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Hey Bruce: We care about kids because we do, not because saying it works well in ad campaigns!

by Jeremy Hooper

A pro-equality person (and G-A-Y reader) recently left the following comment on Focus on the Family's Drive Thru blog:

I think DOMA sets a dangerous precedent regarding the 14th Amendment and the Full Faith and Credit Clause. What happens to the child of a married same-sex couple should that couple move from Massachusetts to Texas? Our Constitution calls for states to honor the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings” of other states for precisely this reason.

So this fair-minded writer is not speaking in the abstract. He's referencing an actual situation that could happen to an actual living, breathing child. Any child of same-sex parents who moves from a marriage equality state to a less secure one is in danger of this sort of thing. And even many gay people who don;t have families of their own have concerns about these sorts of situations, as they bring up crucial concerns regarding the equal treatment of LGBT people in this supposedly fair nation.

Bruce HausknechtBut how did Focus on the Family's Bruce Hausknecht respond to this ripped-from-reality scenario? Well, by acting as if this is all nothing more than a strategic talking point, natch:

Using children as a foil for the advancement of gay “marriage” is nothing new. In traditional-marriage states, we’ve seen legislation proposed and lawsuits brought by gay advocacy legal organizations over same-sex adoption, or demands for birth certificates with same-sex “couples” listed as “parent A” and “parent B”, custody and support disputes, etc. The public face on these efforts is that “it’s about the children” because if it was admitted by anyone that it’s really just incremental steps to achieve same-sex “marriage” in any given state, it would be rejected out of hand. So it’s no surprise to see someone (like our reader) attempt to argue that DOMA is anti-child.

But DOMA and the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution don’t say that states have to ignore the needs of children. DOMA simply allows states to resist being coerced into recognizing out-of-state marriages that would not be legal if performed within the state. And the FF&C clause has long been interpreted by the Supreme Court as allowing states with strong public policy reasons to reject conflicting “public acts, records and judicial proceedings” of other states.

In other words, we can protect traditional marriage AND protect kids. DOMA doesn’t force any state to choose between them.
Using Children to Advance Gay Marriage[FOF blog]

It's an exchange that reveals oh so much about our organized opposition. Because you see what Mr. Hausknecht does here? Rather than really address the merits of this sort of case, he acts as if the person who posed the question is simply trying to make DOMA seem "anti-child." Rather than address the specific needs of children of married gay parents, he talks about whether or not DOMA explicitly says "that states have to ignore the needs of children" (which duh, of course it doesn't!). And rather than address the real world implications of not addressing another state's legal marriage, he positions the entire thing around the supposed implications of not protecting "traditional marriage."

So basically, this "pro-family" spokesperson has done what his movement always does: Take a genuine matter of public concern and turn it into a convoluted, code word-laden bit of nonsense that pulls the conversation from reality and moves it into the contrived. Since their every last breath on marriage equality is born out of strategy, they immediately accuse us, the ones who are so deeply affected by marriage bias, of being the ones who are exploiting in order to further our "agenda." Do they do so because they are so ensconced within their own world that they can't see another way, or because they are just so willfully deceptive? Well that's up for debate (and probably case-by-case). But for those of us who are in this fight because we genuinely want to protect actual human beings rather than fear-mongery false notions, it is offensive to be told that our drive to protect our lives, loves, families, and protection thereof is born out of some sort of tactic rather than our own humanistic desire to exist in peace. It's also just plain bizarre.


*NOTE: And of course FOF didn't actually post the comment to the story on which it was left. That would be too easy and allow others to engage in the sort of back-and-forth that comments sections are intended to foster. Instead, they held the comment for their own post.

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Your thoughts

The dodge is blatantly obvious if you're looking for it, but I imagine a lot of his readership will breeze right it past it without ever thinking about the real issue. The anti-gay side seems to be ensnared in the collective delusion that gay people don't ever raise children, and that stopping gay marriage will somehow keep things that way.

Posted by: gonovelgo | Sep 21, 2009 5:16:44 PM

In recent news, comments have been turned off for this entry. I guess Bruce got sick of me asking him every single day to answer my question. I'm currently looking for his e-mail address.

Posted by: Brian | Oct 6, 2009 8:20:49 PM

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