Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg's editors asked him to find and profile a busy stay-at-home mom for Mother's Day. Neil put a call out on his Facebook page for a woman with three or more small children. He heard about a woman with four children under the age of five—including one set of triplets—and she agreed to be profiled. When Neil called to set up a time to visit her home he asked the women what time of day her husband typically goes to work. That's when he found out that this mom was a lesbian.
And though I’ve written supporting gay marriage for, geez, nearly 20 years, my immediate, unedited thought was a wincing, forehead-slapping, aw gee! The story is supposed to be about all the hard work that goes into being a mom, I worried, and now I’ve bumbled into the culture wars and will end up writing “Kimmy Has Two Mommys” and on Mother’s Day yet. Readers will smell conspiracy, the liberal media undermining our cherished national institutions.
What choice did I have? “Oh, you’re a lesbian? Never mind. I’ll go find a straight mother so as not to irk any readers.”
That would be wrong.
So Neil profiled this stay-at-home mom with four small children and a same-sex partner—all without going into the politics of gay marriage. That piece ran yesterday. Today Neil goes into the politics of gay marriage. It's required reading:
I wrote the story without political spin. That I saved for today. Since half the campaign is going to be wasted on this, I want to state the truth as clearly as I can: Opposition to gay marriage is a religious scruple. And on that level, I accept it. Follow your faith, reject any gay marriages you might be tempted to enter into. I’m with you. It’s a free country.
However... it being a free country for you means that it’s a free country for others, too. Shocking, I know. Not only for people who are gay, but for straight people who don’t subscribe to your view of faith. People who realize that our culture’s steady march toward recognizing traditional subhumans as actual individuals with rights, starting with women, then blacks, then people with disabilities, is finally coming around to homosexuals.
And while your faith screams that this is bad, there’s still nothing in the fact-based world to justify trying impose your view on non-believers. Rep. Joe Walsh, if you recall, made one of the more popular lunges: claiming that gays make bad parents. That isn’t true. But even if it were true—are we now not letting people marry based on what kind of parents they’d be? Because meth addicts and senior citizens can marry. Deflating one false argument only leads to the next. Not worse parents? How about tradition? The marriage-is-unchanged-for-millennia argument is also popular, also untrue, and a particularly laughable stab at reasoning. You wouldn’t accept that logic from your doctor. “Calm down — leeches are a medical tradition going back centuries!” You want tradition? Buy a butter churn.
Read the whole thing here.