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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on July 18 at 8:00 AM

With this item, it may be time to officially retire this series of Slog posts.

A man who had been released from prison early for good behavior was convicted Tuesday of trying to kill a young mother and leaving her 5-year-old daughter to be eaten alive by alligators in the Everglades.

Harrel Franklin Braddy had befriended Shandelle Maycock and her daughter Quatisha. Maycock testified that Braddy went to her home in November 1998 and grew enraged when she asked him to leave.

He choked Maycock until she was unconscious and then forced her and Quatisha into his car, the woman testified. At one point, Maycock gained consciousness, grabbed the child and jumped out of the moving vehicle.

Braddy stopped, choked the woman again and put her in the trunk, she testified. Maycock never saw her daughter again. Prosecutors said Braddy then drove to a section of Interstate 75 in the Everglades known as Alligator Alley and dropped Quatisha in the water beside the road.

She was alive when alligators bit her on the head and stomach, a medical examiner said. Authorities found the girl’s body two days later, her left arm missing and her skull crushed, prosecutors said.

You may now debate the legitimacy of these posts—whether they alienate and annoy otherwise supportive heterosexuals, whether they’re gratuitous and grotesque, and whether I secretly wish that all these awful things would happen to my own child—because, Jesus, why else would I post this sick shit?

Oh, yeah: I post this sick shit because there are shitloads of people out there that run around insisting that all children need a mother and a father.

RSS icon Comments


Thanks for posting these. It is going to suck not to read them anymore.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 18, 2007 8:05 AM

But I doubt many of them can be found here.

Posted by Cat in Chicago | July 18, 2007 8:07 AM

I think it's a great service - please keep posting them. BTW Dan, you missed the best "Deserves a Mom and Dad" story this week -

Posted by Providence | July 18, 2007 8:09 AM

To be fair, (as far as I can tell from what little snippet you posted) this was just a homicidal male, and not a mother and father incident...

Plus it says friends, not lovers, not parents, not husband and wife.

Not sure if this post even fits the mold of your normally sickening posts. This one just reads known homicidal male commits homicide.

Posted by seattle98104 | July 18, 2007 8:11 AM

Praise Jebus. If this really is the last one, this almost makes up for Jonah spoiling Harry Potter Book 7.

Posted by Big Sven | July 18, 2007 8:12 AM

As long as same sex couples and their families are subjected to the bullshit that routinely comes out of the mouths of religious extremists then you should continue to promote these REAL stories.

These stories are actual events - not ideological, religious hogwash used to manipulate gawd fearing idiots into being ignorant and bigoted.

If hetero allies are offended or made uncomfortable by these posts, they should understand why it matters and be reminded how skewed the politics are against same sex families.

Quite regularly legislation is proposed or enacted against same sex households because of the encouragement of ignorance.

When that stops happening you can stop pointing out the injustice of the extremists - AND - the ambivalence and inaction of our "allies."

Posted by patrick | July 18, 2007 8:15 AM

Keep posting. Thanks.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 18, 2007 8:16 AM

This will no doubt end up in a Hiaasen ( novel, if it hasn't already.

Posted by stackwick | July 18, 2007 8:23 AM

Praise Jebus. If this really is the last one, this almost makes up for Jonah spoiling Harry Potter Book 7.

Posted by Big Sven | July 18, 2007 8:23 AM

Whoops. My smart phone reposted when I back page'd. Time to get an iPhone...

Posted by Big Sven | July 18, 2007 8:27 AM

I agree with Patrick. My vote's for more of these.

Posted by Michigan Matt | July 18, 2007 8:28 AM

Way to end to end the series on a high note, Dan. 5-year olds being torn apart by alligators...the perfect complement to my morning coffee.

Posted by Hernandez | July 18, 2007 8:34 AM

Keep posting. Having worked in the child welfare field, I know you'll never run out of stories about the warped ways hetero parents torture their kids. Fuck the fundies...

Having said that, I agree with @4. This story is just about a homicidal nutcase. Doesn't appear to be the father.

Posted by elrider | July 18, 2007 8:36 AM

@12 To be fair it was really just one five year old.

Posted by Giffy | July 18, 2007 8:37 AM

I don't think you should stop posting them so much as only post ones of relivance. The people crying "every child needs a mother and a father" are usually religious nuts so I would suggest only posting those stories that turn out to be one of their own.

If some batshit crazy Christian couple starve their child because god told them to... that deserves a post.

Some single mother meets a guy who later tries to strangle her when she tells him to get out... not so much.

Posted by monkey | July 18, 2007 8:40 AM

First, horrific as this is, he wasn't the girl's father. He may or may not have even been as much as the mother's boyfriend, maybe no more than a casual acquaintance. Fundies could easily argue that had the real father been around, he might have fended off this psycho. So this is a poor example at best of ECDAMAF.

Second, I'm torn about the series.

