Election 2024

JD Vance excuses “violent” marriages. He opposes same-sex marriages

J. D. Vance speaking with attendees at the 2021 Southwest Regional Conference hosted by Turning Point USA at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona.
J. D. Vance speaking at a Turning Point USA in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: Gage Skidmore

A Republican Senate candidate suggested that people should stay in “violent” marriages for the sake of their children as he opposes same-sex marriage and even letting kids learn that same-sex couples exist.

Author JD Vance, who’s running for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio, was speaking at Pacifica Christian High School in California last year when he said that people now “shift spouses like they change their underwear.”

“This is one of the great tricks that I think the sexual revolution pulled on the American populace, which is the idea that like, ‘Well, OK, these marriages were fundamentally, you know, they were maybe even violent, but certainly they were unhappy. And so getting rid of them and making it easier for people to shift spouses like they change their underwear, that’s going to make people happier in the long term,'” he said.

“And maybe it worked out for the moms and dads, though I’m skeptical. But it really didn’t work out for the kids of those marriages. And that’s what I think all of us should be honest about, is we’ve run this experiment in real time. And what we have is a lot of very, very real family dysfunction that’s making our kids unhappy.”

The moderator asked about Vance’s grandparents, who he discussed in his popular book Hillbilly Elegy. In his book, Vance wrote that his grandfather was a “violent drunk” and that his grandmother tried to murder his grandfather, and that their daughter – who was 11 at the time – had to intervene to save her father’s life.

Vance told the moderator that his grandparents had an “incredibly chaotic marriage in a lot of ways, but they never got divorced, right? They were together to the end, ’til death do us part. That was a really important thing to my grandmother and my grandfather. That was clearly not true by the 70s or 80s.”

While Vance seems fairly accepting of violent marriages, he wasn’t willing to say the same about same-sex marriages this past March at a candidate forum hosted by Toledo Right to Life.

He was asked his opinion on marriage equality and he replied that he doesn’t like “cafeteria Christianity,” Vice reported. “Cafeteria Christianity” is a disparaging way of accusing others of only believing in the parts of Christianity that they want to believe in and not the entire religion.

“Marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman,” he responded.

Vance has also spent this year defending Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law, which bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in lower grades and restricts those discussions in older grades. The law has already been used to end an anti-bullying program in one school district in Florida while another “cautioned” teachers in grades kindergarten through third against mentioning their same-sex partners or weddings because “those discussions could be deemed classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“The Democrats are actually advocating to teach about sexuality and crazy gender theory to seven-year-old children, and on the other hand they get offended if we throw around terms like ‘groomer’ to push back against it,” Vance said on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show earlier this year, using a term that refers to child sex abusers. “If you don’t want to be called a groomer, don’t teach sexuality to six to seven-year-old children. It’s really that simple.”

“This is about parental rights.”

He repeated a similar sentiment on Twitter in April: “I’ll stop calling people ‘groomers’ when they stop freaking out about bills that prevent the sexualization of my children.”

When asked to clarify his statements about violent marriage to Vice, Vance said that he rejects “the premise of your bogus question. As anyone who studies these issues knows: domestic violence has skyrocketed in recent years, and is much higher among non-married couples.”

That is not true. Domestic violence dropped significantly from 1995 to 2015, according to CDC statistics.

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