Legalizing gay marriage wouldn’t affect traditional marriage

There are no good arguments for denying homosexuals the right to a civil (non-religious) marriage. But of all the arguments that opponents make, perhaps the most ridiculous is this: If gays are allowed to marry, heterosexual marriage will be weakened.

How, exactly, does that work?

Despite the utter illogic of the argument, a nationally-known, so-called expert on marriage — David Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute for American Values — testified in California’s Supreme Court yesterday in a case challenging a law that prohibits same-sex marriage.

Opponents of same-sex marriage in California rolled out their star witness Tuesday, an author and advocate who predicted that allowing gays and lesbians to wed would discourage heterosexual marriage and might lead to legalized polygamy.

Extending marital rights to couples who cannot conceive children would change marriage from “a child-based public institution to an adult-centered private institution” and “weaken the role of marriage generally in society,” David Blankenhorn testified at a trial in San Francisco federal court on the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Blankenhorn, the trial’s last scheduled witness, said he believes “leading scholars” share his view that same-sex marriage would weaken heterosexuals’ respect for the institution and accelerate a half-century-old trend of increased cohabitation and rising divorce rates.

But under cross-examination by a lawyer for two same-sex couples, Blankenhorn was unable to cite any supporting statements or evidence for that conclusion from the scholars he relied on for his testimony, though he said he was sure some of them would agree with him.

Though I’m divorced, I’m a fan of the institution of marriage because of the benefits it delivers to those in good ones, including better health and financial security. However, I know perfectly well why marriage has been under pressure in the Western world for decades — reasons that have nothing to do with gay and lesbian couples.

For most of human history, marriage has been an institution that resolves economic problems and property rights — conferring economic benefits to a wife and property heirs to the husband. (And please don’t tell me that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. If the Bible story is literally true, who did Cain marry?) As any student of ancient history — or the Old Testament — knows perfectly well, the traditional marriage didn’t involve one woman. It involved as many as the man could afford to take care of.

Down through the ages, marriage has evolved as society has evolved. In the Western world, where women can control their reproduction and work at jobs that give them financial security, it has evolved into an institution that couples rely on for mutual support and fulfillment. That’s a high bar, which helps explain why roughly half of marriages end in divorce.

That will not change when gays and lesbians are allowed to marry. They should have that right under the law. No church that opposes gay marriage would be forced to perform one, but churches that do perform gay marriages, like mine, should do so and have them recognized. (Marriage is a civil rite as well as a religious one. Couples get married everyday at courthouses and city halls around the country.)

768 comments Add your comment

Gridlock

June 18th, 2010
9:12 am

Peadawg, when your argument is so flaccid and untenable due to sheer ignorance, nobody cares about your opinion.

Scout

June 18th, 2010
9:12 am

Sam (The Cool 1 );

But he did say “Hey, Ceeeesco – wait for meee” !

itpdude

June 18th, 2010
9:13 am

Marriage has traditionally defined as between a man and a woman. That is the tradition mankind had adhered to for centuries, with or without a religious ceremony. Also, we’ve defined a person with a penis as a man and a person with a vagina as a woman. Many of the same people who want gay marriage are people who instruct others to “question gender.”

It’s a bridge too far.

However, I do think gays should have access to civil unions that legally confer all the same rights as marriage except for the word marriage; a word that is steeped in centuries old tradition. Why not fight for civil unions instead of marriage?

Peadawg

June 18th, 2010
9:13 am

Kamchak:
“No.”

Why?

“False comparisons.”

How?

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
9:15 am

Ahhh… the slippery slope ….. If you allow homosexuals to get married, FEAR what may happen next. Sounds like, if you allow INTERRACIAL marriage, FEAR…. If you set slaves free FEAR… If we can’t waterboard, FEAR…. If we have healthcare, FEAR…. same old broken record, same old nonjustification. FEAR everything that may change. Its a wonder some of these people get out of bed.

Peadawg

June 18th, 2010
9:16 am

“I don’t give a fat rat’s @ss what you think”

Not had your coffee yet? Didn’t sleep well?

The Nerve

June 18th, 2010
9:16 am

I had to go outside and look….yep, pigs are flying. I agree with CT. And it hurts.

HDB

June 18th, 2010
9:18 am

If we suscribe to being a nation of LAWS….then let’s examine these:

1) By LAW, any contract entered into in one state must be recognized in ALL states….
2) Any marriage entered into in one state must be recognized in ALL states
3) By TREATY….any contract entered into in any nation this nation recognizes must be honored….

