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12/29/2011

It's their straight-married-with-kids world, we just corrode within it

by Jeremy Hooper

During a recent appearance on the “Family Policy Matters" radio show, Institute for American Values personality Elizabeth Marquardt gave this as reason why North Carolina and all other states should ban same-sex marriage:

"The reason why the debate about defining marriage and the question of same sex marriage is important, I think, is when we redefine marriage and say it’s about two people, instead of about a man and a woman, what it does is it makes it harder for us to say as a society that children need their mother and father. You know, if we’ve redefined marriage to say it’s just two parents that matter but not necessarily a mom and dad … (and that’s why children of gay and lesbian persons are different for one thing), it makes it harder for us to say that other children need their mom and dad because they’re like, “well if we believe that some kids do fine with their two moms and don’t miss their dad, then why do we … believe that those folks should get married, especially if a baby is coming along, why do we think its important to have a mom and dad on the scene when we have accepted that some families do fine with two moms and two dads?” So the challenge I see in redefining marriage, and of course this is a debate happening all across America and I know it’s happening in North Carolina right now, is that it makes it harder for us to affirm the importance to most children of having their mom and dad. And I think that if we are unable to affirm that, we are going to see even more weakening in families more broadly…. So, in a strange way redefining marriage to try to let in gay and lesbian persons into the marriage system, I fear, could weaken marriage for other people…and [it’s] something to be very cautious about."
On Air With Elizabeth Marquardt [North Carolina Family Policy Council]

It's so offensive. And not only offensive to same-sex couples and their families, but also to the millions of people who are quite capable of stewarding their various family forms without being weakened by the cohabiting gays in their midst!

The thing that is so outrageous about these social conservatives is not that they personally exalt the married, male/female-headed family with 2.5 kids. That's fine, as far as it goes. The problem is how they push this pretend view that acts as if this paradigm is realistic and desirable to any and all, so long as he or she works hard enough. "Experts" like Marquardt act as if life's wide spectrum of reality is designed as a funnel that's always -- ALWAYS! ONLY! -- geared towards the free flow of heterosexual marriage and (unassisted) reproduction, and that anyone who doesn't "achieve" that flow got somehow stuck along the way. And rather than see all other realities -- single parents, divorced couples, happily unmarried duos, happily childless heterosexuals, gays in any arrangement, etc. -- for the norms that they are, these "values" voices instead frame them as "threats" to the one and only family form that they see as acceptable. Married heterosexuals with children are the only ones who can breathe easily within the constraining, fanciful, socially conservative Utopia. All of the rest of us are expected to walk on eggshells, tender an apology, or sit back and let them tells us how wrong, dangerous, and bankable we are/deserve to be.

My legal marriage is "weaken[ing] marriage for other people"? Well yes, that is very sad, if true. But not sad for me -- sad for anyone whose attractions, desires, and bonds are so damn fragile that only fairy tale visions of a forcibly limited America can save them!

Grow up, marriage debate.

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