Why Gay Marriage Is a Bad Idea

Now first off it is worth pointing out that, unlike most bad ideas, gay marriage is charged with positive emotion. This makes absolute sense, for marriage is — to the most extent — recognized as a beautiful good. One can understand why this video was so popular:

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But we all need to take a deep breath and look at the issue with a little more boredom in our hearts. The answer to this cannot be a slogan yelled to the other side. It takes some thought. In fact, if you are incapable of anything but high-charged emotion over this issue — which I understand entirely, as I’m often far too emotion-driven in the abortion debate — go watch this, no matter what side of the debate you’re on, let it all out, and come back.

The first question has to be: Why do governments recognize marriages at all? If the goal of the gay-marriage movement is for gay marriage to be legally recognized and receive all the benefits of that legal recognition, this must be answered.

Now shockingly, the answer is not that the government just really, really wants to affirm the love between husband and wife. I suppose that’d be nice, if we got tax breaks because we loved really freaking well. It’d also be drastically stupid. No, governments recognize the institution of marriage as the primary institution responsible for the creation and raising of its society’s members. If the family falters, the society as a whole falters. Governments depend on stable families for the health of the society they govern.

It might seem self-evident, that the breakdown of the family leads to the breakdown of society, but just in case: One only need look at the rise of the welfare state, the rise in adolescent suicide, or at the rise in crime to see this. We have a record prison population (2.4 percent of the population in 2003), record numbers of teen suicides, and — not coincidentally — a record number of “alternative” families. According to Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” When the nuclear family breaks down into divorce, cohabitation etc., society as a whole pays.

Now to be clear, this is not an argument against gay marriage quite yet. Rather, my argument relies on this foundation: That the reason marriage is recognized by the government is because the health of any society is directly affected by whether or not children are being raised healthily. (Duh.) Given this, the second question must be: Can children be raised just as well by two members of the same sex as by a biological father and mother?

There is not enough research to definitely show that homosexual parenting is worse than traditional parenting. Similarly, there is not enough research to definitely show that homosexual parenting is equal to traditional parenting. Of the research that exists, on both sides of the debate, most is inadequate due to failure to meet the the basic criteria for sample size, a lack of random sampling, lack of anonymity of research participants, and general presentation bias. So what are we to do? Since family is so crucial to the health of society, it’d be an idiot who says, “We don’t know therefore let’s just legalize gay marriage” and it’d be a jerk who says “therefore lets just ban it.” No, we need to look at other information.

This I maintain, that it has been shown time and time again that children thrive best with a biological mother and father because of the very nature of the parent’s opposite sexes. Child Trends, a nonpartisan research organization, summarized the scholarly consensus as such: “[R]esearch clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”(1) If this is true, it follows that removing that dynamic of two opposite sexes would be detrimental to the raising of children. This is all but admitted and bemoaned when it comes to divorce, single parenting and cohabitation. It is contested when applied to same-sex parenting. Let’s run through a couple of the benefits to children that arise solely out of the complementary nature of the two sexes, shall we?

Thanks to pregnancy and breastfeeding, women experience high levels of the hormone peptide oxytocin, a chemical that bonds them to their children. As a result, “mothers are more sensitive to the cries, words, and gestures of infants, toddlers, and adolescents, and, partly as a consequence, they are better at providing physical and emotional nurture to their children.”(11, 2, 3)

Fathers, on the other hand, “excel when it comes to providing discipline, ensuring safety, and challenging their children to embrace life’s opportunities and confront life’s difficulties. The greater physical size and strength of most fathers, along with the pitch and inflection of their voice and the directive character of their speaking, give them an advantage when it comes to discipline, an advantage that is particularly evident with boys, who are more likely to comply with their fathers’ than their mothers’ discipline” (11). This is not incidental to their gender; it is the result of it. The increased testosterone of men gives them this dominance and assertiveness. Thus two essential elements to the development of children – nurture and discipline – are fulfilled in the two sexes.

This is not to say that a gay couple could not play that missing role essential to the development of a child. It is simply to say that it is not innate, and thus not as likely to be fulfilled as would be in a traditional marriage. The evidence that being raised by just one sex is detrimental to a child can be seen in the children of single parent homes. A Cambridge study found that 37 percent of children born outside of marriage and 31 percent of children with divorced parents dropped out of high school, compared to 13 percent of children from intact families headed by a married mother and father. (4) A study of the entire population of Swedish children found that Swedish boys and girls in two-parent homes were about 50 percent less likely to suffer from suicide attempts, alcohol and drug abuse, and serious psychiatric illnesses compared to children reared in single-parent homes (5).

I suppose it could be argued here that this is simply because single-parent families are less likely to be wealthy. (UPDATE: This argument would essentially be saying that the problem that hurts children is not the lack of a particular sex but the lack of the economic stability that comes with having two people raising a child, and not just one. This update is necessary because folks in the combox keep saying “you’re mixing up single-parent families with gay families!” So to all those of that mindset, read and and understand:) But according to a review of all available American data/literature, family structure has more of a consequence on a child’s psychological and behavioral outcomes than poverty. It seems that the lack of money just doesn’t compare to the lack of a Dad or a Mom (6). Sex matters. The lack of a Mom and a Dad has been shown to be the foremost problem in single-parent families. Same-sex marriages — by default, not by failure — lack in this same regard.

Similarly, it matters for the sexual development of girls. “Teenage girls who grow up with a single mother or a stepfather are significantly more likely to experience early menstruation and sexual development, compared to girls reared in homes headed by a married mother and father” (7, 11). They are as a consequence more likely to experience teenage pregnancy (8).  Why? Because sexual development is stimulated by the pheromones of non-biological males. This is a non-issue for lesbian parents, and a major issue for homosexual male parents.

But lesbian parents — and anyone else — who use artificial technologies and sperm donation to become pregnant have to face a serious truth. According to Yale psychiatrist Kyle Pruett, ART children by and large have a “hunger for an abiding paternal presence” (9). This was struck home to me by the website AnonymousUs, that includes stories about ART-produced children’s struggle for identity.

In the absence of good research on homosexual parenting, we have to look at the research on parenting in general. And this research consistently points to the fact that the best family situation is one with a faithful father and mother. It is a fact that the introduction will not lead to more father-and-mother families, and I sincerely doubt that the introduction of gay marriage will lead to more faithful families in general. General Social Survey, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and based at the University of Chicago, concludes that there is about a 25 percent lifetime infidelity rate amidst couples. Compare this to the 50% percent of gay men in Vermont entering civil unions who said that fidelity is not important to their relationships (10). Obviously, this is a single location, but it fits with the overall lack of fidelity in homosexual relationships. If there is a single study that shows homosexuals relationships to be equally as faithful as heterosexual relationships, and not drastically less, I have not found it.

The goodness of the nuclear family is a small part of why I think gay marriage is a bad idea. This is not to say that I believe the government should do this or that, it is simply to point out that — if our society depends on families — we should avoid undermining the family in favor of an “anything with love goes” mentality. Obviously, one can scarcely stand against gay marriage in this way without standing against divorce and cohabitation. I do stand against these. It’s not about gays not being accepted, or not being worthy, or not being in love enough. My life is full enough of awesome gay people to know that this is mere bigotry. It’s about the very purpose of marriage, and how well a mother and father fulfill it. But obviously, I’m a heterosexual and thus innately biased, so I’d like to take the opportunity to point out a couple of Catholic SSA men who strongly oppose gay marriage. There very existence should give the gay-marriage movement pause:




And of course, read this:


A Gay Reader Responds


1. Kristin Anderson Moore, Susan M. Jekielek, and Carol Emig, 2002. “Marriage from a Child’s Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can be Done about It?” Research Brief, June 2002. Washington, DC: Child Trends. p. 6.

2. Eleanor Maccoby. 1998. The Two Sexes: Growing Up Apart, Coming Together. Cambridge: Harvard University
3. David Geary. 1998. Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences. Washington, DC: American
4. Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur. 1994. Growing Up with a Single Parent. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Wilcox et al. 2005. Elizabeth Marquardt. 2005b. Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce. New York: Crown.
5. Gunilla Ringback Weitoft, Anders Hjern, Bengt Haglund, and Mans Rosen. 2003. “Mortality, Severe Morbidity, and Injury in Children Living with Single Parents in Sweden: A Population-Based Study.” The Lancet 361: 289–295.
6. Sara McLanahan. 1997. “Parent Absence or Poverty: Which Matters More?” In G. Duncan and J. BrooksGunn, Consequences of Growing Up Poor. New York: Russell Sage.
7. Bruce Ellis. 2002. “Timing of Pubertal Maturation in Girls: An Integrated Life History Approach.” Psychology Bulletin 130: 920–958.
8. McLanahan and Sandefur. 1994. Bruce Ellis et al. 2003. “Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy?” Child Development 74: 801–821.
9. Kyle Pruett. 2000. Fatherneed. New York: Broadway. P. 207. See also Marquardt. 2005b and David Popenoe. 1996. Life Without Father. Cambridge: Harvard University Press
10. Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solomon. 2003. Civil Unions in the State of Vermont: A Report on the First Year. University of Vermont Department of Psychology.

11. Most of my understanding — and subsequent quoting — came from this awesome review of marriage in relation to the public good. Read it.

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A Reader Writes...
  • cgs
    • Anonymous

      So one study contradicted the general consensus and claims all the other studies are incorrect. Scientifically, until the results are replicated, I’ll believe what most the studies say.

      Are you claiming those differences outlined also support the argument against gay marriage?

      The article says, “Any differences found in research on children do not necessarily constitute “deficits,” they say, and ought to be acknowledged and studied more thoroughly.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1646845264 Elizabeth Anne Gill

    Spot on, kiddo. This was really great, logic-wise, and nice job with the citations.

  • Thomas J. Willis

    Another good point in favor of the nuclear family, If I may add, is the Ancient Greek lifestyle. Most ancient Greek men were bisexual, and romantic love in the histories of Herodotus & Thucydidies was almost always between two men. Even so, marriage was ALWAYS between a man and woman. That was how society worked, even if homosexuality was a major part of their culture. Children were raised by a maternal mother and a paternal father. That was how society perpetuated itself. All the men were raging bi-/homosexuals, but despite that, they knew how families should work.

    The modern idea of homosexual “marriage” is a product of the age of relativism.

    • Jen M.

      Or they knew what society expected of them.

      • Thomas J. Willis

        They did. They created their society, and ensured its continued existence by monitoring its procreation. Since two men couldn’t form a family and breed new citizens, there was no reason for them to form a social contract similar/equivalent to marriage. Gay sex serves no social or biological purpose, it was (is) purely pleasure based.

        • Anonymous

          So: there is no legitimate purpose, ever, of sex between humans other than reproduction? There are no possible legitimate purposes of legally uniting two people other than to let them have kids, which they can do without a license? There is no other possible contribution anyone can make to society other than simply to add to its numbers?

    • Tracy

      Tom, the problem is, the 2 lesbians raising the preschools down the block don’t have a lot to do with Herodutus. It sounds so profound to bring that into this discussion,the problem is — it has nothing to do with anything. You simply don’t want change. You are entitled to your opinion, but there’s no “proving” an opinion. By the way, why are homosexuals always “raging” — the ones in my church are just making soup for the homeless.

  • Anonymous

    Would you support allowing gay marriage if they weren’t allowed to adopt? Your argument seems to rely heavily on the claim that homosexual couples have worse kids than heterosexual couples. If a homosexual couple was shown to have a close family/friend of the opposite sex would you allow them to adopt a child?

    • Well…

      The reason marriage has any governmental benefits WHATSOEVER was because traditionally, the woman stayed home and bore and raised children while the man worked. Clearly, a stay-home mom cannot obtain her own insurance policy if she doesn’t have a job that provides such benefits, therefore she was dependent upon her husband’s.
      To equate a childless marriage of any sort as equal to a fruitful one is a gross slap in the face to marriages that actually, you know, build up society.
      And the argument is not that homosexuals have worse kids, it’s that the nature of a homosexual relationship lacks long-term fidelity, something the idea of marriage- which they are fighting for- is based upon.

      • Metropolis_247

        ah, marriage is a slightly older institution than that of insurance policies. older than the notion of a stay-at-home mum, and has undergone many revisions throughout history.
        the two following statements, that childless marriages of any kind are unfruitful and that gay people cannot be faithful to one another, are testament to your prejudice. these are cruel and ungodly things to say. shame on you

    • Jeniw

      You may have missed the part where he said the point of marriage is for families bringing up children. Least in a societal viewpoint. Trying to help.

      • Anonymous

        But then why does the government allow marriages for couples who never intend to have children?

        • Marc Barnes

          It’s the POSSIBILITY of procreation that matters, not the intention. No one else can do it but a man and a woman.

          • Anonymous

            Except, of course, when it’s not possible for a man and a woman to procreate. Then they get a bye because they look like people who can.

          • Kyle

            Well my cousin is in a lesbian same-sex de facto relationship. She had her first child using IVF from a sperm donor, then her partner had the second child using IVF to the same sperm donor. Since in this situation the possibility of a procreation occurred, not in your preferred sense, but it occurred none the less (they procreated). Surely this qualifies for the states rationale of recognizing their “marriage”.

            After all the sperm donor wasn’t interested in raising the child (hence why he donated his sperm), but I doubt either of the children will grow up thinking “gee mummy I wish you didn’t give birth to us, we would much rather have never been born than to be born without being raised by our biological father” (which after all is your ideal).

  • Peggy

    I didn’t find the video of Zach Wahls compelling at all. So he was, ya’ know, on the debate team in high school and, ya’ know, he’s an Eagle Scout. It’s as though he’s trying to debunk a myth that never existed: children raised by same sex parents are, naturally, knuckle-dragging social misfits. Who ever said that?! His three minute speech, ya’ know, proves nothing.

    • Margaret

      Um, the studies to which this blogger cited in his post from a few days ago? And I don’t get the “ya’ knows” – are you trying to make what this bright, well-spoken young man’s speech sounded like to you? Because, leaving aside that I know some very bright, very accomplished people who have verbal tics, I didn’t hear any in Mr. Wahls’ speech.

      • Peggy

        The fact that everyone in the free world linked to the Zach Wahls video on their Facebook page as their definitive proof that there’s nothing wrong with same sex marriage/parenting only goes to show how dumbed down our society has become. No critical thinking, no regard for facts. Pure emotion, i.e., he looks good and he was able to talk non-stop for three minutes in a fairly coherent manner even with the abundant “ya’ knows”.

  • guest

    This is so like the articles supporting young earth, intelligent design, and creationist “science. Start with an assumption, then find, and ust supporting evidence, while claiming nothing to the contrary has validity, or simply doesn’t exist.

    • Marc

      Please feel to post evidence that contradicts any of the evidence I’ve included in my post. I could not find any.

    • enness

      I do not think that accusation holds water. Re-reading the article, one finds the following statements:
      “There is not enough research to definitely show that homosexual parenting is worse than traditional parenting…Of the research that exists, on both sides of the debate (emphasis mine), most is inadequate”
      “This is not to say that a gay couple could not play that missing role essential to the development of a child”
      No, I think Marc has taken a pretty fair approach, and you my friend are in denial of that.

