2 years ago: ‘Pro-Family’ means anti-families

From this blog, Jan. 5, 2011: ‘Pro-Family’ means anti-families

This would be a purely semantic complaint if it were a purely semantic problem, but it’s not. It’s not simply a matter of these groups saying “pro-family” and speaking of “The Family” when what they really mean is that they are pro-families or that they are in favor of helping families. The track record of these organizations shows the opposite. When it comes to policies, regulations or legislative proposals that will actually, tangibly help actual, tangible families, these groups are almost always opposed to such proposals.

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  • Jeff Weskamp

    These organizations use the word “pro-family” as a code-word for “anti-gay.”  Any PR person or political speechwriter will tell you that people respond better to positive-sounding words than they do negative ones.  It’s the same reason anti-abortion groups refer to themselves as “pro-life.”

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Also, First !!!


    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose
    it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

    — Lewis Carroll.

  • Carstonio

    More than just anti-gay, the term pro-family means patriarchy in general and male headship in families. Homosexuality threatens the concepts of gender roles inherent in both, roles that are about preserving male power and privilege. 

  • Can I just say how homoerotic the phrase ‘male headship’ sounds, especially in an anti-gay context? 

  • AnonymousSam

    “Our thrust is to prick holes in the stiff front erected by the homosexual agenda…”

  • Wingedwyrm

     Pro-family is entirely appropriate.  After all, they’re all about “The Family”.  “The” indicates singularity, meaning only the one family.  They’re not pro-familIES, they’re pro-familY.

    They know the family they’re for.  That family can fend for itself because, not only is it heterosexual, male-headed, and well structured with everybody knowing their place, it’s also quite wealthy.

  • The Family would like to remind us all that’s why it’s called “Godfather”.

  • MartiansAteMyCat

    While we are all to familiar with how “pro-family” groups effectively traffic in fear–essentially, the fear of losing Christian privilege in the face of “radical homosexual activists” who are coming to brainwash your children–we forget that they also are very adept at appealing to pride, much like conspiracy theories do.

    The Family Research Council, NOM, AFA and a host of others all make the claim that the reason that marriage equality is expanding is because politicians and average Americans have been “brainwashed by Hollywood and the homosexual lobby.”  This is a very appealing message, because it basically tells the listener that:

    1.  Politicians are as stupid and easily bought as I think they are, and I’m so glad I’m a better person than the average politician;

    2.  We’re clearly not like those other families who let their kids watch whatever they want on TV.  No wonder they’re gay-supportive.  I’m glad our family is better than their families;

    3.  I’m glad our family is more committed to Jesus than those other Christians we know, because we don’t allow ourselves to be lied to by scientists and intellectuals who have rejected God.  That’s why our family reads only Christian magazines and “family-friendly” websites, because they would never lie to us.  

    “Of course we’ll give money to your organization each month.”

    That’s how it works.  If you can’t frighten them into giving, you flatter their ego.

  • Loki100

    And that’s exactly the case. These organizations are not really anti-gay because they are against gay people. They don’t really care about gay people. They’re anti-gay because gay people represent an incredibly blatant example of subversion of gender roles. If you actually get into a discussion about homosexuality with them, eventually it will all boil down to sexism. Homosexuality is the greatest threat to patriarchal privilege because homosexuality represents a complete rejection of every premise patriarchal privilege is based upon. 

  • pharoute

    We will not be blown off course or succumb to pressure to ease our stance!

  • Homosexuality is the greatest threat to patriarchal privilege because homosexuality represents a complete rejection of every premise
    patriarchal privilege is based upon. 

    If only that were so. In my experience it’s quite possible to be homosexual and still embrace many of the premises underlying patriarchal privilege.

  • Loki100

    True. I’ve met more than my fair share of extremely thick gay people. The Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud seem to think that if they distance themselves enough from the “bad” gays, then the people who reject them will turn around and embrace them (which is alternately sad/funny/infuriating). Those people at the Voters Values Summit will never see a distinction between the “bad” gays and GOProud no matter how many times GOProud attacks the people actively working for their rights.

    But just from a symbolic perspective a family with two men or two women, utterly destroys the idea that families should be structured with a man as the head and a woman as the caretaker. It says either men or women can fulfill any role, that Complementarianism is just not true.

  • Am I the only one who had a reaction along the lines of, “That was two years ago?  Damn.  The time does fly.”

  • Carstonio

    You’re talking about gays and lesbians themselves. Loki and I are talking about their sexuality, and that is what undermines the patriarchal premises, even though some gays and lesbians don’t recognize it.

  •  Fair enough. I am generally more concerned with opposition to actual gays and lesbians than I am with opposition to our sexuality in the abstract, so it’s an easy error for me to make. Thanks for the correction.

  • Dan Audy

    To be fair it is incredibly hard for many (most?) of us to reject the premises underlying patriarchal privilege since we lived our lives immersed in it.  People who have non-“traditional” sexual and family arrangements have a slightly easier path to rejecting them because on a fundamental level they CAN’T fit into that paradigm whereas it is easier for straight (and particularly married) people can find themselves slipping into those pervasive stereotypes more easily.

  •  I agree that it’s slightly easier for people who can’t comply perfectly with the “tradition” to reject the premises underlying it.

    Whether queer folk have an easier time doing this than straight women, or straight people of color, or straight people with chronic illnesses, or straight practitioners of non-mainstream religions, or other folks who don’t quite comply, I’m less sure.

  • Dan Audy

    Good point.  I’m projecting my experience as a predominantly straight white man who is married and has kids and (more relevantly) can see what is going on in my own head.  It is hard sometimes when you are just going through life and suddenly you catch yourself starting to say or do something that is pure patriarchal bullshit and have a WTF is going on in my brain moment as what you started to do on autopilot is inimical to your beliefs.  It seems like my queer friends have an easier time avoiding that trap but again I suppose I don’t experience their moments of WTF but just the outcomes.