Should Government Recognize and Legalize Same Sex Marriage? Explore More Content
What Do Proponents Want?
Why should anyone oppose homosexual couples who want to be married to each other? Shouldn’t we promote loving relationships and encourage the kind of commitment that we recognize in marriages all over the country? Why would we ever deny this desire on the part of homosexuals? After all, aren’t they just trying to fit in to the fabric of our society? These are questions that we need to examine as we see the trend toward same sex marriage growing in our country. But before we begin, we need to understand what motivates many homosexual advocates in this discussion. While some homosexuals may simply want to nestle into the marital culture that surrounds them, many more want to transform that culture altogether:
(ex-legal director of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund)
“Being queer is more than setting up house, sleeping with a person of the same gender, and seeking state approval for doing so….Being queer means pushing the parameters of sex, sexuality, and family, and in the process transforming the very fabric of society.”
Many homosexuals who want our government to approve and establish same sex marriages appear to want to change the culture rather than simply assimilate into the culture that already exists.
How Many People Are We Talking About Here?
The trend toward same sex marriage may make the headlines, but it involves a relatively small number of people in our culture. While many homosexual advocacy groups tend to inflate their statistics in order to increase the perceived number of homosexuals in our country, the most reliable data (Dan Black’s “Demographics of the Gay and Lesbian Population”) places the male homosexual population at 2.5% and the female homosexual population at 1.4%.
In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted a survey called, “Married-Couple and Unmarried Partner Households” and reported that there were 594,391 same-sex partner households in our country (301,026 male homosexual households and 293,365 female homosexual households). Of these households, 33% percent of female homosexual households and 22% of male homosexual households were actually raising children. Compare this with 46% of heterosexual married couples who were raising children in the household (plus an unknown percentage of heterosexual couples who were raising kids in an unmarried household).
And while homosexual couples may say that they are raising kids in their home, this does not, of course, mean that these children began their life in this setting. The vast majority of children being raised in homosexual homes are the product of prior heterosexual relationships and marriages on the part of one of the two homosexuals in the present relationship. These children were raised in a heterosexual two parent environment during the earliest years of their development, even if they are now listed as children who are being raised in the context of a same sex union.
The point here is that the issue of same sex marriage applies directly to a very small part of the general population (those who live as homosexuals), and to an even smaller group within the homosexual community who choose to live in same sex households!
What is the Role of Government?
While homosexuals are free today to live in same sex households, many homosexual advocates want more than the simple freedom to live in this way; they want the government to recognize their relationship and afford them the same affirmation and benefits that traditional heterosexual marriages enjoy. Before we can decide on the merits of such a notion, we need to think about the nature and role of government. What is government designed to accomplish? Why do we, as human beings, form governments in the first place? Well, we can learn something by simply reading the preamble of our own constitution:
The Preamble of the United States Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Our government, like many other governments before and since, exists to punish what is evil, protect what is good, and look out for the welfare of this and the next generation. This is the role of government, and the Christian worldview agrees with this stated purpose:
“Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them; tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to who fear; honor to whom honor.”
The Bible describes the role of government quite clearly; government exists to praise and promote “good behavior” while punishing “evil behavior”. When we ask government to get involved in any particular issue, it’s important for us to ask the question, “Does this involve a behavior that government should punish, a behavior that government should praise, or a behavior that government should simply ignore?”
Promoting the ‘Ideal’ Versus Punishing the ‘Non-Ideal’
There are lots of social institutions and relationships that government either promotes or prohibits. It’s the government’s role to encourage the institutions and behaviors that strengthen the culture and protect our ‘posterity’ as a society. Sometimes the government promotes and affirms a relational institution (like traditional marriage). Sometimes a government discourages a relational behavior (like the marriage of siblings to one another). Sometimes a government neither affirms nor discourages a relational reality (like single parent households).
