Prop 8 Amicus Brief Filer Calls For “International Intervention,” Charges Gay Parents With “Slave Trade”

Jim Burroway

January 31st, 2013

Robert Oscar Lopez

Yesterday, I posted this about a couple of unusual Amicus Curiae briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court urging the Justices to uphold California’s Proposition 8. One of those briefs, by David Benkof (a self-described gay columnist who opposes same-sex marriage), Robert Oscar Lopez (who describes himself as a bisexual man who was raised by two lesbian mothers and who is currently heterosexually married), and Doug Mainwaring (a man who raised two teenage sons after separating from his wife and coming out gay, and is now back living with his wife), tries to make the case that there is some kind of heretofore undiscovered groundswell of gay people opposing marriage equality. It begins with a statement arguing that “Americans ought not be labeled hateful bigots for opposing redefinition (of marriage).”

I suppose that argument can be made generally, but in Lopez’s case, it’s hard to find another word which would adequately describe his views on the subject. Lopez, an assistant professor in the English Department at Cal State Northridge, posted on this blog last Sunday something that he seems to regard as a major rallying cry. Titled, “Statement: Though I support LGBT dignity, I call on the human rights community to fight human rights violations by LGBT organizations,” it is written in outline form — patterned after other Very Important Declarations which are composed of numbered paragraphs and subparagraphs so that scholars and historians can cite the each Very Important Point without ambiguity. And what a manifesto it is. He begins by arguing that “the democratic process in Western nations and the judicial system of the United States have failed, for over twenty years, to deal in good faith with the bioethical and social-justice problems” posed by LGBT rights advocates. And because of that failure, he calls for some kind of “international intervention”:

II. I state the following without a party affiliation, since I cannot in this case agree with the right wing’s usual resistance to international intervention, nor can I endorse the left wing’s ideology of gay equality, which currently presages a large-scale global human-rights crisis in order to meet the affective demands of gay couples for rights to ownership of children.

…VI. The legal system, academia, the fourth estate, the judicial system, and the political process in the United States have proven themselves inadequate in some cases, grossly negligent in others, totally powerless in some instances, but consistently failing in correcting the human-rights crisis precipitated by the modern LGBT movement and its systematic violation of the rights of children, not only in the United States but also overseas, its continued assault on the dignity of human fatherhood and motherhood, and its increasing complicity with human trafficking, its fraudulent propaganda, its bioethical improprieties, class exploitation, contempt for the democratic process, and violations of the basic principles of free speech, free exercise of religion, and academic freedom.
VII. The time for intervention is now because:

1. With the increase in the number of people entering adulthood identifying as gay (see recent Gallup polling), and encouraged by popular culture to acquire children to express their equality, the human rights crisis will worsen. The sheer volume of same-sex couples who view children as an entitlement and who see their need for equality as overriding the rights of others will aggravate the problem.

2. The usual institutions that would normally identify an oncoming human rights crisis and thwart it are malfunctioning in the United States …

Does he want some kind of military or paramilitary intervention? International sanctions? Statement of condemnation from the United Nations? He doesn’t say, but we do know why. In this piece posted the same day at American Thinker, where he links to his manifesto as a supporting document, he describes what he calls “the oncoming human rights crisis… caused by the LGBT movement.” As Lopez sees it, that crisis manifests itself in the children that gay couples are raising, which Lopez calls “human trafficking“:

The movement to liberate same-sex love began because people loved each other. Somehow, through convoluted digressions, it has become a tyrannical octopus seeking to control life and death itself.

The Rubicon was crossed when the gay movement sided with human trafficking; graft-ridden dirty deals with warlords for orphanages; bio-engineering, baby-farming, and emotional deprivation of innocent children by forcing them to replace a biological parent with a fictional same-sex partner. Naturally, any child forced into such a psychically traumatic origin fantasy who feels resentful about it will be cursed by its caretakers as not only ungrateful, but also a homophobe.

