30 Days: Same Sex Parenting
(S03E04) Usually the teasers for 30 Days are pretty innocuous. They give an idea about what the topic is and show some reactions from both sides. This week, however, I had the feeling I was going to be pissed.
The part that stuck out the most was the sound byte of Kati saying, "It confirms the option of becoming gay." A person who would let that comment come out of their mouth is clearly uneducated on a great many things and I hoped that we'd get to see some redeeming qualities in her.
I had to laugh when Spurlock said Kati was going from Leave it to Beaver to My Two Dads. I've seen both of those shows many times and while the Beav can certainly be classified as a kid from a "typical American home," I never got the idea that Paul Reiser and Greg Evigan played gay lovers. I guess I need to rent that show on DVD.
When we meet Kati, she seems reasonable and starts off by making what sounds like a valid point. She believes that two parents of the same sex are ill-equipped to give their child the life lessons that can only be provided by two different sexes. Now, I'm sure we'll get plenty of comments from experts, and I welcome them, but since I am nothing close to an expert, I have to concede that she may have a point. I have never met a boy raised by two men, but I can picture him growing up with an inordinate amount of insensitivity to women and their specific issues. So far Kati seems harmless.
Dennis and Thomas come across like superheroes. Not only did they adopt four boys who started out as foster kids, but their son Josh has special needs and couldn't even speak when he came to live with them. All lionizing aside, I am forced to admit that I could never do what they do. I only have two kids and while I've known them all their lives, there are still days when I want to drop them a Goodwill bin. That, of course, says more about me than it does them, but I'm sure you get the point.
The tensions begin after dinner on the first night. While it's clear that Kati is a sweet person and a loving mother, she is very vocal about her religion and how it informs her opinions on many things. Obviously, she interprets the Bible to say that homosexuality is wrong and that's something I can live with. She has a right to her beliefs, as do we all, but she seems to have a respect for the beliefs of others. The first red flag comes when she is asked if she believes that growing up in foster care without a permanent home is preferable to a same-sex household. To paraphrase her answer, she says yes. I assume that's because she believes that the "immoral" influence does more damage than the lack of a stable home. Again, while I think this is a fairly ludicrous way of thinking, I don't fault her for her beliefs.
It's at Kati's lunch with a pair of lesbian parents and their daughter that she first shows her ignorance. First of all, Kati is under the impression that being gay is a choice. I know that there are probably people reading this review who agree with her, but you are wrong. Being gay is no more a choice than being black, Jewish or female. The only choice homosexuals have is whether or not to lie to themselves and/or their loved ones about who they are. Let me reiterate, in case I am being unclear, if you believe that homosexuality is a choice, you are free to believe that, but you are wrong.
The best part of the conversation comes when the daughter of the lesbian couple shows Kati the flaw in her logic. She explains that her Mom grew up in a Catholic family with two different sex parents and she ended up being gay. So how does it make sense that a same-sex household can make you more inclined to be a homosexual? The answer is, it doesn't and the fact that Kati sits there silently affirms that.
What becomes very clear at this point is that Kati is very controlling. I applaud her for stepping into such an unfamiliar situation. But it's clear that she needs to learn that there are too many things in the universe that she can not control if she is going to be a happy person and a successful parent.
As always, Spurlock makes an effort to show a reasonable argument against same-sex marriage. Sadly, the effort is a complete failure. The sad story of the woman raised by her single gay father only goes to affirm the fact that no child should be raised by an inappropriate douchebag. Are we to believe that if her father had brought home women and discussed his sexual activities with them in front of his daughter that she would have grown up issue-free?
I was really pleased to see the tension breaker Spurlock included when he took a visit to the sperm bank. Not only did it remind us that having and raising children is a very lucrative business for a lot of people but the conversation he had about sperm donation made me laugh out loud.
The scene around the fire made me really sad. Not just because I felt sorry for Kati but because, as we saw last week with George the hunter, when people are being attacked, they will never concede to another point of view. Josh's relatives (The Pancakes?) stood there with their arms crossed and made accusations when they should have been trying to build some understanding on both parts. What gets me is that this family that has admittedly failed at raising their own son has the nerve to tell Kati what's best for kids. I hope those smores covered up the taste of irony in their mouths.
At the end of the thirty days, it was clear that there would be no happy ending and yet, this episode was my favorite of all three seasons. I really liked the point Kati made about how everyone in America should be able to respect each other while expressing their individual beliefs. The best part was how Kati was able to see the value in really examining how people with opposing viewpoints live. Even though she won't change her beliefs, at least she won't be talking "through her hat" anymore. How great would it be if we could all do that?