The Gay Marriage Wake-Up Call
The smoke is clearing after three weeks of gay political hysteria: first a dust-up involving Dolce and Gabbana followed by threats of a boycott that fizzled, then an outbreak of derangement over a religious law in Indiana. Take note of how differently these two incidents ended, because there is a lot of hidden intelligence to be gained by reading between the lines: the attack on Dolce and Gabbana seems to have failed, while the pushback against Indiana’s and Arkansas’s religious-freedom bills ended in victory for gay marriage enthusiasts.
Dolce and Gabbana barely backtracked on their comments about IVF, yet they survived Elton John’s fierce attacks. They showed that a key argument against gay marriage – i.e., gay marriage commoditizes children and makes it easier for oppressors to deny them a mother and father – could be made in stark, understandable terms, and the person making such a statement could, with a modicum of bravery, survive the backlash.
Is there any doubt as to why things progressed as they did? Once it was clear that neither Dolce nor Gabbana was going to relent, the media shifted all its fire to the obscure issue of an innocuous law about religious freedom in Indiana. When gay marriage monomaniacs are hatching plots, there are no unexplainable coincidences.
Why the sudden switch from artificial procreation to religious liberty?
After three years of intense immersion in family politics (and I mean intense), I have noticed that gay-marriage supporters always want to debate religious liberty. You can and should engage them on the topic of religious liberty, but be aware that they are usually thinking that you are playing into their hands when you do. We must know our enemy and what our enemy wants to sweep under the rug. And the “enemy” in this case is a hyper-analytical Hydra more often than not using reverse psychology and other ruses to trick us.
As nasty as you have seen the left acting toward Christian conservatives this last week, in truth, they are far more gracious toward people who object to marriage on religious grounds than they are toward people who object to marriage because they care about children’s rights.
I’ve been all around the world fighting for children’s rights to a mother and father, and I’ve seen the same tactics from Italy to Palo Alto. Children’s rights advocates bring up the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child, Margaret Atwood and Aldous Huxley, eugenics and Lebensraum, the problems of illegal adoption and child trafficking, or the history of black baby markets and slavery – and bam! The gay-marriage advocates find a Christian somewhere, anywhere, and start a fight about Leviticus.
Instead of “look, a squirrel!” it’s “look, a clipping from the Pentateuch!”
In England, I was on the BBC debating a gay Anglican. As I discussed the ugly history of eugenics and the growing movement of sperm donor-conceived children who have come out against the practice, the moderator literally said, “I’d like to talk about Leviticus. What are your thoughts on it?”
In April 2014, I delivered a speech at Stanford on the history of blended families, orphans, divorce, and adoption in TV and film. A gaggle of self-proclaimed queer activists sat in the front row photographing each of my Powerpoint slides with iPads in the hope of intimidating me. They had amassed signatures trying to block me from coming. After I delivered my speech, as it went to Q&A, none of the queer students could come up with any gotcha questions based on my presentation. So at the last minute, just as it was ending, one came to the mic and said, “Do you consider homosexuality a sin?”
Seven months later, as I delivered a speech at Catholic University, again, a group of lefty activists came ready to catch me. When I answered all their objections to my speech on adoption and the history of fathers/mothers in art and literature, they grew frustrated and started chanting, “racist, sexist, antigay, Christian fascist go away.”
I could go on and on. Ligbitists want to debate religious liberty rather than the effect of gay marriage on children. Why? If the debate centers on religious liberty, the terms of discussion reinforce the false notion that all objections to gay marriage are based on spiritual doctrine, particularly Christianity.
If objections to gay marriage are strictly a matter of Christian principle, what follows? There is “nothing to see here” on the topic of children, so people forget that angle of the debate. Many infer that there's no reason why gay couples shouldn’t have civil marriage, which is a secular right conferred by a government that isn’t a theocratic Christian state. Christians who object to gay marriage are forced to couch positions in their scriptures, which makes them easy to caricature as what Bill O’Reilly unfairly calls “Bible-thumpers.” Non-religious people check out of the whole discussion or deign to sympathize with believers as long as such sympathy does not endanger the passage of gay marriage.
