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Lawn Seed: Contradictions of the Anti-Gay Movement (part 1)

Rob Tisinai

April 16th, 2012

The anti-gays scatter arguments like lawn seed: Toss them out by the handful and see which take root, with little concern for what’s actually true. That’s why the movement is such an intellectual tangle. In the next few days, I want to point out some of the contradictions you trip over when you step back and pay attention to their whole big field of weeds.

Contradiction 1: The Essential and Also Irrelevant Marriage Culture

Let’s start with these two ideas our opponents like to sow:

  • We need a strong marriage culture to keep a child’s parents from separating.
  • Gay couples don’t deserve marriage because their separation rates/domestic violence rates/promiscuity rates/etc. are too high.

“Marriage culture” is the anti-gay answer to “How does same-sex marriage hurt your marriage?” Well, ya see, it doesn’t hurt my marriage, but it hurts the culture of marriage, doncha know — it dampens the pressure on parents to stay together, and that hurts their children.

Or, as Maggie Gallagher puts it:

Marriage is civilization’s great attempt to integrate opposites: male and female, mothers and fathers, parents and children, love and sex, heart and pocketbook, masculinity and dependency, eros and the vow. When a marriage culture fails, sexual desire no longer unites; instead it fragments.**

This still begs the question of how same-sex marriage will hurt the marriage culture, and that’s where the second point comes in: Same-sex couples are just not the same as married couples. Calling those violent, promiscuous, unstable “gay” relationships marriage will change our conception of what marriage is.

I don’t want to argue right now whether either of those points is true (I can buy the first, though I’ve previously taken a hatchet to the second). I just want to point out their mutual incoherence:  Solid partnerships requires a strong marriage culture, you say? Then denying marriage to gay couples is explanation enough for any instability you care allege. In fact, this supposed instability now becomes a reason to legalize same-sex marriage, and even to promote it for gays and lesbians as good public policy.

Unless, of course, you’re not just anti-marriage-equality, not just anti-gay, but actually anti-gay-people (and their children), and you want to make sure gay people (and their children) have lives that are lonely, isolated, and — to use Maggie’s word — fragmented. In that case, we’ve got not so much contradiction as a Catch-22, and not so much as a Catch-22 as a crafty anti-gay scam:

We’ll deny marriage to gay couples, and that will make them more unstable, and we’ll use that instability to deny them marriage.

Naturally, this kind of circularity makes you wonder why they opposed same-sex marriage in the first place. I can’t say I know — except that it’s definitely not a careful and reasoned concern for children.

**Isn’t it fascinating that when Maggie compiled her list of opposites, she said not “masculinity and femininity” but “masculinity and dependency.” There’s an entire culture packed into just three words, with a psychological case study, to boot.

Contradiction 2: All the Science is Terrible and Also Proves Us Right! 

This is one of my favorite contradictions:

  • The optimal parenting situation is a married couple consisting of the biological mother and father.
  • There are no good studies on the quality or effectiveness of same-sex parenting.

The first statement is an unproven cliché masquerading as proven science. The second is a standard retort to studies showing children do fine with same-sex parents. The points are in obvious contradiction. No rational person could believe both simultaneously, right?

I give you tenured Princeton Professor Robert George, the Founding Chairman of NOM and the country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker. He wrote:

…according to the best available sociological evidence, children fare best on virtually every indicator of wellbeing when reared by their wedded biological parents

and later in the same article:

…the union of husband and wife is (as a rule and ideal) the most appropriate environment for the bearing and rearing of children — an ideal whose value is strongly corroborated by the best available social science.

Naturally, he offers a citation to support his claim — a citation that says:

First, no one can definitively say at this point how children are affected by being reared by same-sex couples. The current research on children reared by them is inconclusive and underdeveloped—we do not yet have any large, long-term, longitudinal studies that can tell us much about how children are affected by being raised in a same-sex household.

And just to ice this cake, Professor George not only cited this report that refutes what he’s trying to prove; he was a signatory to it as well. He ought to know what it says. But perhaps I’m  unfair when I say he holds these ideas simultaneously. I find there’s usually a ten- or twenty-second lapse between the two. It goes like this:

Anti-gay: Studies prove married biological parents are the better than same-sex parents!

Animus-free: Those studies didn’t compare married biological parents with same-sex parents.

Anti-gay: It’s logical extension of — of — of — of other research!

Animus-free: Studies on same-sex parenting show the opposite.

Anti-gay: There are no good studies on same-sex parenting!

It’s amazing how quickly a person can abandon one firmly-held belief in favor of another, without even realizing it. But that’s typical of lawn-seed approach to anti-gay arguments.

Contradiction 3:  We Must Pass Laws Against Mythical Creatures!

This one’s a head-scratcher:

  • Homosexuals should not be allowed to [do, oh,  just about anything!].
  • There are no homosexuals.

Once upon a time our opponents were certain The Homosexual existed, a sick and perverted individual, a danger to society in general and kids in particular. But that was in the day when our laws mandated discrimination against gays and lesbians. Now that many locales are outlawing such discrimination (against gays or straights), they’re hoeing a different row. The Family Research Council explains it all for you:

Protection against private “discrimination” has historically been offered only for characteristics that are inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous, and/or in the Constitution-yet none of these describe homosexual behavior.

See, you can’t discriminate against homosexuals, and you can’t outlaw such discrimination — it’s literally impossible because there’s no such thing.