Article 1, Section IV AND the 14th Amendment (”Equal Protection Clause”) are the issues that make this issue a non-issue. If this is a nation of LAWS, the law should be upheld. Since gay marriage is legal in ONE state (I know, it’s more…but!!), it’s de facto legal in ALL states. All gay people are asking for is the same constitutional protections that marriage affords ANY married couple; that should NOT be a problem!!!

gale

June 18th, 2010
9:19 am

itpdude: see my 8:25. A civil union does not confer the legal weight of marriage. That is why.

Mike

June 18th, 2010
9:20 am

Coming from your liberal pen, this doesn’t surprise me.

Chris

June 18th, 2010
9:20 am

Marriage is something done by Man/Woman couples. Gays should get the same rights, but need their own ceremony and bond. Two men or two women don’t make a marriage. A man and a woman do. Call it garriage or something, but don’t take a sacred ceremony and bond away and change its definition for those who honor it and have lived by it for centuries.

Again, gays deserve the same rights. Don’t get me wrong. Just make up a gay set of sacred traditions and ceremonies. Don’t hijack something sacred and make demands. It wouldn’t make sense to suddenly call the sky a mountain would it? It’s just as senseless to say that two men or two women are married.

Two men = garried
Two women = garried
One man and one woman = married

Now go get your equal rights and benefits.

Joe

June 18th, 2010
9:21 am

That’s your opinion Tucker as the heading of your morning spew states. I don’t want my child growing up in a nation or state for that matter that rewards deviant behavior. Homosexuals cannot conceive and therefore it is unnatural. When you show me two men or two women that can actually have a baby without intervention I will agree with you. Until then I will resoundingly reject the notion that homo marriage would be good for our democracy. The voters have spoken and time after time it has been rejected. If only for unelected activist judges would we even have this travesty forced upon us in 5 states plus D.C.

lourdes

June 18th, 2010
9:22 am

I think the government should reclassify all marriages whether hetero or homo as civil unions. Let’s leave discrimination where it thrives in the pews of organized religion, give unto the self-righteous ownership of the term ‘marriage’ defined by their flawed,bigoted religions.

Chris

June 18th, 2010
9:22 am

I agree 100% with itpdude.

Chris

June 18th, 2010
9:23 am

I agree 100% with Joe too.

Gridlock

June 18th, 2010
9:23 am

“Homosexuals cannot conceive and therefore it is unnatural. ”

Infertile couples can’t either, is that unnatural either? How about the elderly? What if they get married? They’re unable to procreate as well.

Are civil rights to be granted based purely on who can pop out a kid? Stupid.

The Nerve

June 18th, 2010
9:24 am

“Garried”…..that’s funny. Good one.

gale

June 18th, 2010
9:24 am

HDB : “1) By LAW, any contract entered into in one state must be recognized in ALL states…”

Not so in many cases.

whatchu say?

June 18th, 2010
9:25 am

I just read the Eminem is completly for gay marriage stating, “everyone should be equally miserable.” LOL

Robert F. Hmailton

June 18th, 2010
9:25 am

When you review human history and customs, no matter where in the world you look or the millenia, marriage has served one purpose: the orderly transfer of wealth from one generation to the next, or from one group of people to another. It’s certainly not because of procreation: you don’t have to be married to have children. You don’t have to have sex even in order to be married–e.g. marriages between the elderly or the sterile or the physically disabled. No, the validity of marriage is for the ordlerlly transfer of wealth and power. Only.

When viewed this way, denial of marriage based on color, or religion or sexual preference is counter-productive to human experience and need.

Kamchak

June 18th, 2010
9:28 am

Why?

Taboos against incest are genetic oriented.
Taboos against polygamy are recent in history, and in my mind along the lines of—one spouse is enough to identify my faults, so why do I wanna hear it from more than one. Maybe this has to do with women being regarded as people and not chattel.

“False comparisons.”

How?

Homosexuality does not equal incest or polygamy—your disgust ain’t got nothing to do with it. I find creamed spinach disgusting, but I would never dream of equating it to human sexuality.

Michael

June 18th, 2010
9:28 am

Gridlock……you’re right on! Very well stated your point and I couldn’t agree more. Thank-you!

Chris

June 18th, 2010
9:28 am

Maybe from now on there should be no term “man” or “woman.” Maybe from now on we can just remove all meaning and definition from everything, stop working and let the government give us what we need to live.

