Friday, March 11, 2011

Debunking FCR’s “Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex Marriage”

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Family Research Council Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg
Peter Sprigg

The intrinsically bigoted religious-Right group Family Research Council has released a pamphlet purporting to describe the “Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ [PDF, 1.50 MB]” (original scare quotes). I thought it would be fun – yes, this is my idea of idle amusement* – to take a look at this latest collection of nonsense and see it had anything new at all to offer us in terms of rational reasons why gays and lesbians shouldn’t be allowed to marry those they love.

In the end, though, it’s all as silly and predictable as one would expect from anything authored by the FRC’s Peter Sprigg, known to argue that homosexuality should be outlawed and even that homosexuals should be deported (amongst other things). Now, I have limited patience and an even more prohibitive tolerance for tedious bullshit, so I’ll only glance at the claims rather than whatever endlessly-debunked lies, falsehoods and smears he includes to support his arguments.

1) Taxpayers, consumers, and businesses would be forced to subsidize homosexual relationships.

If that sounds rather bizarre at first glance, Sprigg’s argument is that those greedy homos want to marry so that they’ll then be able to enjoy the legal rights and protections shared by heterosexually married folks, such as Social Security benefits for spouses who lose a partner to death and the likes. So, yes, Sprigg is actually kvetching that allowing gays to marry will give them the right to seek financial aid for themselves and/or their family should their loved one die. Because that’s wrong of them. They don’t deserve that financial support. ’Cause they’re gay. Yeah.

Pleasant start, isn’t it?

2) Schools would teach that homosexual relationships are identical to heterosexual ones.

Because they are most definitely not both socio-legal (sometimes religious) unions between loving partners who commit to spending the rest of their lives together (or, at least, a decent part of it). Because one of them is between two people who have the same kind of junk between their legs, so, of course, that makes them different. As in, inferior. And therefore, unfit for classroom exposure. Think of teh children!

3) Freedom of conscience and religious liberty would be threatened.

Bullshit, plain and simple. No-one’s rights or freedom, religious or otherwise, would be in any way affected, limited or otherwise deteriorated by allowing LGBT folks to marry. Ministers can still preach hellfire to gays and retain every right to refuse to marry LGBT couples (not that many gays and lesbians will be calling upon them to marry them, anyway). And general people can still be as bigoted as they like (without committing any crimes or discrimination, obviously) without fear of some sort of Gay Police descending upon them to sentence them to a few months in sensitivity rehab.

(Hmmm … that could work.)

4) Fewer people would marry.

This one is just outright weird. Sprigg claims that because some surveys indicate that relatively few same-sex couples in any given state or country opt to marry in the few years since gay marriage has become legalized in that area, therefore, these non-marrying cohabiting gays and lesbians will actually set a bad example for heterosexual couples, who will then also neglect to marry.


Never mind the fact that his methods of parsing these statistics sound fishy at best (though I’ll leave it to actual statisticians to fisk this), or that it’s only natural that so few same-sex couples have gotten married so far if gay marriage has only been decriminalized in their areas for a few months or years, or that there’s absolutely zero logical reason (if it’s not into the negatives) to believe that straight couples would marry less because gays (hypothetically) would, or the fact that even if same-sex couples happened to wed less often than heterosexual couples, that doesn’t change the fact that they deserve the fucking right to wed them, even if they don’t do it as often as their straight counterparts. I think the real point to be made, here, is that if Sprigg is afraid that heterosexual couples will stop marrying just because same-sex couples are taking it slower, then that speaks far more about him and his own belief in the supposedly sacred “institution of marriage” than it does about LGBT folks.

5) Fewer people would remain monogamous and sexually faithful.

In short: Gays are sluts, and all their cheating an’ fornicating will again influence those poor, helpless heterosexuals into doing the same. Just you wait – I guarantee you we’ll be seeing the ol’ “polygamy!” card played before the end.

My, between thinking they’d stop marrying if gays don’t wed as often and now claiming they’ll start cheating on their spouses to follow the gay example, Sprigg really doesn’t think much of straight people’s commitment, does he? Not to mention that he apparently believes they’re so easily corrupted by those dang gays – does he think that straight people are subordinate to LGBT folks?

6) Fewer people would remain married for a lifetime.

Disregarding the fact that nearly half of American marriages already end in divorce even with about 95% of all married couples being heterosexual, this is yet another illogical and inane argument to make, seeing as even if, statistically, same-sex couples did dissolve after less time spent together on average (and, again, I’d really like for an actual expert to examine these numbers), this would again not serve as a rational argument to use in support of preventing gays and lesbians from wedding. If matrimonial timespans were a logical metric to use in deciding who gets to marry or not, then we should also forbid serial divorcees like Rush Limbaugh and Newt “cheated-on-two-sick-wives-in-a-row” Gingrich from tying the knot ever again, along with the millions of other repeat adulterers out there. To only apply this sort of thinking to gay couples and blanket-ban them from marrying at all is just hypocritical.

Also, Sprigg again asserts that this supposed trend of gays staying together for fewer years will negatively impact straight couples and their own marriages. Gee, that matrimony stuff’s starting to sound incredibly vapid and weak, if just looking over the hedge at what others are doing is liable to drive you to break your own vows.

7) Fewer children would be raised by a married mother and father.

Yeah, ’cause that’s such a bad thing. Newsflash, Pete: About 26% of all children under 21 in the United States are already being raised by single parents. In other words, over a quarter of American kids don’t have a “married mother and father”. And I don’t remember hearing about how all those non-mother-and-father-raised are turning out to be any worse in general than those raised by a set of heteronormative parents. Because, y’know, they’re not.

But, of course, it’s not the lack of child-rearing by both a mother and a father that Sprigg’s all upset over, or even about kids being raised by a single parent. It’s about kids being raised by gay parents, especially gay-married ones. Because being raised by a loving man and woman is A-okay, but replace one of ’em with an equally loving and nurturing partner of the same gender as the other, and oh, boy! That’s just messed up! Kids are gonna get screwed up for sure!


8) More children would grow up fatherless.

Um – same as above? Male role models are important in kids’ lives, but children raised by single mothers or lesbian couples aren’t faring any worse than those raised by both a father and a mother (or two fathers).

9) Birth rates would fall.

Again, more nonsense. Birth rates have been declining at a steady rate for a while, now, but that’s only thanks to contraception, not to homosexual influence. Also, we already have same-sex couples. And many of them are already having children (adoption? Artificial insemination? Ring any bells?). And they’re not bringing down average birth rates across the nation. What makes Sprigg think that allowing them to marry would –?

No, wait, thinking rationally again. Gay marriage = bad. Gays raising kids = badder. Get it.

And finally, fulfilling that guarantee …

10) Demands for legalization of polygamy would grow.

First, they wanted more spouses. Next, they’ll want kids. And then, they’ll go after animals. Where will the poly-pedo-bestial-gamy stop?!

Sprigg, you detestable little weasel, LGBT folks don’t want to marry more than one person. Just as with straight couples, the great majority of them are quite happy having one steady partner at a time, and that’s exactly what they’re asking the right to express through marriage – their love for that one special person in their hearts. Sure, some like open relationships, and others might even want more than one spouse. But then, so do a number of straight folks. And I don’t hear you & co. railing so exhaustively against them.

(via Right Wing Watch)

* I keep telling people I’m weird. They never believe me at first.