NOM: Marriage Equality Treats ‘Mothers Like Slaves And Children Like Chattel’

There is currently a debate playing out at the Christian Post between the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) and Jennifer Thieme of the National Organization for Marriage’s Ruth Institute, and her provocative arguments in the exchange highlight some of NOM’s most disparaging and manipulative talking points against marriage equality. Thieme baited LCR a few weeks ago in an opening volley arguing that President Lincoln would have opposed same-sex marriage because it’s so similar to slavery. Her example for comparison was Lisa Miller, who separated from her civil union partner, declared she was ex-gay, and abducted their daughter Isabella away to central America, defying the law that gave her former partner visitation rights:

I believe that, in spite of the intentions of its advocates, the policy of gender-neutral marriage policy (commonly known as gay marriage) will come to treat mothers like slaves and children like chattel. Favoring gender-neutral marriage policy over natural marriage policy will empower and expand the state at the expense of civil society, the family, and ultimately, the individual. […]

Given all this, I believe that Lincoln would fight against legal changes that undermine the natural family. I believe he would object to how Lisa Miller and Isabella are being treated.

LCR Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo responded a week later. Largely avoiding Thieme’s offensive remarks and the case of fugitive Lisa Miller, Angelo simply pointed out that the conservative themes of equality and limited government are consistent with same-sex marriage. In his final jab, he asserted that “Gay rights are civil rights, and I doubt that history will treat opponents of marriage equality as kindly as the author hopes.”


Thieme responded again this week, accusing LCR of “disregarding children’s natural rights.” Contradicting her previous claim that she does support adoption, Thieme argues that “biological parenthood” is preferable, because same-sex marriage and parenting “cannot replenish themselves, and thus gay couples are “selfish” for taking children away from their birth parents:

Imagine being a baby in a society where the state refuses to defend your biological bond to your parents, at the behest of politically powerful people. I wouldn’t feel safe there. How about you?

Unsurprisingly, Thieme ignores the thousands of children already being raised by same-sex couples who are deprived of legal protection by marriage inequality. In fact, she disparages these families by suggesting LGBT rights are just “legal support structures to prop them up so that they look equal to natural families.”

This is rhetoric offensive to all adoptive and foster families — gay and straight. It mirrors the language of Robert Oscar Lopez, whose narrative NOM has championed, who claims that same-sex parenting is inherently “child abuse.” All of these arguments ignore both the mounting research affirming same-sex parenting and the testimony of those children themselves.

Instead, Thieme — and in turn, NOM — use essentialist biological claims unfounded by science to assert the superiority of straight families over gay families. This, she claims, justifies the government not recognizing the latter’s families whatsoever. The galling irony of her use of the issue of slavery to justify her argument is apparently lost on her.