Christian opponents of marriage equality have finally hit upon the one argument that might derail the whole process: not every kid of gay parents is happy with their parents’ job of raising them.
I know. It’s powerful stuff. Think Progress’ Zack Ford has an article up about this so-called “Quartet of Truth” — a group of adults who were raised by gay parents and are now very opposed to gay marriage. The Quartet had filed briefs in federal courts arguing that same sex marriage should not be legalized and, along with a handful of others, are going to file their objections with the Supreme Court.
When a child is placed in a same-sex-headed household, she will miss out on at least one critical parental relationship and a vital dual-gender influence. The nature of the adults’ union guarantees this. Whether by adoption, divorce, or third-party reproduction, the adults in this scenario satisfy their heart’s desires, while the child bears the most significant cost: missing out on one or more of her biological parents.
This idea, that a child must be with two biological parents of opposite gender to be happy and healthy, more or less sums up the stance of the remainder of the Quartet. Ford writes of the other three:
[Brittany Newmark] Klein uses multiple pseudonyms, including B.N. Klein, B.A. Newmark, and Rivka Edelman, to publish attacks on the LGBT community, particularly viciously anti-transgender rhetoric. … Dawn Stefanowicz has happily shopped her story to anti-gay hate groups leaders like Peter LaBarbera and Matt Barber. And Robert Oscar Lopez, who identifies as bi but has disowned his same-sex attractions, regularly compares same-sex adoption to slave ownership and cultural genocide.
As Ford notes, Lopez, Stefanowicz, Klein, and Faust are children whose biological parents split prior to their being raised in a same-sex household, which quite possibly contributed to the negative association with their parents’ later relationships. But even if that were not so, what bearing does that have on the case? If miserable childhood experiences are the measuring stick for marriage rights, patriarchal, “spare the rod, spoil the child” Christians would find themselves in a bad spot pretty quickly.
I could find more examples of horrible, abusive parenting (not just kids who feel they were shortchanged, but children who were actually thrown out, severely beaten, etc.) from a single church I’ve attended than the combined gripes, real and imagined, of the Quartet.
The fact is, in any group, some parents get it right, and some don’t. Some do a good job; some don’t. That a handful of kids believe homosexuality is a sin and don’t think they got the most out of life because they didn’t have a “vital dual-gender influence,” is pretty much irrelevant to whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
Unless all the kids from broken, abusive, and generally miserable heterosexual families are evidence that heterosexual marriage is a flawed and terrible construct that simply ruins kids’ lives…
Ford also notes that the group’s claims target more than just gay couples:
… Stefanowicz claims that “children do best when they are raised by their married, biological mother and father.” By specifying “biological,” she is simultaneously making the case against all forms of adoption and foster care. Klein goes so far as to talk about couples who can’t have their own children as engaging in “human trafficking,” and in a strange twist on opposing a woman’s choice, chastises women interested in serving as surrogates as “breeding stock.” Lopez regularly compares adoptive parents to slaveowners and their children to “chattel,” describing any parenting that deprives children of one of their biological parents as “child abuse.”
Faust also frowns on “third party-reproduction,” although, as an adoptive mother of an orphan, she acknowledges that adoption can be necessary in a limited set of circumstances. But if a child having anything short of a biological mother and father is abuse and should be prevented, or is at least sufficient reason to disallow gay marriage, where is the outcry about all the other situations that are so enslaving children?
Of course, if “we’re only thinking of the children!” was anything beyond a shallow attempt to legitimize religious objections to equality, there would be equal efforts to combat those horrors as well. Or, better yet, opponents of marriage equality would consider the alternative — that children of same-sex couples do just fine — and leave their misguided crusade behind.
Instead, they’ll act like the bad experiences of a handful of children should decide the rights of every LGBT person in America. Because they care about kids. Just not gay ones. And not all the rest of the the kids of LGBT parents who don’t feel that having two opposite sex biological parents is the most important factor in a happy, healthy family.
But, really, can you blame them? It’s sounds so much nicer to say, “I’m really worried about the children!” than, “I really want to deprive you of the rights that I have!”
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