Yes, fundies continually arguing that gays can't make good parents because every child deserves a mother and a father is tiresome, stupid, and wrong. And yes, I think it is good to combat this argument. But your posts are the literary equivalent of hitting people over the head with a sledge hammer. Highly dramatic, but I'm not sure if it actually changes anyone's mind or not. And on SLOG, you are largely preaching to the converted, so you may be grossing people out for no reason whatsoever. Your two books, "The Kid..." and "The Commitment..." are much more persuasive IMHO.

I'd be curious to know if there is actually anyone out there who was sitting on the fence in regards to gay marriage, who was persuaded to our side by reading this series of "Every Child..." posts. I suspect not. Maybe I'm wrong.

If it is useless as a persuasive tool, then really all you are doing is venting your frustration. And really, isn't that what half the blogs out there are about anyway?

Posted by SDA in SEA | July 18, 2007 8:40 AM

Frankly, I've always thought this was a brilliant way of responding to the conservative hypocrisy.

Posted by Cedar | July 18, 2007 8:41 AM

pardon my poor spelling, kthx.

Posted by monkey | July 18, 2007 8:42 AM

Using the pain and suffering of children to promote your political position is reprehensible no matter how correct that political position is. The calous opportunism does your cause a disservice, it suggests that you derive satisfaction from the fact that heterosexuals torture children, and that's not going to elevate you in the eyes of anyone not already invested in your cause.

I know this is not your intention, but it's how the posts would read to me if I knew less of your actual character. I will be glad to see the posts go.

Posted by Erica T. | July 18, 2007 8:42 AM

I really don't see what this horrific story has got to do with heterosexual parents. The man in the story isn't even married to the woman he assaults.
Also, some homosexual men do commit murder. Please google Dean Corll, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, etc. Some of their victims were very young.

Posted by catseye | July 18, 2007 8:44 AM

I'm not offended but they remind me of the scene in the movie Airplane! where the woman newscaster says, "As long as this country is run by meat eating males planes will continue to crash." They don't prove your point in any way.

But,,,have at it, anyone who doesn't like them can skip reading them. I like the story about the internet gaming addicts way better though.

Posted by Mike | July 18, 2007 8:44 AM

These are gratuitous and grotesque, but as an otherwise supportive heterosexual, I understand your motivation.

Posted by Callie | July 18, 2007 8:49 AM

While this story doesn't appear to involve the typical opposite-gendered couple, the reason it seems relevant to the "Every Child" series is because encouraging opposite-gendered relationships is a huge religious right mission, so it's an example of where the religious right is dangerously wrong that single parents need to establish opposite-gendered relationships for the good of their children.

But it has been a bad week for children of opposite-gendered couples. For example:

"MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- A man fatally shot his three children and took his own life as law officers searched for him on a domestic violence claim made by his estranged wife, police said.

Eric Robinson, 42, was found dead Sunday night in the house where his wife lived with their children, Lt. Keith Barnett said. Robinson, who lived at a different home, fatally shot the children, a 4-year-old girl and boys 6 and 11, Barnett said.

The three were found in his car outside his wife's house."


"MODESTO, Calif. (AP) -- Authorities removed a miniature horse and seven dogs from a home strewn with feces and rotting produce and charged the owners with endangering their 12-year-old child, officials said Tuesday.

Joe Silva and Nichole Surkala's house was so badly infested with flies that Surkala's young son had to sleep in a tent to escape them, said Animal Control Officer Jennifer Sol, who went to the residence investigating a neighbor's complaint Monday.

"There was nothing in my career that could have prepared me for what I came into," Sol said. "There were flies throughout. The (floor) had straw all over it. There were feces all over the kitchen."

That said, I agree with Dan that it is getting overwhelming to see just how wrong the hatemongering elements of the religious right can be. While they carry on with their lies, children are suffering and dying.

Can you imagine what it could be like if the religious right used their influence to actually work on behalf of children?

Maybe this campaign could change itself a little. How about collecting the addresses for websites that publish the claim that "every child needs a mother and father," provide us the relevant links, so we can start sending the links to these kinds of stories when they allow opportunity to comment?

Maybe it's time to start pushing this issue into the places it truly belongs.

Posted by r | July 18, 2007 8:51 AM

i'm sorry, but - "quatisha"?

Posted by maxsolomon | July 18, 2007 8:55 AM

I agree with the above posts. you really ought to limit these posts to cases of abuse by married heterosexuals who are the biological parents of the child being abused, because those are the relevant ones- that's the kind of family that the fundies insist every child needs.

Posted by east coaster | July 18, 2007 8:55 AM

You're all missing the point. The child may be dead but it had a proper mother-father upbringing safe from the abomination of homosexuality.

Posted by Crux | July 18, 2007 8:55 AM

Sven, thanks for the heads up. I am avoiding the Morning News completely.

Posted by Levislade | July 18, 2007 8:56 AM

I think the series should not only continue, but also be published in some sort of compendium, annually, and sold on Amazon. That way, whenever the annoying "Every child deserves a mother and a father" argument arises, you can calmly sit the other person down, and read a passage or two to them (kinda like the Jehovah's Witnesses insist on doing for me every couple of weeks).

