The Marriage Issue: It’s About the Kids

I’ve been fasting from creating new blog posts throughout Lent to focus on other writing and pursuits. It’s been a productive, healthy break, but an issue has come up now that I feel important enough to merit breaking my fast a few days early.

It surrounds a topic that will be discussed today before the U.S. Supreme Court: California’s Proposition 8 (the ban on redefining marriage) and arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for federal government benefits.

There are many words that could help complete the picture of what is at stake, but a real visual is worth a thousand of them.

This…is what’s at stake:

Namely, marriage as we have known it throughout many ages, cultures, societies and religions; marriage as it is in truth — the union of one man and one woman and any children born from that union.

We are, through these decisions, facing the possible demise of the only civil institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers. And most of us are completely unaware of this fact.

Many erroneously believe it is about something else — adoption or homosexual unions or who is most fit to parent or who has the greatest capacity to love, or any number of related topics. But it is not. It is about the possible ending of the only civil institution that unites kids with their moms and dads.

And that’s serious; serious enough for me to come out of the closet of safety and say, “Take another look at this issue. Let’s have a discussion. Let’s talk respectfully, if you feel you can.” This is important. Our richest treasure and resource — our children — stand to lose if we don’t wake up.

Back in November I first broached the topic after reading a booklet that had come across my desk. You can read about that here.

The book I introduced, “Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue,”  by Bill May would be worth the brief read. In simple, clear terms it educates and offers tools.

Everyone, I would hope, can at least agree on this: the family in our society is in crisis.

Consider just a few related statistics:

  • 71 percent of poor families with children are unmarried.
  • A child is 11 times more likely to be abused in a home with a mother and boyfriend, and 4 times more likely in one that includes a co-habitating mother and father, compared to those who live in a home with both a mother and father.
  • In fatherless homes, children are twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime, treated for emotional and behavioral problems, and suspended or expelled from school.

Our children are paying the price, as will their children next.

So the question is, can we afford to eliminate the only civil institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers?

I have heard this issue being referred to as a civil rights or human rights issue, and I would agree. But marriage isn’t the right of anyone. Children, however, have a right to be brought up in a marriage between their mother and father. Children are not rights, either. They are gifts.

As Roger Scruton said in his essay from “The Meaning of Marriage,” “Take away marriage and you expose children to the risk of coming into the world as strangers, untutored by fathers or abandoned by mothers; a condition of abandonment in which they may remain for the rest of their lives.”

Are we ready for that kind of world? We’re already close. But there’s still time to wake up and make the right choice; the choice for the common good of all.

I know I’ve been awaken. I hope others will be, too.

May God be with us we look at the reality of this issue, and the consequences of possibly redefining marriage in the coming days, and may light prevail over all men and women of good will.


54 thoughts on “The Marriage Issue: It’s About the Kids”

  1. so if the supreme court bans gay marriage, then What? Do you think the gays will all become straight and marry the opposite sex? Do you think they will all just go away and leave you alone? What do you think will happen?
    They will continue to act in the way that God made them, or do you suppose that God made a mistake?
    If the supreme court allows gay marriage then what? Will you be force to get a divorce and marry a woman? Will my family fall apart? Will my son’s turn gay? Your message makes no sense. The statistics that you quote all happened under the current system of not allowing gay marriage. How will keeping the status quo change your statistics? What are you looking for in your life that you can’t find unless you control who other people can love? Please reconsider your position. You honestly don’t believe that two gay people who love each other shouldn’t be allowed to visit one another if one is facing a serious health risk?
    I don’t believe that a church should be forced to marry two gay peolpe, but marriage is not just a religious institution, it is also a civil institution complete with a state issued license and state granted powers that are not available to un-married couples.

    1. Hi Greg.Thanks for reading my post and for stopping by with your thoughts. If the Supreme Court redefines marriage, I don’t know that any of the scenarios you proposed would happen. What will happen is that the only civil institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers will have been eliminated. Marriage will become simply an institution to unite two adults (or more, as is happening in some countries…and why not?) for their own needs. And children will no longer be part of that picture and will be more vulnerable than ever. That’s not something I’d like to see. Instead, we need to keep with the definition that has been with us for ages, through many different cultures and societies and religions, for a two-fold purpose – to unite a man and a woman and any children born from that union. The cell of society. We all come into this world this way: through one man and one woman. We must do everything we can to continue to support that unit, from which all of society springs. We have failed in supporting it adequately thus far. And you can see the results. I quoted a few dire statistics; there are many more, and both conservative and liberal sociologists and health professionals have proposed a strengthening of marriage, and children being born into a home bound through a mother and father, it has been proven they fair best in this situation. I don’t mean to be mean-spirited at all, but your response seems irrational and emotional to me. Perhaps you will reconsider what’s at stake.

