Tuesday, March 14, 2006

More Bad Gay Marriage Arguments

More Bad Gay Marriage Arguments
Category: Gay Rights
Posted on: March 14, 2006 9:13 AM

This time from Agape Press. Let's play a rousing game of "spot the missing logic".

A sociologist and writer says America cannot afford to say no to traditional marriage. Brad Wilcox, co-author of The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, and Morals (Spence Publishing, 2006), believes how U.S. society defines marriage can affect everything from the nation's economy to its citizens' individual rights.
Wilcox, a sociologist from the University of Virginia, is encouraged to note that 19 U.S. states have adopted pro-traditional marriage amendments to their state constitutions, and nine more states will vote on similar issues this November. He says marriage relates to every aspect of a nation's life, whether social, economic, or political.

"We know that the success of marriage has a lot to do with how children turn out and has to do with things like criminal activity, teenage pregnancy and child poverty," Wilcox observes, "so if we're concerned about things like crime rates, teenage girls getting pregnant, and kids living in poverty, then we should be concerned about the health and the strength of marriage."

The sociology expert says strong families directly correspond to a strong economy, low crime, and low government interference. On the other hand, he asserts, weak families result in a weak economy, high crime, and other social problems that result in a welfare state and undermine a Republic form of government. Hence, failing to keep American families strong will be detrimental in several ways, he insists.

In debate terms, we would say that this argument has no causal link. He says that it's good that states have moved against gay marriage because marriage and family are good and necessary, but there's no causal link between allowing gay marriage and damaging marriage and families. If gays are allowed to get married, are straight families suddenly going to stop raising their children and allow them to become delinquents? Are they suddenly going to quit their jobs so their kids are raised in poverty? The list of bad things that come from "weak families" simply has no rational relationship to allowing gay marriage.

To use another debate term, this argument is easily "turned" or "flipped" in two obvious ways. First, if stable marriages and families are so valuable in terms of raising emotionally balanced, healthy children - and I fully agree that they are - then doesn't the same thing hold true for the millions of children in this country who have gay parents? Second, by taking the stigma out of gay relationships we make it far less likely that a gay person is going to marry a straight person as "cover", a situation that has historically destabilized and destroyed many families

This is the argument I've made many times, that social conservatives should be the first ones supporting gay marriage. They should be the first ones in line encouraging gay people to form stable, lifelong partnerships rather than transient, temporary relationships. This would be immeasurably healthier for all involved, including the children involved. If stable, permanent relationships are emotionally beneficial for children, why does this count only for straight people?

Ah, but there is the secret. These people really don't care whether gay people are happier, healthier or involved in stable relationships. To them, all that matters is that homosexuality is sinful, evil, abnormal, and so forth. As far as they're concerned, there is no such thing as a stable and healthy gay relationship - a claim that must seem quite absurd to the hundreds of thousands of people who are actually in stable and healthy gay relationships.

But these people aren't part of the reality-based community, they're a part of the "faith"-based community", where reality is apparently whatever they declare it to be. And here's the reality that they seek to ignore: there are millions of gay Americans and a sizable portion of them have children. There's nothing they can do about it. The courts will no longer let them impose jail time on such people or take their children away (though much still needs to be done on that front, especially when it comes to foster kids).

Would they rather have those children raised in a home with a stable, long-term relationship with two parents who care for them? Marriage really does build stability for a child in a thousand different ways, from access to healthcare to more secure financial planning options to the emotional security of having two parents that can balance each other's weak points. Stable families really are more conducive to our physical and emotional well being, but this is just as true of the kids of gay parents as the kids of straight parents.


If social conservatives really cared about the health of those kids rather than about the imposition of their simplistic version of moral purity, they would be encouraging the extension of the privileges and responsibilities of marriage to gay couples. There is no rational reason why this would "weaken" straight marriages and every reason to believe that it would strengthen the families and improve the well being of untold numbers of children with gay parents.


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