      • Tracy

        Then please, I beg you. Google the question: do gay parents cause damage to their children? Or something like that. You’ll find a plethora of studies that refute Marc’s statements here.

      • Anonymous

        The trouble is that almost everything following that admission ignores it.

  • Jen M.

    I think the most important thing that you stated in this article (or whatever it is) is “[R]esearch clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”(1) First, it doesn’t say a marriage between a man and a woman. In fact to me that really says IT all… to me this says that just as much as it is important to have a mom and a dad it is important to have a low conflict, thus less stressful, and more loving, environment to grow up in. Of course you stated many other reasons for having a well balanced, healthy “traditional” up bringing, but it seems to me that if good role models of both genders are present in a loving “low-conflict” family with two moms or two dads, that children will be well adjusted. The family isn’t being destructed by gays, it is being destructed by dead beat dads. Furthermore, the fidelity present in same sex relationships is an incredibly weak argument, when 1/2 of marriage end in divorce and even these people are ever getting married before or even after having children. Also children grow up with no consistency, which to me probably trumps all other positive aspects of a child’s up bringing listed here. Consistent love and consistent discipline. For the record I have a religious stand point that brings me to oppose gay marriage, but your “bad ideas”, don’t really support an anti-gay marriage claim very well.

    • Marc

      haha, the term “biological” implies a mother and father Jen. You cannot be the biological child of two men or two women. So while I hope sincerely that it really says it all to you, and you are now in support of traditional marriage, I imagine you just misread.

    • did you miss that?

      How about the fact that it says “BIOLOGICAL” ?
      Sorry, but being raised by biological parents by definition requires one to be male and one to be female.

      • Margaret

        And those studies will always be flawed, as I said above, because children are given up for adoption (or the state terminates parental rights) for a reason, usually a damn good one, and it’s impossible to take that same child and compare how she would have fared with her biological parents, compared to her adoptive parents.

      • Jen M.

        yes, but again that isn’t the only factor mentioned. AND doens’t negate the point I was making.

      • Jen M.

        I agree with Margaret, I think that per this argument, now you could argue that nobody should be allowed to adopt even if they are a heterosexual married couple.

        • Anonymous

          Exactly. It’s not so much an argument against gay marriage as against anyone who did not contribute genes to a child taking up parenthood. Of course, that’s a position it’s possible to take… but if that’s *not* the position you want to take, then this is the wrong argument to make against gay marriage.

    • Marcjohnpaul


  • Jen M.

    In all fairness probably someone in his life has said that to him. Also just like any bill (or w/e) going before a legislative body both sides can bring witness forward to present their argument, experience or expertise.

  • Jen M.

    In all fairness probably someone in his life has said that to him. Also just like any bill (or w/e) going before a legislative body both sides can bring witness forward to present their argument, experience or expertise.

  • Margaret

    To the biological-parents-are-best argument, sure, fine, why not? Of course, these studies will always be flawed because you can’t compare how the same child whose parent(s) made the decision to give him up for adoption would be faring with biological parents as opposed to with adoptive parents. I’d say about half of the children of same-sex couples I know were adopted, not the biological child of either parent, and in many cases, they were foster-to-adopted. Consider that: the state found that the biological, custodial parent of the child in question was unfit, and terminated the parental rights. Or, in the case of a “regular” adoption, the mother (and perhaps father)was/were too young, too financially insecure, had other life plans that didn’t fit with having a baby at that moment, and made the selfless choice to bear that child and offer it up for adoption. Are you really going to argue that he would be better off with the biological parents in either of those scenarios?

    To the fidelity argument, first, that’s not confining the sample to same-sex couples who become parents. I would think the fidelity rates would be lower, maybe around the 25% cited for hetero couples, if you were to look at same-sex couples raising children together. Second, do some reading on the history of gay liberation, how we’ve gone from Stonewall to the legalization of same-sex marriage in a handful of states in about a generation and a half, and how many LGBT people are still born into communities and families that make it so much harder to be loved and accepted for who you are. And then ask yourself if this might need a couple of generations more, and growing social acceptance/celebration of gay marriage and courtship to normalize the infidelity rates.

    Finally, I find the Catholic Church’s “we don’t hate gay people; we just tell them that acting on a same-sex attraction is a grave sin” (in other words, repress who you are and confine yourself to a life of loneliness, without the opportunity to experience romantic love, raise a family, grow old with someone) highly duplicitous and symptomatic of an utter lack of empathy.

    • Cegzz

      Romantic love? between a giver and a giver? Or between a shelter and shelter? That is lust! If you don’t understand why are we created man and woman, go repress your attack.

      • Margaret

        Ah, exactly the kind of compassionate, reasonable response I expected.

        • Margaret

          It’s quite obvious you’ve never attempted to get to know an LGBT person, and I pray to my version of God that none of your children or loved ones winds up being LGBT – not because there’s anything wrong with being LGBT, but because everyone deserves to be loved and accepted for who they are, and it’s quite obvious you’re incapable of that. And, according to my understanding of God, denying a person that kind of love and acceptance is a much graver sin than building a family that doesn’t fit the heteronormative mold.

        • enness

          Margaret, you are smart enough to separate the wheat from the chaff in the combox, are you not? Anybody with a couple brain cells knocking around and an opinion can post nonsense…but some of us fully possess the capability to be sharp and discriminating (not always a dirty word, incidentally).

          Honestly, though, how you ‘find it’ may have everything to do with cynicism and no bearing on the truth of the matter. Empathy need not capitulate to all demands, reasonable or unreasonable.

          I would also point out that many people are celibate either by choice or by fate, and as one of them I find it increasingly insulting that people assume I must be living a life of hopeless misery and inferiority…please. As I don’t hate and am not punishing myself, neither do I hate or desire to punish others; and while I can tell someone what his options are under the circumstances, I can’t *make* him choose.

    • Babs

      Could you explain how one’s sexual attraction is the most important function of “who I am”? I ask because, as a parent I am trying raise my kids to develop their core morals before they are sexually developed in the hope that they can make good decisions once they do have biological urges. It’s not that I want them to suppress biology, but that they can separate a physical urge from a long term good, or determine if both can be served. My question isn’t specific to homosexuality, but I usually hear the sexuality-as-self-identification in that argument, so I thought I’d ask.

      • Anonymous

        It is A part of who anyone is. Who said it was *the most important* part?

        • Babs

          Right, but above there Is a comment stating that the Church tells people to repress “who they are”. Hence my question.

          • Anonymous

            That comment does not rely on the assumption that it’s the most important part.

    • Tally Marx

      Telling a Church supported by celibate men and women that they have no empathy for celibates doesn’t make any sense.
      Besides, do you think the Catholic Church is telling homosexuals anything different from what she’s been telling everyone else? “You want do this, but you can’t.” We all have our personal temptation which the Church condemns. Murder, extra-marital sex, contraception, lying, disobedience to parents, jealousy, anger, receiving Communion in mortal sin, neglecting prayer… Is the Church being unfair in these matters, unsympathetic?

      • Greg B.

        Right, because the men running the RCC are all celibate. I have bridge in Brooklyn for sale…

      • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

        “Besides, do you think the Catholic Church is telling homosexuals anything different from what she’s been telling everyone else? ”

        The Catholic Church tells lesbian and gay people they mustn’t get married and they’re not fit to be parents. Is this really what they tell heterosexuals, too?

    • Tally Marx

      Finally, I thought defining homosexuals solely by their orientation was a homophobic mentality? Babs has a very good question and I would like to see it answered.

      • Miss Doyle

        Babs has begun her argument with a false assumption.
        Our sexual attraction is not the most important function of who we are.
        The church doesn’t condemn same-sex attracted people for having those attractions. But it does say that acting on them is not part of God’s plan for us to live a life for Him or for our own happiness on earth or in heaven.

        • Tally Marx

          Margaret’s comment said that the Church asks homosexuals to repress who they are in refraining from homosexual acts. It was not Babs’ assumption, it was Margaret’s.

          • Anonymous

            That is is THE MOST IMPORTANT part is not in Margaret’s comment.

    • Marc Barnes

      First of all, I am very happy that you admit the ideal of biological parents. This is often denied, and it takes a lot of courage to admit. Thank you for running the risk of being called homophobic, bigoted etc.

      But here’s the thing. It would be ridiculous to define marriage from a situation-based stand point. A baby might be better off with his biological parents than his adoptive gay parents. A baby might NOT be better off with his biological parents than with his adoptive gay parents. But marriage is not based on the odds of failure or success. It is based on the fact that a man and woman BY THEIR VERY NATURES create a partnership that is beneficial the baby, as I have shown above.

      They might fail, they might succeed. But their very chemistry works to create an ideal habitat for their child. The chemistry of homosexual relationships does not. We base the institution of marriage on this fact, that all things being equal, a mother and father family works. When you start trying to defeat that by throwing in “what if’s” — what if the parents were poor? what if that kid wouldn’t be adopted otherwise? — you’re effectively destroying your own argument. Because it admits the ideal.

      Think about it this way. If the ideal fails, that of a mother and a father, a child is given up for adoption, and two uncles pick up the pieces and take care of that child, do we give the relationship of those two uncles the title of marriage? Of course not. Just because someone takes the place of the ideal DOES NOT MEAN they become the ideal. Otherwise tyrants who arise in times of great need would be given the title of elected representatives.

      To your last, I am saddened that you are hurt by the Catholic Church’s stance on SSA. I would advise beginning a conversation with any of those Catholics I linked in the post, who have SSA and love the Church’s teaching on it. I’m sure they could do the topic greater justice than I.

      • Metropolis_247

        so we confer marriage rights once we have confirmed the ideal. whos ideal? does society all share one ideal of marriage? im sure a church puts forward one but its not something you police is it? you cant polce an ideal. nazi germany thought, ideally, we should all be arian. they went about policing that ideal. by denying people the right to marry, you impose your ideal onto them. this should not be legal. your ideal of marriage, your ideal of good parenting, these are not determining factors. furthermore your ‘science’ is speculative at best. as for adoption, the best interests of the child are taken into account on a case by case basis. they do not go to their empirical list of ideals to make the call. at the end of the day, your ideal is based on one slanted study and years of religious indoctrination.

        • Miss Doyle

          Marriage seems to be other people’s ‘ideal’ too – there does seem to be a realisation for many people that marriage is the best environment to raise kids, religious or not. Our ideal that marriage forms the best structure for society has been proven by history.

        • Marc Barnes

          You don’t help your cause, nor the standard of discussion when you shift my argument onto religious indoctrination. Read the post. If there is an argument from religion, I apologize.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ndostal Norman Dostal

            marc-you and all bigost against gays have those opinions because of rleigion-dont try to hide your real motivation-doesnt work-people KNOW anti-gay bias comes form religion-you try to hide it with studies and hyperbole, but we are nmore savvy tahn you-youre eitehr a closet case or brainwashed by religious doctrine-probably as a child-sorry your parenst did a nyumbe ronyou-if it was 50 years ago, youd be sayign this stuff about blacks-”statistics show..”-you lose, marc-your kind lost years ago

          • Marc Barnes

            I don’t know if that’s logical criticism…i disagree with the legalization of gay marriage so i’m either a closeted gay or brainwashed by religious doctrine? Come on man, don’t throw insults, and please, please don’t use the idea that I’m a closeted homosexual as an insult. Gay people are met with enough antagonism, bullying and bigotry already.

  • Butterflytoes

    So, when I first started reading the Bad Catholic Blog, I recall one blog that was fairly pro-gay rights, posts about music, posts about liturgy, posts about evangelism…
    Then these posts started up, the last post fixated on this topic was followed up by a series of gay bashing rants that really make all Catholics look bad (especially since statistically many lay Catholics have no issue with gay marriage whatsoever). I posted on your website about this, and instead of the gay bashing posts being removed my post was removed. Interesting. Now the whole can of worms is reopened so as to incite more gay bashing rants, as this is not actually encouraging open discussion on the topic at all. My honset opinion is GET OVER IT, it is going to happen. Gay marraige is already allowed here in Canada (thank God). If you define marraige biblically as between a man and a woman, then in your definition these marriages are not blessed by God. In that he does not recognize these marriages and therefore regards these unions as a sin of lust. Assuming this is your thought process why not then love the sinner and hate the sin? Making all of these arguments against gay marriage will not change it from happening and I think in a society that cares as little about children as North American society does in general that using the child rearing issue will get you no where. Half the families out there are dysfunctional, blended, divorced, adoptive etc, etc, etc. Just because one is living in a state of sin does not mean they cannot parent. I know many “straight” parents that are pretty damned sinful
    Anyway, I just think you are really beating this topic to death, bringing out all the haters, and not focusing on the beautiful enriching aspect of the church for ALL people straight and GLBT. I think the church needs to embrace this powerful, creative community and stop thinking that they have the right to deem what is sinful and what is not. That is God’s job, Jesus expalined that very specifically in the bible.

    • Lewis

      “I think the church needs to embrace this powerful, creative community and stop thinking that they have the right to deem what is sinful and what is not. That is God’s job, Jesus expalined that very specifically in the bible.”

      Jesus also said to Peter:

      “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19

      Roman Catholics hold that this gave St. Peter, and in turn the Church, the “right” to say what is and what isn’t sinful. You may “think” otherwise, as does much of society, but relativism isn’t the Churches game, for it is a rock while your tastes may shift like sand.

      • Lewis

        Also, this isn’t about looking bad or good. It would be irresponsible for educated, believing Catholics to NOT speak up with regards to topics like this.

        Yes, many in the Church have no issues with gay marriage. But many in the Church actually don’t go to church all that often (or at all). These nominal and/or cafeteria Catholics pick and choose what they believe in, and feel quite alright with themselves.

        I know this, because on the issue of contraception I was once a “cafeteria catholic”. I once believed I was right on the issue and the Church was wrong. But that was ok, because, ya know, my heart was in the right place, right?

        Wrong. I started reading more on the subject and educated myself on WHY the Church teaches what it does, and realized how horribly wrong I was. It is so easy to let the culture suck you into it’s mindset, but once I read up I was finally able to understand and embrace the Churches position.

        What I am saying is that Rome doesn’t teach these things willy nilly, though from the average persons perspective some stances may seem strange, “too conservative” and even hurtful. Many lay Catholics (if they can indeed call themselves that when they disagree with the Church on so many points) lack the drive and/or the means to educate themselves on what they really believe and WHY, which results in the statistic you quoted. That is a failure of both the Church itself with regards to education of the laity, and of the laity themselves.

        Therefore, those seemingly rare and strong Roman Catholics who know what they believe and why have the aforementioned responsibility to stand up when needed. Even though “it is going to happen” we simply cannot under any circumstances just “GET OVER IT” and let it happen without a word being said.

        To use an analogy, if you saw somebody walking towards the edge of a cliff, and it looked like they had no idea where they were headed, would you not say something? Even if they ignore you, one must make an effort to avoid catastrophe or be guilty of some form of negligence.