      1. Nobody’s going to stop children from being with their mothers and fathers, for crying out loud.

        You are so ignorant about this that is makes me want to hurl things at my computer.

    2. Greg, I forgot to mention this. You said something about gay people not being allowed to visit one another if one is facing a serious health risk. Did you know federal regulations went into effect in 2011 that require hospitals to permit patients to designate selected individuals to have the same rights and privileges as family members? So that’s a moot point.

  2. Your comments and statistics miss the point of this conversation. Your statistics citing the results of bad marriages and bad parents actually support the concept of marriage of two people who are committed to each other, who love each other, no matter their sexual orientation.
    I take it your child hasn’t come to you and said” I am gay, who loves their partner and wants to be with them the rest of their life” but why would your child come to you when their loving mother would answer with the answer ” you are less a person to marry, you don’t deserve the same rights of straight people, you would never be a good parent, and has a mother who doesn’t love her child for who they are. But you know what I have! I have faced the choice of loving my child unconditionally for who they are and I can promise you I will fight for my child to have the same rights as you and I. My child who is gay has the highest character, loves god more than anyone I know and would be the best parent a kid could have. Go back and rethink your position with the perspective of a loving parent who has a gay child, I imagine you will see the issue different, ask Rob Portman, Dick Cheney and me. Oh and by the way my thoughts are not emotional or irrational they are reality. I am writing here to debate your position, only to voice mine.
    thoughts from good parents!!!!!

    1. Hi John, the parenting journey certainly is not an easy one. I think each parent has had to grapple with learning to love his or her child even with the challenges they bring our way. I would never advocate not loving a child because of their sexual orientation. God loves us all, and we are called to love one another in the same manner, and certainly, there is no greater love than parent for child, except for God for us. I’m glad that you have embraced your child despite the difficult issues that have arisen. I can sympathize for you and see the commonality we have in facing tough issues in our parenting. But I actually don’t see it as loving to sanction something that was never meant to be sanctioned. That does not mean I don’t think homosexual people do not deserve to love and be loved. That’s another thing entirely. I’m sure we’re on the same page there! But marriage was designed/instituted to be for the union of a man and woman and any children born from that union. Homosexuals cannot produce children. They are allowed, however, under current law, to adopt children. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I wish you well in your parenting journey. It isn’t an easy gig! :)

    2. Your comment is indeed emotional, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The bad thing is that you are letting your very understandable affection for your child drive out rational discussion. Rob Portman and many others have done the same thing, so at least you’re in numerous company, I guess.

      You write of loving your child unconditionally for who he is. But to love a child, do you have to approve everything he chooses to do? Did you do so while he was growing up? Of course not. That style of parenting is disastrous for the child. Unless your son’s behaviour was perfect from infancy to adulthood (and as a parent myself, I’m not ready to concede that!), you must have kept on loving him, often, in spite of some things he chose to do.

      But in this case, you’ve decided that his other virtues make his homosexual orientation virtuous, too. You then leap from your personal approval to insisting that the coercive power of government must be used to force everyone else to share your approval. A foundational institution of society has to be redefined so that your son can have what he wants. Is that fair?

      An analogy will help to answer that question. Suppose your son was a nearly perfect human being, but couldn’t carry a tune to save his life. He comes to you one day and reveals that his innermost feelings tell him that he really, really, REALLY wants to be an opera singer. Would you insist that the whole world change its definition of music — scales, harmony, the whole nine yards — so you could see your son fulfill himself in public? Would you force the Metropolitan to cast him in “Rigoletto?” Would you shame your neighbors into buying tickets and applauding?

      I don’t think you would. You would lovingly but firmly tell him, “Son, you need to rethink that ambition.”

  3. Weren’t marriages arranged and women sold off for a dowery in Biblical times? Seems like that has evolved and redefined what marriage is compared to today. Your response to the previous poster says her responses seem irrational and emotional. I would beg to say the same for yours. Marriage isn’t going out the window if gays can get married. It’s a fear tactic sprung forth by those against gay marriage backed with zero facts. Your bullet points in your blog post nothing in regards to gay marriage, just points against broken homes. Why don’t you put your energy into fixing that instead of denying equal rights to American citizens, something our Constitution says we are all entitled to.

