Friday, July 19, 2013
The following article was published by the New York Times in 2010, and can be viewed here. It is a testament to the fundamentally different attitude with which same-sex couples approach marriage.
Many Successful Gay Marriages Share an Open Secret
By SCOTT JAMES
Published: January 28, 2010
When Rio and Ray married in 2008, the Bay Area women omitted two words from their wedding vows: fidelity and monogamy.
“I take it as a gift that someone will be that open and honest and sharing with me,” said Rio, using the word “open” to describe their marriage.
Love brought the middle-age couple together — they wed during California’s brief legal window for same-sex marriage. But they knew from the beginning that their bond would be forged on their own terms, including what they call “play” with other women.
As the trial phase of the constitutional battle to overturn the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage concludes in federal court, gay nuptials are portrayed by opponents as an effort to rewrite the traditional rules of matrimony. Quietly, outside of the news media and courtroom spotlight, many gay couples are doing just that, according to groundbreaking new research.
A study to be released next month is offering a rare glimpse inside gay relationships and reveals that monogamy is not a central feature for many. Some gay men and lesbians argue that, as a result, they have stronger, longer-lasting and more honest relationships. And while that may sound counterintuitive, some experts say boundary-challenging gay relationships represent an evolution in marriage — one that might point the way for the survival of the institution.
New research at San Francisco State University reveals just how common open relationships are among gay men and lesbians in the Bay Area. The Gay Couples Study has followed 556 male couples for three years — about 50 percent of those surveyed have sex outside their relationships, with the knowledge and approval of their partners.
That consent is key. “With straight people, it’s called affairs or cheating,” said Colleen Hoff, the study’s principal investigator, “but with gay people it does not have such negative connotations.”
The study also found open gay couples just as happy in their relationships as pairs in sexually exclusive unions, Dr. Hoff said. A different study, published in 1985, concluded that open gay relationships actually lasted longer.
None of this is news in the gay community, but few will speak publicly about it. Of the dozen people in open relationships contacted for this column, no one would agree to use his or her full name, citing privacy concerns. They also worried that discussing the subject could undermine the legal fight for same-sex marriage.
According to the research, open relationships almost always have rules.
That is how it works for Chris and James. Over drinks upstairs at the venerable Twin Peaks Tavern in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco, they beamed as they recalled the day in June 2008 that they donned black suits and wed at City Hall, stunned by the outpouring of affection from complete strangers. “Even homeless people and bike messengers were congratulating us,” said Chris, 42.
A couple since 2002, they opened their relationship a year ago after concluding that they were not fully meeting each other’s needs. But they have rules: complete disclosure, honesty about all encounters, advance approval of partners, and no sex with strangers — they must both know the other men first. “We check in with each other on this an awful lot,” said James, 37.
That transparency can make relationships stronger, said Joe Quirk, author of the best-selling relationship book “It’s Not You, It’s Biology.”
“The combination of freedom and mutual understanding can foster a unique level of trust,” Mr. Quirk, of Oakland, said.
“The traditional American marriage is in crisis, and we need insight,” he said, citing the fresh perspective gay couples bring to matrimony. “If innovation in marriage is going to occur, it will be spearheaded by homosexual marriages.”
Open relationships are not exclusively a gay domain, of course. Deb and Marius are heterosexual, live in the East Bay and have an open marriage. She belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and maintained her virginity until her wedding day at 34. But a few years later, when the relationship sputtered, both she and her husband, who does not belong to the church, began liaisons with others.
“Our relationship got better,” she said. “I slept better at night. My blood pressure went down.”
Deb and Marius also have rules, including restrictions on extramarital intercourse. “To us,” Marius said, “cheating would be breaking the agreement we have with each other. We define our relationship, not a religious group.”
So while the legal fight over same-sex marriage plays out, couples say the real battle is making relationships last — and their answers defy the prevailing definition of marriage.
“In 1900, the average life span for a U.S. citizen was 47,” Mr. Quirk said. “Now we’re living so much longer, ‘until death do us part’ is twice as challenging.”
Scott James is an Emmy-winning television journalist and novelist who lives in San Francisco.
Friday, July 19, 2013
The following article was originally posted on Slate.com, and can be viewed here. As the author argues, the legalization of polygamy (along with other forms of “marriage”) is no longer a distant fear of social conservatives, but an impending reality that “marriage equality” advocates are actively pursuing.
