Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Overlooked Effects of Same-Sex Marriage

Dr. Greg Gardner, our friend and pro-life colleague from the Birmingham area (England, not New York) has been in some protracted wrangling with the British Medical Journal to print his response to an article published way back before last Christmas. That article was an exceptional one, suggesting as it did that legalizing same-sex marriage was not only an expression of justice but that there were also "health reasons" that argued for the policy. But though there were undoubtedly plenty of BMJ readers who disagreed with the article's broad and very controversial opinions, the journal hadn't printed a single negative response to it.

But because Dr. Gardner was polite (though persistently challenging the modern BMJ's tendency to ignore anything not thoroughly drenched in political-correctness) and because his argument was undeniably cogent, detailed and relevant, they finally relented and printed his response. I print it below, complete with footnotes.

Re: Does gay marriage improve health?

Douglas Kamerow in his article about the legal cases on same sex ‘marriage’ considered by the U.S. Supreme Court – and now ruled on - argues that all the ramifications be looked at. They are many and varied but nowhere in his article is there any mention of the impact of same sex ‘marriage’ legislation on the health and well-being of children. Of the countless ramifications to consider, three stand out: Does the legalisation of same sex ‘marriage’ equate to a redefinition of marriage? Is this redefinition of marriage in the interests of children? What are the implications for civil liberties?

The legalising of same sex ‘marriage’ redefines marriage. When Canada legalised same-sex ‘marriage’ in 2005 the terms ‘natural parent,’ ‘blood relationship’ etc., were replaced with ‘legal parent’ or ‘legal relationship’. In England and Wales, the Marriage (same sex couples) Bill doesn’t even define marriage at all. [1] To exclude the procreation of children as a defining good of marriage cannot be achieved without changing the definition of the word ‘marriage’ and other words such as ‘husband’, ‘wife’, ‘consummation’ and ‘adultery’. On page 29 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, a man can be a ‘wife’ and a woman a ‘husband.’

This attempted transfer of the intrinsic good of marriage to a same sex couple and therefore the re-definition of marriage is what some opponents of marriage want. There are calls for the abolition of marriage altogether. [2] [3]

The Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) referred to by Douglas Kamerow and ruled on recently in the U. S. Supreme Court was passed in 1996 by an 84% margin because children need the protection of the law to maintain the only legal institution which connects them to their parents. [4] Strengthening the most pro-child institution on the planet is the most effective way of ensuring that a child has a fighting chance of being looked after by their own natural parents.

The retreat from marriage has hurt children from poor families with particular force since the benefits of marriage extend particularly to poor and minority communities, despite the fact that marriage has weakened in these communities in the last four decades. Marriage is an important public good, associated with a range of economic, health, educational, and safety benefits and children are most likely to thrive economically, socially, and psychologically in this family form. [5]

Same sex ‘marriage’ in contrast is an unproven and experimental social model and one recent study found outcomes for children raised by homosexual couples to be suboptimal in almost every category. [6]

In Spain since the legalisation of same sex ‘marriage' in 2005, there has been a 22% decline in the marriage rate. [7] The retreat from marriage not only harms children but has become an enormously costly social experiment. In Britain the cost to the taxpayer per annum was estimated to be £20-24 Billion in 2006 [8] or £42 Billion in 2012 [9]

Kamerow argues that it is unjust to deny gay couples the ‘right’ to marry but he is wrong about this. If a man wanted to ‘marry’ his sister and says this right is denied him, he is not just claiming a new right but is claiming the right to change the definition of marriage. The law is correct to deny him or any other interest group this claim.

Article 16 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, ‘The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state’. The word ‘natural’ occurs only once in the entire declaration and testifies to the pre-eminence of the family. The family is the most important civil institution that binds a society together between generations. A state that legalises same-sex ‘marriage’ replaces natural law with an artificial creation. Same sex ‘marriage’, lacking connection to procreation and child rearing cannot claim to be natural. The U.S. Supreme Court by handing over to individual states powers to define what constitutes a marriage and a family has started an inevitable trail of legislation that makes it difficult to exclude more and more harmful relationships to children from being included within the ‘marriage’ tent.

Every country which legalises same sex ‘marriage’ facilitates a massive transfer of power to the state. In the USA the IRS handed over the personal tax records of donors to the National Organisation for Marriage, to its political opponents the Human Rights Campaign. These confidential personal records were then posted on the HRC website in violation of the law. No prosecutions have taken place to date. In France the pro-child ‘La Manif Pour Tous’, the most important social movement since May 1968 [10] which includes homosexuals, and people from both the political left and right [11] has been met with police brutality, mass arrests, the firing of tear gas on children and the elderly [12] and the imprisonment of a student for four months with no right of appeal. [13]

Douglas Kamerow’s article avoids the fundamental questions of children’s rights and civil liberties but also suggests that same sex ‘marriage’ improves the mental health of older homosexuals. The evidence does not support this. The study that he cites by Wight for instance is a cross sectional survey of a small, self-selected population. It specifically states ‘when we reran the regression models using same-sex marriage as the omitted reference group, the effects of same-sex marriage were not significantly different (P>.05) from the effects of same-sex partnership.’[14]

Redefining marriage is socially destructive. The rights of all children to be protected, nurtured, and –wherever possible – brought up by a father and a mother who are the child’s natural parents should take precedence. Every society should be judged by how it cares for its children and we are not doing well. The ramifications of same sex ‘marriage’ are a long term disaster for children and for civil liberties.

[5] W. Bradford Wilcox. Why marriage matters: Thirty conclusions from the Social Sciences. New York: Broadway Publications 2011.
[6] Regnerus, M. How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study. Social Science Research 2012; 41:752-770.
[14] Wight RG, leBlanc AJ, de Vries B, Detels R. Stress and mental health among midlife and older gay-identified men. Am J Public Health 2012;102:503-10.