In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter, some brave news outlets chose to print the satirical paper’s disparaging cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Many others chickened out using the “let’s be prudent” defense. They have, unfortunately, confused prudence for cowardice in this case and I have found myself increasingly frustrated by those mediaites who refuse to speak the truth about Islamists. The result is the few who do risk standing up to these lunatics are easier to target. In other words? Safety in numbers people.
I am ashamed to admit that I realized today I am a guilty chicken too. Full disclosure coming your way friends. I have written and put my name on things that are a part of the legal fight regarding gay marriage. I filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of the state of Texas for the case which was heard before the 5th Circuit Court of appeals last week. While anyone could Google “Katy Faust gay marriage” and find both the brief as well as this blog, I had chosen to keep them separate, because I am prudent. Or maybe it is really just an attempt to avoid backlash because I know the result is that the few who choose to publicly stand behind their convictions are more readily targeted by the well-funded radical gay lobby.
Maybe I should just go all the way and illustrate it with pictures of Mohammed.
Truth is, dear readers, you were able to view the majority of my brief long before the justices. It’s posted, almost in it’s entirety, under the “Gay Marriage” tab above. But for those who enjoy all the legal footnoting and headers, sections and subsections, you can view the official brief here.
Cheryl Wetzstein of the Washington Times, wrote an article last week on the four children of gay parents who filed briefs in the Texas case. As I’m sure is the norm for most articles of this kind, the four of us shared a great deal of information in response to Ms. Wetzstein’s questions. But only a fraction of our answers made its way into her finished piece. Her questions were good, and really made me think. So I thought I’d share some of our exchange below.
Question: Is there anything in other circuit court opinions that you find particularly egregious? And did any judge write something you liked?
The Seventh Court decision stated: “Because homosexuality is not a voluntary condition and homosexuals are among the most stigmatized, misunderstood, and discriminated against minorities in the world, the disparagement of their sexual orientation, implicit in the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples, is a source of continuing pain to the homosexual community.”
My Response: I agree that homosexuality, in most cases, is not a voluntary condition. (Though I have met several women who decided to enter into a same-sex relationship in adulthood despite being exclusively attracted to the opposite sex prior to that relationship.) But having sex with someone of the opposite sex, despite your homosexual attractions, is voluntary. And that is where most of the children come from who are being raised in same-sex headed households.
That many homosexuals have been “misunderstood”, “discriminated against” especially in other parts of the world, and have suffered personal toil and conflict because of their attractions is true. However, the government’s interest in marriage is not to assuage the “continuing pain” of the homosexual community. It is to protect the rights and well-being of children.
Q: If you like, please offer a comment to anything said by the “other side” (COLAGE, Family Equality Council, et. al). For example, they say kids of gay parents are:
- invisible/nonexistent in this debate
- it’s the man-woman marriage laws that make children of gays and LGBT children feel unworthy, confused, unhappy.
and their families are:
- “traditional” and “no different” (except for no marriage rights)
- not odd” and “not rare” (with 250,000 estimated children being raised by one or more gay parents today).
My response: I really empathize with the voices of the children who are quoted in the COLAGE brief. Throughout high school and into college I would have supported gay marriage legislation if it had been proposed. I want my mom to be happy. I want both my parent to be happy. And I would have gladly supported redefined marriage policies to show them that I believe that they are valuable and precious to me. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that the wholeness and worth of having both father and mother raising their children together hit me like a freight train. My kids need both of us. My husband offers qualities and aspects to parenting that I don’t have. It’s not just a personality difference. It’s a gender difference. And my kid’s hearts would be shredded if they grew up without one of us. Like my heart was shredded when my parents divorced. Even though my parents went on to partner with wonderful people, I lost something foundational. And while I bristle at language or policies here or abroad which criminalize gay and lesbian relationships, marriage law should always encourage and promote that ideal of mother and fathers parenting their children together.
The COLAGE brief states: “The major challenge most same-sex parented families must surmount is nothing inherent in their family structure, but rather the societal and governmental disapproval that Texas’ laws represent and perpetuate.”