        “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
        G. K. Chesterton

        For a good video that tackles statistics like that one you mentioned:



        • Butterflytoes

          Thank you for your replies, all points well taken. In response I must say that I am anything but a cafeteria Catholic. I actually have taken many theology courses, have done all of my certifications to be a Catholic teacher, and have been deemed in my own place in the world a worthy Catholic educator. Additionally, I do take my children to church weekly, participate in bible study in my local church, and participate in children’s ministry. So qualifications as a Catholic aside, I do believe what I believe in complete response to church teaching. At no point did I say that the Catholic Church should bless gay unions, or perform wedding ceremonies for same sex couples. So in acceptance of the biblical teaching of marriage from the book of Genesis as between a man and a woman (perhaps some of her servants, cousins, etc also) I understand that the church may not be able to perform these ceremonies. That said, the harshness against gay marriage is also unmerited and unChristian. It is not as though the biblical teaching of marriage was ever really being upheld in the world, which is why as Christians we are taught to be seperate from the world to not “conform to the ways of the world”. We are also commanded multiple times not to judge sin, and to love others above all else. So where this reactionary harshness fit’s into Christian teaching is beyond me. I wrote this post in response to the fact that last time a article was published on this site on this topic, the comment feed was FULL of gay bashing. I pointed it out on the website and my posts were removed instead of the gay bashing posts. We could debate all day and night about the ins and outs of gay marriage. I must say though that I have met many preists who themselves are tired of the closed attitude toward the gay community. A community that has so much to offer and that we can really learn so much from. When I started reading Bad Catholic I was very happy to have found it, a site that would appeal to youth, that discusses relevant topics and also interesting things like music, litrugy etc. I thought what a great way to be a light to the world. I have no acutal problem even with the author doing these articles, whatever, many Catholics have these unfortunate and very Republican influenced opinions. Be aware of Repulblicans they are the exact same group that would have had Catholic migrants shipped right back tot the old world if given the opportunity. Many evangelical Christians, who are in no small way republicans, also do not believe that Catholics are even Christians and regard us in the same camp as Mormon’s and Jehovah’s Witnesses-people who have manipulated the word of God. So yes, I am very liberal and highly suspect of all things conservative (in Canada) or Republican (in USA). It is a very dangerous way of veiwing the world. Gay marriage was passed in Canada, the Catholic Church does not perform same sex unions here in Canada. Yes, some were upset about it at the time, some were very happy about it, but Catholicism is still Catholicism, and we still kneel, pray, forgive, partake in the Eucharist as broken believers in the exact same way as before. But I am proud to be from a country that honours gay marriage, and in no way do I feel that it effects Catholicism in any negative way. The light to the world that Bad Catholic is, is darkened when gay bashing comments are allowed to remain in the comment feild. There are many gay Catholic’s in the world, many who are in relationships, that still deserve to have some type of comfort in the church. We need to get to a place where this community knows that they are loved, that they are welcome to seek out Christ through the Catholic Church. Through this rela progress can be made to discussion, not relativism. There was a real tragedy in my community not long ago, so I am very sensitive to this issue. A boy who was a memeber of my parish, chose to live an openly gay life and was so isolated and bullied at school and what not, he wa safraid he would be alone forever, and chose to end his life. The church handled the loss very well and had a very open and embracing funeral service that honoured the fact that he was openly gay, welcoming members of the gay community to attend the service. I hope not all movement forward on this issue is brought about through tragedy. Perhaps less so if blatanat gay hating posts are remvoved. You never know who is reading sites like this, people really seeking answers, even if hnot the answer they always want, the comments and general attitude shoudl still be one of kindness. Rant done. Be blessed.

          • Tally Marx

            We have a place of loving acceptance in the RCC. You might like my post about it here:

          • Butterflytoes

            Thank you for your reply, and there were some comments in the past article that were offensive, not just because I did not agree with them because they contianed derogartory comments. Happy that we have had this discussion, very enlightening. Be blessed

          • Marc Barnes

            Happy to see some reconciliation, however slight! ( :

          • Greg B.

            A “loving acceptance” that tells people that their sexuality is a disorder and that any pursuit of romantic love, affection or commitment is a sin and strictly forbidden.

            Meanwhile they’ll annul the prior marriages of straight Catholics and allow them the “sacrament” of marriage for the second and third times.

          • Butterflytoes

            Well annullment used to be done in Rome, now it is often done in the dioceses you are a part of and the likelhood of getting annulments that easily would depend on where you are from but is highly unlikely. It used to be ridiculously hard to get an annulment, the Catholic Church has changed in many ways and that is one of them. Annulment is not divorce though, it is that the marriage was faulty from the outset and usually do to greivous issues with the spouses, abuse, infidelity, and in many cases mental illnesses in which children are being affected etc….the nasty stuff. My preist friend actually is a Canon Lawyer who works on all of the annulments in our area and it is some yucky business.
            I do think the Catholic Church can and should be a home for the gay community of believers. There is absolutely no biblical reason for them not to be, but many gay people are literally afraid to walk into a church, and have no desire to be married in one. They simply do not feel at home in the church, and that is something that can change, even without “doing” gay marriages, the church can and should be an open home for all believers.

          • Anonymous

            The reasons it could never be a home for me run far deeper than gay marriage. Starting with the whole notion of “we are right because we are The Church and cannot be mistaken” and the assumption that just because something has been done a certain way, that way is automatically right.

          • Butterflytoes

            Hi hyhybt,
            It is so hard for some people to feel safe in the church. My husband has alot of issues with history, and with the recent pedophilia cases and proof that there were coverups and what not. I have long struggled with the issue of the Church’s stance on homosexuality. I really do believ the church should be more open, far more open, and if it were so more people would come to know Jesus. It is not all about one person living some kind of flawless life because they got Jesus smacked-that is very evangelical thinking-it is more about creating ripples in a sea of endless potential goodness. Each and every person who has the potential to positive change, contribution and to love (aka-everyone) should be accepted, and let to live their lives infused with Gospel teaching and positive supporting relationships through the church. Jesus was not about legalistc faith, he came to smash what the Pahrisees had done, and Catholicism is not supposed to be about legalistic faith, and if you ever do feel like coming back, know that there are MANY MANY MANY people like myself who are equally members of the church who would gladly have you come on in, and ask no questions and make no assumptions. Maybe someday,
            Be blessed,

          • Anonymous

            Thank you; I’m quite at home elsewhere within Christianity. (The notion that other Christian churches are invalid is also among the reasons I could never be Catholic.)

          • Butterflytoes

            Hi hyhybt,
            I am happy that you are comfortable in another denomination. I grew up very interdenominational so going to another denomination has never meant that much to me. I love the Catholic Church’s focus on the sacrements, like baby steps to God, making the pathway to a good life som much more managable. But that is me, and I do believe strongly that the Holy Spirit puts us where we are supposed to be. I am a strongly liberal, pro gay marriage Catholic and trust me I get tonnes of shit that I should just leave the Church, but that would just make it all too easy (for me and my haters) we are supposed to wrestle with God in search of the answers, they are never supposed to be easy so for myself the Catholic Church offers a metric tonne of challenge and learning. It has been so nice to speak with you, and really know that us liberal, we are there lurking about the church too!

          • Anonymous


    • Tally Marx

      First of all, voicing an opinion different to yours in not “bashing”. You might not like it, but there it is. You can voice your pro SSM opinion and your reasons. You like this freedom, remember? It wouldn’t be the same freedom if others couldn’t voice their opinion against SSM and give their reasons. “You can have any color you want as long as it’s black” is not freedom. You have an opinion, expect them to disagree and exercise their freedom to do so. It doesn’t mean they’re bashing. Especially not in Marc’s case, as he has been polite and kind in all his posts. If you want to see bashing, head on over to the WBC’s site GodHatesFags… Secondly, the people follow the Church, not the other way around. Thirdly, the Church isn’t telling gays anything she hasn’t told everyone else. “You want to do this, but you can’t”. Should she embrace murder, contraception, lying, disobedience to parents, receiving Communion in mortal sin, etc? No, she doesn’t have the right to condemn individuals but she certainly has the right to discern what actions are sinful, and that is what she is doing. Relativism has no place in the Church.

    • Marc Barnes

      Thanks for reading!

      Your post was not deleted on Facebook.

      I try my best not to censor anyone’s opinions, if there are comments you believe seriously offensive, just email me and I’ll take care of them.

      As to the general idea that this is something that I should just get over because its going to happen anyways…I don’t follow the truth because it makes me comfortable, or popular, or pleases my readers. I follow truth because it is truth. If you have any factual issues let me know. If your overall issue is you don’t like reading defenses of traditional marriage, I apologize, and hope you can find other posts you will enjoy.

      God bless.

    • Ramoth1107

      Seems to me that it’s mostly Marc Barnes being bashed here. The comments I’ve read from the pro-traditional family have for the most part been polite. I’ve noticed, also, that it has become the rule that any opposition to gay marriage is deemed “homophobic”. I can assure you that while I may believe traditional marriage is the best foundation to raise a child I am in no way afraid of homosexuals. I do, however, find one or two them annoying.

      Furthermore, it is interesting to me that the people who are so opposed to the Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage always insist the the church must change to fit their desires. If you don’t agree with the church, find one that makes you happy. The Episcopals or Unitarians for example.

      • Greg B.

        So you’re not afraid of gays, you just don’t think they should have full civil rights. You’re free to believe that, we just ask that you be honest. You write of those who support marriage equality that we “insist the the church must change to fit their desires”. That is a mischaracterization of our position. We’re not insisting that your change your beliefs, we’re insisting that you don’t have a right to enshrine those beliefs into our shared, secular law to the detriment of LGBT people and their families. Big, big difference.

      • Anonymous

        @Ramoth1107 — first, you should look up the definition of “homophobia” as its meaning is not limited to a fear of homosexuals … it also refers to an aversion to, or discrimination against, homosexuals (as per Webster’s). Second, the article is about government recognition of same-gender marriages. I doubt very many non-Catholics would really care what the stance of the Catholic Church is regarding gay marriage if they weren’t so actively campaigning to make their stance the law of the land … and using lies, distortions, flawed logic, and negative stereotypes to do so.

      • Butterflytoes

        I never bashed Marc, all I said was some of the comments were offensive, and possibly uninviting to people. So happy you do not have the power to excommunicate peolpe though. Goodness, the Catholic Church could be a borg of auto-bots….you are allowed to have opinions and be Catholic..just so you know eh. I know many GOOD GOOD GOOD Catholics who have varying points of disagreement, as they wrestle with God in search of the answers, it is a part of the faith, unquestioned faith gets you no where, it is shallow, and unlearned.

    • rightactions

      “…especially since statistically many lay Catholics have no issue with gay marriage whatsoever…”

      You’re seeking the endorsement of the ignorant for your perversions, eh?

      • Butterflytoes

        I don’t have any more “perversions” than you EH???LOL, nope don’t agree that just because I find an area of the Catholic Church that I am not in complete agreement with means that I am asking the church to endorse this, rather to embrace the community more openly so that the dichotomy between opinions can become smaller. Wouldn’t it be convenient if all the voices that ever challenge the church simply left the church. Unfortunate for you, I am proudly a member of the Catholic Church and always will be, perverted or not. I would make an aweful Unitarian or Episcopalean. As I said in my post I do not see any reason for the church to bless these unions, or to have any kind of marriage ceremony honouring them because I DO understand that they are no biblical unions. At the same time so much of LGBT community is estranged from their Catholics roots, to the point of out right dislike of all thing Catholic, and that is unnecessary, and unChristian. My whole point in posting was to sa that the comments section should be moderated so that very unkind comments could be kept off of them, and I was making a reference actually to a past article. It really is too bad, I am so regretting that I even said anything because my words have been met with nothing but disagreement, and really I have not said anything all that off base. I like your little dig at my being Canadian too eh. My son is American, when I lived there I found so many Americans dislike Canadians, think we are a bunch of pot smoking beer drinking hippies that harbour terrorists and let everyone get married. At the time when gay marriage was passed in Canada I was actually quite against it, not because of the gay people, I am fine with them but because I don’t think you really can change a definition like marriage..not really..and I think that is actually at the crux of much of Marc’s writing, also I figured it was opening the doors to all the polygamists and there are SO many begging for their definition of marriage to be accepted, and that would be atax debaucle and a half, we are very into taxes up here in Canada, the gov’t gets half our paychecks so I was not all that interested in it. Now with shows like Big Love and Sister Wives the days will come…as time has gone on though eh, I have seen that the passage of gay marriage has actually been a hugely positive thing for society, and that it has not really changed the definition of marriage, and that Catholicism, the beauty of the Church is still completely and totally intact. So that is my point, I am not really all that perverted after all. Nor am I ignorant, probably have a few more intials after my name than you do. I already done gone graduated from school and all as a get this-Catholic educator-they let a pervo like me teach!!! Oh my….geuss after all that schooling though I might as well just jump ship and go get all tangled up with the Unitarians, because you know so much, and managed a one liner based on my entire post, Congrats buddy. I do find the statistic with this article about children faring better with two biological parents interesting, I can see it’s possible validity but I can also personally think of various instances that work to discount it…not based on anything kinky-just that my mom was adopted, many friends also and grew up in a straight household with neither biological parent and she did fairly well..heck she managed to raised a should be Unitarian pervo like me. Maudit!

        • The Loyal Opposition

          Are posts calling Mark a bigot unkind? Because a myriad of comments on this post have appeared saying just that. There have certainly been more of those comments than comments that could be considered homophobic. I know one of the favorite passages in the bible is Matt. 7:5, “First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.”; this seems to be a place where it’s applicable.

  • Laura

    Thank you SO much for this! Whenever this topic is brought up, reasoning is lost in a sea of name-calling and emotion. I agree that the heart of the matter is “Why do governments recognize marriages at all?”. Even if a study came about that definitively proved a household without parents of both sex could raise children equally as well as a mother and father household, it’s still drastically stupid to have “Government should let everyone-who-loves-really-freaking-well get married!” as their focal point for redefinition; which it is. Answering “Why do governments recognize marriages at all?” is always an afterthought in their argument. At any rate, thanks for writing this, and doing it so reasonably. You are cooler than the other side of the pillow.

    • Anonymous

      “Why do governments recognize marriages at all?” is the wrong question, though. For starters, those on one side (and one side only) of the gay marriage question pretend there can be only one reason; especially heinous when they then discard that reason (or else make up invalid-on-their-faces excuses; yes, I’ve heard them before and there’s no point in responding with nonsense about, for example, the “form” being the same) when the theoretical notion of applying it against certain opposite-sex couples is raised.

      Accepting (for now) that one reason, even the main reason, marriage is recognized under the law is to provide for children, the fact remains that the laws governing children do not come into play until children are in fact present. Yet the marriage is recognized whether the couple has, or even can have, or even wants to have, children. A marriage where both the man and the woman are physically incapable of sex is perfectly legal. And nobody is seriously advocating that it should be otherwise.

      Meanwhile, even if marriage is primarily for children, that does not justify denying the legal aspects to gay couples. It doesn’t even begin to. Especially for the rights of couples without children; but even arguments based on what’s best for children (even if proven true, which must be the first step) fail unless the same children would otherwise in fact *be* raised by their biological parents in that low-conflict relationship. Instead, the choice is between their being raised by their gay parents *with* the benefit of marriage and parental rights, or their being raised by their gay parents *without* the benefit of marriage and parental rights. Or, in some cases, of having no parents at all. Even if your ideal is truly the best possible situation (and I do not grant that), it is not always available, and it’s unfair on real, live children to deny something that would improve their raising based on there being a theoretical situation, one they will not be in regardless, you say would be even better.