Legalize Polygamy! No. I am not kidding.
By Jillian Keenan – Posted Monday, April 15, 2013, at 5:35 AM
Recently, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council reintroduced a tired refrain: Legalized gay marriage could lead to other legal forms of marriage disaster, such as polygamy. Rick Santorum, Bill O’Reilly, and other social conservatives have made similar claims. It’s hardly a new prediction—we’ve been hearing it for years. Gay marriage is a slippery slope! A gateway drug! If we legalize it, then what’s next? Legalized polygamy?
We can only hope.
Yes, really. While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage. We need to legalize polygamy, too. Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families.
For decades, the prevailing logic has been that polygamy hurts women and children. That makes sense, since in contemporary American practice that is often the case. In many Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints polygamous communities, for example, women and underage girls are forced into polygamous unions against their will. Some boys, who represent the surplus of males, are brutally thrown out of their homes and driven into homelessness and poverty at very young ages. All of these stories are tragic, and the criminals involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. (That goes without saying, I hope.)
But legalizing consensual adult polygamy wouldn’t legalize rape or child abuse. In fact, it would make those crimes easier to combat.
Right now, all polygamous families, including the healthy, responsible ones, are driven into hiding (notwithstanding the openly polygamous Brown family on TLC’s Sister Wives, that is). In the resulting isolation, crime and abuse can flourish unimpeded. Children in polygamous communities are taught to fear the police and are not likely to report an abusive neighbor if they suspect their own parents might be caught up in a subsequent criminal investigation. In a United States with legalized polygamy, responsible plural families could emerge from the shadows—making it easier for authorities to zero in on the criminals who remain there.
Many people argue that there is no such thing as a “healthy, responsible” polygamous family, particularly for the children born into one. “Children are harmed because they are often set in perennial rivalry with other children and mothers for the affection and attention of the family patriarch,” argued John Witte Jr. in the Washington Post. “Men with lots of children and wives are spread too thin,” agreed Libby Copeland in Slate. The earnestness of these arguments is touching but idealistic. Men in monogamous marriages can’t be spread too thin? Children in monogamous families don’t rival each other for the attentions of their parents? Two-parent families are not the reality for millions of American children. Divorce, remarriage, surrogate parents, extended relatives, and other diverse family arrangements mean families already come in all sizes—why not recognize that legally?
It’s also hard to argue with the constitutional freedom of religious expression that legalized polygamy would preserve. Most polygamous families are motivated by religious faith, such as fundamentalist Mormonism or Islam, and as long as all parties involved are adults, legally able to sign marriage contracts, there is no constitutional reason why they shouldn’t be able to express that faith in their marriages. Legalized polygamous marriage would also be good for immigrant families, some of whom have legally polygamous marriages in their home countries that get ripped apart during the immigration process. (It’s impossible to estimate exactly how many polygamous families live here, since they live their religious and sexual identities in secret. Academics suggest there are 50,000 to 100,000 people engaged in Muslim polygamy in the U.S., and there are thousands of fundamentalist Mormon polygamist families as well.)
Finally, prohibiting polygamy on “feminist” grounds—that these marriages are inherently degrading to the women involved—is misguided. The case for polygamy is, in fact, a feminist one and shows women the respect we deserve. Here’s the thing: As women, we really can make our own choices. We just might choose things people don’t like. If a woman wants to marry a man, that’s great. If she wants to marry another woman, that’s great too. If she wants to marry a hipster, well—I suppose that’s the price of freedom.
And if she wants to marry a man with three other wives, that’s her damn choice.
We have a tendency to dismiss or marginalize people we don’t understand. We see women in polygamous marriages and assume they are victims. “They grew up in an unhealthy environment,” we say. “They didn’t really choose polygamy; they were just born into it.” Without question, that is sometimes true. But it’s also true of many (too many) monogamous marriages. Plenty of women, polygamous or otherwise, are born into unhealthy environments that they repeat later in life. There’s no difference. All marriages deserve access to the support and resources they need to build happy, healthy lives, regardless of how many partners are involved. Arguments about whether a woman’s consensual sexual and romantic choices are “healthy” should have no bearing on the legal process. And while polygamy remains illegal, women who choose this lifestyle don’t have access to the protections and benefits that legal marriage provides.
