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

ATL

June 18th, 2010
10:55 am

I can’t wait for the day when this is a huge non-issue– ask most folks under 35 about Gay marriage and you will get a resounding why-not or who really cares… Two adults who love each other and are willing to commit to one another should be allowed to do what they want– yes it’s really THAT simple…

Julius

June 18th, 2010
10:55 am

Can we claim tax exemptions for our cats if we are allowed to marry?

Steve

June 18th, 2010
10:56 am

Remember a few years ago when Bishop Eddie Long had his anti-gay march in downtown Atlanta? I specifically remember thinking to myself why doesnt he stage a march against women that have children without being married or a march against men who father children and then abandon them. Or how about a march against men and women who have divorced and gotten remarried? I’ll tell you why he didnt have a march like those…..he would no longer have a congregation!!!!!

kevinbgoode

June 18th, 2010
10:56 am

I have the right to free exercise of my religion and the constitution does not say I can not do it on public lands or offices.

——————————————————————————————

And yet you would deny gays the right to practice THEIR religion by demanding that YOURS be interpreted and enforced upon the most deeply personal, intimate relationships in their lives. And you’d not only demand the laws and constitution reflect YOUR religious interpretation and YOUR church, but that you should get to VOTE on the legal rights of the gays and their religious beliefs because your “religious choice” is superior to theirs, right?

Williebkind

June 18th, 2010
10:57 am

Mr. Clean

June 18th, 2010
10:52 am
Just another way to beat the system on the backs of taxpayers huh!

bob

June 18th, 2010
10:59 am

Sudan man marries a goat
by Iva Skoch (RSS feed) on Mar 12th 2008 at 10:40AM

Nod

June 18th, 2010
10:59 am

blkwrestl your comment “Again, unless there is a minor child or if either of the gay parties are legally married to another person, the property would pass to the surviving gay partner.” is simply not true and in many states the property would revert to the family regardless of any “legal” documents between partners. Same thing for hospital visits. If the partners family is like many of the posters on this site they would deny the partners from seeing each other in the hospital. And by law they could REGARDLESS of any “legal” documents between partners. And why should gay people be denied all of the rights (tax-wise and otherwise) bestowed upon legally married couples?

If you are truly gay as you state, you are entitled to your opinion, but why would you deny other gay Americans the right to combine their lives and assets in a legal union that no family or court could tear apart? That just seems cruel.

Mike

June 18th, 2010
10:59 am

Mr. Clean, don’t think this doesn’t already happen.

Straight people get married for insurance, immigration, money, politics, and a list of other reasons that don’t have anything to do with love.

Marriage Defender, in what school do the teachers advocate their students getting married? That sounds like that Mormon separatist cult in Texas. The way the schools should handle diversity, whether gay marriage, interracial marriage, interracial adoption, whatever, is to explain that some people are different from you and it’s really none of your business if they are.

kevinbgoode

June 18th, 2010
10:59 am

Steve – Heck, I would have been impressed if they had done a march protesting the right of child sex predators to marry. But shoot – you can’t expect heterosupremacists to campaign against any of their special, individual rights.

Besides, con-artist con-servative churches view hatin’ on the gays as a big moneymaker, just as they count on fearing God as a sacred cash cow. It’s all about the fear to them and their special right to engage in fearmongering for profit.

A CONSERVATIVE

June 18th, 2010
10:59 am

According to GENESIS Ch2, verses..18–24..Marriage is instituted by GOD..Marriage is meant to be between a Man &a a woman……….Cynthia…You are going to lose even more readers with your kooky writings….outlandish liberal stand..

tired of it all

June 18th, 2010
11:00 am

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama – BEND OVER, Here comes the CHANGE!
Really? This is your defense…you either belive or not. What I am asking is a) do you find yourself breaking God’s law and overlooking it and b) if you think all rules of the bible hold true, shouldn’t we revert back to those times? I am looking for honest opinions here because I know the truth and you will not give up your steak and shrimp and bacon, but you choose to persecute others who have chosen to love.

Swede Atlanta

June 18th, 2010
11:00 am

Peadawg…..what a crock

Polygamy and incest are not the same as a marriage between two, unrelated, consenting adults.

Polygamy was and is common in some cultures. It was prevalent throughout the Old Testament. Western cultures have adopted a normative standard that marriage is indeed the union of two persons for mutual love and support. No one is suggesting that the structure of marriage be extended from two to three, four or more persons. That isn’t to say that at some point in the future conditions could be such that polygamy becomes accepted as normative. But that is not the debate here today.

Incest is not permitted because it falls within the prohibited degree of consanguinity. It is the same reason that marriage is prevented between other close relatives. In Georgia, unlike many states, you are allowed to marry a first cousin. There the issues are that any offspring run a greater risk of birth defects as well as the fact that incest usually involves domination or dominion of one in the family over another.

