Jilted Wife Blames It All On The Gay

A woman named Janna Darnelle has an essay on the website of the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute (the ones who funded that terrible Mark Regnerus study) arguing that we must prevent gay people from getting married because it will lead gay men to leave their wives.

I represent one of those real life stories that are kept in the shadows. I have personally felt the pain and devastation wrought by the propaganda that destroys natural families.

The Divorce

In the fall of 2007, my husband of almost ten years told me that he was gay and that he wanted a divorce. In an instant, the world that I had known and loved—the life we had built together—was shattered.

I tried to convince him to stay, to stick it out and fight to save our marriage. But my voice, my desires, my needs—and those of our two young children—no longer mattered to him. We had become disposable, because he had embraced one tiny word that had become his entire identity. Being gay trumped commitment, vows, responsibility, faith, fatherhood, marriage, friendships, and community. All of this was thrown away for the sake of his new identity.

Try as I might to save our marriage, there was no stopping my husband. Our divorce was not settled in mediation or with lawyers. No, it went all the way to trial. My husband wanted primary custody of our children. His entire case can be summed up in one sentence: “I am gay, and I deserve my rights.” It worked: the judge gave him practically everything he wanted. At one point, he even told my husband, “If you had asked for more, I would have given it to you.”

I truly believe that judge was legislating from the bench, disregarding the facts of our particular case and simply using us—using our children— to help influence future cases. In our society, LGBT citizens are seen as marginalized victims who must be protected at all costs, even if it means stripping rights from others. By ignoring the injustice committed against me and my children, the judge seemed to think that he was correcting a larger injustice.

Let me start by pointing out that the phrase “legislating from the bench” is a nonsense phrase that means nothing more than “I don’t agree with this judge.” It’s especially laughable in the context of a custody dispute (and frankly, her story doesn’t pass the smell test in the first place). More importantly, she has it exactly backwards. Her ex-husband didn’t suddenly decided he was going to be gay because he could get married to a man now (in fact, she admits that wasn’t possible at the time at all). He was gay all along and almost certainly felt the need to marry a woman because he was trying to hide his identity.

Allowing gay people to get married makes this outcome far less likely, not more likely. The more we end bigotry and discrimination toward gay people, the less they’ll be forced to hide their sexuality by getting into sham marriages.

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  • alanb

    I’ve known people like this who were in desperately unhappy marriages that were not good for either spouse or for the kids. This husband may indeed have been as narcissistic as she is trying to paint him, but it seems more likely that she was in denial and engaging in magical thinking.

  • Chiroptera

    the judge gave him practically everything he wanted. At one point, he even told my husband, “If you had asked for more, I would have given it to you.”

    Pretty much a tip off that

    (1) the story isn’t true or

    (2) if it is, there is a lot that she’s leaving out.

  • sugarfrosted

    @0

    He was gay all along and almost certainly felt the need to marry a woman because he was trying to hide his identity.

    Or he thought he was thought he was straight or bi. My mom divorced my dad when she came out. She wasn’t trying to hide anything really; she knew she was attracted to women all along, but she didn’t think she was a lesbian as she was attracted to my dad at one point. Still the point stands that her (the quoted poster’s) reasoning is totally wrong.

  • sugarfrosted

    @3 correction: *or is/was bi

    I yell at Ed for generalizing and then use a phrase like “thought he was bi.”

  • tfkreference

    It’s nothing new. As far back as 1981 I knew someone whose dad left his mom for a man. Allowing people to be honest about their sexuality prevents a lot of turmoil.

  • hunter

    Something tells me that there’s a huge chunk of the story missing — the husband got custody? Because he’s gay? This fish smell many day dead.

  • garnetstar

    Yawn. Since 50% of heterosexual marriages end in divorce anyway, what does it matter why hers did? It was even odds that something would end it, which was widespread knowledge before she went into it. She bet on the red and the black came up, hardly unusual.

  • raven

    It is a common story but she has twisted it severely to shift the blame for the divorce to the judge and to The Gay.

    1. In times past and even today, there is huge social pressure for gays to hide in the closet. The hate of the fundie xians is immense and can and does lead to violence and murder.

    2. So gays end up marry heterosexuals to pass. It’s a great disguise. And the xian cults approve of this thinking marriage to an opposite sex partner cures the gay.

    3. It doesn’t. And after some time and maybe a few kids, the marriage falls apart. Living a lie isn’t for everyone.

  • raven

    the judge gave him practically everything he wanted. At one point, he even told my husband, “If you had asked for more, I would have given it to you.”

    Pretty much a tip off that

    (1) the story isn’t true or

    (2) if it is, there is a lot that she’s leaving out.

    True.

    Assuming this isn’t a complete lie, a sacred duty of fundies, she has left out her contribution to the divorce.

