Unhappy Father's Day: FRC Says Same-Sex Marriage In California Threatens Dads' Annual Celebration
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 12:50:02 PM EST
Sunday was Father's Day. Like millions of men all over the country, I enjoyed a little extra attention from my family. I got cards from my daughter and son, and my wife made one of my favorite meals, topping it off with her sinfully decadent coconut cake.

Alas, this domestic bliss will soon be a thing of the past. The Family Research Council (FRC) has informed us that this could be the last Father's Day ever. Why? Because same-sex couples are allowed to marry in California!

I know; it doesn't make any sense to me either. Yet there it was in newspaper ads all over California.

As The Washington Post reported, "This past weekend, the Family Research Council ran ads in California newspapers declaring, `Beginning Monday judges are removing the word husband from California marriage certificates. The next step will be to remove the term father from birth certificates. Enjoy this Father's Day....It might be your last.'"

(By the way, the FRC's claim about marriage certificates is, of course, not true. They used to refer to "bride" and "groom." Now they say "Party A" and "Party B." Big deal.)

Why must these Religious Right organizations always reach for the most hysterical and lurid rhetoric they can find? Don't they realize it makes them look foolish? Try as I might, I have yet to figure out how the language on a marriage certificate of a same-sex couple in California (or indeed any state) could possibly affect my status as a father or shut down Father's Day.

Groups like the FRC employ the most incredibly lame arguments imaginable against same-sex marriage. They are constantly telling us, for example, that churches will be forced to marry same-sex couples or that expanding gay rights generally means churches will be required to hire gays or admit them as members.

Not as long as we have the First Amendment. A house of worship is free to choose which couples it will marry. Protestants have no right to demand marriage in a Catholic church. Nor can a church that employs only male clergy be required to hire women. Churches also remain free to expel any member for any reason.

The FRC's claims are scare tactics, pure and simple - and the fact that the organization constantly resorts to them is further proof of how weak its arguments are. I challenge the FRC and other Religious Right groups to come up with one good, secular reason against same-sex marriage. I don't think they can do it.

Some don't even try. Recently, an ultra-conservative Roman Catholic group called the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) placed a two-page ad in The New York Times blasting same-sex marriage. TFP cited several Catholic theologians and papal decrees against the practice.

That's nice - and it might have some relevance if this were medieval France. But it's modern-day America, and while I'm perfectly happy to let the pope issue all of the decrees he wants, his interpretation of Catholic dogma simply cannot be the basis for U.S. laws. Nor can a narrow interpretation of the Bible offered by James Dobson and his pals.

So how about it, FRC? All I want is one solid secular reason why same-sex marriage should be banned. And don't try to give me that "marriage-is-about-raising-children" line. Many couples marry and never have children, either because that is their choice or an inability to conceive. (Plus, plenty of gay couples raise children.) Although it has been adopted by some courts, that argument is absurd. You must do better.

One solid secular reason is all I want. I'm waiting.

panic button. Dobson et al wouldn't be using the rhetoric if it didn't raise money. I'd guess that "teh gay" is a handy label to which the Dobson-listeners can attach any and all anxieties, social, relationship, economic, whatever.

by NancyP on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 01:09:20 PM EST

Start counting: You'll be hearing dozens (at least) of lies and falsehoods in the coming months from FRC and TFP and others of their ilk. Shame on them!

But here's a convenient argument I always use when they start their "but my church will be forced to marry those people" blather: "The Catholic church and some other religious groups (Christian and otherwise) do not recognize civil divorce. Have you ever heard of the Federal government or any state or local government requiring them to do so? Of course not; they're free to refuse to recognize divorce, and they'll be free to disregard civil marriage."

by S1 on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 02:20:32 PM EST

to do as Germany (and other European countries) does. EVERYONE is married in a civil ceremony before a judge. That is your LEGAL union (wedding, handfasting, marriage, or whatever you want to call it).

IF you want your union blessed in church, as in a traditional marriage ceremony, you are certainly free to do it, but it has no bearing on your rights as a couple, legal or otherwise.

Perhaps it is time to get the church out of the equation here, too. Civil unions for everyone, and church weddings for those who desire one. It would certainly take out the talking points for the fundies.

by phatkhat on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 03:21:47 PM EST

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