LOPEZ: Why does marriage matter? How does it make any difference whom we call married?
MAINWARING: There are so many ways to answer this question. I’ll focus on just the two at the top of my list.
Number one: Same-sex marriage, while undefining marriage, will also undefine children. Sadly, our society has become mcuh too focused on satisfying the selfish desires of adults, while ignoring the needs, rights, and desires of children. The New York Times ran an article in June by a gay dad called “The Misnomer of ‘Motherless’ Parenting.” The author’s conclusion — “so, motherless parenting is a misnomer” — doesn’t make sense. It’s an example of a non sequitur. This whole piece can be summed up as an adult justifying himself rather than empathetically taking up his children’s needs and desires. I find this very sad.
His final two lines: “Still, the overarching idea behind parenting by gay men should be that it is great for a child to have one or two dads, and that not having a mom in your daily life can be hard. And that it is O.K. to long for a soft cheek instead of a stubbly one.”
He’s wrong, it’s not okay to long for a soft cheek and find instead only a stubbly one. That child’s longing deserves to be addressed and satisfied.
To me, it almost seems better to have single gays, rather than couples, raising kids. At least with only one dad in the house, there is an open, truthful admission that someone — mom — is missing. When a second dad is present, it seems to me like an enormous act of hubris, declaring that the parent’s sexual needs and need for a particular type of companionship overwhelmingly trump the kids’ deep need and desire for a mom. The presence of the second dad is almost a defiant rebuke against the children’s yearning for a mom.
The author writes that “we have to help our kids find a narrative that is honest about the circumstances,” but the reality is that the children are being asked to live their lives pretending that the absence of a mom makes no difference. Most kids end up playing along, but these men ask way too much of their children.
It would be better for these guys to be honest and say to their kids, “We don’t actually care that you don’t have a mom. Just deal with it.” Motherless parenting is not a misnomer. It remains the heart of the issue.
LOPEZ: What’s your second answer?
MAINWARING: That same-sex marriage will lead to greater government intrusion into all of our lives. I firmly believe that those who are the prime movers of same-sex-marriage legislation want to see government have more control. When families are weakened, as is the case with so many fatherless families, children are brought up looking to government, not family, for help and sustenance. We run the risk of turning into the Obama administration’s dream for America and Americans, as displayed in last year’s “Life of Julia.” Throughout her life, Julia’s most important relationship was with the government. I can’t imagine a more Twilight Zone—like future for our progeny.
LOPEZ: Did you always see this issue as being so important?
MAINWARING: I started speaking out on this issue a few years ago when Maryland’s legislature took it up. Originally, I was a proponent of same-sex marriage, with a laissez-faire attitude. But I found it increasingly difficult to defend same-sex marriage in conversations and, in the end, to myself. Finally I had to admit that I could no longer justify my support and had to change my stance on the issue. Interestingly, my experience has been the mirror opposite of David Blankenhorn’s.
This is an important issue facing America, but it is also arising as an important issue around the world. Think about it: Within the last few years, same-sex marriage has popped up around the globe — in every hemisphere. There are so many related issues: children’s rights; the use of surrogacy (by heterosexual, as well as gay, couples and singles). Most people don’t have a clue about the problems surrounding surrogacy for all parties involved. I suspect a huge global resistance to the implausible notion of genderless marriage will soon emerge. I also suspect that the strongest resistance will first take root in nations less selfish, less materialistic than our own.