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Homosexual "Marriage": What is marriage?


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Initial post: 6 Apr 2012 20:13:50 BDT
Tom M says:
I take this consideration from the archbishop of Sidney who made this presentation to the committee reviewing the issue in Australia.

What is marriage and why does it exist?

Interesting points are raised. The issue is obviously foundational to human existence itself.

http://www.sydneycatholic.org/people/archbishop/addresses/2012/2012330_461.shtml

Introduction


Catholics hold strong beliefs about the dignity of the human person and the goodness and beauty of marriage as a natural institution between a man and a woman. In response to the subject inquiry, I make the following submissions regarding the nature of marriage and why the laws of the Commonwealth of Australia must continue to recognise and support marriage as meaning the exclusive and permanent union of one man and one woman.

What is marriage?

Marriage is a natural institution whereby a man and a woman give themselves to each other for life in an exclusive sexual relationship that is open to procreation. It is a union that is publicly recognised, honoured and supported because of its unique capacity to generate children and to meet children's deepest needs for the love and attachment of both their father and their mother. In the words of Professor Robert George of Princeton University:

"Marriage is the community formed by a man and a woman who publicly consent to share their whole lives, in a type of relationship oriented toward the begetting, nurturing and educating of children together. This openness to procreation, as the community's natural fulfilment, distinguishes this community from other types."1

By contrast, although the community formed by a homosexual couple may involve genuine caring, affection and commitment to one another, it is not an inherently procreative community, because their sexual relationship is not designed to generate children. Marriage is not simply a loving, committed relationship between two people, but a unique kind of physical and emotional union which is open to the possibility of new life.

The definition of marriage as an inherently procreative community does not exclude heterosexual married couples who cannot have children for reasons of age or infertility. They are still married because their sexual union is naturally designed to give life, even if it cannot give life at a particular point in time, or ever. Marriage between a man and a woman always has an inherent capacity for, and orientation towards, the generation of children, whether that capacity is actualized or not.

How does marriage between a man and a woman make a unique contribution to society?

Marriage makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to society because a stable, loving marriage provides the best conditions for raising children. Through marriage, children are able to grow up knowing that they were created through an act of intimate love and with the knowledge that their mother and father have committed to each other for life. Marriage also contributes uniquely to society in modelling the way women and men live interdependently, recognising the equal dignity, beauty and value of the other, and committing to seek the good of each other. The family based on marriage is also the best social framework for the promotion of inter and intra-generational biological connectivity, which is an important and vital social good.

Marriage: discrimination against same-sex couples?

Unjust discrimination against persons is always wrong, but participation in particular social institutions is not always equally available to all persons within society. Distinguishing between certain groups is essential for the maintenance of the validity of the institution; e.g. university access is based on academic merit and not simply on the desire to attend a university. Women's and girls' only schools and colleges are permitted to deny entry to men, because society recognises that receiving men into the institution would change its essential character.

It is not unjust discrimination against homosexual couples to uphold marriage as being between a man and a woman. Marriage and same-sex unions are essentially different realities. Justice, in fact, requires society to recognise and respect this difference.

Marriage: a basic human right?

"The right to marry and found a family" is affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). International law has always understood and affirmed the enduring, unchanging truth that marriage is a life-giving union of a man and a woman. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, which monitors international human rights treaties, has stated that the right to marry "implies, in principle, the possibility to procreate".2 The right to marry is a fundamental human right. However, to respect this right means to accept the objective reality of marriage as a union of a man and a woman that is inherently procreative.

Why should secular society recognise, structure and encourage marriage?

Secular society has always recognised marriage as a public institution because the marital relationship makes a unique and essential contribution to the common good. Marriage is pre-political and the state has in this sense inherited marriage. The state should not alter and supply different reasons for an institution which it has inherited; rather it can only consider the reasons why this institution has deserved - and still deserves - social recognition and support. The primary reason why nation states have been interested in marriage and why it has attracted public support is because of its procreative aspect, encompassing the generation and raising of children:

"Because married couples ensure the succession of generations and are therefore eminently within the public interest, civil law grants them institutional recognition. Homosexual unions on the other hand, do not need specific attention from the legal standpoint since they do not exercise this function for the common good".3

Companionship and love are undoubtedly important, but it is not the role of the state to legislate on the basis of private affections. Procreation, however, constitutes the public reason for marriage, because the creation and raising of children is publicly significant, with immense implications for the common good. The family, based on marriage, is the basic unit on which society and the extended family is built. As such, the state has an interest in and duty to ensure children are raised, as far as possible, by their natural families.4

The state cannot grant the legal status of marriage to same-sex unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the public good.

While same-sex couples can have children by means of donor sperm or eggs, or through adoption, their relationship does not inherently have the possibility of creating children. For same-sex couples, having a child will always involve the use of one or more persons outside their relationship. This is unjust to children and destructive of their family connectedness. This practice should not be publicly endorsed or encouraged, because it involves a profound loss and deprivation for the child concerned: the loss of a pre eminent and vital relationship with their biological father or mother.

