Beaten on Gay Marriage, Rightbloggers Begin Berating Straights

tomt200.jpgMaybe it's because everyone's sick of fighting over gay marriage. Maybe it's because our rightblogger friends' tactic of Adam-and-Steving the issue hasn't helped their increasingly hopeless cause, even within the Republican Party. In any case, some of the brethren are working a new angle.

Well, not totally new. There has long been a body of conservative thought about how it's actually straight marriage that needs fixing, and in these dark days for the anti-gay cause, that kind of thinking is catching on with rightbloggers. The basic premise: Straights better marry fast and early, because something something values.

Conservatives have been concerned with declining marriage rates for ages--usually on goddamn-hippies, too-much-sex grounds. Some of them have called for laws to be changed to redress the balance. They've denounced no-fault divorce, for example, on the grounds that marriages are a pure social good even when they're miserably unhappy. "No-fault divorce laws were a mistake that encouraged marital irresponsibility," wrote some guy who's president of one of the hundreds of rightwing organizations that have "Marriage" in the title. "No Fault Divorce Was the Bullet to the Brain of Marriage," cried Mark Shea.

At World magazine, Alisa Harris told the heartbreaking story of a couple that got divorced, thereby transferring misery from the wife to the husband, which Harris seemed to find unfair; "It's just too easy [to divorce]," the husband told Harris. "She could literally change her life overnight." We can see how conservatives would find this frustrating.

Conservatives have even been willing to let the evil federal government intervene to encourage marriage, at least when they're in charge, as with George W. Bush's $1.5 billion "promotion of marriage" program in 2004, an expenditure which, so far as we remember, none of the currently budget-conscious Republicans complained about at the time.

Some of the brethren have defended such programs on the grounds that they're cost-effective--because marriage by itself makes people rich. In 2002 small-government conservative Rich Lowry of National Review criticized a welfare bill that would "pay--and reward--single moms for being single moms"; if we stopped paying them, Lowry reasoned, they might get married, and that would be super: "If [unwed fathers] were to marry the mothers of their children, 75 percent of the mothers would be lifted out of poverty," he claimed. "In roughly two-thirds of the cases, the mothers would be lifted out of poverty without even having to work themselves." Lifted out of poverty without working? They should bottle this "marriage" stuff!

This idea has persisted, even, we might say, metastasized; when Katie Roiphe postulated in 2012 on a future world without marriage, at National Review Heather Mac Donald snarled that "actually, we know already" what such a world would be like--"It's called the ghetto." So, just as marriage can make everyone rich, lack of marriage can make everyone poor. It's that powerful!

In recent years, the idea that marriage makes you rich has become an important part of the marriage-mania schtick--as has a pretense, calculated to draw in more soft-hearted auditors, of concern for the poor.

Take Charles Murray. He's the author of The Bell Curve, a book beloved of rightbloggers because it implies black people are intellectually inferior to white people. This may be why, when Murray considered the fate of America's under-married working class in his 2012 book Coming Apart, he said he had deliberately left black people out of his projections "as a way of clarifying how broad and deep the cultural divisions in the U.S. have become," he said. Yeah, we get it, buddy.

proposalcartoon.jpg
The cartoon makes an important statement about the institution of marriage today.
Murray noticed that wealthier Americans were still getting married before having kids, while poorer Americans were not. But unlike you and us, Murray dismissed the idea that this had anything to do with the drastically reduced economic opportunities for blue-collar workers these days; rather, he thought it was because poor people didn't know that marriage and hard work are good for you -- because richer Americans had stopped telling them so, out of a "condescending 'nonjudgmentalism.'"

Murray suggested "the new upper class must start preaching what it practices," i.e. wealthier Americans should go out among the poor and prosletyze for "marriage and the work ethic," i.e., nag them about it, which if effective would then make everybody rich, or at least the white people.

Murray seems to have been inspired by W. Bradford Wilcox, director of something called the National Marriage Project, who said in 2010 that "family breakdown inhibits the accumulation of assets"--that is, unwed parenthood leads to poverty, not the other way around.

