Robert George, the Princeton law professor and one of the legal bigwigs behind the fight against marriage equality, went on Phyllis Schlafly’s radio show and the two of them went on quite a ridiculous rant about gays, feminists and lots of other things that enrage right wing bigots.
George: What’s at stake is whether we’re going to retain that understanding of marriage with its link to procreation and children, its essential and direct link to procreation and children, or whether we are going to just ditch the idea of marriage altogether, replace it with a different way of organizing social relationships, transform what was known as marriage into mere sexual, romantic, domestic partnership, companionship, which the state would not have any interest in and then reassign the label marriage to that relationship. That would be a disaster for children, for communities, for society as a whole.
Uh, no. Not even close. Almost 20% of women are childless in this country, yet we allow them to get married even if they never plan to have children (and about 7% of all married women say they will never have children; that doesn’t count the infertile or those who just won’t have children but did not make a conscious decision not to do so). Do childless marriages sever marriage’s “direct link to procreation and children”? Of course not. And what about gay couples that have children? There are hundreds of thousands of them. Wouldn’t allowing them to get married actually reinforce the importance of marriage in raising children? Or don’t the children of gay people count?
Schlafly: In the normal course of human behavior with men and women around these helpless little creatures do appear who could not possibly take care of themselves, isn’t marriage the answer for dealing with that problem?
George: Here’s the way I see it Mrs. Schlafly, I’m borrowing here a thought from my friend Maggie Gallagher who is a great pro-marriage campaigner, when a child is born it’s a pretty good bet that there’s going to be a mother somewhere in the vicinity. Nature provides for that. The real question, one that every culture has to face is: will there be a father around who will help that woman to raise the child? To raise the child in a bond of commitment between mother and father and who will provide the distinctive contributions to child rearing that fathers provide.
Schlafly: That’s exactly why I think the cause of most of our problems are the feminists who don’t want the father around, they want to kick him out, they don’t want him to have any authority and they just don’t think men are necessary.
Which has exactly nothing to do with same-sex marriage. Fathers who are gay aren’t likely to marry or impregnate a woman anyway (and this is a good thing; in the past, when bigots like Schlafly forced gay people to stay in the closet, such marriages were common and often very destructive to all involved). Virtually every time a child is raised by a single mother because the father didn’t stick around, both parties were heterosexual — and no one, including George and Schlafly, wants to prevent them from marrying. In fact, they’re encouraging them to do so because it’s good for the children. But only if the child’s parents are straight; if they’re gay, their argument magically goes away.
Caller: I think that this homosexual thing is not to have equality of people but to bankrupt America by destroying the family.
Schlafly: Well it is true Professor George that when you get rid of the father and you break up the family, the welfare rolls increase and that contributes to destroying our system.
George: Yes it’s an invitation to big government, it makes big government inevitable for the two reasons I articulated: one, the provision of social welfare services; and two, the provision of security, both of which expand with the breakup of the family. Of course, big government eventually means financial catastrophe and bankruptcy because as Mrs. Thatcher famously said, ‘sooner or later you run out of other people’s money to spend,’ and that’s the condition that we find ourselves in and I again would broaden the blame here.
All of which, once again, has nothing to do with same-sex marriage. No one is even suggesting that we “get rid of the father” in any relationship. Jesus H. Christ, these people have nothing even remotely resembling a coherent argument to offer. Their argument collapses down to “straight people often fuck up their marriages, so we must prevent gay people from getting married.” I’ll take non sequiturs for $1000, Alex.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: