Romney: I love every family, both the 'ideal' and the 'not-so-much'
So yesterday, while speaking at Massachusetts' Concord High School, GOP White House would-be Mitt Romney was confronted by a lesbian mother about his opposition to same-sex marriage. After Romney made some statements against gay marriage, Cynthia Fish, who has a partner of four years and two daughters, reportedly said to Romney, ""I am a gay woman and I have children. Your comment that you just made, it sort of invalidates my family." According to AP reports here is how Romney's reply went down:
Romney paused, asked Fish about her children and then praised her.
"Wonderful," Romney said. "I’m delighted that you have a family and you’re happy with your family. That’s the American way. ... People can live their lives as they choose and children can be a great source of joy, as you know. And I welcome that."
But then Romney repeated his view of marriage.
"Marriage is an institution which is designed to bring a man and woman together to raise a child and that the ideal setting for society at large is where there is a male and a female are associated with the development and nurturing a child," Romney said.
The former Massachusetts governor acknowledged other scenarios that raise children.
"There are other ways to raise kids that’s fine: single moms, grandparents raising kids, gay couples raising kids. That’s the American way, to have people have their freedom of choice," he said.
And you know, on the surface Romney's comments can almost sound respectful. If you are on the outside of the gay marriage fight and you hear words like the above, it likely just sounds like someone who merely has different views "agreeing to disagree" with someone with whom he doesn't see eye-to-eye. That's Mitt Romney's game, and he plays it well. With his broad smile and slick hair, he masks his discriminatory stance on this issue behind a facade of care and concern.
However, those of us who understand the personally offensive nature of this debate know one thing about Romney's gay marriage stance: It's a big steaming pile of BullMitt! Here is how his "compassionate" support for discrimination almost always breaks down:
1) He ALWAYS uses the words "choice" or "choose" when referring to gays' lives and loves. This is of course "pro-family" 101. They have to make it sound like gays are "choosing their behavior" in order to make gay rights look like "special protections" and not just plain ol' bits of human decency. So Mitt uses the "choice" line casually, so as to make it seem like it's just a given fact. It is clearly not a mistake that this is the word "choice" that he uses!!
2) He ALWAYS presents marriage in terms of children. While speaking at an evangelical Christian event in 2006, he even said of the Massachusetts gay marriage decision:
"What (the judges) ignored is that marriage is not primarily about adults; marriage is about the nurturing and development of children."
Being that children are not, in fact, a nuptial requirement, this line of reasoning is always offensive. However, when presented to a mother who is already raising children with her same-sex partner, it is just BEYOND insulting!
3) The "ideality" of Man/woman child-rearing is ALWAYS a Romney point of discussion. Again, it's offensive when you consider that we are talking about the civil marriage contracts of two adults who already live, love, and sometimes raise children regardless of the lack of legal protections afforded by marriage. But of course he, like most every other GOP personality, fails to even acknowledge the true issues and the true people involved, instead opting to discuss the matter in terms of what the gays will somehow take away from the heteros! And, of course, since most in the media apparently have forgotten that their job is to question and scrutinize, more often than not, these sorts of short-sighted views on this topic are largely left unchallenged.
4) He ALWAYS acknowledges that there are other arrangements and acts as if he is totally fine with those sorts of arrangements. But here's the thing: Gays are sometimes single moms. Gays are sometimes grandparents. Gays are also sometimes part of loving, monogamous couples who desperately want to get married! You do not negate the necessity or righteousness of same-sex marriage by comparing gay couples to other types of people who raise children! The only comparison that is logical is the one between gay couples and hetero couples! We are not some form of "other arrangement" for the purpose of raising kids!! We are human beings who pay taxes and who contribute to society, and we deserve the same FREEDOM and PROTECTION that is afforded our straight peers!!
