NOM Touts Anti-Gay Spokeswoman Who Claims Same-Sex Parents Molest Their Own Children
July 23, 2012 4:03 pm ET by Carlos Maza
In early 2011, Iowa teen Zach Wahls gave an impassioned speech discussing his childhood with two moms, which quickly went viral and turned Wahls into a powerful example of how capable same-sex couples are of raising healthy, happy children.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has so far stumbled in responding to Wahls’ story. Last December, the organization promoted a column rebutting Wahls’ speech by suggesting that gay people molest their own children. And now, NOM has dredged through legions of anti-gay talking heads to find its own same-sex parenting poster child: Dawn Stefanowicz.
Stefanowicz is the author of Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting, a book in which she describes being raised in a severely broken home with a gay father. In her book, Stefanowicz recalls her father engaging in extreme and irresponsible sexual behavior -- child molestation, inviting multiple partners to the house, exposing his children to inappropriate sexual material, etc. Needless to say, her story has made her a star among anti-gay hate groups like the American Family Association and Americans for Truth About Homosexuality. She’s also made a career out of testifying against protections for LGBT people, including marriage equality and hate crime legislation.
Lots of people know about Zach Wahls, whose two lesbians parents seem to have done a fine job raising him, by his own account. How many people know the experience of Dawn Stefanowicz? We don't know how the average child raised by a same-sex couple or gay parent fares, yet. Do we care? Or would we just like to demonize researchers and people who disrupt the nice-nicey images we are always given?
A few things to note about NOM’s promotion of Stefanocicz’s story:
1. Linking Homosexuality To Pedophilia. Stefanowicz has no qualms with linking homosexuality to pedophilia during the interview, repeatedly depicting gay men as predators seeking out young boys:
Once, when I was in the 10th grade, I was excited because my father came to school to watch me perform in the band. He never did before. I saw his eyes bug out when he saw all the teenage boys performing on the stage with me. Then I realized that he was not there for me, but to pick up young men.
My father liked well-dressed, “clean cut” men, who were about 10 years younger than he was. It was always a younger man, never the same age or older. I knew many gay men who had a preference for adolescent males who had just hit puberty. They would look for boys with absent fathers who were vulnerable.
I have images in my mind of being sexually abused; I had nightmares about it. My mother did confirm that I was sexually abused as an infant by my father; however, she could not confirm the images in my mind involving my father and other men with me. Other adult children that came from same-sex environments shared with me that they had been [abused]. There is higher risk of sexual abuse in such an environment. [emphasis added]
By touting Stefanowicz’s interview, NOM (once again) directly promotes the myth that gay men molest their own children at higher rates than heterosexual men.
2. Bad Parenting, Not Gay Parenting. What’s perhaps most frustrating about Stefanowicz’s story is that it isn’t actually about the harms of being raised by a gay parent; it’s about the harm of being raised by an irresponsible, seriously unstable parent. Any father who participates in a sham marriage, sexually abuses his own child, and exposes his children to inappropriate sexual material is unfit to raise a kid, regardless of his sexual orientation. As Jeremy Hooper points out, countless children are raised in abusive households by heterosexual parents, but their stories don’t demonstrate that heterosexual parents are somehow generally unfit to raise children.
3. NOM Intentionally Seeks Out Children Of Same-Sex Parents. NOM’s promotion of Stefanowicz’s story isn’t random. According to the organization’s internal documents, NOM planned to spend $60,000 in 2010 alone to try to get the children of same-sex couples to speak on camera:
NOM has so far been unsuccessful in producing these videos, but its reliance on Stefanowicz reveals the lengths to which the organization will go to challenge the idea that gay people actually make fine parents.