Lopez describes himself as the son of a lesbian mother who was raised by two women. In this post that he wrote for the Witherspoon Institute in which he praised the Institute’s flawed Regneres paper claiming to study “gay parents,” Lopez contends that his childhood was marred due to the lack of male role models, and claims that he still fails to pick up on what he calls “unspoken gender cues that everyone around me.” That’s why, he says, “I have trouble in professional settings because co-workers find me bizarre.”


But whatever complaints he may have against his moms’, whatever pain, anger, scars and traumas he may have experienced as a child, for all we know, they may be wholly legitimate. But whatever reality in which those pains may be grounded evaporates when he deploys his imagination against gay parents, which he charges with facilitating a new “slave trade“:

…The fight for marriage has never been about marriage. Marriage is the only way to have legal cover and shield themselves from criticism for their bioethical stunts.

Market demand is a powerful thing, and it is growing because of the increase in LGBT couples as well as the cultural messages convincing young gays that they will be given children or else society is oppressing them. Here in Los Angeles, I’ve seen the eerie proliferation of designer babies in gayborhoods, and the increasingly anesthetized reaction of gay couples’ friends. People go to third-world getaways to pick out babies, place ads for surrogates who can give them a certain eye color, and even collaborate with human trafficking. Never forgetful of my own pains as a lesbian’s son in the 1970s, I see the faces of these gay couple’s children, and sometimes, I have to run away and cry. I know the dazed glare, the powerlessness of these children, their helpless desire to please their parents, their fear of showing their parents any sign that the arrangement has been hurtful.

And yet, I can scarcely forget, this is only the beginning. While some say “it gets better,” all signs show that it will grow far worse. LGBT activists have been frustrated so far by the largest Western nations’ resistance to legalizing gay marriage. In this table, a Francophone researcher discusses the gay-marriage statistics from Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Quebec. Remember that France, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy, the more populous nations of Europe, have still resisted full marriage equality. Already in tiny Belgium, 5% of marriages are same-sex. What will happen with the combined populations of Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, and the United States — 570 million people in all — legalize gay marriage, with 5% of that mass being same-sex couples looking to buy babies?

We are staring into the dawn of a new slave trade. Rather than let the Middle Passage happen and then spend centuries trying to exonerate our nation, we must be “on the right side of history.” Stop gay marriage — not because of hate for gay people, but because the machine that is turning people into chattel must be stopped. The only way to break the cycle and wake everyone up is stop gay marriage.

Benkof, Lopez and Mainwaring write in their brief (PDF: 127KB/ 14 pages) to the Supreme Court, “We believe strongly that opposition to gay marriage need not be rooted in hatred towards gay people” and caution the Court against “brand(ing) the views of millions of Americans ‘discriminatory’ or rooted in animus.” But obviously Lopez’s views are rooted in animus, and a very deep-seated one at that. There’s simply no other way to describe it.


January 31st, 2013

He wasn’t even raised by lesbian parents. His whole life story is completely contradictory and probably partly made up, but his mother only spent the weekends with her girlfriend and they didn’t raise him when he was young.

Ben In Oakland

January 31st, 2013

Maybe people find you bizarre because, well, you ARE?

And this: ““We believe strongly that opposition to gay marriage need not be rooted in hatred towards gay people’

but it certainly can be rooted in self hatred towards an indivudal person.

Shannon Spencer Fox

January 31st, 2013

Honestly, Ben, I think you’re being too generous: my reaction to the ‘I have trouble in professional settings because co-workers find me bizarre’ line was ‘Maybe it’s because you’re completely insane?’


January 31st, 2013

What I’m certainly willing to believe about Ben’s story is that he’s angry with his parents. He doubtless blames many of his adult adjustment problems on the manifold mistakes made by his parents. I’d say his views, towards his parents and their many, many errors, are probably held by 90-95% of all young people at some point or another. Lucky for most of us parents, our kids don’t go national with their gripes.

I’m even willing to believe that Ben did have an objectively terrible childhood. We CAN put value judgments on parenting, at least on the margins, and it could be that he was abused, or neglected, or otherwise psychologically traumatized when he was growing up.