In many ways, these falsely compassionate gay marriage stances are far more offensive than ones that are outright homophobic. Because while someone who preaches "gays are sinners" and protests same-sex marriage puts it all out there and lets others decide where they stand, someone like Mr. Romney completely muddies the waters of the debate! It's his way of having it both ways -- he can retain support for the staunchly anti-gay base that he needs in order to advance his political future, while still convincing moderates that he's "not anti-gay" and that he "opposes discrimination." But if he were forced to actually say out loud what he is, in fact, saying through his subtext, it would pain a very different picture. If one were to rewrite Mitt's above quotes with such truth laid bear, we think it might sound something like this:
You gays are choosing to live as gays, and that's allowed. But you cannot choose to get married. Sorry.
Gay couples are not perfectly acceptable variants for raising children. This is why I say that male/female parents are the societal ideal. How could I possibly be respecting the fact that the spectrum of normalcy includes gay couples when I say something like this? After all, if I did fully respect and view gay couples as normal, I wouldn't automatically place them on a tier below that of heterosexual parents, and I would instead just ALL parents of their merits and fitness, not sexual orientation.
So again, here in America, you can choose to be part of a gay couple if you wish. Oh, and you can raise kids. But while I clearly think marriage is best for heterosexual parents who are raising kids, I am not going to support the same for gay couples who are choosing to raise children (in a way I've already stated is not ideal). I am instead going to compare gay couples to single parents and grandparents, so as to make it look like monogamous man/man or woman/woman-headed families are just other situations in which certain people have found themselves or settled after the only true societal model -- man/woman married families -- failed.
It's the American way -- You can choose to be (a) the ideal, or (b) some sort of lesser-than variation.
Folks, we must speak out loudly and fervently against these stealth attacks. No matter how well coifed and genuine the sincerity may seem, the underlying message is one for which we simply cannot stand!!
N.H. woman challenges Romney on gay marriage [AP via Edge MA]
**The Concord Monitor also reports Romney as saying of the "other forms":
"That's not to say these other forms aren't valid. But, for instance, we don't say a single person is married, even if they are raising children," Romney said. "I believe, in society, we want to bring a man and woman together."
And you know why we don't say a single person is married? BECAUSE THEY'RE SINGLE AND UNMARRIED!! What we are talking about are couples who want the freedom to marry! And we're talking about the same rights and protections being afforded to ALL couples. Operative word: "COUPLES," Mitt!
Honestly, gay issues aside, if this is his TRUE reasoning and not just GOP political speak, then we don't want him ruling the free world purely on his apparent inability to grasp simple logic!
Oh, and let's please not forget: He was directly addressing a woman who is raising children as part of a same-sex couple! Where does he f***ing get off?!?!?!
**UPDATE: And Pam's House Blend reminds us that Romney actually once said of gay parenting:
"Some [same-sex] couples are actually having children born to them. ... It's not right on paper. It's not right in fact. Every child has a right to a mother and a father."
**UPDATE2: As brought to our attention by Patrick B in our comments section, here is a video of the above quote:
A better headline for this story would have been: ROMNEY TO LESBIAN: DROP DEAD!
Posted by: Mike | Jun 7, 2007 11:04:52 AM
I appreciate the fact that you actually recognized that we can have families and raise children. That is a step above some of your counterparts, but still....
Here are a few other ways Cynthia could have asked the question.
1) Why do my partner and I have to pay several thousand dollars more a year in income taxes than a married couple with the same income and family size because we cannot file jointly? We would like to use this money for the benefit of our children. Perhaps to save for college. Perhaps to pay medical bills. Perhaps for basics like food and clothing.
2) Why do we not get the child tax credits and the college tuition credits that the married couple gets because the limits are different for married couples than they are for singles?
3) Why did we have to spend thousands of dollars and jump through legal hoops to insure the security of our children should something happen to one of us when it is automatic for a married couple?
4) In the unfortunate event that my spouse and I part, how come our children are not entitled to the same protections afforded children of married couples when it comes to visitation, support, etc.
5) In the event that one of our children has a medical emergency, what if a parent who is not recognized legally is the one available to make decisions? Could this put our child's life at risk? This is a very real situation in many states where both parents cannot adopt.
The bottom line is this Mitt. This is a not just a gay issue. It is a children's issue. The days where you think that by denying us rights will prevent us from forming genuine families are over. By being harder on us, you will not make us return to those days. By denying us these rights, you not only hurt us, but also countless children. The fact that you do this in the name of "family values" and for the defense of children is repulsive. If you truly care about children, you will insure that the children of gay people have the same rights, the same security, the same benefits of marriage as the children of straight people.
Posted by: Steve - Geneva, IL | Jun 7, 2007 11:28:50 AM
Heres a youtube video of Mitt's comments:
"Some [same-sex] couples are actually having children born to them. ... It's not right on paper. It's not right in fact. Every child has a right to a mother and a father."
Posted by: Patrick B | Jun 7, 2007 2:31:06 PM
First, I have written up a response to this article over at Opine...
But I'd like to address Steve's comments as well.
I have no affiliation with Romney. I defend marriage, which means I have defended Edwards, Kerry, Bush, Romney, and even Giulliani. I have no political persuasion, I hope that I can answer your questions.
1) Why questions are always difficult to answer. Anyone with a three year old knows how exhaustive they can be. But I do have an answer. Long ago, and I hope is still the case, the family is considered a unit in and of itself. For various reasons people felt that the family, more than the individual, needed assistance and tax relief. It is a sort of subsidy for what is entailed for raising children.
This is a natural outcropping of a peculiarity in marriage, it creates kin. I have a child who is a natural kin, and because of our children I am related to my wife in a sort of retroactive fashion as a blood kin. Hence, the in-tact family. The one where the child's rights are most naturally met because their parents (the ones they share identity, heritage, and characteristics with) are committed to each other and the uncertain future children bring. This is the kin altruism.
Socially, you too can get the same priveleges. But attempting to do so by casting an equivolancey (through various means) with that relationship is fruitless. Instead, simply show what altruism there is in your relationship that deserves the tax relief. In other words it is really meaningless to say, "they have it we should to" when they have it for a reason you do not meet.
Come up with your own altruism, and send that out to the people. That seems to be one of the many efforts underway for recognizing homosexual couples. And it is the most populist way to do it.
1) You answered your own question. It is, "because the limits are different for married couples than they are for singles". If there is a reason that shouldn't be so, pitch that to your neighbors and elected representatives.
2) It is a good question, to which I will counter, if I were helping out a daughter raise her children shouldn't I have the same benefits too? Why are you only concerned with your family situation when, if it is something you are sure you need, why not share?
This brings us back to establishing an independant reason for these benefits. The married couple has it because that so easily establishes that the household is dual headed. One cannot assume that for any co-habiting household. And yet perhaps one should be given the freedom to assign someone else as your partner in raising children to represent the child to other establishments. And that need would be much more universal than the homosexual couple of today seems to be saying.
This false sense of exclusion is a natural consequence of the "they have it we should too" mentality. In the end it does not create equality, because the "we" are so concerned about just themselves. First look at an independant reason, and then see if it only applies to "we".
4) See "triple parenting" discussion by Dale Carpenter about how adopting this is generally a bad idea. Essentially, this isn't even something step-fathers and step-mothers have as automatic.
5) Establishing who can make medical decisions for a child in a medical emergency takes no money, just signature. On the same hand, even married couples need to sign forms to establish their trust to a medical establishment.
But I agree with you that this isn't a gay issue. I see nothing exclusive to homosexuality that deserves any preferential treatment (marriage is preferential treatment, btw). If there is a common need then every situation with that need should be addressed. So why call it "gay-marriage" or "same-sex marriage" at all?
Posted by: On Lawn | Jun 12, 2007 6:43:35 PM
Sorry the numbering is off. In a re-write I missed the first #1, and so the 'ibid' is not needed and the answers can be taken in order. The questions, to me, had quite a bit of overlap however. So perhaps I can be excused this error.
Posted by: On Lawn | Jun 12, 2007 6:48:56 PM
On Lawn: I've left this over at your site, though it doesn't seem to have been posted yet.