There are times when it’s important to promote the ‘ideal’, but government has to be careful not to punish the ‘non-ideal’. It’s for this reason that our government doesn’t seek to punish single parent households, but does promote marriage as the institution within which we raise the next generation. There are certain benefits and recognitions that the government offers traditional married couples in an effort to affirm and encourage the very institution that lies at the foundation of our society. Government sees a high value in the role of two parent traditional family units in raising healthy, well balanced children.
Innumerous studies have been conducted over the years demonstrating the value that traditional family units have on children. Children who are raised in traditional, two parent family units are…
- Less likely to be involved in ‘delinquent’ behavior (Matsueda & Heimer, 1987)
- Less likely to drop out of school (Astone & McLanahan, 1994)
- Less likely to be unemployed (McLanahan and Sandefur, 1994)
- Less likely to use drugs in adolescence (Flewelling & Bauman, 1990; Thomas, Farrell, & Barnes, 1996; Hoffmann & Johnson, 1998)
- Less likely to be involved in crime (Gottfredson and Hirschi, 1990, Kamarck and Galston, 1990)
- Less likely to become pregnant as teenagers (Garfinkel and McLanahan, 1986)
- Less likely to be poor (Kamarck and Galston, 1990)
- Less likely to be sick (Angel and Worobey, 1988)
In virtually every area of measurement, from academic success, to psychological wellbeing, to the rate of incarceration, children who have been raised in the context of two parent family units compare favorably to those who have been raised in single parent families, and in every other construction of the family unit. Kids raised in two parent family units are far better adjusted by almost every available measurement when compared to those raised without both parents. Governments that recognize this have strived to promote two parent family units while not punishing those households that fall short of the ‘ideal’. It’s in the best interest of governments to support and encourage those social relationships and institutions that protect and foster the wellbeing of the next generation of citizens.
So, What Kind of Family Units Should Government Promote?
But if two parent family units are the ‘ideal’, isn’t it possible that same sex family units might be just as ‘ideal’ as traditional heterosexual marriages, so long as there are two parents in the relationship that can help raise the children? Must the parents be heterosexual parents in order for us to see the same optimum results in terms of child-rearing? Are there reasons why heterosexual unions should be promoted over same sex unions? Government is in the business of praising what is good and promoting the general welfare, so it’s appropriate for government to study this particular issue and promote those family units that best care for the wellbeing of young people. After all, these young people will eventually become the next generation of citizens and leaders. So, what kind of foundational relationships should the government promote, and which forms of family unit have the best record of success?
It’s All About KIDS
Let’s examine the evidence and try to remember what we learn by inserting the facts into a simple acronym: K-I-D-S. Let’s examine four attributes of healthy families that both heterosexual traditional marriage advocates and same sex marriage advocates can agree on! Both sides of the issue will probably agree that ‘ideal’ family units (those that should be promoted and encouraged by our government) ought to be:
K – Kind
Government Should Promote Family Units That Are Non-abusive
All of us are concerned about violence within relationships, particularly within the marital relationship. Both heterosexual and homosexual advocates would agree that children should not be raised in an unsafe environment in which partners are abusing one another. Children do best when raised in an environment where kindness is modeled. There is an important issue of safety and wellbeing that government must consider as it decides which type of relationships it wants to encourage and promote. All of us would agree that abusive relationships should not be encouraged as the ‘ideal’ for our culture.
Many studies have been conducted in an attempt to understand the level of abuse that exists within marital relationships in our society today. A recent study conducted at the national level found that 21.7% of women and 7.4% of men in traditional heterosexual relationships reported some form of rape, physical assault or stalking within the context of their relationship. (U.S. Department of Justice, “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence”, Office of Justice Programs, July, 2000). Those numbers may surprise you, and they are certainly higher than any of us would like.
