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Frum: Did California’s Marrying Gays Destroy Bristol Palin’s Marriage?

Jim Burroway

August 9th, 2010

Alaska was among the earliest states in the Union to pass a constitutional amendment in 1998 to ban same-sex marriage. Bristol Palin was nine years old at the time, which would be plenty of time to protect her marriage. Half her life, in fact. In another nine years she became pregnant and gave birth to Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston on December 27, 2008. She never married. She and the boy’s father, Levi Johnston have been off-again and on-again since then, but they are now back off again

And according to David Frum, this is precisely why last week’s decsision striking down Prop 8 is a danger to heterosexual marriages.  I kid you not.

Update: Frum’s last paragraph says, “The harm feared from same-sex marriage has already arrived: Whether same-sex marriage is accepted or not, opposite-sex marriage as a norm and expectation has already collapsed.” Maybe I misread, but I took this to mean that regardless of what the court finally decides, at least some of the “collapse” is attributed to same-sex marriage. That’s the premise he cited at the begining, and it’s where he appeared, to me at least, to be at the end — after having dismissed the racial discrimination claims pretty effectively. But of course that wasn’t NOM’s argument. In fact, in addressing NOM’s argument, he called their warnings about the supposed superiority of opposite-sex parents rasing children ”important and valid.”

Maybe I misread it, maybe he’s inelegant in wrapping this up. Thank God, being confused or confusing isn’t a crime. But I still find his position unclear, and I struggle to understand whether he thinks there’s any connection or not.

Comments

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Priya Lynn
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

David Frum is a disgrace to his mother’s legacy of real journalism.

Tommy
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Actually that’s not his argument at all. His argument is that NOM’s dire warnings of what would happen should marriage equality pass already happened with out it, as exemplified by Bristol and Levi.

Of course he makes a tremendous ass of himself by advocating forced marriages…

Scott P.
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

I read his “opinion” piece. What a load of drivel. He reminds me tremendously of our new troll here, Louis Britt. ” Studies show…”, “Common sense dictates…” without a single citation. And he fails to connect the dots of why marriage equality led to Levi coming to his senses and running from the wackadoodle Palins. If anyone failed Bristol it was her heterosexual mother and father who failed to educate her on either proper contraception, or the consequences of out-of-wedlock childbirth. If the Palins were a poor black family you could bet your bottom dollar Faux News would be blaming the parents (and maybe marriage equality as well). CNN should be ashamed to have let this go out under their imprimatur.

Pomo
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

I can usually be fairly objective and find some valid concerns/arguments but this is beyond me… The connection makes no sense.

Jim Burroway
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

He writes, “The harm feared from same-sex marriage has already arrived.”

If he doesn’t attribute at least some of that “harm” to same-sex marriage, then I would argue that he wasn’t clear. It’s no crime to be inelegant, thank God. But I do think he should clarify.

Steven B
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

The idea that straight people will begin to disrespect or disregard marriage if gay people marry should be extremely offensive to all gay, lesbian and thinking people everywhere.

Timothy Kincaid
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Jim,

I read this a bit differently. I think the emphasis should be on “feared.”

Frum seems to be saying that same-sex marriage – however it turns out – will not bring about what NOM fears, because it’s already here.

I didn’t assume that he was implying that there was a connection. But it certainly could be read either way.

I agree that he should have been clearer.

D. Purcell
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

I had to read this article twice, and agree that his point is not clearly stated. I think he is trying to say that “traditional” marriage has already fallen apart all on it’s own, and not because of same-sex marriage, despite the dire warnings of NOM.

Timothy Kincaid
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Personally, I share Frum’s concerns about children being born with parents that not in stable families and pull them in different directions or use the children as tools against each other. I think that is less preferable to parents having commitments and deciding to bring children into a secure unit.

But rather than see same-sex marriage as the enemy of such a goal, I think it strengthens the goal. Gay parents tend to be exactly that: committed couples who make a conscious decision to raise a family.

Timothy Kincaid
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Here is how CNN broke down the story:

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

* David Frum: Opponents of same-sex marriage say it threatens traditional marriage

* Frum says traditional marriage already has been rejected by many

* Frum cites statistic that four of every 10 children are now born outside marriage

* Frum: Bristol Palin-Levi Johnston case shows how people accept parenting outside marriage

Priya Lynn
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Farther up in the article he quotes the National Organization “for” Marriage saying if same sex marriage happens it will have several negative effects on heterosexual marriages.

Frum then says “Those are important and valid warnings.”.

I don’t think its unclear at all – he’s agreeing that if same sex marriage happens it’ll be bad for heterosexual marriages.

Ben in Oakland
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

This is just a reframing of stanley kurtz’s nonsense. Let’s blame the gays for all of the defects of straight people.

It’s called scapegoating, and it ain’t pretty,

L. Junius Brutus
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

If you know Frum’s reputation, then you know that he’s not a NOMbie. While he doesn’t betray any sympathy for gay marriage rights in his piece, I think it’s rather clear that he means to (indirectly) criticize the people who claim that gay marriage will be the downfall of marriage. He says that the harm feared [by NOM] has already come to pass, and he doesn’t connect this to gay marriage.

Matt
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

I also think Frum is trying, perhaps inexpertly, to say the fears about same-sex marriage are misplaced, and that opposite-sex marriage is already in trouble because of heterosexuals themselves.

