Talking About Marriage and Same-Sex Unions

MAGGIE GALLAGHER

When their mothers and fathers don't get and stay married, bad things happen to more kids more often.

I. Why Does Marriage Matter?

When their mothers and fathers don't get and stay married, bad things happen to more kids more often: more poverty, welfare dependence, child abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse, physical illness, infant mortality, accidental death, homicide, premature and promiscuous sexuality, early unwed pregnancy, suicide, juvenile delinquency, educational failure, conduct disorders and adult criminality. Children suffer and whole communities pay the cost in crime, social disorder and high taxes as government steps in to deal with the needs created when families fall apart. Family structure matters and the family form that does the best job for kids is the child's own married mother and father.1

Marriage is not created by government. It is older than the Constitution, older than America, older even than the church. It exists in every known human society and it always has something to do with bringing men and women together so that society has the next generation it needs and children have both mothers and fathers, as they need.

II. Top Five Reasons to Oppose SSM:

  1. Marriage is about affirming the ideal. And when it comes to children, science and common sense both say: mothers and fathers both matter to children.
  2. SSM sends a terrible message to the next generation: alternative family forms are just as good as traditional families, children don't need a mother and a father, and marriage is about adult desires for affirmation or benefits, not about the well-being of children.
  3. It's just wrong for the law to pretend that two men being intimate are the same as a husband and wife, especially when it comes to raising children.
  4. Marriage belongs in the hands of the people. Four judges in Massachusetts have no business rewriting the moral rules our kids are going to live by.
  5. Marriage isn't a special interest, it's a common good. Every American benefits from a healthy marriage culture. ALL Americans pay the price in increased taxes, social disorder, and human suffering when mothers and fathers fail to get and stay married.

III. Frequently Asked Questions

Don't homosexual people need the benefits of marriage?

If medical proxies aren't working, let's fix that problem. If people need health care, let's get them health care. Don't rewrite marriage laws in order to satisfy a small fraction of adults who have personal needs and problems.

Are you saying gays can't be good parents?

Two men might each be a good father, but neither can be a mom. Children are hungry for the love and attention of both their parents — their mom and their dad. Marriage is about giving children the ideal, and no same-sex couple can provide that.

Aren't laws prohibiting same-sex marriage the same as laws prohibiting interracial marriage? Aren't they discriminatory?

Anti-miscegenation laws were about keeping two races apart. Marriage is about bringing two sexes together. Having a parent of two different races is just not the same as being fatherless or motherless.

Why do you want to interfere with love?

Love is not an excuse for adults to do whatever they want and assume the kids will adjust. We need to get back to basics, including the idea that one major goal of marriage is to remind men and women that we have the obligation to do the best we can to give our children the protection of a married home in which they can know and love both their mother and their father.

What about older or infertile couples? If they can marry why not same-sex couples?

Every man and woman who marries is capable of giving any child they create (or adopt) a mother and a father. No same-sex couple can do this. It's apples and oranges.

Why are you blaming gays and lesbians for the problems of heterosexuals?

Judges are the ones rewriting our marriage laws. People who really cared about marriage and the suffering of fatherless children would not rewrite our marriage law to say that kids don't need fathers, and that alternative family forms are just as good as a husband and wife raising children together. That's the message of same-sex marriage. It's not kind or compassionate to children at all.

Endnotes:

  1. See, e.g., Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher, 2000. The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better-Off Financially; William J. Doherty, et al, 2002. Why Marriage Matters: 21 Conclusions from the Social Sciences (New York City: Institute for American Values).

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Maggie Gallagher. "Talking About Marriage and Same-Sex Unions."

Learn more about the issue at the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy website: here. The mailing address is: 1413 K St. NW, Suite 1000, Washington, D.C.20005; the phone number is 202-216-9430.

THE AUTHOR

Maggie Gallagher is president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, which sponsors www.marriagedebate.com.

Copyright 2004 Maggie Gallagher


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