Category Archives: Fatherhood

Marriage Redefined

April 8, 2013

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

Poor Jeremy Irons.  Poor, poor Jeremy.

He asked a basic question arising from the demands of same-sex couples to get the same tax breaks as married couples.  He asked a tax question…if we’re going to change the law so that people don’t have to pay inheritance tax…how can I get myself in on the deal?

In an interview with the Huffington Post, the 64-year-old actor said he doesn’t have an opinion either way on gay marriage, but he then asked, “could a father not marry his son?”  Later, after attacks by angry liberals, he tried to ameliorate the impact of his comment by claiming it was just a playful jestJeremy Irons 2.

You can tell that Irons tapped into a very real and very raw nerve.  Just look at the outrage and listen to the invectives spewed at him across the tabloids and on news shows.

Just when everyone was shouting “equality,” Jeremy pointed out that “equality” is being measured by the “dollars and cents of tax breaks.”  If gay activists think that Jeremy is the only one working with the financial inquisitiveness of a CPA…they have another think coming.

When the Post interviewer objected on the grounds of incest, Irons argued by referring to the gender issues being ignore.  “[I]ncest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don’t breed.”  Coming back to the core issue at hand, Irons piqued the public by asking if he were to marry his son…would it allow him to pass on his estate to his son without being taxed?

The gays have been “outed” in the truest sense.  For, most of the “debate” about gay marriage has been a diversionary tactic to redirect our sympathies to the emotional pain of gay people.  In truth, the underlying drive for same-sex equity is driven by money.  If there were no financial gains to be had, the crowds at the Supreme Court would dwindle to a trickle.

US Supreme CourtIn a key case at the Supreme Court, 83-year-old Manhattan resident Edith Windsor sued Uncle Sam because she was made to pay estate taxes after the death of her wife, Thea Spyer, that heterosexual widows would not have had to pay.  This case represents the core financial element of claiming marriage for same-sex relationships.

So why the tax breaks?  The government is never shy about collecting taxes.  Tax breaks and marriage certificates mattered from the day they were created because legislators recognized the social benefit of stabilizing the lives of families for the sake of their children…all accruing to the benefit of our civilization.  Tax breaks mattered because children mattered.

If we continue to deconstruct the institution of traditional marriage between men and women, then we have trouble identifying where to offer our social support for the benefit of children.  We have spent the past fifty years questioning the value of men and women, married with families, and toying with the idea that this isn’t important to us.  Same-sex marriage is just grabbing at the coattails of the cultural revolution.

Jeremy is asking the obvious question.  If marriage is not limited to one man and one woman, then what are the limits?  And if taxes are at stake…why stop with a marriage of two people?  If we are in charge of defining marriage to “anything we want it to be,” then all options should be on the table.

Tax experts are expert at maximizing tax breaks.  That is why Nevada and Delaware do a booming business as the states of preference for incorporating businesses in all fifty states.  That is why off-shore accounts are favored for large sums of cash.  And that is why out-sourcing your corporate call center to India or Ireland makes financial sense.

Supposedly, equality means my marriage is equal to yours, even if I am Wedding Ringsnot married to one person of the opposite sex.  So…can we extend “equality” even further?  Is there any justification for limiting the definition of marriage to two people?

Why not group marriage?  This is customary in some Muslim countries…one man with multiple wives.  Why not?

Why not the “other kind” of group marriage?  Why not permit one woman to be married to multiple men?  We already approve of multiple sexual partners for women.  Why not marry all of them?

Why not inter-family marriages?  Could a brother marry a sister?  We have ruled out the need to plan for children inside of a marriage.  We have multiple methods of avoiding and getting rid of children.  So genetic issues do not have to be an issue here.  A brother and sister?  Why not?

Jeremy’s off-the-cuff question is just one more in the list?  Why not a parent and child in marriage?

Why not two friends?  We don’t have to prove our bedroom habits in court; we don’t have to be gay lovers.  We can just be two friends with wonderful retirement plans.  Voila.  Married, we do not pay inheritance taxes.  We receive our spouse’s retirement in total, every single penny of it.  Even if we are not gay.  We can still get married.  Why not?

What about a marriage club?  If someone has an inheritance exceeding one million dollars, they can join our “group marriage club.”  We will all inherit from everyone.

Don’t think these questions can predict reality?  Think again.  Fifty years ago, who would have thought that men could marry men?  Social changers have learned to bypass public wisdom and to press their claims in court…and if we entertain the redefinition of marriage,  these questions will all wind their way into our social fabric, one legal challenge at a time.

If we are going to change the definition of marriage, what are the outside boundaries?  What makes two gay women or men more privileged than any other combination of human beings who claim their “right” to be married? cropped-Family-Sunset-Beach.jpg

If we are talking about marriage equality…we already have that.  Any man can marry any woman, one at a time.  Society allows the privilege of spousal inheritance as a benefit to those who are open to the possibility of children as the natural consequence of married love between a man and a woman.  It is as simple as that.