Priya Lynn
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Junius and Matt, if he’s trying to say the fears about equal marriage are misplaced then why did he quote NOM stating those fears and say “Those are important and valid warnings.”?

Eric in Oakland
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

@ Priya Lynn

“Those are important and valid warnings.”?

Maybe he meant to say “concerns” instead of “warnings”? It has already been established that he is does not know how to write clearly…

Laurie
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

David Frum really is an ass, despite his recent political movement towards the center. Anyone remember his first and only spot as a guest on the Rachel Maddow Show? She was clearly surprised by his nasty attitude.

Scott P.
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Eric, this was not a video blog, or a television interview, but a written piece (poorly written) and I’m pretty certain he used the words that he meant to use.

Transplanted Lawyer
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

@Steven B: The idea that straight people will begin to disrespect or disregard marriage if gay people marry should be extremely offensive to all straight people everywhere, too.

Priya Lynn
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Eric, I know some gays are eager to believe conservatives are on their side but you’re reading something into his writing that wasn’t there. Even if he did mean to say “concerns” he said they were valid and there is no reason to believe he didn’t mean it.

L. Junius Brutus
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Priya, the only reason people are giving Frum the benefit of the doubt, is that he isn’t some hard-core religious nutjob. He has criticized the religious right for destroying the Republican Party.

Priya Lynn
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Junius, Frum has also written some other anti-gay articles, given that and his statement in this one that NOM’s statements about how gay marriage is bad are important and valid there is precious little doubt to give him the benefit of.

TampaZeke
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

I’m with Priya all the way on this one. I think he was, through mental gymnastics, claiming that gay marriage will be the last straw and will kill any hope of returning to the “good ole days” of marriage.

One thing is certain. Regardless of what he meant or didn’t mean his commentary was shitty in the fact that no one seems to know what the hell he meant.

Burr
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Basing all of this conjecture on a couple of celebutards is idiotic.

Joehio
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Frum is wrong to advocate forced marriages and he is wrong to associate gay marriage with the decline of straight marriage, however backhandedly he does it.

But mostly, he is just plain wrong because of what is missing in his essay: the tremendous socio-economic, technological and demographic shifts that we are living through. The old suburban sprawl, oil- and car-based industrial economy is in its death throes. The information age has begun, and we are living right now through an enormous transformation in society that is going to be just as traumatic for society as the early industrial revolution were. The beginning years of the industrial revolution were also a time of great upheaval in social norms, men’s and women’s defined roles and it also broke up a lot of families and marriages. It took some time for a new social consensus to build. Whatever society is being born now, it is going to be unrecognisably different from the society our parents grew up in (so deftly portrayed in the show Mad Men). But eventually there will be a new consensus on marriage and gender roles. Bill Bishop and Richard Florida have written excellent books on this subject – ‘The Big Sort’ and ‘The Great Reset’, among others.

David Frum is mostly wrong because he pretends the current situation of straight marriage is the result of some kind of unwise wish fulfilment, and he cannot see the forest for the trees. This is inexcusable in somebody who would like us to think that he is one of our premier social commentators. But I can see why he chooses to be wilfully blind to the transformations that Bishop and Florida talk about in their work, because those trends contain a lot of unpleasant truths for somebody who wants to cling to the tired old Reagan-Thatcher conservatism.

cd
August 9th, 2010 | LINK

Think for a minute: Why do people oppose same-sex marriage in the first place? They do so because they fear that otherwise America’s young people will end up like … Bristol and Levi: having sex and raising children without regard to marriage.

Social scientists have looked at and shown why unwed childraising has increased so much: it’s the low wage jobs (or in this economy, no jobs) that minimally educated young people get.

I’m pretty sure Bristol and Levi will marry eventually. They’re making themselves pretty unmarriageable to anyone else.

Timothy Kincaid
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn, can you please provide a link to other anti-gay articles by David Frum?

Priya Lynn
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

http://www.pej.org/html/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1199&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

Timothy Kincaid
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

That is a cut and paste about a Frum article. Do you have a real link to a Frum article?

Third hand accusation isn’t of any value.

Priya Lynn
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

You’re welcome to your opinion Timnothy, however baseless and wrong it may be.

Timothy Kincaid
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

I assume that your response confirms that you don’t actually have a link to an anti-gay Frum article.

werdna
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

A somewhat dated, but rather thorough, exposition of Frum’s views on same-sex marriage can be found here in this debate between Frum and Andrew Sullivan. In case there was any doubt among readers here: he is unambiguously opposed to same-sex marriage. Perhaps a more avid follower of Frum’s work could point us to a more recent example where he’s soften on this, if such exists.

This recent column seems like more of the same material he’s put out for years. Perhaps in rehashing his worn-out expostulations for the umpteenth time he got a bit sloppy and thus the confusion here.

I think that he, like Maggie Gallagher, has always fancied himself on the “can’t we discuss this with civility” end of the spectrum of opponent of marriage civility. That he’s been careful not to be too openly anti-gay, beyond his opposition to marriage equality, shouldn’t lead us to conclude he’s in any way friendly to LGBTs or is our ally politically.

Priya Lynn
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

A certain thing happens when you assume Timothy.

Timothy Kincaid
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

werdna,

Thanks for a useful contribution to the discussion.

While – at 13 years old – it is dated and his views may possibly have evolved, unless we hear otherwise I think we should assume that David Frum is not favorable towards same-sex marriage. I’d even say a harsh opponent.

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