As a feminist, it’s easy and intuitive to support women who choose education, independence, and careers. It’s not as intuitive to support women who choose values and lifestyles that seem outdated or even sexist, but those women deserve our respect just as much as any others. It’s condescending, not supportive, to minimize them as mere “victims” without considering the possibility that some of them have simply made a different choice.
The definition of marriage is plastic. 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. Though polygamists are a minority—a tiny minority, in fact—freedom has no value unless it extends to even the smallest and most marginalized groups among us. So let’s fight for marriage equality until it extends to every same-sex couple in the United States—and then let’s keep fighting. We’re not done yet.
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
by Timothy J. Dailey, Ph.D.
This article was originally published by the Family Research Council in 2002.
HARMFUL ASPECTS OF OHE HOMOSEXUAL LIFESTYLE
The evidence demonstrates incontrovertibly that the homosexual lifestyle is inconsistent with the proper raising of children. Homosexual relationships are characteristically unstable and are fundamentally incapable of providing children the security they need.
Studies indicate that the average male homosexual has hundreds of sex partners in his lifetime, a lifestyle that is difficult for even “committed” homosexuals to break free of and which is not conducive to a healthy and wholesome atmosphere for the raising of children.
A. P. Bell and M. S. Weinberg, in their classic study of male and female homosexuality, found that 43 percent of white male homosexuals had sex with five hundred or more partners, with 28 percent having 1,000 or more sex partners.29
In their study of the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals published in Journal of Sex Research, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that “the modal range for number of sexual partners ever [of homosexuals] was 101–500.” In addition, 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent had between 501 and 1000 partners. A further 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent reported having had more than 1000 lifetime sexual partners.30
A survey conducted by the homosexual magazine Genre found that 24 percent of the respondents said they had had more than 100 sexual partners in their lifetime. The magazine noted that several respondents suggested including a category of those who had more than 1,000 sexual partners.31
In his study of male homosexuality in Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times, M. Pollak found that “few homosexual relationships last longer than two years, with many men reporting hundreds of lifetime partners.”32
Promiscuity among Homosexual Couples
Even in those homosexual relationships in which the partners consider themselves to be in a committed relationship, the meaning of “committed” typically means something radically different than in heterosexual marriage.
In The Male Couple, authors David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison report that in a study of 156 males in homosexual relationships lasting from one to thirty-seven years: Only seven 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.33 Most understood sexual relations outside the relationship to be the norm, and viewed adopting monogamous standards as an act of oppression.
In Male and Female Homosexuality, M. Saghir and E. Robins found that the average male homosexual live-in relationship lasts between two and three years.34
In their Journal of Sex Research study of the sexual practices of older homosexual men, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that only 2.7 percent of older homosexuals had only one sexual partner in their lifetime.35
Comparison of Homosexual ‘Couples’ and Heterosexual Spouses
Lest anyone suffer the illusion that any equivalency between the sexual practices of homosexual relationships and traditional marriage exists, the statistics regarding sexual fidelity within marriage are revealing: In Sex in America, called by the New York Times “the most important study of American sexual behavior since the Kinsey reports,” Robert T. Michael et al. report that 90 percent of wives and 75 percent of husbands claim never to have had extramarital sex.36
A nationally representative survey of 884 men and 1,288 women published in Journal of Sex Research found that 77 percent of married men and 88 percent of married women had remained faithful to their marriage vows.37
In The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States, E. O. Laumann et al. conducted a national survey that found that 75 percent of husbands and 85 percent of wives never had sexual relations outside of marriage.38
A telephone survey conducted for Parade magazine of 1,049 adults selected to represent the demographic characteristics of the United States found that 81 percent of married men and 85 percent of married women reported that they had never violated their marriage vows.39
While the rate of fidelity within marriage cited by these studies remains far from ideal, there is a magnum order of difference between the negligible lifetime fidelity rate cited for homosexuals and the 75 to 90 percent cited for married couples. This indicates that even “committed” homosexual relationships display a fundamental incapacity for the faithfulness and commitment that is axiomatic to the institution of marriage.
Unhealthy Aspects of ‘Monogamous’ Homosexual Relationships
Even those homosexual relationships that are loosely termed “monogamous” do not necessarily result in healthier behavior.
The journal AIDS reported that men involved in relationships engaged in anal intercourse and oral-anal intercourse with greater frequency than did those without a steady partner.40 Anal intercourse has been linked with a host of bacterial and parasitical sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.
