by R.J. Beaumia
Right-to-life groups are furious. Reports of chaos and stampeding in front of Planned Parenthood clinics are increasing as fleeing protesters scramble to be the first ones to shout homophobic epithets at pride festivals or outside gay bars. Doll manufacturers are panicking over loss of revenues as foes of Roe vs. Wade abandon their “bloody baby” collages in favor of “God Hates Fags” protest signs.
It seems that the horizon of expectation in the world of bigotry is advancing faster than its denizens knew. And once again, gays and lesbians are the catalyst for this trend. According to Gary Bauer, president of the anti-gay group American Values, we are “the new abortion.”
That’s the charming phrase Bauer uses to point out how the issue of gay marriage has galvanized and re-vitalized Christian hate groups across the country, as quoted in an article from June 19 issue of the New York Times Magazine.
For the most part, the piece doesn’t contribute any new information to the marriage debate or refine points everyone has heard before. For them it’s still about the “sanctity of marriage” and (my personal favorite) “the children.” For us it’s still about equality, civil rights, and full citizenship. However, I did learn one new thing from the article: Gay marriage leads to unmarried Swedish women getting knocked up!
According to the Times, religious conservatives have been circulating an article by Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and frequent contributor to the New Republic, to back up their claims that gay marriage hastens the disintegration of the family.
The Kurtz article, taken from a 2004 edition of The Weekly Standard, asserts that countries that have had legalized gay marriage for several years, particularly Scandinavian countries, also experienced skyrocketing rates of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and divorces during the same period.
Although Kurtz’s tract is replete with statistics and quotes Ð the work of academics, intellectuals, and other “experts” is cited throughout Ð the correlation of the dissolution of the family unit with the advent of gay marriage in this piece would make sense only to a very young, very dull child.
Kurtz writes that heterosexual marriage in Scandinavia is in a “deep decline” that can be linked to gay unions. But first he has to instill the proper level of hysteria by using Sweden as an example. “Scholars take the Swedish experience as a prototype for family developments that will, or could, spread throughout the world,” Kurtz says. Really? I guess that means that American families can also expect to receive universal healthcare coverage soon!
Kurtz goes on to say that the massive Swedish welfare state has replaced the family as provider by guaranteeing jobs and income to everyone (the horror! The shame!). The high taxes to pay for all this force women to enter the workplace (unlike here in America, where mothers can remain at home wiling away the hours playing bridge until the husband and kids come home). So, because all Swedish women must work, Kurtz says, they have to abandon their children and live their lives in an “enforced androgyny.”
Then, in a crescendo of predictable drivel culled from some of the most tired, half-baked social theories of the middle of the last century, he blames the remainder of Sweden’s problems on secularism, socialism, “radical” feminism, the universities, the political elite, and the media. So much for original thought.
Kurtz’s conclusion is nothing more than the basis for yet another unquantifiable, flimsy, crackpot theory. “Once in place, gay marriage symbolically ratified the separation of marriage and parenthood. And once established, gay marriage became one of several factors contributing to further increases in cohabitation and out-of-wedlock birthrates, as well as to early divorce,” he says. In an age when the phrase “axis of evil” helps define the philosophy of American foreign policy, I suppose that’s quite profound.
There’s one thing Kurtz forgot to blame on homosexuals, though, and that’s Sweden’s high standard of living. In fact, the United Nations’ 2004 Index of Human Development ranks the country second only to Norway for its exceptionally high quality of universal health care, educational attainment, housing, cultural facilities, levels of public safety, and tourist opportunities. The United States ranks eighth on the list.
Drawing from that information then, a la Kurtz, my theory is that if I start dating more and have lots of sex, maybe my grandmother can finally get that glaucoma operation. See you at the Eagle, guys!
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter that this sort of smear campaign is founded in utter nonsense, or that Kurtz’s assertions have been disproved since he wrote them. The damage is done because Americans are only interested in the sizzle and not the steak.
But the crisis in all this is that anti-gay laws are predicated, proposed, and enacted based on this kind of pseudo-knowledge.
When the government starts measuring my cranium with calipers to discern which part of Europe my ancestors came from, I’m moving to Sweden.