That was strange in and of itself, but the really bizarre thing about it was that the particular issue addressed in the spot was same-sex marriage. That really surprised me, because such a thing would never be frankly addressed on a children's television network when I was young. I remember when I had just begun school, and they began AIDS education. Even though this was in the mid to late '80s when AIDS still bore the stigma of being a "homosexual's disease," the subject was mentioned only briefly, if at all.
Once I got over the initial strangeness of it, I was glad that they were discussing this issue with children and letting children discuss it. After all, same-sex couples are a reality in these children's world, and by discussing it openly (though not in explicit terms), these children may--God willing--learn to be more accepting and reject the unfeeling, narrow views of their parents' generation.
The issue is not, as I have said or implied before, marriage. The issue is equality. The fact of the matter is that forbidding same-sex couples to marry is a double standard. Some may not believe so, but that doesn't change the facts. I, as a heterosexual female, have the right to enter into a legal marriage with the consenting adult of my choice, with virtually no restrictions or questions asked, because the consenting adult of my choice would be male. However, my brother, as a homosexual male, does not have this right, because the consenting adult of his choice would also be male.
And by what criteria do we make these judgments? One of the most prominent arguments against same-sex marriage (and in my opinion, the only one that makes sense and is worth addressing) is that same-sex couples cannot produce their own children. While this is undeniably true, it is not a criterion used to judge the fitness of heterosexual marriages. Elderly people, surely past their childbearing years, are not forbidden to marry. People are not subjected to fertility tests before they are allowed to marry, nor (to my knowledge) are they questioned about their reproductive capabilities before a marriage license is issued. If that is the criterion by which we judge a legitimate marriage, than let us forbid and annul all marriages in which children cannot be produced.
Let me give you an example of just how ridiculous this double standard is: About a year ago I was speaking of this subject with a lay minister in the Roman Catholic Church (of which I am a member). I asked her, "The Catechism expressly forbids discrimination against gay people, but doesn't the Church's treatment of them [i.e. not allowing them to marry] constitute discrimination in and of itself?" She parroted back the Church's official position, gays can't marry in the Church because they can't (permissibly) have sex, and they can't have sex because children cannot be produced of their union. I asked her, because I was genuinely unclear on this point, "Does the Catechism forbid sexual relations between infertile married couples?" She informed me that it does not because, "Miracles can happen. I've known couples who were infertile for years before they had a child." I thought, "So have I, and I'll thank you not to condescend to me," but what I said was, "Okay, then let's take it a step farther: suppose a married woman has a hysterectomy--for health reasons--would she and her husband be forbidden from sexual relations?" She informed me that they would not, because sex was intended for consummation of the relationship as well as reproduction (which actually goes to support the case for same-sex marriage, but let that pass for the moment) before she made this startling assertion: "And who knows? God could work a miracle. Anything is possible."
So let's review: gay people are forbidden to marry because it is impossible for them to reproduce, but a woman with no uterus is allowed to have sex with her husband because, in part, God could miraculously make her pregnant.
To my dying day I will regret that I left it at that, that I didn't say, "If anything is possible and God can work miracles, your--and the Church's--point that it is impossible for gay couples to produce children is completely moot. If God could make a woman with no uterus pregnant, why couldn't he do the same for two women--or two men, for that matter?"
I suppose the only reasonable response to that would be that of course God COULD perform such a miracle, but that he WOULDN'T. However, that seems to me to be an excessively arrogant response, especially taking into consideration that our Scriptures are replete with miracles of a reproductive nature.
Not the least of which would be the conception of Jesus Christ.