Oh, boy. Mitt Romney gave a speech at Liberty University, and made it clear what side he’s taking.
The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family. The power of these values is evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Senator Rick Santorum brought to my attention. For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%. But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor. Culture matters.
Wait, what? Has this man never heard of cause and effect? So if you’re a high school graduate and get a good job, you aren’t poor. If you’re poor, you’re less likely to graduate from high school and get a good job. Sure, culture matters: so why are the Republicans trying to perpetuate poverty?
I don’t see where getting married before having children has a causal relationship to the problem, either, or where it’s relevant to gay marriage.
As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman. The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate. It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with. Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.
What’s the probability that a gay married couple are poor? I think if he’s going to try and justify a particular pattern of relationships by correlating them with socioeconomic status, I suspect the lesson might be that the god of the prosperity gospel actually favors gay couples.
I expect that this is going to be a major talking point on the Republican side in the coming months. I hope Obama is ready to sharpen his rhetoric and come out a lot more strongly on the issue than he did in his tepid announcement.