Although it is deeply natural and good to desire children, the child should always be seen as a gift - a person whose rights and dignity must always be respected. As affirmed by international law, children have a right to their biological heritage.5 It is a grave injustice to deliberately deprive children of the experience of being loved and raised by their natural mother and father6 and to prevent them from having a developing and ongoing relationship with their biological siblings.

Religious freedom at risk for all Australians

Some proponents of same-sex marriage have argued that in the event of marriage being redefined, the Catholic Church and other religious communities will be "protected" or "exempted" from being required by law to perform same-sex marriages. Such proposals fail to understand the immensely powerful role and influence of the law in our society. Changing the Marriage Act would, in practice, compel Catholics and other faith communities to recognise and accept same-sex marriage in their schools, charities, social welfare, health care and adoption services.

An 'exemption' would only apply to religious celebrants, and would offer no legal protection for the vast majority of Catholics and other Australians with a religious and/or conscientiously-held belief that marriage is a union of a man and a woman.

The Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010, with or without any accompanying 'exempting' legislation, poses a grave danger to religious freedom. It would threaten the right of Catholics and all Australians who believe

Posted on 6 Apr 2012 20:24:31 BDT
Is the Catholic Church in charge of said country?

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2012 20:40:19 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 6 Apr 2012 20:44:12 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2012 20:47:36 BDT
Jim Guest says:
'Catholics hold strong beliefs about the dignity of the human person'

One called Tom?

Posted on 6 Apr 2012 20:49:02 BDT
Is it just me or has Amazon become a lot, and I mean a lot, more censorship-happy recently?

Posted on 6 Apr 2012 20:51:07 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Apr 2012 20:52:30 BDT
Dear Amazon,

Reinstate Sam's post immediately. Else start meting out equal treatment to the more bigoted religious fanatics posting here.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2012 20:54:22 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Apr 2012 20:55:40 BDT
Well, I guess they can afford to pay more censors now, what with all the corporation tax they're not paying...

Posted on 6 Apr 2012 21:03:28 BDT
The thread asks: "What is marriage"?

Answer: Marriage "is" a word. Again we see how poor language ruins debate. (And I don't mean mine)

Posted on 6 Apr 2012 21:23:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Apr 2012 21:42:45 BDT
X_the_Shadow says:
To say that marriage provides the best conditions for raising children is true, if only because of the legal benefits that marriage grants couples, which affect their children. But to think that marriage is actually needed in order to raise children in a stable environment is a delusion. And, furthermore, for anyone to suggest that two men or women in a committed relationship can't bring up a child in just as good an environment as straight couples is a fallacy, which flies in the face of contrary evidence.

Here are some comments on the subject that I made a while back: "Too many people like to get behind the cliche that 'marriage is between a man and a woman'. But why does it have to be? Words can have more than just one specific definition. Also, marriage doesn't have to have anything whatsoever to do with religion, so the argument that it would 'threaten the sanctity of marriage' by allowing gay people to marry is laughable. I think that churches -- or at least individual vicars/priests, etc. -- should be able to decide not to marry two members of the same sex, but their opinions couldn't matter less in regard to non-religious ceremonies. And given the fact that straight couples can already have secular wedding services, religious institutions cannot claim to have a monopoly on the word 'marriage'".

Finally, I just want to cover the issue of marriage being "all about the creation of children". What about straight couples who can never have children of their own... Just because ORDINARILY a relationship between a man and a woman could produce children, why does that somehow make it perfectly OK for infertile couples to get married, but not same-sex ones? If you can't have children, then that eliminates the possibility of raising any by normal means. In that case, the marriage would be about legal benefits (and hopefully love, of course), which is the only thing that many same-sex couples wish for! By the way, I'm not really directing this argument towards hardcore religionists, because they will just hide behind God -- and I have ABSOLUTELY ZERO time for people like that!! I'm more intrigued by all of the non-religious arguments.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2012 23:44:54 BDT
Such a long post - couldn't you just have summarised, rather than writing a doctoral thesis?

Wayne

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2012 23:48:35 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 12 Apr 2012 18:15:51 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 00:08:00 BDT
Jim Guest says:
Wayward luvs Joe. True.

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 03:51:15 BDT
Shakepen says:
"What is marriage?" Marriage is what happened to you before you were impoverished by divorce.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 04:00:22 BDT
Tom M says:
X
It escapes your attention that the arguments presented here are not religious arguments. You might honesly believe that all else being equal the ideal circumstance for raising a child is not with a mom and dad, but this is surely just madness on your part.

The Denmark registry study of 2006 showed the high correlation between divorce or loss of a parent and homosexuality. The US is in the grip of a culture of youth violence where fatherless young men join gangs and take after the toughest fatherless kid leading he pack. France refused to ignore the rights of children to have a mother and father.

Kids raised by single parents have well noted issues in the social sciences.

Marriage is the very institution whereby the human community renews itself.

