Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Ryan T. Anderson defends traditional marriage at Boston College

Marriage and family

Marriage and family

The Boston College student newspaper reports. I won’t go over Anderson’s case for traditional marriage, because you all know that from reading my previous posts. I want to highlight what went on at the lecture itself.

Excerpt:

Students sat on the floor, wedged between backpacks and pressed back against the walls. Brightly colored “Support Love” t-shirts were sprinkled liberally throughout the audience in Cushing 001 on Thursday night, as students gathered to hear—and question—Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at the Heritage Foundation.

Titled “A Case Against Gay Marriage,” Anderson’s presentation was arranged by the St. Thomas More Society (STM), a student-run group at Boston College. Rev. Ronald Tacelli, S.J., the group’s faculty advisor and a professor in the philosophy department, introduced Anderson, stating that the event would be more question-and-answer based, as opposed to the panel that had originally been planned. “When I see the size of the crowd, I think it was a better idea,” he said, eliciting laughter.

The large turnout for the talk can be attributed in part to a Facebook event created earlier in the week by BC Students for Sexual Health (BCSSH). The event, formed in opposition to Anderson’s talk after an email about it was sent out to students on the philosophy and theology departments’ listservs, encouraged students to show up wearing Support Love shirts and to participate in the discussion. “This is not the type of programming that fosters an accepting environment for students,” the event description read. “This event is going to have to rely on the audience for any hope of a balancing opinion presence.”

After Tacelli’s introduction, Anderson began by running down a list of things upon which he would not be basing his argument: morality, sexual orientation/homosexuality, religion, tradition. “I think frequently people have an expectation of what they’re going to hear,” he said. “I make a philosophical and policy argument about marriage.”

He then asked a question of the crowd. “From the looks of the t-shirts, this is probably a challenge for most of the audience,” he said. “I want to know what you think marriage is … that’s actually the question that people in favor of redefining marriage refuse to answer. And they refuse to answer that question by hiding behind what I think is a rather sloppy slogan: marriage equality.”

Anderson said that everyone involved in the debate over marriage is ultimately in favor of equality. “We all want the government to treat all real marriages in the same way. The question is, what type of relationship is a marriage?”

Eventually, they had to move to a bigger room and then they continued:

Tacelli interrupted to inform the crowd that BCPD had requested that the event be moved to a larger auditorium, McGuinn 121. The audience left Cushing slightly before 8 p.m., and Anderson resumed his point on government interest in marriage less than 10 minutes later.

[...]Anderson then concluded his talk and commenced nearly an hour of question and answer, with Tacellimoderating.

Nine students asked questions, with many challenging Anderson on various aspects of his argument, to applause from much of the audience. Most questions focused on his central point—that children who were raised by a heterosexual, married couple were better off than those raised by same-sex couples.

And the Q&A was interesting – it shows that even liberal Boston College students could be civil:

“If further studies came out that show these children are fine—they’re healthy, they grow up to be responsible adults and members of society—would you change your mind?” asked one student

Anderson replied that if the studies showed that there was no difference based on family arrangement, then he would not think that government should be in the marriage business. “I don’t think the government should be recognizing consenting adult love if ultimately it doesn’t make a difference one way or another to the common good,” he said. “If the science came back saying, actually, it’s a wash … then yeah, I wouldn’t care what the law or public policy would be about marriage. I would be surprised—and let me say that it wouldn’t change my opinion about what marriage is, that would just be a study of parenting arrangements.”

Brandon Stone, A&S ’14, asked whether, if the end goal was providing the best environment in which to raise children, that would also necessitate defining marriage along economic or class lines.

“The idea here is not that we should only recognize marriages that are socially valuable,” Anderson said. “The idea here is that marriage as an institution is a socially valuable institution, therefore the state tries to promote it. But when the state promotes marriage, it has to promote the truth about marriage. Poor people can get married, right—they can form the reality of that comprehensive unit. So it would be unjust to deny poor people the opportunity if they’re actually capable of forming a marriage.”