The issue here is to allow two, unrelated adults, the right to enter a legal institution that carries with it both the rights and responsibilities as defined.

Johnson

June 18th, 2010
11:00 am

ATL– You are allowed to do what you want. You dont have to legalize it for that to happen.

I support an end to people having to marry just to afford health care and other perks. If this was the case, gays and lesbians wouldnt be fussing so about having their “unions” legalized. If it wasnt for the financial gain, it wouldnt matter. Its not about LOVE, its about the money. And thats where its wrong.

Marriage is between a man and woman who love and cherish one another. Or it should be. That is the reason for divorce. People marry for what the other person can give them materially and not because that person is the one for them. When people start marrying for the right reason, marriage will once again be what it should.

Some People are stupid

June 18th, 2010
11:00 am

D Boy-
God also forbid pre-marital sex, and working on Sunday.Should you be preparing for hell.

Williebkind

June 18th, 2010
11:01 am

kevinbgoode

June 18th, 2010
You confusing the constitution with the Church of England! That is why the forefathers put the religious references in the document. Also, in the past a whole community could have certain customs and beliefs and one person could stand up and say that violates my righs like your are saying and the entire community has to change for that one person. Is that what you think should be done? Is that freedom. No that is tyranny by the minority.

uga_b

June 18th, 2010
11:01 am

Your analysis begs the question of why marriage is even a government issue. It is my opinion that two adults (over 18) should be able to enter into any agency relationship they choose. The government should recognize all of these contracts that confer certain preferred-status benefits to the other party. I do not think the government should be in the marriage business, but I understand why they are.

Very simply, a man-lady marriage statistically results in more productive, better educated, children that are less likey to commit crimes. Many people (probably even Cynthia) think the government should play a large role in shaping society in order to increase productivity and protect the citizenry. Therefore, the government is choosing to incentivize a desired behavior (marrying the opposite sex for child rearing purposes) via taxation and legislation.

A CONSERVATIVE

June 18th, 2010
11:02 am

Ms. Karl Marx……Next…..you will be advancing marriage between three women..or any threesome……MARRIAGE IS..WHAT IT IS….Between a man & a woman…Cyhthia…you are trying to legalize SODOMY….SODOMY………SODOMY.

kulfv

June 18th, 2010
11:02 am

kevinbegoode – you need a new church

Wow!

June 18th, 2010
11:04 am

@ tired of it all: And when the children of Israel did not obey the law, they found themselves sold into slavery. Because they would not obey, God decided that he has to help them through Grace. Therefore he sent his son to die in our place when we should be the ones for our crimes. Well, shall we sin so that grace may abound? God forbid! We are no longer under the law (those scriptures that you quoted) we are under grace. Jesus fulfilled all of that when he was nailed to the cross.

To bring it home…. it took Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and many other civil right leaders to die in our place, so that the “Jim Crow” laws of that day can be done away with.

Johnson

June 18th, 2010
11:04 am

some ppl are stupid– the real issue here is whether it is legal. Dont bring up what God forbid. Man doesnt follow Gods command all the time, that is evident by the shape the world is in. He gives man free will and a choice, you do with it what you will. He forces Himself on no one, hoping that all will turn to Him.

natalie merritt

June 18th, 2010
11:04 am

all you people are crazy

songbird

June 18th, 2010
11:05 am

We need to revoke the tax exempt status of all churches. There is absolutely not reason they should not pay taxes.

Johnson

June 18th, 2010
11:05 am

thank you for your insight on why natalie merritt

MIchael Smith

June 18th, 2010
11:06 am

Johnson asked:

If it is okay for gays to legally marry, what would hold man from marrying animal, man from marrying multiple wives, or from parent marrying child?

A parent cannot marry an underage child because the child lacks the capacity to consent to such a thing. That’s why there is a minimum marriage age.

A man cannot marry an animal because the animal, too, lacks the capacity to consent. The animal doesn’t even have the capacity to grasp the existence of a relationship like marriage. So the notion that such a marriage could have legal status is absurd.

As for polygamy, if a man and multiple, consenting, adult females wish to enter into a marriage contract that fully and clearly defines the property rights of all the parties involved, including agreements on how such property is to be disposed of in the event of divorce by one or more of the parities, then there is no reason they should be prohibited from such an arrangement and no reason why the resulting contract should not be recognized and enforced by the government.

Government should be in the business (among other things) of recognizing and enforcing valid contracts — not arbitrarily and unilaterally ruling out certain types of contracts on the basis of sexual orientation or the number of participants in the contract.

Gay marriage does not violate anyone’s rights. To the contrary, declaring that one may only marry someone of the opposite sex is a violation of individual rights based purely on sexual orientation. But rights are universal and equal — they are NOT a function of sexual orientation.

