As reported Monday, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly recently admitted that conservatives have “lost” the fight against same-sex marriage. His organization tried to downplay his concession as merely an “acknowledgment of the cultural trend,” and yesterday, he had a column on FoxNews.com dedicated to “Why the Same-Sex Marriage Experiment Will Not Work.” Unfortunately for Daly, the weakness of his argument does more to confirm his concession than reverse it. To his credit, he attempts to make a case against equality without using the Bible, but his fallacy-ridden attempt at rejuvenating opposition is just begging to be debunked:
I am, naturally, personally opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage for the simple but profound reason that it violates and contradicts the sacred text of the Bible, which I believe to be true and inspired. But on what basis should I expect people who don’t believe as I do to likewise oppose same-sex marriage?
On the basis of logic, reason, common sense and the fact that preservation of traditional marriage is in the best interest of the common good, as evidenced by any number of factors, including reams of social science data and thousands of years of history.
Daly goes on to cite examples of what he calls “social engineering” in an attempt to suggest that it always leads to failure. The problem is that he tries to connect all kinds of dots without anything to support his doing so. (He must have missed the lesson about correlation not meaning causation.)
His first example is no-fault divorce. Daly suggests that the advent of legalized no-fault divorce “encouraged struggling spouses to throw in the towel,” which led to abandoned families, higher poverty levels, higher prison populations, and fatherless kids. He provides no evidence that any of those “consequences” even took place, let alone that they had anything to do with the availability of no-fault divorce. But that’s besides the point. Even the implication that marriage is not popular or that it should be a “struggle” are arguments against marriage, whereas same-sex couples want the commitment of marriage.
The next example he tries to use is the legalization of abortion. Daly’s argument requires a belief that abortion is a “tragedy,” but as before, his suggestions that “the beauty of life has been cheapened” and “child abuse has skyrocketed” don’t actually have any connection to abortion. He also conveniently ignores the fact that abortion rates are down except among women who don’t have access to contraception. For Daly, the abortion argument is merely self-fulfilling; people are getting abortions and abortions are bad.
His other examples, welfare and cohabitation, illuminate the true problematic theme with his overall argument. Each example demonstrates a moment in time when there was an increase in public awareness and documentation of what an evangelical Christian like Daly might call “failures.” Just as no-fault divorce and abortion allowed more people to access services they intended to pursue anyway, the advent of welfare brought to light how many people were in need of government support. What he calls a “cycle of dependency and poverty” was formerly just a cycle of poverty; welfare just added some assistance to the situation. And if he wants less couples cohabitating, he should support the right of all same-sex couples to actually get married, as they have been doing without consequence in the Netherlands for ten years now.
Ultimately, his argument is that “success” for social experiments would mean more people in unhappy marriages with unwanted children in unsustainable living conditions. He suggests with each of his four examples that “progressives promised good things, [but] sadly, the exact opposite has happened.” What history is he looking at? As society allowed for no-fault divorces, abortions, and welfare, domestic violence declined by 30 percent, women got safer abortions, and poverty-stricken families were able to access the support they needed to survive. Where’s the failure? Daly has disproven the very point he intended to make.
He probably knows it, too, because he wrapped up the post with tired self-victimizing tropes about how marriage equality somehow infringes on religious liberty. Daly doesn’t have any good arguments against marriage equality, religious or otherwise. If anyone doubted him when he admitted defeat on this issue, this post certainly seals the deal.