John Stemberger

In an email to supporters on Friday John Stemberger, head of Florida Family Policy Council, claims that courts have dealt the citizens of Florida a “cruel blow” by effecting marriage equality. He vows to support and advance marriage discrimination in perpetuity.

Stemberger is perhaps best known for founding the Boy Scouts alternative, Trail Life. Trail Life, which is offered as a “Christian” scouting organization, was conceived in direct response to the BSA’s decision to allow the participation of openly gay boys. Stemberger is wed to the notion that sexual orientation is somehow contagious. I, on the other hand, am wed to the notion that people who think like Stemberger are ignorant fools.

That lack of knowledge is evident in Stemberger’s missive wherein he writes:

On December 3, a lower federal court dealt Florida families, and especially our children, a cruel blow when it imposed so-called same-sex “marriage” on our state.

I’m sure that for you – just as for me – the sudden reality of that legal development came as a shock, especially after years of making progress in the fight to protect God’s design for marriage in Florida.

But, this is no time to hang our heads, to be despondent, or to just give up.

I sent Stemberger an email asking him to explain exactly how children are affected. The only kids that seem to be touched by marriage equality are those who are being raised by same-sex couples and that impact is nothing but positive. I have yet to receive a reply.

Stemberger goes on to make what has become a requisite Roe v. Wade comparison:

Just as we have worked for decades and are successfully rebuilding a culture of life, we will also work to rebuild a culture of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The state has an interest in defining, protecting and promoting natural marriage. As long as we have breath – even if it takes 20, 30 or 50 years – we will never give up on this issue. It is that important!

By the power of one we can overcome. One voter, one father, one mother, one mayor, one governor, one pastor, one student, one local leader – stepping forward and standing firm.

In the final analysis Stemberger has committed considerable energy to something that has no effect on him – or his supporters – in any way whatsoever. That fact offers little hope for ever reinstating marriage discrimination. He’s right about one thing. Marriage equality is “that important.” However, it is only supremely important to those thus wed. To the rest of the citizenry, including Mr. Stemberger, it is of no consequence.

Meanwhile it looks like Florida will be, at least for the immediate future, a patchwork quilt of equality. The (big name) law firm representing the county clerks has advised that the District Court decision only applies in one county given that the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has not decided a case on the merits. The ACLU is not sitting idly by while this is playing out and neither are counsel for the other litigants.

As the process plays out, Mr. Stemberger faces death by a thousand cuts. It doesn’t look like his point of view represents the future for our state or our country as a whole.

By the way, as you might expect, the latter half of Stemberger’s email message is a money-beg. Homophobia isn’t cheap you know.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.