  • Anonymous

    I am deeply humbled that you linked to my page regarding this issue. Obviously I have deep compassion for those of my family and friends who are LGBT, and know what it feels like to be seemingly shut out from a segment of society. I also know that there are reasons beyond “my happiness” for a fleeting moment that have to do with societal good, and, even after 15 years as an LGBT activist I find my “celibate and Catholic” years to be more fulfilling than when I was out there chasing the wind.

    In short this life is–SHORT. And what we do for Christ and the Church is all we will take with us. I am glad to be within her loving bosom. On my page, I did write an article specific to this, and would reference it here for those who may wish to check it out. It deals with the “Sashers” movement but also other aspects of what we consider to be “LGBT rights.”

    The link is: http://catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/sashers-and-social-justice/ and I also have my own journey story on another great site by the name of “Why I’m Catholic.” The link there is http://whyimcatholic.com/index.php/conversion-stories/catholic-reverts/item/60-catholic-revert-richard-evans.

    Again thank you so much, Marc, for sharing my story and links. God bless!

  • Guest

    What you have presented, in your attemps to defend discriniation, is an argument to ban divorce.

    Sorry, Marc. Big fail.

    • Marc Barnes

      Actually it’s both. The limitation of the family to one sex in ANY way is detrimental to children.

      • Anonymous

        In our system, based on equal treatment of all (as a goal, at least) the burden of proof needs to be laid on those who would treat people differently based on things like sex. You have no proof that gay couples are worse for children than straight ones. The closest you can do is point to studies showing that two parents are better than one, which isn’t even the same question.

        • Marc Barnes

          Not ALWAYS the same question, true, but don’t allow that to override the times when it absolutely is a sensible comparison. See –

          I suppose it could be argued here that this is simply because single-parent families are less likely to be wealthy. (UPDATE: This argument would essentially be saying that the problem that hurts children is not the lack of a particular sex but the lack of the economic stability that comes with having two people raising a child, and not just one. This update is necessary because folks in the combox keep saying “you’re mixing up single-parent families with gay families!” So to all those of that mindset, read and and understand:) But according to a review of all available American data/literature, family structure has more of a consequence on a child’s psychological and behavioral outcomes than poverty. It seems that the lack of money just doesn’t compare to the lack of a Dad or a Mom (6). Sex matters. The lack of a Mom and a Dad has been shown to be the foremost problem in single-parent families. Same-sex marriages — by default, not by failure — lack in this same regard.

          • Anonymous

            You merely *assume* that it’s the sex(es) of the parents that matters because it isn’t purely economics, as if those were the only possibilities.

          • Miss Doyle

            hyhybt – there’s no ‘assumption’ about it – it’s almost so basic that a child inherently needs both mother and father that we’ve taken it for granted. This is despite loads of evidence which shows that when one parent is lacking, the effect on the child is devastating.

          • Anonymous

            There has so far been no evidence that the *sexes* of the parents matters a whit. Yes, claiming it’s so basic that it’s taken for granted is admitting that it’s an assumption; and it remains nothing more than an assumption until other possibilities have been considered, examined, etc. without bias.

          • Marc Barnes

            No evidence? It seems silly that I just have to keep pointing people back to my own article, but ““[R]esearch clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”(1)

          • Anonymous

            I read the article, thank you. Now: for the claim in the article, which you just quoted, to be true, there must be at least one well-done, unbiased study comparing families “headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage” to similar families headed by two same-sex parents. Furthermore, in order for it to be a rational argument against letting same-sex couples marry, it must be demonstrated, first, that same-sex couples are worse for children than opposite-sex couples *with the same amount of biological relation to the kids.” (Otherwise, you’re not presenting an argument against gay marriage, but against step parenting and adoption as a whole); AND second, that the actual, real-life children in question would in fact be raised by an opposite-sex couple if gay marriage is not allowed.
            (Quite the contrary, on that last point: the children of gay couples are put at a disadvantage by their parents not being allowed to marry. Which benefits nobody at all in any way whatsoever, except those who make their living fighting to keep it that way.)

          • Anonymous

            PS: is it not dishonest, or at least wildly inconsistent, to announce that all studies on both sides of an issue are untrustworthy, then turn around and spend the whole second half of the article citing those that supposedly support your position as if they were valid?

          • Anonymous

            Marc – you keep quoting that tidbit from the Child Trends report, even though you have lifted it entirely out of the context of the paper. They looked at a number of factors that impact how kids do … comparing those raised by both biological parents to those raised by single parents (either because of divorce or because they were born out of wedlock), or by a parent plus a step-parent. They did not look at all at how children raised by same-gender couples in monogamous, committed relationships fare. So while the report would have relevance if the topic of discussion was the impact of divorce, or the impact of single parenting, or the impact of out-of-wedlock births, it has nothing to say about the topic at hand. About the only thing in the paper that is of relevance is the conclusion that marriage is something that should be encouraged and supported … which arguably applies to same-gender couples as much as to straight couples.

          • Greg B.

            I’ve studied the health benefits of six different types of apples and have concluded that oranges are bad for your health.

            That’s your argument in a nutshell.

          • Greg B.

            The effect on the child is sometimes, not always, devastating when one parent is lacking – i.e., there’s only one parent. This is not an argument against same-sex COUPLES raising children. Again, you FAIL.

  • http://twitter.com/stevesilberman Steve Silberman

    Actually, existing research shows quite clearly that kids do better in two-parent families, regardless of gender (see, for example, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121135904.htm). Simply waving a magic wand of rhetoric over those studies does not make them go away, though it certainly makes clear what you wish was true. Trying to wish away the fact of thousands of loving families doing their best for their kids, while promoting laws that discriminate against them and discourage life-long commitment isn’t merely a matter of opinion; it’s outright evil. Then adding “It is simply to say that it is not innate, and thus not as likely to be fulfilled as would be in a traditional marriage” is clearly disingenuous, when there is nothing about the issue of sexual orientation being innate that indicates it’s a “simple” matter, as you put it. Millions of gay people can testify to the fact that their sexual orientation is as innate to them as yours is to you, and not a single reputable study contradicts them. In other words, you should take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why you’re playing coy and dishonest rhetorical games to discredit the life-long, loving commitments of thousands of couples who are raising children. I understand that you interpret the tenets of your faith in such a way that condemns homosexuality; that fine and good for you — I don’t argue with my Orthodox Jewish friends when they want to keep kosher in their homes, that’s obviously their choice — but I don’t believe your faith gives you license to be publicly dishonest.

    • Marc Barnes

      I’m sorry, the link you provided appears to be broken so I can’t really respond. I understand if you disagree with the results of the studies in this article, but you can hardly argue I’m waving a rhetorical wand when I quote them.

      • guest

        im sorry but that sounds like a load of crap, because i just clicked on the link and it works fine. Just sayin man.

    • Anonymous

      The closing parenthesis of his parenthetical statement got attached to the link … try cutting/pasting the link without it … or just use the following:


    • Marc Barnes


      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond! The study you cite is flawed, relying on sources from studies by folks such as Golombok, Patterson, Tasker, Bigner, and Gartrell, all of whom have admitted to methodological flaws in their studies. Here is documentation of their flaws: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF08L45.pdf IT IS A BIASED SOURCE AND I DISAGREE WITH ITS OVERALL CONCLUSIONS but the introduction contains direct quotes from the authors’ studies, admitting their methodological flaws, conveniently in one place. I’ve checked up on the quotes in context, and I urge you to do so too.

      Also the study itself — have you read the actual study, or just the news reports on it? — claims that “the comparatively high standards lesbians bring to their intimate unions correlate with higher dissolution rates.” The dissolution of lesbian parents is much higher than heterosexual couples, due in part to — surprise, surprise — the science of oxytocin. So unless you consider a naturally higher risk of divorce in one group of individuals to be negligible to the question of parenting, I ask you to reconsider leaning on this study.

      Finally, this study is arguably biased from the get-go. They dismiss studies that speak in direct contradiction to their results as “entrenched conviction”. For instance, the Child Trends conclusion in my post, or the liberal Center for Law and Social Policy’s conclusion that “Over the past 20 years, a body of research has developed on how changes in patterns of family structure affect children. Most researchers now agree that together these studies support the notion that, on average, children do better when raised by two married, biological parents who have low-conflict relationships.”
      You are absolutely correct that a magic wand does not make studies go away, and thus I am seriously interested in your response to these studies.

      Please stop downplaying intellectual discussion by shifting my argument onto my faith. It does little to help your cause, setting yourself up as the rational responder to religious bigots, when the post is entirely study-based.

      Hoping this finds you well.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ndostal Norman Dostal

        marc-no one cares what you buy or you dont-teh studies are there and logic is there-kids of gay parents are just fine and betet rthan otehr kids-they are more empathetic, they love deeper, they understand things otehr kids will never undertsand-your bigotry blinds you-so juist die off-your kind is fading fast

        • Peggy

          “kids of gay parents are just fine and betet rthan otehr kids-they are more empathetic, they love deeper, they understand things otehr kids will never undertsand”

          Prove it, Norman!

        • Marc Barnes

          I’m not sure if the request that I just die off is really elevating the level of discussion here…let me know if you have any issues with the actual argument. Thanks for reading though!

        • guest

          betet rthan otehr kids-they are more empathetic, they love deeper, they understand things otehr kids will never undertsand-your bigotry blinds you-so juist die off-
          Please God-teach everyone how to spell.

      • Greg B.

        The FRC continues to cite the work of Paul Cameron. But we’re supposed to accept them as the authority on methodological integrity?

        • Marc Barnes

          No, who asked you to? Look at the methodological flaws the authors of the studies themselves are admitting to.

          • Greg B.

            You’ve asked us to. You linked to FRC’s website for a document that tries to dismantle research showing that children in gay households do as well as those with straight parents.

          • Anonymous

            FRC exists solely for the purpose of portraying gay people as evil, let facts go to Hell. I would not trust even a direct, word-for-word quote that passed through them, because chances are it’s misrepresented in some way.

      • http://twitter.com/nomtweetshate NOM Tweets Hate

        There are methodical problems with ANY study and GOOD RESEARCHERS ALWAYS point out the problems with their study so that other researchers can review that and confirm that it was addressed properly. No scientific study is 100% perfect. However, the studies that show that the children of gays and lesbians are in fact highly reputable, have been well documented, have been peer reviewed, and the results have been confirmed by numerous other studies.

  • The Ubiquitous

    If his personal testimony must be accepted as universal, why not mine? I heretofore have not given it because I knew it would not apply universally, my experience that gay couples are promiscuous and unfaithful, and men like Dan Savage seem to encourage this. I restrain my tongue because I know I cannot speak for the whole of the world, or even the whole of my region, or even the whole of my life.

    Speaking from principle, gay marriage is as impossible as dry water or square circles. You may make a squarish circlish shape, but truth be told it is neither.

  • Steve

    Ahh, but the fly in the ointment, the government does not require any married couple to procreate. NONE NOT ONE so your theory that government interest in marriage is the creation or stablization of society as a whole is a horse-shit. Society creates government. Government does not create society.

    Oh and while we are at it. “it has been shown…thrive best” is horseshit also. Studies for the most part find children do best in “stable” households where their needs are met. STABLE is the defining factor, it is only liars, like yourself, which falsify that to mean “father/mother”. As of this point studies appear to be concluding that children do best in matriarchal family units!

    And the famous nuclear family is horseshit too, a term used to describe the normative family unit which does not exist except in theoretical studies.

    • Marc Barnes

      haha, of course its not a requirement. Its just an understanding of the POSSIBILITY of procreation. I’d hardly argue otherwise.

      Two your second point, did you read the article at all? The point was that a large portion of stability comes from the complementary nature of biological parents.

      • Greg B.

        The POSSIBILITY of procreation exists with or without marriage – heterosexuals opt for doing it without over 40% of the time. Meanwhile, states are required to issue marriage licenses to elderly nursing home residents (I’m pretty sure there’s no POSSIBILITY of procreation): http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/10913412-marriages-between-older-people-who-meet-at-nursing-homes-are-on-the-increase

        Do we need a constitutional amendment to stop this from happening Marc? And, if it’s about children, how does a civil marriage between two bed-ridden 87 year olds benefit to society while a marriage between to men in their 30′s raising children harms it?

        • Anonymous

          You’re exactly right… but if I understand correctly (and I know I’ll be told off quick enough if I’m wrong) it’s a Catholic thing. Since man + woman LOOKS like an arrangement that might produce children, it doesn’t matter that it is completely impossible (barring miracle) for the particular man and woman in question to do so. Yes, it’s circular reasoning. No, you won’t get anyone who subscribes to the notion to admit that.

    • Miss Doyle

      Sorry to burst your bubble Steve, but I am a criminology graduate and a graduate law student – guess who we don’t see turn up in court being charged with various acts of violence and other misdemeanors? People brought up by both mother and father who have been married for ages.

      • Greg B.

        Really? You never see people raised by married mothers and fathers committing crimes? And how often do you see people brought up by same-sex couples charged with various acts of violence? If you’re going to try to connect the dots between gay marriage and criminals, I hope that, as a criminology graduate, you have the statistics to defend your correlation. Otherwise, it’s just more baseless anti-gay propaganda.

    • Peggy

      Steve, Ask school teachers which students are, by and large, the least amount of trouble in the classroom.

      It’s troubling how quick your side is to use children as pawns to advance your political agenda. Haven’t heard anyone mention the significant decrease in life expectancy for men who have sex with men, either. What gives?

      • Anonymous

        The trouble is, using children as an argument against gay marriage relies on confusing two statements: “Children do best when raised by their married parents,” which may well be true, and “marriages which cannot produce children are therefore invalid,” which is not only nonsense, but is never even remotely considered as anything other than nonsense except when said against gay people.

        All right, I said “the trouble,” but there’s another: denying marriage to gay couples does harm to the children (if any) that they are in fact raising, whether married or not, however they came to be raising them.

  • Anonymous

    The writer of this piece appears to have absolutely no understanding of the difference between statistical correlation and causation. Or he is just being disingenuous. You would think that the recent Focus on the Family debacle before Congress would have taught these folks that they can’t get away with that kind of argument any more.

    • Marc Barnes

      Remind me precisely of the confusing of correlation and causation in the biology of the male and female body, and the beneficial effects that biology has on the raising of children?

      • Anonymous

        Nice try at obfuscating, but you know I’m discussing your flawed attempt at drawing conclusions about children of same-gender couples from studies that don’t specifically tally and analyze statistics about that particular subgroup.

        • Marc Barnes

          Haha, nice try at obfuscating, but you know you have to actually point out the flaws you believe exist in my attempts if I’m to respond, right? Or do you just believe the attempt is inherently flawed? If so, please consider:

          The reason single-parent families are damaging to children is because of the lack of a father or mother more than for any economic reasons as (6) shows. The eradication of one gender of parent in a same-sex marriage would therefore not be beneficial to a child. This coincides with the academic consensus, as stated by the Center for Law and Social Policy, that “Over the past 20 years, a body of research has developed on how changes in patterns of family structure affect children. Most researchers now agree that together these studies support the notion that, on average, children do better when raised by two married, biological parents who have low-conflict relationships.”