The exclusivity of the relationship did not diminish the incidence of unhealthy sexual acts, which are commonplace among homosexuals. An English study published in the same issue of AIDS concurred, finding that most “unsafe” sex acts among homosexuals occur in steady relationships.41
Of paramount concern are the effects of such a lifestyle upon children. Brad Hayton writes: Homosexuals . . . model a poor view of marriage to children. They are taught by example and belief that marital relationships are transitory and mostly sexual in nature. Sexual relationships are primarily for pleasure rather than procreation. And they are taught that monogamy in a marriage is not the norm [and] should be discouraged if one wants a good ‘marital’ relationship.42
Violence in Lesbian and Homosexual Relationships
A study in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence examined conflict and violence in lesbian relationships. The researchers found that 90 percent of the lesbians surveyed had been recipients of one or more acts of verbal aggression from their intimate partners during the year prior to this study, with 31 percent reporting one or more incidents of physical abuse.43
In a survey of 1,099 lesbians, the Journal of Social Service Research found that “slightly more than half of the [lesbians] reported that they had been abused by a female lover/partner. The most frequently indicated forms of abuse were verbal/emotional/psychological abuse and combined physical-psychological abuse.”44
In their book Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence, D. Island and P. Letellier postulate that “the incidence of domestic violence among gay men is nearly double that in the heterosexual population.”45
Rate of Intimate Partner Violence within Marriage
A little-reported fact is that homosexual and lesbian relationships are far more violent than are traditional married households: The Bureau of Justice Statistics (U.S. Department of Justice) reports that married women in traditional families experience the lowest rate of violence compared with women in other types of relationships.46
A report by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health concurred: It should be noted that most studies of family violence do not differentiate between married and unmarried partner status. Studies that do make these distinctions have found that marriage relationships tend to have the least intimate partner violence when compared to cohabiting or dating relationships.47
High Incidence of Mental Health Problems among Homosexuals and Lesbians
A national survey of lesbians published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that 75 percent of the nearly two-thousand respondents had pursued psychological counseling of some kind, many for treatment of long-term depression or sadness: Among the sample as a whole, there was a distressingly high prevalence of life events and behaviors related to mental health problems. Thirty-seven percent had been physically abused and 32 percent had been raped or sexually attacked. Nineteen percent had been involved in incestuous relationships while growing up. Almost one-third used tobacco on a daily basis and about 30 percent drank alcohol more than once a week; 6 percent drank daily. One in five smoked marijuana more than once a month. Twenty-one percent of the sample had thoughts about suicide sometimes or often and 18 percent had actually tried to kill themselves…More than half had felt too nervous to accomplish ordinary activities at some time during the past year and over one-third had been depressed.48
Substance Abuse among Lesbians
A study published in Nursing Research found that lesbians are three times more likely to abuse alcohol and to suffer from other compulsive behaviors: Like most problem drinkers, 32 (91 percent) of the participants had abused other drugs as well as alcohol, and many reported compulsive difficulties with food (34 percent), codependency (29 percent), sex (11 percent), and money (6 percent). Forty-six percent had been heavy drinkers with frequent drunkenness.49
Greater Risk for Suicide
A study of twins that examined the relationship between homosexuality and suicide, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found that homosexuals with same-sex partners were at greater risk for overall mental health problems, and were 6.5 times more likely than their twins to have attempted suicide. The higher rate was not attributable to mental health or substance abuse disorders.50
Another study published simultaneously in Archives of General Psychiatry followed 1007 individuals from birth. Those classified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual were significantly more likely to have had mental health problems. Significantly, in his comments in the same issue of the journal, D. Bailey cautioned against various speculative explanations of the results, such as the view that “widespread prejudice against homosexual people causes them to be unhappy or worse, mentally ill.”51
Reduced Life Span
Another factor contributing to the instability of male homosexual households, which raises the possibility of major disruption for children raised in such households, is the significantly reduced life expectancy of male homosexuals. A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on the mortality rates of homosexuals concluded:
In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age twenty for gay and bisexual men is eight to twenty years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged twenty years will not reach their sixty-fifth birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871.52
Concern about children placed in homosexual households who are orphaned because of the destructive homosexual lifestyle is well founded. In 1990, Wayne Tardiff and his partner, Allan Yoder, were the first homosexuals permitted to become adoptive parents in the state of New Jersey. Tardiff died in 1992 at age forty-four; Yoder died a few months later, leaving an orphaned five-year-old.53
Sexual Identity Confusion
The claim that homosexual households do not “recruit” children into the homosexual lifestyle is refuted by the growing evidence that children raised in such households are more likely to engage in sexual experimentation and in homosexual behavior.