But compare these statistics to the rate of violence that occurs in same sex relationships. The same study on violence just referenced revealed that 39% of women and 23.1% of men in same sex relationships reported the same kinds of abuse. (U.S. Department of Justice, “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence”, Office of Justice Programs, July, 2000). This data obviously reveals that same sex relationships are far more likely to involve abuse and violence. And this data is supported by other surveys and studies. The Bureau of Justice reports that women in traditional heterosexual marriages experience far lower rates of violence than women in any other type of relationship. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, “Intimate Partner Violence”, U.S. Department of Justice, May, 2000). Over and over again, studies reveal that homosexual and lesbian relationships are far more violent than traditional marital relationships.
In one study, researchers found that 90% of surveyed lesbians said they had suffered verbal abuse and 31% said they had experienced physical abuse from their same sex partner. (Lettie L. Lockhart et al., “Letting out the Secret: Violence in Lesbian Relationships”, Journal of Interpersonal Violence 9, 1994). Another survey found that more than 50% of lesbians reported that they had been abused by their female partner. (Gwat Yong Lie and Sabrina Gentlewarrier, “Intimate Violence in Lesbian Relationships: Discussion of Survey Findings and Practice Implications”, Journal of Social Service Research 15, 1991). Additional studies confirm this level of abuse within lesbian relationships. One such study revealed that 54% of lesbian couples report 10 or more incidents of abuse, and 74% reported that the abuse grew worse over time. (William C. Nichols, et al, editors, “Handbook of Family Development and Intervention”, New York, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2000). And male homosexual couples report similar abuse. One study found that gay men experience nearly two times the amount of violence (in the context of their relationships) than tradition heterosexual couples. (D. Island and P. Letellier, “Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence”, New York, Haworth Press, 1991). These studies simply reveal the truth of the matter. Homosexual relationships are far more violent that heterosexual relationships, based on a number of different parameters and measurements.
The Bottom Line:
If KIND, non-violent and non-abusive family units are optimum for raising well-balanced children, heterosexual unions are far more likely to provide the stability and safety required to raise children. Heterosexual couples experience far less violence in the context of their relationships. For this reason, it is appropriate for government to promote heterosexual family units (as an ideal) over other family units in an effort to provide and encourage the best possible environment for children.
I – Innoculated
Government Should Promote Healthy Family Units
The biological and mental health of parents is important to the wellbeing of children; both sides of the debate will probably agree on this issue. The government should have an interest in promoting both the health of parents and their children in the context of each family unit, so this issue is something that the government should look at seriously. Heterosexual couples are obviously not immune to illness. Disease and illness are often blind to their victims. But it is clear that families can help inoculate themselves from disease, and it is also clear that families can sometimes expose themselves to higher risk for disease and illness; this appears to be the case when we examine the behavior of same sex couples.
We know that risky sexual behaviors increase the possibility of contracting a number of serious life threatening diseases. And studies now reveal that these risky sexual behaviors are actually far more likely to occur in the context of ‘steady’ and monogamous’ homosexual relationships (remember the definition of ‘monogamy’ is different for homosexuals – particularly homosexual males – than it is for heterosexual couples). One national study reported that homosexual men engaged in anal and oral sex more often when they were involved in a steady relationship than when they were not (A.P.M. Coxon et al., “Sex Role Separation in Diaries of Homosexual Men”, AIDS, July 1993), and an English study revealed that the most “unsafe” sex acts occur in the context of these steady relationships. (G. J. Hart et al., “Risk Behaviour, Anti-HIV and Anti-Hepatitis B Core Prevalence in Clinic and Non-clinic Samples of Gay Men in England, 1991-1992”, AIDS, July 1993). In addition to this, a study in Amsterdam reported that “steady partners contribute to (HIV) incidence more than casual partners.” The report made the case that risky sexual behavior was far more common among ‘steady’ partners than among ‘casual’ partners. (Maria Xiridou, et al, “The Contribution of Steady and Casual Partnerships to the Incidence of HIV Infection among Homosexual Men in Amsterdam”, AIDS 17, 2003). And these findings are also reflected in a Dutch study that found that 67% of homosexual men with HIV (who were under 31 years of age) were infected with HIV by a ‘steady’ partner. This study confirmed that “in recent years, young gay men have become more likely to contract HIV from a steady sexual partner than from a casual one”. (Jon Garbo, “More Young Gay Men are Contracting HIV from Steady Partners”, GayHealth, July 25, 2001). In addition to this, gay men are far more likely to contract other serious illnesses. According to one study, “homosexual men are at significantly increased risk for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, anal cancer, gonorrhea and gastrointestinal infections”, (L.A. Valleroy, D.A. MacKellar, J.M. Daron, et al, “HIV prevalence and associated risks in young men who have sex with men”, JAMA, 284, 2000, pp. 198-204).
Homosexual females are also at higher levels of risk for contracting disease based on sexual behavior. While lesbians are far more conservative than their homosexual male counterparts, studies reveal that lesbians are “significantly more likely to report past sexual contact with a homosexual or bisexual man and sexual contact with an (intravenous drug user)”. (The Journal, “Sexually Transmitted Infections”). Studies indicate that homosexual women (even those who are involved in same sex unions) are far more likely to suffer from a number of illnesses. “Women who have sex with women are at significantly increased risk of bacterial vaginosis, breast cancer and ovarian cancer than are heterosexual women.” (L.A. Valleroy, D.A. MacKellar, J.M. Daron, et al, “HIV prevalence and associated risks in young men who have sex with men”, JAMA, 284, 2000, pp. 198-204). The truth is simply this: homosexual behavior puts homosexuals at far more risk for disease and illness, and according to at least one study, homosexual behavior (even within the context of a ‘steady’ relationship) decreases the life spans of homosexual partners (R.S. Hogg, S.A. Strathdee, KJ Craib, MV O’Shaughnessy, JS Montaner and MT Schechter, “Modelling the impact of HIV disease on mortality in gay and bisexual men”, International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 26, Oxford University, 1997, pp. 657-661).
In addition to physical health risks that exist within same sex relationships, studies have also concluded that there is a significant mental health risk in these kinds of relationships. Homosexual and lesbian relationships are far more likely to experience mental health problems (especially when compared to traditional married couples). A study of twins that examined the relationship between homosexuality and suicide discovered that same sex partners report lower overall mental health and were 6 ½ times more likely to attempt suicide. Importantly, this increased likelihood of suicide was not related to pre-existing mental health issues or drug abuse. (R. Herrell, et al., “A Co-Twin Study in Adult Men,” Archives of General Psychiatry 56, 1999).
Over and over again we see evidence of the fact that same sex partnerships are significant more susceptible to physical and mental disease and illness.
The Bottom Line:
If healthy, INNOCULATED parents are the ideal for raising well-balanced children, heterosexual unions are far more likely to provide for the health and well being of such parents. Heterosexual couples are far less likely to participate in the risky sexual behavior that contributes to the lowered mental and physical health of the parents. For this reason, it is appropriate for government to promote heterosexual family units (as an ideal) over other family units in an effort to provide and encourage the best possible environment for children.
D – Devoted
Government Should Promote Committed Parental Relationships
There are probably many children who are presently growing up in some type of ‘open’ household in which adult role models are engaged in promiscuous, ‘open’ sexual relationships with people outside the family unit, but both heterosexual and homosexual activists would agree that this is not the optimal environment for raising children. Parental commitment and devotion to one another is an important value in the moral development of children, according to both advocates of traditional marriage and advocates of same sex marriage. Homosexual advocates are quick to point out examples of enduring, committed same sex unions in an effort to demonstrate that homosexuals can be just as devoted and monogamous as heterosexuals. But the data seems to contradict such isolated examples.
Studies confirm that while some heterosexual partners may have broken their vows of fidelity to their marriage partner, the majority have remained faithful, devoted and monogamous. National surveys have consistently discovered that 75-81% of married men and 85-88% of married women had never broken their marriage vows. (Michael W. Wiederman, “Extramarital Sex: Prevalence and Correlates in a National Survey”, Journal of Sex Research 34, 1997; E. O. Laumann et al., “The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States”, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994; and “Sexual Habits of Americans Have Changed Dramatically in Ten Years: New National Survey Finds Both Men and Women More Committed and Caring”, PR Newswire, August 4, 1994). Over and over again, studies reveal that heterosexual marital partnerships are largely stable, devoted and monogamous.
