Marriage is way bigger than social conservatives
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
M y sides still ache from the musings of Max Boot in The Sunday Oregonian ("Conservatives don't yet realize that gay marriage battle's over," Commentary, May 23). Boot is obviously viewing the cultural debate through a knothole.
To begin, conservatives do play an important role in public policy as it relates to social issues. An excellent example is teen pregnancy rates, which are hovering at 30-year lows. One cannot ignore the impact of the abstinence movement on this decline. It's an idea that has caught on in both public and private education, and much of it is publicly funded.
In other recent examples, Congress banned partial-birth abortion and just passed measures to protect children and adults from unsuspected Internet porn.
Perhaps Boot doesn't realize that just because an idea is endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union doesn't automatically make it "enlightened." If it did, I guess we should concede the war on drugs and place all our border patrols on unemployment.
But here's what liberals on the far left fail to recognize: Conservatives don't have the corner on traditional values. Even liberal-leaning soccer parents want their children to save sex for marriage. Most pro-choice Americans recognize that abortion-on-demand has gone way too far, and am I mistaken or was there a national outcry about Janet Jackson's breast-bearing antics during the Super Bowl?
Now to the topic at hand: marriage. This is not a conservative issue. If it were, how does a recent Los Angeles Times survey reveal that 72 percent of Americans oppose same-sex marriage? Additionally, 39 states have successfully defended marriage by passing defense of marriage laws.
Does this suggest that the vast majority of Americans are social conservatives? That's absurd. The truth is, even Americans who are tolerant and sympathetic toward homosexuals aren't willing to abandon the proven benefits of marriage between a man and woman, especially for children.
Endless studies confirm that children do best when raised in a household with a married mother and father. They enjoy better health, perform better in school, are less likely to experiment with drugs, tobacco, or alcohol. They are even less likely to become pregnant out of wedlock.
Furthermore the evidence shows that a mother and a father each bring their own unique qualities to parenting. For example, according to the FBI, a missing father is a more reliable predictor of criminal activity than race, environment or poverty. Lesbian households permanently deny a child a father. Gay male households deny children a mother. Mothers excel in providing children emotional security and in reading the physical and emotional cues of infants. They also provide unique counsel to daughters as they confront the physical, emotional and social challenges associated with puberty and adolescence.
Another concern that must not be ignored is the fact that homosexual males do not demonstrate longevity or monogamy within marriage. In the Netherlands, where same-sex marriage is legal, a study revealed the duration of steady male partnerships was only 1.5 years. That same study found that "married" homosexual men had an average of eight additional outside sexual partners.
Homosexual authors and committed partners Mattison and McWhirter concluded in their ground-breaking book that not one of the 156 male-male couples they studied had been able to maintain sexual fidelity for more than five years. Most of their study subjects understood sex outside of the relationship to be the norm and viewed monogamy as an act of oppression.
Consider where this would leave children in such households. There would be a constant stream of dads and step-dads. And since homosexual men cannot have children biologically, custody issues could become wildly complex.
Here's another grave concern: The acceptance of same-sex marriage will force public schools to teach gay marriage and gay sexuality as equal to traditional sex and marriage. This will inevitably lead to increased homosexual experimentation, even among heterosexual adolescents. Experimentation of this nature exposes young people to dangerous health and emotional risks. This is especially troubling in light of the fact that the life-expectancy for homosexual males is 8 to 10 years shorter than heterosexual men. Furthermore, according to the Journal of AIDS, since the Netherlands legalized same-sex marriage, the AIDS virus and other sexually transmitted diseases have soared among partnered gay men.
Obviously, the affects of same-sex marriage on children are sobering and far-reaching. These concerns are not easily answered by the advocates of gay marriage. That may explain why some gay-rights leaders espouse radical and un-American measures to achieve their goals.
Oregon experienced a bitter taste of these tactics with the Multnomah County same-sex marriage license debacle. Gay activists used secret meetings and the hope of judicial activism to side-step all legitimate means of policy making. It exposed their complete disregard for the law and disdain of Oregon's citizenry.
Liberals and conservatives alike were outraged. I'm convinced many gays and lesbians were, too. This is far too perilous a venture to short-circuit the process or the public. In fact, all the early evidence suggests that same-sex marriage is a social experiment that will end in disaster, and that its greatest victims will be children.
Granted, tradition alone is not reason enough to continue a practice. But the past 6,000 years have proven this: Marriage really works. And at its best, absolutely nothing compares for children.
Anne Paulk is the author of two books on homosexuality. Her most recent, "Restoring Sexual Identity: Hope for Women Struggling with Same-Sex Attraction," was released last July. She has served on the board of directors for Exodus International, the nation's largest organizations assisting families dealing with homosexual issues. A frequent media guest, Anne has appeared on such notable programs as "Oprah," "Nightline," "60 Minutes," "Good Morning America," "The Today Show" and "ABC World News Tonight." She has also been featured in hundreds of newspapers and magazines including People, Newsweek, Time, U.S. News & World Report, Rolling Stone, USA Today, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. A frequent speaker at seminars and conferences around the United States and Europe, Anne has spoken for Focus on the Family's national tour called Love Won Out, aimed at addressing parents who have children dealing with homosexuality. Anne is listed in the 100 most influential people in the United States on the topic of sexuality and gender development. She, her husband and their three sons make their home in Portland.