Gay Exceptionalism: The Disco On A Hill

Gay Exceptionalism: The Disco On A Hill

Journalists covering the Supreme Court’s gay-marriage case refuse to question gay parenting, despite myriad opportunities.
Robert Oscar Lopez
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It’s gay marriage season again at SCOTUS, just like the spring of 2013. You know what that means: the children of gays (COGs) need to be rounded up, airbrushed, and placed in the spotlight.

Hence the Huffington Post saw fit to run the lead story, “Meet the Couples Fighting to Make Marriage Equality the Law of the Land.” Abundant pictures of happy interracial families involving gay couples and unclaimed children conceived by people missing from the photographs offer Americans gay exceptionalism at its best.

Gay exceptionalism goes something like this: “Kids grieve when they’ve been taken away from a mother or father, except when gay couples are involved—then they absolutely love it.” And who wouldn’t? Who doesn’t want to be the smiling centerpiece of the fashionable love-fest that is the same-sex marriage movement?

Come to think of it, lots of kids don’t want to be the poster children for same-sex parenting. Lots of them have been forced to play that role, are older now, and speak explicitly about how exploitative and harmful it was to be a science project for a constituency fighting over a history of discrimination that has nothing to do with children who come into the world wanting, most often, the love of a mother and father.

Don’t take my word for it: Read the briefs the other dissident COGs submitted to the Supreme Court on March 27, 2015. You can also read through 70 examples of same-sex parenting in “Jephthah’s Daughters,” which I co-authored with fellow COG Rivka Edelman and where I gathered scholarship from 15 other people. As common sense might hint, the photographs of happy kids with gay parents tell a tiny fraction of the whole story and leave out almost all the ugly stuff.

The Media’s Odd Lack of Intellectual Curiosity

Interestingly, almost a month has passed since these briefs were submitted, and nobody except the Washington Times seems to have taken the time to read them and represent them with anything remotely resembling objectivity. Think of the thousands—millions, even—of hours that journalists have spent writing about marriage equality and same-sex parents.
Journalists with a shred of integrity would feel some curiosity about children who come out of these homes and oppose same-sex marriage. Wasn’t Sarah Palin roundly bashed by the mainstream press because she “lacks intellectual curiosity,” as Sen. Lisa Murkowski said?

Journalists with a shred of integrity would feel some curiosity about children who come out of these homes and oppose same-sex marriage.

Intellectual curiosity is generally perceived as a good thing—just not when gay activists have a storyline they need broadcast to get something they really want, and they don’t want people poking around and asking questions.

When gay people are involved in anything, the rules change to reflect that people who love the same sex are exceptional; I mean, they’re not just anyone, they’re “The Gays.” Interrogating them about what they claim is like going to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635 and asking John Winthrop sensitive questions about his reading of Revelations. You just don’t do it. Like the Puritans, The Gays have founded a city on a hill, which must shine for all the world to see. Only “city on a hill” sounds so lame. For The Gays, it is a disco on a hill.

This Never Works In Fiction for a Reason

The gay marriage movement is utopian in an ironic, science-fiction sense. For the record, all the great modern literature that envisions a future world in which people were manufactured on cue or removed from their birth families then handpicked to live inside a fishbowl of political engineering is dystopian.

Steven Spielberg’s film ‘A.I.’ humanized the sad countenance of a boy who had to know he was manufactured to be the toy and plaything of adults.

Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” wasn’t a glowing endorsement of bio-engineering.

“Brave New World” was supposed to be creepy.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” recounted a nightmarish scenario of a male-dominated society using women as breeding machines and then taking their children away.

“Citizen Kane” and “The Truman Show” were about babies being adopted by corporations and chosen as branded products to speed along commerce. These were not films that encourage a free-market approach to assigning children guardians.

“Annie,” while very cute, exposed the cruelty of turning adoptions into a black market and orphans into trophies.

“The Matrix” and “Blade Runner” visualize the atrocities that result when synthetic experience and synthetic biomaterials clash violently against the engineers doing the synthesizing.