Wilcox at least had a more entertaining, if no more believable, reason for the downtick in marriage than Murray: he said the lower classes had fallen victim to a sentimental idea about marriage--a "soul mate" model rather than a more rugged "'institutional' model" (why, it even sounds like something used in factories!). "More and more Americans think that marriage is about an intense and fulfilling couple-focused relationship," complained Wilcox, which is ridiculous--it's about pooping out kids and working till you have a stroke. But the poor insist on a soul mate thing they can't afford, said Wilcox, and since the "emotional and sexual intensity of the couple relationship waxes and wanes," they naturally wind up unmarried with squalling brats in a trailer, unlike those who never expected to quote-unquote love their partners.

Like Murray, Wilcox believed in nagging--"highly educated Americans," he said, "need to put their privilege in service of the public good by doing a better job of extending their marriage mindset to the rest of America." He didn't say how it would work, but we like to think he sent troupes of pro-marriage troubadours to wander the hinterlands, singing songs of conjugal wealth transference.

Flash forward to 2013: As they found themselves in a post-gay-marriage-acceptance landscape, some rightbloggers who don't normally go on about straight marriage have been taking up the subject--and from their writings we get the distinct sense that they don't mind switching targets as long as they still get to hector somebody about their personal lives.

Reihan Salam, one of the young rightbloggers promoted by the praise of David Brooks and others, took a Wilcoxian view: Degenerate moderns, he complained, had abandoned a "conjugal view of marriage, in which procreation and lifelong marital fidelity are central," and adopted one whereby "children, once at the center of marriage, have now become negotiable, and what used to be negotiable -- love, companionship, sex--has moved to the center."

So, said Salam, maybe conservatives should forget about gay marriage and get to work on straight marriage. His buddy David Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute of Buzzword Buzzword--who Salam said has "emerged as one of the leading critics of same-sex civil marriages," so you know he's hardcore--had in a recent op-ed "called for a kind of truce. 'Instead of fighting gay marriage,' he wrote, 'I'd like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same.'" Gays and straights, scolding together! Unfortunately, Salam reported, "Many of Blankenhorn's erstwhile allies saw his op-ed as a capitulation, and as a result the Institute for American Values lost several members of its board." Maybe we should build him a statue.

At The Umlaut, Eli Dourado offered a Murrayesque explanation for why the poor weren't getting married: "A marriage is like a job--financially lucrative, but inconvenient at times," he said, "so it could make sense that those who are especially averse to inconvenience would forgo both jobs and marriages and end up poor." Those marriage-shirking poors! Maybe this calls for a government marriage-training program? Doubtful--in Dourado's view, government intervention has only made the situation worse: "Welfare policy has reduced the opportunity cost of childbearing out of wedlock for the poor," he wrote; "consequently, it makes sense that the poor are doing more of it." Maybe if we made them sing hymns first...

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, who normally focuses on how everything is Obama's fault, also caught marriage fever, telling readers of USA Today that "marriage inequality is one of the biggest things making people less equal, accounting for as much as 40% of the difference in incomes." (Lest you question his sincerity, Reynolds added, "I've been supporting gay marriage for a long time--​much, much longer than Barack Obama." Ah, good for him, he got it in there!)


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39 comments
spanker
spanker

the right knows their gay marriage struggle is losing and will soon be lost.  so their next step is to pick on straight couples who DONT MARRY. statistics may be interpreted to mean the poor are poor cause they dont get married .the key is always to"prove"that the poor are soley responsible for their own poverty.  get that in and the rest doesnt much matter

dancolliergay
dancolliergay

Nice piece of work! Well done. These people are no longer running in place, they're running in reverse.

psychosupermom
psychosupermom

Wow - now that opponents of marriage equality are focusing on the problems with hetero marriage, will they include straight people in their ludicrous arguments about people marrying their pets?  Here's a musical query as to why right-wingers are so "Hung Up On Animals" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0R-Bxk0guI

NCSP
NCSP

God, I hate to defend Charles Murray, who is contemptible, but, to be fair, he's been on the record supporting same-sex marriage since at least 2004, as seen here: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/GayMa (It's a remarkable event, laying out the conservative case for gay marriage at the American Enterprise Institute. Seeing this on tv was the moment I knew gay marriage would happen eventually, even if it took some time.)

