Things HSLDA Opposes: Marriage Equality

Things HSLDA Opposes: Marriage Equality January 21, 2015

View series intro here, and all posts here.

HSLDA opposes marriage equality. This is perhaps the oddest entry of my “Things HSLDA Opposes” so far. By and large, we have been able to link HSLDA’s opposition to things that are not homeschool related—such as required eye examinations for public school students—to their position on parental rights. This one seems more removed. And yet.

HSLDA helpfully explains this position in a page titled Why HSLDA Is Fighting Same-Sex Marriage. Let’s take a look!

Parental rights are a recognized constitutional right despite the fact that they are not explicitly stated in the Constitution. It is a fair question to ask: if they are implied rights rather than explicit rights, what is the source of parental rights?

Here is what the Supreme Court said in 2000 in the case of Troxel v. Granville:

“Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children. Our cases have consistently followed that course.”

Thus, you can see that parental rights are based on “western civilization concepts of the family.”

When those concepts are no longer the legal definition of the family in this nation, then the foundation upon which parental rights are based is completely removed.

In a world which widely embraces the notions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is fanciful to believe that any other theory will arise to replace the traditions of western civilization as a basis for parental rights.

Therefore, HSLDA will continue to fight against same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage attacks the traditions of the family in western civilization. This is an attack on parental rights. This is a battle the homeschooling movement cannot afford to lose.

So, let’s see. Basically, the argument goes like this: Same-sex marriage will mean the collapse of traditional Western concept of the family, which is the foundation of parental rights. Without the traditional western concept of the family, the U.S. will join the rest of the world in espousing the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which will mean the end of parental rights.

Never mind that the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child says things like this:

States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents . . . to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention.

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child does not end parental rights. It simply states that children have rights—such as the right to not be abused, or the right to have adequate food—and that both parents and the state should strive to meet those rights.

That that is really beside the point. HSLDA’s connection between same-sex marriage and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child is itself a huge leap. I think it much more likely that the legal system will simply apply current family law to same-sex marriages than that the existing foundations of family law will collapse. I suppose you could argue that further disconnecting child rearing from biology represents a threat to traditional understandings of parental rights, but in that case, shouldn’t HSLDA oppose adoption as a threat as well? Or remarriage?

And of course, it’s worth mentioning that HSLDA makes another leap as well. HSLDA defends parental rights and opposes the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in large part because they argue that homeschooling is based on parental rights, and that the Convention is a threat to both parental rights and homeschooling. But this isn’t necessarily true. HSLDA opposes the Convention’s “best interests of the child” standard, arguing that it conflicts with parental rights (and, presumably, with homeschooling), but this presumes that homeschooling will be found to not be in children’s best interests.

Wouldn’t it be better to focus on showing that homeschooling can be in children’s best interests? Why instead focus on fighting the best interests standard itself?

I’m not going to go through every piece of legislation HSLDA has supported or opposed in its fight against marriage equality, except to say that it is many, and that in many cases HSLDA has urged its members to make calls. Here’s an example:

May 8, 2007

Illinois: Your Calls Needed to Protect Traditional Marriage

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Last week we told you about H.B. 1826, the bill that would change 
traditional family values in Illinois by creating civil unions. The 
bill passed the House Human Services Committee, and was supposed to 
receive a vote by the full House before May 3, 2007. However, this 
bill has had its action deadline date extended until May 10, 2007.

Please, keep calling your state representative!


Call your state representative and give this message:

“Please oppose legislation that recognizes same-sex marriage. Please 
vote against House Bill 1826, which is an attack on traditional 
marriage; it erodes the family and endangers parental rights.”

Go to to 
find contact information on your state representative.

But there are more, too. North Carolina. Pennsylvania. New Mexico. Virginia. Connecticut. Delaware. Illinois. Iowa. Maryland. Michigan. Rhode Island. Hawaii.

It’s interesting how HSLDA has managed to turn marriage equality into a threat to homeschooling, isn’t it? The line they draw from here to there is shaky at best and filled with unsupported leaps. Still, I have to admit that I am in fact a little bit impressed. I would expect HSLDA’s conservative Christian leadership to oppose marriage equality. But tying the legality of homeschooling to opposition to same-sex marriage? That takes some imaginative thinking right there!

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