And ever notice how self-professed progressives will nod and agree that, "Well, ideally the child would have a mom and a dad, but there are so many that need to be adopted..."? Copping that attitude gives the argument a foothold it doesn't deserve. An annual anthology will serve as a perfect rebuttal.

Posted by Nick | July 18, 2007 8:58 AM

Oh yeah and, @3, the link you posted was the "Every Child..." story on either Monday or yesterday.

Posted by Callie | July 18, 2007 9:02 AM

Providence @3, that was an *amazing* story, much more effective than the one Dan posted. My only objection was that it was only accompanied by a photograph of the mother, and not of both parents. No reason not to use mug shots of both.

Posted by D | July 18, 2007 9:02 AM

It sucks that your ending on such an ambiguous note. You've posted much, much better every child's in the past.

Posted by seattle98104 | July 18, 2007 9:07 AM

So there are vastly more hetero parents than gay ones. Extend the numbers out and I suspect you will have close to the same statistics. Unless you are just outright saying that Gay people are just better than non-gay people.

This stream of stories does gay parents NO good WHATSOEVER. Considering that most of the perpetrators are men, the only people that are really safe are lesbian parents. And there you deal with a whole other series of problems.

The truth is, a child benefits from having exposure to opposite gendered parents. You may hate it, but its true. My son spends a lot of time with his aunt and cousins FOR THAT VERY REASON.

The idea that your proving anything by this series of posts is just stupid. Its selacious and vindictive. Using the pain of others to prove a point that doens't exist is just disgusting.

Personally, I don't think that you are trying to prove a point. You are to smart to realize that there is no point to prove. I think you just get a kick out of the grossness of these stories, like a bad horror movie, and you also get a kick out of vicariously participating in the drama. I think this is demonstrative of your own sadistic personality.

You really have some issues Dan. Exploiting the deaths of little kids for a "reason" is something that sick people do.

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 9:10 AM

If that poor girl had a daddy, her daddy could have protected her from the alligators with the gun the liberals want to take away.

Of course, if she'd had two daddies, they'd have had enough man power to take out the 'gators bare handed. And they'd be smart enough not to live in Florida to begin with.

Posted by Patrick | July 18, 2007 9:10 AM

I like the series, Dan. Every time I read one of the stories I wince... and am reminded that MOST people are horribly flawed parents. Egads.

Posted by Katelyn | July 18, 2007 9:11 AM

Unfortunately, the religious fanatics are not as discriminatory when it comes to blaming same sex couples for the downfall of society.

Whether or not this man was the child's father isn't as important as the circumstances under which the child lived.

If this were two men in the situation the bigots would not hesitate to point to sexual orientation/identity of the parents/guardians as the root cause.

Would Heather Poe be dismissed as readily for throwing Sam Cheney to the gators?

The same measuring stick must be applied to all families. If same sex families are held to a high moral standard, then different sex families must also be above reproach, otherwise there is no reason to believe ss marriage is inferior.

The point is: different sex couples are not naturally capable of "good" parenting or relationships or citizenship. They have to work at it. Discrimination against ssf doesn't bolster "family values." It only encourages ignorance.

There needs to be more examination of the hetero dynamic and less blaming of the homo dynamic. Why should ss families have to prove how good they can be? Until hetero families understand that they are fallible they will never accept that we are capable.

Dan please continue to rip the blindfold off.

Posted by patrick | July 18, 2007 9:12 AM

Why not compile all of these in their own little home on the web, shorten the phrase to an acronym like you did with "Impeach the Motherfucker Already" or "Department of All My Fault," and provide a link every time you use the acronym in case anybody doubts that there are many heterosexual couples who do horrible things to children. Those who don't want to read about 5-year-olds being eaten by alligators can just refrain from clicking the link. Everybody's happy.

Posted by flamingbanjo | July 18, 2007 9:16 AM

Agree with #4: This post doesn't quite fit the series.

What I'm baffled about is what provoked this guy? Are we to believe that some people are just murderous thugs in general? What was his motive?

It seems that a lot of 'violent guy' stories just take for granted that men are violent and that it's to be expected. I hope that's not true.

Posted by um | July 18, 2007 9:16 AM

And how many of you Gen'xers and y'ers actually have kids? I know, kids would require you to not be self absorbed pod people and maintain a commitment (which at least Dan pays service to). I am sure that most of you aren't parents, you couldn't hack it.

No, your stupid little dog doesn't count.

So many of you are just chiming in with pointless opinion that doesn't relate to you in the least. Like driving by a highway accident really slow, HOPING to see blood, a body, or gore of some type. Big suprise. You people really need lives.

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 9:17 AM

#24 = snob.

Yes, the name Quatisha sounds "low-class". Get over it.

Posted by hey | July 18, 2007 9:20 AM

Ecco homo @ 32 says:

So there are vastly more hetero parents than gay ones. Extend the numbers out and I suspect you will have close to the same statistics. Unless you are just outright saying that Gay people are just better than non-gay people.

