The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is a Christian legal organization committed to challenging the separation of church and state in every way possible, including defending religious displays on public land, political endorsements at the pulpit (through “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”), and various social conservative issues. Anti-LGBT rhetoric is par for the course, and they are representing ProtectMarriage.com to defend California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage. Their latest brochure demonstrates that their counsel is entirely agenda-driven, with seemingly little regard for laws that are not informed by evangelical Christianity.
Complete with mocking quotes around “marriage,” the “How does dame-sex ‘marriage’ affect you?” brochure is bullying at its worst (PDF). Below are some of the inaccurate points they make about the supposed differences between “traditional marriage” and ‘same-sex ‘marriage’”:
CLAIM: “Marriage is the first institution ordained by God… a crowning achievement of His Creation.”
FACT: This is a fine religious belief, but it has nothing to do with the legal definition of marriage, which has no faith requirement. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Loving v. Virginia that “marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man.’” Civil, not religious.
CLAIM: “Same-sex ‘marriage’ is a rebellion against God by a small band of activists… centered on adult satisfaction and demands for endless legal privileges.”
FACT: Marriage equality advocates are not trying to change how churches define religious marriage, only how the law recognizes civil marriage. To suggest that wanting access to the 1,138 rights and protections afforded to married couples is merely “adult satisfaction” is an insult to all marriages. The demand is not for “endless” legal privileges, just exactly the same amount that heterosexual couples already have.
CLAIM: “Marriage is the best producer of well-adjusted children… who enjoy better physical and emotional health and greater educational and career attainment than any other circumstances.”
FACT: Opponents of marriage equality often use studies about “fatherless” families (where the father in an opposite-sex couple abandons the mother to raise the child as a single parent) to cast judgments upon committed lesbian couples. ADF is trying to compare marriage to “other circumstances” that have nothing to do with same-sex marriage.
CLAIM: “Same-sex ‘marriage’ is harmful to adults and children… who experience sexual confusion, insecurity, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiousness, low self-esteem, and perform more poorly in school.”
FACT: Not only is this untrue, it’s an outright lie. There is no research that confirms any of those conclusions. In fact, some research shows that same-sex couples are better parents than opposite-sex couples. This lie feeds off the myths that people who are gay are pedophiles and that children can be “recruited.” If children of same-sex couples face any unique challenges, it is only the stigma they face for having same-sex parents — stigma perpetuated by groups like ADF and brochures like this.
CLAIM: “Same-sex ‘marriage’ is a threat to the future” and “societies that cease to value marriage between one man and one woman decline.”
FACT: There is no historical evidence to suggest that marriage equality has ever had a direct negative impact on a culture. Besides, any examples that predate the last century would be incomparable, as understandings of sexual orientation and gay identities are uniquely modern. The Netherlands recently celebrated 10 years of marriage equality and Dutch civilization is thriving just fine. Even heterosexuals are still getting married!
CLAIM: “Same-sex ‘marriage’ leads to religious persecution” as “Biblical belief and witnessing are being criminalized where same-sex ‘marriage’ is advancing.”
FACT: There have been no attempts to limit what individuals can believe or practice. There have been attempts to ensure that organizations offering a public service not discriminate. If that is too much to ask of Catholic Charities or other groups, it is those group’s choice to end their services to avoid having to recognize same-sex couples. Likewise, same-sex couples should be free from public harassment and condemnation (whether it’s in the name of faith or not). Calling a person’s identity sinful is harmful and contributes to stigma.
CLAIM: “Marriage is constitutionally affirmed” because the Supreme Court set precedence by refusing to hear an appeal of a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling against same-sex marriage in 1972.
FACT: In Baker v. Nelson, the Supreme Court did not even consider the merits of whether the Constitution protects marriage equality. Nothing was “constitutionally affirmed.”
CLAIM: “Same-sex ‘marriage’ is an attack on the Constitution… and opens the legal door for polygamy, polyamory, bestiality, and child ‘marriage,’ among other disturbing changes.”
FACT: The slippery slope argument is fallacious. Besides being an insult to committed same-sex couples, no one is currently advocating for legal recognition of any of the mentioned “disturbing” changes, particularly those that would require the consent of animals or minors. Even if someone were, this argument would clearly fail because people who have sex with animals or children do not meet the Supreme Court’s standard for heightened constitutional protection; gay couples do.
If ADF wishes to defend Christianity instead of the law, perhaps they should get out of the legal business.