By Alexandra Matish
A friend sent me an e-mail the other day of a speech Gov. Mitt Romney did recently for a Family Research Council event. In it he, like most G.O.P. right-wing fundamentalist Republicans running for President in 2008, laments the fact that religious freedom is being curtailed by secularists and activist judges. He then jumps onto the “Marriage is for the Kids” bandwagon, stating that, “Marriage is primarily about the nurturing and development of children. A child’s development is enhanced by the nurturing of both genders. Every child deserves a mother and a father.”
This is not the first time I have seen this argument. This argument is, from a legal and logical perspective, fundamentally flawed. Marriage is not about the protection of children. If it were, divorce and solo parenting would be outlawed and infertile couples would not be allowed to marry.
And if marriage is about protecting the children, please tell me how an anti-gay marriage amendment protects my 14-month old daughter. Isn’t she entitled to the same legal protections as any other child who has two parents? The answer to that question, according to Governor Romney, and, for that matter, the Republicans running our state legislature, is no.
I am equally baffled by Gov. Romney’s “allowing gay marriage violates my right to practice my religion freely” argument. No one is forcing the Catholic Church to marry gay folks. That argument can be turned around on its head to insist that a gay marriage bans violate the Unitarian Universalist church’s right to marry gay couples.
We have, however, heard these arguments before. In 2004, during the Proposal 2 campaign, supporters of 2004-02 insisted that defending traditional marriage meant protecting our children and our religious freedom. What is new and rather interesting is that the conservative Republicans are making this argument now in the murky light of their own emerging hypocrisy. The Republican Party – the “leaders of moral and traditional values” – seems to be showing its true hypocritical face, with the
Foley page scandal and with country music star (and Dancing with the Celebrity’s contestant) Sara Evans’ lurid allegations (in her divorce pleadings) that her husband, a former Republican candidate for US Senate, is an adulterous letch. This is the party that is calling us immoral?
The congressman responsible for protecting children from porn on the internet is accused of having inappropriate sexual conversations with teenagers, via instant messenger. His fellow Republican congressmen are accused of not taking appropriate measures to protect these teenage pages from his sexual misbehavior. The former Republican candidate for senate in Oregon is accused by his country star wife of sleeping with the nanny and recording his many sexual escapades. Incidentally, former congressman (and law-abiding citizen) Tom DeLay urged his supporters to vote for Sara Evans because she was the DWTS contestant who not only supported the Republican party, but who also “represents good American values in the media.” Good thing he didn’t say anything about her husband.
So, now, when Republican presidential hopefuls wax eloquently about the dangers of gay marriage and how it can lead to an immoral, godless society, perhaps the American public will have a harder time believing the rhetoric.
We have seen the Republican Party use the “traditional values” smokescreens before to win elections. It may be that, now, the American people are beginning to see through the smoke and simply aren’t buying it.
Now can we please have a real discussion about Iraq, Iran and North Korea? How about terrorism and the loss of individual liberties, about health care and social security, about the environment and education? It appears that the only way this is going to happen is if the Grand Old Party is shown the Grand Old Door.