This shows your ignorance regarding the religious right. If there was even ONE such case with gay parents it would be all over Focus on the Family's website, 700 Club, and every other outlet they have. We can reasonably conclude that there is no such case from the fact that there is no such publicity.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 9:22 AM


Absense of evidence is not proof of anything.

Because my local grocery store doesn't sell doritos, and grocery stores can reasonably be assumed to sell doritos, ergo, doritos don't exist.

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 9:25 AM

Ecce, as I said, you don't understand the religious right. I'll repeat - if it has happened, they'd trumpet it as the very reason why your son must be taken away from you. They're looking for everything they can use to do this. They would never leave such a blunt instrument alone.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 9:27 AM

Actually I do MfD.

I lived in colorado springs for quite some time in the late 80's and early 90's.

I have a pretty good understanding of them.

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 9:31 AM

Erica T, you said it so eloquently, and the rest of you (other than ecce and monkey) need to go back and read that comment a few times. These posts are voyeuristic and disgusting. Again, the only that is proved is the moral emptiness of the parties posting them for the entertainment of the likes of those above commenting about marital status. The abuse and death of children should not be posted for your amusement. Posting stories about men beating or killing their wives is not going to convince anyone that laws against gay are wrong. That's not what happened in Mass. or Canada. It's wrong because people are using the government to impose their religion beliefs on others. For that reason, I think I could agree with monkey that when the utter hypocrisy of those fundies is exposed, that's a worthy post (i.e., a post about Vitter not really believing his marriage vows and going to a madam exposes his hypocrisy in lecturing about the sanctity of marriage.) Just any story about a man beating or killing his wife doesn't prove anything, and opens you to a charge of being uncaring about the fate of these women victims. These posts are worse in that the children are completely innocent and trusting those that are torturing and killing them.

Posted by vegetable lasagna | July 18, 2007 9:37 AM

If so ecce, then tell me they wouldn't make ample use of a gay parent abuse case of any kind.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 9:38 AM

@EH: Dude, seriously. Most of my Gen X and Y friends have kids. I am in the minority of people I know that don't have them. And I am 25.

That being said, I am hetero and find these posts fascinating. I bring up these posts when talking to stupid bigots. I'll prolly buy the book when it comes out. ;)

Posted by Original Monique | July 18, 2007 9:39 AM



Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 9:43 AM

Veggie L at 44, you and Erica T really miss the point, and I say this as someone who is a parent and can really feel the horror of these stories. I fully support Dan's postings and find it offensive that you think I would be amused by them. THAT'S NOT THE POINT. The point is not that this is an argument FOR gay marriage and adoption, either. The point is that saying every child needs a mother and a father, which is a real talking point used by the religious right, is an empty argument. All these kids (except in this particular instance - I agree with those that say it doesn't fit in with previous posts) had just that - a mother and a father - and look what it got them.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 9:44 AM

Patrick @33

Right on. We have to shoot the gators over there in Florida so they don't follow us here.

Posted by elrider | July 18, 2007 9:46 AM

I guess the real point that should be made is that PEOPLE have issues and some people should not be allowed to have children. The idea is that love makes a family and not some gender roles. The bonus about being gay and having a child is that you get a LOT more choice of when you get to parrent. It's kind of bizzare that these homocide/suicide vendettas are ussually with people on dire straights, more often than not, in rather forced families, where the religious right feels it's our obligation to live like it's the middle ages. (As an aside, wasn't the middle ages full of little hansel and grettle stories where children where pushed out of the house?) It makes me wonder if there really is some form of post pardum pscyhosis for males.

Posted by Matt | July 18, 2007 9:47 AM

So you are countering an argument by your political and moral foes (politics) by using horrifying stories of child abuse as usefull anecdotes.

Sounds like veggie lasagna got it right.

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 9:47 AM

I love these posts (even though I agree with those above who point out that this particular story doesn't really fit the mold.) Do they alienate "otherwise supportive heterosexuals?" I don't know. But a heterosexual who was totally going to support gay marriage until one homo wrote a few blog posts about parents torturing their children is really very supportive, now is he? But, I used to write a series of posts about Christian parents who torture and murder their children as a reaction to the ways Christians attack non-Christians and atheists (and homos) as dangerous to children. So maybe I just have the same sick perversion you do, Dan. But, as far as I'm concerned, until the Family Research Council stops using every anecdotal, extraordinary case of homosexual parents abusing their children to claim that no gays should be parents, it's perfect fair, and even necessary, for us to show those "otherwise supportive heterosexuals" what it feels like to be on the receiving end of institutionalized sexual hysteria.

Posted by Joshua | July 18, 2007 9:52 AM

ecce, why are you attacking a father instead of taking care of your own children? do your kids wonder why you care more about another person's life than theirs?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 18, 2007 9:55 AM

Ecce, when your political opposition uses hysterical, emotive, and irrational arguments that a gullible and ignorant public buys because it jibes with their own experiences then stuff like this is a good counter argument.