Debates about religious liberty have fewer surprises for gay marriage supporters because they’ve choreographed the entire drama in their mind. In their view, there are fewer wild cards. Better yet, the resolutions from which to choose are all relativist accommodations of gay marriage: either you have “exceptions” that let a few Christian businesses defy gay marriage quietly and impotently, but in peace, or you make such harmless defiance something that comes at the cost of commercial or social sacrifice.
The Supreme Court is going to issue a historic decision on gay marriage this term. While most signs indicate that they will probably claim that same-sex marriage is a Fourteenth-Amendment right, there is still a viable possibility that they won’t.
One thing has changed. In 2013, when Justice Kennedy handed down U.S. v. Windsor, there was only one social-science study that presented strong evidence of harm done to children raised by same-sex couples. Mark Regnerus had been unjustly pilloried by nasty attackers in his own field of sociology and labeled “discredited” everywhere in the press. He was, at the time, a seeming outlier, and rather isolated. Justice Kennedy’s decision referred to children of same-sex couples being “humiliated” by the gay marriage bans – but he had, at that point, never read a testimonial from a child raised by gay parents who objected to gay marriage.
Today, this landscape has significantly changed. Doug Allen’s 2013 study and D. Paul Sullins’s spate of 2015 studies have shown even more definitive proof that children raised by same-sex couples experience serious disadvantages. Moreover, there is evidence from Allen and Sullins indicating that same-sex marriage worsens the situation for children – i.e., when a biological father and mother marry, their children tend to improve in their overall welfare, but when two gay guardians marry, the children they raise tend to decline in their overall welfare, and they worsen the longer they live with married gay guardians.
Moreover, six children of gay couples (COGs) including me submitted briefs in pairs (see here and here and here), for a total of three amicus curiae briefs explaining in clear and diverse terms why children suffer if they are raised by married gay couples. Among us are established scholars and researchers, a Fulbright and a Yale graduate, and directors and presidents of organizations dealing with hundreds of families affected by same-sex parenting. We have publications compiling what we found after connecting with over 100 dissident COGs. We have also done a lot of work with people who work in the areas of divorce, adoption, and third-party reproduction. It will be hard to derail us by bringing up those usual canards.
One would be naïve to assume that new social science and an articulate group of adult COGs will ensure that Justice Kennedy shall overturn U.S. v. Windsor and uphold the gay marriage bans.
But one would also be naïve to think gay marriage supporters aren’t more than a little nervous. I know they’ve been keeping a close eye on me and the other five friends of the court. If you throw Allen and Sullins into the sauce, as well as the six of us, and be mindful that Dolce and Gabbana shocked the world just six weeks before oral arguments, one thing becomes clear: they needed to change the topic from gay parenting. They needed to talk about religious liberty, and fast.
Why a lot of conservatives walked into the trap
Lots of people are expressing frustration with Governor Mike Pence, and I feel their irritation. Conservatives are wondering why there are so many people surrendering on our side when the issue is gay marriage.
I am not going to name any names, because I think we need to keep working on our alliances, and no wayward conservative is beyond salvaging. But here is the brutal truth of the matter: the gay marriage movement is very attractive to corporate America, the free market, big business, and libertarians. Gay adoption and artificial reproduction alone will be huge economic engines, generating billions of dollars. Think of how much money and patenting will come around as companies like Facebook freeze their female employees’ eggs and get into genetic engineering – all things that have a direct relationship with the legal advancement of gay marriage.
In a nutshell, conservatives have to choose between capitalism and opposing gay marriage. It is not shocking that most choose capitalism, given the historical links between our movement and the free market.
While the vast majority of conservative Americans oppose gay marriage, the vast majority of conservative leaders have a vested interest in making sure gay marriage is legalized nationally. It is not the case that the latter group all support gay marriage in any intellectual sense, but they break down into diverse subgroups, all of whom share the same goal of making sure gay marriage becomes legal.
