Saturday, December 03, 2011

Marriage - Not a Gay Ole Time

This weekend the ALP national conference discusses, amongst other things, whether to adopt gay marriage as part of its platform, hot on the heels of Queensland's Labor Government introducing civil partnerships for homosexuals.

We're told that it's about 'equality' and 'tolerance' and 'respect' and 'rights' and that to disagree with gay marriage makes one immoral.

Funny isn't it, how ideas can be twisted so that which was once immoral is now moral and many of those who are against same sex marriage (SSM), swamped by the speed that this fundamental societal shift has occurred, struggle to articulate their reasons against it.

Let's demolish some of the arguments for same sex marriage:

The state has no right to discriminate in recognising adult relationships
The principle argument for SSM is that the state has no right to prohibit any adult to enter into a relationship with any other adult.

Well the state already discriminates with respect to relationships between adults. A brother and sister cannot marry; a father and adult daughter cannot marry; a man cannot have multiple wives; a woman cannot have multiple husbands.

The reason for this is plain (watch this space, I believe in the next 5-10 years polygamists and adult incest supporters will agitate for equal 'rights' to marry).

From the state's perspective children who are born to incestuous couples are likely to have medical conditions which the state will have to provide for. Children of polygamous families are often not supported by their father, thus proving a greater welfare drain.

The state also recognises that children raised by their biological mother and father in a committed life-long relationship have better social, educational and financial outcomes than children raised in other circumstances.

Yes, children are raised by solo parents and go on to do okay, (Nicky and I are two examples) but it is nonetheless the truth that children raised by their parents have social and financial advantages that others do not.

The state regulates marriage for public health and welfare.

Marriage is about recognising the right to love who we want and not about raising children or if it is, childless heterosexual couples don't have a right to marriage either
This is a specious argument if there ever was one. And one which (deliberately?) misunderstands the contractual nature of marriage covenant.

Let's take a look at those traditional wedding vows that form the cornerstone of what most people understand as marriage:

my pledge to stay by your side ...
in sickness and in health,
in joy and in sorrow, as well as
through the good times and the bad.
I promise to love you without reservation, forsaking all others,
comfort you in times of distress,
encourage you to achieve all of you goals,
laugh with you and cry with you,
grow with you in mind and spirit,
always be open and honest with you,
and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
The undiscussed nature of homosexual (both gay and lesbian) relationships is twofold:

  • They're short lived. Homsexual relationships are less likely to last 'until death do us part'. In fact a they're unlikely to last to their 7th anniversary with the majority of relationship in gay men lasting about six months (Adrian Brune, "City Gays Skip Long-term Relationships: Study Says," Washington Blade (February 27, 04): 12.); according to a 1988 survey, lesbians fare even worse with the average relationship petering out in less than 5 years; In Australia the average length of a marriage is 32 years. There is no evidence that granting state sanctioned marriage will improve the longevity of these homosexual relationships. Very, very few will last 'til death caused by advanced old age

  • They're rarely monogamous. Now there's the real elephant in the room. Monogamy is a real struggle for gay men and a high number of lesbianstoo. By contrast a survey published in the Journal of Sex Research found that 77 percent of married men and 88 percent of married women had remained faithful to their marriage vows. (Michael W. Wiederman, "Extramarital Sex: Prevalence and Correlates in a National Survey," Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997): 170.)

I'm now going to introduce the Kardashian Law. It similar to Godwin's Law in which 'as an online argument grows longer and more heated, it becomes increasingly likely that somebody will bring up Adolf Hitler or the Nazis. When such an event occurs, the person guilty of invoking Godwin's Law has effectively forfeited the argument.'

The Kardashian's Law works on a similar principle in which 'as an online argument on gay marriage grows longer and more heated, it becomes increasingly likely that somebody will bring up the failed relationship of a celebrity as an example of normal heterosexual relationship or marriage. When such an event occurs, the person guilty of invoking Kardashian's Law has effectively forfeited the argument.'

An example of this pops up on Facebook every so often:

"Let me get this straight...Charlie Sheen can make a "porn family", Kelsey Grammer can end a 15 year marriage over the phone, Larry King can be on divorce #9, Britney Spears had a 55 hour marriage, Kim Kardashian can get a divorce after 72 days of marriage, Jesse James and Tiger Woods, while married, were having sex with EVERYONE. Yet, the idea of same-sex marriage is going to destroy the institution of marriage? Really? Re-post if you are proud to support equal rights."
The examples quoted here say more about the narcissistic and toxic culture of the entertainment and celebrity industry than it does about real marriage.

Very quickly addressing the issue of childless married couples (Nicky and I are a case in point, we're childless by choice) - the answer is simple: having children is not obligatory. But let me tell you, if homosexuals do receive legal sanction to marry then expect an explosion of court cases demanding the 'right' to children.

It's a civil rights issue
This argument is a big one in the US where homosexual advocates have tried to align themselves with black civil rights causes from the 1960s.

Homosexuals are allowed to vote, can sit anywhere in the bus they like, can make legal arrangements for inheritance and sick bed visitations. There is no real discrimination as was experienced by African Americans during that time.

Unlike laws in some states of the US that prohibited a black man marrying a white woman and vice versa - a gay man is free to marry any woman, a lesbian can marry any man.