Marcos

June 18th, 2010
9:29 am

The far right has done a great job spewing all sorts of lies about gay marriage. NO CHURCH WOULD EVER BE FORCED TO CONDUCT A GAY MARRIAGE IF THEY DID NOT WANT TO! There are plenty of churches that welcome LGBT people and would love to have them married in their sanctuaries. Just as there are plenty of churches that do not like gay people and would not welcome them. NO LAW can change that. And gay Americans are NOT asking that be done. Also, the notion that brother and sisters could marry or someone could marry their dog is a joke. If you believe that you are terribly ignorant. Gay people marrying will mean NOTHING to the straight community. Those of you who despise gays (as is evidenced by your comments here) have nothing to worry about since you obviously avoid gay people you will not be invited to the wedding or required to send a gift.

Scout

June 18th, 2010
9:29 am

Cynthia:

Since you mentioned your church’s policy, I’ll add this:

1) If you bothered to read my 8:59 post you realize Jesus did not include more than one woman. There are many other passages where he talked about “one man and one woman.” If you will study even more passages it was the “hardness of the hearts” that got them into polygamy. Always against God’s will.

2) The Israelites in the O.T. ignored God’s Word and were constantly falling into idolatry and judgement.

3) Some Christian churches/denominations in the N.T. ignore God’s Word and the fall into apostacy.

4) We were warned of this: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” II Timothy 4:3

Van Jones

June 18th, 2010
9:29 am

Discrimination against gays in this regard stirs echoes of interracial marriage and the bigotry that comes with unacceptance.

Aquagirl

June 18th, 2010
9:30 am

Anti-gay marriage attorney to Judge: “you don’t have to have evidence!”

Pretty much sums up their whole argument.

AmVet

June 18th, 2010
9:30 am

Homophobia much cons?

You hopelessly and changelessly stuck in the past Republican conservatives corporatists went absolutely crazy when Slick Willie implemented the brilliant DADT. Then you went absolutely crazy over the Uppity Muslim pending repeal of it in favor of a more current mindset.

No worries, modern day McCarthyites. An enlightened American people who view your irrational intolerance and blind hatred for what it is are moving ahead without you and your abysmal and irrelevant Southern Baptist Convention…

TGT

June 18th, 2010
9:31 am

The fact that there would not be significant change in our culture if the definition of marriage is changed is nonsense, and even some supporters of gay marriage have recognized this.

In December of 2005 The Becket Fund, a nonprofit institute dedicated to protecting freedom of religion, held a conference to discuss the legal ramifications of same-sex marriage. Ten of the nation’s top First Amendment scholars, liberal, conservative, and moderate, were brought in to present their views of same-sex marriage and the likely outcomes if it is legalized. As a result of the conference a series of papers was published.

The conference focused on four topics: Can the government force religious institutions to recognize same-sex unions? Can the government withhold benefits, such as tax exemption, from religious institutions that refuse to recognize same-sex unions? How will freedom of religion arguments fare against legal same-sex marriage? What are the effects on biblical (traditional) marriage?
Mark Stern, general counsel for the liberal leaning American Jewish Congress and a supporter of gay marriage, writes in his paper, “No one seriously believes that clergy will be forced, or even asked, to perform marriages that are anathema to them. Same-sex marriage would, however, work a sea change in American law. That change will reverberate across the legal and religious landscape in some ways that are today unpredictable.” According to Peter Steinfels, writing for The New York Times, what Mr. Stern has in mind are “schools, health care centers, social service agencies, summer camps, homeless shelters, nursing homes, orphanages, retreat houses, community centers, athletic programs and private businesses or services that operate by religious standards, like kosher caterers and marriage counselors.”

If you think this is far reaching, consider what recently happened in Massachusetts, the only U.S. state, at the time, to legally recognize same-sex marriage. Catholic Charities of Boston is one of the nation’s oldest adoption agencies. It recently announced it was getting out of the adoption business. What was the reason? Catholic Charities refused to place children with same-sex couples. With Massachusetts now recognizing same-sex marriage, the charity found itself on the wrong side of the law. With Massachusetts requiring a state license to operate an adoption agency, Catholic Charities was forced to compromise their beliefs or get out of the business. They chose the latter.

George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley, also a supporter of gay marriage, in his Becket paper noted that, “As states accept same-sex marriage and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, conflicts will grow between the government and discriminatory organizations. There will be many religious-based organizations that will refuse to hire individuals who are homosexual or members of a same-sex marriage. If those individuals are holding a state license of marriage or civil union, it will result in a discriminatory act that was not only based on sexual orientation, but a lawful state status.”

Doug Kmiec, professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University, and an opponent of gay marriage, participated in the Becket conference and wrote, “Were federal equal protection or substantive due process to be construed to require states to license same-sex marriage, those who have profound moral or religious objection to the social affirmation of homosexual conduct would be argued to be the out-liers of civil society.” Therefore, he argues that churches could be targeted for legal penalties and disadvantages as were universities that participated in racial discrimination decades ago.

