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250,000 Children? Piffle!

Rob Tisinai

March 24th, 2013

I might have a little crush on NOM’s Communications Director, Thomas Peters — or perhaps I just mean it’s been a long time since a 30-year-old has given me such delight. And he continues to deliver.

NOM posted this excerpt of an NPR story on their blog (sorry, they didn’t link to the story itself). As you read, keep in mind they’re happy about what it says:

Surveys suggest that kids younger than 18 in same-sex families still number fewer than a quarter-million.

“It’s a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent,” says Thomas Peters of the National Organization for Marriage, a leading group opposing same-sex marriage.

“The difference is that children raised by gay parents are very much in the media’s eye,” he says. “We see it on Modern Family. We see this hugely blown out of proportion. It’s why, by the way, in Gallup [polls], Americans believe that a third to a fourth of Americans are gay.”

Don’t you see Peters’ point? Let me paraphrase: We’re only denying family protections to a quarter of a million kids! That’s 250 thousand, not, like 250 gazillion! That’s barely the population of Orlando, only about 60,000 more people than live in Salt Lake City. What’s all this fuss over just a quarter of million kids? I mean, a quarter is somewhere around 25 cents, and nobody even cares about pennies!

And NOM — which is all about the kids, right? — is highlighting Peters’ quote, not apologizing for it.

Herein lies NOM’s strange and revealing contradiction. Peters, in this quote, is minimizing not just the number of kids in same-sex homes, but the number of gays as well, presumably to give the impression that this population of children is unlikely to grow. Factor in NOM’s other rhetoric, and you’re left with this:

  • We need to ban same-sex marriage because every child deserves a mother and father, and every child is important.
  • We can refute the need for same-sex marriage because only a quarter of a million kids are raised in such households, and they can be dismissed as “a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent.”

It seems the importance of children to NOM depends entirely on their argument of the moment.

Along these lines I’d like to detour for a moment into another NOM post called, “Examples of Excellent Testimony Against SSM in Minnesota” (their title, not mine). They approvingly quote this bit from Doug Mainwaring, their favorite gay who opposes gay marriage:

Doug (gay man): “marriage isn’t about love, commitment and responsibility–it’s about kids. Ignore the media push and adult demands for same-sex marriage.”

That is one of their “examples of excellent testimony.”  It leaves me thinking NOM has no idea why married parents are such a good thing for kids. Of course, it’s perfectly in line with Thomas Peters’ recent tweet about marriage: “Orientation doesnt matter, sexual difference does!”

Yeah. Marriage is all about the kids. But for NOM, apparently, a loveless, uncommitted, irresponsible opposite-sex couple is better for those kids than any same-sex couple you can find, because sexual difference matters so much more than those trivial concerns.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Thomas Peters. It’s fun. My only worry is that NOM could realize something might be wrong if your opponents are eager to publicize everything your Communications Director has to say.



Thom Watson
March 24th, 2013 | LINK

I’ve always found Thomas more amusing than anything else, and generally haven’t tried to peer into his psyche, but his recent statement about orientation and sexual differences really is hard to ignore in that light. Just as it seems odd that Scalia’s priest son spends so much time and energy helping people deny their sexual orientations instead of on other concerns makes me wonder if he’s trying to deny his own sexual orientation, Peters’ comment that, in essence, it’s an ideal to encourage gay people to marry opposite-sex spouses has me finally wondering, after resisting doing so for all this time, if Peters himself is, in fact, in what would be his words, “same-sex attracted.”

And that belief that gay people should marry opposite-sex spouses also gets to the same point that they don’t really care about the environment in which children are raised, or if their parents love each other or are happy together, just as long as there’s one of each gender. It’s really bizarre that they think this actually is good for children. Even their hero Regnerus would tell them that that’s a recipe for disaster for kids.

This is similar to the thing I’ve found so striking from the now dozens of hours of legislative testimony I’ve heard in marriage equality fights in various states: our side repeatedly talks about “love” and “commitment” when discussing why we want marriage equality. You never hear the words “love” and “commitment” from our opponents, though, only “procreation” and “children.” If marriage is to be divorced from love and commitment, except insofar as a commitment to produce and care for children, who really has redefined marriage, who really is harming it? Not the ones who talk about love and commitment, I’d posit.

Ben In Oakland
March 24th, 2013 | LINK

Perhasps Mr. Peters would be so kind s to provide a benchmark number, so that we strive to know exactly what large number of kids actually matters.

Regan DuCasse
March 24th, 2013 | LINK

After reading what MAINWARING said about his family life, he himself has awkward and painfully strange ideas about gender and sexuality in how to respond to his son.
He actually said he observed his son kissing his mother goodnight on the cheek, something unique between a mother and son, a father could never do. Therefore why same sex parenting would be wrong for sons not having the benefit of a mother.
With their EVERY utterance, the anti gay can’t help but contradict themselves, be hypocritical or be completely ignorant, fact and evidence deprived, paranoid and inflammatory.
There is NOTHING they can say that will ever make sense. Let alone that civil laws can follow and support.
To the smart kids in the room it’s hard not to laugh, and Peters et al take themselves very seriously.
Unfortunately, one hopes several members of SCOTUS aren’t just as ridiculous.

March 24th, 2013 | LINK

Peters is coming from the Catholic Church view that descends from Thomas Aquinas, that sex must conform to a doctrine known as Natural Law. This says that sex can only be approved when it conforms to the ultimate good in both thought and deed. The doctrine declares that sex must occur within marriage and be of the generative kind.