    1. Hi Bryan. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, we have evolved, but our families are in crisis at the moment. Redefining marriage won’t help that, it will only hurt it, because marriage is the only institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers, and eliminating that as we know it will only cause a continued downhill spiral, because children will become even more vulnerable. You challenge me to put my energy into fixing marriage, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do by sharing this perspective, which is from the standpoint of the children. I realize it’s different, and probably new to you, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Keeping the traditional definition is the first step, but there are many more that must follow to protect our future, and I will continue to do what I can from my small corner of the world. I hope you will as well. We all want the same thing — strong families, healthy, productive people, love not hate.

  4. Also, would like to point out the hypocrisy of someone calling someone’s points emotional when they use a picture of a family as their main “Gotcha!” moment. That picture is used as an emotional plea to people. “There will be no more of these if gays get married!” That seems a bit emotional, right? I mean it’s definitely not a factual point or statement, meant to be emotional…. Pot, meet kettle.

  5. So your opinions and emotional pleas are rational and logical just because and dissenting opinions misguided and irrational.

    The arrogance here in that and other statements you have made is astounding.

    1. No, Brian. If you read Roxane’s post with care, you’ll see that reason and evidence come first. The photo does indeed have emotional impact, but she doesn’t appeal to it as proof. Instead, she uses it as a shorthand way to communicate the vital importance of the defense of authentic marriage: a man, a woman, and a child who comes from their union.

  6. Well written and thought out article. I’ve read through some of the comments and feel that the people commenting and the writer are coming from two different places (talking apples and oranges) and that makes it hard to understand what’s at stake. First, there are rights on the line with the Supreme Court decision, but it’s not as the media and the majority of society portray the issue. What is really at stake is the ONLY institution that makes a mother and father irreplaceable to each other and any children that come from that union. Not even the UN would deny that a child has an unequivocal right to a mother and father. If we know this to be true, and you would not purposely deny children from growing up in the ideal with their biological mom and dad, then it becomes easy to see the TWO conflicting definitions of marriage: either 1) marriage is 2 consenting adults coming together for their own personal benefit, or 2) marriage is an institution that unites a mother and father to each and any children that are born from that union for the benefit of children and society. We can’t have both definitions because they are in conflict, and supporting one means you are denying the other. To compare the best of something (i.e., in the above examples same-sex parenting), to the worst of something (marriages in crisis, or bad parents) is not intellectually honest, and far from the “reason and logic” the commenters claim to want. The issue is not same-sex parenting, or even hetero parenting, I think we can agree that there are the best and worst of situations in each scenario. The issue here is do children have a constitutional right to know and be cared for by their mothers and fathers the extent possible? Do adult-centric rights supercede the rights of children? Now, I know it’s been said, and it’ll come again, the argument: “Divorce did more to hurt marriage than redefining it will”. I agree. Divorce – no-fault divorce – was very harmful to marriage and families. We are living with its effects now. More children growing up in poverty. Depression at the highest levels. Fatherless homes leading to incarceration, youth suicide, etc. (not just the writer’s statistics, but facts from United States government). So if we see that marriage breakdown has made society decline, why would we enshrine into law a redefinition of marriage that continues to break down the family? There are real examples of states that have redefined marriage and how it affected parenting rights, adoption rights, religious rights. It’s not just some made-up “boogey man” story. I know it’s hard for many to separate the emotional aspect of the argument because you are living the issue, or someone you know is living the issue, but in reality we are all living the issue, and we have to just get down to the core of the issue – can we agree to put our children’s rights to know their mother and father above our adult-centric ideas? There’s a lot more to say on the issue, of course, but as the writer said, how can we not examine just that part of the discussion? How can we not pause and find out if there’s truth there beyond what we’ve heard in the media? How can we not cosider the idea that maybe people that oppose redefining marriage aren’t homophobes or bigots, but people that care about children, families, and society? If we’re talking intellectual honesty and logic, then you must consider the other side and whose rights you are infringing on when you redefine marriage.

    1. Thanks Samantha! I appreciate your ability to use respectful language and tone, not to mention reason. I’ll probably borrow a few of your well-stated lines for the discussion I’m having over on my Facebook page. Peace be with you!

  7. Once again the “stupid” argument is presented as having any merit. You’re saying all kids with straight parents are well adjusted? The real issue is equality… no more, no less. Implying that kids will somehow be negatively affected by gay marriage is just another way of hiding bigotry.
    If you were really concerned about kids and keeping them united with their mothers and fathers, you’d start with the high divorce rate in this country. Do you think we should outlaw divorce? Do you think we should deny benefits to those that are divorced? You want to keep the family together right?
    You’re a fraud.

