Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Monday, April 19, 2004
Ban on Gay Marriage Prompted by Daddy Abandoning Me
(Via Electablog) USA Today has a feature item about Matt Daniels, the leader of the Alliance for Marriage [for Straight People Only--M.C.] Daniels explains his passion for "protecting the institution of marriage" by explaining that his father had abandoned his family when he was a toddler, and his family suffered dearly. It's a rage against the "path to destroying marriage" and, by extension, the one-parent-of-each-sex family.

But is gay marriage really to blame for men abandoning their families? If a man is an irresponsible schmuck to begin with and can't even honor his responsibilities to his children--while living either together with or separately from their mother--you think he's going to enter into another legal contract binding himself to another person?

I'm not going to debate the relative merits of being raised by a heterosexual couple versus being raised by a same-sex couple--I personally feel that children benefit from having at least one guardian-type of each sex, but I feel that "guardian-types" can include Grandma, who babysits while Dad and Pop are at work; Uncle Bill, who coaches the baseball team and eats dinner at the house three times a week (Cherokee culture, incidentally, has the mother's brother as the main male role model even when the father is present); or in the case of same-sex couples who make arrangements with another person of the opposite sex, the children's other biological parent. And same-sex couples are definitely more stable child-rearing environments than single parenthood--you have backup. Besides, do we have laws stating that if a man or a woman with children is widowed, that person must immediately re-marry? Of course not.

If we want to truly protect the institution of marriage for the sake of the children, we must demand that people enter into marriage with serious intentions. We must demand, in cases of divorce, that non-custodial parents share in the lives of their children, and we should try to ensure at least partial joint custody in as many cases as possible. We must pass laws increasing the penalties for deadbeat dads (and moms), and increase resources to hunt down parents who aren't paying child support. The Federal Marriage Amendment won't do any of this. Instead, it will bar people who are serious about getting married--so serious that they've sued for it--from doing so.

And this is protecting marriage?

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