The fact that gay men and lesbians are same sex attracted is their issue. Not the State's.

Two gays getting married doesn't affect your/my marriage
If homosexual relationships are less likely to be long-lived and less likely to be monogamous, it does by definition changes the expectations of marriage in a wider context - especially when those advocates invoke Kardashian's Law and use the facile, inept and insincere coupling of celebrities as their examples.

Not only have we seen the concept of marriage being an exclusive union of a man and a woman for life eroded through the introduction of quicky, no-fault divorces, but we are also seeing a push to redefine even the meaning of monogamy.

This link on Psychology Today is very instructive:

I've wanted to write an article on this topic ever since I began working with a gay male couple who told me that they were monogamous. After several months, however, they informed me they had had a three-way. When I asked if they had changed from monogamy, they said, "No."

I was confused. Maybe I hadn't gotten the correct information in our initial consultation? I told them, "I thought you told me you were monogamous," and they said, "We are." Now I was REALLY confused! So I said, "But you just told me you were monogamous."

Their reply was, "We are monogamous. We only have three-ways together, and are never sexual with others apart from each other."
If that's not a redefinition of monogamous (from the Latin for One + Marriage - a form of marriage in which an individual has only one spouse/sexual partner at any one time.), then nothing is.

Hollywood mainstream also plays its part in trying to stretch the accepted boundaries of monogamy in marriage - take this year's comedy flick Hall Pass (defined by the trailer as 'a week off marriage with no consequences) in which two married men are let off their vows by their wives and allowed to do whatever they want up to an including having sex with other women.

Also, take the TV series Big Love that sympathetically portrays a polygamous relationship.

Again the universal principle of 'Garbage In/Garbage Out' applies here. If this is the type of pop culture you and your children are consuming, then it is going to affect how they view relationships and thus the concept of marriage is redefined outside of a true fusion of the lives of one man and one woman becoming (in the Biblical parlance) 'one flesh', one entity for mutual love and support for life.

Those who argue that what others do does not impact on them misses mark on the importance of marriage has on the greater welfare of our society.

Why am I against same sex marriage? For three fundamental reasons:

1. Same-sex marriage is bad for children
2. Same-sex marriage is bad for civil society
3. Same-sex marriage is bad for public health

Same-sex marriage is bad for children
It’s clear that children benefit from having both a male and female parent. Recent medical research confirms genetically determined differences between men and women and those fundamental differences help explain why mothers and fathers bring unique characteristics to parenting that can’t be replicated by the other sex. Mothers and fathers simply aren’t interchangeable. Two women can both be good mothers, but neither can be a good father. One-sex parenting, whether by a single parent or a homosexual couple, deprives children of the full range of parenting offered by dual-sex couples.

Only mother-father families afford children the opportunity to develop relationships with a parent of the same, as well as the opposite sex. Relationships with both sexes early in life make it easier and more comfortable for a child to relate to both sexes later in life. Overall, having a relationship with both a male and female parent increases the likelihood that a child will have successful social and romantic relationships during his or her life.(5)

Same-sex marriage is bad for civil society

Not only does SSM amplify issues around the raising and socialising of children, overseas experience has shown that a government that mandates the acceptance and recognition of SSM are more likely to act punitively against people who do not support it.

Here are other examples, all annotated.

Even those who are not religious and so may support SSM should react in horror to the concept of the state criminalising thoughts and beliefs.

Same-sex marriage is bad for public health
Here's the second elephant in the room - one which homosexual advocates and their supporters don't like to talk about:

Homosexuals have shorter lifespans, indulge in more risk taking behaviour including drug use, are subject to more interpersonal violence (IE suffer more domestic violence) and suffer greater mental illnesses such as depression and suicidal tendencies than those who are heterosexual.

Let's add in one more point. Homosexuals and bisexuals are a tiny minority - why are we pandering to them on this issue? According to September figures from the UK, only 1.5% of the population are gay or bisexual - especially when it can be argued that there are a good number of homosexuals who do not support legalised marriage at all.

So if 1.5% of the population is homosexual and, let's say for argument's sake that one third of that 1.5% are not interested in 'marriage' at all, then why are our political leaders devoting so much time considering such a far reaching (and negative) shift to our society's structure that is demanded by 1% of the population?

-- Nora

UPDATE: The ALP national conference has just officially changed its policy to endorse same-sex marriage. It's just a vote in parliament away folks. I wonder what the old time Catholic Labor Union supporters think of their party now>

UPDATE 2: A couple of typos corrected and a slight rewriting on the paragraph on length of relationships for clarity and to include some additional information.

UPDATE 3: The law of unintended consequences reasserts itself. From the Daily Mail:

People who have had two sexual partners in a year may be 'too promiscuous' to donate organs under new health guidelines

That of course would include the 'monogamous' homosexual men referred to in the Psychology Today article earlier in this post. This is why redefinition of words and the societal understanding that goes with them is so dangerous. Potentially deadly.

UPDATE 4: I've been keeping an eye on this story for a few weeks now. Since we're talking about the influence Hollywood has in shaping our thinking and our expectations of societal norms, I thought it was worth linking to:

Does Hollywood Face a Child-Molestation Crisis in Casting?

And not just in casting. And not just in Hollywood.

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