    1. Craig, name-calling isn’t very attractive, but thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Can you try to do it more respectfully, though? Thanks! I actually didn’t say, nor did I mean to, that all kids with straight parents are well-adjusted. That’s irrational, and meant to deflect from what I am saying, which is that if we redefine marriage, we will eliminate the only civil institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers. Is that something you want to happen? Can you answer that for me first? Then we can tackle the other topics if relevant.

    2. Craig, I’ll confront your questions and ideas in order. (1) No, neither Roxane nor any other sensible person would assert that all kids with straight parents are well-adjusted. She didn’t.

      (2) If the real issue is “equality,” you ought to explain exactly what things you think are equal.

      (3) Implying that kids will somehow be negatively affected by being raised by homosexual persons (which is what you mean by “gay marriage”) isn’t an irrational concern, and it certainly isn’t a sign of veiled “bigotry.” It’s an appropriately cautious response to a radical proposal. Psychological research in the past century has made a very strong case that children get distinct and different developmental benefits from their male and female parents. In the face of the recent demand that “gay marriage” be normalized, it’s only reasonable to ask for clear and conclusive proof (not a list of anecdotes) that two male or two female persons who are sexually involved with each other can provide those same distinctive benefits to the children in their household.

      (4) You’re right, everyone ought to be working to reduce the divorce rate, in no small part because of divorce’s usually disastrous effect on kids. No argument there. The trouble is, you start with the rhetorical bludgeon “If you were really concerned about kids…”. Impugning Roxane’s honesty isn’t an argument; it’s a lame attempt to discredit her in the eyes of other readers. Do you really think she doesn’t care about kids? In that case, she needn’t write on this contentious topic from a point of view that draws vicious fire from people like you.

      (5) Outlawing divorce: I can’t speak for Roxane, but personally, I wouldn’t outlaw it; but I would make it as hard as it used to be fifty years ago. That is, it ought to be necessary to prove certain serious failings on the part of the other spouse; it ought not to be merely a matter of “We both agree we’re tired of each other.” The latter no-fault attitude toward marriage really marked a huge devaluation of marriage itself — yet it, too, was urged as an overdue liberation from traditional (and therefore old-fashioned) marriage practices.

      Come to think of it, if gays wanted to score enormous points for their side, they should first agitate for the abolition of no-fault divorce laws; then, once that is accomplished, they could say with some credibility, “See, we take marriage even more seriously than you straight people do.” But I doubt they will, because that’s not the goal.

      (6) Divorced spouses being denied benefits? Oh, horrors! You mean that if my wife divorces me, I can’t continue to get all those juicy perks through her employer forever? Bummer!

      (7) Your conclusion “You’re a fraud” is an insult, and has no part in a rational discussion. Clean up your act, because with manners like that, you’re doing your side no good at all.

      1. Bob, thank you so much for bringing reason and grace back to the discussion. I will be out of commission until later this evening, but hope to be back later to answer any questions that have come up and not gotten a response. Peace be with you all!


    Getting the Marriage Conversation Right by William B. May

    This book is an excellent resource for explaining the definition of marriage, being an institution that unites children with their parents, ultimately holding society together. It’s very concise, less than 100 pages, and shows those on both sides the correct (and non-religious reasoning) for limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

  9. So we should move to ban marriage from prisoners, elderly and inferte people? Cause that’s the only thing I can get out of your arguments that marriage exists solely for children. Those types if people ate inly marrying for their iwn self interests so why do we allow it?

    And Roxanne, I really resent the fact that anyone who doesn’t agree with you doesn’t have any reason or isn’t respectful. I was merely pointing out the obvious hypocrisies you made. You can’t deny I was right in the points I made, both before and within this very post. But of course I don’t agree with you so I am coming from an unreasonable, unintelligent point of view.

  10. Haha wow, typing this from my phone excuse the typos.

    But seriously, can someone address my concern for marriage for elderly, imprisoned, and the infertile? Legitimate question for those of you sayin it’s all about the children, nothing else. Why should they be allowed to marry for “their own self interests”?

  11. Hi Bryan. I never said, nor do I believe, that marriage exists solely for the purpose of children. Marriage has a twofold purpose, as seen in this true definition of marriage: Marriage unites a man and woman with each other and any children born from their union. Do you see the two parts? Unfortunately, the two parts cannot be separated out, and one part eliminated, without severe consequences; namely, the loss of the rights of the children.

    Let me ask you this. Do we need an institution that unites kids with their moms and dads? Yes or no? If no, then why not?

