Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

TN House District 64 candidate recruiting children in war against marriage equality

Rep. Ty Cobb's likely opponent in the House District 64 election in November is Sheila Butt. There's another Republican in the primary, but Ms. Butt has left him in the dust in fundraising, so she is all but assured to be the nominee. She may talk about jobs on the campaign trail, but I think her motivation for running is to advance doctrinaire Right wing public policy.

An email has been floating around linking to a children's book she has written, Seth & Sara Ask...Does God Love Michael's Two Daddies? I really wanted to see it for myself and fortunately a straight ally from Maury County sent me a copy. See the photo below along with some Butt campaign literature:

We could spend all day talking about the title. First, the very idea that she would publish a book asking the question whether God loves anyone should be a red flag. By starting with the question, she casts doubt in the reminder's mind. She uses the book to work toward the answer that, indeed, God loves Michael's two daddies, but that what they're doing is wrong. Never mind that they love each other and take good care of Michael. But at least they get God's love. Butt knows that if she started with the foundation that God loves everyone, she might have to concede that Michael's two daddies are responsible, loving, and healthy. And then she might have to concede that things like equality in adoption and marriage laws might be justified.

Second, I find it particularly pernicious that she puts her question in the mouths of children. The title is Seth & Sara Ask..., not Sheila Butt Asks... However, we should make no mistake that the question is hers as is the answer. She obviously feels the book is needed because children have to be taught that happy, loving families ought to be broken up:

"So that means that Michael's two daddies should not get married, doesn't it Daddy?" Sara asked. "It means they should not live together like a husband and wife."
"That is exactly what the Bible teaches," Dad said. (p. 10)

If she is elected, any legislation affecting the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community is going to evaluated through the lens of her ideas about how we need to change. She will not care that our community faces employment discrimination or that hate crimes are committed against our community. She won't care about breaking up families. The data won't matter, the stories won't matter. If you have any doubts, the campaign literature touts her membership in two intensely anti-gay organizations--American Family Association and Concerned Women for America. Definitely a campaign to watch!

-Chris Sanders