    Which might be the real reason and it has nothing to do with the husband being gay and the judge being pro-gay.

    I’ve seen men getting custody in divorce cases and owed child support. It was because the woman wasn’t as capable or willing to take care of the kids and/or the kids wanted to go with the father because the mother scared them.

  • sqlrob

    One thing that always bugs me about this argument is the asymmetry.

    If he left her for another woman, would she blame the straights?

  • monimonika

    On the Love, Joy, Feminism blog over at Patheos.com, there is a post about the article and in the comments section there is a comment supposedly by Janna’s ex-husband (going by the nym “LeifA”) explaining a little bit of his side of the story. Not sure if it’s real, and the comment may be hidden as “awaiting moderation”, but it should not be too hard to find.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2014/09/has-gay-marriage-harmed-this-writer-and-her-children.html#comment-1602442395

  • dhall

    Why the hell would she ever want to remain married to someone who didn’t want to remain married to her? As a straight person who was once very attracted to a gay person of the opposite sex, I can tell you that there’s no point in pursuing such a relationship once it’s understood that the other person is not attracted to you. The minute you find that out, accept reality and either settle for a simple friendship or walk away. Even being attracted to another straight person of the opposite sex who is not attracted to you is ultimately a waste of time and energy. There’s no point, and it doesn’t matter how much time, effort and emotion you have invested in the attempt. It doesn’t even matter if you were intimate or not. It’s not a durable, good relationship. Get over it and move on.

    And I agree with the other commenters: she’s leaving out a hell of a lot of information that would probably damage her one-sided tale of woe.

  • Michael Heath

    Consider the incredible selfishness of Janna Darnelle. Because she’s not getting what she wants, all gay people should be deprived of their equal rights. This is a prime example of privilege oblivious to reality and a near-complete inability to empathize with others. Where are such notions fostered?

  • Chiroptera

    As was stated in #5:

    Allow people to be gay without discrimination, allow gay people to marry, and we would have a lot, lot less marriages break up due to one partner coming out.

  • Larry

    #13

    Where are such notions fostered?

    There’s these buildings, see. They’re practically on every block in some towns. They usually have a steeple on their roofs.

    There.

  • raven

    Why the hell would she ever want to remain married to someone who didn’t want to remain married to her?

    That is a tough one.

    Forced involuntary marriage. Hmmm, I’ll guess. Slavery, prison, ownership of petlike humans. Wanting a humanoid dog to kick around. Regarding a partner as property.

  • laurentweppe

    Allowing gay people to get married makes this outcome far less likely, not more likely

    Yes, but it diminish the number of desperate gay people willing to end up in a potentially abusive loveless marriage in order to fly under the homophobes’ radar. Equality for gays mean less available fuckmeat for abusive straight people, ad as you can see in this article, this pisses them off.

  • slc1

    Re monimonika @ #11

    The comment is still hidden but can be viewed by clicking on show comment. Search on awaiting. It appears that the woman is lying in claiming that the ex-husband has sole custody as he claims that they have joint custody. As expected, she is not relaying the whole story but has cherry picked it. Just another piece of lying propaganda from the Witherspoon Institute.

  • zmidponk

    Maybe the judge was giving so much to her husband because her side of the case was focused on how disgusting the sexuality of her husband was rather than what was best for her kids – and the judge recognised this.

  • John Pieret

    From further on in the essay:

    Without the guidance of both their mother and their father, how can my children navigate their developing identities and sexuality?

    Do you seriously want a gay man guiding your childrens’ developing identities and sexuality? Or are you just saying that, but for gay marriage, your husband would be heterosexual? Would you care to give any evidence of that?

    I didn’t think so.

  • dragon

    I tried to convince him to stay, to stick it out and fight to save our marriage. But my voice, my desires, my needs—and those of our two young children—no longer mattered to him. We had become disposable, because he had embraced one tiny word that had become his entire identity. Being gay trumped commitment, vows, responsibility, faith, fatherhood, marriage, friendships, and community. All of this was thrown away for the sake of his new identity.

    Emphasis mine. This part of her statement is the complete opposite of her later indication that he wanted primary (not full) custody.

    I went through a marriage where my ex had been indoctrinated by religion against her true self. She deceived herself for years, and the rest of us. After years of an unfilling marriage where I was constantly wondering what I had done wrong, she accepted her homosexuality. We have both been far happier since then – with joint custody of the children.

    My experience convinces me that LGBTQ people should have full equality and the bigotry needs to end. The opposite lesson this woman got out of her similar experience. I am not saddled with hatred and a desire for revenge, as I read from her words.

  • Matt G

    In fact, there is an organization of women whose husbands left them because they were gay. This group supports SSM because, they reasoned, if my ex had been able to marry another man, he wouldn’t have gotten into a doomed marriage with me.