Further questions centered around legal rights, such as the transferal of property after death; the specific definitions of  “mothering” and “fathering”; and whether a non-child-producing heterosexual relationship could be considered a marriage.

Post-lecture discussion organized by the campus gay student group:

After Tacelli ended the question and answer period, Alex Taratuta, chair of the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) and A&S ’14, stood up to announce that GLC would be hosting an after-event discussion for any students who wanted to keep talking.

“Going into the event, GLC’s main priority was the mental health and safety of the students,” Taratuta said in an email. “This is one of the reasons that we held a post-event discussion afterwards; we wanted people to have some time to digest the conversation before going back to their dorms … I think it went better than I expected. I knew it would be well attended, but the amount of support from the student body for the GLBTQ community on campus and even the community as a whole, exceeded my expectations.”

Mike Villafranca, co-president of STM and A&S ’14, stopped by the GLC discussion to speak with the students there.

“I was concerned going into tonight’s talk because I knew nothing about Mr. Anderson, and I was worried that the student reaction would be visceral and angry,” Villafranca said later in an email. “Instead of that, I was impressed by the way that the students from GLC and BCSSH reacted to what Mr. Anderson said. It was clear that they came with ideas about what they wanted to ask, but that they listened to what he had to say, and they challenged him in terms of what he said rather than what they came expecting to hear. I’m glad that the Q&A stayed on an intellectual level and didn’t descend into emotional outbursts, which it easily and justifiably could have done.”

I think if you are going to discuss marriage face-to-face with people who are pro-SSM, then it’s probably a good idea to just stick with the Anderson script. I don’t think it’s safe to discuss this issue unless you are careful about who you talk to and how you talk to them. That’s why I am posting about this lecture – to show you how it’s done in hostile environments. We’ve had a whole slew of people from photographers, to sportscasters, to bakers getting into trouble for telling gay peope directly that they disagree with gay marriage. I don’t think you want to take a chance on that approach of “The Bible says…” because it doesn’t work. Ryan Anderson’s approach seems to work a lot better. The people who get hammered are the ones who don’t take the time to study anything except the Bible, who discriminate by appealing to the Bible, and who are not talking to people who have chosen to hear what they have to say – especially in an academic setting where they are there to learn. “The Bible says” ought to be perfectly legitimate in the United States, but thanks to the people in government, it’s not working any more, and we have to adapt.

If you’re going to discuss marriage with a pro-SSM person, then you should do it like Ryan Anderson does it. An academic setting is best. Talking about principles and policies instead of specific people is best. And a secular case for marriage is best. It’s better if your employer won’t be pressured to fire you. It’s best to stick with public policy and secular reasons for marriage, instead of quoting the Bible to non-Christians – that just makes them angry. When you base your position in facts and arguments, they are less likely to get angry because they can disagree with you more easily by arguing against your facts and arguments. Be ready to show  the public, peer-reviewed data that supports your view of marriage. So again, if you insist on doing it, do it like Ryan.

Warning: your comment is probably not going to be approved, so don’t even bother, regardless of what side you’re on.

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Millionaire gay couple sues Church of England to get gay wedding in a church

Well, that didn’t take long, did it?

The UK Daily Mail reports.

Excerpt:

The first legal challenge to the Church of England’s ban on same-sex marriage was launched today – months before the first gay wedding can take place.

Gay father Barrie Drewitt-Barlow declared: ‘I want to go into my church and marry my husband.’ He added: ‘The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the Church.’

The legal move means an early test for David Cameron’s promise to the CofE and Roman Catholic bishops that no church would be forced to conduct same-sex weddings against the will of its leaders and its faithful.

Ministers set down a ‘quadruple lock’ in the new same sex marriage law – which received Royal Assent last month – which is supposed to protect those churches which oppose gay marriage.