Linda Harvey gives us a fantastic glimpse into the mindset of these people who want to pass laws against creatures they claim don’t exist. Harvey is a radio host and founder of a certified hate group, Mission America. Here she is on gay and lesbian teachers:

The fact is that no homosexuality should be in our schools, period. When people leave that behavior behind, then they might be qualified for a job involving children. Out and proud homosexuals should not have jobs that involve children. I know that’s not the current policy in many schools but it should be.

But what does she say when it comes to teaching that gay kids deserve respect and safety?

There is no proof that there’s ever anything like a gay, lesbian or bisexual or transgendered child, or teen or human. One of the other things you’re gonna see as I mentioned is a big campaign GLSEN’s gonna roll out this year calling for ‘respect,’ respect! Not just for people, but for homosexual lifestyle. The PR campaign to hold up gay as a good thing: the lifestyle, not the person, because there are no such humans.

In a nutshell (where it belongs): Out and proud homosexuals — and there are no such humans, not now, not ever! — have no place in our schools.

I have to wonder if she’ll next start begging money to ban unicorns and hippogriffs from riding on school buses.

Ms. Harvey would probably just claim there’s no contradiction here, just a mix-up in terminology. Personally, I think her quotes are very revealing: Homosexuals abound when people talk about stripping us of our rights, but when it comes to offering and safety, we simply don’t exist.

Comments

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David in Houston
April 16th, 2012 | LINK

Great article as usual, Rob.

One of the biggest lies from Maggie is this chestnut: Same-sex marriage will mean that mothers and fathers don’t matter anymore; and children have a right to a mother and father.

She crams in so many lies into a couples of sentences, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

Children whose parents are male and female will still have those parents if same-sex couples marry (and they won’t have to call them Parent A and Parent B either). Same-sex couples that ARE raising children will still be raising them regardless if they are legally married. Are we to assume that Maggie thinks those children should be ripped from their homes and placed with opposite-sex parents? According to her, a child has a right to a mother and father. So I guess the answer is yes. Of course, Maggie has never applied that same rule to straight single-parents. But based on her logic, any random opposite-sex couple (a mother and father) would be more suitable than the child’s own parent, if that parent is raising the child alone. This is the absurd logic that you have to follow in order for her statement to be plausible.

As for a child having a right to a mother and father. It sounds beautiful, but it’s simply not true. Our society permits couples to divorce and/or give up their children for adoption. Both of those things rip children away from one or more of their parents. Since NOM has never promoted the idea of banning divorce (or making it harder to divorce) they seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouth.

Timothy Kincaid
April 16th, 2012 | LINK

Rob,

I think I’ll just stop telling you “good article”. As each one is as great as the last, it’s a bit redundant.

So should you ever write something that isn’t worth telling people, “hey, you gotta read this” I’ll let you know. Otherwise, just assume that I continue to remain impressed.

Bryan
April 17th, 2012 | LINK

Here’s another contradiction I’ve noticed:

-We should not legalize same-sex marriage.

-Same-sex “marriage” is actually impossible – marriage is between a man and a woman, and even if two men call themselves married that doesn’t mean they actually are.

In other words, they are running huge campaigns to ban something that they believe is not possible anyway.

Hunter
April 17th, 2012 | LINK

A point on your comments on Dr. Robert George: without putting to fine a gloss on it, the man’s an outright liar, substituting his value judgments for objective criteria. There are, at this point, well over 100 studies comparing children of same-sex and opposite-sex parents, including several longitudinal studies going back 20 years or more, and all demonstrate remarkably consistent results: in all measurable indicators of social and emotional development, there is no significant difference between the study populations. (The one exception seems to be that the children of same-sex couples tend to be more tolerant and open-minded, but I doubt that Dr. George considers that a positive characteristic.)

Leslie Holz Basden
April 17th, 2012 | LINK

Wow, this is so well-written and so completely rational. I’ll have to go back and read more of your work. I’ve been missing out on a good thing, apparently.

I noticed the “masculinity vs dependency” thing when I first read the quote and couldn’t believe she wrote it. Those two words imply that feminine people are and should necessarily be dependent. Should more effeminate men be dependent as well?

The contradictions you point out in this piece are mind-boggling. She needs an editor, or at least someone to read her work and offer constructive criticism.

Blake
April 17th, 2012 | LINK

Love the conceit! Though I doubt they’re seeding on purpose. In my opinion these contradictions are a fascinating glimpse into the power which biases & prejudices can have on thinking. And they are illustrative of the backward reasoning which results.

Even highly educated (and by all accounts, intelligent) people like George & Maggie are so blinded by their prejudices & biases — so already convinced of the righteousness of their conclusion — that they are constantly searching for arguments which support their untenable position. At some point these logical contortions have to become apparent to the perceptive anti-gays. I don’t have hope for the less perceptive.

There is some truth in a statement which I heard a lot growing up in the post-civil-rights-Atlanta-area: only the stupid are racist. It’s not a wholly true statement. Life has taught me to amend it: only those who are bad at (or disdainful of) reasoning are racist; & the same can be said for the holders of anti-gay prejudice.

GDad
April 19th, 2012 | LINK

I think people that buy into these arguments would probably resolve the “not be allowed to/there are none” argument by making the distinction between behavior and being – that there are people who engage in this behavior, but there are no people who are fundamentally GLBTQ(etc.). This allows them to tack on things like “love the sinner/hate the sin” and promote groups like Exodus, Int.

This, I think, is why they are so threatened by GSAs in schools – they are seeing that kids are coming out earlier and earlier, which strips credence from their claims about choices, recruitment, etc.

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