Studies indicate that 0.3 percent of adult females report having practiced homosexual behavior in the past year, 0.4 percent have practiced homosexual behavior in the last five years, and 3 percent have ever practiced homosexual behavior in their lifetime.54 A study in Developmental Psychology found that 12 percent of the children of lesbians became active lesbians themselves, a rate which is at least four times the base rate of lesbianism in the adult female population.55
Numerous studies indicate that while nearly 5 percent of males report having had a homosexual experience sometime in their lives, the number of exclusive homosexuals is considerably less: Between 1 and 2 percent of males report exclusive homosexual behavior over a several-year period.56 However, J. M. Bailey et al. found that 9 percent of the adult sons of homosexual fathers were homosexual in their adult sexual behavior: “The rate of homosexuality in the sons (9 percent) is several times higher than that suggested by the population-based surveys and is consistent with a degree of father-to-son transmission.”57
Even though they attempted to argue otherwise, Golombok and Tasker’s study revealed in its results section a clear connection between being raised in a lesbian family and homosexuality: “With respect to actual involvement in same-gender sexual relationships, there was a significant difference between groups…None of the children from heterosexual families had experienced a lesbian or gay relationship.” By contrast, five (29 percent) of the seventeen daughters and one (13 percent) of the eight sons in homosexual families reported having at least one same-sex relationship.58
These findings have most recently been confirmed in a study appearing in the American Sociological Review. Authors Judith Stacey and Timothy J. Biblarz alluded to the “political incorrectness” of their finding of higher rates of homosexuality among children raised in homosexual households: “We recognize the political dangers of pointing out that recent studies indicate that a higher proportion of children of lesbigay parents are themselves apt to engage in homosexual activity.”
Stacy and Biblarz also reported “some fascinating findings on the number of sexual partners children report,” that: The adolescent and young adult girls raised by lesbian mothers appear to have been more sexually adventurous and less chaste. . . . In other words, once again, children (especially girls) raised by lesbians appear to depart from traditional gender-based norms, while children raised by heterosexual mothers appear to conform to them.59
Incest in Homosexual Parent Families
A study in Adolescence found: A disproportionate percentage–29 percent–of the adult children of homosexual parents had been specifically subjected to sexual molestation by that homosexual parent, compared to only 0.6 percent of adult children of heterosexual parents having reported sexual relations with their parent…Having a homosexual parent(s) appears to increase the risk of incest with a parent by a factor of about 50.60
29 A. P. Bell and M. S. Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), pp.
308, 309; See also A. P. Bell, M. S. Weinberg, and S. K. Hammersmith, Sexual Preference (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981).
30 Paul Van de Ven et al., “A Comparative Demographic and Sexual Profile of Older Homosexually Active Men,” Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997): 354.
31 “Sex Survey Results,” Genre (October 1996), quoted in “Survey Finds 40 percent of Gay Men Have Had More Than 40 Sex Partners,” Lambda Report, January 1998, p. 20.
32 M. Pollak, “Male Homosexuality,” in Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times, ed. P. Aries and A. Bejin, translated by Anthony Forster (New York, NY: B. Blackwell, 1985), pp. 40–61, cited by Joseph Nicolosi in Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality (Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson Inc., 1991), pp. 124, 125.
33 David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison, The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1984), pp. 252, 253.
34 M. Saghir and E. Robins, Male and Female Homosexuality (Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1973), p. 225; L. A. Peplau and H. Amaro, “Understanding Lesbian Relationships,” in Homosexuality: Social, Psychological, and Biological Issues, ed. J. Weinrich and W. Paul (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1982).
35 Van de Ven et al., “A Comparative Demographic and Sexual Profile,” p. 354.
36 Robert T. Michael et al., Sex in America: A Definitive Survey (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1994).
37 Michael W. Wiederman, “Extramarital Sex: Prevalence and Correlates in a National Survey,” Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997): 170.
38 E. O. Laumann et al., The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994 ), p. 217.
39 M. Clements, “Sex in America Today: A New National Survey Reveals How our Attitudes are Changing,” Parade, August 7, 1994, pp. 4–6.
40A.P.M. Coxon et al., “Sex Role Separation in Diaries of Homosexual Men,” AIDS (July 1993): 877–882.