However the guarantees will have to be tested in the courts and gay rights groups have been expecting to bring an early challenge.

How is the suit likely to be resolved?

The article notes that:

[A] succession of past court cases have resulted in defeats for Christians who were in disputes over equality laws, and in particular courts have always found in favour of gays who have challenged Christians.

In recent years notable cases have ended in the sacking of a town hall registrar who refused to conduct civil partnership ceremonies, the sack for a Relate counsellor who said he would not give sex advice to gay couples, and defeat for a couple who declined to let a room in their hotel to a gay couple on the grounds that they were unmarried.

Colin Hart, of the Coalition for Marriage said: ‘The ink’s not even dry on the Bill and churches are already facing litigation. We warned Mr Cameron this would happen, we told him he was making promises that he couldn’t possibly keep.

‘He didn’t listen. He didn’t care. He’s the one who has created this mess. Mr Cameron’s chickens are coming home to roost and it will be ordinary people with a religious belief who yet again fall victim to the totalitarian forces of political correctness.’

Mr Hart added: ‘We now face the real prospect of churches having to choose between stopping conducting weddings, or vicars, and priests defying the law and finding themselves languishing in the dock.’

Yesterday, I blogged about how gay activists are already infringing on religious liberty in the United States. It’s happening here. Isn’t interesting that many people who falsely claim to be Christian nevertheless voted for a President who is in favor of gay marriage? And now we are getting the consequences of gay marriage – the end of religions liberty.

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Ryan Anderson explains how gay marriage is already infringing on religious liberty

Dr. Ryan Anderson writes about the threat to religious liberty in National Review.

Excerpt:

Thomas Messner, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has documented multiple instances in which laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as laws redefining marriage, have already eroded religious liberty and the rights of conscience.

After Massachusetts redefined marriage to include same-sex relationships, Catholic Charities of Boston faced a mandate to place children with same-sex couples. Rather than go against its principles, Catholic Charities decided to get out of the adoption business — a move that helps neither the orphans nor society. When Massachusetts public schools began teaching grade-school students about same-sex marriage, the town of Lexington’s school superintendent, Paul Ash, defended the decision to the Boston Globe with this statement: “Lexington is committed to teaching children about the world they live in, and in Massachusetts same-sex marriage is legal.” A Massachusetts appellate court ruled that parents have no right to exempt their children from these classes.

The New Mexico Human Rights Commission prosecuted a photographer for declining to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony.” Doctors in California were successfully sued for declining to perform an artificial insemination on a woman in a same-sex relationship. Owners of a bed-and-breakfast in Illinois who declined to rent their facility for a same-sex civil-union ceremony and reception were sued for violating the state nondiscrimination law. A Georgia wellness counselor was fired after she referred someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor.

In fact, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty reports that “over 350 separate state anti-discrimination provisions would likely be triggered by recognition of same-sex marriage.”

In a letter sent to priests, deacons, and pastoral facilitators in 131 parishes, the Catholic bishop of Springfield, Ill., explains that a same-sex-marriage bill state lawmakers are considering this year does not include meaningful protections for religious liberty:

[It] would not stop the state from obligating the Knights of Columbus to make their halls available for same-sex “weddings.” It would not stop the state from requiring Catholic grade schools to hire teachers who are legally “married” to someone of the same sex. This bill would not protect Catholic hospitals, charities, or colleges, which exclude those so “married” from senior leadership positions. . . . This “religious freedom” law does nothing at all to protect the consciences of people in business, or who work for the government. We saw the harmful consequences of deceptive titles all too painfully last year when the so-called “Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act” forced Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoption services in Illinois. . . . There is no possible way– none whatsoever — for those who believe that marriage is exclusively the union of husband and wife to avoid legal penalties and harsh discriminatory treatment if the bill becomes law. Why should we expect it be otherwise? After all, we would be people who, according to the thinking behind the bill, hold onto an “unfair” view of marriage. The state would have equated our view with bigotry — which it uses the law to marginalize in every way short of criminal punishment.

