The constant attacks from the right on gay parents and our children hardly even register for most straight people. But powerful organizations like the Liberty Council, the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, and the National Organization for Marriage spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to sustain a constant drumbeat of "every child deserves a mother and a father" and "gay parenting is child abuse" in the media, in the courts, and on social media. Most decent straight people tune it out. Most decent straight people think gay people and parents and our children should do the same. But it's hard to tune that shit out when your kids are constantly exposed to it on the news in "balanced" reports about same-sex marriage. (I remember hearing an anti-gay bigot claim that gay male couples adopted boys because we want to rape them. This was on NPR—and my eight-year-old was sitting there, listening as he ate his breakfast.)
The haters on the right bang away at "every child deserves a mother and a father" and "gay parenting is child abuse" even as stories like this one appear in the news every day:
Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton said the father of five children whose bodies were found in Alabama today confessed to killing them while in custody in Smith County, then led authorities to their bodies. The South Carolina children, age 2 to 8, have been found in Wilcox County, Ala., about 10 miles east of Camden, officials said. The children's father, Timothy Ray Jones, was arrested in Mississippi on Saturday on unrelated charges.... The children, who were found buried in individual garbage bags, were reported missing to the Lexington County Sheriff's department on Wednesday. They were last seen with their father, who was their primary legal guardian. The three brothers and two sisters, who all shared the same parents, lived in a home near Lexington.
And stories like this one:
The body of a boy named Christian Choate, 13, had been found encased in cement and buried in a shallow grave in Lake County, Indiana. Police and prosecutors there alleged that he had been forced to live in a dog cage, and was kept naked except for a diaper. They alleged that his father, Riley Lowell Choate, 39, and his stepmother, Kimberly Leona Kubina, 45, had regularly beaten and kicked the boy, deprived him of food, and chained his hands to the top of the cage. They have been charged with murder, battery, neglect of a dependent and criminal confinement.
I could post stories like these to Slog every day. But I don't. They're too depressing and there are too many of them. And I don't go looking for them. Honestly. I don't have Google alerts for child murder. But when I stumble over these stories I feel compelled to post them because they stand as most depressing, most effective, and most damning response to the hateful "every child deserves" drumbeat. (Think of the children who could be helped with the resources the religious right wastes attacking gay people and our children.) And I don't post these stories to attack straight parents or to suggest that gay people are better parents. Like I said here...
Don't get me wrong: mothers and fathers can be great. I had a mother and a father and they were awesome parents to all four of their kids. But making sure that parents come with mix-matched sets of genitalia—making it a legal requirement for a couple to become parents (which is what the Liberty Counsel seeks to do)—does not guarantee that children will be safe and loved. Having gay parents, as we've seen here in Seattle, is no guarantee either. Children need loving, fit, qualified, sane, and—speaking from experience here—infinitely patient parents. Fit and loving parents can be gay or straight or bi, single or partnered, rich or poor, liberal or conservative, trans or cis, kinky or vanilla, monogamous or monogamish.