Sunday, August 08, 2010

Harry Jackson doesn't like same-sex families

It has been fun to watch members of the religious right spin themselves into oblivion as they try to deal with the Prop 8 decision handed down last week.

But once in a while, one of them says something which makes you angry. For me, it is this piece by Rev. Harry Jackson which appeared on CNN's webpage.

Jackson, probably the most prominent African-American in religious right circles (probably because he is one of a scant few African-Americans in those circles) is claiming that gay marriage will damage families and society.

Jackson repeats the same anti-gay nonsense channeled by the religious right - and dismissed in the Prop 8 decision. But then he says this:

. . .if same-sex marriage becomes legally recognized across the country, our kids will be told that gay marriage is a civil rights issue and that those who oppose it are akin to the racists of history who opposed interracial marriage and supported slavery.

We can teach our children at home that marriage is between a man and a woman, but our children's public schools will teach them that marriage includes same-sex couples. Both would be "equal marriages" under the law.

What might this look like? In Massachusetts, where a ruling legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, kids in public schools are reading books depicting same-sex families. At a California charter school in 2008, kindergartners' parents objected when a school newsletter alerted them to "National Coming Out Day;" a parent told a local ABC-TV affiliate that a teacher at the school screened a film to kindergartners the previous year showing gay families.

While I disagree with Jackson's assessment that those who oppose gay marriage will be thought of as bigots, he makes a good case of why this could happen.

Usually when religious right figures list anecdotes about incidents which happen when lgbts gain marriage rights, non-discrimination rights, etc, the incidents end (albeit not truthfully) with the implication being that if we gave lgbts rights, someone would be deprived of their rights, put in jail,  having to unfairly pay a fine, etc.

But not so in this case.

Jackson is saying that allowing gay marriage would make school acknowledge the presence of lgbt families.

What's wrong with that? Schools should be doing this all along because lgbt families exist and children who are in these households attend our nation's schools. Why should they have to be ashamed of their families just to suit the ignorance of others?

According to a report by Gary Gates, Lee M.V. Badgett, Jennifer Ehrle Macomber, Kate Chambers of the Urban Institute:

* More than one in three lesbians have given birth and one in six gay men have fathered or adopted a child.

* An estimated 65,500 adopted children are living with a lesbian or gay parent.

* More than 16,000 adopted children are living with lesbian and gay parents in California, the highest number among the states.

* Gay and lesbian parents are raising four percent of all adopted children in the United States.
* An estimated 14,100 foster children are living with lesbian or gay parents.

* Gay and lesbian parents are raising three percent of foster children in the United States.

But in Harry Jackson's world, simple acknowledgment of these families is akin to the war, famine, or plague; scourges that have wiped out past societies.

Sounds like bigotry to me.

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Doorman-Priest said...

Couldn't agree more.

truthspew said...

Here's the other thing about Jackson and his bigoted ilk:

The incidents they cite are isolated incidents. To my knowledge there have only been TWO school cases in MA.

But the bigots will take those two and claim the sky is falling.

In fact we've seen more stories of anti-gay acts coming from religious schools, etc.