  12. I went to a Catholic grade school. Received and studied all the sacraments. Gay marriage wasn’t an issue then. Never, NOT ONCE, were children ever mentioned when talking about the sacrament of marriage and what it stood for. Now all the sudden it’s about children. Seems a bit fishy to me.

    As far as your question goes, no, I don’t think we need an institution for that. You make it seem like if people don’t get married they don’t get their kids. Unreasonable. Make marriage mean something. You have people like Liz Taylor with her 10 or so marriages, Britney Spears with her 72-hour marriage, rampant divorce…. Those are the real problems with marriage, not two gay men who want to enjoy the benefits, both emotional and fiscal, that come with getting married. You want to fix those statistics you posted in the article? Teach kids about safe sex. Abstinence obviously doesn’t work. Penalize divorce. There are so many other NON discriminatory ways to do this that don’t tread on people’s right to live a happy life.

    1. Bryan, children will be even more vulnerable and at risk than they already are if your vision stands. Standing for the human rights of children is not discriminatory that I can see. It’s loving them and looking out for their best interest.

  13. Should also mention that banning same sex marriage doesn’t fix ANY of those problems you mentioned or even start to fix them. Those problems are going to exist with or without gay marriage.

    1. Strengthening marriage will help reverse the downward spiral. One way we can strengthen it is to uphold the traditional definition of it. That’s the first step. Then work like crazy on all of the other things you mentioned. But first things first…

  14. Thank you for taking my side, Bob. I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy that someone else’s points were simply emotional(Roxanne’s words) while hers weren’t. She was playing on emotion not fact and I don’t think she should jump on and criticize others for doing the same.

    1. Not so fast, Bryan! I said that Roxane’s use of the photo was illustrative of a rational argument she made; the writing she criticized was trying to make emotion *take the place of* reason. Don’t worry, if I take your side about something, I’ll tell you so.

      And while I’m at it: If you think a person’s being inconsistent, say THAT. Don’t accuse them of “hypocrisy,” which is intentional deception. You argue like a schoolyard bully.

      1. Thanks Bryan. I’m definitely not trying to deceive anyone. I’m trying to illuminate a perspective that hasn’t gotten enough play but is based in reality and truth.

  15. Wow, I have thought about the point of gay marriage often, but have yet to take the side of the children. I see so many educated people stoop to name calling to get “their” point across.

    A couple things I would like to point out first are:
    I am a mother (of almost 12years)
    I am married (of almost 7years)

    Now if you an do math in your head you will see I was only 18 when I had my baby. I was a senior in HS. I was a statistic and dropped out. I also did not get married until my son was 5 years old.

    You are probably asking yourself why I felt the need to say that. Well, rewind to 1950’s. I would have “disappeared” one day. My family would say something along the lines of “I went to visit an aunt or other such relative”. Actually I would be sent away to have an abortion or have my baby at a group home or convent. They would help my by placing my baby up for adoption.

    Again why is this important? Because just 60 years ago I would not have had a say in what happened to me or my baby. Thankfully I did have my son and I kept him. I was always with his father. We did not have an on again off again relationship. As far as marriage went , We waited until we were ready for a commitment to each other not to our son. We committed to him the day we found out he was coming.

    Our families did not force us to get married for the sake of our “baby”. They knew we as his parents were doing what we knew was best for him. As I’m sure you are doing for your child/ren.

    I understand your point of marriage being between a man and a woman or the creation of children and to have those children live with both mother and father. But what about the mothers and mothers or the fathers and fathers who are taking in these other children that are given away and in some countries sent down the river to die. They may not be producing their own Children but they are giving these unwanted Children a loving home that shows them people who truly care about each other can overcome obstacles. That just because the they have 2 moms or 2 dads doesn’t make them worthless it makes them loved just like your child feels. And the value that these people are going to teach their “adopted” children will match the values you will teach yours and I will teach mine. They arenjot going to start breeding kids to be gay or try banning people from having children. They just want the same benefits that we receive. I don’t think that is too much to ask for.

    1. Hi Bre! I was with you, and feeling compassion and wanting to encourage you, and also feeling proud of you for having your child despite it being a difficult situation. But you lost me on the final paragraph, just after the “But”…these are all moot points. I am in favor for adoption for children who are unwanted, and ideally, adoption by a mother and father united in marriage whenever possible, for the child’s best interest. I realize there are other scenarios as well. Children have a right to a mother and father though, if not their own, then another mother and father who, through being united in marriage, have already begun to provide a stability that can not be offered through other means. And oh, no, a child being raised by a homosexual is not worthless. Where did you think I would say such a thing? Nor are the parents raising them. Each person is of infinite value and irreplaceable.

