Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 21, 2004
POLITICS/WAR/LAW: Lileks and More Lileks

Lileks has been on a ferocious roll lately. Tuesday's Bleat looks at Claudia Rossett's NRO piece drawing up a roadmap of the ties between the UN's oil-for-food boondoggle for the benefit of the long-suffering Iraqi people Saddam Hussein and some secretive financial institutions that have been linked to Al Qaeda. Rossett's piece is far from definitive, but it's cautious and apparently well-sourced, and raises some real issues about whether Saddam's dealings with shady Al Qaeda-linked financiers and his evident opportunity to funnel them money undetected was just coincidence. Among other things, Lileks notes the problem this could later present for the Democrats and their standard-bearer:

[W]hat does this do for John Kerry’s credibility? He stated on Sunday that Saddam had no connections to Al-Qaeda, an assertion that has now taken on the mantle of Absolute Fact.

Monday, Lileks gave a well-deserved Fisking to Andrew Sullivan's call for a regressive, growth-strangling gas tax. Read the whole thing.

Friday, Lileks offered up the best effort I've read yet to articulate the opposition to the gay marriage movement (indicative of his openness to honest debate on the one issue but not the other, Sullivan links to the gas tax Bleat but ignores this one). After noting that he doesn't have a religious issue with homosexual relations or with same-sex marriage, Lileks tears into the argument of an anthropologist in support of same-sex marriage, in terms that are worth reprinting here in full:

[W]hat perked up my ears was one of the anthropologist’s assertions that there is no difference between a two-parent / two-sex family and a two-parent / same-sex family. None. He said: Any preference for a traditional mom/dad family was based in a “superstition.” His word: “Superstition.” Because, you see, there was no evidence that two moms were different in any important way than a mom and a dad. Belief in werewolves, belief in the evil eye, belief in the walking undead or the superiority of a mom-dad household: superstition.

In his zeal for a brave new world, this fellow managed to insult and demean everyone. And I mean everyone. Moms? Any guy can do your job. Dads? Your son or daughter doesn’t need to grow up with a male role model in his or her daily life. It’s the sort of pernicious nonsense that thinks gender is an arbitrary social construct. It’s not enough, apparently, to say that gay couples can be great parents. You have to insist that heterosexual couples have no inherent advantages. It’s not enough to say that kids raised by gay couples can grow up well-adjusted. You have to deny the advantages of growing up in a family where the child is exposed to both male and female role models on a molecular level. It’s not enough to support the rights of a lesbian couple to bring life into this world; you have to stifle your own suspicions that having a dad in the house is better than not having one. Otherwise you’re one of those curious old things who lives in a world dominated by superstitions. Quaint, amusing superstitions.

This is what dismays me: no matter how much I may support gay rights, in the final analysis my belief that my daughter needs a dad brands me as a reactionary.

Well, at the risk of making it worse: A mom cannot be a dad. And a friend or uncle who comes around for trips to the ice cream store might be that vaunted “male role model” but he’s not going to magically impart values just by showing up for an hour or two every fortnight. Just because gay couples can’t be excellent parents doesn’t mean that the inherent nature of the relationship is equal to the inherent nature of heterosexual parenting. But nowadays we cannot make value judgments about these things. If you say that heterosexual parenting arrangements have a built-in advantage you're somehow delegitimizing the very notion of homosexual parenting.

I think this is obvious, and I am mystified why this should somehow become a referendum on homosexuality. But alas. I’m sure this makes me, in the eyes of some, a hopeless bigot. It would be different if the advocates admitted the difference and insisted that it doesn’t matter in the long run. No: they refuse to admit that there’s a difference at all. Moms? Dads? Play-acting roles, Mere inventions, lead aprons we drape on manikins.

Lileks admits that this may not be the prevailing view of advocates of same-sex marriage -- oh, but it is, at least as it's presented in the courts (as opposed to some legislatively negotiated, half-a-loaf compromise), and he nails precisely why this argument strikes such an emotional chord with opponents of same-sex marriage. Remeber: under well-settled constitutional law standards, the legal argument under the Equal Protection Clause depends on showing that the distinction between same-sex marriage and traditional marriage has no rational basis at all. That the State has no reason that could be articulated with a straight face as justifying a preference for marriage in the form it has always existed, including its integral relationship to the bearing, begetting and rearing of the next generation. If they concede that there is any unique value whatsoever to children having both a mother and a father, advocates of imposing same-sex marriage through the courts have no argument; they've given away the game. Thus, they must attack, and attack, and attack, and chip away at faith in the institution so many of us hold dear, and denigrate it to the point where it's indistinguishable from the alternative.

But those of us who value marriage, who believe that having a mother and a father is a good thing for children - we're the ones who are being "divisive".

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:42 AM | Law • | Politics 2004 • | War 2004 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Let me know when you and Lileks put the finishing touches on your Constitutional Amendment banning divorce.

Posted by: Mr Furious at April 21, 2004 01:14 AM

Let me know when you and Lileks put the finishing touches on your Constitutional Amendment banning divorce.

Posted by: Mr Furious at April 21, 2004 01:15 AM

Put differently: does the Constitution require that states permit divorce? I think not. Stricter laws on the availability of divorce, at least where there are children, would be fine by me.

Posted by: The Crank at April 21, 2004 01:23 AM

Sorry for that double post, don't know what happened there...

As I was reading your Lilek excerpt and then your commentary, all I could think about is how many kids are raised just fine and dandy with one parent. I will certainly grant that two parents are better than one*, and maybe even better still if they are of different genders.

*Assuming that both parents are good people and add value to the raising of a child. Even if both parents are good, well-intentioned people and parents, often a marraige is so unhealthy that divorce is a healthier option for all concerned, especially the children.

We all know that there are plenty of reasons people are up at arms about gay marraige that have nothing to do with raising children. What do you suppose the percentage of gay couples who want kids (adopted or otherwise) is anyway?

This all boils down to too much social engineering on the part of the government. Stay out of my marraige, stay out of my divorce, and aside from basic welfare issues, stay out of deciding too much of what's good for my kid.

Posted by: Mr Furious at April 21, 2004 02:07 AM
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