Gay Marriage, Abortion Aren’t Problems. Child Homelessness, Poverty Are.

 
 
Throughout the year in the United States, an estimated two million children will be homeless, over three million will be living without either of their parents. 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ. At least half a million U.S. children live in foster homes. States that offer marriage equality also have the lowest rates of child homelessness.

Republicans and social conservatives -- including the Tea Party -- spent the better part of the past year railing against President Obama's fiscal and social policies, and crowing about "jobs, jobs jobs!" Perhaps rightly so, as the Congress last year did little directly to create jobs programs. But at least they didn't pretend they were.

In the run up to the 2010 election, the Republican mantra was "jobs, jobs jobs!," and Republican and Tea Party candidates and incumbents all promised the American people once they were in charge they would focus solely on "jobs, jobs jobs!" They used the term "jobs-killing" as an adjective attached to anything-Obama more times than Sarah Palin has Facebook friends.

Yet, here we are, almost one-quarter of the way through 2011, and the GOP has passed not a single bill that will create a single job. Not one. Instead, Republicans at the local, state, and federal level have spent their time focused on making it as difficult as possible for a woman to get an abortion or any reproductive health services, they have focused on union-busting, making creationism the law of the land in schools, ending federal coverage for low-income child immunizations, taking families who go on strike off food stamps, defunding "Obamacare," defunding NPR, defunding Planned Parenthood, supporting DOMA in court, voting to take away rights of LGBT public employees and their spouses, voting to ban same-sex marriages, and killing the EPA.

Read: "The GOP’s War On Women And Children"

The past seven days must have held considerable angst for social conservatives, religious leaders, and the politicians who pander to these extremists. Polls and studies have rolled in, finding great majorities and pluralities supporting marriage equality and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), even among conservatives. Even among Catholics and Christians and Protestants. Even among almost every single demographic group in the country.

Old, young, white, non-white, college-educated, high school educated, men, women, northern, eastern, southern, western, you name it -- the American people have spoken and they have said not only do they want the government to repeal DOMA, but they want the government to allow same-sex marriage, and to stop addressing social issues and focus on jobs. And they want their religious leaders out of their bedrooms, doctor's offices, pharmacies, and classrooms.

(What is also staggering is the vast disparity between what the American people in general actually want, and what their political representatives and religious leaders are actually doing.)

Here, at The New Civil Rights Movement, we posted the news about the Vatican's speech to the United Nations this week, during which the Holy See bemoaned what it classifies as the "vilification" of people who speak out against same-sex marriage. Interestingly, this prompted a rather curious debate in the comments section, fueled by one conservative and several regular readers.

Some of the comments from the anti-marriage equality conservative were about "traditional marriage" creating "socially licensed male/female homes," and another curious one about marriage: "A marriage license equates children like a fishing license equates fish. The requirements for a fishing license doesn't require you to catch fish, but people who apply for one hope to catch fish. Most people who get married hope to have children."

You can imagine what followed.

When I started to jump in to defend my position, it dawned on me, much as it dawned on me earlier in the week when I decried our bombing Libya, in a tweet, "Great. Shock and awe in #Libya. America again steps in. Where are the jobs, Mr. Gaddafi?," what the hell are we doing?

My point is simply this.

Much like the overwhelmed employee who is so far in over his head he doesn't know what part of his job to do first, America is playing whack-a-mole -- and losing, badly, I might add -- in her job of caring for her people, and making their lives, and the world, better.

And so, the time has come to say this: Don't talk to me about the "evils" of what conservatives call "gay marriage," or the "evils" of abortion, until you have solved the problems of child homelessness, child hunger, child poverty, education, and jobs.

Republicans are now doing everything they can to constrict a woman's right to abortion and reproductive services. What do they think will happen to all those unwanted children? They're not thinking, but you and I know many of these children will end up unwanted, and become wards of the state, at an increased cost to taxpayers.

How is it that the same people in Congress who want to end abortion are the same people who want to take away food stamps, education, and health care from children? Does the so-called "sanctity of life" only exist in the womb? Could there be anything less responsible that this?

Call it GOP logic. Make it your sole goal to cut taxes and end abortion and see what you get.

Nevermind the increased costs of human suffering that goes along with all this. Never mind that it's just plain wrong.

Add to this lunacy the conservative's desire to end the teaching of evolution, and substitute "creationism," as well as reduce spending, by the billions, on children's education, and what will we have in a decade? In two decades?

A lot more unwanted children, poor, sick, and ignorant.