Legalize gay marriage — it is the only rational, just and proper course of action.

Johnson

June 18th, 2010
11:06 am

Songbird– more entities than churches are tax exempt.

natalie merritt

June 18th, 2010
11:07 am

this is just a bunch of people gossiping. JOHNSON

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama - BEND OVER, Here comes the CHANGE!

June 18th, 2010
11:07 am

kevinbgoode – I know about Hitler, does that make me a Nazi? I know about Jesus Christ, does that make me Him? Brush up on your comment skills, or lack there of.

tired of it all

June 18th, 2010
11:08 am

@Wow! – So what I am hearing you say is that all the silly religious laws Christians spout out in defense of marriage are fallous because of their own religion. Taking that vein, religion should be removed from this entire conversation…I couldn’t agree more!

Williebkind

June 18th, 2010
11:08 am

ppd

June 18th, 2010
10:39 am
I did not know you could just sign-up to be Christain!! All this previous references prior to the teachings of Christ mostly apply to the jewish community. But again most of the posting are simply drive by comments.

kevinbgoode

June 18th, 2010
11:08 am

“Marriage Defender: Effect 1. If same-sex marriage or polygamy is legalized today, this is what kindergartners will be taught tomorrow: “OK. Our lesson for today is about marriage. Bobby, before you marry a girl you might want to consider whether you would prefer to marry another boy or even marry both a girl and a boy at the same time. All of these are equally good, acceptable, and useful relationships. Remember we celebrate diversity. Any questions?”
—————————————————————————————————————————————-

So, you are saying that, until five years ago in the state of Georgia, school children were being taught that they don’t need their parents permission to marry at any age as long as they are capable of and DO: a) impregnate a woman or b) get impregnated themselves. Since this was the law, weren’t those marriages being taught in the school system?

As for your second contention about studies, those have been contradicted many times, most recently by a study of lesbian parents in which the children thrive in many measurements better than those reared in “traditional” households. Beyond that, your argument is ludicrous. Do children being raised in the “both biological parents” household (in which one or both is a child sexual predator) fare better than a child being raised by a same-sex couple? Do children in a home with their biological parents in which one or both is a spousal abuser fare better than a child raised by a same-sex couple?
Tell us about those studies, please.

Ignorance

June 18th, 2010
11:09 am

@uga_b:

“Very simply, a man-lady marriage statistically results in more productive, better educated, children that are less likey to commit crimes.”

OMG! Your comment is extremely ignorant!!!!! Since gay people can’t procreate, where did all the criminals come from? the jails and prisons are overloaded with folk that were created by heterosexuals. :-)

All I can say is WOW!!!!!!

Swede Atlanta

June 18th, 2010
11:09 am

A Conservative…

First of all in this country marriage is a secular and not religious institution.

The Bible is the story of a people and their relationship with their God as they have recorded it and handed it down. You may be a person that believes the Bible literally and that is fine. Believe whatever you want and practice what you want (provided it doesn’t harm anyone else) within your home or house of worship.

As a Christian I am not a literalist. I recognize that much of the Bible is allegorical and illustrative. I for one do not believe that God instituted marriage. I believe that this was a way for the Israelites to explain and frame marriage to support societal goals.

So you and I differ on whether God did or did not institute marriage and between whom he did. Regardless, that is a religious belief and should not be confused with a secular institution.

I presume you are opposed to divorce and would support a change in the law to prohibit any form of it? I assume you also believe in arranged marriages? And you certainly support and maybe practice polygamy? Why do I ask this? Because divorce was proscribed in the law and polygamy was common among God’s people.

You can’t have it both ways..picking and choosing from the Bible.

Be Honest if You Can

June 18th, 2010
11:10 am

This is a test. I have some relevant points to make that are contrary to Cyndy’s, but it appears as those she’s filtering them off her property (I’ve submitted twice; and nothing, nada). Funny how liberals work so hard to ensure only their point of view sees the light of day.

Williebkind

June 18th, 2010
11:11 am

“Legalize gay marriage — it is the only rational, just and proper course of action.”

again Horsepucky!!