1) I'm offended by the insinuation that your comments would not be approved. I would never disapprove comments because they were in disagreement to an article. In fact, there has only been one comment ever refused, and that was because the entire text was someone saying "C*NT" approximately 500 times.
2) The site is "Good As You (G-A-Y)," not "As Good As You (A-G-A-Y)."
As for your article itself -- I really feel no need to respond. We've both said our piece. Folks can decide for themselves whose "tirade is laughable."
Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 12, 2007 7:07:42 PM
"The "ideality" of Man/woman child-rearing is ALWAYS a Romney point of discussion. Again, it's offensive when you consider that we are talking about the civil marriage contracts of two adults who already live, love, and sometimes raise children regardless of the lack of legal protections afforded by marriage."
I'm no fan of Romney, or of any Republican candidate for that matter. But why should you find it "offensive" that he or anyone else discusses child-rearing from a perspective that represents the best empirical evidence we have available? That is, the data are pretty clear that optimal child outcomes are connected to parenting by the biological mother and the biological father. ALL other forms of parenting (adoptive parents, stepparents, homosexual parents, single parents, fill in the blank with your preferred alternative) come in behind that. That doesn't mean that all kids raised in those alternative family arrangements all become drug addicts and criminals, but it means they are statistically comparatively disadvantages vis-a-vis their peers raised by biological Mom and Dad.
This isn't ideology, it is sociological fact, or as close to facts as the discipline of sociology is ever likely to produce. Why would that seem 'offensive' to you?
And would it seem equally offensive to you that society might have an investment in institutionalizing the maximal parenting relationship for the socialization of children and perhaps avoiding institutionalizing parental relationships that not only come in behind that 'ideal' but that also cannot even produce any children of their own to begin with? The institution of marriage, after all, emerged historically not as a civil right to be wrested from the state and given to individuals for the expression of their freedom, but as an institituion specifically geared to the effective regulation of sexuality and child-rearing, as it has been universally recognized by most societies that those things indeed need at least some social regulation. Trying to get marriage away from children is a rather fruitless endeavor, historically and sociologically speaking; the two have always, in all societies about which we know anything (even the classical Greek world so often celebrated by homosexual lobbyists), been intimately linked.
Posted by: ATR | Jun 12, 2007 8:38:45 PM
---> " If you truly care about children, you will insure that the children of gay people have the same rights, the same security, the same benefits of marriage as the children of straight people."
Are there child-raising arrangements which would be excluded from the merger of marriage recognition with your idealized version of the homosexual relationship type?
For instance, must the two persons (if only two) meet a special test to determine that they are both homosexual?
Is homosexuality a requirement for two men or for two women who'd "marry" one other? Or is the arrangement presumptively nonsexual?
Posted by: Chairm | Jun 13, 2007 12:08:27 AM
I've left this over at your site, though it doesn't seem to have been posted yet.
You should re-post. Two things make me think that was a matter of user error:
1) We don't have moderation turned on. We did at one point, but it was too cumbersome. We have an explicit comment policy which, to sum up, is not too different than yours. We will delete, but never keep them from being posted to begin with.
2) Blogger has a comment RSS feed which picks up and displays the comments even after we delete them.
Since it didn't show up either way, without really knowing what happened, I'd suggest that a re-post will be the way to fix it.
I'm offended by the insinuation that your comments would not be approved.
Good, I'm glad. In some ways at least. I do not wish to offend anyone, but I'm happy to see you have the same honor and bravery in taking on opposing viewpoints as we do at Opine. But you needn't take offence, because I say that about every site I post at. Given that 90% or more of the sites advocating neutered marriage will try very hard to constrict and control the information, and to opposition voiced on their forums, to me people like you are the exception and not the rule.
So, I salute you for your virtue.
However, I will note there were specific questions (IIRC) in that "tirade" that I would be most interested in you providing answers to. Please review and respond.
Posted by: On Lawn | Jun 13, 2007 12:11:33 PM
1)Thanks, I will try reposting.
