Friday, June 24, 2011

My Rational Belief in Traditional Marriage

It’s possible that a vote will come up today in the New York State Senate regarding changing the definition of marriage in that state to include homosexual couples. As of this hour, the discarding of the millennia-old definition of marriage has passed the state assembly, and as time runs out on the legislative session, 26 senators have declared in favor of the change, and 28 have declared against, with 8 remaining undeclared (whether they’ve decided or not). The bill requires 32 to pass. The measure was defeated in New York when it came up in 2009. 

If New York indeed passes this legislation, it would join a handful of other states who offer similar honor to homosexual relationships as to committed heterosexual couples. Because of its size, such a change in New York would double the populations so affected. None of the states who have redefined marriage has done so by the will of the people—only by either courts or legislatures. Every time a state’s people have the opportunity to vote on the issue, they vote to keep the traditional definition of marriage. (The only exception was the first time it came up in Arizona, when opponents erroneously convinced the public that it would affect insurance benefits for cohabiting couples; the second time it came up in Arizona, the people sustained traditional marriage.) Thirty-two states have upheld traditional marriage by the voice of the people, many by significant majorities. 

If you’ve read my posts on family in the last week (Thursday, June 16; Friday, June 17; Monday, June 20; Thursday, June 23), then you’re aware that I highly value the traditional family—married husband and wife parenting their own children—as the basic unit of civilization, and the only family form that can bring about civilization. So it should be no surprise that I would be against redefining marriage to be something that does not have the power to civilize. 

What does the other side believe? What must be the beliefs of people who insist that marriage is worth redefining to honor any couple in a sexual relationship, rather than to honor the permanent formation of a family starting with a man and a woman exclusively committed to each other with the possibility of conceiving and rearing children? One must believe that homosexual sex is as valuable to society as heterosexual sex, even though there is no possibility of offspring. One must believe that it is irrational to value permanence when making a lifetime-length contract. One must believe that it is irrational to value exclusivity when making a contract requiring exclusivity. One must believe that homosexuality is inborn and immutable—despite voluminous evidence to the contrary.[1]

It was the Goodrich decision in Massachusetts, November 2003, where the state supreme court decided that any of the billions of us who have valued marriage during the history of the world have “no rational reason”[2] for our belief in traditional marriage’s value. But since a strong majority of citizens has and still does value marriage—for the rational reasons that committed husband and can wife bring children into the world and raise them to adulthood, instilling in them the values that will likely help them become the next generation of civilized, productive adults—we might have reason to suppose it was that court that was irrational. 

Do we hate people or fear them (the meaning of homophobia) because they are different? No. We respect people. But we do not have to honor all behaviors. Not all behaviors are equivalent. Among heterosexuals we do not honor adultery, fornication, or incest. We do not honor sexual relationships with multiple partners or close relatives. We do not condone sexual relationships with minors, or sexual relationships where one person wields great power over the other. We don’t honor sexual relationships that are purchased. The honor is given only where there is power to civilize—within a husband and wife legally married, permanently and exclusively committed. 

So, if there are limitations to which heterosexual behaviors are honored, why would homosexuals insist on forcing society to honor a sexual behavior that has no benefit for society as a whole? In other words, why are they insisting on special privileges? Even when they say they are making a commitment, evidence shows that the average length of a “same-sex marriage” is 18 months to 5 years[3] (70% of heterosexuals remain married for life—the 50% divorce rate statistic is related to serial divorcers). Even when they say they are making an exclusive commitment, evidence shows “same-sex married couples” have on average 8 sexual partners per year[4] (75% of heterosexual married men and 85% of heterosexual married women never have sex with anyone but their spouse).  

Is it irrational to notice things that are? Is it irrational to value things that bring about civilization? No, and no. So maybe those judges are really the irrational ones. Maybe there are a lot of people afraid of being called names by loud bullies, so they keep quiet and hope the issue won’t affect them.  

But it does have an effect. More on the volumes of evidence another day. In the mean time, this is a call to stand up and proclaim that we will not allow ourselves to be deprived of the time-honored institution that alone leads to civilization in the next generation.


[1] See, e.g., Joseph Nicolosi, A. Dean Byrd, Richard W. Potts, “Retrospective Self-Reports of Changes in Homosexual Orientation:  A Consumer Survey of Conversion Therapy Clients,” 86 Psychological Reports 1071, 1083 (June 2000).  Study concludes that “20%-30% of the participants [in voluntary conversion therapy] said they shifted from a homosexual orientation to an exclusively or almost exclusively heterosexual orientation,” belying any assertion that homosexual orientation is “immutable.”
[2] Goodridge v. Department of Health, SJC-08860 (Mass. Supreme Judicial Court November 18, 2003) (legislative “refusal to recognize save-sex marriages ‘works a deep and scarring hardship’ on same-sex families ‘for no rational reason’” (Reporter’s Synopsis at page one).
[3] McWhirter, David P., and Andrew M. Mattison, The Male Couple:  How Relationships Develop (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:  Prentice-Hall, 1984), pp. 252, 3.  They reported that in a study of 156 males in homosexual relationships lasting from one to 37 years, only 7 couples have a totally exclusive sexual relationship, and these men all have been together for less than five years.  Stated another way, all couples with a relationship lasting more than five years have incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity in their relationships.  No “monogamous” relationship among men longer than the ones set out in this book have been documented.
[4] See e.g., Xiridou, Maria, et al, “The Contribution of Steady and Casual Partnerships to the Incidence of HIV infection among Homosexual Men in Amsterdam,” 1029-1038 AIDS, 17 (7) May 2, 2003.  “Those with a steady partner and those without reported having an average of 8 and 22 casual partners per year, respectively.”

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