Thursday, July 05, 2012

Do the religious right care about same-sex parents and their children?

The following story has a happy ending, but I am still angered by it.

 From Think Progress:

Same-sex couples Will Trinkle and Juan Granados had purchased a family membership to the Roanoke Athletic Club so they could take their 2-year-old son to its outdoor pool. Less than two weeks later, their membership was revoked because, the club claimed, they were not a “family” under Virginia law. A viral petition and lawsuit from the couple received national attention, and now the club is changing its ways, announcing today on Facebook that it was changing its policy from a  “Family Membership” to a “Household Membership”:
In keeping with this goal, and in recognition of the many contemporary households that can benefit from our facilities through discounted membership fees, we are pleased to announce that we have expanded our Family Membership into a new Household Membership with the following criteria:
A household consists of a primary member and up to one additional household member that permanently lives in the household, and any of their dependent children under the age of 22 who also reside in the household on a permanent basis.

All I can say is thank God that child was two-years-old, so he probably won't remember this.

But what if he was of an age where he could understand what transpired? What if he could understand that some people don't think of his family as equal?

It gets me angry to think about it and it should get you angry too. Because you see, when organizations like the  National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council and people like Maggie Gallagher and Tony Perkins whine about "the rights of parents" and "family values," they seem to always omit the simple fact that same-sex families exist.

And it's not by accident. On NOM's blog is this tripe about children supposedly being forced to learn about marriage equality in Great Britain:

Schools could be required to teach children about gay marriage, Government documents seen by the Daily Mail reveal.

Officials at the Home Office and the Department for Education concede that teachers may be under a legal obligation to inform children about same-sex marriage once it has passed into law.

Under the Education Act 1996, pupils must learn about the nature of marriage and its importance for family life in sex education classes.

Critics said the documents, released under freedom of information laws, demonstrate that plans to introduce civil marriage ceremonies for gay couples in addition to existing civil partnerships, could have far-reaching and unintended consequences.

The article sounds so alarming that some folks may be fearful to ask what's wrong with children learning about marriage equality? If children in same-sex households attend public schools - which they do - then odds are their fellow classmates already know about these homes.

So learning the fact that same-sex couples can marry wouldn't "force" school children to learn something they already know about.

But what bothers me is the message stuff like this sends to children in same-sex households. That's a subject that Maggie and company conveniently (and deliberately) never want to talk about.

However, I think our community owes it to these households and these children to force the issue. Otherwise there will be incidents like what happened in Roanoke but this time it will involve children old enough to notice that some people don't like their families.

And I cringe to think what it could do to their self-esteem.

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Jonathan Justice said...

I think it pretty clear that these folks do not care much about children or their parents at all except as they can be marshalled onto their sides in the various ostensibly holy wars they preach. Lots of examples come to mind, but I think the rise of Lou Engle as the latest thing to ascend the Religious Right stage makes it quite clear.

Anonymous said...

So if same-sex marriage infringes on their "religious liberty" since it is against their religion, why don't they protest evolution in schools? After all, doesn't evolution fly in the face of most religious teachings?

Jarred said...

After all, doesn't evolution fly in the face of most religious teachings?

No. It flies in the face of literal seven day creationist teachings. There are plenty of Christians -- even evangelical Christians (though the gatekeepers are trying to kick them out) -- that interpret the Genesis creation stories in non-literal ways that allow them to accept evolution as fact.

Then there are the non-Christians religions. I could be wrong, but I don't think the Hindus take their creation stories literally. The members of various pagan reconstructionist religions don't take their creation stories literally either.

Anonymous said...

Chris Morley says
Here's what happened to a British school pupil recently at a Catholic school; in the UK faith schools are the worst for homophobic bullying according to a new survey by the UK gay rights organisation Stonewall:

"I got really into this [school] project and I went and told my teacher. He said ‘Well, can you stay off the gay topic?’ I kind of snapped and I didn’t say anything to him because you’re not allowed, it’s your teacher, but I started crying. All the girls knew my dad was gay, so they knew gay was a sensitive topic.
I spoke to him [the teacher] another time… I was like, so what’s wrong with the gay topic, you know, I think it would be quite interesting , and he just said ‘… oh well, can you choose something different, you know, we’re at a Catholic school blah blah blah’, and I was really offended by that .
I went and spoke to my head of year and said I have a gay dad and I was told I wasn’t allowed to do something on people being gay – can you sort that out please? – Lauren, 17, single sex Catholic school (South East England)

In the UK schools have a legal duty to deal with all forms of bullying, including homophobic bullying, yet 75% of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils in faith schools experience homophobic bullying at school, compared to 65% in non-faith schools.
Two thirds of LGB pupils attending UK faith schools reported nothing was said by their school to counteract homophobic bullying.