The facts of life

I see that high ranking officials of the Anti-gay Industry are “profoundly disappointed and upset” with the announcement of Mary Cheney’s pregnancy. That’s too bad.

The Cheney family seems to be delighted, a discrepancy that ABC News describes as “the battle between entrenched groups representing differing views of morality in the country.”

The problem is worse than that: It’s differing views of reality. Ruth Marcus nails it perfectly:

In fact, perhaps because it’s less susceptible to being hijacked by the extremes, the business world is outpacing the political sphere in recognizing and responding to the new, out-of-the-closet reality of gay Americans. More than half of the Fortune 500 companies offered health benefits for domestic partners this year, up from just 28 a decade earlier, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The latest issue of Fortune describes how companies seeking to attract and retain gay workers are offering bereavement leave if a same-sex partner dies, adoption assistance or paid leave for gay employees who have children, and relocation help for gay partners when employees are transferred. “Put another way, gay marriage — an idea that has been banned by all but one of 27 states that have voted on it — has become a fact of life inside many big companies,” the magazine said.

Her matter-of-fact presentation of “the benign reality of gay families today” highlights the silliness of self-appointed family police like Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America, who described the pregnancy as “unconscionable.” She is shown here repeating one of the AGI’s favorite misrepresentations of research:

“Father absence is the biggest problem we’re facing in this country,” she said, and “the root cause of all sorts of negative outcomes “” drug use, juvenile delinquency. You name it.”

Not exactly. What she “forgot” to say is that the “father absence” that produces these outcomes represents the abandonment of children and their mothers by their fathers. The “research” to which Crouse and other AGI mouthpieces constantly refer – to give their utterences the gloss of science – concerns only comparisons between intact and broken heterosexual families, and has nothing whatsoever to do with same sex couples raising children. (This sort of flawed methodology and deliberate misrepresentation is discussed at length here.)

Reality is not the major concern for this crowd, however; the dominion of their “worldview” is – so they can be counted on to erroneously cite (and repeat, and repeat, and repeat) such findings in support of their opinions. There is no support for the meme that children are better off with opposite sex parents in comparison with same sex parents. Studies that actually include families headed by same sex couples suggest precisely the opposite, for example here, here, and here.

More pronouncements from the morally bankrupt:

“Mary and Heather can believe what they want, but what they’re seeking is to force others to bless their nonmarital relationship as marriage,” said Robert Knight [formerly associated with CWA and Familiy Research Council].

Translation: To treat Mary and Heather’s child as equal under the law to the children of heterosexual couples is the equivalent of accepting Mary and Heather as married. They have left us no choice but to treat their children unfairly and possibly do them harm.

“Unless they move to a handful of less restrictive states, Heather will never be able to have a legal relationship with her child,” said Family Pride executive director Jennifer Chrisler. The couple “will quickly face the reality that no matter how loved their child will be. … he or she will never have the same protections that other children born to heterosexual couples enjoy,” Chrisler said.

Yet somehow, in the distorted universe inhabited by Knight, the source of this harm is the choice of the parents to have a child. Standing reality on its head is a pretty neat trick. Here’s the logical arc: Knight, Crouse, et al, claim that it’s wrong and “tragic” for same sex couples to bring wanted, loved children into the world. Why? Because it’s harmful to the children. Why is it harmful to the children? Because Knight, Crouse, et al intend to use every tool at their disposal to deny legal protection to their families and put those children at greater risk than their peers, that’s why. That this is their intent is demonstrated over and over; for instance, after repeated claims that Ohio’s constitutional amendment was “just about marriage” (sound familiar?), anti-gay activists promptly filed a lawsuit to strip health insurance benefits from the partners and children of Miami University employees. That suit was recently dismissed due only to lack of standing.

Has it not occurred to these interlopers that children with same sex parents would be more secure and more likely to thrive if they had the same rights and protections that their peers with opposite sex parents have; if there weren’t anti-gay activists hovering nearby, vigilant for any opportunity for enforcing second-class status on their families? Are the anti-gay activists unable to refrain from this behavior?

Please, tell me again what is “unconscionable.”

More from Marcus:

To be a badly wanted child (one thing that’s indisputable about the children of same-sex couples: the parents had to work to make it happen) in a home with two loving parents is no tragedy. If they’re worried about “emotional devastation,” the Crouses and Knights of the world would do better to reserve their lamentations for children in poverty, those who are abused or neglected, or for children in families splintered by divorce.

The truth is that they can’t. The facts of life don’t fit their “worldview.”

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4 Responses to The facts of life

  1. Jonathan says:

    FOTF’s Dr. James Dobson wrote an op-ed that appears in the December 10, 2006 Time Magazine. Media Matters dissects it here. Yes, that commandment against bearing false witness has been redacted from the “Revealed Word” of Dr. Dobson’s followers. Without that false witness, his followers would not feel entitled to interfere with other people’s reproductive and family choices.

  2. David and Jonathan,

    Marcus Says,

    “To be a badly wanted child (one thing that’s indisputable about the children of same-sex couples: the parents had to work to make it happen) in a home with two loving parents is no tragedy. If they’re worried about “emotional devastation,” the Crouses and Knights of the world would do better to reserve their lamentations for children in poverty, those who are abused or neglected, or for children in families splintered by divorce”.

    This is what is so frustrating about having this conversation. The comparisons always have to go to the extremes. Why do we have to always make the comparison between children of gay parents and children of completely dysfunctional heterosexual parents?

    If we make the comparison of children born to gay parents to children born to a healthy set of heterosexual parents, I have to believe that it is more advantageous to the child to have a parent of both genders. I love my sons to death and would die for them, but there are some things that I as a woman can’t teach my boys about being men.

    I worry that we a minimizing the importance and the differences that the separate genders bring to the life of a child.

  3. David says:

    That’s exactly what I’m calling attention to, though, and what I have a problem with. The comparisons the anti-gay right are making are between intact heterosexual families and broken ones. Comparing healthy gay and heterosexual families is exactly what they are not doing. Instead, they’re talking about our families – as you are here – but citing data about entirely different families and pretending it’s the same thing. “Emotional devestation” is sometimes found in broken families where there is abuse and neglect, but what does that have to do with the gender of parents? Marcus’s point is that they should not be compared.

    I have to believe that .. Even so, there’s no data to support it. The data say the opposite. Nobody can teach their kids everything they need to know by themselves, but in reality, people have extended family. The key is that two parents are better than one, but it’s even better to have more than two trusted adults in a kid’s life.

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