Georgetown University law professor Chai Feldblum, an appointee to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, argues that the push to redefine marriage trumps religious-liberty concerns:

For all my sympathy for the evangelical Christian couple who may wish to run a bed-and-breakfast from which they can exclude unmarried, straight couples and all gay couples, this is a point where I believe the “zero-sum” nature of the game inevitably comes into play. And, in making that decision in this zero-sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people.

Indeed, for many supporters of redefining marriage, such infringements on religious liberty are not flaws but virtues of the movement.

Now, I have previously written that a good case can be made against same-sex marriage on secular grounds alone, but make no mistake – the more gay rights advance, the more religious liberty declines. This issue is not about equality, it’s about trampling on the rights of anyone who voices any disagreement with the gay lifestyle.

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Kevin DeYoung’s article opposing gay marriage has broad appeal

Marriage and family

Marriage and family

In my own secular case against gay marriage from last year, I argued for 3 points:

  • same-sex marriage is bad for liberty, especially religious liberty
  • same-sex marriage is bad for children
  • same-sex marriage is bad for public health

My hope when I wrote that was that pastors and other Christian leaders would learn to argue for what the Bible says by using evidence from outside the Bible, so that they would be able to appeal to more people instead of only appealing to the minority of people who accept the Bible. I think that Christians who argue for their views by citing the Bible only will only be convincing to people who already accept the Bible. But there is not a majority of people who do accept the Bible as an authority, so I think that pastors have to make another plan. They need to argue using the Bible to those who accept the Bible, and without the Bible to those who don’t accept it.

Now with that said, take a look at this article by pastor Kevin DeYoung that Dina sent me. It’s from earlier this week. The article makes the same exact three points as I made in my article last year. Let’s take a look at how Kevin does that.

My first point was liberty, especially religious liberty. He writes:

[I]n the long run, the triumph of gay marriage (should it triumph as a cultural and legal reality) will mean the restriction of freedoms for millions of Americans.

This will happen in obvious ways at first–by ostracizing those who disagree, by bullying with political correctness, and by trampling on religious liberty. Surely, Christians must realize that no matter how many caveats we issue, not matter how much we nuance our stance, no matter how much we encourage or show compassion for homosexuals, it will not be enough to ward off the charges of hatred and homophobia.

[G]ay marriage will challenge our freedoms in others way too. It’s not just Evangelicals, traditional Catholics, and Mormons who will be threatened. Once the government gains new powers, it rarely relinquishes them. There will be a soft tyranny that grows as the power of the state increases, a growth that is intrinsic to the  notion of gay marriage itself.

My second point was bad for children. He writes:

[T]he state has an interest in promoting the familial arrangement which has a mother and a father raising the children that came from their union. The state has been in the marriage business for the common good and for the well-being of the society it is supposed to protect. Kids do better with a mom and a dad. Communities do better when husbands and wives stay together. Hundreds of studies confirm both of these statements (though we all can think of individual exceptions I’m sure). Gay marriage assumes that marriage is re-definable and the moving parts replaceable.

My third point was bad for public health. He writes:

The unspoken secret, however, is that homosexual behavior is not harmless. Homosexuals are at a far greater risk for diseases like syphilis, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, gonorrhea, HPV, and gay bowel syndrome. The high rate of these diseases is due both to widespread promiscuity in the gay community and the nature of anal and oral intercourse itself. Homosexual relationships are usually portrayed as a slight variation on the traditional “norm” of husband-wife monogamy. But monogamy is much less common among homosexual relationships, and even for those who value monogamy the definition of fidelity is much looser.

He also talks about the definition of marriage, and more.

I’ve criticized pastors before for dealing with social issues by only citing the Bible, like John Piper does. That approach won’t work on enough people to change society, because not enough people consider the Bible to be an authority in their decision-making. We have to use evidence from outside the Bible – like Wayne Grudem does in his “Politics According to the Bible”.

