During his speech on the Defense of Marriage Act speech on Tuesday, Gingrey told his fellow members of Congress that children should take classes to learn traditional gender roles. You know, so they don't turn out gay.
"You know, maybe part of the problem is we need to go back into the schools at a very early age, maybe at the grade school level, and have a class for the young girls and have a class for the young boys and say, you know, this is what's important," he said. "This is what a father does that is maybe a little different, maybe a little bit better than the talents that a mom has in a certain area. And the same thing for the young girls, that, you know, this is what a mom does, and this is what is important from the standpoint of that union which we call marriage."
Gingrey's theory is that if we instill these gender roles into children early enough, they will grow up to become model straight parents who would never dream of choosing the gay lifestyle because marriage just doesn't work that way.
While it's great to have a two-parent household in general, especially where each parent does things a little differently, guess what? Almost 30% of households are run by one parent. And according to Gingrey, there's no way a single mom or a single dad can be a good parent on their own, because they were only taught to follow their own gender roles.
But let's get back to the context of his speech, which essentially dictates that a married, male/female couple is inherently better than a gay or lesbian couple at raising children simply because of how their genders fit together. Or rather, how they express their genders.
Because while Mom's in the kitchen making dinner in preparation for Dad's return from work, there's clearly no way Mom could have spent her day fixing the car, and like hell is Dad returning from his job as a kindergarten teacher. God forbid Dad's the one making dinner for a hungry Mom when she returns from her work at the factory!
This is why Gingrey's statement just doesn't work: LGBT parents are in no way inferior to straight parents because there is no best way to parent. A good mom isn't a good mom because she married a man and cooks and sews while her husband is at work. Any good parent will love their children unconditionally, nurture their growth, and ensure their home is a safe place. None of these things are exclusive to straight people — anyone can do them.
You can't teach a kid to like certain things, as doing so stifles their creativity. Kids will to learn on their own what they like for themselves. And you certainly can't force them to identify as straight if that's not what they are. Gingrey's strategy to "get 'em while they're young" would most definitely lead to more unhappy kids than it's worth.
So while people like Gingrey, Erick Erickson, and Phil Bryant waste their time lamenting the good old days where women did what they were told and just stayed home, the decent among us will raise our own children with an open mind, an open heart, and an open choice of activities — gender roles be damned.