Paul Caprio, leader of a new coalition of “pro-family” (read: anti-gay) groups in Illinois that is fighting an initiative to legalize same-sex marriage in that state, went on Sandy Rios’ American Family Association radio show recently and offered this bizarre, rambling argument against gay marriage — including something about that state’s high murder rate.
We think it’s important that we block this in the state of Illinois. We know that there have been several referendums recently in other more progressive states, frankly more liberal states, where this has passed by narrow margins, but we feel that it’s very important to stand up. You know, it’s interesting, when you stop to think about it what should the interest of the state be relative to the issue of marriage? The state, more than anyone, should be looking at marriage in terms of protection of children if for no other reason that if children are not protected, and children need foster care or they need DCF [Department for Children and Families] assistance, it costs the state so much more money. Just looking at it from the point of view from the state, not the point of view that we look at things from, including the moral perspective of this issue, but it’s really interesting when you stop to think about it. Chicago, it was announced yesterday, is murder capital of the United States: 506 murders. We have the second highest unwed—or children out of wedlock birth rate, of any major city in the United States, right behind Detroit. All of these things are for reasons and one of the major reasons is the breakdown and the lack of a stable family for children.
Two fascinating things about that statement. First, the usual argument we hear from right wingers is about the big bad evil government crushing individual rights, but this guy wants you to think first about the government’s authority. Second, why doesn’t his argument apply to the children of gay people? As Jamie Kilstein so brilliantly puts it, “If you think that a child should only be raised by a married couple, then I have an idea — let the gays marry, asshole.”