Thursday, July 22, 2004

Mass. governor Romney: infuriating

Just heard Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney talking on NPR. Mostly same old Republican b.s. ("I support our President", "some of the President's critics are going too far", "some would say the current atmosphere of partisanship began with Republicans attacking Clinton in the 90's, but, er, uh... Chewbacca is a wookie!").

But one thing in this heap of bullshit stands out in my mind: his answer to the gay marriage question. To paraphrase, he said, roughly, "There's not enough research on the effects on children of being raised without both a mother and a father, so I think we need to be wary of taking a step, as a society, of blah blah blah." It's almost hilarious: this line is transparently bullshit in so many ways that it's difficult to keep track...

  1. What a non sequitur! He gets asked a question about gay marriage, and he answers with a line about adoption by gay couples.
  2. How, exactly, does Romney propose society could conduct further "research" on the effects on human children of being raised without a mother and a father?
  3. Actually, children have been raised by gay parents, and they've turned out fine.
  4. Let's grant that marriage and children are inextricably linked, as Romney seems to imply. Does Romney suggest, then, that single parents should not be allowed to raise children? Conversely, does he suggest that childless married couples should have their marriages annulled?
  5. Taken to its logical conclusion, Romney's position implies that the state should only recognize marriages between couples who are demonstrably capable of raising physically and psychological healthy children. Well then, why not require that couples --- both gay and straight --- pass a psychological screening to this effect prior to getting married? This seems much more likely to screen out bad parents than an arbitrary litmus test for sexual orientation.
  6. Why can't an aunt or uncle (or family friend of equivalent gender) provide the role of opposite-gender role models for gay and lesbian couples respectively?
  7. How about couples wherein one of the parents is a transgendered person? Should we impose genital tests on married couples at the altar?
  8. In a free and egalitarian society, the presumptive position is one of non-discrimination, and the burden of proof is on those who would impose or preserve invidious distinctions. The burden of proof is on gay marriage opponents to demonstrate that gay marriage harms society, not on those who would advocate for it.

Of course, I'm not really surprised by the logical incoherence of Romney's so-called position. He's not a complete idiot. It's transparently obvious that he doesn't really believe any of this crap, or if he does then it's only through a heroic application of doublethink. It's obviously, obviously just political positioning: a Massachusetts governor cannot come out as an anti-homosexual bigot, but a Republican with political ambitions cannot come out against Our Dear Leader's anti-faggot crusade. Still, it's funny to see the contortions that so-called "moderate Republicans" will twist themselves into on this issue. I mean, you'd think that with all those think tanks you could get somebody to come up with talking points that sound vaguely plausible.

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