What Conservatives Mean When They Defend ‘Parents’ Rights’ To Discuss Sexuality

The Family Research Council published a full-page ad today in the Dallas Morning News today opposing the inclusion of gay Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America. The arguments are familiar, but one manages to imply much more than what is on the page:

ROBS PARENTS of their authority to address issues of sexuality:

Parents properly have the exclusive right to raise issues of sex and sexuality with their children when they think it best for their child and family, and to not have it brought up by older openly gay boys around a campfire.

This argument essentially uses the closet as a weapon against gay youth. The intention is to prevent young people from learning that gay people exist, using “parents’ rights” as a straw man to justify. The argument also relies on other anti-gay stereotypes often included in arguments against gay Scouts, such as the idea that a same-sex orientation is only defined by sexual behavior.


Children of any age can learn about sexual diversity without learning about sex. Many will grow up with parents of the same sex, or with classmates who have same-sex parents. FRC is reinforcing that it is not “best” for children to learn that gay people exist — essentially forcing a closet of invisibility upon the entire gay community.

Polls have consistently shown that knowing gay people helps individuals become more comfortable with LGBT issues and thus more favorable. FRC has to oppose that visibility at every turn, because their scare tactics depend on the fear they can perpetuate when people know less about homosexuality.