This means that only penis in vagina sex is allowed between married persons. Aquinas never really specified a justification for the generative necessity in sex, but subsequent theology elaborates that use of generative organs for non-generative kinds of acts (or any sexual act outside of marriage) relates to pleasure and not to the purpose of (maritally sanctioned) reproduction, or God’s design.

Children matter to Peters only insofar as they are part of this Natural Law arrangement where only parents of a generative kind can marry. Even where Peters might concede good intentions to to benefit children of same-sex couples through marriage, the deed is still wrong, because the marriage isn’t of a generative kind (an abstraction which allows opposite sex infertile couples).

Hence, the contradictions between “think of the children” and “there are too few children to worry about” lines of argument. Any rhetoric in a storm will be sought in defence of the dogma of Natural Law.

Richard Rush
March 24th, 2013 | LINK

I don’t think NOM cares about children at all. Their mission is all driven by anti-gay animus. The squirm-worthy “every child needs a mom and a dad” is just a talking point designed to register with their gullible audience. Some variant of “think of the children” has commonly been used in many other quarrels about social issues.

Where has NOM been on solving the problem of the multitude of inferior mom/dad parents exacerbated by the rampant irresponsible reckless breeding that heterosexuals are famous for? That’s right, NOM was nowhere because they weren’t founded until 2007 for the sole purpose of persecuting gay people.

March 24th, 2013 | LINK

If there aren’t that many children being raised by same-sex couples, then what’s the problem with same-sex couples getting married? If they don’t have children, how can the children be harmed? Oh, yes, I remember: the ONLY reason to get married is to have children.

So I guess we’re back to what I want to see: mandatory dissolution of a marriage if an opposite-sex couple fails to bear a child or adopt a child within three years of the wedding, regardless of the age of the couple. If you’re not going to be parents, then stop taking up married people spaces that could be occupied by people who want to be parents!

March 24th, 2013 | LINK

Do any of these people realize how creepy they sound??

So what, if only 250,000 people will be affected?? People’s rights are not a numbers game and anybody who thinks a majority has the right to stomp all over a minority…no matter how small…either has not been paying attention to the last couple of centuries of things that happened or the overall arc of jurisprudence in the Western World or is just an idiot.

Whether its 25 people, or 25,000 people or 25 million people doesn’t matter.

March 24th, 2013 | LINK

…People have rights.

March 25th, 2013 | LINK


“Whether its 25 people, or 25,000 people or 25 million people doesn’t matter.”

As I said in the thread about Peters’ tweet (and couldn’t we do something with that phrase?), people don’t matter to NOM. I honestly think that’s the key issue, starting with Aquinas and the whole “natural law” doctrine: the Church is not and never has been human-centered. It’s always been about power and authority — God is merely window dressing. NOM is just a front for the Catholic Church, so they couldn’t care less about actual human beings.

Richard Rush
March 25th, 2013 | LINK

If NOM cares so much about children, why do they obsess exclusively and irrationally on the relatively small number of them with gay parents, instead of addressing the truly sad lives faced by multitudes of children being raised by heterosexuals who are dysfunctional, abusive, mentally ill, impoverished, woefully under-educated, reckless breeders, or otherwise ill-equipped to be parents? Not only does NOM not care about those children, they don’t want anyone else to care or think about them either – so that the mantra, “every child needs a mom and a dad,” only conjures up images of the idyllic mythical families of Ozzie & Harriet or Leave It To Beaver.

March 25th, 2013 | LINK

@ Hunter:

True enough, but then the *average* Catholic isn’t exactly all about following either Church teaching or Natural Law. I’ve been a Catholic, I went to Catholic school from when I was 11 until 13 or so.

I’d previously attended a Lutheran school, and lets just say Catholic school was educational in a lot of ways the Church probably wouldn’t approve of. While I was there I got into my first fight, had my first girlfriend, pretty much fell in with the kind of kids who’d haul a boom box & sheet of cardboard outside to practice break dancing stuff all day on Saturdays (this was in California in the 1980’s) I started smoking and was lucky I didn’t get busted for various minor criminal activities. More to the point, a lot of the dumb shit I did was at school and the main rule seemed to be don’t get caught.

Yeah, those Catholics are some real moral paragons aren’t they? The behavior of NOM & assorted Pedophilia scandals seem to show that they have gotten worse, but then, so has the status of the Church.

When you base your power and authority on preaching morality…I would hazard a guess that it helps to, ya know, actually have morals.

March 25th, 2013 | LINK


The “average” Catholic, at least in the US, doesn’t seem to pay much attention to the bishops. That’s not necessarily a reason for anything, but it’s a good indicator of how much support the Church’s (and NOM’s) positions on gays and other “moral” issues really have — which is pretty much zilch.

They are, however, good at scaring politicians, but since politicians are easily frightened, that’s not really saying much.

Priya Lynn
March 25th, 2013 | LINK

I’m sure if he was asked about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting he wouldn’t say “Only 20 children were killed, it is too few to worry about.”

March 25th, 2013 | LINK

Priya Lynn —

“You see what kinds of things happen in states where marriage has been redefined to suit the homosexual special interests?”

Secret Advocate
March 25th, 2013 | LINK

It’s nitpicking, but Thomas Peters has said that he is 27.

His Linked In page says that he graduated from college in 2005, which would mean that he graduated at about the age of 20.

That is certainly possible. (My mother graduated from high school when she was 16 and from college when she was 20.)

Anyway, I’m surprised that his tweet in which he appeared to oppose interracial marriage is still up (which it is).

I wonder whether Mr. Peters would have opposed the end of institutionalized anti-Semitism. After all, Jews are just a fraction of a fraction.

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