Exposing the ‘Pro-Family’ Lie

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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  • slc1

    Actually, if the bigots had their way, children of gay parents would be taken away from them.

  • And then the parents would be stoned to death, slc1. If the bigots had their way.

  • raymoscow

    The roughly 10% of kids who are LGBT get treated like shit by the ‘pro family’ rightwingers, too — often by their families as well.

  • shrunk

    I wonder, though: Isn’t this moreso an argument against the idea of giving children differing rights and benefits based on the marital status of their parents in the first place?

  • atheist

    “Family values” really just means “punish the gays.”

    Very true, but not just the gayz. Anti-gay bigots are usually against wimmens too.

  • doublereed

    It seems useless to bring this up, because usually the moderates will say “Look, they should get the same rights, but don’t call it marriage” and then we get into civil unions. And fundamentalists obviously don’t think gays should be in the business of children at all.

    So who is this going to convince?

  • brucegee1962

    The way that Christians always go on and on about family values seems highly dishonest. The New Testament says practically nothing about any of the things that we associate with good family values. Instead we get Luke 18: 28-30: “And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers[b] or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” ” Ask them to show the NT passages that talk about being a good parent. And in the Old Testament, Proverbs gleefully recommends beating your kids with sticks.

  • Won’t somebody think of the children? Seriously, I mean. For fundies, all this “family” talk is more about their selfish desire to be insulated from seeing or hearing about stuff they don’t like. It’s never actually about what’s best for the children when they’re speaking, just lip service to salve their conscience.

  • If any religion could be consider anti-family, it would Christianity. Jesus told his followers to abandon their families, probably because, according to Luke, his own family thought he was nuts. Paul actively discouraged Christians from getting married or having children.

    In that context, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that these so-called pro-family Christians are determined to prevent others from having families.

  • jackiepaper

    My mom was fond of saying, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rocks the world.”

    The wingnuts want teh gayz to back away from that cradle. It’s about them wanting to maintain power and privilege in some domain. Children raised in families with openly gay members cannot be taught to hate and fear homosexuals. They’ll know better. The Right can’t have that.

  • Y’know what. Let them have their nuclear families. I’m happy with my family made up of a whole bunch of crazy people to whom I have no blood relations (many ♥ s to Pharyngulites!)

  • Draken

    Likewise, “pro-life” generally ignores the existent autonomous life of a woman in favour of a potential life-to-be. We should stop calling them prolife because they’re not.

  • jnorris

    Hate is not a family value!

  • marcus

    doublereed @6 “So who is this going to convince?”

    I think this type of writing is very good at persuading the so-called “moderates” that marriage equality is not just “civil unions” though it does incorporate it. That equality for all us is better for all of us and why. I used to be one who thought that we might have to settle for civil unions, not because I thought that same-sex partners shouldn’t be able to have marriage but because I thought it was more readily attainable. I was wrong and it was hearing from people like Ed and Katherine Lorraine and Josh that showed me how I was wrong.

  • hunter

    Try looking on any of their websites for programs that support families. The best you’ll do it a link to another organization.

  • Childermass

    Here is the proof that same-sex marriage is anti-family: