One of my biggest pet peeves is how the religious right has coopted the word “family” by relentlessly using it to describe anti-gay bigotry. “Family values” really just means “punish the gays.” Amy Davidson shows why being against same-sex marriage is actually anti-family:
The essence of the debate—and certainly its emotional heart—lies with words like family and respect, honor and honesty, and, above all, love. But those words, and even more so others—security, protection, sickness and health, home and career—are not divorced from finances. This is particularly true when any one of them is used in the same sentence as “children.” Another number to add to the equation: eleven hundred and thirty-eight, which is the number of federal laws that rely on a definition of marriage. Many more of them are about money, in one way or the other, than about love. Nor is the concern simply that of the family involved: companies have an interest, too, as does the larger business world, in not having families live in what might be called an economic closet…
If one believes that protecting children is a priority, then so is same-sex marriage. A third of lesbian couples and a fifth of gay couples who live together already have children, according to the Census, and a lack of access to marriage takes both social and economic security away from them. A widow or widower with a minor child whose income falls below a certain level can get social-security benefits based on the deceased spouse’s earnings—but not if the spouse is of the same sex. The same is true of tax laws, like the one affecting Windsor, that might cost families their homes.
There are an estimated 600,000 families made up of gay parents with children. For all of the same reasons that marriage provides greater legal and financial security to families headed by straight parents, marriage is also a good thing for the children of gay parents. But the bigots don’t care about that because they aren’t really “pro-family” they’re only “pro-families that look like mine.”
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