No one is arguing that raising children isn’t work. Democratic strategist and CAP Action board member Hilary Rosen is a single mother of twins who had to go through the expensive and challenging process of adoption with her then partner Elizabeth Birch. Now, she’s trying to stick up for other mothers who don’t have the luxury of millionaire husbands to help fund their child-rearing duties, and the backlash is getting ugly. Catholic League president Bill Donohue attacked her family on Twitter this morning:
@CatholicLeague: Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.
Somehow, Rosen’s family is less valid, less worthy of respect because she adopted her children. This insults not just lesbian couples, but all non-birth mothers. In fact, it seems like few even recognize that Rosen is a mother at all, perhaps an inherent cultural consequence of her choice (or lack of choice) to not be a stay-at-home mom. Consider this Twitter quip from Alice Stewart, who until this week was Rick Santorum’s National Press Secretary:
@alicetweet: Being a mother is the most valuable work a woman can do, my heart goes out to @hilaryr children if she doesn’t believe that
Such comments play into archaic stereotypes that de-emphasize the important work men can do as fathers and that women can do in the professional world. The most valuable work a woman can do is whatever work she chooses to do. To otherwise qualify women’s roles in society is to prove Rosen’s point. Ann Romney is not qualified to speak on behalf of women who have had to earn the living they need to raise their children, and discounting those women’s life choices as “less valuable” is the true controversy.
The Catholic League has responded to the controversy on Twitter: “Glad to know Hilary’s fans are in a state of apoplexy. You’d think she was outed by their hysterical reaction. Get over it and grow up.”