It doesn't really invalidate anything you said, but it does make his position on marriage a little more consistent.

substancemcgravitas
substancemcgravitas

"Namely, can the institution of traditional marriage be salvaged without the wholesale repeal of no-fault divorce laws which swept through our states beginning in 1970?" 

God please let this be included in the Republican platform, please please please.

archyshove
archyshove

1) You do not sacrifice or lose your morals by supporting marriage equality. Your church may like you to think otherwise, but you're not. In Gods eyes, love and kindness is what it's all about not someones sexuality or something as trivial as simple biology.

2) A person who has hopes and dreams to raise kids in a loving, stable,healthy and protecting environment, marry the love of their life and be happy... are they sinners for wanting that? Really?

3) Religious folk have NO place in other peoples lives, as if they think they are "perfect" themselves. YOU'RE NOT. Nobody is perfect. Imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with, it must be terribly frustrating to him, but he deals with it. So should we. He loves and cherishes gay people just as much as straights.

4) Fighting against equality of any form is not acceptable and how you consider yourself American is beyond me. Everyone legally in America should be equal. You cannot give equal rights to some and not to others. We're not a theocracy. (Thank goodness)

5) Still protesting gay marriage or anti-gay? Well then, what do you expect of gay people? Do you want them to marry into a straight marriage? Is that what you want? Would you like their relationship to almost likely end up in divorce, causing chaos, hurt, broken hearts and broken homes, and confused children? Do you want your child marrying a gay or lesbian person? Not likely. So what exactly do want from them? To remain celibate the rest of their lives? Do you realize what you're asking of them? Sad and pathetic. So that leads me to my sixth point:

6) Grow up. Stop hiding behind excuses and religion because you think marriage equality is "icky". Many kids feel the same way about straight people kissing too. Are you a kid?

John Meyer
John Meyer

Has anybody introduced this blogger to the enter key on his keyboard? Because they should.

nvrqt
nvrqt

@ActivistAtheist i've seen local news reporting call for some sort of new "covenant marriage". think it's just for straights & not no-fault

Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard
Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard

<I>Murray suggested "the new upper class must start preaching what it practices," </I>


Newt Gingrich, Mark Sandford, David Vitter, John Ensign... need I go on?

licentiousnessharms
licentiousnessharms

Same-sex marriage is an injustice, a tyrannical ploy being perpetrated upon our society, the pernicious consequences of which  are simply mocked and laughed at by its supporters. Ignorance and prejudice have taken the place of knowledge and reason. Caprice and passion substituted for prudence and virtue. The happiness of society, the good of all families, and the welfare of mankind fall victim to the injustice of selfish love, which calculates every thing for itself while taking no notice of a child's best interest or the public advantage of the government promoting ONLY the traditional family. 


In the eyes of a child, same-sex marriage appears adulterous by nature. Someone is not present in his/her home who is his/her true mother or father. No good can come from adultery, only broken homes and broken hearts. At best, an adoptive virtuous heterosexual man and woman can soften the evil sustained by children of adultery, but same-sex proponents want their adulterous families to be considered normal and "equal" to a monogamous heterosexual marriage -- which study after study has proven to be the best environment for child-rearing. There is simply no virtue in ignorance, or in denying truth.


Here are two truths regarding marriage: (1) A man creating a family with another man is not equal to creating a family with a woman, and (2) denying children parents of both genders at home is an objective evil. Kids need and yearn for both.