April 1, 2013:  Marriage Defined

March 15, 2013:  All Things Being Equal


Marriage Defined

April 1, 2013

The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.  ~~Albert Camus

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

From the beginning of time, there has been a special relationship between men and women. From the beginning of time, this special relationship has produced children and families.  And from the beginning of time, culture has acknowledged the special value that this relationship between men and women has for creating healthy families and building civilization.

Obvious?  Of course.  Without any need for explanation, the average person recognizes that we are speaking of marriage.  Thus has been the definition of marriage since the beginning of time… the special union of a man and woman through which we create and nurture children for the survival of our civilization.

This being true, it is surprising…and unfortunate…that the discussion of the issue of same-sex marriage has been characterized as a debate between those who have compassion and those who hate decent gay people and want to deny them their rights.

Researching the issue of marriage on the Internet, Cosby Show Familymost headlines use the word Equality to frame the debate.  It is rare to find a writer that discusses marriage as a matter of Definition.  And by ignoring the definition, we ignore the very heart of the matter.

The definition of marriage is not arbitrary.  Biology does matter.  Marriage is based on the created distinctions of man and woman.  It is based on the importance of fathers and mothers for the children who come into their lives.  The marital institution has provided for fathers and mothers, helping them in the roles of protecting, teaching and guiding children into adulthood.

On websites and in papers, discussion of same-sex marriage gives a brief nod to children and families.  But, when stripped to essentials, the key focus in the bid for redefining marriage is money.  How do gay people in relationships maximize their financial benefits of two incomes, two retirement plans and two inheritances?

Same-sex marriage proponents may be well-intentioned.  But they will find that their generosity in redefining marriage as a mere business construction will have long-lasting results for our children.  “Equality” as applied to marriage in the current debate is simply a strategic tool, useful for winning by infusing the debate with an emotional accusation.  If someone opposes same-sex marriage, they will be accused of being mean and hateful and bigoted.

If same-sex marriage is legally accepted, the term “equality” will ultimately be redirected from financial equality to gender equality.  Gender is barely acknowledged at this point in the battle for same-sex marriage.  But the ultimate goal of the most strident same-sex proponents is to declare an equality that does not exist.  When the last chips fall, these same-sex advocates will insist that every person in the culture must agree that men and women are “the same.”

Men and women, mothers and fathers, no longer will be celebrated for separate and unique qualities.  They will be considered interchangeable units in the family.  At the very moment that we are now coming to acknowledge the negative results of absent fathers in families, we will lose our ability to address this as a valid social concern.  Our culture will no longer have any ability to deal with the biological differences that are significant in raising children.

Mothers and fathers have unique and distinctive gender qualities that help their children develop healthy self-images.  But it won’t matter.  And the courts will once again be the venue for this battle.

Already, those in education have seen the fall-out of a culture that no longer values families built through the bonds of men and women who commit to each other in marriage.

  • Sex educators bristle at the notion that boys and girls look at the sexual act through a different lens.
  • For these educators, it is “offensive” to suggest that male and females have different biological and emotional needs related to sex and relationships.
  • The suggestion that fathers – men – are an essential ingredient in the recipe for families is decried as sexist.
  • Terminology in schools has been scrubbed of references to sexual differences.  Men and women are “people.”  Husbands and wives are “partners.”
  • Children in elementary schools are being encouraged to “try out” gender to see whether they prefer being a boy or a girl.

These attitudes are being used to push social agendas that negate the regular natural desires of boys and girls to be just that…boy and girls.  Consider just one case.  Last year a Rhode Island school district cancelled its father-daughter dance after the ACLU threatened to sue the district for gender discrimination. In the future, only parent-child events, not father-daughter dances or mother-son ballgames, will be allowed.

Dennis Prager in his column, Why a Good Person Can Vote Against Same-Sex Marriage, points to the shallow nature of our discussions about the potential redefinition of marriage.

The history of left-wing policies has largely consisted of doing what feels good and compassionate without asking what the long-term consequences will be; what Professor Thomas Sowell calls “Stage One Thinking.” That explains, for example, the entitlement state. It sounds noble and seems noble. But the long-term consequences are terrible: economic ruin, a demoralized population, increasing selfishness as people look to the state to take care of their fellow citizens, and more.

cropped-Family-Sunset-Beach.jpgFrom the beginning of time, culture has acknowledged the special value of the unique relationship between men and women in creating healthy families and building civilization.  There are long-term consequences for our children and grand-children in creating a society that no longer wants to acknowledge the significance of our biology.

Marriage between a man and woman is a definition that has meaning…and significance.  It is most certainly worth defending.


March 15, 2013:  All Things Being Equal

May 14, 2004:  Order in the Courtroom!