41 G. J. Hart et al., “Risk Behaviour, Anti-HIV and Anti-Hepatitis B Core Prevalence in Clinic and Non-clinic Samples of Gay Men in England, 1991–1992,” AIDS (July 1993): 863–869, cited in “Homosexual Marriage: The Next Demand,” Position Analysis paper by Colorado for Family Values, May 1994.
42 Bradley P. Hayton, “To Marry or Not: The Legalization of Marriage and Adoption of Homosexual Couples,” (Newport Beach: The Pacific Policy Institute, 1993), p. 9.
43 Lettie L. Lockhart et al., “Letting out the Secret: Violence in Lesbian Relationships,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 9 (1994): 469–492.
44 Gwat Yong Lie and Sabrina Gentlewarrier, “Intimate Violence in Lesbian Relationships: Discussion of Survey Findings and Practice Implications,” Journal of Social Service Research 15 (1991): 41–59.
45 D. Island and P. Letellier, Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence (New York: Haworth Press, 1991), p. 14.
46 “Violence Between Intimates,” Bureau of Justice Statistics Selected Findings, November 1994, p. 2.
47 Health Implications Associated With Homosexuality (Austin: The Medical Institute for Sexual Health, 1999), p. 79.
48 J. Bradford et al., “National Lesbian Health Care Survey: Implications for Mental Health Care,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 62 (1994): 239, cited in Health Implications Associated with Homosexuality, p. 81.
49 Joanne Hall, “Lesbians Recovering from Alcoholic Problems: An Ethnographic Study of Health Care Expectations,” Nursing Research 43 (1994): 238–244.
50 R. Herrell et al., “A Co-twin Study in Adult Men,” Archives of General Psychiatry 56 (1999): 867–874.
51 D. Fergusson et al., “Is Sexual Orientation Related to Mental Health Problems and Suicidality in Young People?” Archives of General Psychiatry 56 (October 1999).
52 Robert S. Hogg et al., “Modeling the Impact of HIV Disease on Mortality in Gay and Bisexual Men,” International Journal of Epidemiology 26 (1997): 657.
53 Obituaries, The Washington Blade, July 16, 1992.
54 A. M. Johnson et al., “Sexual Lifestyles and HIV Risk,” Nature 360 (1992): 410–412; R. Turner, “Landmark French and British Studies Examine Sexual Behavior, including Multiple Partners, Homosexuality,” Family Planning Perspectives 25 (1993): 91, 92.
55 F. Tasker and S. Golombok, “Adults Raised as Children in Lesbian Families,” p. 213.
56 ACSF Investigators, “AIDS and Sexual Behavior in France,” Nature 360 (1992): 407–409; J. M. Bailey et al., “Sexual Orientation of Adult Sons of Gay Fathers,” Developmental Psychology 31 (1995): 124–129; J. O. G. Billy et al., “The Sexual Behavior of Men in the United States,” Family Planning Perspectives 25 (1993): 52–60; A. M. Johnson et al., “Sexual Lifestyles and HIV Risk,” Nature 360 (1992): 410–412.
57 J. M. Bailey et al., “Sexual Orientation of Adult Sons of Gay Fathers,” pp. 127, 128.
58 Tasker and Golombok, “Do Parents Influence the Sexual Orientation?” p. 7.
59 Judith Stacey and Timothy J. Biblarz, “(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter,” American Sociological Review 66 (2001): 174, 179.
60 P. Cameron and K. Cameron, “Homosexual Parents,” Adolescence 31 (1996): 772.
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
By Timothy J. Dailey, Ph.D.
This article was originally published by the Family Research Council in 2002.