          This was the argument of my post. It has not changed. You may disagree, but don’t do yourself an injustice by acting as if it is a wildly shaky claim with absolutely no understanding of correlation and causation.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ndostal Norman Dostal

            marc and teh otehr bigots-look, dumdum, all studies show thatgay parents are just as good if not bette rthan straights=all kids need is love-as long as there is love, there is healthiness and goodness-the 25 year study-yes, 25 vyears-showed conclusively that lesbians raise teh best kids-and duh-=of course tehy do-gay parents ahve to REALLY want kids ot have them-adopting or surrogacy-there is no easy road to gay parenting=so of course theyre betetr than straights-now stop being a bigot-gay marriage has nothign t to do with raising kids anyway-millions of kids are beign raised by gays-ist legal-gay marraige PROTECTS gay families-it doesnt encourage peopel to be gay -we’re gay sicne teh danw of mankind-the question is: shoudl all peopel be treated equally unde rthe law? yes of course-and you cant stop it, bigot-its happening!! i defy your god to stop it

          • Marc Barnes

            which study is that?

          • Anonymous

            “The reason single-parent families are damaging to children is because of the lack of a father or mother…” you never did show that (ignoring the part about economics, as the pretense that that is the only other possibility is simply absurd) to be true.

  • Tracy

    Where does one even begin here Marc? (Last name?)

    Well, let’s start with the fact that your Child Trends study (who dat?) seems contradicted by one whole heck of a lot of research. I hope your readers will do a quick study. Here’s one from a few years back at Tufts University. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20051012/study-same-sex-parents-raise-well-adjusted-kids. I haven’t got all day to research this but “non-partisan” only tells me it isn’t aligned with a political party. Plenty of right wing groups aren’t, officially.

    I also wonder about this “breakdown of the family and the rise of the welfare state. Well, 2 parents are better than one, but say, does Denmark or Sweden have a welfare state? Crime is going DOWN in the US, so I dunno what to do with this as a broad statement anyway.

    You’ve got single parent issues all messed up with your same sex parent arguments, and if I had hours to give to this, it would be fun to pull these strands apart. But I don’t. I just hope your readers know there is plenty of stuff out there to contradict this. Just call the human development office of your local (secular) university and ask. Don’t take “Marc’s” word for it, despite his lengthy list of references, throwing everything but the kitchen sink into his argument.

    Suffice it to say, your readers should go elsewhere for better information. This is some right wing guy who wants to talk about inner city crime, single parent households, gay marriage and traditional gender roles and reach “voila!” the conclusion that everything he believes is proven fact.

    • Tracy

      The Whitherspoon Institute is a conservative think tank in Princeton, New Jersey.[1][2]

      Well, I did look up the Witherspoon Institute on Wikipedia — which you credit as the source for all this. “A right-wing think tank located in Princeton New Jersey” says Wikipedia.

      Readers, take note and read more broadly.

      • The Loyal Opposition

        And of course Wikipedia is always an unbiased and fair source for information. Regardless of the biased/unbiased view of Wikipedia, I think we can all agree that the researchers at Tufts that you reference are just as left-wing as the Witherspoon Institute is right-wing. Finding a completely neutral source is next to impossible.

    • Marc Barnes

      “I suppose it could be argued here that this is simply because single-parent families are less likely to be wealthy. (UPDATE: This argument would essentially be saying that the problem that hurts children is not the lack of a particular sex but the lack of the economic stability that comes with having two people raising a child, and not just one. This update is necessary because folks in the combox keep saying “you’re mixing up single-parent families with gay families!” So to all those of that mindset, read and and understand:) But according to a review of all available American data/literature, family structure has more of a consequence on a child’s psychological and behavioral outcomes than poverty. It seems that the lack of money just doesn’t compare to the lack of a Dad or a Mom (6). Sex matters. The lack of a Mom and a Dad has been shown to be the foremost problem in single-parent families. Same-sex marriages — by default, not by failure — lack in this same regard.”

      • Tracy

        Nope, sorry, you haven’t proven your point to anyone but those already inclined to agree with you. The rest of us have been paying attention to the headlines that come across with regularity. “Yet another ‘study’ demonstrates that children of gay parents are just as well adjusted as those of straight parents. Google, you’ll find them.

    • Tracy

      Here’s a contradictory study from University of Virginia, from last year.

    • Tracy

      Why don’t I just quote the abstract from the University of Virginia study:

      This study investigated child development and parenting in 106 families headed by 27
      lesbian, 29 gay, and 50 heterosexual couples (80% White, M¼42 years) with young
      adopted children (41% White, M¼3 years). Parents and teachers reported that, on
      average, children were developing in typical ways. Measures of children’s adjustment,
      parenting approaches, parenting stress, and couple relationship adjustment were not
      significantly associated with parental sexual orientation. However, several family
      process variables—parenting stress, parenting approaches, and couple relationship
      adjustment—were found to be significantly associated with children’s adjustment,
      regardless of parental sexual orientation. Implications for understanding the role of
      gender and sexual orientation in parenting, as well as for legal and policy debates,
      are discussed.

      Read the rest: http://people.virginia.edu/~cjp/articles/ffp10b.pdf

  • Anonymous

    Actually–not that you much care–there is plenty of research that says, unconditionally, that same-sex parents raise children that are as health and happy (and for what it matters, as heterosexual) as do heterosexuals (who do not, in fact, set a very high standard). It is religious conservatives who do not accept this, because they are blinded by a “faith” consisting of little more than vanity, malice, and wilful ignorance, and a determination that the law must impose their beliefs on everyone else. If you had paid any attention–which you didn’t–to government legislation affecting marriage, you would have discovered that most of it has nothing to do with children (conservative religious individuals mostly consider them to be property anyway) but with all of the other facets of adult individuals who live together, provide and care for each other, and are dependant, economically and otherwise, on each other. I realise that you don’t care about anybody who is different–but then you are not allowed your traditional brutal responses–but you would if you were in a relationship that has no legal existance in realtion to anything, including healthcare, benefits that you pay for (why is it that heterosexuals are so keen to be parasites on the contributions of homosexuals?), legal responsibility, and inheritance.

    • Marc Barnes

      Could you provide that research? Most of the studies claiming what you claim have been discounted for their methodological flaws, so I am curious which ones you are referring to…

      • Anonymous

        A fairly good summary of recent results on LGBT parenting (with references) can be found at:


        While one can quibble about the degree to which confounding factors have been eliminated in the references cited, the results have been found convincing by the major mental health organizations. To say they have generally been “discounted” — assuming these are the studies you are referring to — is entirely over the top. Even given some limitations, they do strongly indicate that children raised by same-gender couples do just fine. And they have the advantage of being relevant to the discussion … a trait largely absent from the references you provide. Papers on parenting in general, showing that children raised by stable, married heterosexual couples do better than children (in aggregate) raised in other circumstances, tell you absolutely nothing about any specific subgroups in that latter aggregate group of kids. Your statement that research on parenting in general “consistently points to the fact that the best family situation is one with a faithful father and mother” is just fundamentally wrong … not because of anything wrong with those studies, but simply because such studies inherently CANNOT lead to any such conclusion. Only studies that look specifically at various subgroups can arrive at conclusions about how they fare. Again, you confuse statistical correlation with causation throughout your piece, and it renders most everything you say irrelevant.

        • Marc Barnes

          Careful when quoting wikipedia. That page relies pretty heavily on some discounted statistics.

          Patterson for instance, quoted several times, says of his own studies that “It should be acknowledged that research on lesbian and gay parents and their children is still very new and relatively scarce.…Longitudinal studies that follow lesbian and gay families over time are badly needed.”

          Golombok and Tasker, quoted there as well on lesbian parenting, admitted in that same study “It is possible that the small sample size resulted in an underestimate of the significance of group difference as a result of low statistical power (Type II error).”

          Nanette Gartrelle is also relied on on the page, but in her study on Lesibian Parenting she is quoted as saying “Some may have volunteered for this project
          because they were motivated to demonstrate that lesbians were
          capable of producing healthy, happy children. To the extent that
          these subjects might wish to present themselves and their families
          in the best possible light, the study findings may be shaped by selfjustification and self-presentation bias.”

          The whole page should be taken with skepticism, I wish knew more about each study but time limits me. Suffice to say, there’s a reason why there is a warning about innacuracies and misrepresentations from Wikipedia at the top of the page.

          I made sure not to quote a single study disparaging the actual results of homosexual parenting FOR THIS VERY REASON, that on both sides of the house their is misrepresentation.

          Thanks for reading!

          • Anonymous

            That studies which actually look at the point in question are imperfect is no reason to toss them out in favor of those which ask a different question entirely and pretend they are relevant.

          • Marc Barnes

            Let me be entirely sure of what you’re saying. I should include studies on homosexual parenting despite their methodological flaws? Does this mean I can include the studies that show homosexual parenting to be frightfully negative, despite THEIR methodological flaws? And all this based on what exactly? That you believe the studies I cite have no relevance? Why do you believe this?

          • Anonymous

            What I am saying is that studies which compare single-parent to two-parent are absolutely worthless for the purpose you’re trying to use them for *unless and until* it is proven that the difference is because of the sexes of the parents rather than only the number of them.
            No, the passage on economics is not at all helpful for that. Even if it were proof that economics was not the cause, that would not mean that sex is the cause.

          • Anonymous

            Marc – you are confusing two different issues. One is methodological limitations, which typically are described and can be given due consideration as one reads a paper or study. The limitations in the papers cited in the Wiki articles are worth noting, but not severe enough to be considered sufficient enough by most experts to dismiss their conclusions. The other issue is relevance, which is where your citations fall apart. And that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the papers themselves. It is simply that you are trying to draw conclusions from them that they fundamentally are unable to support because of the questions they sought to answer. Again, you cannot draw any conclusions about how children raised in a particular environment fare unless statistics on that particular subgroup are tallied and analyzed. And by your own admission, you intentionally avoided references that did that specifically for kids of same-gender couples.

          • Marc Barnes

            How are they not relevant? My argument is as follows: The reason single-parent families are damaging to children is because of the lack of a father or mother more than for any economic reasons as (6) shows. The eradication of one gender of parent in a same-sex marriage would therefore not be beneficial to a child. This coincides with the academic consensus, as stated by the Center for Law and Social Policy, that “Over the past 20 years, a body of research has developed on how changes in patterns of family structure affect children. Most researchers now agree that together these studies support the notion that, on average, children do better when raised by two married, biological parents who have low-conflict relationships.”

            I understand if you disagree, but the pretense that I’m just talking about completely unrelated things is getting absurd.

          • Anonymous

            The value of a Wiki article is based primarily upon the references it cites, so to dismiss such an article while admitting you didn’t take the time to review the references is a cop out. That said, as I noted before (and as hyhybt also points out), while there are limitations to the studies cited — which you mistakenly characterize using words like “inaccuracies and misrepresentations” and “discounted” — they still contain worthwhile results and arrive at conclusions that most mental-health professionals find convincing. And again, they at least actually take a direct look at the question under discussion, unlike the references you cite.

      • Anonymous

        No, Marc, they have “not been discounted..”, unlike the malicious nonense on which the RC church relies, by disgraced cranks like Paul Cameron. You religious persons, I guess predictably, live such fanciful lives! In any case, other posters have provided citations–not that you would be much interested in them. Your comment caused me to read this article more closely, which is usually, in this context, not worth the effort. On the other hand, apologetics is always full of fun nonsense. You say that you “stands against cohabitation”, like the rest of the Church, whose initiatives in banning same-sex marriages have, in some states, eliminated all provision for opposite-sex common-law couples, including protection from domestic abuse. I guess you like it better that way. And, of course, the Roman church has always, everywhere, without hesitation or fail, adamantly opposed every form of protection against discrimination for homosexuals, not only in marriage, but in employment, housing, public and private services, healthcare, everything. I guess when you officially designate a whole population “intrisically disordered”, this makes sense, and it is much less violent than the torture and mass murder with which you historically dealt with difference. Here is a better approach–which I have no reason to suppose you will accept, since it applies to nothing else that you think: pay attention to reality. You will know gay and lesbian couples raising children or, if you don’t, you soon will. Compare them to the heterosexual couples around you, and to your family, and you would see no difference except, possibly, that homosexual couples are parents by choice, rather than, as is so common among Roman Catholics, by accident, and this contributes to better parenting, producing healthier and happier children. Traditionally and, I expect still today, the Church cared only that the children were raised as faithful adherents but, if it ever took a genuine interest in the welfare of children, it would endorse same-sex marriage. This is particularly true since gay and lesbian couples commonly adopt those children who, for reasons of race, age, and mental and physical health, you heterosexuals don’t want.

        • Miss Doyle

          Wow, someone seems to know the Church so well – but it’s not one I recognise as mine.

          • Anonymous

            It’s certainly better to have your own. You play an active role in determining your ethics, while not having to buy into doctrine that has proven to be destructive and misguided. Lots of lattitude, too; religion is evidence to the fact that people are capable to believing anything at all.

  • Anonymous

    Onward to full civil and marriage equality rights now. Period. Case closed.
    Cheers, Joe Mustich, CT USA
    Marriage Officiant & Justice of the Peace.
    My spouse and I have been together for 32 glorious years so far….

    • Bobsignorelli

      I’m with you 100%. All this rhetoric is merely political hogwash to continue to repress a certain segment of society.

  • sfstephen

    A major fallacy you make is assuming that the choice is between opposite-sex parents raising children and same-sex parents raising children. That is not the case. Opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples (and single parents) will be raising children regardless of what you or anyone thinks is the best possible environment for a child. As the Iowa Supreme Court pointed out, there is nothing illegal about same-sex parents raising children; it has been happening, and it will continue to happen. Allowing same-sex marriage is not going to cause more pregancies, nor will banning it prevent same-sex parents from having children.

    The real question to be asking, then is: For children being raised by same-sex parents, is it better that their same-sex parents be allowed to get married or not? Surely, it is better for these children to be in a home where their parents’ relationship is legally recognized and supported than not. It provides more stability for the children, and a safety net (in terms of retirement plans, Social Security, etc.) if something should happen to one parent.

    If marriage and its legality is all about the children–which of course, it is not, since 80-year-olds can marry each other–then think about the actual, real children who are being raised (and will be raised) by same-sex parents. If you are concerned about them, then you should support marriage equality. Denying their parents the right to marriage doesn’t mean that they will be raised by opposite-sex parents; it just means that the children will be raised in a home that lacks the stability that legal recognition of a marriage can provide.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ndostal Norman Dostal

      quite correct-thank you

    • Greg B.

      80 year old convicted pedophiles can marry. As long as that is the case, they will never win this argument with the “it’s about the children” claim.