  16. Yes, having an institution in the law that unites kids with their moms and dads is a matter of social justice because it is in the common interest of every child without exception to the extent possible to know and to be raised by their biological parents. While there are many benefits of marriage, this is the sole reason marriage has been recognized as a reality by every culture, society and religion- each in their own way.
    While a same sex couple may deeply love each other and desire to have an institution that memorializes their love, what is the public interest in doing so? The only public interest in marriage is the fact that children can come from the sexual union of a man and a woman.

    If marriage were redefined to accomodate the private interest of some adults, under the concept of marriage equality, committed relationships between same sex and opposite sex couples would have to be publicly recognized as equal in value to society. Promoting alternative families where children are intentionally or unintentionally deprived of their mother or father as equal in value is an injustice to children. Children are gifts from God…not objects of use for the benefit of adults.

    1. That’s well expressed, Annette.

      As I study the statements of those who want to redefine marriage, I find very little mention of contributing to the public good, or strengthening any truly public interest. What I do find, however, is expression of a hunger for public acceptance and approval, and a willingness to harness the power of the state to get it. Justice Kennedy (quoted in this morning’s edition of the San Jose Mercury News) remarked yesterday: “There are some 40,000 children in California … [ellipsis in the original] that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status.”

      1. Hi Bob, yesterday I also had quite a discussion on my Facebook page. Many tried to “call me out” on my views on homosexuals, perhaps trying to find bigotry, and also my religious views, since they know I’m Catholic and were hinting, I think, that this was tainting the discussion (though they played the religious card, I did not; it’s not necessary for this discussion). As I thought about those remarks, I thought about what seems to be underlying much of this. Actually it came from my daughter, who questioned why homosexuals are pressing so hard on marriage since no one is saying they can’t love each other. I really feel like, at bottom of it all, is a need for acceptance. And here’s where my religion will come into it. The only place we’ll ever find full acceptance and full unconditional love is from God. We can offer it to one another, but it is incomplete. It is from God that we find our resting place and hope. Sort of off the initial point but that underlying motivation question drove me to ask it in turn.

  17. Do you know what hypocrisy really means, Bob? I’ll save you the time of looking it up with a simple copy and paste :: a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not.

    Now how can you argue that Roxane is not a hypocrite? She uses emotional arguments(not facts) and also a picture showing us “this is what we stand to lose” but then accuses someone else’s opinions of being “irrational and emotional.” Is that not being hypocritical?!? Am I missing something here?!?

    Reread her article. It’s against single parent homes, not gay marriage. I don’t see what her argument is at all against gay marriage. there isnt a single one in the article. Marriage is still going to exist. My marriage to my wife and our future children are not cheapened or threatened in any way by two men who love each other being granted basic civil rights in the next town. All you are doing is fear mongering, essentially saying “It’s the beginning of the end!” If gays get married. And THAT is irrational.

    I guess in the long run I know I’ll be happy with what I support. I’ll be able to tell my children that I was on the side of people who helped end slavery, people who helped women earn the right to vote, helped desegregate schools and communities. I am on the side of people who thought it was ok for a black woman to marry a white man and for gay men and women to serve their country proudly and openly. I know I’ll be on the right side of history eventually. Too bad you can’t say the same.

    1. I accept your definition of hypocrisy. I gather it’s from Webster, since it’s exactly the same as what I find in my Webster’s 3rd Collegiate dictionary.

      The difficulty is that you haven’t carried the full burden of proof implied in this definition. You take up part of it — unsuccessfully, I think — in asserting that Roxane has used an appeal to emotion while criticizing emotional appeals made by opponents. I’ve pointed out how her use of emotional appeal differs in at least one important way from those she criticizes, but I see that we still disagree on this point.

      The burden of proof which you have not taken up, however, is implied by the word “feigned” in the definition. You must prove that Roxane not only made a mistake, but that she made it consciously and with a desire to deceive.

      Your eagerness to hang the word “hypocrisy” on Roxane — instead of pointing out, respectfully, what appears to you to be a double standard or inconsistency — provides an example of a very unattractive trait often found in the Marriage Redefinition movement: one’s enemies must not only be called wrong; they must be called evil. Vilify your enemy sufficiently, and some people will stop listening to her.

      It’s an old rhetorical trick, and can be very effective when done well. But a trick it remains.(For an eloquent example, go read Marc Antony’s funeral speech in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”).

