How Does Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Hurt Marriage, Children and Society?

By Sharon Slater
President, United Families International

While in Washington, D.C., recently, I witnessed the House debate on the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA). I listened as openly gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) appealed to the emotions of those present when he stated, “We feel love and we feel it in a way different than you. We feel it with someone of the same sex, male or female, and we look at your institution of marriage and we see the joy it brings.” He then asked the $64,000 question, “How do we hurt you when we share it?”

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) declared, “It is wrong to take a beautiful institution like marriage and use it as an instrument of division.”

Ouch. Who wants to promote an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would “enshrine hate and discrimination” against a peaceful, loving minority? Surely the founding fathers never intended the Constitution to be used as a “mean-spirited” tool to force “outdated religious morals” upon a minority group and deny them and their children the benefits of marriage.

Those opposed to the MPA know that the American people overwhelmingly reject the idea that same-sex unions are the equivalent of heterosexual unions. They want to impose the will of the minority upon the majority and they do not want to get caught in the act. They dishonestly proclaim that those who are in favor of traditional marriage are trying to use the Constitution to take rights away from people – “rights” that have never existed and do not exist today.

Who would have thought there would come a day when standing up for marriage as the union between a man and a woman would be considered hateful? But, unbelievably, several U.S. Congressmen have now pronounced that standing for marriage is mean-spirited and proclaimed that those who support the Marriage Protection Amendment are “bigots.”

The founding fathers must be rolling over in their graves. We are truly living in a world turned upside-down.

To openly gay Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who during the debate said, “The sky has not come crashing down despite the dire predictions.” I say, “AIDS did not become a pandemic overnight.” It will take at least a generation to see the negative results from such a rash experiment on our society.

How Marriage Is Hurt

So, exactly how does legalizing same-sex marriage hurt our marriages, our children and our society?

Once we abandon marriage to the whims and desires of adults seeking validation of their sexual lifestyles, we denigrate children and their needs – legally validating relationships that would deliberately leave them motherless or fatherless. And that hurts society. We have plenty of data to show what happens to children when they grow up without a father or a mother. Prisons are filled with adults who were fatherless as children. The financial burden of welfare and prison programs on society as a result of children growing up without their mother or their father is horrific. And that is not even taking into consideration the immense personal suffering that inevitably is too often hidden behind these statistics.

During the House debate Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) hit the nail on the head when he explained that legalizing same-sex marriage does not just expand marriage, it undermines it. It alters it to the very core and “totally severs it from its whole purpose, and that is the relationship between a man, a woman, and a child.”

There is no such thing as same-sex marriage. It does not exist. It is an oxymoron because marriage is a relationship between a man and woman. We can make a law saying that oranges are apples and decree that all recipes including apples must now use oranges interchangeably, but I guarantee that the results will not be the same. You can mandate that those that grow apples must now use the techniques for growing oranges but you can’t expect the same kind of fruit to grow.

If you change the definition of marriage you sever it from its very purpose for existing — you sever reproduction from parenthood and that is a radical experiment. If you say gender doesn’t matter to marriage, then you are also saying that gender doesn’t matter to parenthood.

Marriage is not just about love and the legitimate or selfish needs and wants of adults. Marriage is about securing a father and a mother to their offspring. Congressman J.D Hayworth (R-AZ) took the floor and said, “Marriage is not about excluding a group of people. Marriage is about what is best for our children and our society.”

Marriage, in and of itself, discriminates and rightly so. Marriage discriminates against polygamists, pedophiles, those who wish to enter into legally sanctioned incestuous relationships, group marriage, and of course, marriage discriminates against same-sex couples who want to marry. The institution of marriage discriminates to make sure that those who marry have the potential to create children in order to perpetuate the human race; and that the union will provide children with what they need most — a mother and a father legally bound together in a family relationship. Marriage confers benefits to potential parents as they create and rear children. The government does not care whom you love. The government has no interest in sanctioning love, friendship, or personal associations. It has a vital interest in encouraging what is best for society.