  • Henry Neumann

    As a MD I found this article to have plenty of misrepresentation of studies and data, further more the jump unto conclusions with no data of stretched out evidence is kind of repetitive.
    but I will pose two questions… will the legalization of gay marriage affect the marriage of heterosexual couple and/or sexual orientation? Will the ban of gay marriage make homosexual couples go into heterosexual relationships and from “normal” Families? I really don’t see the effect this could have, and having a scientific mind and without the argument of religion (I’m a atheist) I don’t really see the any reason to ban gay marriage. plus I encourage the author to review the statistics of states or other countries where gay marriage is legal…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Peron/1311942969 James Peron

    The immediate ignorance about the history of marriage is apparent when the writer claims that governments got involved in recognizing marriages due to children. That is only marginally true, the main reason for legal recognition was primarily about property, not about children. I’ve gone through about 10 histories of marriage in the last year, by various authors, and all of them say precisely the same thing. While people want to pretend marriage had some vaunted original purpose involving children, it really was mainly property and politics, depending on which part of the world you are talking about. In ancient Rome it was heavily politics. In medieval Europe is was heavily property for the farmers and politics for the nobility. Having children was easy and not something they were worried about. But how land was merged or broken up worried everyone.

    As for the church, it got in involved heavily in marriage as it was grabbing power and wealth for itself. It found that new marriage regulations increased the number of people who could not marry which helped transfer property to the church at the death of these people. They also sold the right to dispensations to the wealthy, and used the dispensations regarding marriage to secure political favoritism from kings and lords. The church was power-hungry institution that regulated out of its own self-interest. It’s interest in the well-being of children is fraudulent, as the multiple scandals indicate.

    • http://twitter.com/nomtweetshate NOM Tweets Hate

      I always like to point out that every “standard” marriage vow never makes one single reference to children. If children were so important and critical in marriage, don’t you think it would have been mentioned it at some point?

  • Chris

    shorter version of this article: “I don’t think gay people are equally valuable citizens, therefore they can get crumbs while I, the straight one, get marriage. But I don’t hate them.” Thanks for nothing

    • Marc Barnes

      please don’t dumb down the conversation, for the sake of your own cause.

      • Greg B.

        By using Paul Cameron’s “research” you’ve already dumbed it down.

        • Marc Barnes

          wait, the research I admitted was flawed? or did I use more of his work in this article without realizing it? (haha, i’m just worried, his work kinda freaks me out at this point)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Visser/1624570576 John Visser

    Wrong argument ASSUMES that a marriage license equates to child bearing. This is simply not true, otherwise seniors, sterile persons and persons not wanting children would also need to be banned from marriage. Ergo, your argument is entirely null and void.

    • Marc Barnes

      Granted, many marriages don’t produce children. Most soldiers don’t face combat and yet are still eligible for veterans’ benefits. But the state rewards each institution based on its ability to provide society with a valuable function, not each individual case.

      • OhMyWord

        So, are you willing to limit marriage to couples with children? Since you seem to be arguing for promoting married families with children. Out go the sterile, elderly, etc.

        If you aren’t, then this is just prejudice against gay folk. Plain and simple. And I call that bigotry.

        • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

          Worse than that: Marc is wholly unwilling to allow same-sex couples who have children to get married. He doesn’t care about the children, so much as he does promoting the idea that their parents are inferior.

          • OhMyWord

            Very good EE!

            I love how this guy likes to think he’s building a perfectly logical argument. But the APPLICATION of the logic is something he’s not willing to fight just as hard for!

            Why isn’t he out marching in the street trying to take children away from single parents or deny the elderly from marrying?

            Such a bigot.

  • Juliet Rosenthal

    The argument in the post can be dismissed as a red herring, since there is no prerequisite — not an implied one, certainly not an explicit one – that couples may marry if only they are fit to raise children. Heterosexual couples may marry one another even if they are lousy parents, gay couples may not even if they are fantastic parents; obviously the distinction here, and the determination of who has a right to marry, is tied directly to sexual orientation, not parenting ability.

    Nevermind that, the premise in the article that society falters if families falter is, at best, hyperbolic. Describe how, in precise terms, “society falters”. What does it look like, how is it distinguished from our present society. Seems the argument here is that gays shouldn’t marry because they’ll cause society to falter — but, should that not be the case (i.e. gays marry without negative sweeping consequences across society), then it follows that are indistinguishable from straight couples, and deserve the same equal rights as everyone. Since there is no evidence that gays couples, who make up 3% of the population, will cause the whole structure family to fall apart (whatever that means, however its suppose to look), there is effectively no argument in this blog post. None.

    In fact, it seems that, with that gay couples are already raising families (about 1/4th of couples according to the 2010 census) with no consequence. It seems that families include single parent households, adopted children, extended families which include at least one grandparent or aunt or uncle raising kids, families of all different religions, families where one parent is on temporary leave in the military, urban and surburban and rural families, and many other unique scenarios, I would argue that the concept of a family is dynamic and flexible. Gay families can and certainly are accommodated.

    Please support marriage equality.

    • linzzey

      Thank you, Juliet. This is excellent.

  • Anonymous

    Marc – starting a new thread, as things are getting scrunched up on the existing ones. I would suggest you take a course in statistics sometime, but I’m afraid you’ll tell me that you already have. It’s really not that complicated, though. A simple example, with numbers that are made-up, but not totally off-base, either. Suppose one evaluates a group of kids, and say that 48% are being raised by both biological parents, 48% are being raised either by single parents or by straight couples that are not both their parents, and 4% are being raised by same-gender couples. Now the 48% of kids being raised by single parents, or adoptive parents, or by one parent and a step-parent, most of the time will find themselves in such situations because of things like divorce, the death of a parent, or abandonment. And statistically the 48% raised by both biological parents will fare better in terms of health and happiness than the 48% that are being raised by single parents or one parent and one step-parent. Not that there aren’t many great single parents and many great second marriages out there, but statistically there will be significant differences in the two populations because of the traumas many have experienced. Now … when you look at the 48% raised by biological parents and compare them to the other 52% (i.e., including those raised by same-gender couples), you will come to essentially the same conclusions. The statistical effect of those kids raised by same-gender couples will be lost in the noise. It doesn’t matter whether they fare extremely well or extremely poorly. You will conclude … just like the studies you cite … that kids raised by their biological parents fare the best, regardless of how the kids raised by same-gender parents fare. But the fact is you really haven’t shown that. You will have learned nothing at all about the kids raised by same-gender parents … because you failed to specifically tabulate and analyze statistics specifically for that group. All you will have shown is that kids not raised by their biological parents statistically don’t fare as well as those that are raised by their biological parents. But extending that conclusion to any particular subgroup … especially a subgroup like kids of same-gender parents that represent such a small percentage of the population … is statistically bogus, completely and utterly.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    I’ve really never understood this argument against lifting the ban on same-sex couples marrying.

    You’re saying that you believe that same-sex couples don’t make the best parents for children – that the children being reared by gay or lesbian couples won’t be reared as well.

    And because of that you feel that those couples who are providing inferior parenting, ought to be further discriminated against by being denied marriage.

    So your motivation in opposing marriage for same-sex couples appears to be that you feel the children of same-sex parents don’t deserve the same level of support and help from society as the children of mixed-sex parents, because same-sex parents are inferior to mixed-sex parents.

    • Greg B.

      If it was truly about inferior parenting, they’d have their sights set on inferior heterosexual parents – there are lots of those – rather than just focusing on gays. Where are the calls for instituting tests that people have to take before getting a marriage license to ensure that they are fit to raise children? I’ve never heard it proposed. Convicted convicts, heck – pedophiles, are allowed to marry. It’s anti-gay bigotry plain and simple. Stop trying to legitimize your opposition to equality, you’re never going to succeed.

      • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

        I agree that most people who advocate that same-sex couples ought to be banned from marriage because they are inferior parents to mixed-sex couples are simply being hypocritical.

        But my point is that even if you accept for the sake of argument that mixed-sex couples as a class make better parents than same-sex parents, it’s a really bizarre set of values that says “They’re inferior parents so we should deny them marriage”. Straightforwardly, this guy is arguing that children whom he already thinks to be in an inferior position, ought to be further discriminated against by being denied married parents.

  • Rev.James


  • Anonymous

    To anyone still following this discussion, here is a link to Marc’s first reference:

    It is worth highlighting at this point because he is now focused on the following quote from that reference as a key point in his argument:
    “[R]esearch clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”

    What he doesn’t tell you, because he has lifted the statement entirely out of the context of the article, is what “the most” means … i.e., who kids raised by two biological parents are being compared to. Here is the rest of the paragraph:

    “Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes than do children in intact families headed by two biological parents. Parental divorce is also
    linked to a range of poorer academic and behavioral outcomes among children. There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents.”

    Totally absent from the report are results for kids raised by same-gender parents or kids raised by adoptive parents. So while the report covers situations that apply to the vast majority of kids, it says absolutely nothing about kids being raised by same-gender or adoptive parents in healthy, committed relationships. The report, in fact, CANNOT say anything about them because it didn’t even consider them in tabulating and analyzing the statistics used. The report doesn’t even purport to say anything about them. That makes this particular reference entirely irrelevant to the topic being discussed here. Marc tries to make it APPEAR relevant by lifting a line out of context. I haven’t checked all of his other references — I’m not even sure I can access them all — but based on his article and his comments, I’m pretty sure they are no more relevant than this one.

    • Greg B.

      Al Franken did a fantastic job of calling out FOF for trying to twist the data in the same way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZyAueltLsa4

      If anything, the study Marc sites supports an argument FOR same-sex marriage since it suggests that children with married, rather than cohabitating, parents are better off, regardless of the gender combination or sexual orientation of their parents.

      • Anonymous

        FOF not only made the same bogus use of statistics that Marc is trying to do here, they took it into the realm of the absurd by being totally unaware that the statistics for married same-gender couples in the report they were using were lumped with the statistics of married straight couples. Unfortunately for them, two wrongs didn’t make a right … it just made them look even more like idiots.

    • Anonymous

      And BTW, Marc has also been frequently quoting a line from a Center for Law and Social Policy report that can be found at:

      It is virtually the same kind of out-of-context citation he uses from the Child Trends report. Again … there is absolutely no attempt by the authors to characterize how kids raised by same-gender couples do, making the report entirely irrelevant to this discussion. It is only by lifting this particular quote out of context that Marc tries to make it appear relevant.

      • Marc Barnes

        I’m confused what you think is being suggested by the word “biological” if not mother and father. This is not lifting a quote out of context, this applying a consensus on marriage in general — that biological parents are important — to the gay-marriage debate. What on earth could be more relevant to the discussion than the idea that the ideal situation for raising children is under two, BIOLOGICAL, stable parents?

        • Anonymous

          Marc — First, as for the meaning of the word “biological” … in the Center for Law and Public Policy report it is a category that includes both biological parents and adoptive parents, since the latter group is largely indistinguishable from the former. (Have you even read the references you cite??) Second, I never said anything about an “idea” being irrelevant; you are just obfuscating again. The reality is that you are attempting to use several references to show that kids raised by same-gender parents in a stable, healthy relationship are somehow at a disadvantage vis-a-vis kids raised by biological parents. But the references you cite do not even attempt to make such a comparison, and it is your references that are irrelevant for that very reason. And yes, you have lifted quotes out of context for these two sources at least, giving the impression that their conclusions are more far-reaching than they really are. Neither the Child Trends report nor the CLASP report have ANYTHING AT ALL to say about how children raised by same-gender parents fare compared to those raised by married, biological parents.

          At this point, having made the issues with your references as transparently obvious as can be, it’s probably best that I not waste my time by continuing. You’re either pretending to be confused to avoid admitting that your references are irrelevant, or you don’t have the cognitive skills needed to make further discussion worthwhile. Frankly, you’d have been much better off just acknowledging that your references are irrelevant rather than continuing to embarrass yourself by trying to justify them. Next time try reading your references before using them, and don’t make the mistake of assuming that none of your readers will go to the trouble of looking them up.

          • Anonymous

            One additional comment regarding the CLASP report. It does cite studies that show that children whose biological parents have divorced fare about the same regardless of whether the custodial parent goes on to enter into a straight marriage or a same-gender relationship. Just a small bit of evidence that the stability of the relationships are important, but not the genders of the parents involved.

    • Marc Barnes

      I’m confused what you think is being suggested by the word “biological” if not mother and father. This is not lifting a quote out of context, this applying a consensus on marriage in general — that biological parents are important — to the gay-marriage debate.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t see what there is to be confused about. You have the one half right. But when a comparison is made, *both* sides of what are being compared need to be taken into account. Taking “biomomanddadstablemarriage” off of one side and declaring it to be empirically better than *anything else*, rather than only being known to be better than those things it was compared to, is faulty reasoning.

        Try an analogy. A nice, trivial one with no stakes. Suppose we do a taste test. Sample as large as you like, any method you like, comparing Coca-Cola, 7-Up, and Mountain Dew. Now suppose the results are clear: “Coke tastes best of these three drinks.” So far, so good. But what if someone then comes along, tosses out the second half of that sentence, and tries to use your results to support their claim that Coke tastes better than Pepsi. “See, I have proof right here: ‘Coke tastes best’!” It doesn’t work that way. In order to see whether Coke or Pepsi is better, you must compare Coke *with Pepsi.*

        And that’s the problem here. Gay couples were not among the possibilities studied; therefore, there are no grounds to claim that the group that did the best would have done better than gay couples. For that matter, unless the gay couples were married, the proper comparison would be to unmarried straight couples; and if they were not together the entire life of the child, to stepparents; and if they both adopted the kid, to other adoptive parents. *Find out* whether it really is the sex(es) of the parents that matters, rather than declaring it to be so based on essentially nothing.

  • Greg B.

    “There is not enough research to definitely show that homosexual parenting is worse than traditional parenting.”

    You’re not going to get the generalized answer that you want. Good parenting comes from good parents – adults with the maturity, skills, dedication and resources required to successfully raise a child. As much as you’d like to simplify it, the ability to have heterosexual intercourse does not make one fit to parent. Those characteristics and abilities that make good parents don’t rely upon gender combinations or sexual orientation. I can do a simple Google search and within a few minutes come up with a dozen news stories just from the past week providing examples of heterosexuals who are bad parents. You are simply never going to have data giving you the conclusive proof that you so desperately seek to legitimize your opposition to marriage equality.

  • Flanoggin

    I am a gay man in a stable, loving 12 year relationship and we are married. We do not have, nor plan to have,children.We are not catholic. Hmmm—now, tell me again why gay marriage is a bad idea? When do I get to vote on your marriage?

  • Stephen

    The real problem with the structure of the American family is the divorce rate among heterosexual couples – whose divorce rate consistently hovers 45-50% of marriages.
    Second ,marriages fair even worse. Get your own house in order.

    Gay men and women are aware of the poor proformance of heterosexual marriages as a whole. When gays say they want to get married they are much better prepared than most straight couples.

    I couldn’t get married until I was 61 years old – just because I loved another man.

    Salt Lake City

  • karilhayes

    When divorce and cohabitation become a political playground, with a whole movement fighting to make them become illegal, then I’ll buy this argument from them. (I mean, I can believe it from you now, but not from society as a whole.)

    I maintain the belief that God is bigger than biological sex, and can meet my family’s need, when we have children, exactly as our family was created to be, headed by two same-sex female parents. That being godly parents, meeting your child’s needs as He intends is solely about your relationship with Him, first and foremost, and then, your relationship with each other. The whole, “I needed a dad or I needed a mom,” because of their biological sex, I think is culturally-based bunk, and often indicative of other dysfunction. Basically, this is, “it takes a man and a woman for a whole family” argument, and though I can’t argue as articulately as you, I just know the truth in my heart. I also wonder, based on your argument, why so many dysfunctional legal heterosexual marriages are allowed to exist, yet same-sex ones are somehow dysfunctional in a way that we should watch out for their legality. Who plays the judge of the legality of dysfunctional, or unfaithful heterosexual relationships?