Compare this to homosexual relationships. Studies of every kind (including those conducted by homosexual advocates) confirm that homosexual relationships are far less devoted and monogamous than heterosexual relationships, particularly when male homosexual couples are factored into the equation. Homosexual couples are simply not as monogamous as heterosexual couples, and homosexuals are typically far more sexually active than heterosexuals. A classic homosexual study revealed that 43% of white homosexual men had sex with at least 500 partners and 28% had sex with at least 1000 partners. (A. P. Bell and M. S. Weinberg, “Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women”, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978, pp. 308, 309; and A. P. Bell, M. S. Weinberg, and S. K. Hammersmith, “Sexual Preference”, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1981). This survey has been repeatedly confirmed by additional research. The Journal of Sex Research reports that most homosexuals have between 100 and 500 sexual partners in their lifetime. 10.2% reported that they had between 501 and 1,000 sex partners, and 15.7% said they had more than 1000 sex partners in their lifetime. (Paul Van de Ven et al., “A Comparative Demographic and Sexual Profile of Older Homosexually Active Men”, Journal of Sex Research 34, 1997). And studies conducted by homosexual advocate groups agree with these findings, reporting that 24% of those homosexuals who were surveyed reported that they had more than 100 sex partners in their lifetime. Several of those surveyed indicated that they had more than 1000 sex partners. (“Sex Survey Results”, Genre, October 1996, as quoted in “Survey Finds 40 percent of Gay Men Have Had More Than 40 Sex Partners”, Lambda Report, January 1998)
But even within the context of homosexual partnerships, homosexuals are not nearly as devoted and monogamous as heterosexual couples. In a Dutch study of homosexual couples, surveys revealed that homosexual men with a steady partner had an average of 8 additional sex partners every year. (Maria Xiridou, et al, “The Contribution of Steady and Casual Partnerships to the Incidence of HIV Infection among Homosexual Men in Amsterdam”, AIDS 17, 2003). A Canadian study reports similar findings. Homosexual men in committed partnerships were surveyed and reported that only 25% were actually faithful and monogamous in their relationship. (Ryan Lee, “Gay Couples Likely to Try Non-monogamy, Study Shows”, Washington Blade, August 22, 2003). Other studies report that even those homosexuals who say that they are in ‘monogamous’ relationships still report that they have 3 to 5 additional sex partners each year. (David H. Demo, et al., editors, “Handbook of Family Diversity”, New York, Oxford University Press, 2000). And one study revealed that the vast majority of male homosexual partnerships are not monogamous, and every couple studied beyond 5 years reported some form of additional sexual activity outside the partnership. (David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison, “The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop”, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, 1984). In addition to this, another study reported that only 2.7% of older homosexual men had only one sex partner in their lifetime. (Van de Ven et al., “A Comparative Demographic and Sexual Profile”, The Journal of Sex Research, Volume 34, 1997)
Homosexual men consistently report their involvement in a steady partnership while simultaneously reporting that they continue to have multiple sex partners! This kind of accepted unfaithfulness within the context of a reportedly ‘committed’ and ‘steady’ relationship is unique to the homosexual community (particularly the male homosexual community). Why is this so? Studies suggest that homosexual men consider sex outside the relationship to be normative. In fact, many homosexual males simply refuse to be monogamous because they see it as an act of oppression. (Refer to the previously mentioned McWhirter and Mattison study). One study confirmed that only 26% homosexuals believe that commitment is the most important aspect of a marital relationship. (Mary Mendola, “The Mendola Report”, New York, Crown, 1980). Researchers and homosexual advocates alike have openly discussed the attitude that many homosexuals have toward ‘monogamy’ in steady relationships:
Homosexual Writer and Activist Michelangelo Signorile
“For these men the term ‘monogamy’ simply doesn’t necessarily mean sexual exclusivity….The term ‘open relationship’ has for a great many gay men come to have one specific definition: A relationship in which the partners have sex on the outside often, put away their resentment and jealousy, and discuss their outside sex with each other, or share sex partners.” (Michelangelo Signorile, “Life Outside”, New York, HarperCollins, 1997)
Former Homosexual William Aaron
“In the gay life, fidelity is almost impossible. Since part of the compulsion of homosexuality seems to be a need on the part of the homophile to ‘absorb’ masculinity from his sexual partners, he must be constantly on the lookout for (new sex partners). Consequently the most successful homophile ‘marriages’ are those where there is an arrangement between the two to have affairs on the side while maintaining the semblance of permanence in their living arrangement.” (William Aaron, Straight (New York: Bantam Books, 1972)
It’s clear from the studies, the data and the statements of those who are involved in the lifestyle themselves, that homosexual couples are significantly less monogamous and devoted to their mates (at least from the point of view of fidelity) than traditional heterosexual couples. Both groups contain some percentage of people who will engage in sexual activity outside the relationship, but homosexuals are far more likely to do this from a statistical and cultural perspective.
The Bottom Line:
If monogamous, DEVOTED parental relationships are optimum for raising well-balanced children, heterosexual unions are far more likely to provide the stability of an intact, monogamous two parent home. Heterosexual couples are far less likely to be involved in ‘open’ multiple partner relationships and increase the chance that this behavior will be exposed to the children they are raising. For this reason, it is appropriate for government to promote heterosexual family units (as an ideal) over other family units in an effort to provide and encourage the best possible environment for children.
S – Secure
Government Should Promote Lasting Two Parent Family Units
There are millions of children being raised in single family households, and none of us would want these parents to be punished in any way. No one is arguing that single parent households are ‘doomed’ or ought to be eliminated. And no one is saying that great, contributing, law abiding citizens cannot emerge from these types of households (Hey, I was raised in a single parent household)! But it is clear from every study that children who are raised in secure, lasting two parent households do better than those raised in single parent households. So it is reasonable for government to promote enduring, two parent family units as an ideal, even if many of us cannot always meet this ideal.
Many same sex marriage advocates quickly agree that lasting, secure two parent households are an ideal that should be promoted. They argue that same sex marriages in which two parents live in a household with children would be a far better alternative to single parent households. Both sides seem to agree that durable two parent households are something that government should promote and encourage. But it’s important for us to recognize that heterosexual unions are FAR more likely to survive and remain intact than same sex unions. A national study in 2001 revealed that 66% of first marriages last ten years or more, and 50% last twenty years or longer (Matthew D. Bramlett and William D. Mosher, “First Marriage Dissolution, Divorce and Remarriage: United States,” Advance Data, National Center for Health Statistics – May 31, 2001). A national study in 2002 revealed that 70.7% of women married between 1970 and 1974 stayed married for at least 10 years and 57.7% stayed married for at least 20 years (Rose M. Kreider and Jason M. Fields, “Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 1996″ Current Population Reports, P70-80, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, D.C. February 2002). While heterosexual couples do often divorce, large numbers of opposite sex marriages survive even beyond the 20 year mark, allowing for children to be raised within the context of an intact biological family unit.
