Op-ed: But What About the Children?!

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com July 09 2013 5:05 AM ET

Nowadays, you can't leave the house without bumping into some gay couple getting married, am I right? Thanks to a slew of legislative victories, and the recent hullabaloo in the Supreme Court, a whole 30% of Americans could feasibly go get hitched to another person with fairly similar genitalia and (cross fingers!) complementary tastes in music, without even leaving our respective states. While this may not exactly be a sweeping change, it is a turning point. LGBT Americans don't have all of the inalienable rights those founding fathers loved to gossip about, but we're winning the arguments with those who think the Constitution should be marked "straights only."

Homophobes are exactly that: phobic. They're scared of what they do not know, or in some cases, know too well — wink, wink, George Rekers, Larry Craig, and Eddie Long. Over the years, so many of our favorite (read: not favorite) homophobes have made arguments that range from being a bit of a reach, to solidly crazy, to exhaustingly bonkers. And as the years go by, more people come out, more people accept and continue to love others who are LGBT, and the arguments sound more ridiculous to a greater population of people. So this Supreme Court business is a big blow to the Crazy Argument Industrial Complex.

Naturally, I've seen, heard, and read a few of the remaining arguments as to why granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry will lead to the downfall of civilization. Cardinal Raymond Burke of the Vatican has a divine prediction that the DOMA decision will "lead to death for individuals and eventually it will destroy our culture." Maggie Gallagher is sure that the Supreme Court's ruling was a “head-on declaration of war against at least half of the American people.” Penny Nance of the Concerned Women for America warns that “those who hold a Biblical view of marriage can expect much persecution from the government in the years to come.”

Oh, but my favorite right-wing fear tactic to counter extending rights to all human beings is, “What About The Children?!”

And I ask, What about them? For some reason, homophobes are worried that first grade will turn into recruitment sessions for marriage because teachers might have to explain that a pupil has two mommies. You know how I learned about gay people? When I was 7, my mother explained that my dance teacher Stanley had a boyfriend. That's what gay means. The end. She didn't go into the intricacies of butt sex. There were no scissoring diagrams. She didn't sit me down and explain this to me at a bath house.

And if these homophobes are truly concerned about the children of gay and lesbian parents, they really shouldn't be. News flash: two gay guys can't have a baby "by accident." Have they met couples — gay or straight — who have to actually try to have a baby? They would do anything in the world to not only become parents, but also to be the absolute best parents since the Huxtables. In fact, they should be more worried that those parents could shank them at a Toddler's and Tiara's-type pageant, soccer tournament, or the statewide spelling bee. I know this because I already plan to be that parent. Really, I have a Pinterest board about it.

There's also been the argument that kids need one mother and one father for maximum child excellence. The only basis of their argument is math. Two parents are better than one (unless one of the parents is an abusive drunk or something. In that case, one parent is probably more sufficient). Often, two parents means two incomes, and parents taking turns at changing diapers at 3 a.m. How is that not better in any situation? So, numerically two dads are better than one dad. We have to remember that life is not like the sexist, stupid commercial world, where dads have no idea how to change a diaper, do laundry, make dinner, or nurture children. My dad could starch my Catholic school uniform collars like a freaking champion. This one guy I know, he and his husband bathe their kids — daily. If I were married to a woman, I'd probably be the one to teach our offspring how to properly pitch a baseball. If Facebook has taught me anything, it's that most of my straight male friends who are dads, are really good at playing dress-up and kissing booboos. Gender roles? Taken care of.

Both sides of this decades-long debate over human rights have spent millions of dollars in this incessant war over who is right and who is wrong. Maybe it's time for the Catholic church, and the evangelical Christians, and the anti-choicers, and the professional chauvinists to put down the proverbial Bible they're thumping, and start thinking about ways to actually help the children they've been supposedly oh-so-worried about.

For the future, here are the children that we as a nation should worry about: families with kids who don't have a roof over their heads; kids who don't know where they're going to get their next meal, or when it will come; students who are verbally harassed, physically assaulted at school, or cyber-bullied at any hour of the day; young people whose school systems are so bad that they have no chance of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, let alone finishing high school.

But until then, the professional homophobes will just keep on grasping at those last fews straws that are left.

 

MICHELLE GARCIA is the Advocate's commentary editor. She has no children but plans to be the second coming of the Tiger Mother. Follow her @GarciaReporting.