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And why shouldn't our existences be summed up in four talking points?

by Jeremy Hooper

200805291056To equip their "pro-family" friends and fellows in a way that encourages them to shut off their own independent thought and instead rely on canned ideas that have been crafted by the collective mindsets of a faith-based political movement, the folks at Focus on the Family have outlined an oversimplified quartet of discrimination-justifying arguments for their followers to recite. Because regardless of their protestations about the elusive "homosexual agenda," most of us who follow our opposition know that their side has a battle plan so specific and communal, the word "agenda" doesn't even do it justice!

So what is their agrred-upon outline for success? Well, FOF's Glenn Stanton says of the movement's "debate-tested" talking points:

Here is a collection of lines and arguments that Focus on the Family has learned work best in the many public debates we have done on the issue of the same-sex family. These soundbites have also been tested by focus groups and rated very strongly.

Four Key Points:

1. Same-sex families always deny children either their mother or father.
2. Same-sex family is a vast, untested social experiment with children.
3. Where does it stop? How do we say "no" to group marriage
4. Schools will be forced to teach that the homosexual family is normal. Churches will be legally pressured to perform same-sex ceremonies.

We reply:

1. Let they provide a different kind of two-parent family, the likes of which is valid. Regardless of your views on the subject, it's intellectually bankrupt to (a) deny that other arrangements are reality for millions, and (b) act as if mother/father homes automatically hold the keys to parental fitness.

2. Parenting is a social experiment, period. Actually, to be more accurate, we should say that
LIFE is a social experiment. None of us choose the situations into which we are born, the children we are given, or the hands we are dealt. So it is disturbingly cruel to make it sound as if same-sex couples and their children are "lab rats" (a word FOF literally uses in a later explanation this talking point). We are ALL untested parents, children humans until we engage in our journeys.

Heterosexuality doesn't intrinsically pave over bumpy roads and ensure success. Homosexuality doesn't predestine failure. Being arrogant about the fact that you were born into heterosexuality, however, does weaken a society in which a large portion of the population is not born into that sort of reality.

3. We aren't even going to dignify the "group marriage" claims, and nor should anyone else. Any arrangement beyond same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting will have to be debated and decided on its own merits. Quit throwing in the kitchen sink because you know it will pack a disingenuous wallop!

(a) Yes, schools will hopefully be encouraged to embrace the full spectrum of actuality. It is, after all, in public schools' interests to teach reality, as well as to protect and embrace EVERY student. If you don't agree with that on religious grounds, then religious private schooling or home-based teaching are both available options.

(b) Bull-crappy! Churches perform CHURCH ceremonies. What we are talking about in this marriage debate is CIVIL marriage. If there is pressure for a church to marry gays, it will come from within the individual denominations and sects. Just as would be the case right now if atheists wanted to have their civil ceremonies recognized by the church despite their Godless views. These matters are to be decided among the far-from-monolitich faith community (some of whom already sanction gay unions even without the civil legality!)

And don't even pull a Wendy Wright and
TRY to bring up the flawed New Jersey situation. It involved public property, not a "church"!!

Debate-Tested Sound Bites on Defending Marriage [CitizenLink]

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Your thoughts

No, no, now they will bring up the HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA slide and 'prove' all their points.

Posted by: LOrion | May 29, 2008 11:09:45 AM

Thanks for posting this info about equal rights for LGBT people. I think you're doing a great job and you are my go to guy for this info every day. Keep up the good work, and fight the good fight! You're an inspiration. Cheers!

Posted by: johnozed | May 29, 2008 11:48:33 AM

I have to say - The "Churches forced to perform same-sex marriages" line is by far the most aggrevating argument because it soooo patently false. No currently protected group (i.e. race, religion, nationality,) has ever had a legal case if a church refused to marry them.

If I show up with a girl at the mosque and say, "Hey, you have to marry us, even though we're not Muslims." They can legally and fairly say "No."

There is no legal right to religious ceremony as Jeremy has pointed out many times.

Posted by: GayMormonBoy | May 29, 2008 2:34:34 PM

On the "group marriage" topic, I think it is perfectly reasonable to suggest that if Mitt Romney or others of his Mormon cohorts want to champion that chosen marital arrangement they are welcome to do so. I, personally, find it cuts into my otherwise productive hours just satisfying one man. I would never get anything done if I had three or four of them around.

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 29, 2008 2:56:21 PM

If these so-called arguments are what they consider "strong", Mr. Stanton must be legally retarded. And if he's not, he should be.

Posted by: Scott | May 29, 2008 8:10:21 PM

1. Same-sex families always deny children either their mother or father.

As opposed to staying in an orphanage, which denies them both.

Let's look at some math. Say you have 100 kids waiting to be adopted, and you have 100 emotionally sound, financially stable, and perfectly willing couples wanting to adopt one each. Sounds good, right? Well, let's say 25 of the couples are gay couples. So, if we say "no way" to the gay couples, we now have 25 kids still in the system. 25 kids without homes. Let's be real here. The choice is not gay or straight, the choice is gay or nothing. We simply don't have enough qualified people of ANY orientation to take on all the children in the adoption/foster care system. Denying them a family, even a gay family, is cruel.

And let's just be even more real. For all their talk about family values, these religious bigots don't give two shits about my family, or anyone else's family that includes a gay person. They certainly don't care about our kids. They are perfectly willing to leave our families, and our children in limbo just to be spiteful. They want to leave our kids dangling just to prove their point, just to be "right" about something. Pro-family my ass.

Posted by: Jason D | May 29, 2008 8:54:27 PM

"Pro-family my ass" is very true. No one ever accused them of being pro-family, they misappropriated that title to give themselves the air of credibility, while behaving in a manner that is definitely something other than pro-anything.

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 29, 2008 10:34:38 PM

Social experiment? In Europe, there are quite a few same-sex families now, it's not yet seen as much on TV, except in children's shows where there is always a child with same sex parents, but my point is this: the children are fine.

Same sex families have been around a long time according to anthropologists, back in pre-"civilisation" days an orphan would be looked after relatives without children, they didn't discriminate then, and we shouldn't now.

Evidence also shows that children raised in same sex environments appear to be equally well adjusted (but more open-minded) then their straight-raised counterparts.

Don't use the words "social experiment" FoF, when the evidence is already in, and it's in our favour.

Posted by: Corvidae | May 30, 2008 3:21:03 AM

Here's my response to the Fundie Agenda, take it for what you will.

1. Same-sex families always deny children either their mother or father.

So what? You don't have to meet some minimum standard of being able to provide for future children before you're allowed to get married.

2. Same-sex family is a vast, untested social experiment with children.

So let's test it.

3. Where does it stop? How do we say "no" to group marriage

We don't. I have no problem with group marriage. Of course, if you really hate polygamy, give me your reasons for that. You don't ban A because you don't like B.

4. Schools will be forced to teach that the homosexual family is normal. Churches will be legally pressured to perform same-sex ceremonies.

A) Good, they ought to.

B) First Amendment, bitch.

Posted by: The Watcher | Jun 1, 2008 9:30:58 PM

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