    Also, maybe some studies on divorce or unfaithfulness should be done in certain other subgroups, say, ethnic minorities or SES status, then we can declare them to be more unfaithful and bar them from marriage too? That part was insultingly funny.

    I think your argument is very well-stated. I just don’t buy it. However, everyone should be able to state their own beliefs.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    Marc has repeatedly here and elsewhere argued that because he perceives same-sex parents as inferior, he is right to argue that the children of same-sex couples ought to be legally and financially discriminated against.

    Despite being repeatedly asked to justify why he thinks it right to discriminate against children based on his views that their parents are inferior, he’s always dodged the question.

    • Tally Marx

      Because it’s an absurd question from a twisted conclusion. He is not discriminating against the children of same-sex-couples anymore than the government discriminates against the children of single parents or divorced parents or any other parent-guardian who isn’t married. Your question makes no sense, because it has nothing to do with anything Marc said. And Marc didn’t have to answer it because others have already pointed out your error.

      • Anonymous

        I haven’t read enough of EdinburghEyes comments to know exactly what he considers to be discrimination against the children of same-gender couples. I will say, however, that the consensus view of most mental-health professionals is that state recognition/support of same-gender relationships that parallels that currently provided to straight married couples would be a very good thing for children being raised by those same-gender couples. And it would be good for the very same reasons cited in some of the sources references by Marc … families headed up by parents in a stable, loving relationship (regardless of the genders of the parents) provide an excellent environment for the raising of children.

      • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

        “anymore than the government discriminates against the children of single parents or divorced parents or any other parent-guardian who isn’t married”

        Absurd? Hmm….

        In the case of same-sex couples who wish to get married, who have children, here are two people who want the protection, rights, responsibilities, obligations of marriage, which would benefit their children, and the only reason they are not married already is because there is a legal ban on same-sex couples marrying – a legal ban which Marc justifies because he thinks their children are worse off than the children next door whose parents, being a mixed-sex couple, are married.

        – In the case of a single parent, there is no other half for her to marry. (Usually a her…) If she meets a man who seems right for her (and a good stepfather) she can marry. If she meets a woman who seems right for her (and a good stepmother) she can’t marry. –

        – In the case of a divorced couple, they tried marriage and it didn’t work out. Providing each of them then enter a mixed-sex relationship post-divorce, there is no legal ban on either of them marrying again. –

        – If the mixed-sex parents could but do not wish to marry, then they are making the decision for themselves – no one is imposing it on them. –

        Now I’ve asked and asked Marc to justify why he thinks the children of the same-sex couple deserve to be discriminated against because he thinks their parents are inferior. He won’t answer. He hasn’t “corrected” any error of mine – he just won’t say. Other people have brought up this question too. They haven’t been answered either.

        Getting angry and calling this question “absurd” and “twisted” doesn’t take away the basic fact of the situation. Marc can’t justify it because he knows he’s wrong. The only solution other people have come up with, aside from insulting me, has been to argue that these children just shouldn’t exist at all. Which is kind of final, but not acceptable….

        • Tally Marx

          But the single mom ISN’T married. The divorced parents AREN’T married. Two parents in a stable relationship and yet aren’t married, AREN’T married. So, their kids are being discriminated against just because their parents–either by choice or random fate–aren’t married. That isn’t the kids fault, so why are they being discriminated against?

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            Marc is arguing that these children SHOULD be discriminated against, because he’s arguing that these children’s parents should not be ALLOWED to get married. That’s my point.

          • Tally Marx

            And I’m saying it is inconsistent. If it isn’t discrimination against the children of unmarried heterosexuals, why would it be so against the children of unmarried homosexuals? If heterosexual parents not being married doesn’t have some terrible adverse affect against the children, if they aren’t being deprived, then why would it be so with homosexual parents? I think you’ve latched onto “the children” arbitrarily. Legal marriage doesn’t make a relationship any more stable, and if that’s what kids need, then legal marriage doesn’t benefit them. It isn’t about the kids, it’s about the parents. If it was all about the kids, then single parents would have the rights of married ones for the sake of the children.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            “If it isn’t discrimination against the children of unmarried heterosexuals, why would it be so against the children of unmarried homosexuals? ”

            Oh, I hadn’t followed that! Are you saying then that Marc thinks unmarried mixed-sex couples with children shouldn’t be allowed to marry, because they’re not fit to be parents? Have to say I didn’t get THAT out of Marc’s posts on this topic.

            “If heterosexual parents not being married doesn’t have some terrible adverse affect against the children, if they aren’t being deprived”

            So your argument is that marriage is just unimportant – it makes absolutely no difference to the children of the couple whether their parents are married or unmarried? Have to say I didn’t get THAT out of Marc’s posts on the topic either.

            I’m thinking basically you’re raising up your own arguments on the issue – your belief that marriage is unimportant and so it basically makes no difference if a couple are married or unmarried – but this is not Marc’s argument, and the comments to which you were responding were in answer to Marc’s thesis, which is very much divergent from yours.

          • Tally Marx

            You apparently don’t get much argument. As far as I can tell, Marc is saying the ideal environment for kids is a stable, loving relationship between two biological parents of opposite sexes. Simultaneously, legal marriage assumes and encourages the existence of children. So why encourage parenthood in a less-than-ideal situation? That’s what I got out of his post. No one seems to be arguing that legal marriage is some sort of magical ointment that will give a relationship stability and love (which is what kids need).

          • Tally Marx

            Please note that if these comments get much thinner I won’t be able to read them, so if I disappear from this conversation, that’s why…

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            There is a solution to this, which I am about to demonstrate in another comment.

      • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

        “He is not discriminating against the children of same-sex-couples anymore than the government discriminates against the children of single parents or divorced parents or any other parent-guardian who isn’t married. ”

        Incorrect, and we’ve established this below. You have now moved goalposts, and are trying to claim that marriage makes no difference at all to any child – married parents, unmarried parents. That’s kind of veering offtopic, and I guess we can just both acknowledge you lost the argument at that point.

        I note however that Marc has consistently, and with considerable cowardice, declined to answer for himself why he thinks the children of same-sex couples deserve to be discriminated against.

      • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

        “You apparently don’t get much argument. As far as I can tell, Marc is saying the ideal environment for kids is a stable, loving relationship between two biological parents of opposite sexes.”

        Well, that’s part of what he’s saying, yes. And though he’s entirely wrong about having any valid research to prove his ideas about ideal environment, other commenters have dealt with his folly in taking social science strictly from anti-gay hate sites: my intent was to accept this statement for the sake of argument, and try to get Marc to discuss why he thinks this is any rationale for legally banning same-sex couples from marriage.

        ” Simultaneously, legal marriage assumes and encourages the existence of children.”

        Well, he’s wrong about that, of course. Legal marriage makes no reference to children. Marriage is entirely legal for mixed-sex couples where the man’s had a vasectomy and the woman’s past the menopause, just to take one example.

        ” So why encourage parenthood in a less-than-ideal situation? ”

        If that’s what Marc meant – that same-sex couples ought to be discouraged from parenthood by being banned from marriage – he is an utterly and completely foolish person, isn’t he? Same-sex couples have become parents together in states all over the US, regardless of whether they can marry or not. That’s been true for decades, if not for centuries. Same-sex parents predate legal marriage or even legal civil unions for same-sex couples by a long way. You don’t “discourage parenthood” by denying couples the legal right to marry: all that you accomplish by denying couples the legal right to marry is unmarried parents.

        “That’s what I got out of his post. ”

        Possibly you’re right, and Marc really is that silly.

        “No one seems to be arguing that legal marriage is some sort of magical ointment that will give a relationship stability and love”

        Absolutely not. But legal marriage does give couples legal responsibilities, obligations, and rights, which in general only benefit their children, if they have them. Marc is arguing that because same-sex couples are inferior parents, their children shouldn’t have those benefits.

        (which is what kids need).

        Glad to have you acknowledge that all of Marc’s trumpeting about how kids need heterosexual parents is a crock of crap.

        • Tally Marx

          Heterosexual couples who can’t have kids can get married, yes. But as you pointed out, marriage (with its rights and obligations that generally only benefit children) is to promote an environment for children. They can’t have kids, but were they to, it would be the “ideal environment”. So the ideal environment is still promoted. Not promoting doesn’t necessarily mean discouraging; it simply means not promoting. Marc is saying that instead of promoting less-than-ideal parenting situations, let’s promote the ideal (the ideal being that which you admitted for the sake of argument). He is saying that kids of homosexuals are automatically deprived (of the ideal environment) and we shouldn’t promote that. Since you have admitted the ideal–even if only for the sake of argument–he could turn around and say that *you* are *promoting* the deprivation of *more* children. Which would put you both on equal footing. And if he had the time, he might even press the point that no matter how you slice it kids with unmarried parents of any stripe are deprived by your standards, and as you don’t seem to be concerned with the children of unmarried heterosexuals being deprived, you are being biased for the sake of being argumentative. Either way, I think you’ve misrepresented him and his intent.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            “But as you pointed out, marriage (with its rights and obligations that generally only benefit children) is to promote an environment for children. ”

            As you noted yourself: children need stability and love.

            “Marc is saying that instead of promoting less-than-ideal parenting situations, let’s promote the ideal ”

            So you think Marc sees marriage not as you do, to promote an environment for children, but as a form of advertising? Same-sex couples can’t be allowed to marry, because Marc thinks they’re inferior parents, and so Marc thinks they advertise the wrong message to the general public. Marc is indifferent to whether they’re promoting an environment for children, because Marc thinks advertising is what marriage is all about.

            You know it would probably be a lot easier for you if Marc, rather than diving into a hole and letting others try to figure out what he might have meant, would actually explain for himself why he wants the children of same-sex couples discriminated against. It’s his blog. He should be able to write at least one post justifying his indifference/hostility to the children of same-sex couples, instead of letting others try to invent excuses for him.

            “Since you have admitted the ideal–even if only for the sake of argument–he could turn around and say that *you* are *promoting* the deprivation of *more* children. ”

            Only if you’re right in your interpretation of Marc’s argument, which is that marriage is in no way directly about providing a good environment for children, but only about advertising that environment. I don’t accept that, not even for the sake of argument. For me marriage is about two real people, who have a real relationship. The notion that the state of their relationship and any children they may have don’t matter because they only exist in Marc’s world as advertising models, is something I think you have just invented, and in any case something I fail to see why anyone who really cares about people should accept, since if Marc were making that argument he would be admitting that he doesn’t actually care about any children – to this fictional-Marc you’ve invented, families aren’t real, they’re just billboards.

            Which makes you the chief misreprentator of Marc’s views here – unless Marc condescends to come back and save you and agree that families are just advertising posters to him.

            “And if he had the time”

            Well, he’s got the time to write a foolish post about atheism and science: so I’m thinking he just hasn’t got the moral courage.

            “he might even press the point that no matter how you slice it kids with unmarried parents of any stripe are deprived by your standards, and as you don’t seem to be concerned with the children of unmarried heterosexuals being deprived”

            Oh, now you’re moving goalposts again. Sign of a losing argument. I am not advocating that unmarried parents who wish to marry in order to provide a loving and stable environment for their children should be legally banned from marriage. That’s Marc’s position. He has yet to justify – lacking the courage of his convictions – why those children deserve, in his view, to be discriminated against.

          • Tally Marx

            “So you think Marc sees marriage not as you do, to promote an environment for children, but as a form of advertising? Marc is indifferent to whether they are promoting an environment for children, because Marc thinks advertising is what marriage is all about”
            -I really don’t know where this misunderstanding arose.  Skipping the fact that I never used the word “advertise”…  Where in there did I ever imply that it doesn’t matter about the children’s environment?  It’s all about the children’s environment.  “Governments recognize the institution of marriage as the primary institution responsible for the creation and raising of its society’s members.” -Marc
            The ideal environment would be termed “marriage” by the government and is promoted exactly by being termed such.  Legal marriage points to this ideal environment and holds it up as the ideal; ie, “encourages” and “promotes” it.  This both directly provides it (since it is sanctioned/protected) and promotes it (it’s sanctioned, so it must be the desirable ideal, right?).  I think you are still stuck on the magic ointment legal marriage, though, that is going to somehow inexplicably make relationships ideal child-rearing environments.  Sounds more like a Sacrament to me…  As for goal posts… Marc didn’t mention a thing about legal marriage and *accompanying rights* benefitting kids.  The above post was about *two parents of opposite sexes in a stable relationship* benefitting kids.  That this was the point is glaringly obvious:  “the second question must be: Can children be raised just as well by two members of the same sex as by a biological father and mother?” -Marc
            You moved the goal posts first.

            Mark doesn’t have the time to respond to every comment.  I can say that with surety.  You overlook the numerous other comments Marc did respond to.  And you might think your awesome mighty self and brilliant comments rate above the upkeep of his blog, but naturally you would.  I responded because I had nothing better to do and thought I could clear up your confusion.  It’s become apparent that you haven’t even read the above post or my comments so I give up.  I’m sorry.
            “The notion that the state of their relationship and any children they may have don’t matter…” 
            -But I don’t even know where to begin rehabilitating our communication.  That said, good bye.  I hope you can read it through again and understand it after a bit of reflection.  But I don’t have the time or writing skills to explain clearer than I have. I sincerely apologize for having to leave you in such a state, but I really have no choice.  Bye!

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            ” Where in there did I ever imply that it doesn’t matter about the children’s environment? ”

            When you claimed that it doesn’t matter that the children of same-sex couples are receiving stability and love, because the same-sex couple & their children aren’t “promoting” – ie, providing an advertisement – of what Marc thinks is the “ideal” environment: you’re offering a link from Marc’s premise that becsause same-sex couples are inferior parents therefore they’re not entitled to marriage, and your “link” is this idea that it doesn’t matter what environment the children live in, so long as the couple are advertising the “ideal” that Marc approves of.,

            But families are real people, not billboards for Marc’s advertisements.

            “It’s all about the children’s environment. “Governments recognize the institution of marriage as the primary institution responsible for the creation and raising of its society’s members.””

            Yes. Therefore, same-sex couples should obviously not be banned from marriage.

            Unless, of course, you just don’t care about the children of same-sex couples. As Marc evidently doesn’t. And lacks the moral courage to defend his attack on those children.

            Contrary to your rather confused final declaration, I have read and understood every comment you’ve made. That you can’t cope with this discussion and keep trying to run off in different directions is pretty much what I expect from bigots.

          • Tally Marx

            No, dear; I said that the children of same sex couples by default are being deprived, just in a different way than you think matters.  For the sake of argument, you admitted the ideal.  The question would be, then, should the government sanction the ideal or the less-than-ideal?  Kids are being deprived of the best environment.  Should we accept that, settle for less, and then give them (or, rather, their parents) a few legal rights in compensation?  Or should we encourage the ideal for the sake of future children?  Which is the lesser of two evils?  Which is truer to the purpose of marriage?  We know what you would say and we know what Marc would say and it would have to end here because as long as anyone who disagrees with you is a bigot, there can’t be a discussion. My ending was not confused.  You have victim-mentality glasses on which do not allow you to see any sort of reason in the comments of others; I’m fine with explaining but when you insist on reading in things that aren’t there and say that everyone who disagrees with you is somehow a bigot and therefore somehow incorrect, I can only go so far.  For the record, Marc answered you already in another thread with the same thought process I’m giving you now.  Just because it wasn’t the answer you wanted to hear, doesn’t mean he didn’t answer.  Peace!  