2) I never referred to your post as a "tirade." I was responding you calling my own entry a "tirade." Regardless (and with all due respect), I really don't feel that anything in your post is worth address. I don't mean to be rude, but it really didn't annoy me, raise doubts in my mind, cause me to think twice, or question my support for gay marriage and lack of support for Romney's views on the subject (which we've been tracking for over three years). You clearly think you raised some good points. But then again, you also refer to gay marriage as "neutered marriage," so there would seem to be no point in dialoguing further on this subject.
Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 13, 2007 12:21:58 PM
>>> "Folks can decide for themselves whose 'tirade is laughable.'"
> "I was responding you calling my own entry a 'tirade.'"
I appreciate the clarification, since your first version does not lend easily to that interpretation. However I was responding to both.
> "You clearly think you raised some good points."
Luckily, since the advent of the civilized society, there has been ways to tell if points are valid. Rules of confirmation and reason have been developed through the ages that help people communicate and hopefully find for themselves what points are valid and which are not.
The classic bluff, the pretending to have something in hopes that people believe you, is a long discredited tactic. I believe I am due, as is your readership, laying on the table just where and why you feel my points are invalid. My suspicions are that instead of judging by reason and facts, you are instead applying the same orthodoxy and faith based beliefs that you applied first to Romney. Things that do not adhere to the orthodoxy, perhaps, you feel are self-evident heresy?
The reactions don't show much of a real understanding or acceptance of your arguments. For instance: "A better headline for this story would have been: ROMNEY TO LESBIAN: DROP DEAD!" That comment was obviously playing on your desperate attempt to call his comments disrespectful. That reader picked up on your tone and distilled it into a form that is obviously false.
Steve's response I liked, and I thought should be addressed. But that wasn't a reply to your comment, but Mitts and the woman's. Apparently he found Mitt's commentary to be more reasoned and valid than you did. And that was very noble of him. And, it stand s to reason that he would follow Mitts reasoning that there are many other relationships that should be considered outside of the G(S)LBT self-interest -- since he mentions struggles that are not at all unique to the homosexual household that expansion of marriage would solve. Didn't you already address that in your post? I think you did, and you were apparently (without the banter and bluster you provide) unconvincing.
Other comments, I believe spawned from my comment to you, have raised very valid points. You are running from them too. I rest assured that there are valid points, and they are resonating. And your tirade has no real persuasive power outside of the orthodoxy you call Romneys' arguments heresy too.
Can you point to such evidence?
Posted by: On Lawn | Jun 13, 2007 1:26:51 PM
On Lawn: I have limited time in my day. I simply do not feel your extremely verbose assessments of the situation deserving of address. If you want to think that I am "running" from your comments, then by all means -- go ahead and think that.
Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 13, 2007 1:43:11 PM
Want to? How marginalizing and disrespectful.
Do you have a point or not?
Posted by: On Lawn | Jun 13, 2007 2:06:10 PM
I honestly don't even know what you are talking about at this point. My only point, however: I do not feel your commentary on this article to be worthy of address. And I don't mean any real disrespect when I say that. I just personally don't think you have raised any new points that are worth the time it would take to respond. Some would disagree with me (as exemplified by the two commenters above who were directed here by your site). But as stated already, I have limited time and lots of people to whom I need to respond, or with whom I need to discuss/debate. I simply am not going to dedicate the time to responding to you on this.
Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 13, 2007 2:20:22 PM
G-A-Y, with respect, even with limited time, you did find the time and you did make the effort to assert a number of things in your original post. Objectively, these do look like mere statements of faith based on your own particular misreading of the substance.
Does tone surpass substance in your view? In that case, I do not really see your complaint about Romeny's civil response to the challenged made to him.
It does not seem unreasonable to expect you to discuss and to support those assertions when challenged. There is no rush given that you have been tracking Romney for three years and given that the presidential campaign in which he has entered has only just begun.