Who is forced to care for unwanted poor, sick, and ignorant children?

The taxpayers.

And what do Republicans want to do? Cut taxes.

Do you see where we're going here?

Now, on top of all this illogical, inhumane stupidity, the GOP, the Tea Party, and social conservatives want to stop same-sex couples from marrying, and adopting children.

Why?

Because homosexuality, according to them, is "evil," unnatural," and against the will of God. (Bull, but this is their "thinking.")

I'm pretty certain those same Bible-thumpers who are against same-sex couples marrying and raising children are the same ones who are all for cutting taxes, reducing the amount of money spent on schools, education, unionized teaching professionals, healthcare, and so on, and so on, and so on.

(Now, back to all those polls. Just a reminder: The majority of Americans, no matter how you slice it, want DOMA dead and same-sex couples to be able to marry. Sadly, no one's been able to get politicians to understand what the American people want.)

So, let me recap.

There's a group of people in America who's life's mission is to:

  • Cut taxes
  • Cut government spending on healthcare
  • Cut government spending on education
  • Cut government spending on the arts
  • Cut government spending on news and information services
  • Stop the government from regulating pollution-causing industries
  • Stop the government from reacting to climate change
  • Stop the government from regulating food, toys, business in general
  • Teach creationism
  • Teach abstinence-only sex education
  • End abortion
  • End teenagers' access to contraception
  • Stop same-sex couples from marrying
  • Stop same-sex couples from adopting

And I'm sure a great many more things.

What will we get from all this?

Sadly, many unwanted children, who will not be immunized, who will not receive proper health care, who will not be properly fed, who will not be properly educated, who will end up having more sick, un-educated, and unwanted children of their own, all of whom will not be cared for at all because the state won't pay for them because Republicans want to cut taxes.

And yet, we have loving, willing, desperately-wanting same-sex couples ready and able to raise children, create families, and get married.

See my point?

Conservatives talk about the "fact" that children must be raised in a family headed by a mother and a father. Well, first of all that's not necessarily true.

Two long-term studies recently published found just the opposite. In fact, one of them, a twenty-five year-long and vigorously peer-reviewed study published in the journal Pediatrics, found that adopted children raised by lesbian parents are better-adjusted and do better in school than their opposite-parented peers. Add to this the fact that we now have, “a study of gay dads that finds they are more likely than straight ones to focus on parenting over career, at least when their children are young.”

Children deserve to to be raised in a loving home by adults who can teach and raise them well, provide for their material, social, educational, and emotional needs and development. Whatever that looks like, I know that as a stipulation it far exceeds what possibly a majority of children face today.

Now, look at these clips from recent news stories:

"Four years ago, 1 in 10 Americans struggled with hunger. A year later, it rose to 1 in 8. Today, it's 1 in 6. That's 50 million Americans, including 17 million children -- and contrary to popular opinion, only 10 percent of these people are homeless."

"Families with children make up 47 percent of the homeless population in the Dallas metropolitan area."

"Almost 50 million Americans are without health insurance– 3 million more than a year ago, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The report finds one in five people were uninsured during some portion of the last 12 months."

"Nearly two-thirds of all the inmates interviewed on Feb. 25 said they dropped out of high school before they graduated, and fewer than half of those dropouts have a diploma or a GED."

"Evangelicals are the only major religious group where a majority opposes the federal government's efforts to reduce childhood obesity, a Pew Research Center survey shows."

"Over 20 percent of children live in poverty, and over 36 percent of the extremely poor are children. Also, over half of the children in this country under age 6 who live in a household where there’s a single mom are poor."

"Air Pollution as an Emerging Global Risk Factor for Stroke"

"Air Pollution Called Health Peril. Linked To Cancer, Other Diseases."

(Oh that last one? It's from 1962, the year I was born. I guess we haven't learned much in 49 years.)

Even if conservatives succeed at denying same-sex couples the right to marry (don't worry, they won't!) same-sex couples are still going to be raising children, forming families, and living our lives. And there's nothing those anti-marriage equality social conservatives can do about it.

But the fact remains. There's a new war in America. I don't mean Libya. Right here at home, the Republican war on women and children, on gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people, on minorities, on Muslims... the list goes on. So does the evil of the GOP. Until we vote them out of office and make damn sure, in the mean time, they know they can't get away with their social agenda of hate any longer.

Republicans are waging war on the wrong targets. The LGBTQ community, women, and children aren't the enemy, they're the solution.