Thursday, March 10, 2011

Peter Sprigg PROVES why a defense of DOMA will fail

The rhetoric of the religious right used to drive me crazy because it's carefully tuned to distract and deceive.

Take for example the talking points of Peter Sprigg from the Family Research Council. Today, he debated Freedom To Marry's Evan Wolfson on CNN. He said the following:

You’re not mandated to have kids if you get married but it makes no sense to extend the benefits of marriage to a type of relationship that is incapable of ever creating children. That undermines the whole purpose of the institution and it sends a message to society that, no, children don’t need a mother and a father.
And that’s simply false, the social science shows that children do best when they have a mother and father.

That's the old "gays and lesbians shouldn't marry because their relationships can't create children" dodge. And then Sprigg adds the claim that social science says that children are better suited in a home with a mother and a father.

Of course, like he always does on these occasions (I don't know why no one ever directly challenges him on this), Sprigg omits the fact that these "social science" studies only looked at two-parent homes in comparison to one-parent homes and same-sex households never factor in.

Though Wolfson didn't call Sprigg out, he did cite the common sense fact that many children being raised do well without the "mother and father" dynamic.

The web page Think Progress does Wolfson better:

Numerous studies have shown that children with same-sex parents show no significant differences compared with children in different-sex households. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, concluded that “children raised by lesbian mothers — whether the mother was partnered or single — scored very similarly to children raised by heterosexual parents on measures of development and social behavior.” The researchers also found that “children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression.”

Reading that made me come to the simple realization of why folks like Sprigg have been successful in voting measures, but not in the courts. Talking points like his are naturally suited to sway folks because they are quick and catchy - albeit not altogether truthful. In spite of what Sprigg and folks like him may claim, those talking points don't come from basic ideas of morality and truth.

They are statements cynically crafted in board rooms by spin doctors who care less about America's moral survival than their fat paychecks.

They don't appeal to people's logic, but rather to their emotions. And in the courts, they just don't hold water. Or as Equality Matters puts it about the Prop 8 decision last year:

In Perry v. Schwarzenegger,  the 2010 federal court decision that ruled California's Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, Judge Vaughn Walker dismissed concerns about the impact marriage  equality would have on procreation and the traditional family. Again, Judge Walker found that these arguments could not prove even a "rational basis" for marriage discrimination.

It's definitely something to remember the next time Sprigg is able to finagle an appearance on a news program in spite of his history of deliberate inaccuracies.  While he no doubt drives many lgbts to distraction with his ability to distort with a smug face, it's helpful to remember that smugness can't get you over when you have a habit of lying without impunity.

Sooner or later, you get caught. And when Sprigg's time comes - and when the Family Research Council's time comes - there is going to be a lot of champagne popping.

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Kansas thumbs its nose at the Supreme Court and other Thursday midday news briefs

Boehner Announces Defense of DOMA - Surprising NO ONE. Go ahead and waste our money.

Gallagher Reveals Her Best Defense Of DOMA, But It's Already Been Rejected - Here is a little preview of how the court case for DOMA may go.

Kansas lawmakers stop repeal of law criminalizing gay relationships - That's right. Forget the Supreme Court's overturning of the sodomy laws.

Sign the Petition Demanding that Apple Remove Exodus’s Bigoted iPhone App - Freedom of speech has nothing to do with peddling potentially harmful bad science.

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Religious right whining about 'threats' in Maryland

Regardless of how the marriage equality vote in Maryland will turn out, one thing is certain. The National Organization for Marriage and those against gay marriage in Maryland seem to be operating on fumes right now.

How else can one explain a recent article coming from the American Family Association's One News Now. The article pushes a phony assertion that the lgbt community and its allies engaged in "threats" to get the votes. The main snippet says the following:

Derek McCoy of the Association of Maryland Families says unscrupulous practices are being used to pressure lawmakers opposed to homosexual marriage to vote differently than their conscience. "We know those practices to be everything from threatening people's chairmanship, to one young man who was a delegate that changed his vote and then went back and changed it again because he already had had people starting to call his donors and asking for refunds from his campaign money."

McCoy is referring to the recent brouhaha regarding delegate Sam Arora who campaigned on the fact that he would support gay marriage in Maryland. Arora knocked on doors, sat down with same-sex families, and accepted donations while expressly saying that he supported marriage equality.

Then after the election, he announced that he changed his mind and would not support gay marriage.

Naturally the members of the lgbt community who supported him, who introduced him to their families, who told him their life stories and why this piece of legislation is important were furious.

And some in fact did ask  for their donations back. This led Arora to change his mind again and support the bill.

But I fail to see how this situation reaches the level of  "unscrupulous practices" that were alluded to in the article. Don't citizens have a right to contact their lawmakers and voice their support or displeasure?

Also, McCoy - and the article - conveniently forgot to mention NOM's recent pledge to spend $1 million defending Democratic senators voting against the gay marriage bill and opposing Republican senators who vote for the bill.

Seems to me that if McCoy thinks citizens contacting their lawmakers resembles "unscrupulous activities," then an organization - an out-of-town organization - using the power of the purse to sway legislators should really rank up there on the "threat chart."

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