If you disagree then perhaps you can tell us what you think would be effective.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 10:04 AM

I was wondering how long BA would take to respond.

Wanna buy me a coffee sometime cutie pie?

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 10:08 AM

I am so glad this pointless bullshit series is over.

One last time: ALL credible evidence supports that not having a father at home significantly increases your chances of ending up in prison.

Does having two Dads or two moms work too? I don't see why not. Maybe you could post some evidence supporting that instead of these meaningless reports of people who happen to be crazy and happen to have kids and happen to be hetro.

I'm glad this is done.

Posted by Ryan | July 18, 2007 10:11 AM

Keep posting them, Dan. But I second what's been said before, that this probably isn't so much a parental thing but more of a homicidal male.

Posted by paul | July 18, 2007 10:16 AM

Bellevue Ave, your ad hominem attack is uncalled for. Matt from Denver, maybe we're being naive about who you’re facing. I can sure understand the frustration with an American public that can seemingly be lied to over and over without consequence. But posting these just raises an image of people gleefully waiting for a child to be victimized in order to advance their agenda. It sickens me to think that I'm reading posts by people like that. I seem to be in the minority though so I guess the majority should rule again and those that don't like it should change. At least I learned something about how it feels to be in the minority in this country and bask in the tolerance.

Posted by vegetable lasagna | July 18, 2007 10:19 AM

I could see the point of posting examples of outright hypocrisy (a la Ted Haggard) but just random instances of child abuse don't make any kind of cogent argument. No fundamentalist thinks that all heterosexual relationships are good. Dan, I think you yourself have stated in the past that the religious right is after heterosexuals as much as they are homosexuals. They certainly acknowledge and preach agaginst sinful behavior among heterosexuals. So it's really a strawman argument to suggest that the fundies think all heterosexuals are a-ok. I don't think anybody from the religious right would read one of Dan's posts of random child abuse and even understand how that points to any hypocrisy on his/her part. So these posts of Dan's just seem gratuitous to me -- not to mention they are just preaching to the converted, anyway.

Posted by velo | July 18, 2007 10:27 AM

Velo @ 59, Dan's focusing on one single point made by the right - that children need a mother and a father which is, BY ITSELF, reason enough to deny gay marriage and gay parenting. They aren't making any less of a strawman argument when they say such.

People, try not to overthink this. The right is not being rational. It's okay if the response isn't entirely rational either.

Veggie @ 58, I can see where you're coming from. I believe that I understand where Dan is coming from too and hope that you do as well.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 10:32 AM

ecce, I thought you were in a committed relationship that had upstanding values. Now you lust in your heart for me.

Veggie Lasagna, suck on a lemon.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 18, 2007 10:33 AM

Well, earlier I was sorta thinking that, gross as these posts are, they really don't serve much purpose. But I see that it really gets ecce homo's knickers in a twist. So maybe some good comes from these posts after all. :-)

Carry on.

Posted by SDA in SEA | July 18, 2007 10:37 AM

in fact I dont think you would post without my replies. you love them.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 18, 2007 10:37 AM

I think that if those who possess the culturally assigned privilege of being identified as "heterosexual" had any idea of what it is like to truly be a "minority," there would be a lot more understanding about why these posts speak to the outrage involved in truly being a "minority" targeted for discrimination, hate and violent attacks.

Those that allege that Dan, Schmader and the rest of the Sloggers who post these stories are somehow getting off on these posts sound eerily similar to the religious right fundies.

If you have a better idea of how to confront the dangerous propaganda circulated by the religious right, please let us know.

Posted by r | July 18, 2007 10:45 AM

Matt from Denver #60
I'm perfectly capable of understanding Dan's point. I agree with his point. However, these posts do not express their point very well.

Posted by velo | July 18, 2007 10:45 AM

From #37:

What I'm baffled about is what provoked this guy? Are we to believe that some people are just murderous thugs in general?

Absolutely. The guy had already served time in prison:

Braddy is also part of an ongoing problem in Florida. Fourteen years before he allegedly killed the five-year-old, he had been charged with attempted murder, robbery, escape, kidnapping, and armed burglary and sentenced to 30 years of incarceration. But owing to the state's overcrowded prison system, Braddy was released in 1997 as a result of "gain time" through good behavior, having served less than half of his sentence.

Definitely a murderous thug.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 18, 2007 10:51 AM

And actually I think this story is really more a testament to good hetero parents. That mother jumped out of a moving car to save her kid. Most people would be too terrified to try.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 18, 2007 10:53 AM

Velo @ 65, no need to get touchy. I wasn't talking down to you, I was addressing you in a respectful tone. But I do think you are missing exactly what the point is because you say that he's not making a cogent argument. That's not the point, because you don't answer a simple and effective but irrational argument with a more rational one. These posts blow up the right wing strawman much more effectively IMO.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 10:55 AM

Matt@60 - I don't think I was disrespectful to you either, was i?
Let me put it another way. Let's say I said that every child deserves health care. I would say that, in fact. Then let's say somebody who doesn't support my opinion starts throwing a bunch of wire stories at me of instances where doctors or nurses hurt children, or instances of malpractice on children, or children developing infections while in hospital. Well, just because I think children deserve health care doesn't mean I think anything should be allowed to happen to the kids while in the health care system. I never said that, I just said kids deserve health care. It's a strawman argument. And that's exactly what Dan is doing and why it is not a very effective argument against the religious right.