I think that pastor Kevin’s article is quality work, because it follows the pattern of taking an all-of-the-above approach to persuasion. He uses all means to persuade so that he might win some over to his side. I hope that many more pastors will do the same thing on this issue of marriage and other issues – even fiscal issues. Fiscal issues do have an impact on moral issues – think of how abortion subsidies and single mother welfare lower the penalties of recreational premarital sex. We can do this, we just have to do what works, instead of what makes us feel “holier-than-thou”.

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Gay marriage debate: a secular case against same-sex marriage

Marriage and family

Note: this post has a twin! Its companion post on a secular case against abortion rights is here.

I can’t possible cover everything, but I will make three arguments.

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

Let’s look at these in order.

1. SSM is bad for children

Traditional marriage is beneficial for children for 4 reasons:

  • traditional marriages last longer than same-sex unions
  • traditional marriages are more peaceful than same-sex unions
  • traditional marriages offer children male and female influences
  • traditional marriages model life-long love between men and women

Space permits me to only discuss the first two, using this paper from the Family Research Council, which cites data from mainstream sources like the Department of Justice, peer-reviewed studies, etc.

That research paper compares same-sex couples and heterosexual married couples, in the following ways:

  • relationship duration
  • monogamy vs. promiscuity
  • relationship commitment
  • number of children being raised
  • health risks
  • rates of intimate partner violence

It turns out that same-sex unions are not as good for children as traditional marriage, on those measures.

Relationship duration

Claim: about 58% of traditional marriages last longer than 20 years.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2001)

Claim: about 5% of same-sex unions last longer than 20 years.

Source: 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census

Monogamy vs Promiscuity

Claim: 85% of married women and 75.5% of married men report being faithful to their spouses. For homosexual males, the number is 4.5%

Sources: Laumann, The Social Organization of Sexuality, 216; McWhirter and Mattison, The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop (1984): 252-253; Wiederman, “Extramarital Sex,” 170.

Rates of intimate partner violence

Intimate Partner Violence

Married men and women experience significantly less intimate partner violence than do homosexual men and women.

Sources: “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence,” U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: 30; “Intimate Partner Violence,” Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report:11.

There is a lot more evidence cited in the research paper. Read the whole thing.

Consider this article by Dr. Trayce Hansen about which family configuration is best for children. The title is “Same-Sex Marriage: Not in the Best Interest of Children”.

Excerpt:

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)

Moreover, existing research on children reared by homosexuals is not only scientifically flawed and extremely limited (6,7,8) but some of it actually indicates that those children are at increased risk for a variety of negative outcomes.(6) Other studies find that homosexually parented children are more likely to experiment sexually, experience sexual confusion, and engage in homosexual and bisexual behavior themselves.(5,6,9) And for those children who later engage in non-heterosexual behavior, extensive research reveals they are more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders, abuse alcohol and drugs, (10) attempt suicide, (11) experience domestic violence and sexual assault, (12) and are at increased risk for chronic diseases, AIDS, and shortened life spans.(13,14,15)

It shouldn’t be surprising that studies find children reared by homosexuals are more likely to engage in homosexual behavior themselves (16,9,17) since extensive worldwide research reveals homosexuality is primarily environmentally induced. Specifically, social and/or family factors, as well as permissive environments which affirm homosexuality, play major environmental roles in the development of homosexual behavior.(18,19,20,21)

The rest of the article, with references, is here.

Research from the Heritage Foundation shows that traditional marriage is the safest place for women and children - women and children are much less likely to be the victims of domestic violence or violent crime when they are in a married home. Another Heritage Foundation research paper shows that child poverty is greatly reduced when children grow up in a married home.

So what do we learn from this? The evidence is clear: traditional marriage is better for children than same-sex marriage.

