And that proves what, exactly?


On their official blog, the National Organization for Marriage promotes an interview with Dawn Stefanowicz, who’s made a living from talking about how terrible it was to grow up with a gay father in the ’60s and ’70s. Based on her single data point, Stefanowicz has frequently testified against the legalization of same-sex marriage. You might be wondering: how does that even follow? Well, I don’t know either.

NOM’s secret documents show that they allocated $120,000 toward “Children of same-sex couples and their concerns – outreach coordinator to identify children of gay parents willing to speak on camera”, so it isn’t surprising that they would take an interest in Stefanowicz and her story. As long as imaginary threats to children remain a politically effective talking point against gay marriage, NOM will predictably reach for anything that could conceivably back this up – even if it’s just a single, decades-old example.

NOM’s reference to Stefanowicz’s case as though it means anything is just another manifestation of the raw homophobia undergirding their cause. Even if we grant for the sake of argument that Stefanowicz’s childhood was as completely terrible as she claims, all this shows is that it is possible for same-sex couples to be bad parents – something which was never in dispute. But how can this be extended into a case against same-sex parenting in general?

There are plenty of instances of heterosexual couples mistreating their children, and you don’t have to go back decades to find such examples. NOM could use this exact same line of argument to campaign against heterosexual parents as a whole. But they don’t. The difference isn’t one of how same-sex parents treat their children as compared to opposite-sex parents, it’s one of NOM choosing to apply this logic to gay people but not straight people. What do we call that? Prejudice.

Comments

    • says

      Way lower budget: find as many stories of bad parenting as you can, and point out, by any and every means you can find, whenever the parents are STRAIGHT.

      But of course, that would be extremely insensitive to the children involved. Oh wait.

  1. HK says

    My heterosexual parents were total shitheads. I’d take just about any random two dads over them any day!

  2. Steve says

    As far I can tell, she only had a gay father and the problems started in his marriage to a woman. Just as the Regnerus “study” it only shows that gay people shouldn’t marry straight people

  3. SecMilChap says

    For forty years I lived with a spouse who was a product of a heterosexual marriage, in which she was so mistreated that she (eventually) became unable to maintain a lasting, heterosexual, marriage. Perhaps this was analogous to PTSD? I don’t know. Her mother had been (apparently) unable to shield her from her father’s abusive behavior. IMO, heterosexuality confers no special competence for parenting. Now I live alone, and expect to die alone.

  4. Jill says

    Wow, she uses a New York Times article as proof that “50 percent of same-sex male “marriages” become open to other sexual partners within the first year”?? That’s not the only far out, absolutely ridiculous claim she makes. There is more childhood sexual abuse in environments with homosexual couples? Really? What evidence does she have to back up any of these claims?

    • says

      The New York Times article is based on a study that is not without its flaws (show me one that isn’t), but this one had some particularly troubling ones. It was selected from the San Francisco Bay Area (SFB) with a requirement that the same-sex male couples have a relationship of longer than three months. So, off the bat we can dispense with the idea that this studied same-sex marriages, it didn’t even include lesbians and it had no requirement that the couples actually be wed. However, that criticism only means that the study can’t inform us on married gay male couples, but it still may tell us a bit about gay male relationships… but it doesn’t even do that right. By (poorly) sampling from the SFB area it does not form an informed opinion on how gay male relationships are across the nation. I say “poorly” as they used listservs and notices in gay bars to attract participants. I suspect people in such scenes are more likely to be part of a hook up culture, than those who are on dating websites looking for relationships.

  5. arcana says

    Oh lord, they’ll do absolutely anything in an attempt to make LGBT families look horrible. Here’s the saddest part, Zinnia, outside our world of reason lies another. One that is fed by sensationalism and built upon the backs of the disenfranchised. Shitheads such as Dawn Stefanowicz and NOM will be listened to because yuppies with their lives in pretty bubbles happily accept the bullshit force fed down their throats. It’s disgusting on all levels and no matter how you look at it.

    Thanks for the good read. :>

  6. criticaldragon1177 says

    Zinnia,

    It follows for them because they’re trying to find children raised by gay couple that didn’t have it so good, so they can use them as an example of the “horrible effects of gay marriage.” They probably think that all they have to do is find enough kids with negative experiences and it will convince people that gay marriage is bad for children. I certainly agree with you, I hope that very few people are dumb enough to fall for this, who are not already homophobic, at least people who are already grown up themselves.

  7. Shplane says

    And the worst part is that a lot of really, really gullible people will buy this hook, line, and giant pile of bull feces.

    I swear I remember reading about a real study once that found a negative correlation between gay parenting and child abuse. I wish I could remember what it was. Maybe I’m imagining it.

    • arcana says

      Yeah, it would honestly prove nothing. We can’t pretend these jackasses are looking for anything beyond furthering the discrimination the LGBT community faces. Bad people make bad parents, to say anything else is tantamount to humoring bigots and the shit they shill out.

    • Shplane says

      Well, I don’t exactly find it too unlikely that gay parents would be less likely to abuse their children. In many cases, gay parents only get kids if they really, really, really want them enough to go through the whole adoption process, and then only actually get the kid if The System deems them worthy. It’s pretty easy to see why kids that parents want would get abused less often than kids that parents don’t want, and why vetted parents would be less likely to abuse kids than TeenMom and TeenDad #2976789.

      Not to say that there can’t be bad gay parents, because there definitely can. In fact, it’s not even to say that being gay itself makes parents inherently more likely to care for their children. It’s just to say that there being rider effects that make gay people who do become parents less likely to abuse children than straight people who become parents.

  8. theotherlee says

    I’d would first state.. Life for anyone in the gay community in the 60s-70s was a hell of a lot more difficult than it is today. THOSE stresses are bound to have an affect on a family.

    Then, I would, as is reiterated fervently above, that straight families are far from perfect.

    Finally, I would contrast her experiences with.. oh, Zach Wahls. (http://www.zachwahls.com/?page_id=273)

    Anyone with a smidgeon of intelligence sees through this “crap” promulgated by NOM and it’s ilk.

  9. smrnda says

    Religious people don’t seem to understand that anecdotal evidence of something happening is not proof that it happens in general. An anecdotal report of someone ‘changing’ sexual orientation is weak evidence that it happens. One report like this can’t be taken to generalize to same-sex couples in general.

    I wonder how much evidence of child abuse among religious parents would be enough to persuade these people that fundamentalists can’t be trusted with kids? I’d imagine that they’d suddenly be arguing that individual cases of bad parenting cannot be generalized then.

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