Posted by velo | July 18, 2007 11:02 AM

I think you've made your point, Dan. I vote retire.

Posted by crazycatguy | July 18, 2007 11:05 AM

Fair enough, Velo. I respectfully disagree with your reading of it, but I'll leave it at that.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 11:09 AM

Keep them coming, Dan! Every one of them helps weaken the moonbat Right's case that same-sex parents are always bad but mixed-sex parents are always good.

What a terrible thing to do to a child. No amount of punishment is sufficient to equate to the terror and horror that poor little girl suffered. It would indeed be justice to see this man fed alive to alligators so that he could know the pain and fear his victim endured.

Posted by Jonathon | July 18, 2007 11:12 AM

Well I'd be curious to know why you my logic is flawed, Matt.

Posted by velo | July 18, 2007 11:13 AM

You're coming across as touchy again, Velo. Alright - Dan isn't trying to make a logical counter-argument because you don't fight this kind of irrational-yet-effective sound bite with a rational argument, you answer it with an equally powerful statement. If every child needs a mother and a father, and that's what all these children had, then the idea that that's a logical argument for denying gay marriage and parenthood is out the window.

Now, if they want to go the full-blown route of rational argument they can come up with detailed studies about how children benefit more from a two-parent mother-and-father environment than from a two-same-sex-parent environment. I'd guess that there are too few same-sex parenting couples to study to come to any kind of scientific conclusion but that's what the right needs to do if they want to make a rational argument.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 11:21 AM

Matt - is anyone who asks you a question "touchy"? have you ever considered that you yourself might be touchy?

Posted by velo | July 18, 2007 11:30 AM

"The right is not being rational. It's okay if the response isn't entirely rational either."

This seems to me like exactly the sort of the response that the Right will gleefully exploit to their own advantage. Maybe we'd be better off taking a more thoughtful path.

Posted by Matt (not from Denver) | July 18, 2007 11:32 AM

Why is there such sensitivity around exploitation of the children in these posts?

There is rarely any discussion of the benefits to children that are raised in same sex households either by adoptive parents or by biological partents and their partners.

It's always a horrible thing when hetero nightmare relationships are examined and it's somehow acceptable that there is no defense of same sex families...thus no rebuttal is made to the claims of the fanatics.

If you don't like how it feels to be under a microscope hetero, then you know exactly what I feel like.

The concern is never really about the welfare of the child or the stability of the marriage - it is always about casting aspersion about the legitimacy of same sex families and marriages.

Is Dan using children to make a point? Not any more than the religionists and thier enablers that can't bear to consider the weakness of their ingrained beliefs.

Posted by patrick | July 18, 2007 11:35 AM

Velo, when you begin posts with statements like "I'm perfectly capable of understanding Dan's point" and put words in my mouth (I never said you had flawed logic) it seems touchy. If not, then let's leave it behind and debate the issue.

Do you have an answer to my last post?

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 11:40 AM

As Matt (not from Denver) points out, you are not supporting your argument by saying that any means are justified because the other side is not rational, and the Right is just going to use these as an example that your "concern is never really about the welfare of the child" as Patrick stated (athough it was in describing the Right). Being baited into these kind of gross responses and backing it up with 'we don't care about anything but the end' is not working for me at least. It has nothing to do with being hetro, and everything to do with loving my kid above everything else and not being able to understand how I could revel in stories about another child suffering (i.e., my empathy goes to the kids involved and not to the people using their suffering for their unrelated cause).

I think it's been pointed about number of times in the comments that positive stories about gay couples and even stories pointing out the disengenous nature of the other side would seem like more effective means to focus the discussion on the real issue. More vitrol and a disregard for others is just going to mire you in mudslinging and ad hominem attacks. The Right has been running sideshows like that on Iraq for 5 years, they love not talking about the facts and issues.

Posted by vegetable lasagna | July 18, 2007 12:05 PM

Matt- So you are saying that it is ok in this case for Dan to just be sensationalistic, because the religious right is too. So even if what Dan is arguing doesn't stand up to scrutiny, it's fine. It's more about sound bites.
OK, I disagree with that, but you're certainly entitled to that opinion. Personally, I think it would be a lot more effective to find examples of true hypocrisy on the other side, rather than just examples of any kid being abused by straight parents. I am not surprised that so many people who read Dan's posts feel queasy about them, and that they are exploiting tragedies in order to make a political point.

Posted by velo | July 18, 2007 12:06 PM

Velo, glad we could come to an understanding. I don't know what sort of examples of "true hypocrisy" you imagine might exist but I bet they'd be used if they're around.