      In order to meet the full burden of proof required by the definition you yourself have chosen, you have to explain how you got inside Roxane’s mind and found out that she knew she was applying a double standard and only pretended to deplore emotional appeals — that is, that she “feigned.” Until you do that, you can argue as long as you like that she was being inconsistent (which we don’t concede), but you can’t justify using the vilifying word “hypocrisy.”

      It’s just good manners, really. Argue hard, but argue cleanly, and without rancor toward your opponent.

  18. But I know, Roxane, I’m not being reasonable because I don’t support your side of the argument. I guess I’ll have to concede that. I’m just an irrational, unreasonable, illogical schoolyard bully fighting for the little guy.

  19. Who is the little guy, Bryan? I’d say the littlest guy is the child. I apologize if by noting what seemed like very emotional responses (you were name-calling after all) you took offense.

  20. Thank you so much for your clear, reasoned defense of marriage as it has always been understood. Everyone needs to know the
    dire consequences of redefining marriage so that it no longer protects the legitimate, but offen trampled-upon natural rights of children.
    As you point out, the best family arrangement for
    children is lifelong marriage between one man and one woman. When children are deprived of this common good, heroic people can step up to help. But to intentionally deprive a child of his biological mother or father without a grave reason is a violence against the child and harms both the child and society in general.

  21. Actually I never stated you said a child was worthless. What I was saying is a child who is given up for adoption or raised by non biological parent/s often feels they are worthless at some point in their life. Having a family that takes them in and loves them and wants them puts them in the best possible situation to succee in life. Wouldn’t you agree?

    But then again the Supreme Court is not looking to define children as products or possessions of a marriage. They are looking at the fact that in a legal copacity we are discriminating against homosexuals in the fact they are not legally recognized under the law as married for benefits. Federal benefits are being denied these couples. If one partner is not working. I.e a stay at home mom/dad. They can not receive benefits like a spouse would from most employers. Granted there are a few that do allow you to add a partner. But they are few and far between.
    We can not discriminate against them when hiring or admitting them into schools so why can we deny them the federal benefits IF their state recognizes them as being married.

    I looked up the definition of marriage in the merriam/Webster dictionary and it simply states

    Main Entry: mar·riage
    Pronunciation: \ˈmer-ij, ˈma-rij\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry
    Date: 14th century
    1 a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage b : the mutual of married persons : wedlock c : the whereby individuals are joined in a marriage 2 : an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is ; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities 3 : an intimate or close union

    While it does state man and woman (what they are reviewing in court) it does not have your additional explanation of children. Would you please include where you got the definition?

  22. Hi again, Bre. To your first paragraph, yes, I’d agree. As for the definition, it didn’t come from a dictionary, but from one of two definitions currently being considered as it relates to public policy.

    The two are:

    1. Marriage is the public recognition of a committed relationship between a man and a woman (or two adults) for their fulfillment.

    2. Marriage unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union.

    Those are the two definitions being proposed in the public discourse over the civil recognition of marriage. The second one is the true definition, the one that has been with us throughout history, in all cultures, religions, societies. The first is the one being considered as the new definition. And it would be very new. Never before have we questioned traditional marriage and its merits as now.

    The thing is, we can only choose one. There can’t be two definitions. My question then, is, which of the two better serves the public interest? Please be honest about this. Are you okay eliminating the only institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers? Despite your personal story, if you had a choice to be united with your own parents, and to know them, even through their imperfections, would you? Of course there are always exceptions, but by and large there is an innate need within us to know our parents and for our bond with them to not be severed.

  23. I understand that this has become the new mechanism for defending marriage out there, but its flaws are rather numerous (and yes, I am repeating some of the ones from earlier in this thread):

    1. The statistics you cite are supportive of the notion that kids do best when there are two parents, the question of whether it is better to have explicitly a mother and father is covered in other studies (which actually cover your question), thus as has been pointed out before your statistics actually support gay marriage, which leads us to

    2. Your article (and most of the arguments made out there) are hand-waving when it comes to this argument — kids do best when there are two parents, but do they do better with a mother and a father rather than a mother/mother or father/father is never answered. Some of the early peer-reviewed studies suggested that heterosexual parents were somewhat preferable to homosexual parents, but many of these had the problem that such kids were facing repercussions from the prejudice faced by their parents, but as homosexual prejudice has subsided newer studies don’t support these findings. In fact, as has been shown in several peer-reviewed studies, it appears that Lesbian couples may be slightly better as parents than heterosexual couples (see, for example, So, if as acceptance of homosexuality becomes more universal if we find that lesbian couples raise better adjusted kids would that mean we (as the government) should change things to favor lesbian couples??? Yes, I understand that sounds absurd, but that’s the point of holding up a mirror to prejudice, to see how ugly it can be.