Just 14 years ago, before people could figure out that this would be, indirectly, a scathing indictment of the assumptions behind same-sex parenting, Steven Spielberg’s film “A.I.” humanized the sad countenance of a boy who had to know he was manufactured to be the toy and plaything of adults.

Congratulations: Your Life Is an Advertisement

Growing up with gay parents is like growing up with Prometheus or Pandora as your caregiver. The guardian gets to project himself or herself as visionary, bold, and adventurous, while denying you curiosity or independent thought because you are the one destined to shoulder all the consequences of what he or she didn’t think through.

There have been faint attempts to peek behind the flashing strobe lights of the disco on a hill and find out if there’s something else going on with gay families. For instance, a major newspaper’s Supreme Court correspondent recently forwarded a note in all caps to the lawyer who helped the dissident COGs submit friend-of-the-court briefs:

I’M LOOKING FOR ONE GOOD EXAMPLE OF SOMEONE WHO GREW UP IN A SAME-SEX HOUSEHOLD AND IS OPPOSED TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. CAN YOU  RECOMMEND, WITH CONTACT INFO? IT SHOULD BE SOMEONE WHOSE ISSUES ARE WITH THE SAME-SEX PART – NOT PROBLEMS RELATED TO THE ABSENCE OF THE OTHER  BIOLOGICAL PARENT, OR A DIVORCE, ETC.

Nearly a month after filing the briefs, this is all we get. Fifty-one words in all caps, to which two of us replied but received no answer.

I love the all-caps effect and the threatening ultimatum: “Find me one good example, and it can’t be for any reason other than them hating gay people!” Reporters have seen the gay lobby oversimplify COGs for so many years, they think we are actually stupid. Of course this “Supreme Court correspondent” has not read our briefs; the briefs would explain our point of view. It seems he doesn’t consider us legitimate examples because, in his mind, the only possible reason anybody, including a COG, would oppose gay marriage is homophobia—thereby confirming the self-righteous pre-existing assumption this reporter has about the awesomeness of gay parenting and the unquestionable need to legalize same-sex marriage.

If intellectual curiosity and journalistic integrity are the price of admission to get into the next wet T-shirt contest in the Disco on a Hill, it seems the entire profession of journalism save for one heroic reporter at the Washington Times has made up their minds. They’re checking their honor at the door. From there, it goes to lost and found, only they don’t plan to reclaim it.

At Least Someone Will Read This

For the record, we did try to assist this reporter in doing his job. Below is the text of the email I sent, to which he has not responded:

[The attorney] forwarded me a request from you regarding children of same-sex couples who oppose same-sex marriage. You stated that you wanted to speak specifically with someone who opposes same-sex relationships and does not have a problem with divorce or being denied a biological parent. I am writing to let you know that that’s not me but I think you should give my position a hearing regardless.

I do not work with children of same-sex couples who focus on opposition to homosexuality itself. As a bisexual raised by a lesbian couple and as the president of the International Children’s Rights Institute, I have been attentive to the problem of homophobia in society and took care to analyze the impacts of same-sex marriage according to how they affect every child’s inalienable rights:

(1) to be born free, not bought or sold

(2) to a mother and father

(3) to his or her origins

I would like to help you but I am uncertain about what you are looking for; on the surface it appears that you want to interview someone who has ill will toward gay relationships and isn’t looking at the Fourteenth Amendment objectively; that is simply not the way the six friends of the court are. Our opposition to same-sex marriage is not rooted in objections to same-sex relationships. We have been careful to demonstrate that some concomitant trauma such as divorce or an absent biological parent becomes necessary for children to be under the exclusive custody of a same-sex couple. No same-sex parenting arrangement exists without such concomitant traumas so we do not seem to match what you are looking for. If you are interested in discussing what we argued in our briefs any of us would be happy to communicate with you.

In my book, I documented 70 cases of same-sex parenting running the gamut from divorce to abandonment to third-party reproduction to adoption. I would be happy to discuss that with you. Let me know if you are interested in speaking and if this is what you are looking for.

Sincerely,

Robert Oscar Lopez

Robert Oscar Lopez is an associate professor of English and classics. He edits English Manif and founded the International Children’s Rights Institute.

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