A POLITICAL AGENDA: REDEFINING MARRIAGE
It is not the intention of homosexual activists simply to make it possible for homosexuals and lesbians to partake of conventional married life. By their own admission they aim to change the essential character of marriage, removing precisely the aspects of fidelity and chastity that promote stability in the relationship and the home:
Paula Ettelbrick, former legal director of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, has stated, “Being queer is more than setting up house, sleeping with a person of the same gender, and seeking state approval for doing so. . . . Being queer means pushing the parameters of sex, sexuality, and family, and in the process transforming the very fabric of society.”61
According to homosexual writer and activist Michelangelo Signorile, the goal of homosexuals is: “To fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, to demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society’s moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution…The most subversive action lesbian and gay men can undertake…is to transform the notion of ‘family’ entirely.”62
Signorile goes so far as to redefine the term monogamy: “For these men the term ‘monogamy’ simply doesn’t necessarily mean sexual exclusivity…The term ‘open relationship’ has for a great many gay men come to have one specific definition: A relationship in which the partners have sex on the outside often, put away their resentment and jealousy, and discuss their outside sex with each other, or share sex partners.63
The views of Signorile and Ettelbrick regarding marriage are widespread in the homosexual community. According to the Mendola Report, a mere 26 percent of homosexuals believe that commitment is most important in a marriage relationship.64
Former homosexual William Aaron explains why even homosexuals involved in “committed” relationships do not practice monogamy: “In the gay life, fidelity is almost impossible. Since part of the compulsion of homosexuality seems to be a need on the part of the homophile to ‘absorb’ masculinity from his sexual partners, he must be constantly on the lookout for [new partners]. Consequently the most successful homophile ‘marriages’ are those where there is an arrangement between the two to have affairs on the side while maintaining the semblance of permanence in their living arrangement.”65
Even those who support the concept of homosexual “families” admit to their unsuitability for children:
In their study in Family Relations, L. Koepke et al. observed, “Even individuals who believe that same-sex relationships are a legitimate choice for adults may feel that children will suffer from being reared in such families.”66
Writing in the Journal of Homosexuality, J. J. Bigner and R. B. Jacobson describe the homosexual father as “socioculturally unique,” trying to take on “two apparently opposing roles: that of a father (with all its usual connotations) and that of a homosexual man.” They describe the homosexual father as “both structurally and psychologically at social odds with his interest in keeping one foot in both worlds: parenting and homosexuality.”67
In truth, the two roles are fundamentally incompatible. The instability, susceptibility to disease, and domestic violence that is disproportionate in homosexual and lesbian relationships would normally render such households unfit to be granted custody of children. However, in the current social imperative to rush headlong into granting legitimacy to the practice of homosexuality in every conceivable area of life, such considerations are often ignored.
But children are not guinea pigs to be used in social experiments in redefining the institution of marriage. They are vulnerable individuals with vital emotional and developmental needs. The great harm done by denying them both a mother and a father in a committed marriage will not easily be reversed, and society will pay a grievous price for its ill-advised adventurism.
CHILDREN NEED A MOM AND A DAD
Attempts to redefine the very nature of the family ignore the accumulated wisdom of cultures and societies from time immemorial, which testifies that the best way for children to be raised is by a mother and father who are married to each other. The importance of the traditional family has been increasingly verified by research showing that children from married two-parent households do better academically, financially, emotionally, and behaviorally. They delay sex longer, have better health, and receive more parental support.68
Homosexual or lesbian households are no substitute for a family: Children also need both a mother and a father. Blankenhorn discusses the different but necessary roles that mothers and fathers play in children’s lives: “If mothers are likely to devote special attention to their children’s present physical and emotional needs, fathers are likely to devote special attention to their character traits necessary for the future, especially qualities such as independence, self-reliance, and the willingness to test limits and take risks.”
Blankenhorn further explains:
“Compared to a mother’s love, a father’s love is frequently more expectant, more instrumental, and significantly less conditional. . . . For the child, from the beginning, the mother’s love is an unquestioned source of comfort and the foundation of human attachment. But the father’s love is almost a bit farther away, more distant and contingent. Compared to the mother’s love, the father’s must frequently be sought after, deserved, earned through achievement.”69
Author and sociologist David Popenoe confirms that mothers and fathers fulfill different roles in their children’s lives. In Life without Father Popenoe notes, “Through their play, as well as in their other child-rearing activities, fathers tend to stress competition, challenge, initiative, risk taking and independence. Mothers in their care-taking roles, in contrast, stress emotional security and personal safety.”
Parents also discipline their children differently: “While mothers provide an important flexibility and sympathy in their discipline, fathers provide ultimate predictability and consistency. Both dimensions are critical for an efficient, balanced, and humane child-rearing regime.”70
The complementary aspects of parenting that mothers and fathers contribute to the rearing of children are rooted in the innate differences of the two sexes, and can no more be arbitrarily substituted than can the very nature of male and female. Accusations of sexism and homophobia notwithstanding, along with attempts to deny the importance of both mothers and fathers in the rearing of children, the oldest family structure of all turns out to be the best.