First, you have clueless conservatives who actually think gay marriage is about consenting adults loving each other, progress, and equality. These are rightists who read only the conservative news outlets that ban any editorials from dissident COGs, so they have never really seen the hard evidence that in fact gay marriage will harm children. They mostly don’t even think children are part of the issue at all.
Then you have scared conservatives who know that gay marriage is going to harm children but who do not want to face the blowback that is sure to follow a public stance against it. These folks will avoid discussing the topic. They must avoid being seen with people who have strong arguments against gay marriage – especially anyone who brings up the effects on children.
You also have compromised conservatives, who are being blackmailed or threatened by pro-gay people close to them, but behind the scenes. This is a much larger group than you know. These are people who mostly oppose gay marriage in principle and may even have a public identity as an opponent of gay marriage. I know of some cases where they are well-known television personalities, lawyers in charge of defending traditional marriage in court, or leaders of pro-family organizations. Even though they may technically be on “our” side, they have been bought off and are taking orders from bribers who tell them which arguments (the ones with a chance of winning) are off limits. They will go and defend male-female marriage in the public square, but mysteriously be tongue-tied after a career of sterling oratory. Such false Jeremiahs are consciously siphoning the energy and funding of anti-gay-marriage viewers toward dead ends that their controllers know will end in gays getting marriage and children anyway. This group of conservatives is actually the most dangerous, largely because you often discover their compromised status when it’s too late.
There is therefore an asymmetry. On one side are the conservative masses who oppose gay marriage. On the other is the conservative elite, which wants gay marriage legalized but also wants to avoid alienating the hordes of right-wing Americans who fund, patronize, and vote for them. Elite conservatives may slither, crumble, surrender, prevaricate, stutter, smile, or cave, but the goal of all such stalling tactics is the same: come Hell or high water, make sure the gay marriage debate ends with a victory for gay marriage, so the cogs of business as usual keep turning.
What to do now?
If you have gotten this far, you probably oppose gay marriage. You may do so strictly for religious reasons. You may disagree with me about the effect of gay marriage on children. Cool – no problem. Here’s the deal: if gay marriage passes, you will lose. You will lose your freedoms. You will lose your voice. You will lose the conservative movement that you hold dear for any number of reasons not related to gay marriage. All the truces and compromises that are offered to sweeten gay marriage as a deal will be swiftly and mercilessly broken once it is the law of the land. Your churches will be watched and subverted. You will risk your job by speaking your mind on e-mail, on Facebook, or even over dinner talking to your own children.
If you are hoping to carve out some religious liberty provision in a post-gay marriage America, you are going to be too late.
You gain nothing by negotiating some special exception for yourself after gay marriage passes.
You must do everything you can to stop gay marriage itself. If you cannot name the reasons for opposing gay marriage in clear, fearless terms that apply to people of faith and non-believers equally, you will lose your faith. The Bible tells us to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. Don't forget the serpents in the mix.
Right now, all that stands between the world we know and the dystopian world where you lose everything is the Supreme Court case. The attorneys who have sole authority to represent traditional marriage for Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee may be good men, or not. I do not know; I have no inside information. Common sense tells me that their governors and their political bundlers are going to place enormous pressure on them to lose to the pro-gay marriage side, but as gracefully as possible. They cannot openly state that they do not want to argue the case. They may feel it is in their best interest to put on a show of defending male-female marriage, throwing out purposefully toothless arguments so that the gay marriage side wins, the world moves on, and they do not have to worry about suffering long-term blowback as the people who actually fought for marriage.
We have only three weeks. We have to make sure that these attorneys general do not succumb to the temptation. Write to them. Let them know you will be watching the arguments they bring up and minding whether or not they are really presenting all the evidence against gay marriage, particularly where it deals with children and the three briefs submitted by dissident COGs.
Maybe we don't have a chance, and all is doomed. But maybe, just maybe, there's a glimmer of hope. Either way, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror the morning after SCOTUS announces its decision. If we know in our hearts we gave up too soon, we have only ourselves to blame.
Robert Oscar Lopez is the lead editor of Jephthah's Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family 'Equality.'