You may have noticed in the news that something very scary is happening in America.
A movement is growing, in state after state, to distort the U.S. Constitution in order to discriminate. Claiming to protect the rights of certain citizens, this movement will allow some to refuse an important benefit to a vulnerable and targeted class of others, based merely on their “beliefs.” Imagine the floodgates of segregation and Jim Crow opening and the injustice flooding America. Imagine inhumanity flourishing under the misleading guise of “rights of conscience,” when in truth, those asking for conscience protections are really trying to practice discrimination under the radar.
No, I am not talking about Indiana’s attempt at passing a religious freedom law based on the First Amendment. After all, those who drafted Indiana’s law patterned it after similar laws designed to protect the religious freedom of groups like American Indian sects, Muslims, and Jews. Yet because Indiana’s law was vigorously supported by Christians, it was likened in the Atlantic to the Jim Crow “message on weekends from the pulpit, on school days from our segregated schools, and every day from our governments.” The New York Times was quick to point out, “critics say” it “could allow individuals and businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians,” adding in an official editorial that it was a “cover for bigotry.” In Politico, Katie Glueck and Adam Lerner argue that Democrats will be able to sweep aside the pretext of individual First Amendment rights and paint the champions of the law as “religious extremists on the wrong side of history.”
All these reactions to Indiana’s law represent the right principles applied at the wrong time. In truth we should be skeptical when a movement seeks to strip away the rights of other people through stealth and deflection, while claiming hypocritically to be safeguarding its own beliefs. These are the right questions to ask. It’s just not the right context in which to ask them. The time to galvanize against such a form of doublespeak is not now, when Indiana is merely trying to allow religious people some leeway in a toxic environment. The time to galvanize was when the gay marriage movement took a turn, in the first decade of the 21st century, toward demanding the rights of “family equality.”
Everything that gay marriage supporters accuse Indiana’s law of doing, gay marriage is doing to children. These supporters accuse Indiana of using First Amendment rights as a cover to be cruel to gay people who were born gay and can’t help who they are. Meanwhile, gay marriage supporters are using their Fourteenth Amendment rights (“equal protection”) as a cover to be cruel to children who were born from a mother and father and can’t help who they are, either. Gay marriage supporters allege that at some point in the future a pizzeria might refuse to make them a cheese and pepperoni calzone. Meanwhile, gay-marriage supporters have already forcibly denied thousands of children the benefit of knowing and being raised by their natural-born mother and father.
It is still unclear whether gay people are born gay or become gay due to life circumstances. Au contraire, it is beyond doubt that children are born with a mother and father and only become fatherless or motherless due to life circumstances. Hence, while gay marriage supporters are being hypocritical, their hypocrisy is asymmetrical: The doublespeak they use to deprive others in the name of their own rights is infinitely more damaging and systematically unjust.
Not All “Deeply Held” Beliefs Are Religious
Gay marriage stems from the deeply held belief that gay people are just as good as straight people. This includes the conviction that they are just as good at raising children, children whom same-sex couples cannot conceive but whom heterosexual couples people can. This also includes the necessity that state force be used to keep other people’s children under the power of gay couples and opposite-sex parents away from children so that the gay couple’s exclusive emotional bond to them cannot be diminished.
Let’s revisit our opening analogy for a moment. Gay rights supporters say a Christian entrepreneur’s religious beliefs should not be used against people who do not belong to her religion. At the same time, they insist that their own beliefs in the equality of same-sex parenting be used against children who may grow up and say, “this wasn’t like growing up with a mom and dad. This was worse.”
Ten years ago, few children of same-sex couples were dissenting from “family equality” publicly. Today, we have a whole genre of same-sex parenting dissidents: books by Jakii Edwards, Dawn Stefanowicz, Denise Shick, Rivka Edelman, and me, plus copious blog posts and articles by people like Katy Faust, Manuel Half, Jean-Dominique Bunel, and Heather Barwick. Read my book Jephthah’s Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family “Equality.” The real-life objections are catalogued in gory detail in that volume. A sign of the growing impetus behind this genre is the fact that six children of gay parents filed amicus briefs against gay marriage: see here, here, and here.
Gay-marriage supporters prophesize a resurgence of segregation based on the flimsiest of evidence. Meanwhile, gay marriage is promoting not only segregation but also slavery. Children who have no choice in the matter are forced to live in homes that exclude adults of one sex (including their own parents), and they are placed under the power of unrelated adults in exchange for money, then kept there by the force of the state until they reach the age of maturity, at which time they will have been so estranged from their ancestry that the bonds will never be more than superficially reconstituted.