Veggie, I don't think Dan is saying "Let gays marry and adopt because straight parents kill their kids." I think he's saying "Don't tell me that straight parenting is so ideal." This is a counter point, not a supporting point.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 12:26 PM

One tragedy that is under reported are the numbers of same sex households that already exist in the country.

They have been here and they are increasing in number and will continue to do so. Yet the argument about the legitimacy of these families is always done in the context of what will happen when same sex families are legitimized. What about the families that are forming right now? Don't they deserve respect, recognition and a stab at survival?

Well, they don't get that because there is a predominate idea that different sex couples are the only vehicle to provide stability. That is a lie and it doesn't help anyone. "Every Child Needs a Father and a Mother" is the only place I have seen a connection made between the propaganda of family values and the reality of human nature.

How many women were killed by their husbands and consequently used as statistics before spousal abuse laws were enforced?

Were victims of lynching used to bring attention to the unabated violence inflicted on African Americans?

Until the hetero majority actually acknowledges that they do not have the moral superiority to claim the exclusive right to marriage and family in this country, there will have to be a tally of the vicitms broadcast.

Otherwise YOU PEOPLE won't do anything about my situation as citizen denied full citizenship.

Posted by patrick | July 18, 2007 12:33 PM

Actually, I think the best argument for gay parenthood would be really positive stories about gay parents. I think one of the big reasons that gay marriage has so much more support now than it did a few short years ago is because of all those images out of San Francisco and Boston of happy, loving gay couples trying to wed -- only the most hateful people could see that and not think "why would I want to stand in the way of these couples' happiness?" and "how is their getting married hurting me, anyway?"

Posted by velo | July 18, 2007 12:35 PM

Matt and Patrick,

You keep bitterly racing to the bottom. Your complaints about the moral bankruptcy of the other side will be effective from there, and the Right will be happy you're down there with them for as long as you choose to be. I'm going to bemoaning this, and I'm not interested in keeping you, Dan and the Stranger company down there.

Posted by vegetable lasagna | July 18, 2007 12:49 PM

Veggie - I don't know about Patrick but I'm not bitter about anything. If you want to be superior about it then that's your business. But unless you know something about the religious right's response to these posts then you're being presumptuous.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 12:54 PM

Im glad to see someone regognizes that Dan is no different than his opponents when it comes to exploiting his children to prove a political point. Thats been my point from the beginning.

You want kids, fine, but stop using them to prove to everyone else how normal you are.

And dare I say, a sex columnist who coins phrases like "santorom (sp?)" has brain waves that are slightly different from normal. But thats alright. If the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, the kid will turn his back and resent the hell out of dad using him as a book subject and poster child for gay rights throughout his childhood.

But hell, alls fair in love and war right? Even eploiting the pain of an innocent person.

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 1:15 PM

Im just wondering what Bellview ave. has ever contributed to any conversation.

I think that his/her posts should be immediately deleted.

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 1:17 PM


Their response is that they love it. They'd much prefer to talk about gays being mentally deficient and not understanding what caring about the welfare of children is about. All these posts demonstrate is something negative about the people posting and reading them.

It becomes untenable for them when they are faced with evidence of couples who are in love and just wanting to be allowed to do what hetro couples are allowed to do. I believe that a majority of people in this country would agree that it's wrong (and un-Constitutional) to deny them those rights.

It may seem naive to say that you'll do better taking the high road, but I'm re-thinking whether to continue to visit a site that callously posts these stories.

Posted by vegetable lasagna | July 18, 2007 1:21 PM

FORMER Sen Santorum keeps a petrified fetus in the pocket of his suit coat, or hanging around his neck on a chain(or maybe it's his butt plug, I don't recall) to show his allegiance to the rights of the unborn.

He is revolting and an excellent example of a spokesperson for the extremist fanatical movement in this country that uses children constantly to prove moral superiority.

You may recall seeing Bush surround himself with children as he signed his veto on the stem cell bill.

It is not a bottom rung / lowest of the low fringe debate when the Congress and the White House are occupied by people that owe thier jobs to religious fanatics that use NO facts or kindness in their attacks on same sex families. They use the bible and lies ("marriage has always been this way...for thousands of years...") to twist reality and elect their true believers that in turn legislate against me.

I haven't done anything wrong. I would be an excellent parent. My relationship is shockingly average. Yet I have to persuade an unmotivated and ambivalent public that I am not given equal opportunity because of the zealotry of christianists and the dislike of my disgruntlement from a hetero majority.

It is not a flattering or charming or upbeat argument that is made in ECNFM posts - but it is a serious one that deserves consideration.

Posted by patrick | July 18, 2007 1:33 PM

Veggie says:

Their response is that they love it. They'd much prefer to talk about gays being mentally deficient and not understanding what caring about the welfare of children is about. All these posts demonstrate is something negative about the people posting and reading them.

I don't see any such connection. I guess that's just me.

Yes, good loving gay couples rearing happy and healthy children is a good thing. Unfortunately such stories are seldom in the news so they're kind of hard to use in an argument with the religious right.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 18, 2007 1:34 PM

I'm fairly certain that "Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father" is more of a slogan than a standalone argument. There is an unsaid "because..." followed by a list of reasons, silly stuff like "it'll make the kids gay," or whatever.

