Focus on the Family's Stanton goes after little girl, her fathers
I suspect most of you have seen the charming video in which young Selena Leffew sings of her love for here two fathers, Bryan and Jay. If you haven't, here it is again:
It's super sweet. What's not to like?
Well, leave it to Focus on the Family to find something. In two different spots on the internet, Focus' Director of Family Formation Studies, Glenn Stanton, has pecked out some words for the exclusive purposes of (1) making this family seem inferior and (2) making the fathers seem like negligent parents for allowing their daughter to engage in this creative expression of love for her family. Because that's what "family values" folks do—right?
On his personal blog, Stanton writes:
I have a new post over at National Review Online on a one-part shameful / one-part manipulative video by two gay dads explaining how their family is just like any other family. They put their beautiful daughter Selena front and center in this high-octane, divisive social debate to deliver a political/social lecture, dressed up as a cute child’s song. Of course, these men have every right to make the best case they can for their experimental family. But enlisting your young daughter into the center of this tumultuous debate is not good parenting.
Shameful and manipulative? Harsh claims, I would say. Most would say, I believe.
So why might Stanton feel so strongly about the need to publicly disparage a family he doesn't know? We turn to the referenced piece that he wrote for National Review Online—which, I should remind you, is considered a very mainstream site for conservative commentators—where this Focus on the Family employee explains what, exactly, he finds so objectionable:
But it is not just a song from a precious little girl telling us about how much she loves her family, a song you want every little girl to be able to sing. It’s a sharply crafted social statement to influence the public debate on the nature of family, drafted to explain to us how special it is for Selena and her brother to “have two fathers, two real fathers.” For her — if we are to believe the song comes straight from her heart in her own words — her family is special for the very reason that she has two fathers. And she also wants us to know that, as her song says, “if they ever have to, they both can be my mom.” They do sound like two very special and talented fathers, even if they’ve positioned Selena to the front of the culture war as a gay-family apologist.
If their family is just like any other family — a normal day-in, day-out family just like yours — then why is their series called “Gay Family Values” and not just “Family Values”? You see, while they want us to see them as a normal family, they don’t want us to see them as just like any other family. And they are quite proud of that. That’s the whole point of the video.
SOURCE: National Review Online
This is completey faked curiosity on Stanton's part. Glenn Stanton has been fighting this so-called "culture war" for many years now, regularly debating LGBT thinkers on any number of subjects. He knows that most LGBT families would like nothing more than to blend in with all of the other families with the lack of controversy that we deserve. Glenn also knows the very reason that such blending is impossible: because organizations like the one that pays his bills dedicate considerable time and resources to stigmatizing, alientating, and legally denying LGBT families in any number of ways. The only reason why activism on behalf of our families is necessary is because the attacks on the other side are unrelenting. And the only reason why anyone would see a sweet song as political is because certain groups have turned certain citizens' lives into political issues.
Stanton is one of the worst offenders. If you look at his CAP profile, you will learn that this is a man who has, quite literally, called homosexuality "a particularly evil lie of Satan." Let's pause and reflect on that. Not only does this assert that this young child's parents are living a false life—it says that the fathers she loves are actually "particularly evil." And of Satan. That's not a minor criticism. AIs there any wonder why a child who knows better might want to stand up and defend her loving parents? Is there any wonder why parents like Jay and Bryan might want to step up and show America a real portrait that cuts through Stanton's dehumanizing language? I think not.
Stanton goes on to wonder:
If their family and situation is normal, then why make the video? No two families are entirely the same. Imagine the television family, the Waltons, making a similar video with youngest daughter Elizabeth singing to us, “Sure we have lots of kids. My mom and dad work at home and our grandparents live right here with us. And if they ever have to, they can be our mom and dad too.” Or the one of the Douglas family from My Three Sons. Or the Partridge family. Or the Brady family. Or Opie from the Andy Griffith Show.
When a family has to explain that they are just like any other family, it is a strong sign they are not. And those who feel compelled to explain probably don’t even believe it.
First I have to note the particular silliness of comparing an actual American family with a string of fake TV broods. That would actually seem to say something about how Stanton sees families like the Leffews, suggesting that he looks at them as some sort of a sitcom for his pontification and/or amusement rather than as a part of America's actual fabric. But I digress.
What I really want to focus on here is Stanton's closing couple on lines, in which he takes another swipe at this family and cites the video as some sort of evidence that even they themslves don't believe in their "normalcy." For that, let's again turn to Stanton's CAP profile, where we can also reminisce about the time that he, in a branded Focus on the Family document, accused gay parents of turning their children into "human guinea pigs." When presented with claims like that, what are families like the Leffews to do? If they sit back and let others define them, then who is to deny that our America could become filled with a majority of citizens who see us in this same way? After all, isn't the primary reason why a social commentator speaks so that he or she can shape public opinion? So how dare Mr. Stanton so callously chide this family for standing up and defining themselves when he is someone who (mis)defines families like the Leffews for his career?! How dare he say that theirs is the act of political overcompensation when he has been so over compensated for his own job playing politics with LGBT families' welfare?!
Look, the very idea that someone like me would have to defend a family like the Leffews from the attacks they face for simply posting a cute internet video will someday seem like the utter nonsense that it already is. We know this. But for now, we still live in a world where knocking LGBT families for sport is considered to be mainstream commentary in certain circles. As long as this is true, then our families have no choice but to step up and represent the truths that we know by virtue of our day-to-day realities.
Mr. Stanton, on the other hand, does have a choice. Sadly, time after time he chooses discrimination. He chooses stone-casting. And with this latest round, Glenn Stanton chose to take it a step further and pile on the children of the adults he has built his career around attacking, simply because that family refused to be buried under his mountain of misrepresentation. It's not just commentary—it's a form of bullying, really.
This month the United States Supreme Court will issue decisions on two cases critical to marriage equality. GLAAD is working with media outlets and couples around the country to push for marriage. Follow GLAAD for up to date news about the Supreme Court's decision at www.glaad.org/marriage