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When President Barack Obama announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, he mentioned that his change of heart happened in part because of his daughters, Sasha, 10, and Malia, 13, who have friends being raised by gay parents. We thought it was a relevant and touching anecdote -- but Bristol Palin does not agree. In a blog post on Patheos.com, Sarah Palin's daughter tears into Obama for his views on gay marriage -- and, moreover, for being influenced by his own children.
"While it's great to listen to your kids' ideas, there’s also a time when dads simply need to be dads," writes Palin, 21. "In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends' parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage. Or that -- as great as her friends may be -- we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home."
Actually, there's no evidence that children of straight parents "do better" than children of gay parents (it may be the other way around, in fact). But isn't it interesting to hear Bristol Palin go on about the importance of raising kids in a "mother/father home," when her own son, Tripp, is being raised without a father?
Not that there's anything wrong with that! Frankly, keeping Levi Johnston at arm's length seems like a great parenting decision on Bristol's part. See, Bristol made a choice to raise Tripp by herself, based on what she felt was best for her child. Why does she want to deny gay parents that same right? And does she really not see the irony in speaking up for "traditional marriage" when she's never had a traditional marriage?
Oh, but there's more.
"I guess we can be glad that Malia and Sasha aren’t younger, or perhaps today’s press conference might have been about appointing Dora the Explorer as Attorney General because of her success in stopping Swiper the Fox," writes Bristol (or perhaps her ghostwriter, who sounds a lot more like Rush Limbaugh than that girl from Dancing with the Stars). "Sometimes dads should lead their family in the right ways of thinking. In this case, it would've been nice if the President would've been an actual leader and helped shape their thoughts instead of merely reflecting what many teenagers think after one too many episodes of Glee."
We knew it! All of Obama's decisions are now dictated by Glee! That would explain why he keeps singing those Saturday Night Fever medleys. And why he keeps referring to the presidential election as "nationals."
Seriously, though, let's back up a minute and look at what the president actually said. Here's the quote from his interview with Robin Roberts. "You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we're talking about their friends and their parents, and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated differently," the president said. "It doesn't make sense to them and, frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective."
Bristol is presenting this like Malia and Sasha showed up to dinner, said, "Dad, you need to support gay marriage so Kurt and Blaine can get married," and then Obama replied, "Sure, sweethearts, whatever you say. Would you also like a pony?" What the president actually said was that he gradually realized that his daughters don't view their friends' same-sex parents any differently from straight parents. And the thought of explaining marriage equality to his children -- i.e., "It's against the law for some of your friends' parents to get married, but not others" -- made him uncomfortable. He recognized that his daughters didn't discriminate, but the law did.
Every parent has had moments like that, where their children make them see the world in a way they hadn't before. Surely it's happened to Bristol, too? And while we're on the topic, does she really think she had zero effect on her own mother's political career?
Bristol sees Obama's support of same-sex marriage as a failure of moral leadership, and she's certainly not alone in that viewpoint. It's certainly her right to share her thoughts on the matter. But it's too bad that her experience as a single mother -- and the often brutal backlash she experienced -- hasn't given her a more compassionate perspective. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and thousands of gay parents really want to get married -- even if Bristol Palin doesn't.