The Republican Party as a whole is against gay marriage, and faces much opposition because of this belief. Democrats and other pro-gay marriage groups throw around terms like “gay haters” and “prejudiced” in relation to Republicans who oppose extending the institution of marriage to homosexual couples.
However, the Republican Party believes that it does have concrete arguments against gay marriage, which are logical and grounded in fact. This article attempts to explain those arguments against gay marriage in an unbiased and fact-based way.
For those who argue that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional, it is important to note that the Constitution does not prohibit the government from controlling the institution of marriage, or restricting marriage to being between a man and a woman, in any sense. Marriage as an institution exists for the specific purpose of child rearing; a purpose that same sex couples cannot carry out biologically, and which studies suggest they are less equipped to carry out emotionally. As stated by Bertrand Russell, an English philosopher and social critic, “But for children, there would be no need of any institution concerned with sex….It is through children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution.” Therefore, upholding a marital system that protects the interests of America’s youth should be the primary goal in the discussion of any sort of marriage reform, since it is because of them that the institution exists.
Marriage is traditionally designed as a union between a man and a woman. It was defined this way by our founding fathers, and has been continued to be defined as such by our government. In 1971, the Supreme Court of Minnesota determined “The institution of marriage as a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis.”
The current institution of marriage is already a weak one. The United State currently has a 40-50 percent divorce rate, and in 2008 40.6 percent of children were born to unmarried women. Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon Fellow at Religion and a Free Society at The Heritage Foundation, looked at what same sex marriage would do to an already weakened marriage institution. Anderson explained “In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs… Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is the culmination of this revisionism, and it would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds.” Therefore, the institution of marriage will be further weakened by its growing similarity to any other tie to another human, which is easily broken or discarded. The concern here is that divorce rates will continue to rise if this happens, and marriage will cease to be the lifelong supportive bond that we now know it as. This not only compromises the institution of marriage in and of itself, but the raising of America’s children. Because marriage is an institution created by society and preserved by the government, society does have the right to dictate what it sees as the proper arrangements for said institution. Marriage, having been created for and defined by its purpose of procreation, is not an inherent right that needs to be afforded to same sex couples, as they are not capable of carrying out the purpose for which the institution was intended. This is the idea behind the decision in the case Baker v Nelson in 1971, which has been the baseline case for decisions on same sex marriage since. It is already a concern that marriage is being focused too much on adult gratification and not enough on this purpose of procreation. Same sex marriage is solely about gratification, whether it be emotional or sexual. Therefore, it will perpetuate this shift in the meaning behind marriage as a whole.
The fact that homosexual marriage can undermine the institution of marriage has been proven in other countries. Sweden began offering same sex marriage benefits in 1987, Denmark began offering them in 1989, and Norway began offering them in 1993. Between the years of 1990 and 2000, the birthrate in all three of these countries rose significantly, by 11 percent in Norway, by 8 percent in Sweden, and by 25 percent in Denmark.
Those who support gay rights see gay marriage as equality for homosexuals everywhere, so that they can be given the same type of relationship that heterosexual couples are given in the eyes of the law. However, something that gay marriage advocates rarely think about is the precedent that altering the institution of marriage sets for other nontraditional relationships. People who support polygamous, incestuous, or other nontraditional marriages could use any alteration in the laws of the institution to argue for their own causes. Where do we draw the line for altering marriage laws? We risk running the country down a slippery slope of allowing any and all relationships to become marriages. As discussed above, this is a dangerous slope to head down, that compromises our future as much as, if not more than, our present.
While gay rights proponents state that this argument is ludicrous, and that this risk does not exist as a real threat, Glen Lavy of the Alliance Defense Fund, states otherwise. Lavy says “The movement for polygamy and polyamory is poised to use the successes of same-sex couples as a springboard for further de-institutionalizing marriage.” This argument is furthered by writer Jillian Keenan’s article for Slate.com last April, which stated “Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less ‘correct’ than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults.” Therefore, it seems like homosexual marriage is very much a threat to the institution of marriage, and legalizing it could easily lead to arguments to further alter the institution and what it allows and stands for.
Allowing same sex marriage would mean that more children in the U.S. would be raised by same sex parents. Studies have shown that children raised in same sex households generally do not grow up as stable or as successful as those raised by heterosexual parents. A recent brief in the Supreme Court stated, “A substantial body of social science research confirms that children generally fare best when reared by their two biological parents in a loving, low-conflict marriage.” The point was not that each individual involved in a same sex marriage was inferior as a parent to either parent involved in a male-female marriage. That is to say, gay people in and of themselves are not bad parents. It is the combination of two men or two women that leads to a less ideal environment for child rearing than an environment with one male and one female. Girls who are raised without fathers in their lives have been shown to be at a higher risk for earlier sexual activity and for teen pregnancy, which only results in more out of wedlock births, further destabilizing the institution of marriage. Boys who are raised without a father tent to exhibit more antisocial behavior and have increased rates of delinquency. This is particularly troublesome because the majority of same sex couples who have children through in vitro or adopt children are lesbian couples, so the number of children raised without fathers would grow quite a bit were same sex marriage legalized. Children who grow up without a mother in their lives row up less emotionally stable. Children have been shown to hunger for their biological parents. Even same sex couples who choose in vitro fertilization or surrogate mothers still have a child who is apart from one of their biological parents, which can cause the child emotional difficulty at a young age, as they struggle to figure out why they don’t have a second biological parent.
Furthermore, letting homosexuals marry will assimilate them into heterosexual culture, which runs the risk of uprooting homosexual culture and family styles. The gay community has its own culture, and its own style of familial relations. By minimizing the differences between how a gay couple and a straight couple function, we run the risk of uprooting the homosexual culture. M.V. Lee Badgett explains, “marriage means adopting heterosexual forms of family and giving up distinctively gay family forms and perhaps even gay and lesbian culture.” This can be shown further by the points made by Paula Ettelbrick, JD, Professor of Law and Women’s Studies, who stated “Marriage runs contrary to two of the primary goals of the lesbian and gay movement: the affirmation of gay identity and culture and the validation of many forms of relationships.” Furthermore, in July of 1969, the leaders of the Gay Liberation Front in New York said, “We expose the institution of marriage as one of the most insidious and basic sustainers of the system. The family is the microcosm of oppression.” Based on these statements, it is easy to see where the belief that forming traditional-style marriages and having traditional-style families could disrupt homosexual culture.
By allowing homosexual couples to marry, the government would be entitling them to all of the financial benefits that heterosexual couples are entitled to. This includes claiming a tax exemption for a spouse, receiving social security payments from a deceased spouse, and coverage by a spouse’s health insurance policy. The Congressional Budget Office estimated, in December of 2009, that the cost to the federal government in the next ten years for extending employment benefits to same sex partners of federal employees would be almost six million dollars in mandatory spending. On top of this, there would be over three million dollars in cost for discretionary spending. These numbers are strictly for employment benefits, and don’t even look at the projected costs of other benefits like Social Security and inheritance taxes. This is also only a projection for federal employees. One can only imagine the cost to the country if all employers had to cover these added benefits.
While one can argue that these costs are nothing compared to the equality that homosexual couples will gain, the biggest problems with these numbers is not the numbers themselves. It is that the people who are paying for these benefits do not necessarily agree with giving them to same sex couples. Taxpayers will face the brunt of the cost to implement this change, and there are a good deal of taxpayers who believe that gay marriage will compromise the institution of marriage and the raising of children in this country. Should they have to pay for what they believe is ruining the future they are working to build?
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