Oops: NOM Accidentally Debunks Its Own Anti-Equality Talking Point
April 20, 2012 3:42 pm ET by Carlos Maza
Anyone who’s followed the work of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) knows that one of organization’s central talking points against marriage equality is the argument that children need both a mother and a father because men and women play unique roles in raising children. Good parenting – according to NOM – takes more than just two loving, committed adults; it takes a man and a woman who can be gender role models.
You can find this claim in NOM’s official “Marriage Talking Points,” its “Why Marriage Matters” documents, and even in NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher’s “Top Five Reasons” [broken link] to oppose marriage equality. And it’s a claim that pops up on NOM’s blogs over and over and over again, especially when discussing the importance of fathers.
Which is why it was so surprising to see NOM apparently abandon that talking point this week. In an April 20 blog post, NOM promoted a study by family psychologist John Rosemond which indicated that it’s not necessarily fathers that children need, but two married parents:
According to Rosemond:
Girls who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely, as teenagers, to become pregnant. In that case, they're likely to be single mothers who raise their children in father-absent homes, perpetuating and compounding the original problem. And the wheel keeps on turnin'.
But here's something that's not often talked about: Children of unmarried, cohabiting parents are at higher risk for most of these same problems as well. That means the real problem isn't so much the absence of a father in the life of a child; it's the absence of a husband. More specifically, it's the absence of a marriage.
That makes sense. After all, nothing contributes more to a child's sense of well-being than knowing his parents are in a vibrant, committed relationship with one another. Under those circumstances, he doesn't even need a lot of attention. More important is the fact that his parents give a lot of attention to each other.
In light of this, I propose that we start calling the "father" problem for what is really is: the marriage-absent home. For a child to grow up with a father is good -- but for a child to grow up with a father who is first and foremost a husband is even better. [emphasis added]
Rosemond’s conclusion doesn’t just challenge NOM’s go-to talking point; it’s actually a pretty powerful argument in favor of marriage equality. Same-sex couples continue to adopt and raise children at increasing rates, even in states that don’t recognize same-sex relationships. Based on Rosemond’s study, it’s in the best interest of these children that their same-sex parents be allowed to get married and form “vibrant, committed” relationships. After all, banning same-sex marriage would force these couples to cohabitate indefinitely, putting their children at higher risk for a number of developmental problems.
This is the problem with anti-gay organizations also claim to be “pro-family” – eventually, they're forced to pick a side.