All Things Being Equal

March 15, 2013

America is a country founded on equality.  It is an idea formalized in our Declaration of Independence:

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Yet, the modern understanding of equality is threatening to undo us, as we become more and more fractured in our attempts to make certain that we all get an equal slice of the American Dream.  Bluntly put, equality today means that I can have what you have, no holds barred.  You have it, and I want it.  I deserve it because we are both equal.

Equality is at the heart of the battle between the sexes.  And most recently, equality has been argued at the Supreme Court as the premise for redefining marriage to provide for equality.  Equality?  How so?

Ask any child what equal means.  PieAt the age of three, he knows what to look for….my slice of the pie is just as big as your slice.  And kids have a very simple way to enforce the rules of equality.  You slice the pie.  I get first choice.

Sadly, many adults have never graduated from this simple definition of equality.  They wildly bandy the term “equality” around, as if all of life is one big cherry pie to be shared.

Children grow in their sophistication.  9871057-pizza-slice-with-everythingSharing a pizza is so much more complicated than cherry pie.  Even when the slices are perfectly cut from the center of the pizza into identical slices, there are so many ways to go wrong in getting your equal share.

  • How many slices of pepperoni are on each piece?
  • Which slice has the most cheese?
  • Does cheese matter to me?
  • If I give you my cheese, what will you give me in return?
  • If my brother is twice as tall, does he get twice as many slices?
  • What if I missed breakfast?  Can I have more than my extra tall brother?

Pie ChartWhat does equality mean?  Quite literally, it depends on how you slice it.  Some may object to reducing the arguments for same-sex marriage to a pizza party challenge.  But there is more to the comparison than meets the eye.

Cherry Pie – we all have relationships that could compare to sharing a pie.  For instance, there is the line at the box office.  Every person in line is equal as my competitor.  Our equal chance to buy tickets to the concert is governed by who got in line first.  If tickets are few and the line is long, they may restrict each purchase to six tickets.  And still, at the end of the day, they will run out of tickets and there will be the haves and the have-nots.  Some will have $300 to pay for a ticket sold online.  Many will not be able to ante up the extra money and will have to read about the concert in the papers or hope for a YouTube upload.  Every person in line is equal as my competitor.  But at the end of the day…some have…and some have not.  As my mother used to tell me, life is not fair.  I will not get everything I want.

Pizza – we all long for the relationships that are special orders, people who are essential to our life in personal and unique ways.  Every pizza is specially designed to appeal to the one who will eat it.  If we are lucky, we may have many such special order relationships.  Common understanding is that we will be able to count these relationships on one hand.  If I am lucky to have five special people that I can relate deeply to, what is the likelihood that each of these relationships is equal to all of the others?  There is the parent who is my best friend.  My spouse is committed to the fulfillment of my personal dreams.  My child protects me in a new and expanding world with challenges that I need help to deal with.  My friend of 40 years knows the history of my failings…and he loves me in spite of them.  Each relationship is special, but none of them are equal to each other.

Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary CakeHow can we reduce marriage to a simple piece of cherry pie?  That is at the heart of the premise presented to the Supreme Court justices…that equality will solve our differences.

All things being equal…there is never a day when all things are equal.  The best we can do is discern the differences and ask what those differences mean to us.

Marriage?  Special order…made especially for whom?  This is what we need to ask.


April 23, 2004:  m…m…Married?

May 14, 2004:  Order in the Courtroom!


Big Fathers

June 25, 2007

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

He is an engaging boy, close to ten years of age.  A ball cap turned back on his head, he looks straight into the camera.  The poster on the wall brags on the young man.  He could be the child of any proud father or mother:

James is well on his way to become a statistic.  One we can be proud of.


  • 70% less likely to use drugs,
  • 27% less likely to start drinking,
  • 52% less likely to skip class,
  • 64% achieve higher grades,
  • Celebrating 100 years, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Donate – Volunteer.

One hundred years of matching children with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, a lot has changed since the day they made the first match.  Fifty years ago, when Little Rickie ruled the house on television, and when I jumped rope with kids on the street, I knew few children growing up in single parent homes.  In most cases, they were children impacted by death of a parent or, in rare cases, children of divorce.

Today, children raised by single parents are the norm.  And for every child without a dad, Big Brothers, Big Sisters works hard recruiting men to fill in the gap.

This is a Herculean task, recruiting enough Big Brothers and Big Sisters to take care of the needing children in America.  It sets my mind on fire with questions.

Where are the men who have fathered these children?  And if they didn’t stay around to be a Big Father, can we expect them to be a Big Brother?

And for the fathers who have stepped up to the plate to be the fathers they should be, how many more children can they adopt under their wings before they are unable to fly for the weight of the burdens we have placed on them?

The biggest question of all?