Same sex relationships are not nearly as durable. In a 2003/2004 survey of homosexual lifestyles conducted by a homosexual organization, only 15% of same sex relationships were reported to last longer than 12 years and only 5% of these relationships lasted more than 20 years (“Largest Gay Study Examines 2004 Relationships,” GayWire Latest Breaking Releases, www.glcensus.org). Homosexual men are far less likely to participate in monogamous long term relationships that homosexual women; some European studies have reported that the average length of a homosexual partnership is approximately 1.5 years (Maria Xiridou, et al, “The Contribution of Steady and Casual Partnerships to the Incidence of HIV Infection among Homosexual Men in Amsterdam,” AIDS 17 – 2003). And western studies examining the lifestyles of homosexual men in America report similar statistics:
University of Chicago Sociologist Edward Laumann
“Typical gay city inhabitants spend most of their adult lives in ‘transactional’ relationships, or short-term commitments of less than six months.” (Adrian Brune, “City Gays Skip Long-term Relationships: Study Says”, Washington Blade – February 27, 2004)
Researcher M. Pollak
“Few homosexual relationships last longer than two years, with many men reporting hundreds of lifetime partners.” (M. Pollak, “Male Homosexuality in Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times”, ed. P. Aries and A. Bejin, translated by Anthony Forster, New York, NY: B. Blackwell, 1985)
Other researchers agree with these findings, and many of these researchers are from within the homosexual community. When male homosexual partnerships are included in the studies, the ‘durability’ and longevity of homosexual couples is reported to be dramatically lower than the durability and longevity of heterosexual couples. It’s a simple reality.
The Bottom Line:
If lasting, SECURE two parent family units are optimum for raising well-balanced children, heterosexual unions are far more likely to provide the stability of an intact two parent home. Heterosexual couples stay together longer and are more likely to remain intact throughout the life of the child. For this reason, it is appropriate for government to promote heterosexual family units (as an ideal) over other family units in an effort to provide and encourage the best possible environment for children.
The Simple, Pragmatic Case
Remember that government is in the business of praising what is good and promoting the general welfare of our society. For this reason, government must examine each institution within the culture and determine what is ‘ideal’ and in the best interest of the society’s survival. It exists to promote this ‘ideal’ without unfairly punishing those of us who find ourselves unable or unwilling to meet such an ideal. No matter what relational behavior or institution we are talking about, we need to determine whether or not government ought to advance, prohibit or ignore the behavior or institution. In the case of same sex marriage, there appears to be a simple pragmatic case that can be made for the proper role of government. Government should promote traditional marriages in which two biological parents can raise children, while permitting people to form and participate in other forms of family units (without prohibition) based on the following argument that uses the KIDS acronym:
1. Government exists to praise and promote what is good and prohibit and punish what is evil
a. Government is responsible for the wellbeing of its citizens
b. The wellbeing of the citizenry is dependent on the wellbeing of its children
2. KIDS (kind, inoculated, devoted and secure) two parent family units are optimum (the “ideal”) for raising well-balanced, healthy children
3. KIDS (kind, inoculated, devoted and secure) two parent family units are more likely to be the result of traditional heterosexual marriages.
4. Government, therefore, should praise and promote traditional heterosexual marriages in an effort to encourage the “ideal” environment for raising well-balanced, healthy children.
The Value of Two Biological Parents
It’s clear that that traditional heterosexual two parent family units are far more enduring, monogamous, non-abusive and healthy. On these standards alone, it’s reasonable for us to value and promote traditional two parent marriages as the ‘ideal’ form of family in our culture. But as it turns out, a number of studies confirm that two ‘biological’ parents are actually required if we want to best assure success and well-being in our children.
Many studies come to this conclusion, including studies that are conducted by liberal advocacy groups who also recognize the fact that “children do best when raised by their two married biological parents…” (Mary Parke, “Are Married Parents Really Better for Children?”, Center for Law and Social Policy Policy Brief, May 2003, p.1). This reality is confirmed by a number of additional studies demonstrating that “an extensive body of research tells us that children do best when they grow up with both biological parents…” (Kristin Anderson Moore, et al., “Marriage From a Child’s Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can We Do about It?”, Child Trends Research Brief, June 2002, p.1). We know, for example, that children raised in two biological parent families are far less likely to become sexually active at a young age compared to every other form of family unit, including stepfamilies. (Dawn Upchurch, et al., “Neighborhood and Family Contexts of Adolescent Sexual Activity”, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 1999, 920-930). Children who are not living with both biological parents are 50 to 150% more likely to abuse drugs that kids who are raised in other types of family units, including stepfamilies like those formed in same sex unions. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “The Relationship Between Family Structure and Adolescent Substance Use”, Rockville, MD, National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, 1996). In a similar way, studies indicate that “children residing in households with adults unrelated to them were 8 times more likely to die of maltreatment than children in households with 2 biological parents. Risk of maltreatment death was elevated for children residing with step, foster, or adoptive parents.” (Michael Stiffman, et al., “Household Composition and Risk of Fatal Child Maltreatment,” Pediatrics, 109, 2002, pp.615-621). Over and over again, studies confirm the same reality: children do better when raised not only in two parent family units, but in two biological parent family units!
