Thursday, October 17, 2013

FRC likens marriage equality to pernicious victimless crime

Rob Schwarzwalder - FRC
Rob Schwarzwalder
Family Research Council is out with a new "Issues Analysis," Complementarity in Marriage:What it is and Why it Matters. This bit of sophistry has been authored by Rob Schwarzwalder, a FRC Senior VP. Schwarzwalder's career has been primarily as a congressional staffer. He has an MA in theology from Western Seminary, an Evangelical Christian school.

Most of this so-called analysis simply recycles tired, frequently rebuked themes with some new twists. Mr. Schwarzwalder begins with the startling scientific conclusion that men and women are different.

Then, on "the nature of marriage," Schwarzwalder explains:
Organizations like Freedom to Marry, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Human Rights Campaign argue that “marriage equality” is a matter of justice: If two same-sex partners (1) love one another romantically and (2 ) volitionally choose to wed, there should be no legal impediments to their doing so. They assert that such impediments imply some combination of ignorance, religio us bigotry, or fear—i.e. “homo- phobia .”
Working backwards, it is an unrebuttable fact that opposition to marriage equality is promoted by religious organizations. I cannot find a secular group that is opposed to same-sex marriage. If "justice" means equal protection under law then Schwarzwalder is partially correct. Partially because there is far more to the argument than his simplistic proposition. For example, this includes benefits to society by having more cohabiting couples married; benefits to the state's economy and benefits to the children that gay couples are raising. Furthermore, businesses in states with marriage equality can attract talent from a larger pool of potential employees. Even the US armed services now have more potential candidates post Windsor. He continues:
But the claim of injustice is itself unjust. Because people want to do something that does not adversely affect those immediately around them (e.g., neighbors or co-workers) does not mean they should be allowed to do so. Society is organic and, thus, so is harm. Same-sex unions do not threaten healthy natural marriages but, rather, they undermine the meaning and nature of marriage and, thereby, the well- being of countless families.
So we don't threaten marriages but we threaten the definition of marriage? Ergo, we want to redefine marriage and that is bad. Rob doesn't explain what is problematic, how same-sex marriage creates the problem nor why it is a problem. The reason is obvious. Same-sex marriage only directly affects those thus wed. In effect Rob proves our point. I suppose that Schwarzwalder concedes that Maggie was wrong all along (and she was) and that same-sex marriage has no "consequences."
Let’s explore this further. We have laws against myriad “victimless” crimes (substance abuse, prostitution, etc.) not only because they harm individuals but because they degrade society. Consensual homosexual unions might cause no apparent distress to persons proximate to them, but they distort and diminish our shared, public understanding of marriage. Without that true understanding, our civilization will erode ever more quickly.
That's probably not the dumbest thing that Schwarzwalder has written this month or even this year. Nevertheless it is spectacularly stupid. Substance abuse and prostitution provide no benefits to society in contrast to same-sex marriage which has considerable demonstrable benefits. The notion that two gay people getting married causes us to negatively change our understanding of marriage is patently absurd. Preposterous! Even the use of the word "consensual" is gratuitous and offensive. Imagine describing a "consensual bride and groom" or "consensual husband and wife." The word is used to describe romantic sex in contrast to rape. Apparently, all that we are to Schwarzwalder is sex objects and his obvious bias is unambiguous.  The bigotry continues with:
For example, children raised by same-sex couples are sent an unmistakable message: gender differences are sufficiently unimportant that they should have no effect on male/female relationships. This perspective could well have detrimental influence on the child’s understanding of the opposite sex.
Except decades of research shows that children raised by same-sex couples don't have this misunderstanding. It is a neurosis that I suspect Rob is projecting. From there we get page after page of National Organization for Marriage boilerplate including the thoroughly unsupportable nonsense that real marriage is "procreative." Ultimately (and mercifully), he concludes:
There should be no doubt that many same-sex partners love each other. There should be no argument about the reality of same-sex attraction in the lives of some men and women. But nor should these affirmations move us to redefine marriage to mean something that, innately, it can never be. 
Marriage is a legal construct and right now 14 states, the District of Columbia and the United States of America recognize same-sex marriage without distinction from so-called "traditional" marriage. Eventually it will be all 50 states.

None of that requires Mr. Schwarzwalder's approval or consent.
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