Educators around the country are working to instill in young people the notion that the sex that produces children should be saved for the time in their lives when they will be able and willing to marry.  Children born into families built on the healthy marriages of Big Fathers and Big Mothers is the most secure way of providing what Big Brothers and Big Sisters are attempting to give.

In one case, Big Brothers, Big Sisters is applauded for their generosity and their efforts to help young boys and girls succeed.  They boldly place posters and billboards and recruit donations and volunteers.

In the other case, promoting the benefits of marriage which, if successful, results in Big Fathers and Big Mothers, draws down the wrath of people who denounce this effort to “force your values on me.”  Why?

Why are we afraid to recruit Big Fathers through education programs that connect sex, marriage and families as a positive goal?  And why do we reject this education at the same time that we laud Big Brothers for recruiting men to fill the void created by the breakdown in social norms for marriage?

Consider the benefits for James of living with his married parents:

  • less likely to use drugs,
  • less likely to start drinking,
  • less likely to skip class, and
  • will achieve higher grades.

Celebrate this…thousands of years, families founded on fathers married to mothers.  Volunteer your support.  James needs you.  All children need you.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters.  Yes.  Better still…

Big Fathers, Big Mothers.  Yes!

Remembering Dad

June 12, 2006

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

My father has been gone for over ten years.  It seems like yesterday…I miss him still.

He was a father from the “old school,” an outdoorsman who took me out one freezing morning on a duck hunting trip.  At twelve years of age, I felt honored that he trusted me enough to know I would be quiet and still along the river bank.

As Father’s Day nears, memories build of little things with big consequences.  Daddy loved order and strategy.  An electrical engineer, he had a system for ordering 1000 pieces by their bumps and slots, an assembly-line method for putting puzzles together.  Today, my color coded filing system owes everything to Dad.

Perfectionists to a fault, both of us, we had our fair share of rows.  Particularly vivid is one battle where we locked in an argument over how to slice Mother’s homemade bread without leaving any breadcrumbs on the wooden board.  The battle turned into a war, complete with slamming doors and morning apologies.  Funny, today…fiercely serious, back then.

Poor Daddy.  He often joked about being the only man in the house surrounded by women.  When my mother took a college class on semantics and discovered an additional set of connotations and denotations for every word in the English language, she tripled the words at her disposal for overwhelming him in conversation.  It was the ultimate Mars/Venus communication gap before John Gray was around to explain it.

Remembering Dad, I wish every kid had a father close at hand to create good memories.

Today, statisticians are explaining why we need fathers.  The value of dads is computed in statistics of crime, risky adolescent behaviors, and economic well-being.  Researchers are trying to appeal to our logic, arguing that families benefit from fathers…dads.

Why?  What do numbers have to do with explaining the longing of the human spirit?  The value of my dad is more personal than that, impossible to quantify as a statistic.

  • Today psychologists and educators create classroom lessons teaching children how to be nice to each other.  They are working to teach the very things my father taught me in the everyday details of living together as family for over twenty years.
  • Therapists help women develop self-confidence in their abilities to problem-solve and be self-reliant.  I learned this from a father who let me watch and help him fix my sewing machine.
  • Spiritual leaders preach forgiveness.  I learned this from a father who knocked quietly on my bedroom door and entered to tell me he was sorry.  He wanted to show me his technique for slicing bread without crumbs…but it wasn’t worth fighting.  And we forgave each other.
  • Special funding for special programs is directed to the promotion of careers in science for women.  My father showed me how to shape a wooden peg on the lathe, he taught me his system for tracking the prices of stocks and bonds, and he let me show him what I learned in an auto mechanics class…how to change the rotor and adjust the timing on my VW bug.
  • Self-help gurus write books and appear on Dr. Phil, preaching the techniques for building healthy marriages.  I saw this in the daily highs and lows of married life between my parents where words spoken in anger were covered over with apologies, forgiveness, and tenderness.

If I have had any success in being a parent, I can look to my dad and the sacrifices he made to be a husband and father.  When family life is tough, I hang in there because my Dad gave me a vision of tenacity and hope.  When I look for strength inside, I find it because my father put it there through his affirmation of me as his daughter…worthy, capable, and loved.

Dad’s encouragement…his example…his love can never be replicated by social programs and tax dollars.  No number of psychologists, teachers, or federally funded initiatives would ever have filled the shoes of the man who loved my mother and spent a lifetime building a picture of that love in the daily details of life.

I need no research to prove the value of fathers for raising daughters and sons.  The proof is written on my heart. It is honored in passing on the gift of marriage to our own children.

He’s been gone all these many years.  But he’s never left me.  My Dad.

Happy Father’s Day!


June 13, 2005 – A Recipe for Families

June 18, 2004  – Me Jane, You Tarzan

October 22, 2004  – Bringing Poppa Home

 See Archives for past editorials.