Saturday, August 4, 2007

Society and same-sex marriage

Society and same-sex marriage,0,1754615.story?coll=la-opinion-center

From the Los Angeles Times

Is there a compelling public interest in preventing same-sex marriage? All this week, California Family Council's Ron Prentice and L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center's Lorri L. Jean debate same-sex marriage.

August 1, 2007

Today, Jean and Prentice discuss social ramifications of the movement for same-sex marriage. Previously, they debated rapid shifts in public opinion and the campaign for a marriage amendment to the California state Constitution. Later this week, they'll debate social-benefit claims, religious freedom and more.

Important for the children
By Ron Prentice


Conservatively, 95% of heterosexuals who marry sincerely make promises of monogamy and fidelity—to love, cherish, honor, in good times or bad, forsaking all others and keeping ourselves only unto our spouse as long as we both shall live. (It's a measure of how difficult a long-term commitment is that so many couples fail to live up to these high ideals.) This is not so for male homosexuals, in particular. I'm staring at various studies, several by homosexual researchers, which report that "committed" relationships between male homosexuals last on average between six months and three years. In those same relationships, monogamy is by no means the norm. In fact, studies report that fewer than 5% of male homosexuals claiming to be in committed relationships practice sexual fidelity.

Is there a compelling public interest in preventing same-sex marriage? Of course! Again, the welfare of children is primary. The consequences of divorce in heterosexual marriage are profound. The transitory nature of homosexual relationships will only compound such problems. In the homosexual lobby's attempt to redefine marriage, the pro-gay public messaging broadly states that the majority of the homosexual population want to marry, that same-sex marriage will look just like heterosexual marriage, and that should same-sex marriage come to pass, the "final frontier" will have been conquered. However, there is no evidence that suggests any of this is true. Male homosexual couples generally practice promiscuity, and their short-term relationships co-exist with multiple sexual partners.

Desire for marriage by homosexuals is overstated. The voices are loud and constant, but the numbers are small. For example, in Vermont, where civil unions between homosexuals have been legal since 2000, only 21% of that state's gay population has entered into civil unions. In Sweden and the Netherlands, where all the rights and benefits of marriage have been given to homosexuals, including the title of marriage in Sweden, only 2% and 2.8% of the homosexual population, respectively, have legally registered their unions.

Back in 1972, at the National Coalition of Gay Organizations Convention, a platform was created for transformation at both the federal and state levels of the United States. Since then, significant incremental changes have taken place in our culture according to the plan. It is clear that equality in marriage is not the goal for the coalition. Quoting from items 7 and 8 of the coalition's state platform, the goals include "the repeal of all laws governing the age of sexual consent," as well as the "repeal of all legislative provisions that restrict the sex or number of persons entering into a marriage unit; and the extension of legal benefits to all persons who cohabit regardless of sex or numbers." Just in case anyone missed this, the goal includes polygamy and sex with children.

There is overwhelming compelling public interest to protect marriage between a man and a woman only. Any redefinition of marriage weakens its historical meaning, but in this case, the true goal of the homosexual lobby is demolition.

Ron Prentice is the chief executive of the California Family Council, which is dedicated to the protection and promotion of Judeo-Christian principles in California's culture. CFC has offices in Riverside and Sacramento.


Marriage has always changed with the times
By Lorri L. Jean

Come on, Ron. Spare us the hysterical harangues. We've seen too many times that it's those preaching the loudest regarding moral superiority who often have the most to hide about their own lives. Leaders of groups like yours typically resort to absurd rhetoric, including that gay people will soon want to marry children, trees, entire groups, etc., because there is no rational argument to deny us the same freedom to marry enjoyed by others.

And that's the question before us. Is there a compelling public interest in preventing loving, committed, same-sex couples from getting legally married? The clear answer is no. Ask Canada. Ask Spain. Ask South Africa. Ask Massachusetts! All of these places have granted the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. They did so amid dire predictions that "traditional marriage" would be harmed and that the very foundations of our society would be undermined. In fact, none of those things have come to pass. The sky didn't fall. Armageddon didn't arrive. Heterosexual marriages didn't crumble.

What really happened? Thousands of same-sex couples got married. Now they share in the commitment and responsibilities of civil marriage. They found comfort and security in the legal and economic protections that civil marriage offers to them and their families. Their children are no longer hurt by being treated as second-class citizens. Nor are they at risk because their parents can't get married.

And what really frosts you, Ron, admit it, is that the reality of these marriages proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the alarmist warnings from organizations like yours were ridiculous! To top it off, public opinion changed even more in support of fairness because people experienced the truth.

If we've learned anything in the history of our country, it is that there is never a compelling public interest in promoting discrimination against an entire class of people. Any time our government has participated in doing so, the results have been bad. Think school segregation and the horrible fiction of "separate but equal." Think of the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II. Think of California in the 1800s prohibiting Asian immigrants from marrying anyone at all, and later from marrying anyone "white."

The real compelling public interest is in ending bigotry and discrimination. It's being true to our nation's values of freedom, fairness, justice and equality. We cannot and should not be able to regulate what individuals think and believe. But when it comes to what the government does, it must treat everyone equally. This includes same-sex couples and their families.

Another indisputable compelling public interest is ensuring that children are protected. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 25 years of research have documented that there is no relationship between parents' sexual orientation and any measure of a child's emotional, psychosocial and behavioral adjustment. However, it has been shown that these children do experience economic, legal and familial insecurity when their parents are denied legal recognition of their bonds. Knowing this, how can discrimination ever be justified against same-sex couples who want to protect their families?

Finally, you keep mentioning a negative impact upon the "historical meaning" of marriage. Yet, historically, the meaning of marriage has constantly changed. For example, the Bible is full of stories about men with many wives — including Moses! Is that the historical meaning you want to protect? Or is it the one where wives and children are a man's property? Thankfully, marriage has changed with the times, as has virtually every other societal institution. That's the nature of progress.

Lorri L. Jean is the chief executive of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, which is dedicated to caring for the health, advocating for the rights and enriching the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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