By Jennifer Thieme
ClashDaily Guest Contributor
Gay “marriage” hijacks the definition of mother and father and turns these words into the gender neutral “parent” in family law. You may recall that in 2011 the Department of State tried to change children’s passport applications from “mother” and “father” to “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” in a bow to LGBT pressure. Thankfully, conservative outcry was able to stop this from happening.
Using the generic “parent” on government documents makes parenthood subjective, assigned by the government rather than a pre-existing biological reality, for all families in society including yours. Doug Farrow wrote extensively about this in his book Nation of Bastards, which discusses this issue from the Canadian perspective, where they redefined marriage in 2005 to accommodate gay couples. Given that Canada removed terms like “natural parent” and replaced them with “legal parent,” his title makes perfect sense. A gender neutral reading of who counts as a parent is a dangerous use of government power because it replaces the natural bond with a legal, artificial one for the entire society. I’ve described some stories of people it’s harming here in states where such changes have already been made.
A lot of good people still don’t know that these terms must be changed or what it means, which is why I’m writing about it over and over. But I am starting to wonder about some leftist/liberal gay activists. I’m wondering what they know about this particular aspect of the gay “marriage” issue, and whether or not they care. Let’s examine two recent quotes from two well known gay activists.
The first is from Gary Gates, who is a public policy scholar at the UCLA School of Law. He is also a gay man, with a gay partner. He debated Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse on August 29, 2012, and here is a small excerpt of what he said:
If we believe that there is a specific governmental interest in making sure that kids have access to their biological parents, if we say that there is some legitimate government purpose, there are plenty of ways for the government to do that without restricting marriage to only different sex couples. You don’t have to funnel that all through marriage – it’s preposterous! Marriage has a meaning in our society that goes far beyond children. Marriage is the way that our society understands that a couple made a commitment to each other that is arguably permanent but certainly it offers a dignity, social acceptance … for that relationship. That is what marriage does. If the government and the public believes that they need to regulate how children have access to their parents, fine, regulate it. It’s ridiculous to assume it should all be funneled through this institution of marriage, which has many many more public meanings than the relationship of children to their parents.
Mr. Gates prefaces his comments about children with an if … evidently, he believes attaching children to their parents may or may not be a legitimate function of government. Furthermore, assigning dignity to relationships is a completely necessary function of government far surpassing the needs of children.
Which of these do you think is the more important function of marriage as a public policy?
– Attaching children to their parents
– Assigning dignity to relationships
These functions will not coexist in the law – one will drive out the other. What happened in Canada may very well happen here. In other words, recognizing the biological attachment of children to their parents and having gender neutral language in the law did not coexist in Canada and they most likely will not coexist here.
Next is Dr. John Corvino, professor of philosophy at Wayne State University. On Sept. 18, 2012 he said in a YouTube video: “Preventing same sex marriage doesn’t mean that more children get mothers and fathers.”
I agree. But same sex “marriage” may mean fewer children get mothers and fathers. It may mean no child gets a mother and a father – they all get the gender neutral “parent.”
I have no idea how Dr. Corvino would respond to my assertion here, but I bet some people will respond like this:
“’Parent’ is just a legal word and still means the same thing. It won’t impact actual relationships.”
To which I say two things:
1) You do not believe it means the same thing. That’s why you want it changed – because you believe it means something different. Answer me this: since it means the same thing to you, then let’s not change it. It’s the same, right? If it’s the same then it doesn’t need to be changed.
2) “Mother” and “father” do mean something specific under the law, something that has served our society incredibly well for a long time. These terms have served married biological parents, unmarried biological parents, straight biological parents, and gay biological parents, too. These terms ensure that this biological connection will always be privileged. “Parent” does not.
Here are the questions we must ask and answer as a society:
– Do children have some other way to be connected to their biological parents besides having the words “mother” and “father” in the law? If so, what is it?
– Are we willing to accept the risk of removing the recognition of natural bonds of children to their parents, in favor of the social experiment called gay “marriage” like Canada has done? Notice that there is no plan or any discussion about how to handle the consequences of these changes.
– Is it the government’s duty to assign dignity to relationships?
There is nothing wrong with traditional (gendered) marriage, and adoption does not undermine anything I’ve said here. Traditional marriage protects the legitimate needs of the most helpless members of our society.
Image: “Orphans” by Thomas Benjamin Kennington; public domain
Jennifer Thieme is the Director of Finance & Advancement for the Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund. The Ruth Institute educates people as to why marriage must be defined as between one man, one woman, for life, for a truly free society to survive. Stay updated on the marriage issue by subscribing to the Ruth Institute newsletter, and instantly receive a free download, “Improve Your Marriage, Even If Your Spouse Doesn’t Change a Bit!” Signup here: www.RuthNewsletter.org