Jeremy Hooper, an articulate gay father, runs an entire website called “Good as You,” where he focuses much of his time on attacking anybody who points out weaknesses in the same-sex-parenting creed. The “Good as You” doctrine may not be religious, but it is a deeply held belief in the sub-rational sense: i.e., a tenet held without firm empirical grounding and often in the face of plentiful contrary evidence.
At least in the realm of religion, faith is based on believing in something that hasn’t been proven. In the realm of political obsession, faith is based on getting others to believe something that has been explicitly disproven and which collides violently with common sense as well as other people’s human dignity. I would rather associate with people who believe in gods I do not believe in, than subject myself to people who believe in false myths that tear me away from my roots.
From Subrational Belief Come Rhetorical Fallacies
Supposed champions of gay rights bristle when they hear someone say, “there are gay people who are perfectly happy not going to Memories Pizza, so why worry?”
“Some are happy with the way things are” smacks of sophistry. Of course some people are happy being denied a benefit—there were some who were happy living in segregated housing and attending all-black schools, but we would never cite that as a reason to make it legal for Vanderbilt to reject all black students. While Nat Turner led a slave rebellion in Virginia, there were millions of other slaves who never took up arms against their masters—does that mean we ought to allow slavery to exist?
In the next breath, the same gay-rights champions tell me and other same-sex parenting dissidents: “Zach Wahls is happy with his two moms. Why can’t you be more like him?” It is possible, of course, that Zach Wahls has no interest in exercising his free speech, bearing arms, getting a speedy trial, or voting—but these rights are still there, waiting for him to claim, if at any time he decides he wants to avail himself of them. His right to his father (in his case, a sperm donor) does not follow that pattern. He says he is happy not having a father now, but if he changes his mind long after his lesbian guardians have passed away, the gay-marriage movement will have trapped him. The gay-marriage movement, and the IVF machine spurred by gay marriage, took away his right to his father, so he can never have one. At that time he will be a member of the disenfranchised class that he helped to disenfranchise.
Talk about trading away a birthright for a mess of pottage. Zach Wahls is trading away other people’s birthrights for applause on YouTube.
I was raised by a lesbian couple and had to build bridges to my estranged father in my late twenties. Much of the connection to my father and the benefits of growing up with him were irreparably lost by the time I was a grown man—but at least, I knew who my father was and where to find him. I could salvage my ancestry.
A new generation of children will not even have that consolation I had. Conceived in loveless fertility clinics, gestated in the wombs of women they will never meet, trafficked from poor biological families with the help of complicit governments, “adopted” through a social services system corrupted by money and political pressure, or torn from their birth parents by family court judges who are desperate to please the gay lobby, the new generation of children will be far worse off than I was.
When the debate over gay marriage has receded, when their gay guardians are dead and buried, when the world has moved on, these children will still never be able to recover their heritage. Maybe the glossy studies by pro-gay sociologists are right and they won’t have terrible grades. Maybe the pro-gay pediatricians are right and they will develop without higher instances of ringworm, childhood leukemia, or autism. Maybe the pro-gay physicians are right and these children can rest assured that no undue harm was inflicted on them biologically as a result of being estranged from half or all their heritage, and subjected to the power of two gay guardians who loved them.
But these assurances that “no harm was done” are half-hearted and weak when you are speaking to someone who can never find her father. If I have to choose a text to follow for guidance, I’d choose Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex over a declaration by the American Psychiatric Association. Fifty years ago, Oedipus Rex was as respected as it was two thousand years earlier, for what it said about the human need to be connected to one’s father and mother. Fifty years ago, the APA classified homosexuality as a mental disorder and its members were using electric shock therapy to cure gay people. If they could be wrong for 100 years about homosexuality, it’s likely they can be wrong for 20 years about same-sex parenting.
Chances are, much of the sound and fury is untrue, and social-science studies will increasingly uncover the deep wounds—both emotional and biological—wrought upon a class of citizens who were targeted to be unilaterally estranged from father or mothers, then sold to gay couples to be raised under the fiction that they had two mothers or two fathers.
It is not much to ask: Could the LGBT movement please apply a fraction of the scrutiny they direct at others, to themselves? If gay-rights advocates want other groups to part with their deeply held beliefs in order not to place an undue burden on gay people, then can gay people please part with their deeply held beliefs about equality not to place an undue burden on children? Fair is fair. Or at least, it should be.