Thursday, February 06, 2014

State of Utah Argues Gays Are a Threat to Children in Marriage Case Brief

I guess in some ways I should not be surprised given that we are talking about Utah, a bastion of the Mormon Church, not exactly a gay friendly institution.  But that said, it is somewhat shocking that the brief filed by the State of Utah in the appeal of the ruling that struck down the state's same sex marriage ban promotes all of the usual Christofascist/Mormon Church lies that depict gays as a threat to children.  The argument sounds more like something one would expect out of Vladimir Putin's Russia or the ignorant uneducated depths of Africa.  Apparently lacking any valid argument against same sex civil law marriage, the state has felt compelled to adopt tactics akin to the Nazi campaign against the Jews in the 1930's.  Think Progress looks at this disturbing development.  Here are excerpts:

The myth that gay people are a threat to children has long been propagated by opponents of LGBT equality, from those who have claimed that gay people are more likely to be pedophiles (false), to those who claim that gay people recruit children to be gay (false), to those concerned that children in schools will learn that gay people exist (not actually that scary). The state of Utah has filed its opening brief in its appeal to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, and the arguments are rife with dog whistles supporting this same hackneyed misconception.

The latest mutation of the “threat to children” meme challenges same-sex parenting, but Utah’s lawyers suggest that there are consequences for the children of straight couples as well. Indeed, Utah argues that banning same-sex marriage “gently encourages” opposite-sex couples to “routinely sacrifice their own interests” to support their children. Conversely, the brief claims that marriage equality would place “at serious risk the welfare of children who will be raised in other arrangements.”

[T]he state is arguing that even if same-sex couples make the same kind of commitment to raising their kids, recognizing that would dissuade straight parents from doing the same.
The brief goes on to outline seven consequences of allowing same-sex couples to marry:
  1. Children will fare worse because having same-sex parents is just like only having one parent or the other.
  2. Straight couples will be more likely to have children before they’re ready to support them.
  3. Straight couples won’t sacrifice as much to support their children.
  4. Straight couples will have more children out of wedlock.
  5. More same-sex couples will raise children, who will suffer because same-sex couples make inferior parents.
  6. Marriage equality will lead down a slippery slope to group marriage.
  7. Fewer people will feel like marriage is important and marriage rates will drop.
Like in Utah’s previous briefs that focus on same-sex parenting, this brief relies on debunked studies like Mark Regnerus’s, and a number of other studies about “fatherless” parenting that have nothing to do with same-sex couples. The rest of the claims are rhetorical supposition. All of these points, it should be noted, are arguably moot, because as was noted in the lower court decision, this case is about marriage — not adoption . . . 

Given that same-sex couples are already raising children in Utah, this actually hurts their children because those families cannot access the same legal and financial protections. In contrast, there’s no evidence to support the claim that allowing same-sex couples to marry will have any impact on the sex lives of straight couples or their parenting abilities.

Utah is acknowledging that marriage would benefit same-sex families, but it believes it would in turn hurt all of the other children in the state. This is just the latest iteration of the myth that the gay community somehow presents inherent harm to children. Like its previous incarnations, it relies on fear, dismisses evidence to the contrary, and erases the lives that people in the gay community are already living.

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