This just in: Heather has two daddies

June 25, 2010

Sunday was Father’s Day, and the White House issued the standard presidential proclamation any major feast of the Hallmark Cycle
calls for. Pretty bland stuff, until this: “Nurturing families come in
many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single
father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian.”

Two fathers, Mr. President? David Brody complains
that this oh-so-controversial phrase—“do NOT underestimate the power of
those two words,” he warns—may alienate anti-same-sex-marriage
Christians who otherwise support Obama’s agenda. Now I’m not convinced
that’s a real big group of people, but that aside, Candace
Chellew-Hodge’s point is a good one:

Alienation
is something [the LGBT community is] familiar with — kicked out of our
families, kicked out of our churches, fired for being who we are, denied
housing for being who we are, denied the rights and responsibilities of
marriage. You want alienation? Mr. Brody, the line starts behind me.

I’m just as interested, however, in Brody’s later point:

The
President has a pretty neat and important event today on his Father’s
Day initiative... So why dilute the impact of that with these words?
Father’s Day should NOT be controversial. The “two fathers” scenario is a
very divisive issue. Why bring it up and take away from the big event
of the day?

Why indeed? Why would the president so brazenly
include a brief statement of verifiable fact buried in the fourth
paragraph of a boring press release hardly anyone will get through?
Doesn’t he know it will leave conservative Christian commentators no
choice but to hyperventilate over it, thus distracting from Obama’s substantive agenda for responsible fatherhood programs? (To his credit, Brody himself did cover the latter in a separate post.)

The
president’s right: plenty of children are nurtured by same-sex parents,
as they are by grandparents and others. (He was also right when he said the same thing on Mother’s Day, to little fanfare.) This is true whether or not you believe such children to be in an equally good situation as those brought up by both biological parents—a very different question, and one Obama did not engage here.

If
conservative commentators pay more attention to this than to the
president’s pro-fatherhood efforts—efforts many social conservatives can
get behind if they're not too busy attacking Democrats on
principle—then that’s their fault, not his.