Same-sex marriage is unconformable to the state of a rational social being, it is defective in principle, and has ONLY a deceitful appearance to young and old because it denies Natural Law. All babies grow up to eventually figure out that it takes a man and a woman to bring a new life into the world.


At school, those kids who have two mothers or two fathers will be different, and the other children will notice that the child of a same-sex couple is different in many ways. Besides the obvious exclusion of either a mother or a father at home, a same-sex-marriage child is deprived of one necessary gender role model at home, and will undoubtedly interact differently than other children of his/her gender, and especially with regards to interacting with the opposite sex of his/her same-sex parents. It is without a doubt that these children will be recognized to be different by the children who have a mother and a father at home, and especially when they have both of their biological parents at home. 


In order to protect the child of a same-sex marriage from any perceived harassment, that child will become a special protected class in the eyes of the government. School officials will have to punish and "re-educate" any child who "offends" the protected-class child by simply expressing that it is strange that  the child of the same-sex marriage is missing a mother or a father, or that the child acts in a manner unusual to his gender contemporaries.


This unjust punishment to subvert the natural understanding of children is evidence enough that same-sex families do not follow core principles of Natural Law, and because same-sex marriage defies Natural Law, pernicious consequences will inevitably happen. To punish a child for saying what he knows is true (all children have a mother and a father) is nothing less than a tyrannical oppression to children who instinctively rely upon Nature's Laws to help them understand life and natural consequences. Children will be coerced to accept as "natural" what are unnatural behaviors, and this challenge to their instinctual knowledge of right and wrong will result in confusion. A morally-confused child is more susceptible to evil and perversion than one who is confident in his knowledge of right and wrong. Evil-doers know this, and will thrive in a society that indoctrinates its children to see no inherent evil in disregarding Natural Laws. Alas, those who support same-sex marriage have apparently fallen too far into the depravity of  tolerating licentiousness  themselves to realize or acknowledge the harm and injustice same-sex marriage imposes upon our children and thus our society. Society institutionalizes marriage to enforce the natural rights and responsibilities of the organic family unit. 


Marriage was instituted to protect the Natural Rights of children. Same-sex marriage ignores nature and tramples those rights in the name of "equality".

cvogel
cvogel

I wonder if these conservative commentators are simply suffering from being stupid, or ideologically blinded, which is the same thing.  They have so focussed on formal--that is, for them, religious marriage--that they fail to take into account the millions of couples, straight and gay, who have happy, healthy, productive, child-bearing and enduring relationships, but have not married.  In an increasing number of jurisdictions, there is little or no practical distinction between formal marriage and common-law (legal common-law applies to heterosexuals everywhere, but to homosexuals only where same-sex marriage is legally possible)  In some places, the only legal difference is that common-law takes longer to establish, while formal marriage is instantaneous.  It is much harder to quantify common-law relationships, for obvious reasons; even in jurisdictions where registration is possible, the majority don't.  Therefore, it is not that fewer couples are getting and staying together, but rather than the reduction in formal marriages gives the impression, to dingbat conservatives at least, that long-term, committed relationships are less common.  Failed relationships happen, of course, causing divorce but, in my experience, the majority of those divorced establish new, and better relationships, but do not marry again.

CarrieandMichelle43
CarrieandMichelle43

@licentiousnessharmsYou are so right. Gay marriage is completely detrimental to the youth of our society... No only did my wife and I  (of 40 years), adopt three children who were abandoned in a drug raid by their very straight parents.  All three of them, since they were raised by lesbians, are among the dregs of society, one as a pediatrician, the other a state police officer and the other is a veterinarian. And can you imagine my horror when my son brought home a young lady, for the first time, we disowned him for being straight, after years of prayer therapy didnt work. He was later voted as homecoming king by his peers, as well as captain of the football team, our one daughter president of the debate club and the other active in musicals, you are, once again, complete right, their peers treated them different because they have two mothers, our yard suffered many nights of feet crushing the grass as all the neighborhood kids came over to play games of hide and go seek.