During the debate, several Democrats argued that children living with gay couples need the same protections as those living with heterosexual couples. I say to them, “Where are the missing mothers or fathers of their children?” They certainly had one of each. What scientific experiment or financial/legal arrangements were entered into to sever that relationship? Are children now to be considered as commodities that can be bought or sold at the whim of adults to interchangeable parents regardless of biology? What about the rights of the child?

An Analogy

Now you may be saying about this point that I have not addressed the first part of the question: How does this affect my marriage?

Try this analogy. Suppose you decided to become a doctor and you qualify and are awarded a license to practice medicine. Then suppose a special interest group of beauticians cry discrimination and pressure lawmakers to allow them to receive a medical license upon completion of beauty school. Would a simple medical license qualify a beautician to practice medicine? Would you want to receive medical treatment from such a beautician? I certainly wouldn’t. A license alone, though necessary, does not qualify someone to competently practice medicine. It is their capacity to be a doctor that does. Simply issuing a license without demanding that the applicants meet the basic qualifications does not make for quality medical care.

So it is with marriage.

Your sex has everything to do with your role in marriage including your ability to produce children and your ability to be a mother or a father to the children that you produce. The license, though necessary, does not equip you with the ability to carry out the required functions of marriage. Discrimination is justified in my hypothetical example because beauticians are not doctors — even if a new law were to declare it to be so in order to make beauticians feel better about themselves or so they could have the same benefits as doctors.

Even if granting medical licenses to beauticians allowed more patients to be treated (or more children to be cared for in the instance of same-sex relationships) it would not behoove society to do so. Would that increase the level of quality medical care and truly benefit more individuals? And once the beauticians gain this right, you can bet that other special interest groups such as police officers, taxi drivers, or school teachers will want this privilege as well. Then what would a medical license stand for? What will a marriage license stand for if we legalize same-sex marriage? The value of my marriage license would be substantially decreased as it would no longer stand for the same thing it did when I was married.

Undermine the Teaching of Children

Not only will legalizing same-sex marriage grossly denigrate the marriage contract I have entered into by changing the definition of the marriage institution itself, it will also undermine my ability to teach the meaning and importance of marriage to my children. I teach my children that marriage is a sacred relationship between a man and woman sanctioned by society as the best way to organize families and rear children. They will be told by society that this is not so. Our laws, and thus our schools, will undermine my teachings to my children, telling them that there is nothing special about my marriage to their father and that the sex of my husband is irrelevant to the role he plays as my husband and their father. My husband, Greg, could have just as easily been Sue, with no negative consequences to my children. (Let’s just forget the fact that they would not exist.)

In addition, if same-sex marriage is legalized in my state, my prerogative as a parent to oppose materials used in school curricula like “Heather Has Two Mommies” will be destroyed overnight.

Congressman Steve Pearce (R-NM), in the House debate, said, “There is a question of who gets harmed from same-sex marriage? When we approve same-sex marriage, we are going to be required to teach that it is okay. In fact, it is going to be wrong to teach against it. If we think that that is not going to happen, look at what has happened to the Boy Scouts of America, who dared to take a stance. The all-out assault on the institution of the Boy Scouts of America has been unending, trying to get them to change their stance, simply saying, we want to teach our values.”

It is disingenuous for same-sex marriage proponents to say we have to prove that legalizing marriage between people who have sex with their same-gender partner will cause my husband and I to divorce or destroy our marriage. Nobody ever claimed it would. What it would do is hurt the institution of marriage with a myriad of negative effects to children and society that we can only begin to fathom.

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) ended the House debate by referring to the MPA: “We are starting the effort today. Yes, it may not pass today. . . So, believe me, everybody in this country is going to know how you voted today. And they are going to know how you stood on the fundamental protection of marriage and the definition of marriage. And we will take it from here, and we will be back. And we will be back. And we will be back. We will never give up. We will protect marriage in this country.”

It is now up to us to bring Congressman DeLay’s words to pass. We must know how our representatives voted on this historic amendment and make them accountable. And we must not give up. We will be back. And we will be back, and we will never give up. The battle has only begun and we will not stop until marriage is protected.