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05/13/2010

No Ms. Tyree: The 'common misconception' is that anti-gay evangelicals get to define civil reality

by Jeremy Hooper

Laura-BushJenny Tyree can't just disagree with Mrs. Bush, who this week came out for marriage equality. Instead the Focus on the Family spokesperson has to put on the imperious costume that has both emboldened and weakened the anti-gay social conservatives over the past few decades, so that she can accuse the former first lady (and LGBT activists) of being unable to grasp the oh-so-complicated concept that is civil marriage. Here's a snip:

In a nutshell, she supports the redefinition of marriage, and believes it’s something Americans could come to “accept.” Her reasoning seems to be that because adults of the same sex are capable of loving relationship, that marriage should be redefined to include them. This is the common misconception—that marriage is about adults and that fairness for them trumps the needs and rights of anyone else—specifically children.

Mrs. Bush didn’t mention anything about sex or children, and neither do the proponents of same-sex marriage. But this is the whole point of marriage.

If you left children out of the equation, redefining marriage to suit all kinds of adult choices might make sense. But the reality is that children are the heart and soul of the equation. Ask yourself, would we even have marriage if children weren’t conceived heterosexually?
Mrs. Bush, Larry King and SSM [FOtF's Drive Thru]

How patronizing can you get? Here we are talking about a civil system that all Americans collectively support/embolden/share by virtue of their citizenship. A system that is independent from the concept of reproduction, which is an obvious non-requirement for all couples, LGBT or S. One that is independent from the ancillary (even if oft-utilized) notion of religious ceremony, something that is a certifiable choice for all couples (unlike the civil licensing process, which is a requirement for any couple who wants to be married in the eyes of the law). A marriage institution that's defined by the reality of its participants and observers, not the convenient notions of one certain kind of believer.

And here we have Ms. Bush, a person who's intimately familiar with the situation as the spouse of a man who will forever have his legacy shaped by public support for using the federal constitution as weapon against the fair and equal treatment of certain kinds of people. The former FLOTUS is coming out for a system that equally accommodates the loving gay couples (many of whom have children) who desire this linkage between their love, their commitment, and their civil government. It's a case that pro-equality activists have more than ably demonstrated in various courts of law, and one that is reaching a critical mass in terms of both public opinion and legislative support. A case that the opposing "protect marriage" crowd cannot possibly wage a campaign against without using personal faith views, in large part, and using fear about schools and other independent areas to shore up the rest of the votes needed to make up a bare majority. A bare majority whose autocratic spirit (even if most of this in ingrained into well-meaning citizens by misinformation from groups like FOtF) flies in the face of the representative democracy/constitutional republic in which we the people are supposed to share.

Yet Jenny wipes away all of these realities by simplistically, condescendingly (and we would suggest, disingenuously) saying that those who disagree with her are admittedly religious-based views are working from a place of "misconception"? NO! That is not okay! Even a little bit! An element like child rearing, one that is (a) non prescribed, and (b) still chosen by many gay couples as well, could never be an acceptable reason for denying these crucial family protections to those homes that feature same-gender heads. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that. And as Laura Bush (among others) demonstrates: It doesn't take an atheist, Democrat, or "Northeastern liberal elite" either.

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