"Every Child Deserves a Mom and Dad" and Other Nonsense

05/07/2015 12:54 pm ET | Updated May 07, 2016

Ireland is about to vote on marriage equality and opponents are getting desperate. Polls show a wide margin in favor of same-sex marriage, so religious groups are pulling out the slogan: "Every child has the right to a mother and a father."

This slogan reminds me of the joke comment, "Every time you masturbate a kitten dies."

The two things are not related and the idea that you're killing kittens through self-pleasure is absurd.

A gay couple marrying doesn't mean a father or mother somewhere drops dead, leaving bereft children in a single-parent home.

When we use the term "rights" we are talking about a legal entitlement. My right to my property means I can use my property for my own pleasure and enforce this right by excluding others. My right means others are obligated to respect my legal entitlement. My right to life means you aren't allowed to kill me. These are negative obligations -- things you are not supposed to do.

From where does the right to have a mother and father come? To say you have a right to something implies someone must provide it. Who? Rights are something others can violate, we don't speak of nature as violating rights. A hurricane isn't accused of "violating property rights." Rights are relationships between people.

When a child has one parent, missing a father or mother, precisely who is obligated to provide the missing parent? Without an obligation there is no right.

Same-sex couples are not murdering parents willy-nilly to deprive a child or "both a mother and a father," nor does their marriage prevent children from having parents. They are unrelated matters.

If these religious types want to look at it in theological terms, then the real violation of the "rights" of children is coming from God, not gays.

My father died of a heart attack when I was a young boy. Wasn't his death an act of God? If you believe religious opponents to gays, my rights were violated, but, who violated them? Mothers die in childbirth. Again, isn't God responsible for violating the rights of children?

The question of marriage and children are separate issues. No gay marriage has every denied a child a right to parents, but then there can be no such right. It is not enforceable against anyone. No one is obligated to provide parents to parentless children.

Around the globe there are millions of children with no parents whatsoever. They yearn for a mother, or father; some dare hope for both.

If religious opponents of same-sex marriage really believed children had a right to parents, they'd be lined up to adopt them. They aren't. They would rather leave those children without any parents than see a same-sex couple provide a loving home to them.

Let's be honest. It isn't kids they care about; it's gays. They don't want gay couples to marry and the "what about the kids?" argument is a smokescreen.

They can't win the debate merely on hate; they have to concoct some sort of argument that at least sounds reasonable. It's no secret that "what about the kids?" is a cry used by the most desperate of political causes.

Would it be nice for every child to have a mom and a dad? No, not actually, my father was abusive. I witnessed horrible violence and suffered from it as a child. Someone taking away my father would have done me a favor. Sometimes kids lose out when it comes to the parents lottery. They get raw deals.

Some get mentally-ill parents incapable of caring for them. In many cases, a child is better with one parent, or none, than with an abusive, bad parent, or set of parents. That's one reason children are taken into care. Not all parents are a blessing.

Orphanages and foster systems are full of children good anti-gay Christians simply don't want. The idea that same-sex couples deny children an ideal set of parents is nonsense.

The stories I read of so many loving same-sex couples is they are adopting many children who "good parents" -- those mom and dad couples every child "has a right to" -- simply aren't adopting. Gay couples take nothing from those children.

To the contrary, they often give something very important. They give a home, and love and all the things children want and need. Whether you think it ideal is immaterial, because utopia isn't an option.

If you honestly think every child has a "right" to a mom and a dad then go out and adopt, but, if you aren't doing that -- or if enough aren't doing that -- don't you dare deny children the love and affection some gay couples are willing to give them.

If this is really about the children, you're still on the wrong side of history.