Woody Mellor

June 18th, 2010
11:11 am

itpdude, your infantile take on biology/gender is amusing, as are the opinions of those who use words like “traditional” and “normal” to discribe marriage. are you familiar with the term unisex? it is used to describe children born with the genitalia of both males and females (a penis and a vagina). I believe this occurs in something like 1 in 200,000 births. This medical phenomenon obliterates any argument agains “same sex” marriage because we are all essentially the “same sex” at conception (take that, pro life fools). as the fetus develops, the body develops the primary characteristics of one gender over the other… excuse me, this “normally” occurs. but, as stated, every once in a while, the coin ends up resting on it’s side, and Mother Nature cannot decide. oh, and for all the red-blooded American heterosexual mean, let’s do an experiment; remove your shirt and look in the mirror. where did you get those nipple? so, my question is; were these unisex American not “endowed by their Creator” with the same “rights” as you and I? is a person who was born with a penis, which was removed at birth, and raised as a female; or a person born with both genitalia, but raised as a male, not permitted to marry at all? and here’s a rhetorical hunch, I believe Chaz Bono (formerly known as Chastity Bono) had gender reassignment surgery to challenge the California law. His birth certificate lists him as female, but he can now marry a woman because his driver’s license identifies him as male. just a hunch.

kevinbgoode

June 18th, 2010
11:12 am

“mmm…mmm….kevinbgoode – I know about Hitler, does that make me a Nazi? I know about Jesus Christ, does that make me Him? Brush up on your comment skills, or lack there of.”
———————————————————————————————————————————
Brush up on your critical thinking skills. How did you learn about Hitler and about Jesus Christ? And by comparison, how did you learn all about the imagined intimate relationships of two women – especially intimate relationships that were not discussed in textbooks, not talked about in public schools, and certainly (one would hope) not discussed in such detail in church?

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama - BEND OVER, Here comes the CHANGE!

June 18th, 2010
11:12 am

Ignorance Yeah, but how many in prison are forced or enjoy homosexual acts? Ponder on that.

Rev. Menthol Shatbat

June 18th, 2010
11:12 am

Cynthia

Gay marriage has been voted down in every single state. Americans don’t want it.

End of story.

Some People are stupid

June 18th, 2010
11:12 am

Johnson-

If the questions is whether it is legal then it is up for the courts to decide. That is their job. I was simply mentioning the bible to a poster cause it’s funny how people want to decide which sin is worse than any other sin.

natalie merritt

June 18th, 2010
11:12 am

why do you people care if guys marry guys and girls marry girls its none of your buisness whatsoever.my best friend is gay. and i love him dearly. there is nothing wrong with being gay or marrying into a gay relationship.

Johnson

June 18th, 2010
11:13 am

Michael Smith,

Gay marriage is not a valid contract, so it doesnt have to be recognized. It is not the governments place to legalize such a practice. Government is involved in too much already. Keep us away from the government.

My thing is, you dont see the opponents of gay marriage out trying to have gay marriage banned by the federal government.

On the topic of parent marrying child. The law could be changed to allow a child to be “promised” to the parent. Or the parent could legally marry the child when the came of age. I was not referring to a parent marrying the child in youth.

On the topic of man marrying animal. There is a push out there for this to be accepted and for relations with animals to be accepted, many times by those supporting gays.

On the topic of man marrying multiple wives. Where would the sanctity and sacredness of marriage be if you could just marry anyone you wanted and have as many as you like?

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama - BEND OVER, Here comes the CHANGE!

June 18th, 2010
11:13 am

kevinbgoode – I belive your mother or sister told me.

Aquagirl

June 18th, 2010
11:13 am

Amazing, out of those 10,000 studies, how many were introduced as fact in court by anti-gay lawyers? NONE.

Same with the OMG, people will marry their pet rocks!!!!! argument.

Just like Kitzmiller vs. Dover, when the nutcases have to produce facts, they wither like a salted slug.

songbird

June 18th, 2010
11:13 am

Johnson – I know there are more entities than churches that are tax exempt. I am commenting on churches and their tax exempt status. Which I believe should be revoked. The others would have to be decided individually based on their own merit.

A "Voice"

June 18th, 2010
11:13 am

gale

June 18th, 2010
10:49 am

gale, life isn’t fair ~ never has been and never will be. . . . a lot has to do with the choices we make. Maybe the tax code could be change so that gays and lesbians who live as couples can file joint tax returns.

Legal Angel

June 18th, 2010
11:13 am

Jose

June 18th, 2010
11:14 am

Did you hear that everybody, Tuck says there are no good arguments to support a ban on gay marriage. So if you are against it, well you are just plain wrong and Tuck thinks you should go away. I know, lets put it to a vote like California did. Oh wait, that is going to let the courts turn over the people’s vote. Our vote does not matter in the liberal-socialist world of today. Tuck, once again you show your ignorance and your values.

songbird

June 18th, 2010
11:14 am

The reason I believe their tax exempt status should be revoked is because they have continually violated the separation of church and state and had entirely too much influence on laws.

Williebkind

June 18th, 2010
11:15 am

Liberals have defiled this country so very much! Now that want us to accept it as a rational and proper course of action. It is not normal and it will never be normal. You should not be allowed to change traditional customs and beliefs simply because it is you.

Bed Dover

June 18th, 2010
11:15 am

Please let me marry my lover!