What I’m not willing to believe, though, is that we can generalize from Ben’s experience and make judgments and decisions about gay parenting based on his story, no matter how compelling. That’s why we have social science, and research, and studies, and journals, and peer review. While it certainly does sound as if Ben is a troubled guy, and it may even be that in his specific case his parents ARE to blame, his story remains just that, an interesting footnote but hardly a basis for policy-making.

Thom Watson

January 31st, 2013

Lopez’s deep-seated self-loathing and mental health issues aside, his argument completely ignores the fact that in the U.S. marriage equality and adoption rights never were linked. Single straight people, single gay people and increasingly court-allowed two-parent same-sex adoptions have taken place since before marriage equality, and still take place in states that don’t offer marriage equality. Preventing same-sex couples from marrying won’t stop them from adopting, so getting what he says he wants from the courts won’t actually even stop the thing that’s occurring that is the reason he says he wants the marriages banned.

Of course, that’s the same illogic employed by NOM and its ilk all the time. The thing they say they want — stronger heterosexual families, children being better taken care of — are in no way tied to and in no way impacted by their primary actions of banning same-sex couples from marrying.


January 31st, 2013

I know a lot of adult straight people who blame their parents for their problems. Either they hated their mother or their father …………. or both. Everyone who has those kinds of feelings needs to just try to deal with it and get on with their lives.

Ben In Oakland

January 31st, 2013

Charles– my brother was such a one. He carried his resentment to his unhappy grave.

What’s required is growing up, something mr. Lopez apparently never did.

Bose in St. Peter MN

January 31st, 2013

“…I see the faces of these gay couple’s children, and sometimes, I have to run away and cry. I know the dazed glare, the powerlessness of these children, their helpless desire to please their parents, their fear of showing their parents any sign that the arrangement has been hurtful.”

OK, Mr. Lopez, so you’ve established that seeing kids with their parents can be a trigger for you. But those are your issues, not those kids’ issues. If you find yourself literally running away and crying, prompted by greeting a lesbian couple and their kids on a neighborhood sidewalk, you can choose to do the work to deal with your family and childhood issues.

Lopez and I share the experience of not having relationships with our bio-dads, just like presidents Clinton and Obama. That’s just one of life’s starting points, not a crippling dead end.

Bose in St. Peter MN

January 31st, 2013

Lopez’ apparent quotes taken from UNICEF threw me at first. (Though, for a professor of English, he does a ridiculously poor job of identifying his sources, much less linking to them.)

Until poking into it just now, I hadn’t understood that UNICEF has been a global leader in the movement to curtail, if not shut down, international adoption. Here’s an academic paper by a Harvard prof:

“UNICEF makes a point of saying, at least publicly, that it is not entirely against such adoption. Along with most other critics, UNICEF focuses on adoption abuses, and argues for regulatory ‘reform’ to ensure against baby buying and fraud, and provide preferences for in-country placement.

“However UNICEF actions and policies reveal that it sees almost no legitimate role for international adoption. One UNICEF policy paper targets any country placing significant numbers of children abroad as a problem, requiring adoption reform.”

Lopez’ dire predictions of LGBT parents “trafficking” children away from their parents and heritage are just a repeat of overall anti-adoption campaigns by UNICEF and others.

Adoption proponents, on the other hand, cite evidence that children are suffering for too long, in horrendous numbers, in countries with inept, overtaxed foster care systems and overflowing, understaffed orphanages.


January 31st, 2013

You know my mother was an diagnosed manic depressive who abused prescription drugs when I was a kid. She also was an educates woman who taught me and my sister how important it was to achieve in this country so that we could answer the hopes of our immigrant ancestors. In other words a mixture of both good and ill, like most people. Yes my sister and I have some issues, but we are also productive citizens. Should we claim all Irish mothers are bad because mine had some flaws?


January 31st, 2013

He blames his mother and her same-sex partner for his issues but not his father. Interesting. I guess he feels an absent father makes for a better parent.


January 31st, 2013

A professor, making high profile shock comments, to draw attention to himself. What a surprise!

