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So I would LOVE to stop writing about Orange County head of Chapman Law School and intellectual dinosaur, John Eastman, but he’s fighting so hard for attention that it’s a shame to ignore the little guy. In an ongoing war of words with most of the world, including colleagues and students at conservative, Chapman University, Eastman is carving out his niche with the crazies–presumably so he won’t be completely forgotten once Dean Erwin Chimerinsky opens UC Irvine’s new law school next year.

Eastman was interviewed by the OC Register late last month (full article). His main point was that proponents of Prop 8 should be emphasizing how inferior gay “situations” are to their hetero counterparts, as opposed to their campaign lie that they wanted gay citizens to have all the same rights as non-gay people.  Eastman says in the article:

“Marriage is for procreation and promotion of the family. There is a biological connection to the institution of marriage. The people who have the greatest natural instinct to care for children are the natural parents.

“That natural instinct is so powerful that when we push it aside, it can have a profound affect on society. When one or more of the parents are adoptive, you’re usually starting with a less-than-optimal child-rearing situation.”

The logical oversights here are obvious. People marry for many reasons–birthing and/or raising children together is often not one of them. Marriage is not about “procreation.” If that was the sole reason for people to get married, then old people, infertile people, and people who do not want kids would be ineligible (for the record, not all same sex couples want to have kids). The idea that adoptive families are “less than” biological families presumes that bio families are all the Cleavers and the Cosbys. As a back-sliden social worker with career experience in the county foster/adoption system, I must point out that when a foster child is adopted, it is because that child was in some way abandoned or neglected by its biological parents and family–so much for natural instinct.

Eastman’s interview prompted an op-ed piece, entitled “Unjustified Accusations,” in Chapman’s university paper, the Panther. Andrew Scheppmann writes:

Adoptive parents endure a lengthy and time-consuming process to start a family and to give homes to children in the foster care system – many of whom come from abusive homes and were taken away from their biological parents.

Eastman is assuming that adopted children will turn out poorly and affect society negatively. But his accusations are unfounded and unjustified.

Eastman responded to this op-ed with a Letter to the Editor in which he splits hairs over whether he meant that children raised by non-bio parents will turn out “poorly” or “less well” than those raised by bio parents in a “low conflict marriage” (such as the Cleavers and the Cosbys). His money line is this: “It is unfortunate that debate over this contested issue has taken on such an anti-intellectual cast.”

Eastman has sponsored one bigoted “forum” after another about Prop 8 and the state’s recognition of same sex marriages (some of which I have covered here and here). He has given a bully pulpit to the likes of BYU professors of law Lynn Wardle and Scott Loveless–both of whom perpetuated wildly outlandish misconceptions about same sex relationships, apparently in an effort to convince the audience of the inferiority of these relationships. Loveless claimed that LGBT people often had thousands of sexual partners, and compared relationships between consenting adults to pedophilia. Wardle also compared peaceful “No on 8” protests to the night that Nazis assaulted Jewish neighborhoods sending over 100,000 Jews to their death in concentration camps.

These Eastman “forums” also included professors who support lifting the ban on marriages for gays and lesbians; a fact that Eastman seems to believe legitimizes the conversation. His “money line,” highlighted above, presumes that his arguments are “intellectual”–as opposed to ignorant at best and malicious at worst. Though I have heard him repeat that opposition to equal rights does not automatically constitute “bigotry” or “hatred,” I have never heard him offer an alternative justification. Arguments chocked full of dehumanizing mischaracterizations are, in fact, anti-intellectual.  The fact that these men are teachers and deans and wear suits does not mean that their opinions are “scholarly.” The Senators who filibustered for 57 days in an attempt to derail the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 were not wearing their white sheets either.

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