divorce

Religious Right Group Says 'We've Been Focused Too Much' On Gay Marriage And 'Not Focused Enough On Divorce'

The Ruth Institute's Jennifer Johnson wrote on the organization's blog yesterday that marriage equality advocates who criticize the Religious Right for singling out gay marriage while ignoring straight divorce "have a point."

"Have we been too focused on “same sex marriage” and not focused enough on divorce?" she asks. "I think so."

"Divorce is a big problem that Christians have not confronted adequately," she writes. "Thus, we have lost our witness and moral authority in regards to the institution of marriage. At least, that’s how it looks to me. "

The Ruth Institute — which until last year was affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage — doesn't always conform with the Religious Right's messaging, most recently taking issue with the movement's "whining" persecution rhetoric.‚Äč

That's not to say that the rest of the Religious Right doesn't care about divorce — the advent of no-fault divorce is frequently brought up as as a milestone in the slippery slope of the sexual revolution, and "covenant marriage" laws are popular among some activists. (Family Research Council president Tony Perkins sponsored the nation's first covenant marriage law when he was a Louisiana state legislator.)  But the movement as a whole knows that villainizing people who get divorced is going to be a less popular strategy than scapegoating the much smaller LGBT population.

Marriage Equality Opponent Says 'Bigger Problem' Is No-Fault Divorce

Often lost in the debate over marriage equality is the fact that many of its leading opponents aren’t just interested in keeping the status quo on marriage. Instead, they're seeking to reverse what they see as a decline that began with laws granting greater freedom to women within marriages – specifically, the right to no-fault divorce.

In a conversation with radio host Janet Mefferd Friday, anti-gay writer Frank Turek responded to marriage equality supporters who point to divorce rates among straight couples. “You don’t make the car better by slashing another tire on it,” he said. “ You go back and repair the first tire. And I’m the first one to say that the bigger problem right now is no-fault divorce.”

Turek: I would agree with them that heterosexuals have debased it, heterosexuals have slashed one of the tires of marriage. But that’s not an argument for slashing another tire.

Mefferd: Good point, good point.

Turek: You don’t make the car better by slashing another tire on it. You go back and repair the first tire. And I’m the first one to say that the bigger problem right now is no-fault divorce.

Mefferd: Ah, yes.

Turek: But that is not an argument for same-sex marriage, in fact it’s an argument against it. Why? Because it shows you that when you liberalize marriage laws, you actually have a negative effect on society, which is what the no-fault marriage laws have done. So if you’re going to make marriage even more liberal, if you’re going to even further tear down the definition of marriage and make it totally genderless now, you’re going to have even worse results. You’re going to have even more illegitimacy, more kids that aren’t taken care of.

Now, I know the same-sex marriage advocates are going to say, ‘What, so same-sex marriage is going to do to your marriage?’ Well, it’s not going to do anything to my personal marriage, but it’s going to debase the institution of marriage into the future, make it a genderless institution, and that will hurt children and hurt the whole country.

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