In his analysis of human cultures, the eminent Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin argued that no society has ceased to honor the institution of marriage and survived. Sorokin considered traditional marriage and parenting as the fulfillment of life’s meaning for both individuals and society: “Enjoying the marital union in its infinite richness, parents freely fulfill many other paramount tasks. They maintain the procreation of the human race. Through their progeny they determine the hereditary and acquired characteristics of future generations. Through marriage they achieve a social immortality of their own, of their ancestors, and of their particular groups and community. This immortality is secured through the transmission of their name and values, and of their traditions and ways of life to their children, grandchildren, and later generations.”71
In the 1981 Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II summarized the importance of marriage-based families: “The family has vital and organic links with society since it is its foundation and nourishes it continually through its role of service to life: It is from the family that citizens come to birth and it is within the family that they find the first school of the social virtues that are the animating principle of the existence and development of society itself.”72
None of this is possible in homosexual or lesbian households, which are by definition incapable of creating progeny and contributing to the “procreation of the human race.” Any children found in such households are of necessity obtained either from married couples or otherwise through the sexual union of male and female, artificially or otherwise. Thus such households are ironically dependent upon the very womb of society—the union of male and female—that they wish so fervently to deny. In It Takes a Village, Hillary Rodham Clinton refers, perhaps inadvertently, to indelible “laws of nature” when she observes that “every society requires a critical mass of families that fit the traditional ideal.” Similarly, an organism needs a critical mass of healthy cells to survive, and—as every oncologist knows—the fewer abnormal cells the better.
In a democratic society, those who choose to cohabit in “alternative” familial arrangements such as same-sex unions have the freedom to do so. But toleration is one thing; promotion and “celebration” are another. To entrust children to such arrangements is wholly beyond the pale. As history shows, a society that champions such unions at the expense of traditional families does so at its own peril. But with the formidable forces of nature, culture, and history arrayed against them, such efforts to remake the most fundamental institution of society are not likely, in the end, to prevail.
61 Paula Ettelbrick, quoted in William B. Rubenstein, “Since When Is Marriage a Path to Liberation?” Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Law, (New York: The New Press, 1993), pp. 398, 400.
62 Michelangelo Signorile, “Bridal Wave,” Out, December 1994.
63 Michelangelo Signorile, Life Outside (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), p. 213.
64 Mary Mendola, The Mendola Report (New York: Crown, 1980), p. 53.
65 William Aaron, Straight (New York: Bantam Books, 1972), p. 208, cited by Joseph Nicolosi in Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, p. 125, quoted by Robert H. Knight in “How Domestic Partnerships and ‘Gay Marriage’ Threaten the Family,” Family Research Council, Insight, June 1994, p. 9.
66 L. Koepke et al., “Relationship Quality in a Sample of Lesbian Couples with Children and Child-free Lesbian Couples,” Family Relations 41 (1992): 228.
67 Bigner and Jacobson, “Adult Responses to Child Behavior and Attitudes Toward Fathering,” pp. 174, 175.
68 See the following: Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandfeur, Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 45; Pat Fagan, “How Broken Families Rob Children of Their Chances for Prosperity,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1283, June 11, 1999, p. 13; Dawn Upchurch et al., “Gender and Ethnic Differences in the Timing of First Sexual Intercourse,” Family Planning Perspectives 30 (1998): 121–127; Jeanne M. Hilton and Esther L. Devall, “Comparison of Parenting and Children’s Behavior in Single-Mother, Single-Father, and Intact Families,” Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 29 (1998): 23–54; Jane Mauldon, “The Effect of Marital Disruption on Children’s Health,” Demography 27 (1990): 431–446; Frank Furstenberg, Jr., and Julien Teitler, “Reconsidering the Effects of Marital Disruption: What Happens to Children of Divorce in Early Adulthood?” Journal of Family Issues 15 (June 1994); Elizabeth Thomson et al., “Family Structure and Child Well-Being: Economic Resources vs. Parental Behaviors,” Social Forces 73 (1994): 221–42.
69 David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America (New York: Basic Books, 1995), p. 219.
70 David Popenoe, Life Without Father (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996), pp. 144, 146.
71 Pitirim Sorokin, The American Sex Revolution (Boston: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1956), pp. 6, 77–105.
72 John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, December 15, 1981, Section 42. Quoted by Robert H. Knight in “Gay ‘Marriage’: Hawaii’s Assault on Matrimony,” Family Policy, February 1996, p. 5.