    3. You suggest some notion of “traditional” marriage. Of course, the very notion is a fiction. Marriage has a fascinating and complex history (you may want to read Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage). Marriage predates organized religion (yes, even Christianity). But for most of its history, marriage was a community recognized concept, not a legal (or even religious one). The solemnizing of marriages by religious institutions were part of recognizing the contractual part of marriage. And lets be clear, formal marriage was until very recently a CONTRACTUAL notion. It was about the man being able to demonstrate that the issue of that relationship was his and for the woman to be able to gain support. The more general notion of marriage practiced by the rest of the populace was about mutual support. The concept of Marriage For Love is a very recent phenomenon. Note that “traditional” marriage includes some things we find inappropriate nowadays, such as plural marriage (lots of biblical support). So, you need to recognize that when you talk about “traditional” marriage you are talking about a fiction.

    4. Don’t believe me on the notion of “traditional” marriage being changeable? Marriage doesn’t change, right? Well, our last big change to marriage was in 1967. In Loving v. Virginia the Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws, which prevented interracial couples from legally marrying to be unconstitutional. Marriage changes all the time. Witness the introduction of no fault divorce. Trying to defend some fictional view of what marriage is is not only backward thinking, but in all likelihood, expressing a prejudice.

    5. The argument that marriage is about helping parents to help kids is a bit curious. Most of the money benefits of having kids (deductions on Taxes, the earned income tax credit, free public schools, etc.) accrue to both parents who are married and parents who are not married. So, what are the actual marriage benefits?

    Insurance benefits: getting insurance through your spouse – oddly not that big a deal for kids, even unmarried parents can get insurance benefits for kids in almost every case, so this would seem to be strictly a prejudice against a certain type of partner.

    Benefits after death: spouses receive social security, medicare, veterans and disability benefits with respect to their spouse upon death, but again, not clear how this affects children. Again this seems to simply be a prejudice against a certain type of partner. The one clear place this might affect children is if the parent who dies is a breadwinner and did not adopt the child, in which case the child might not get the normal social security benefits of a child (which, of course, is an argument for same-sex marriage).

    Tax benefits: filing joint income tax returns (some benefit), creating family partnerships, exemptions from estate and gift taxes. Again, not clear how these directly benefit children where it wouldn’t be appropriate to do the same for same sex couples.

    Natural rights: receiving a share of your partner’s estate if they die with no will, being able to visit your partner in the intensive care and make decisions about their healthcare if they have not specified someone to make these decisions, being able to make decisions about after death examinations and burial. These are the most important to me (and a function of human dignity). I sometimes hear folks suggest that you can take care of these by doing proper planning. But why should same sex couples have to jump through hoops that heterosexual couples don’t. And what do these things have to do with children?

    6. Some people suggest that marriage is “under attack” or weakening. Certainly the numbers bear this out, but this leads me to two questions: 1) the numbers are weakening the most with respect to people who earn less, how is this the problem of homosexuals, and 2) homosexuals are trying to participate in this institution, wouldn’t this help marriage?

    These are just some of the many reasons why your argument doesn’t hold any water. And even the conservative folks are starting to say this. For example, Bill O’Reilly has had some choice words for this sort of argument.

    Come back when you have an argument that isn’t your biblical beliefs hiding behind some inappropriate window dressing.

  24. I guess I am looking through a different window than you.

    Adopted children are not denied the option of finding their biological parents. Whether they are adopted to a homosexual couple or a heterosexual couple. What they are given is a chance at a good life with people who want them. Changing the legal definition of marriage would not stop a child from finding their biological parents. It would simply allow their adoptive parents the same federal benefits that are entitled to “traditional” couples.

    If we are looking at what is not ok for children then we should look at sperm banks or egg donors. They are often times never revealed to the party who receive their “donation”. This is more to the point your blog is trying to make. A sperm/egg donor is able to have many children with no responsibility to them. They do not have a part of the potential offspring they help to produce. In your explanation you state that a child has the right to a mother and a father, but that hasn’t happened 100% of the time now, so what are we actually changing for the children? Nothing, there will still be single parents, there will still be abused children, there will still be adoptable children and children that never came to be because of abortion. What their wot be is couples who are discriminated against under the federal law.

  25. Greetings All. I had to leave the conversation to participate in Holy Week. Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts. It was a challenging discussion, but I’m glad to have had the chance to present what seems an under-discussed, though vitally important, perspective.

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