When Tennessee legislators dedicated August 31 to honor traditional marriage, “marriage equality” advocate Chris Sanders intoned, "We're not opposed to traditional marriages, but we believe traditional marriage should be for everyone."
How Mr. Sanders missed the memo is anyone’s guess, because marriage, which until quite recently didn’t need to be qualified as “traditional,” is a heterosexual institution by nature and definition. At the same time, marriage is, and always has been, for everyone regardless of sexual orientation.
That’s right: Any person, whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight, can get legally married in any of the 50 states. Although common restrictions apply, concerning the ages, kinship, and genders of the interested parties, there is no restriction on sexual orientation.
Thus, contrary to the charges of “marriage equality” proponents, a homosexual is treated equally under the law to a heterosexual. Both are free to marry and both are subject to the same rules and conditions.
For instance, while a straight man is free to marry the woman of his dreams, he is prohibited from marrying his brother to become his insurance beneficiary, just as a homosexual is prohibited from marrying his or her same-sex partner for tax or insurance purposes.
In the interest of special interests
The fact that most homosexuals choose not to marry, under the restrictions that apply to everyone, doesn’t insinuate inequity for homosexuals. Their situation is like that of a social organization that wants to be treated as a church by the IRS but chooses not to conform to the definition of a church.
Indeed, the rejection of marriage as it has been known from time immemorial demonstrates that the agitations over “marriage equality” are not about equal access, for that already exists; it is about redefining the institution for special interests.
Imagine if, in the name of “tax equality,” Bill Gates were to propose that “nonprofit organization” be redefined so that he and Microsoft could enjoy the same tax benefits as Rick Warren and Saddleback. He would be rightly excoriated.
The same would happen to a white male wanting affirmative action benefits by redefining “ethnic minority,” or a civilian who would change designation of “military veteran” to gain VA benefits. But when a LGBT activist argues that marriage should be changed to serve the special interests of the homosexual community, he is upheld as a champion of civil rights.
While equality exists in marriage, and always has, it does not exist in “marriage equality,” particularly in the way differing opinions and those who hold them are treated.
When President Obama came out in support of same-sex “marriage” last year, he suffered no political backlash or negative coverage from the mainstream media. On the contrary, his hagiographers rushed to record his evolution as the latest example of his historic presidency. But when Dan Cathy made a public statement a few months later in support of traditional marriage, it sparked a nation-wide boycott of Chick-fil-A, with threats to ban the franchise from college campuses and major cities.
Edith Windsor, the woman behind the case before the Supreme Court challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, has been hailed in the media as “courageous” and “brave.” By contrast, supporters of California’s Proposition 8 not only have been called bigots, homophobes, and haters, but the New York Times reports that DOMA supporters have “received death threats and envelopes containing a powdery white substance, and their businesses have been boycotted.”
Then there were the comments actor Jeremy Irons made to HuffPost Live. When asked about the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” Irons remarked, "It seems to me now that [the proponents] are fighting for the name, and I worry that means somehow we debase or we change what marriage is." One change he wondered about is the possibility of a son marrying his father for the avoidance of inheritance taxes.
But whatever misgivings Irons may have had about same-sex “marriage,” he went on to say that he didn’t have strong feelings one way or the other, concluding, "I just wish everybody who's living with one other person the best of luck in the world, because it's fantastic.”
Days later his ambivalence turned to praise as he told the BBC, "I think gay marriage is wonderful. I think any reason that holds anybody together in a relationship is great.” Then, in a letter of apologetic tone explaining that he wasn’t anti-gay, Irons wrote that he “had hoped that even on such a subject as this, where passions run high, the internet was a forum where ideas could be freely discussed without descending into name-calling.” (My emphasis.)
I can only imagine the criticism leveled against the actor that persuaded him to better articulate his position—one in line with the groupthink of his industry and cultural elites.
The love meme
In his inaugural address, President Obama gave heft to a meme gaining currency in the marriage debate: “If we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” It is a meme that seems to be working.
After passage of a bill allowing same-sex “marriage” in Rhode Island, Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, a practicing Catholic, explained that the “personal stories of gays, lesbians and their families” convinced her to vote “on the side of love.”
One story she heard was by sixth-grader Matthew Lannon, who lives with two moms and two dads. Matthew explained how his parents’ love is equal in every way to the love of traditional couples. Then, after lecturing the legislators that “if there’s one thing you don’t mess with in life, it’s love,” he urged them in their deliberation to “choose love.” They chose same-sex marriage, 26-12.
Love is not equal
Homosexual love, while equal to heterosexual love in tenderness and affection, cannot produce what romantic love, eros, is designed to produce: children.
To compensate for the inherent fruitlessness of their love, many same-sex couples turn to artificial reproductive technology (ART). By the wonders of ART, children are produced with the help of a sperm donor, egg donor, or both. If a surrogate mother is thrown into the mix, a child could be the product of three adults and legally attached to two others who are genetically unrelated to him.
Such children, who are denied the right to be attached to and, in many cases, to know the identity of their biological parents, will be haunted by questions that most other children will never have to face—questions about who they are and where they came from. Their identity will be determined not by biology and genetics, but by civil law through the state’s definitions of parentage.
There is another way homosexual love is not equal to heterosexual love.
Because homosexuality affects less than 2 percent of the population, according to the CDC, the odds are overwhelming that a child raised in a homosexual home will be heterosexual. But same-sex parents cannot model how their child should relate to the opposite sex in courtship, dating, and marriage. They cannot credibly teach their heterosexual son or daughter how to understand their sexuality or experience it in a manner consistent with their design. They can only model a transmogrified version of romantic love that puts their children at risk for sexual confusion, confliction, and dysfunction.
The American College of Pediatrics agrees. Citing a 2012 national study (the largest and most rigorous of its kind to date), the ACP notes that “children who reported their mothers having been in a same-sex relationship were significantly less likely to identify as heterosexual”—29 percent less likely, to be precise. The large departure from the natural incidence for heterosexual identification strongly suggests nurture, not nature, as the cause.
The kids aren’t all right
The study, conducted by Dr. Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, included a random sample of over 3,000 people. It was aimed at understanding how family structure affects a range of social, emotional, psychological, and cognitive outcomes.
The results supported what, in quite recent memory, would have been deemed unremarkable: Children who grew up in gay and lesbian homes fared worse than those raised by both biological parents, in a number of areas. For example, children brought up in lesbian homes reported significantly greater incidences of sexual abuse, sexual promiscuity, cohabitation, unemployment, and living on public assistance.
Despite the scale and scientific rigor of the study, the unfashionable results provoked such invective from cultural elites that Dr. Regnerus was subjected to the threat of academic censure, charges of scientific misconduct, and a highly publicized (and politicized) inquiry by UTA officials. After a two-month investigation, Dr. Regnerus was vindicated of all charges.
That’s worlds apart from the glowing reception of a 2010 study on lesbian parenting. Based on a small, non-random sample of 171 individuals, 78 of whom were lesbian volunteers, this study decreed that lesbian parenting is as good as the traditional family structure, only better. Despite the serious design flaws of the study, its counterintuitive conclusions were met with nary a modicum of skepticism by the media or academia.
That’s because, to the acolytes of “marriage equality,” all love is equal, but some love is more equal than others. Somewhere, George Orwell is clearing his throat.
Image copyright Glenn Osmundson for the Providence Journal.
Regis Nicoll is a freelance writer and a BreakPoint Centurion. Serving as a men’s ministry leader and worldview teacher in his community, Regis publishes a free weekly commentary to stimulate thought on current issues from a Christian perspective. To be placed on this free e-mail distribution list, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.