Conservatives in Tennessee are nervous that the marriage equality fight be coming to their state, especially since Collegedale has become Tennessee’s first city to offer benefits to married same-sex couples. David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, writing at Focus on the Family’s Citizenlink, challenges LGBT activists to justify two beliefs he believes are inherent to same-sex marriage:
First, to the extent that same-sex couples want to bring children into their relationship, they must believe the sexual, emotional, and psychological complementariness of the two sexes and the value of that complementariness to children are irrelevant.
Second, that belief rests upon another belief, namely, that men and women are the same, that there are no distinct characteristics apart from anatomy. If you doubt me, then you haven’t given much thought to what is behind all the gender identity arguments that have arisen since the same-sex marriage debate began. [...]
So, the first dilemma same-sex marriage advocates face is whether they are willing to come right out and say for all to hear that (i) they believe men and women are interchangeable when it comes to what a child needs and (ii) they believe that because they also believe there are no differences between the sexes.
Fowler’s bluff is easy to call. What makes any couple “complementary” is their ability to love and care for each other and build a life together. Heterosexual couples are not more “complementary” because of their genitalia or their gender, nor are gay couples any less “complementary” because of theirs. If gays and lesbians were more compatible with people of the opposite sex, then they wouldn’t be gay or lesbian.
And whatever differences Fowler might believe impact children are irrelevant, at least according to every study of children being raised by committed same-sex couples. Those children have no trouble understanding gender or their own identities; in fact, some studies suggest that they have increased awareness specifically because of their unique families. What matters to the well-being of children is how committed their parents are to the family, regardless of their gender make-up.
Fowler attempts to make a final jab in his post on behalf of children, but uses a laughably backward reference:
The second dilemma is Collegedale’s. Having embraced same-sex marriage, the City of has to explain why, in the words of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the recent marriage decision, it is willing to “humiliate” the children of certain types of employees.
Kennedy was writing specifically about how marriage inequality humiliates the children already being raised by same-sex couples by making it more difficult for them to “understand the integrity and closeness of their own family.” Collegedale is the one city in Tennessee that actually wants to protect those children, a concept a bully like Fowler seems quite confused about.