Chris Powell: In Conn., the real family problem

  VERNON, Conn.

Contriving their daily dose of campaign hysteria, leading Connecticut Democrats gathered at the state Capitol the other day to denounce the Republican nominee for governor, Tom Foley, for accepting the endorsement of the Connecticut Family Institute. 

"Candidate Foley gives few details but now we know the company he's keeping," state Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, said. 

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo added, "The endorsement of the Family Institute is or should be the kiss of political death in this state. It is outside of who we are as a people." 

Bye and Lembo are liberals and a few decades ago liberals denounced such attacks as "guilt by association." But that was when liberals were the ones guilty of associating. Foley is hardly a conservative -- Bye condemned him not just for accepting the Family Institute's endorsement but also for having few positions at all -- but his election would change the locks on the candy store Democrats have made of state government. So Foley must be demonized. 

The Democrats' problem with the Family Institute is that it opposes same-sex marriage. That is, they argue that the Family Institute should be disqualified from politics and decent society forever for taking today the same position that the country's two leading Democrats, President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, themselves took until a few years ago. But somehow Obama and Clinton have been forgiven. They were never going to change the locks on the candy store. 

The Family Institute says it endorsed Foley not because of his position on homosexuality and same-sex marriage -- those things don't seem to have ever bothered him and he is striving not to give offense even to those who deserve it. Rather, the institute got Foley to say he opposes legalizing assisted suicide, which the institute believes could lead to the euthanasia or murder of the disabled. 

Assisted suicide is not among Connecticut's big political issues, though if the Democratic state administration is re-elected those who work in the private sector  will  have less reason to go on living, or at least to go on living  here. 
But then homosexuality isn't a big issue for Connecticut either. The state decriminalized it decades ago, hadn'tprosecuted it for decades before that, and was among the first states to authorize same-sex "civil unions" and then same-sex marriage itself. 

The state long has been and remains overwhelmingly indifferent to such entirely personal matters even as homosexuals here continue to clamor as if they are somehow oppressed, since such clamor wins them political deference as a recognized special interest. As the old joke notes, what was, in the last century, "the love that dares not speak its name" cannot, in this one, shut up. 
The problem with the Family Institute's obsession with homosexuality is not that it has any chance of impairing anyone's rights but that it distracts from Connecticut's real family problem, which is also the state's biggest problem -- the decline of the family itself. This isn't the doing of homosexuals but of  heterosexuals,  who increasingly have children outside marriage and raise them neglectfully in fatherless homes, a catastrophically destructive phenomenon made possible mainly by the welfare system. 

The welfare system's destruction of the family is responsible for most of Connecticut's education, crime, drug, mental health and child-abuse problems  and for many of its physical illness problems. The human, financial and governmental costs are incalculable. 

But the Family Institute has little to say about this and the Democrats, so sensitive to any lack of enthusiasm for homosexuality, have nothing  to say about it, since their party, the party of government, sustains itself only by increasing dependence on government. 

Unlike the Family Institute, the Democrats are politically relevant, so their silence on the bigger issue is a far bigger threat. 

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn.