Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2012-MAY: Part 3: Mostly negative reactions
by conservative Christian religious leaders
We use the acronym "SSM" throughout this section to represent "same-sex marriage"
We use the acronym "LGBT" to refer to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. The acronym "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
This is a continuation from Part 2
2012-MAY-08 and later: USA: More reactions by conservative American religious leaders to President Obama's disclosure (Cont'd):
- Soledad O'Brien of CNN's Starting Point morning program interviewed Bishop William Sheals of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church which is affiliated with the Black Churches Network. 1 Pastor Sheals disagreed with President Obama's statement saying that his position is based:
"... not on political reasons but biblical reasons. It is not anti-gay this or anti-person this. It is pro-marriage. It [marriage] is a 5,000 year institution."
- Soledad O'Brien also interviewed Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, an agency that has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-gay hate group. We will describe this interview in greater detail because it involved so many aspects of same-sex marriage.
She asked Perkins "What is your big argument against gay marriage? What is at the root of your argument?
Tony Perkins responded:
"Well it is an argument for marriage; an argument for marriage. When we look at what the impact that public policy has had upon marriage; you know, we don't have to guess about that. [If] we go back to the late 60's with the adoption of no-fault divorce when the government took a policy position on marriage. It has an effect. We have seen the consequences of that. We have more than 40% of children born out of wedlock. We have a decline of marriage [with a] rise in cohabitation. The social cost of that is tremendous
Soledad did not challenge Tony on this point. The prime effect of no-fault divorce was that marriages became much easier to get out of. It would seem that an easy exit from marriage would encourage more young people to marry. This would presumably reduce the number of children born out of wedlock and encourage couples to have shorter intervals of cohabitation before marriage.
They discussed past re-definitions of marriage:
- In the 19th century, African Americans were allowed to marry throughout the U.S. for the first time.
- In 1967, as a result of a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, interracial couples could marry throughout the U.S. for the first time.
Perkins had no problem with these re- definitions of marriage, because they still involved one man marrying one woman. Thus, there was "no rational reason" why African American and inter-racial couples should have been prohibited from marrying. They met all the qualifications.
Perkins objected to the government redefining marriage and allowing same-sex couples to marry. That would would intentionally create a situation in which any children born in the family would be raised either without the presence of a mother or a father. Most religious and social conservative believe that children cannot be properly raised when either a father or a mother is missing from the family. That is, second parent of the same gender will leave the children disadvantaged. He feels that the government should set a standard for marriage that is best for society, and exclude any loving, committed couples who didn't fit the standard.
In the lawsuit "Goodridge v. Dep't
of Public Health." which eventually legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, many past studies were cited. All compared two types of families: those with a mother and father present, and those with with only a single parent present. They showed that, on average, children in the families led by a single parent are often disadvantaged because of poverty. The judges ignored this evidence because the studies were without value in the case; they involved no same-sex marriages. The same studies were cited in more recent court cases dealing with same-sex marriage as well. It is only recently that studies actually compared children raised in families with a woman and a man as parents, with two women or two men. They found that children thrived at least as well in families with same-sex parents as with opposite-sex parents. The studies concluded that what was in the best interest of the children is to have two parents who are committed to each other and who love their children. The gender makeup of the parents is of little consequence.
Tony Perkins raised a final point, that for 5,000 years, marriage has always meant the union of one man and one woman. Surprisingly,
Soledad O'Brien did not challenge him on this last point. She could have talked about the many men mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) who had multiple wives: Esau with 3 wives; Jacob: 2; Ashur: 2; Gideon: many; Elkanah: 2; David: many; Rehaboam: 3; Abijah: 14. Jehoram, Joash, Ahab, Jeholachin and Belshazzar also had multiple wives. The record holder was Solomon with 700 wives of royal birth. And then there were men with concubines; these are like wives but with lower status; Solomon is again the record holder with over 300 concubines. However the opportunity to raise the polygamy topic was missed.
- On 2012-MAY-08, The Christian Post reviewed comments by a range of Christian spokespersons. Representatives from the Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage and Traditional Values Coalition showed extreme animus towards President Obama. It is not clear whether it was motivated by simple racism, an intense dislike of the principles of the Democratic Party, or anger at basic human rights being extended to gays, lesbians and bisexuals. 2
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council issued a statement saying:
"The President's announcement today that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage finally brings his words in sync with his actions. From opposing state marriage amendments, to refusing to defend the [constitutionality of the] federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), to giving taxpayer funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the President has undermined the spirit if not the letter of the [DOMA] law."
"The President has provided a clear contrast between him and his challenger Mitt Romney. Romney, who has signed a pledge to support a marriage protection amendment to the U.S. Constitution, may have been handed the key to social conservative support by President Obama."
The proposed marriage amendment would write discrimination into the U.S. constitution by outlawing same-sex marriage across the entire country. An attempt was made during the Bush era to pass such an amendment. It failed. Now that most American adults favor allowing loving, committed same-sex couples to marry, it is very unlikely that such an amendement would pass today.
Maggie Gallagher is the co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage. This agency's main goal is to prevent same-sex couples from being able to marry. She apparently rejects the truthfullness of President Obama's past statements. He has often said that his original position was to accept civil unions, to reject same-sex marriage, and that his position was evolving. She offers no proof or evidence that he had been lying to the American people. She wrote:
"On the one hand, morally this is good because lying to the American people is always wrong. President Obama has come clean that he is for gay marriage. Politically, we welcome this. We think it's a huge mistake. President Obama is choosing the money over the voters the day after 61 percent of North Carolinians in a key swing state demonstrated they oppose gay marriage. We now have clear choice between Romney and Obama, and we look forward to demonstrating in November that it's a bad idea for a national candidate to support gay marriage. Marriage is a winning issue for the GOP."
It is unclear what her reference to "the money" means, although she apparently assumes that President Obama cannot make a decision based on human rights and ethics. She seems to assume that he merely follows whichever group offers the largest financial bribe. Again, she offers no evidence.
Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) also accused President Obama as being a liar. She said:
"This isn't exactly a bold move by the president. Forced by Joe Biden's big mouth, Obama had no choice left but to publicly embrace an agenda he has privately promoted for years. ... I've been saying this for the last four years. Obama has always been in favor of homosexual marriage, but was forced to keep his enthusiasm at a distance for fear of offending the American public. Obama needs new friends. His leadership has completely alienated Wall Street, financial investors, small businesses, soccer moms, and virtually every other constituency by pushing his radical ideology at a time when America needed principled leadership. Who better to appease than the LGBT community with tons of disposable income to fund his re-election campaign?"
This topic is continued in Part 4
These information sources were used to prepare & update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Soledad O'Brien, "Starting Point," 2012-MAY-10. See: http://startingpoint.blogs.cnn.com\\
- oyan Zaimov, "Christian Leaders Not Surprised by Obama's Support of Same-Sex Marriage," Christian Post, 2012-MAY-09, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
- Michael Gryboski, "Assemblies of God Opposes Obama's Same-Sex Marriage Stance," Christian Post, 2012-MAY-11, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
- Diana Swift, "Obama’s affirmation of same-sex marriage strikes a chord," Anglican Journal, 2012-MAY-11, at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/
How you got here:
Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2012-MAY-09
Latest update: 2012-MAY-12
Author: B.A. Robinson