We heard questions about jobs and student debt, comprehensive immigration reform, the gender pay gap and the recent terror attack in Benghazi.
And in answering a question about assault weapons, Gov. Mitt Romney—who is not in favor of any new legislation on guns or making certain guns illegal— offered an interesting solution to changing our culture of violence:
…Let me mention another thing, and that is parents. We need moms and dads helping raise kids. Wherever possible, the — the benefit of having two parents in the home — and that’s not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh, to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone — that’s a great idea because if there’s a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will — will be able to achieve increase dramatically.
First, let’s give props to all the single parents out there working their asses off to provide their children with a good life and good opportunities. Many successful individuals—including the president whom Romney faced on stage—were raised by single parents. But that’s not the issue with the former Massachusetts governor’s train of thought here.
If bolstering two-parent families is Romney’s solution to changing the culture of violence and increasing Americans’ abilities to achieve, why not support equal marriage and equal families?
More than a dozen studies have shown that a parent’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with his or her ability to be a good parent. In 2004, the American Psychiatric Association stated that based on their compilation of research, “the development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.”
“The governor is confusing his causation,” said Zach Wahls, the internet-famous, Eagle Scout and son of two mothers, told Pushback after the debate. “In fact, my own mother was single when I was born. But she was a well-paid physician living in rural Wisconsin. As the president mentioned in his rebuttal, what this country needs is economic opportunity. We don’t need claims that only some families are real or stable families.”
You want to give kids a chance to make it out of poverty? Consider the startling statistic that 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT-indentifying. You want to change our culture of violence? Don’t bully queer kids.
In fact, there was no mention of the LGBT community at all in this debate, which is a shame considering the Obama administration has made so much progress in LGBT policy and that marriage equality is just one of many issues facing this community. And here we’ve missed any chance to have this conversation on a national stage, since the last remaining meeting of the candidates before Election Day is slated for foreign policy discussion.
Unless of course Obama touts his administrations’ repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT)— which studies show has bolstered bonds between members of the military, an essential component of ensuring that our troops effectively secure our nation— but I doubt it.