And then I realize as creepy as it is to think a store like Abercrombie is offering something like the "Ashley", the fact remains that sex only sells because people are buying it. No successful retailer would consider introducing an item like a padded bikini top for kindergartners if they didn't think people would buy it.Sensible stuff, hitting that sweet spot where social conservatives and feminist liberals can find common ground. And I don't think my socially conservative friends know each other, which indicates the essay is going viral. But I wouldn't mention it except for one thing: LZ Granderson is gay. Openly gay. With a teen son. He's a gay dad.
If they didn't think parents would buy it, which raises the question: What in the hell is wrong with us?
A conservative friend responds to this observation with one of his own: "If he's right, he's right." And my friend is right!
But here's the thing: So much of the modern argument against gay marriage is actually against gay parenthood. Maggie Gallagher of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage re-made the argument in explicit terms this week in testimony before Congress:
“Marriage is the union of husband and wife for a reason: these are the only unions that create new life and connect those children in love to their mother and father,” Gallagher said. “This is not necessarily the reason why individuals marry; this is the great reason, the public reason why government gets involved in the first place.”Implicit in all of this is the idea that gay parents can't be good—or maybe even adequate—parents. And because of this, government shouldn't recognize the unions of gay men and women regardless of whether or not child-rearing comes into play.
Gallagher said the need to raise children by married parents of opposite genders affirms the rationale for having in place DOMA, the 1996 law that prohibits recognition of same-sex marriage, and criticized the Justice Department for dropping defense of the law.
“This is the rationale for the national definition of marriage proposed by Congress in passing DOMA: ‘civil society has an interest in maintaining and protecting the institution of heterosexual marriage because it has a deep and abiding interest in encouraging responsible procreation and child-rearing,’” Gallagher said. “If we accept, as DOMA explicitly does, that this is a core public purpose of marriage, then treating same-sex unions as marriage makes little sense.”
But when a gay dad like Granderson describes himself as a "Tiger Dad" whose approach to parenting is to be his son's parent, not his friend—and when that gay dad happens not to mention his gayness—he becomes a hero of social conservatives.
And that's fine. It's good! I don't expect it will convince my socially conservative friends that a mother-and-father parenting relationship isn't the best way to raise kids. But I guess I can hope that admiring Granderson's parenting philosophy can open their minds (just a little bit) to the idea that other types of families deserve government support and recognition.