The ADF has put out a white paper (PDF file) on gay marriage amendments around the country, which shows their fanatical obsession with gay sex in big, bright colors. The white paper would make a terrific test case for a class in political rhetoric, examining how language is used to poison the well in a political debate. I’ll give some examples. They begin by citing completely irrelevant studies. For instance, they cite a statement from the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Children, Marriage and Family Law. That statement concludes:
Research clearly indicates that family structure matters for children. “Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risk of poor outcomes . . . . There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents.”
This is an argument for gay marriage, not against it. There are hundreds of thousands of children currently being raised by gay parents. All of these studies indicate that a child raised by two people in a stable relationship, with all the financial and legal protections that come with it, is statistically better off than those raised by a single parent with transient relationships. Those children are not going to magically disappear, nor are they going to be taken away from their parents and given to heterosexual couples (even the ADF isn’t foolish enough to call for that).
So, since they’re going to be raised by gay parents anyway, would you rather have them raised in a situation where their parents are in a committed relationship with all the legal and financial protections – protections that are vital to the well-being of the children involved – or would you rather they be raised by a single parent in a series of temporary relationships? That is precisely the logic behind encouraging marriage between hetersosexual couples, and if that logic works then it works the same way here.
And the only reason the ADF and other groups don’t recognize that is because, in their minds, there is no such thing as a committed, stable gay relationship. As far as they’re concerned, all gay people are willful sinners choosing to engage in sin and they could just as easily choose not to. Informed people, of course, know that this is utter nonsense. But for the anti-gay right, the notion that gays could have a committed, monogamous relationship just like straights do, and the notion that they can be good parents, is simply outside their ability to comprehend. These people are evil sinners and that’s all that matters.
As far as the anti-gay right is concerned, being gay only means one thing – anal sex. And that ridiculous obsession with gay sex permeates this entire white paper. For example, they make the argument that states can still provide benefits to unmarried people as long as those benefits are based on something other than the existence of a committed relationship.
These amendments only prohibit domestic partners from receiving benefits if public entities are too stingy (or too worried about making a politically-correct “statement”) to provide benefits equally to adult dependents who are not the sex partners of their unmarried employees…
To reiterate, ADF does not oppose granting benefits to unmarried people, so long as they are granted in a manner that does not endorse sexual conduct outside of marriage and so long as the definition of marriage is not undermined.
But the granting of benefits to non-married but committed relationships is hardly based on who is having sex with whom. Does the ADF think that when someone signs up their partner to get insurance benefits from their company that they have to fill out a form that says, “Yes, I agree that I’m having sex with thiis person”? Of course not. They may agree that they are in a committed relationship with them, that they are partners of some sort, but sex has nothing to do with it.
Here’s how ridiculous this is. Companies provide benefits to married spouses all the time. Would the ADF think it accurate to say that those benefits are given because the spouse is the sex partner of the employee? Of course they wouldn’t. They would call that dishonest and empty rhetoric. And it would be. But so is their statement above. The granting of such benefits has nothing at all to do with sex, they have to do with recruiting and retaining talented people. And if someone with a partner, straight or gay or any other kind, and they have a choice between working for a company or agency that provides health and pension benefits for their partner and one that doesn’t, they’re naturally going to choose the former. That’s why so many employers choose to offer such benefits, but these laws make it illegal to do that for all government agencies and, in some cases (like the new Virginia amendment), even for private employers to do it.
Another rhetorical trick that they use is labelling those who disagree with them in misleading ways. For instance:
Political special interests shouldn’t trump what’s clearly in the best interests of families and children, yet marriage itself is under assault by special interest activists.
This is typical political rhetoric, labelling your opponents as “special” interests. As opposed to what, exactly? Why is an organization that favors gay marriage any more a “special interest group” than an organization that opposes gay marriage? Both are groups of citizens advocating a position. But of course, political partisans want to sell the notion that the other side is different from you. They’re “special interests” – you know, evil lobbyists and such – while we’re just good folks trying to stand up for God and apple pie. That’s dishonest rhetoric.