Posted by: Chairm | Jun 13, 2007 2:21:43 PM
I'm sorry. I'm not here to hurt and belittle others, but I fully agree with what Mitt Romney says. I believe that the gay lifestyle is wrong/anti-natural. If we had merely one generation of a people that fully embraced homosexual tendencies humanity would cease to exist. People (MOST) are designed that way, that's just the way it is. Are there bad homosexual people that shouldn't be parents? Yes. Are there negligent heterosexual people that shouldn't be parents. Yes. Yes! Having a loving father and mother was the way a family was intended. Do I believe in forcing this natural, right standard on everyone. No. But I don't think any other standard should be forced on a child either. This is about what works best.
On the same note, its best to have BOTH loving parents, not by a sinlge mom or dad. We are shooting for the best standards here, and just as homosexuals have a right to voice theit opinion, and have that opinion heard, so do others have that same right. Sincerely,
Posted by: Josh VanBuskirk | Jun 13, 2007 6:49:33 PM
Regarding your comment on my original post
Quote: "The reactions don't show much of a real understanding or acceptance of your arguments. For instance: "A better headline for this story would have been: ROMNEY TO LESBIAN: DROP DEAD!" That comment was obviously playing on your desperate attempt to call his comments disrespectful. That reader picked up on your tone and distilled it into a form that is obviously false."
My comment was a direct reaction to the tone of one Mr. Romney and not Mr. Hooper's writing.
You know, I almost would prefer if the person making those statement was one of the wacky far-right Christian Conservatives. At least they're being sincere on the matter. At least I could believe them! I mean, hey, from them the statements might even be considered reasonably respectful. However, from Romney, not so much. The man is a such a blatant finger-in-the-wind politician you have not sure the man believes half the garbage that comes out of mouth. That's what stings me the most about him.
That makes his comments doubly disrespectful. Romney isn't a man of substance or heart, he's a politician that will step on any group and say anything he thinks might up his poll numbers.
I mean, you're not really falling for this guys baloney are you? He's like watching an actor in a hemorrhoid cream commercial.
Posted by: Mike | Jun 14, 2007 2:53:23 AM
Just want to add...I've noticed something to the effect of "Well, he's allowed to have his opinion and so are we" (I'm looking at you, Josh.) This is comment deflection strategy for those dissenting.
There's an inherent and dangerious problem in this logic. Sure, Mitt's allowed to have any opinion he wants. Unfortunately, once he's elected to public office, especially an office like a governorship or the presidency he's going to be under an obligation to treat all equally and to defend their constitutional rights. I think that's the point you're missing. You know, I don't think Mitt's going to do that, in fact, his track record shows he's actively and aggressively pursued the opposite.
Just in keep in mind that when we put people in power who have "opinions" about particular groups of tax-paying American citizens it's just as easy for the stroke of their pen on that next law, or that next amendment, to be aimed in your direction as it is towards the people you disagree with.
Posted by: Mike | Jun 14, 2007 11:26:41 AM
Romney sounds like he didn't ask her to drop dead at all. Not then, nor through policies he's given at any time in his political career.
That you and AGAY take it such sounds more like narcissistic self-pity.
Posted by: On Lawn | Jun 15, 2007 12:17:46 PM
OnLawn: If you listen to nothing else, please listen to this: There is no "A" in our acronym. The site is Good As You" (G-A-Y).
Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 15, 2007 12:22:15 PM
I've read everything you've written.
The churlish part of me would simply say, "what you write isn't worth replying to, AGAY".
But in all seriousness, its just hilarious how much time you have to respond to everything, while telling me you have no time. Very interesting.
Posted by: On Lawn | Jun 15, 2007 12:35:09 PM
If you're going to quote me, quoet me accurately, On Lawn. What I said was:
"I have limited time and lots of people to whom I need to respond, or with whom I need to discuss/debate. I simply am not going to dedicate the time to responding to you on this."
"I have limited time in my day. I simply do not feel your extremely verbose assessments of the situation deserving of address. If you want to think that I am "running" from your comments, then by all means -- go ahead and think that."
Both were in regards to your own post about this entry, and both true statements. And you're right -- I should not be wasting time replying to even these comments. I merely wanted to correct your misused acronym.
Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 15, 2007 12:40:50 PMcomments powered by Disqus