Thursday, July 12, 2018

You don't get to call me a sinner AND help yourself to my gay tax dollars

For an organization which claims to be about truth, morality, and Christian values, the Family Research Council seems to use a lot of deception and misdirection to get its point across.

Case in point is the situation about a bill in Congress which would give tax dollars to adoption agencies which uses religion to discriminate against gays. The bill would also punish LGBT-friendly states if they tried to pass anti-discrimination laws.

The Family Research Council heavily supports the bill and, in that effort, pushed a heart-tugging story via the right-wing Daily Signal about a young expectant mother, Kelly Clemente,  who supposedly only wanted to give her baby to a family which shared her values.

The article and the video (courtesy of the Heritage Foundation, which also has a hand in creating copy for The Daily Signal. It's all connected, folks) is a definite tearjerker:

Now, 10 years later, she says that being able to handpick her son's family was the greatest comfort she had. So when a movement started to take away that right from moms like her, she couldn't help but speak out. When liberal activists started punishing adoption agencies for making sure kids were placed in homes with matching beliefs, Kelly was horrified. She watched as the dominos started to fall in places like Philadelphia, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and D.C. Suddenly, groups like Bethany and Catholic Charities were being given a choice: start putting children in homes that violate the morals of birth moms like Kelly, pay crushing fines, or shut your doors. 
"I would never tell a gay couple, 'Oh, because you two are in love with each other, and you're not a heterosexual couple, don't even think about adopting a child.' That's not what I'm saying," Kelly explains in Heritage's new video. "What I am saying is that birth mothers have a right to choose." Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee agreed, voting 29-23 to protect the freedom of moms like Kelly. Thanks to adoption champions Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), the new Labor-HHS spending bill now includes an amendment that says the federal government can't discriminate against faith-based groups if they decide not to provide services like adoption or foster care on religious grounds. The bill also says that if a state or local government is found in violation, HHS will withhold up to 15 percent of the federal child welfare funding from the areas responsible.

Just like the baker Jack Phillips in the Masterpiece cakeshop case, Clemente is allowing herself to be used as a pawn in order the cloud the issue. The issue is not who she picks to adopt her child or where she goes.

The issue is why should gay taxpayers have to give our hard earned money to groups which freely discriminate us. The Family Research Council avoids even bringing this up. The organization throws out another misdirection:

The Democrats, meanwhile, continued cranking out lies about what the amendment really does, insisting that it somehow stops same-sex couples from adopting. Hardly! The same adoption agencies that matched them with kids before this bill will still be matching them with kids after. That's because this debate has never been about banning LGBT adoption -- it's about letting everyone operate by their own set of beliefs.

Since using personal stories in order to control the narrative seems to be the order of the day for the anti-LGBTQ right, allow me to give mine.

I am a gay man. I am not part of a couple seeking to adopt nor will I be adopting children myself, but I am affected by this bill. I've had to deal with being called a faggot or being threatened with violence because of my sexual orientation. I've done the humiliating act of sneaking around in the cover of darkness for a little affection, lying about being straight, and being isolated even in large group of friends because I was only gay person there. My story isn't different from the vast majority of stories of gay men, even with the bittersweet conclusion of slowly learning to love and accept myself in spite of the loud feedback of those who tell me not to.

But this bill hurts me. It goes beyond putting me in a second class status.  By taking my hard earned gay dollars and putting them into the hands of groups who feel that I am not worthy of being a father, it endorses the belief that I am something lower than second class. The bill says that my voice, my feelings, and my dignity as a taxpayer isn't even worth considering because I am a "filthy homosexual." My life doesn't matter. My existence doesn't matter.  The bill humiliates me. It degrades me. It erases me because it decides my value for me when I didn't ask it to. The bill tells me that no matter how old and wise I get, no matter how successful I may be, I am not deserving of anything other than what is afforded to me by someone else's idea of  "tolerance."

Why is it okay to use religion as a weapon to steal gay tax dollars?  When did faith become a rope used by a bouncer in a club to keep the "riff-raff" in their place? Why should someone's religion give them the right to supersede someone's else dignity or worth as taxpayers?

Religious-based groups fulfilling whatever service have every right to believe that my sexual orientation is evil and makes me a sinner. But I'll be damned if I am going to freely hand them my tax money to endorse that belief.

1 comment:

Bose said...

GOPers who used to be fringe, but now are mainstream, have tried to shame progressives as snowflakes, too sensitive to accept simple realities, too insistent on asserting their sensitivities, vulnerabilities and uniqueness.

And yet, look at Ms. Clemente's case. She doesn't dispute that she got to hand-pick her son's adoptive parents. The decision was 100% hers. As she explains it, the agency never coerced her to choose a family she'd be uncomfortable with.

Her words: "What I am saying is that birth mothers have a right to choose." Which she received in full, along with new moms in open adoptions today.

But, the fact remains that significant swaths of the USA are dominated by foster care and adoption agencies which exclude same-sex parents. So, Ms. Clemente wasn't just disadvantaged by the possibility of being offered an adoptive family she might not like... she (and the FRC) now feel destroyed by the possibility that one of her many options might have been LGBT or LGBT-accepting.