How could a professor ever try to shock his way to high profile book deals and public speaking deals, how rare!

He’s not bizarre. He’s a greedy jackass.


January 31st, 2013

Glad to see BTB turn its critical eye towards Lopez. NOM has been highlighting his story for a while now and he seems to be on the verge of playing a bigger role in this movement. Getting the straight facts of his life story would be useful.

An interesting counter-point to the paper referenced above is an earlier publication in American Thinker where he seems to urge the larger gay community to encourage adoption as a kind of pro-life measure.


January 31st, 2013

My guess is that the clerks who will read and review these briefs for the Justices will set them aside as irrelevant to the cases before SCOTUS.

One must make a cogent legal argument if one expect to prevail in a court of law. These are not cogent legal arguments. They aren’t even persuasive emotional ones. They are random rants of fearfulness.


January 31st, 2013

Bizarre or greedy, his writings made more sense to me if you read them as something a deeply wounded man writes in a journal for therapy.

The details of his childhood are convoluted, but growing up a gay as a poor minority, early death of mother, being without family or close friends during his twenties right when he is coming out…sounds like it could be pretty tough.


January 31st, 2013

Did you read what ROL wrote to Karen Ocamb at LGBOV?

“Yes, my family was an embarrassment to the gay community. We were loud and uncouth. My mother was a manly stereotype who liked to take us to a trailer in a tacky park smelling of sulfur everywhere. She was born under a tree in Puerto Rico without a doctor and the midwife dropped her on her head, which was why everyone said she acted like a man all the time. She knew how to fight with a machete and loved getting drunk. She had a big broken front tooth that she thought was funny. Our house was a complete mess. I was a freak.” (BTW he also claims his mother was a physician).

Rick L.

January 31st, 2013

I too, find Mr. Lopez bizarre.

Regan DuCasse

January 31st, 2013

Neil, makes a very good point. Lopez DOES heap all of the blame of bad parenting on his lesbian mother and her partner, but not his father.
We go to great lengths analyzing the structure of families and their impact on the adjustment of their children.
The difference is, blaming the gay sexual orientation for EVERYTHING that’s maladjusted, on gay parents and virtually nothing else.
The FRC and other anti gay orgs, cited the research done on prison inmates and the impact of absent fathers on children. This, they said was why lesbians shouldn’t raise children. Because children needed both genders in the home.
However, the study didn’t say any of the inmates had been raised by LESBIANS. Whether single or with another woman.
Nor was the orientation of the inmates a corresponding part of that research either.
In other words, sexual orientation had NOTHING to do with the impact on the lives of these inmates.
The issue was about abandonment by fathers some of them HAD known. Fathers they knew were criminals or addicts. Or had been killed by violence.
Disaffected fathers, is a very different issue, than a father you don’t know because your ss parents have competent surrogates in your life.


February 1st, 2013

I’m wondering, also, whether Ben’s comments couldn’t be directed at anybody who didn’t have a dad at home while growing up. I have to assume this group (of kids raised without a dad in the home) is hundreds if not thousands of times bigger than the group of people raised by same-sex parents. Why isn’t he out there campaigning against divorce, if he’s really upset by the idea of kids growing up without a dad? It would have a much, much greater impact.

Jon Trouten

February 1st, 2013

Neil: It’s easy to dream up an ideal version of an absent parent. We struggled with this with our adopted son. He was happy with us, but would still imagine how things might be better if he remained with his birth parents.

Then the birth parents each contacted us for occasional visits and phone contacts. Our initial instinct was to say “absolutely not”, especially b/c of the reasons that they each lost parental rights in the first place. But we ultimately agreed to some supervised contact.

And it fell apart because of broken promises, poor decisions, and a return to prison. The positive part of these contacts is that he knows that his birth parents are generally safe and alive. But he also has moved from fantasy imaginings of what might have been to realistic understandings of what led to him being placed in our home when he was a young child.


February 1st, 2013

In the judge’s chambers…… I see a waste basket aglow with flames.


February 2nd, 2013

When a reader alerts you to a story, the classy thing to do is give them a hat tip.

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