce rate, casual sex, women having babies outside of marriage, and domestic violence. Changing the definition of marriage to accommodate a special interest group will not help promote the institution of marriage. Sexual unions will no longer be considered sacred, and eventually human life will no longer be considered sacred. Human life will be reduced to a commodity of the state.

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