March 27, 2002


A Clutch of Nettles
By Virginia Dare


Furze and Gorse have two mommies:
An updated tale of family fun


"Isn't it wonderful about Mindy and Shelley?" gushed my co-worker. Mindy and Shelley are a particularly egregious lesbian couple at work who exchange passionate farewells in the parking lot before they take the elevator to their separate offices. (At this same workplace, mind you, the hiring of married heterosexual partners is forbidden, in the pursuit of peaceful surroundings.) I couldn't think of much that Mindy and Shelley could do that could be filed under the "Wonderful" tab, so — idiot that I am — I asked.

It turned out that Mindy and Shelley are having twins, which is an occasion for unfettered joy because Mindy has been going to a fertility clinic for several months. I'd never tagged her as a likely patient for a fertility clinic, figuring that her only barrier to conception was that she was boinking another woman, an arrangement statistically unlikely to be terribly fecund. However, in these parlous times, when every one of us has a right to be all that he (or in this case, she) can be, and devil take the hindmost, mere biological barriers take a distant second place to fulfillment. Or something.

Anyway, plans are now in the works for a baby shower for the proud parents, a collective entity that I presume does not include the turkey baster. I will take pains to avoid the passed hat and the sign-up sheet for the potluck lunch, and I'm even thinking of developing a rare virus as the celebration draws near. I have major objections as it is to the children of legally married, traditionally paired couples, which offspring seem more and more frequently to be found screaming in $50-an-entrée restaurants and clinging to my skirt with their jammy little paws in public thoroughfares. Since it will not be possible to cow the oncoming twins with the lovely threat dear to my childhood — "Just wait until your father gets home" — I can only expect they will pose greater hazards to the public weal than the litters of traditional families. There's no way I'm going to give, by means of a chicken salad or a fluffy afghan, my blessing to this travesty.

Being information-seekers of an unusually sophisticated bent, O Best Beloved, you are undoubtedly aware of how many completely distasteful social trends the incipient infants represent, but because I'm so outraged I can barely contain myself, I will highlight a few of the more appalling implications.

• First of all, I am personally out of pocket for the events leading up to the conception of the two embryonic ankle-biters. If you were on my insurance plan, you would be, too. And since most insurance plans operate under the same ground rules, take my word for it: You are out of pocket for somebody's social-equity statement, somewhere. Fertility clinics are big-buck operations, and treatments therein are covered by most group medical policies. Insurance premiums for the members of a group covered by one of those policies are evaluated and adjusted (usually upward) on the basis of the cost of the treatments rendered to the members of the insured group.

In plain English, Mindy's search for maternal fulfillment resulted in a massive payout to her clinic, and our insurer is going to have to recoup that six-figure loss from someplace. The $35 a month that she (as a single woman) pays for her medical coverage isn't going to reimburse her treatment costs, so the insurance company is going to raise the price of every premium in the risk pool in order to collect.

• Second, recall that the whole equal-rights-for-unmarried-partners scam was originally defended by "gay" activists with the argument (among others) that lesbian relationships are more stable than heterosexual marriages. Women, the reasoning ran, are genetically wired to be faithful and monogamous — apparently the only permissible genetic difference between the sexes — and their households, less threatened by domestic breakups, are good for the economy. In the case of Mindy and Shelley, I have the evidence of my own eyes to serve as a practical test of that premise, and it just ain't so. Shelley has been through three "true, lifelong partners" in the ten years I've known her, and her last "stable relationship" included another artificially inseminated offspring. Alas, one of Heather's two mommies ran off with another woman, and the other one is now receiving government subsidies to help underwrite the expenses of unwed parenting. When you do the math, that means another hand in my wallet.

If this were the sole nugget of misinformation the homosexual alliances have foisted on us in their struggle for acceptance as normal folks, it would be bad enough. But if you believe it's their only little fib, maybe I could interest you in 50 acres of prime building lot in the Dismal Swamp.

• Finally, the pending demonic event is helping to establish (in the minds of my co-workers and the policies of my employer) another link in the chain of precedent that eventually shackles us, like Marley's ghost, to the mindless insanity of the law and our ever-accelerating descent into chaos. (If you think this is an extreme viewpoint, ask yourself this: If you were to read this essay, or practically anything else you might find in The Last Ditch, aloud in a public place at midday, what would be the odds of your being hauled up for inciting hate crimes? Pretty good, wot? Ah, I thought you'd catch the point. Remember — if the First Amendment can be rendered inapplicable by public custom, nothing is impossible.)

At present there are few, if any, laws requiring that same-sex spousal equivalents be accorded the same legal protections as married couples. Such developments as the Disney Company's much-touted offering of spousal benefits to same-sex partners are driven by PC considerations, not by legal mandate. But in today's topsy-turvy society, perception is reality, and wishing makes it so. Eventually some jurisdiction will pass a law requiring employers to offer equal benefits to same-sex partners, or a state that has elected to recognize same-sex civil unions will start mulling over the fairness issue, and, hey, presto! As Vermont goes, so goes the nation, or some such platitude. Every such accretion to the creeping blight that is our national morality diminishes our collective civility and ultimately diminishes us all.


And so Mindy is knitting itty-bitty booties and Shelley, who is sort of butch but likes to show off her domestic skills as a parlor trick, is stenciling bunnies on the walls of their second-largest bedroom. And you and I, O Best Beloved, are being conned into thinking that all is right with the world. Pay no attention to the gay-rights activist behind the curtain.

© 2002 by WTM Enterprises. All rights reserved.

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