This conclusion is not limited to heterosexual studies. Even those who advocate and support same sex parenting recognize that there are inherent difficulties for children raised n these settings. The homosexual parenting literature continues to recognize this:
“The Lesbian and Gay Parenting Handbook: Creating and Raising Our Families”
(April Martin; http://www.amazon.com/Lesbian-Gay-Parenting-Handbook-Creating/dp/0060969296/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234443640&sr=1-1):
“Some children do express an intense longing for the other biological parent, talking about it frequently and emotionally…. Adolescents take particular interest in both their heredity and in gender-specific role models.”
“The Lesbian Parenting Book: A Guide to Creating Families and Raising Children”
(D. Merilee Clunis, G. Dorsey Green: http://www.amazon.com/Lesbian-Parenting-Book-Creating-Families/dp/1878067680):
“It is very normal for children to long about and ask for a father…. It is natural to feel defensive when your child longs for a father. We encourage you to remain patient while she asks questions, sorts out information and comes to terms without knowing her father’s identity, or not having her biological father in her life. She needs to do it…. [Artificially Inseminated] children of lesbian parents may grieve never knowing their biological father.”
“Gay Men Choosing Parenthood”
(Gerald P. Mallon; http://www.amazon.com/Gay-Choosing-Parenthood-Gerald-Mallon/dp/0231117973:
“(The majority of children being raised in gay male households) sometimes verbalized a desire for a mother at one time or another.”
“For Lesbian Parents: Your Guide to Helping Your Family Grow Up Happy, Healthy, and Proud”
(Suzanne M. Johnson, Elizabeth O’Connor:http://www.amazon.com/Lesbian-Parents-Helping-Family-Healthy/dp/1572306637):
“(Lesbian mothers should ask their daughters) if it’s hard sometimes not having a father. Let her know that you understand that sometimes it is hard.”
So, How Should Government Promote Traditional Marriage?
Those of us who argue that traditional marriage should be encouraged and promoted by our government are NOT saying that non traditional family units should be prohibited or punished. Each and every one of us has been created in the image of God, and each of us should be afforded the same human dignity that this reality demands. But our society must continue to recognize and encourage the formation of traditional marriages and families if it hopes to raise children in the best possible environment with the greatest potential for success. This bold statement is not the result of a religious conviction; it is simply the result of a close examination of all the data we’ve presented in this article. While the Christian worldview may agree with this high regard for traditional marriage, the case remains strong whether or not one sees it from a Christian perspective.
The government must continue to venerate and encourage those family units that are kind (K), inoculated (I), devoted (D) and secure (S). It’s clear from the data that traditional marriages are uniquely able to meet these requirements. Beyond this, it’s clear that two biological parent families are optimum. Government must resist the temptation to equalize the value of all family units by assigning them equal status within the society, because doing so diminishes the important role that traditional marriage plays in ensuring the wellbeing of our children. Traditional marriage must retain a position of unique veneration in our culture if we hope to encourage it as the ‘ideal’ environment for child-rearing. Only traditional marriage should be called ‘marriage’ at all, and only traditional marriage should be afforded the special recognition that it has always been given in our culture. While alternative family units and relationships may be permissible, they simply should not be recognized and venerated as ‘marriages’.