2. SSM is bad for civil society and business

SSM will increase the power of the state to regulate civil society and business. Let me quickly summarize the evidence for this to give you an idea how it would work, using Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse’s testimony to the Rhode Island legislature.

Excerpt:

Far from limiting the power of the state, your version of equality has become a tool for the hostile takeover of civil society by the state. Churches are already under attack for daring to dissent from the new state-imposed Orthodoxy that marriage is whatever the government says it is.7

Parents are losing the right to direct the education of their own children.8 Foster parents in the UK must submit to the state’s views about marriage.9 Reputable adoption agencies have been put out of business.

And the pettiness of some of the complaints brought by same sex couples is simply staggering. Christian bed and breakfast owners have been sued for not allowing unmarried couples to stay in double rooms. They would have gladly rented them separate rooms, but that was not good enough for the thought police.10 Same sex couples have brought legal complaints against wedding photographers, as if there were a constitutional right to have your picture taken by the person of your choice.11

The details of the events she is describing can be found in the references for her speech.

Here are a few more examples of this infringement on civil society and business:

Notice how same-sex marriage impacts businesses, clergy, non-profits, etc. and even leads to polygamy. Once you decide that marriage is not about putting guidelines around sex and producing and nurturing the next generation, but about letting consenting adults do whatever they want, then there are no rules.

Now consider this article about how the breakdown of marriage changes society and government, written by Dr. Frank Turek.

Excerpt:

The law is a great teacher, and same sex marriage will teach future generations that marriage is not about children but about coupling. When marriage becomes nothing more than coupling, fewer people will get married to have children.

So what? People will still have children, of course, but many more of them out-of wedlock. That’s a disaster for everyone. Children will be hurt because illegitimate parents (there are no illegitimate children) often never form a family, and those that “shack up” break up at a rate two to three times that of married parents. Society will be hurt because illegitimacy starts a chain of negative effects that fall like dominoes—illegitimacy leads to poverty, crime, and higher welfare costs which lead to bigger government, higher taxes, and a slower economy.

Are these just the hysterical cries of an alarmist? No. We can see the connection between same-sex marriage and illegitimacy in Scandinavian countries. Norway, for example, has had de-facto same-sex marriage since the early nineties. In Nordland,the most liberal county of Norway, where they fly “gay” rainbow flags over their churches, out-of-wedlock births have soared—more than 80percent of women giving birth for the first time, and nearly 70 percent of all children, are born out of wedlock! Across all of Norway, illegitimacy rose from 39 percent to 50 percent in the first decade of same-sex marriage.

Anthropologist Stanley Kurtz writes,“When we look at Nordland and Nord-Troendelag — the Vermont and Massachusetts of Norway — we are peering as far as we can into the future of marriage in a world where gay marriage is almost totally accepted. What we see is a place where marriage itself has almost totally disappeared.” He asserts that “Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.” But it’s not just Norway. Blankenhorn reports this same trend in other countries. International surveys show that same-sex marriage and the erosion of traditional marriage tend to go together. Traditional marriage is weakest and illegitimacy strongest wherever same-sex marriage is legal. 

You might say, “Correlation doesn’t always indicate causation!” Yes, but often it does. Is there any doubt that liberalizing marriage laws impacts society for the worse? You need look no further than the last 40 years of no-fault divorce laws in the United States (family disintegration destroys lives and now costs taxpayers $112 billion per year!).

No-fault divorce laws began in one state, California, and then spread to rest of the country. Those liberalized divorce laws helped change our attitudes and behaviors about the permanence of marriage. There’s no question that liberalized marriage laws will help change our attitudes and behaviors about the purpose of marriage. The law is a great teacher, and if same-sex marriage advocates have their way, children will be expelled from the lesson on marriage.

So there are financial and social costs to the breakdown of marriage. The more government has to spend to deal with the problems SSM creates, the higher taxes will go, and the less money is left in the hands of working families to accomplish their own plans.

