Chief Justice John Roberts with wife Jane and children Josie and Jack Image Credit
Chief Justice John Roberts with wife Jane and children Josie and Jack in 2005

UGHH. I don’t want this to be a political blog. While I don’t steer clear of political issues, I try very hard to respect the differences of opinions in our VERY diverse audience. But when I saw the headline that John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), said that adoption is the second-best option for family building, I almost choked. My second response was to question the context. We all know that it’s easy to twist meanings by selective quoting, and quite frankly, I couldn’t believe that he would actually say that. So, I started digging.

Turns out he did actually say that, and if I’m understanding the situation, the context doesn’t help his case much.

The Supreme Court will consider two high-profile gay rights cases later this month, including whether to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. In response to a question about how he thought Chief Justice John Roberts, the adoptive father of two children, would vote, Eastman said,

“You’re looking at what is the best course society wide to get you the optimal result in the widest variety of cases. That often is not open to people in individual cases. Certainly adoption in families headed, like Chief Roberts’ family is, by a heterosexual couple, is by far the second-best option.”


I get that Eastman and the NOM were attacking gay marriage. I believe, although I’m not sure, that his point is that the purpose of marriage is procreation, and since single sex couples can’t reproduce in the traditional way, marriage should not be an option. That created a problem for him since for any number of reasons, including infertility, a heterosexual couple, such as Chief Justice Roberts and his wife and Justice Thomas and his second wife (who are guardians/adoptive parents to Justice Thomas’s grandnephew),  might not be able or want to procreate. His statement apparently was his attempt to cover those bases—they would have procreated if they could have, but alas, had to settle for second best. As is so often the case, when you take aim, it’s hard not to maim a lot of folks in the crossfire. (Might be a good reason to avoid broad attacks in general, but that’s another topic altogether.)

I’m not really even sure where to begin or how far to go with this, but let me simply say: Mr. Eastman, my family is many things—noisy, raucous, and at time irreverent, but the one thing it is not, nor will ever be, is second best!

Mr Eastman, in response to the public outcry to his comments released the following statement on the NOM website:

“An article by the Associated Press has been mischaracterized by The Huffington Post to grossly misrepresent my views on adoption. I believe that couples who adopt children are heroes and do a great service to society, and to the children they adopt. I strongly believe, based on thousands of years of experience and countless social science studies, that children do best when raised by a mother and a father within the bounds of marriage. I commend all those couples who selflessly give of themselves to raise a child who, through no fault of her own, has been deprived of a mother and father. There is nothing ‘second best’ about adoption.”

Do you read Eastman’s statement the way I did, or have I missed something? Am I overreacting? Do you think his public statement in response changes anything?


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