My point is, these posts miss the mark. They fight the slogan without refuting the underlying points that the slogan represents. I'm sure the Fundies are aware that some hetero parents are monsters, and if asked, they'd acknowledge that and say something along the lines of "well, obviously we weren't referring to THOSE parents. We meant the majority of responsible parents."

And I think most of the fence-sitters, the ones Dan would want to persuade, already know that too. So these posts don't do anything for them, either.

Let me just add, though, that I *wish* I could feel that what Dan posts was an effective counterpoint. The brutal simplicity of these posts hits home at an emotional level that bypasses the need for reasoned persuasion. But because it misses the mark, it just doesn't work.

Posted by Toby | July 18, 2007 1:38 PM
Let's say I said that every child deserves health care...Then let's say somebody who doesn't support my opinion starts throwing a bunch of wire stories at me of instances where doctors or nurses hurt children, or instances of malpractice on children, or children developing infections while in hospital.

Wow. That is a really crappy analogy. How about this? What if I say that I oppose universal health care for children? You would be completely within your rights to throw example after example of children suffering and dying from a lack of health care. In fact, that would be the best possible way to demonstrate to me why children should be guaranteed health care.

That's essentially what Dan is doing. He is demonstrating why the wingnuts are wrong about single parents and same-sex parents. There are so many children out there suffering at the hands of their biological, straight parents that we desperately need as many good, loving parents as possible to step in -- including those gays and single heteros.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 18, 2007 2:28 PM

Well, the point isn't lost on me and it seems like others that have commented seem to get an understanding of the point and they don't like it.

Dan hasn't piped in to say anything about who is on or off target so it seems to me like his point might also be to start conversations like the one that took place today.

I am half of one of the 4000 couples married at San Francisco City Hall over three years ago. Six months after our marriage, the State of CA annulled my marriage. Now it is up to courts to determine the validity of my claim. The state legislature here passed same sex marriage bill twice and it has been vetoed and will be vetoed again (presumably).

As we bicker, there are FOUR proposals gathering signatures in the state to be placed on the ballot next year that will amend the CA constitution against legitimizing same sex couples - no marrriage and no more Domestic Partnerships if they have their way.

Oh I suppose its true that you can catch more flies with honey, but that is not an effective strategy when faced with permanent marginalization. Surely you understand my rage and indignation. Certainly you see that it will require more than simple Christian charity to attract the attention of a heterosexual majority that doesn't understand what all the fuss is about.

I did the smiling for the camera thing. What have you done? What are you willing to do for an issue that asks for more than sympathy and demands that hetero supporters put themselves on the line and out themselves in support of my citizenship. It's not a very comfortable feeling is it? It's risky to confront the ugliness and resistance of a country that refuses to change it's bigoted point of view.

Posted by patrick | July 18, 2007 2:38 PM

I apologize patrick for being from a country that allows gay marriage. Although I think that secretly people were thinking "be careful what you wish for", it wasn't an attempt to reduce the stats on wife-beating and murder.

I know you're angry, but here's the argument of someone trying to get people to understand his position.

"When people talk about gay marriage, they miss the point. This isn't about gay marriage. It's about marriage. It's about family. It's about love. It isn't about religion. It's about civil marriage licenses. Churches can and should have the right to say no to marriage for gays in their congregations, just as Catholics say no to divorce, but divorce is still a civil option. These family values are not options for a happy and stable life. They are necessities. Putting gay relationships in some other category — civil unions, domestic partnerships, whatever — may alleviate real human needs, but by their very euphemism, by their very separateness, they actually build a wall between gay people and their families. They put back the barrier many of us have spent a lifetime trying to erase."

See how that's different and might be more effective?

Posted by vegetable lasagna | July 18, 2007 3:01 PM

Is it working?

Posted by patrick | July 18, 2007 3:34 PM

It is in Canada.

Posted by vegetable lasagna | July 18, 2007 4:17 PM

keep them coming

Posted by greendyke | July 18, 2007 8:15 PM

wait, was that child's father involved. it doesn't really seem related.

it should be 'every child deserves to be safe from alligators.'

Posted by sepiolida | July 18, 2007 8:29 PM

I've personally always considered the torture and murder of 3 year old Tesslynn O'Cull to be the prime example of "Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father."

Posted by virgy | July 19, 2007 1:49 AM

r@64 - ..."heterosexual" had any idea of what it is like to truly be a "minority,"...

Um, like being a young, married, hetro, religious in NYC, and then Seattle?

Posted by chill pill | July 19, 2007 8:38 AM

Crooks and Liars has a clip up of Keith calling out Bill O for "sensationalizing someone's death when it suits his needs" (and for harassing Miss NJ on the air).

Posted by vegetable lasagna | July 19, 2007 12:16 PM

Amen, brother.

Posted by Theresa | July 20, 2007 11:32 AM

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