To be fair, I think that sex education and no-fault divorce are worse threats to marriage than same-sex marriage. I would like to see more research to persuade people that chastity before marriage is important, like this research , so that we could see our way clear to push for policies that encourage young people to wait longer before having sex. And I would like to see other measures taken to strengthen marriage from no-fault divorce, such as a shared parenting laws. But SSM is the current topic, so I’ll stick with that here.

3. SSM is bad for public health

Now we come to the sensitive part. We should not be encouraging SSM because it normalizes homosexuality and the homosexual lifestyle is associated with harmful behaviors.

Consider this recent Centers for Disease Control study. Life Site News discusses the findings in this article.

Excerpt:

Students who report being gay or bisexual are more likely than heterosexual students to engage in unhealthy risk behaviors such as tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual risk behaviors, suicidal behaviors, and violence, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The study reported: “the prevalence among gay or lesbian students was higher than the prevalence among heterosexual students for a median of 63.8% of all the risk behaviors measured, and the prevalence among bisexual students was higher than the prevalence among heterosexual students for a median of 76.0% of all the risk behaviors measured.”

Specifically, gay or lesbian students had higher rates for seven of the 10 health risk categories (behaviors that contribute to violence, behaviors related to attempted suicide, tobacco use, alcohol use, other drug use, sexual behaviors, and weight management).

The study also found that only 1.3% of students self-identified as gay or lesbian at the eight sites where they were asked their “sexual identity.” A median of 3.7% said they were bisexual.

Researchers analyzed data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveys conducted during 2001–2009 in seven states and six large urban school districts. These sites collected data on high school students’ sexual identity (heterosexual, gay or lesbian, bisexual, or unsure), sex of sexual contacts (sexual contact with the opposite sex only, with the same sex only, or with both sexes), or both.

The study, “Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9–12 in Selected Sites—Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, United States, 2001–2009,” was published as a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summary.

Dr. Trayce Hansen summarizes some of the previously published research on the health care effects of the gay lifestyle.

Excerpt:

Non-heterosexual behavior leads to increased risk of psychological and physical disorders

Sadly, the research is also clear that individuals who adopt non-heterosexual lifestyles are more likely to suffer from a host of negative outcomes including psychiatric disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide attempts, domestic violence and sexual assault, and increased risk for chronic diseases, AIDS, and shortened lifespan. Schools should not affirm and thereby encourage young people to adopt lifestyles more likely to lead to such devastation. (To review these specific studies see references 5-10 below).

The footnotes she mentions are in the original article. That article also debunks the “gay gene” myth using identical twin studies, which show that only 10-11% of identical twins have the same sexual orientation.

Consider how society treats the practice of cigarette smoking. Certainly, we don’t want to coerce people into not smoking – we want them to have the choice. But we should definitely not lie to people about the health effects of smoking. It does no good to tell people that dangerous things are not really dangerous. I would rather hurt someone’s feelings gently by telling them the truth than see them suffer real harm after telling them lies.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we have seen three reasons why we should not legalize same-sex marriage:

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

Notice that there are no arguments in this post that require a religious worldview or belief in the inerrancy of the Bible.

 

Further study

For a more academic case against SSM, see this peer-reviewed paper on traditional marriage and same-sex marriage, authored by two guys from Princeton University and one guy from the University of Notredame. One of those guys is the famous Robert P. George. For some simple, practical tips on defending traditional marriage, check out this tip sheet from the National Organization for Marriage. Here’s another good peer-reviewed paper in the Harvard University Journal of Law and Public Policy. And of course there are the two recent large-scale studies on gay parenting outcomes, and responses to the criticisms of those studies.

You can also watch the videos from a formal academic debate on same-sex marriage held at the University of Central Florida, featuring Dr. Michael Brown. Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse also debated same-sex marriage at Columbia University in a formal academic debate. You can see her give a lecture on same-sex marriage at Houston Baptist University here, as well.

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