One afternoon in Jerusalem, while Huckabee was eating a chocolate croissant in the lounge of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, I asked him to explain his rationale for opposing gay rights. “I do believe that God created male and female and intended for marriage to be the relationship of the two opposite sexes,” he said. “Male and female are biologically compatible to have a relationship. We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesn’t work the same.”
I asked him if he had any arguments that didn’t have to do with God or ickiness. “There are some pretty startling studies that show if you want to end poverty it’s not education and race, it’s monogamous marriage,” he said. “Many studies show that children who grow up in a healthy environment where they have both a mother and a father figure have both a healthier outlook and a different perspective from kids who don’t have the presence of both.”
In fact, a twenty-five-year study recently published by the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that children brought up by lesbians were better adjusted than their peers. And, of course, nobody has been able to study how kids fare with married gay parents. “You know why?” Huckabee said. “Because no culture in the history of mankind has ever tried to redefine marriage.”
But in the Old Testament polygamy was commonplace. The early Christians considered marriage an arrangement for those without the self-discipline to live in chastity, as Christ did. Marriage was not deemed a sacrament by the Church until the twelfth century. And, before 1967, marriage was defined in much of the United States as a relationship between a man and a woman of the same race.
Regardless of the past, wouldn’t Huckabee be curious to know whether allowing gay people to marry had a positive or negative effect on children and society?
“No, not really. Why would I be?” he said, and laughed.
Because saying that something ought to be a certain way simply because that’s the way it supposedly has always been is an awful lot like saying “because we said so.” And Huckabee is supposed to be the guy who questions everything.
I think it's reasonably fair to say that Huckabee is full of crap. The "ick facktor" is not an argument–unless you're talking about putting parmesan cheese on seafood, in which case it is, and your argument is invalid.
But really seriously.
Here is an allegedly intelligent guy who claims evidence for his view that isn't evidence for his view. The idea that monogamy decreases poverty doesn't exclude gay monogamy. But worse than that, everyone ought to know from anthro 101 that marriage has been "defined" (I really wish we could stop using this sneaky Platonism) in myriad ways in different cultures (and even in the very Bible Huckabee allegedly believes in). Finally, Huckabee ought at least to be open to the idea that the evidence does not support his prejudices–but no. That would be asking too much.
Now in case you think Huckabee has been misquoted or treated unfairly here by the New Yorker (a claim I expect to be forthcoming), consider the following:
As governor of Arkansas, Huckabee successfully championed laws that prevented gay people from becoming foster parents and banned gay adoptions. “Children are not puppies—this is not a time to see if we can experiment and find out how does this work,” Huckabee told a student journalist at the College of New Jersey in April. “You don’t go ahead and accommodate every behavioral pattern that is against the ideal. That would be like saying, ‘Well, there are a lot of people who like to use drugs, so let’s go ahead and accommodate those who want to use drugs. There are some people who believe in incest, so we should accommodate them.’ ” These comments proved unpopular. On his Web site, Huckabee accused his interviewer of trying to “grossly distort” and “sensationalize my well known and hardly unusual views” about homosexuality. The student publication then posted the audiotape of the interview online. Huckabee had not been misquoted.
Now one thing I'm certain the Bible says is "thou shall not bear false witness."