Gay Marriage Turns Children into Slaves

Will gay marriage lead to child slavery?

That’s the forecast implied recently by George Weigel in a recent column.

Weigel comments on a new bill proposed in Washington DC by the Council’s “most aggressively activist gay member.”  The bill would legalize surrogate child-bearing.  To Weigel, this arrangement treats both biological mother and child as mere commodities to be negotiated over.  As he laments,

The highest local legislative body in the federal capital is considering a bill that would commodify children as fit objects for sale and purchase—which is precisely what happened in Washington’s antebellum slave markets.

A tad histrionic, you say?

The liberal voice inside my head (and yes, I have several contending voices in there) shouts that this is just another cynical conservative attempt to demonize gay marriage.  Calling surrogate parenting a form of human trafficking is nothing but another bald-faced attempt to push irrelevant non-issues to the fore in the contentious discussion over gay marriage.

And I certainly believe that Dr. Weigel is trying to be provocative here.  But there is more behind Weigel’s accusation than just garden-variety demonization.

As we’ve argued repeatedly (see, for example, here, here, or here), questions of child ownership are central in every iteration of America’s blustery culture wars.

Schools have responsibility for children.  So do parents.  But who gets to make which decisions?

Some may assert that no one owns a child; a child is a person and therefore owns him- or herself.

But that sidesteps the issue.

Children, by definition, are not yet adults.  They are not able—legally or developmentally—to take responsibility for themselves.

Until they can, others must assume custodial roles.

When Dr. Weigel insists that non-traditional child-raising raises the specter of slave markets, he is walking a well-trod rhetorical path.

If children can’t quite own themselves, then questions about ownership will remain central to every culture-war discussion.


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