He adds that, “This is hardly a far-fetched (idea), as apparently one of the main aspirations of the homosexual movement is retaliation against the defenders of traditional marriage.”

Van Jones

June 18th, 2010
9:32 am

I AM A COMMUNIST

gale

June 18th, 2010
9:32 am

Enter your comments here

bromack

June 18th, 2010
9:32 am

Yeah…. and after this, now we can legalize polygamy….

VVD

June 18th, 2010
9:32 am

You do realize this is ALL about semantics. Straight people can go to the courthouse to get their “civil union” in front of a judge and guess what? It is called a “marriage.” So gay people can go to the judge and get their “civil union” and there is NO LAW IN THE WORLD that can keep said gay people from calling their “civil union” a “marriage.”

Chuck

June 18th, 2010
9:32 am

Scout

June 18th, 2010
9:33 am

Civil unions by government are ill advised legally.

Gay marriages by churches are blasphemy.

Kamchak

June 18th, 2010
9:33 am

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

The smoking gun is the mushroom cloud.

Soulfinger

June 18th, 2010
9:33 am

I am just against gay marriage…and homosexuality…period.

BugintheirEar

June 18th, 2010
9:33 am

Since we live in a democratic/republic where we get to vote, why not let the public vote on some of these issues of the day. Let the populace vote on healthcare, gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, I will tell you why they won’t healthcare and gay marriage would be voted down and we would have cannabis café’s in every city.

The Cynical White Boy

June 18th, 2010
9:35 am

This is one area where I differ with conservatives. If folks are crazy enough to fall in love, and to marry, let them do so.

As for those dear people who would argue that we are “destroying the institution of marriage….well…

“Straight” people such as myself have already done enough to destroy the instituion of marriage thank you very much.

bromack

June 18th, 2010
9:35 am

Yeah…… and now
after all the shy young boys find out how much of a headache women really are,
they can start going out on dates with…. and perhaps marry their “best buddies,” instead.

Tom

June 18th, 2010
9:36 am

Scout @ 8:59 perfectly summarizes the one and only justification for opposing same-sex marriage: religious wackaloonery.

VVD

June 18th, 2010
9:36 am

Wow Soulfinger.. you’re against homosexuality? Why not be against squirrels? Or Trucks? Or any other tangible thing. Besides… you know what they say about those who hate homosexuals… they hate what they know about themselves and cannot change. So are you gay and just can’t deal with it?

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
9:36 am

Scout….. Lest you forget…there is a thing in the Constitution about the separation of church and state. We’re talking about a legal right to marriage and to the legal benefits (and non-benefits) of marriage. Despite the best efforts to confuse church and state, this about equal protection under the law.

Peadawg

June 18th, 2010
9:37 am

“one spouse is enough to identify my faults, so why do I wanna hear it from more than one.”

But that’s your opinion. Maybe others want to hear from more than one. You’re discriminating against people who want more than 1 wife/husband.

“Homosexuality does not equal incest or polygamy”

I still don’t see the difference. You didn’t explained why you think they are different…just some stupid nonsense about spinach.

VVD

June 18th, 2010
9:37 am

Bugintheear… so why did we not get to vote on interracial marriage? It was forced on us by the courts.

cjamesatl

June 18th, 2010
9:37 am

Cynthia, thank you for pointing out loud and clear that many people still look erroneously to their churches for historical facts – facts that are twisted to suit their own selfish belief system.

Today, ’straight’ marriage has become an institute of some frivolity – marry, divorce, marry, divorce at will and whenever. To me, a same-sex marriage is a marriage that is long fought for, and is a marriage that is overwhelming wanted between two same-sex people. I equate this with adopting a child. When a child is adopted, I know one thing for sure – that child is a WANTED child, not some child that just happens along the way, just because.

ctucker

June 18th, 2010
9:38 am

Cynical White Boy, Yes, straight people have. As a divorcee, I include myself in that number.

lourdes

June 18th, 2010
9:38 am

We need to ban divorce in order to protect the sanctity of marriage.

bromack

June 18th, 2010
9:38 am

Yeah…. lets do it the democratic way and submit it “all” to a national vote…. marijuana, gay marriage, healthcare..

Won’t happen…. why,

because our national leaders know the american public will be against all of it…thats why all the sleazebags use the court system….

ctucker

June 18th, 2010
9:38 am

BugintheirEar, I’m so glad I didn’t have to depend on a popular vote to end Jim Crow