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            Sweetie-pie, now you’re just being silly, and repeating old fascist arguments much-refuted. Let’s go. Bye-bye, petal!

  • Anonymous

    Great argument against gay parenting, but somehow I fail to see the argument against gay marriage. Unless, of course, gay marriage somehow automatically leads to children and I could see how that could potentially be a problem, but what of the gays who just want to get married and don’t feel like raising kids?

    • http://twitter.com/nomtweetshate NOM Tweets Hate

      It’s a good argument requiring anyone that becomes pregnant to get (and stay) married. It’s not a good argument for banning gay people from marriage at all.

      It’s interesting that the writer claims to be un-emotional about the issue, but spent a good 20 hours researching propaganda from officially designated anti-gay hate groups.

    • Anonymous

      I think you are right that the article makes a good argument against gay parenting (or single parent adoption for that matter) but does not make a comprehensive argument against redefining marriage in general. Here’s an article that discusses the massive expansion of state power attendant to a redefinition of marriage:


  • Anonymous

    I did a tl;dr on all but a few of these comments. The ones I read fell victim to:

    a) Anecdotal fallacy
    b) Ad hominem attacks
    c) Lack of ad literam criticism

    Most, however, were convoluted and confusing. I could not understand what anyone’s point was. I apologize to those of you who had legitimate arguments.

    • The Loyal Opposition

      Amen. Clearly, too many people skipped the Lion King video at the beginning of the post.

  • guest

    I’m a psychology graduate school and this issue interests me often. I came across an article not too long ago from England whose results actually reflected that children raised in a lesbian household performed much better in school due to the increased amount of fantasy play and other amounts of stimulating activity in their childhoods. I’d say that’s a pretty good argument that being gay doesn’t make your child any less successful…

  • Lemon

    The question that I have, is that if every study is not 100% perfect for whatever reason, is it not rational to think that there could be flaw in everything been said in every post by any person on the internet, a computer, a piece of paper, or in a filing cabinet? Do we find what is truth by polling people or by what actually helps a community? Do we find answers by emotions or by facts? when we can’t find facts do we make opinions? when someone opposes our opinions do we not try to defend our own?

    No matter which way we look at this, everyone is a human person, but by being a human person does not validate their reasoning to be acceptable. our personal preference of what studies to site, what poles to read, whether we read one sid,e the other or both, we still try to use the misconception that “conscience” is and individual element of a person. When broken down to the original meaning conscience means “knowledge with others” does that mean that when a group of persons change their idea of what is right and wrong, then we change the conscience standards? or does it simply mean a group of people are going against their conscience? even then it’s not that easy, because we form our conscience based on the “knowledge with others” that we have access to.

    By not taking in all the knowledge and forming our conscience with all relevant information (by relevant I mean all aspects of who people are, emotional, spiritual, psychological, mental, etc.) then we fail to inform our conscience well in respect to the initial meaning of what Conscience is and what it actually still is. To disregard oneself as a spiritual person is to disregard the supernatural elements (love and other things that cannot be measured in weight, amount, height, and other natural ways) thus meaning that marriage does not matter in the first place if it is soley about love and commitment. Then there must be more and then creates the problem of finding whatb that more is, and continuing on an everlasting train ride to the white light that when we get there we find either, we were right, or we were terribly terribly wrong.

    I do enjoy how many of these posts actually can be linked into previous posts, the topic of relativism oozes it’s way out of the words and the arguments posted below. Thanks for these it’s a great read!

  • Josh

    The larger point I find the article raises is what form of parental relationship offers the greatest value to children. If I am to believe that your quoted statistics are correct–statistics I find that are underwhelming at best–and the stable heterosexual married couples make the best parents, at what point does this imply the gay couples are the worst thing to happen to parenting since the use of parental violence as a form of child discipline?

    Based on the studies presented when compared against various forms of existing parental arrangements, did any of your studies suggest the gay parents were the worst thing that could happen to children. Maybe based on the data, straight parents are the best thing for children, but that does not support the premise that gay marriage should not be allowed. Gay parents have and can be shown to offer a better parental environment than various types of straight parents. Various forms of parental arrangements exist due to choice or circumstance and it is impossible to expect the world to function as an ideal. Some couples have children that did not plan on, some relationships deteriorate, and some families are struct by tragedy and from this many less than ideal parental situations arise. Single parents, foster care, adoption, are examples of parental situations that can be considered less than ideal, but I fail to see how the continued ban on gay marriage reduces the incidence of these forms of parenting.

    I understand that based on the premise of the best then one can reason that gay parents may then prove inferior, but that does not explain why they should not be allowed to marry. That may rationalize your position on gay parenting, but not marriage. As someone who has attended several weddings for varying faiths, not once can I recall the couple standing up there taking a vow to have children, to raise them to the best of their ability and to provide the most stable and loving environment for their children they can provide. The couple makes a life long vow to each other and to remain committed to the other person.

  • http://twitter.com/guolaosi Euphoric Participant

    I’m not looking to parrot too many of the points that have already been made to decimate your argument, but it’s astoundingly clear that you are working backwards from your conclusion and you are too biased to make an accurate value judgement on the situation.

    …Which is a deeply personal issue for many people that profoundly affects their lives, all the while not affecting your life in the slightest…. Perhaps it would be time for you to leave these nice people alone and stop contributing to the culture of oppression.

  • Amnuay

    Read more of the comments than I did of the article… An article to add to the debate.
    “What is Marriage” by Sherrif Girgis, Robert George, and Ryan T. Anderson

  • http://twitter.com/thirdfencepost Veronica Ripp

    Marc, I borrowed liberally from the links on this post so I thought I should share my resulting post with you… Thanks! http://listeningforthewhisper.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/why/

  • Xxhiphopdancerxx13

    If you are saying that children who come from single-parented families, cohabitation and divorced families are that much more likely to drop out of school and lead terrible lives, then you try to compare it to gay marriage, are we supposed to make all of the above illegal? Why don’t we all just look at the facts here and realize that the reason people do not want gay marriage legalized is more based on their faith rather than these supposed “facts” and arguments you posted. Once you people start admitting what your true motives are, then maybe people will have a little more respect for your opinions.

    • Dan


      Sorry to disappoint but faith is not the reason Catholics are against same sex marriage. You should ask “what is the universal meaning for the word marriage?”, for example, when I asked I got this reply “a union between a man and a woman” then I asked “what is the point of an official union between a man and a woman?” the point of attempting to get the man and woman in union in law is to ensure that they take seriously the responsibility of raising a child, and research has shown that the quality of life experienced in a home with loving biological person leads to a happy a well-balanced person and family.

      Note that my second question was not an opinion, but a question based in the answer. If I had asked then “why is it a union between a man and a woman?” then a very similar response is arrived at.

      If we got a different first reply “A union between two people” we might follow up with “what’s the point of an official union between two people?” now as far as I can tell the follow up here is something along the lines of “because they love each other” there might be more, please add, but then I would ask “what’s the point in unifying two people together because they love each other?” As far as I can tell there is no answer to this question.

      So in the end we come to the conclusion that the first response makes sense and the second confuses. Hopefully you have seen that there is more rational behind the Catholic mind set than you originally



  • John Smith

    Might I ask: What difference does it make if same-sex couples are married? There’ll be just as many same-sex parents whether they’re legally considered husband and hasband or wife and wife. Basically, the legal term ‘marriage’ does not affect whether there are children with same-sex parents

    • N. Mara Czarnecki

      It makes a huge difference. Did you not read the article?

  • Anonymous

    No, it is not a bad idea. It is their happiness and joy. They want to be married of the same sex. I understand their position and feel in their shoes. Cause I am also gay. Anyway. I support gay marriage.

  • Paul Pitner

    What are the implications of the identity issues on adopted children? It seems your arguments against invitro imply that adopted children also would have these problems.

    • Dan

      Mr Pitner,

      That is true, which is why the best case scenario is not to conceive
      a child unless one intends upon keeping it. The “your hearts were
      hard” quotation from Jesus springs to mind when we one says adoption is
      better. Ultimately a child has a fundamental right to its mother and father,
      the real ones, the biological ones. The mother is obligated to care for the
      child as soon as it is conceived and so is the father. If they do not then they
      are in the wrong. Think of this, when did the responsibly for Mary begin as
      mother? When she said “yes”. And so when we have sex we say yes to
      having a child, and that yes is faithful and uncompromising.

      Just on the topic of Gay marriage, in light of what I’ve
      just outlined, if a couple cannot even perform the act of sex (defined
      correctly) then they cannot say “yes”. There is thus no need to
      create the legally binding eternal vow to raise children, as no children can be
      conceived. If a couple are incapable of creating children yet have the ability
      to say “yes” I don’t see how that is contrary. They say
      “yes” to life but life was not given, this happens all the time,
      though saddening


  • Excelsior

    Children have unalienable natural human rights.
    Among them is the absolute right to know the identities of, and initiate contact with, their biological father and mother.

    Also among them is the right to be fathered by their biological father, and to be mothered by their biological mother, and to be familied by their biological family: Mother, Father, siblings if any, aunts and uncles if any, cousins if any, grandparents if living.

    Accidents happen, and if through death or disease a child is deprived of his right to be fathered or mothered by his father or mother, that is a tragedy but not a crime.

    But if an adult willfully and knowingly takes action which prevents a child from being mothered by his mother or fathered by his father, then that adult commits a prosecutable crime: He or she violates that child’s unalienable natural human rights. It is not merely a civil rights issue, but a human rights issue.

    It follows from this that conceiving a child in such a way that their biological parentage is unknowable is a crime, and ought to be prosecuted.

    And, likewise, adopting a child with no intent to provide for both the fathering and mothering of the child is criminal. Failing to provide the child with siblings if possible is depriving them of a great blessing as well, although there can be prudential reasons to justify it.

    The above is the context in which the state incentivization of — and I wish to be quite precise, here — relationships centered around same-sex mutual masturbation must be considered.

    It is a civil right for any two persons, be they sex partners, law partners, or tennis partners, to make one another heirs, or to grant one another power of attorney, or to share living space.

    But marriage as a civil institution denotes childrearing. And as same-sex mutual masturbation is an intrinsically sterile act, the only children which can be reared by persons invested in exclusive pursuit of same-sex romances are those who are being deprived of either mothering or fathering; which is to say, those whose human rights are being violated.

    It is therefore precisely contrary to state interest to incentivize such partnerships by incorporating them under the heading of marriage. There is indeed a compelling state interest to disincentivize such partnerships in the case of persons who already have guardianship of a minor child.

  • linzzey

    The gender essentialism here is unbelievable

  • http://swt.encyclomundi.org/ shackra sislock

    A guy in YouTube thinks that your sources aren’t satisfying anything at all. I don’t agree, so, I’ll put here what he say about the studies cited by Marc Barners and why he disagree, if someone want to reply to his objections, go ahead:

    1) Hi, thanks for the comprehensive comment. I reviewed the gist of your
    literature and find it unhelpful. Concerning your Witherspoon article,
    which you state to be your foremost reference (didn’t work as a URL for
    me, had to find it elsewhere), I don’t agree with it’s tenuous findings
    on gay marriage harms. It states that “the larger empirical literature”
    suggests children are better off with opposite-sex parents. The
    American Psychological, Psychiatric, and Pediatric institutes.

    2); the Canadian Psychological Institute; and the Australian
    Psychological Institute all agree that same and opposite-sex couples are
    as fit to rear children as each other. In fact, the review of the
    literature by the CPA (as well as various amici brief) also suggests
    that children are better off in a legally recognized union. So that
    conclusion is just plainly against the facts on your article (especially
    since it only cited one article to support the point).

    3) Your article argues that allowing same-sex marriage would undercut
    the responsibility of men to care for their children. There’s no
    evidence or support for that cited, and it’s pure speculation. They then
    argue that sexual promiscuity rates are higher among civil unions. A
    three-year follow up on the study they cite indicates in fact that
    same-sex unions were more likely to have ended by that time, but that
    they were also better relationships (less conflict, more intimacy, etc.)

    4) It does NOT state that the gay couples were more promiscuous. It also
    intuitively makes sense that civil unions would end more often than
    marriages, since they’re not even legally recognized and are incredibly
    burdensome (cannot be transferred across states, no federal tax
    benefits, etc.). Finally, your article says that countries with
    legalized same-sex marriage don’t have replacement birth rates, but this
    is true with most developed Western countries, so that is misleading
    and irrelevant.

    5) Thanks for the thoughtful reply. However, I am not imagining things. Discrimination is very serious.


  • VeryRight

    marriage should obviously be between a man and a woman.

  • lesa

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  • Nicholas Escalona

    Your discussion of sexual differences is good, and I realize the value of pointing out biochemical links to testosterone and oxytocin, but that is really the weakest part of the whole argument. Despite our modern trust in empiriometric science, that’s the one most likely to be shown false (or very limited) in the near future. The evidence of biochemistry is helpful rhetorically, but far more reliable is the evidence of our experience of healthy sexual dynamics in society, which does stand alone, without help, and is FAR more universal.

  • N. Mara Czarnecki

    From what I saw on Facebook, I thought that you had made that disgusting chart going around (since the link to that chart is http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/badcatholic/files/2012/08/215418_506716659357792_714776259_n.jpeg). You may want to deal with whoever spread that chart in your name in the first place, because to have them spread that kind of shamefulness in your name is not good.

  • tomo

    The touchy thing about this issue is that there is no one argument or even set of arguments that can decide it, and that is because marriage has such enormous pre-political baggage. It is not simply an institution that ensures children are fed, housed, clothed, schooled, entertained, or even loved; it is an institution that makes a profound responsibility out of sex and respects biological ties as uniquely important. The very ideal of permanence in marriage flows from the fact that the children created by a man and a woman–and all children are–will always bind that man and woman, regardless of divorce or whatever. Marriage is also about the idea that it is good, for reasons both quantifiable and symbolic, for children to have a mother and a father. This does not mean at all that other family arrangements cannot do a lot of good; that would be bad logic. But it does mean that a mother and a father will always matter, whether a child has them in their lives or not, and to deny this may be unkind. It would be uncharitable to say to a child: “you don’t have father (or mother), but that does not matter; people don’t need one. A generic Parent will do, two will make it easier, three might even be better” I just can’t believe that will ever be true. Human beings are deeply symbolic creatures. How many adults, gay or not, would say that it would have been all the same if they had had been raised by two men or two women? To retain marriage as an institution between a man and a woman is to recognize a certain non-fungible good in keeping the lines of filiation intact, and in providing children with both gender figures in their life. Parents and children in alternative family situations should absolutely be supported, both socially and legally, this does not have to become an issue of discriminating and discouraging people in such situations. It just means recognizing that not everything is the same, nor is it always best to pretend it is. That is how I feel about it, at any rate.

  • T

    There’s a lot of variables you didn’t take notice of… Hard to give you any credit