And you are right again on natural law, no other species of animal has homosexuality. Not dolphins, monkeys, apes, birds or any other species. and marriage was instituted to protect natural rights of children, you know, since before it was invented women were traded as property and were only as good as the husband they could afford...


Ok, switching out of my sarcasm, apparently, my wife and I have debunked every piece of garbage you just posted. Perhaps you need to do a little research before you formulate an opinion. I have been with my wife for 40 years and raised three of the greatest people alive, each one successful and very bright, each married with children of their own. My wife and I have been together through economic hardships, stresses of daily life, the legal battle to adopt our foster children, the battle to have foster children (13 total), the loss of our parents and siblings, and the loss of a child (she was killed by a drunk driver). Yet, because she and I live in a state where gay-marriage is just a dream, we are not protected the same as couples who are married and divorced in 5 months. When my in-laws (whom I have known since infancy) were taking their last breaths, I wasnt allowed in the room with them because I am not legally family. When my partner had surgery to remove her cancer, I was not allowed to be with her in the hospital room during recovery because 'I was not family', she could have died on the operation table and I wouldn't have been able to see her because we are not legally wed.

Gay marriage isnt about 'what is right' and 'what is wrong' in society, it is about extending the same protection and respect to people who have dedicated their lives to each other. Our relationship has survived what would cripple many straight marriages,  yet we do not have the same protection those marriages do. We are people, and it is our right to pursue happiness, it is our right to be equal.

cosper1
cosper1

@licentiousnessharms - So much assumption of correlation and causality. Can you please enlighten us with why interracial marriage is as bad as same-sex marriage?  I'm sure a simple search/replace is all that is needed. After that you can enlighten us on the evils of marrying across religious lines. I'm sure you can't wait to bless us with your essay on "pure breeding" to create the "one true race."

TaxpayingVoter
TaxpayingVoter

@licentiousnessharms For saying a whole lot of nonsensical, unsubstantiated bullshit, you sure used a lot of words.

Too bad it's too long for anyone to bother reading past the point where you out yourself as an ignorant, intolerant cretin.

pastormaker
pastormaker

@licentiousnessharms I always thought "Licentious" would have been a great name for a house slave who got it on with the master's  juicy virgin daughters in the week before the cotillion.

GeoX
GeoX topcommenter

@licentiousnessharms Yeah.  It's a complete mystery why anyone would "mock and laugh at" a swell fella you, when you've made such a completely sober, non-bat-shit-insane argument which is emphatically NOT a salmagundi of bigoted gibberish.

ezeiger92
ezeiger92

@licentiousnessharms Well then...

Same sex couples are just as capable of raising children as heterosexual couples, and their children do not suffer for it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-m-smith/the-well-charted-waters-of-same-sex-parenting_b_3007939.html

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-03-26/national/38038657_1_mark-regnerus-gay-parents-social-science


Children learn from their parents, so when you say "In the eyes of a child", that child most likely grew up with parents that said same sex marriage was a terrible thing.

Same sex marriage is not adultery.  Having sex (as a married person) to anyone you are not married to is adultery, by definition.

Children miss out on a fatherly figure or a motherly figure by having same sex parents just as much as they would by having a single parent.

I am confused by the claim that school officials will have to re-educate kids that harass children of same sex couples.  If there are kids harassing other kids, there should be repercussions.  The topic of the harassment does not matter.

Natural Law has many different meanings, most of which do not refer to same sex marriage at all.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/natlaw/

justme191919
justme191919

@faggothunter @cvogel  Wow!  Ever hear the quote:  "I think (he) doth protest too much"?  Do you know what that means?  One wonders just what it is that has you so hate-filled and idiotic at the same time.  Perhaps it's unresolved feelings that you are terrified to admit that you have.  Poor you.

GeoX
GeoX topcommenter

@faggothunter @cvogel I know you THINK you can make the feelings go away by acting like a violent thug, but it's not gonna happen, no matter how hard you try.  Sorry, sweetheart.

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