Children who are raised by 100% lesbian or gay parents (those who have never had a sex with someone of the opposite sex) are rare. They are the small, but growing, number who have been placed with parents wealthy enough to adopt, or pay three-figure fees to have a child via third-party reproduction (which comes with its own unique set of complications.) The rest of us are the product of less well-off parents who were bisexual enough to at one time or for a long time, be in a heterosexual relationship. We are the largest body of children who are being raised in same-sex homes. If a parent conceives a child with a member of the opposite sex and then chooses to raise that child with a biological stranger of the same sex- that child’s life is going to be complicated. There is no child raised in a same-sex headed household whose life history has not been complicated. If the child is then told that the situation is “natural” “traditional” or “no different” than living with both biological parents, it may lead to the child feeling “unworthy, confused, or unhappy.” I would hardly blame their “confusion” on a marriage law which reflects the uncomplicated version of childhood.
The PFLAG brief states: “why should the state grant marriage licenses to heterosexual couples who cannot or don’t desire to have children?”
I have married heterosexual friends who were thought to be clinically infertile who now have a home filled with their children. I also know several straight couples raising little ones who swore that they would never have children. Heterosexual sex creates life- even if a couple has been told it would be “impossible” to get pregnant and even for those who have taken measures (birth control or surgery) to hamper the creation of new life. And in that way man/woman marriage is fundamentally different from same-sex unions. The law treats opposite sex couples and same sex couples differently- because they are inherently different when it comes to creating and raising children. Men and women together do something that same-sex couples cannot do. The state can and should treat the two differently when it comes to marriage laws.
There is no difference between the personal worth and value of a gay person vs. a straight person. None at all. There is a distinct difference between a mother and father raising their children together, and two women or two men raising children together. It’s not discriminatory to treat different things differently.
Question: I think a lot of attorneys have tried to make your arguments in court about the essential value of children having mother & father for the best child development. Do you think attorneys have made good enough arguments on these points? Or are they missing something … and if so, what would you like them to say?
I am not too familiar with specific legal arguments in the gay marriage debate. But I am sure that you are right- that many who are better versed, smarter, more familiar with statistics, and who have a stronger command of child development and child psychology- have said everything I’ve already tried to say. In fact, I bet they said it better. And I know that many of them have failed to persuade the courts.
But a generation from now many of the children with “two moms” or “two dads” who were repeatedly told that their family is “just like everyone else’s” and that they really didn’t need a parent of each gender, will become adults and marvel at the lies they were told. They will come of age and see that they were denied the influence of both male and female in their most important formative years. Those children will wonder why the separation from one parent who desperately mattered to them was celebrated and even used as a tool to normalize and justify the separation of other children from their parents. When those children ask this generation for an answer, I want them to know that a few of us were willing to stand against the tide, be called ridiculous and hurtful names, have our jobs and friends threatened, and even risk straining relationships within our own families to provide a counter-narrative. The narrative that isn’t built on political correctness and identity politics and suspicious social science. The narrative which dares to state the obvious: that kids desire, and do best when, their mommy and daddy are with them forever.
Question: How do you cope with straddling this issue – staying connected and honoring your mom and her partner while facing down an array of (high-profile) researchers and (angry) advocates who disagree with you about a child’s need and right to have a mother and a father?
Children have natural feelings of protectiveness for their parents. Even those who have suffered abuse at the hands of their father, for example, will often still defend him and long for his attention and approval. How much more so is there a defensive posture for children when it comes to their gay parent who has strived to love and raise them to the best of their ability? This is especially the case if we have seen the personal struggles that our parent (and/or their partner) has had to endure.
So yes, it’s difficult to speak out about this. For years, in an effort to “honor” my parents I didn’t talk publically about my marriage views. No child wants to hurt their parents. I think that is why the other three adult children of gay parents who filed briefs in this case waited until that parent had passed away to share their stories.
While there are no secrets around my beliefs and my advocacy for the rights of children, I also strive to be sensitive if/when we discuss the subject. Those infrequent conversations happen in the context of lots of visits, dinners, the sending of silly internet videos, celebrating holidays together, emailing them pictures of my cute doggies, playing hide-and-seek with my kids, and sharing our hearts about whatever we may currently be struggling with.
The pro-gay marriage press and media screams that the only way that I can love those in my life who are gay is to support redefining marriage- and I must hate them if I don’t. But on this subject (and a host of others) media is wrong. Completely wrong as a matter of fact. And I strive to show my mom just how wrong media is. I doubt that in any other area we would maintain the idea that to love someone you must love everything they do or think or believe. My love for my mother and her partner is real and deep and long-lasting.
The pro-gay marriage camp doesn’t get to pigeonhole me into being a hater or anti-gay. I’m neither. I am pro-child and therefore pro-man/woman marriage. I am also FOR my mother, her partner, my father, his wife, and all my gay friends. We don’t have to agree about gay marriage for that to be true.