You should perhaps read the heartrending stories of the children stolen from their parents to be raised as perfect little Nazis. These people are haunted and live with an everpresent deep ache in their very being.

I think ultimately , as with people who casually dismiss the rights of the child to life in the womb, advocates of the utterly bizarre notion that somehow natural relationships and families are not the ideal for raising children and ...God forbid...families, just don't have the lives of children and their best interests even on the radar.

Like abortion, likecaptal punishment these are not religious arguments except insofar as there is no other reasonable foundation for the idea that human beings have rights, as all have moral duties and the right to live out their God given natures.

Most agnostics confusedly think these are particularly religious perspectives.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 04:09:27 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 12 Apr 2012 18:16:54 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 04:12:00 BDT
Tom M says:
>> "What is marriage?" Marriage is what happened to you before you were impoverished by divorce.<<

Good one Shakepen :-)

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 04:19:53 BDT
Tom M says:
Hey Shakepen

I want to get back to you on something I just read the other day on the New Oxford Review. It dealt with intentionality and your reference to the idea of substance being simply extension. This was not what substance means in its classical western sense.

THe classical and much more nuanced idea of "substance" was a much more sophisticated reality, but it was reformulated by Calvin specifically with a view to refuting the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. This altered notion of substance, that was never a part of the western intellectual tradition was spread for this purpose and was ultimately adopted quite uncritically by Descartes and the error continues down to your recounting its meaning as extension recently.

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 04:30:06 BDT
Tom M says:
from Parenting & Family

Flawed Studies Used For Promoting Same-Sex Marriage, Says Policy Institute
Gay activists have used flawed research in promoting the legalization of gay marriage, according to a recent paper published by the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy.
Writing in "Do Mothers and Fathers Matter?" by Maggie Gallagher and Joshua K. Baker, the authors claim that thousands of studies done over the past thirty years overwhelmingly show that children thrive best in intact, two-parent families consisting of a mother and a father.

Yet pro-gay researchers are using their own data to prove that children can be reared in same-sex households without any negative consequences, their paper says.

Gallagher and Baker point out a notable flaw in most of the research designs: most of the research does not directly compare children with a married mother and father, to children raised from birth by homosexual couples. Instead, the typical comparison made was between single heterosexual mothers--whose families are typically stressed by divorce conflict, absent fathers, and economic problems--to lesbian mothers.

Pro-gay researcher Judith Stacey claims that "...the research demonstrates that children of same-sex couples are as emotionally healthy and socially adjusted, and at least as educationally and socially successful, as children raised by heterosexual parents." In 1996, Stacey authored "The Father Fixation," an article critiquing the idea that fathers are necessary to children, which was published in the Utne Reader.

"Not One Study Conducted
According to Generally Accepted Research Standards"
But Stacey is incorrect, according to Steven Nock, a sociologist at the University of Virginia. Nock has studied several hundred studies on same-sex parenting. He observes that each of the studies he surveyed contained at least one fatal flaw of design or execution, and not one of them was conducted according to generally accepted standards of research.

The greatest flaw in many of these studies, he says, was that single lesbian mothers were compared to single heterosexual mothers. As Gallagher and Baker note, "Most of the gay parenting literature thus compares children in some fatherless families to children in other fatherless family forms." They conclude, "Children do best when raised by their own married mother and father."

http://narth.com/docs/flawed.html

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 04:33:14 BDT
Tom M says:
DO MOTHERS AND FATHERS MATTER?
The Social Science Evidence on Marriage and Child Well-Being

Maggie Gallagher & Joshua K. Baker

Institute for Marriage and Public Policy

Do children do best when they are raised
by their own married mother and fathers, or
are alternative family forms just as good at
protecting children? An emerging bi-partisan
consensus on marriage and child well-being is
being challenged by research on gay and
lesbian parenting, which some scholars and
advocates say shows that children do just as
well raised by unisex couples. How should
policymakers and other elites evaluate these
two competing bodies of evidence?
I. MARRIAGE AND CHILD WELL-BEING: THE
EMERGING CONSENSUS
In the last thirty years, thousands of studies
evaluating the consequences of marriage have
been conducted in various disciplines (e.g.,
psychology, sociology, economics, and
medicine). Twelve leading family scholars
recently summarized the research literature this
way: "Marriage is an important social good
associated with an impressively broad array of
positive outcomes for children and adults alike.
. . . [W]hether American society succeeds or
fails in building a healthy marriage culture is
clearly a matter of legitimate public concern."1
Among their conclusions:
�� Marriage increases the likelihood that
children enjoy warm, close relationships
with parents.
�� Cohabitation is not the functional
equivalent of marriage.
�� Children raised outside of intact married
homes are more likely to divorce or
become unwed parents themselves.
�� Marriage reduces child poverty.
�� Divorce increases the risk of school
failure for children, and reduces the
likelihood that they will graduate from
college and achieve high status jobs.
�� Children in intact married homes are
healthier, on average, than children in
other family forms.
�� Babies born to married parents have
sharply lower rates of infant mortality.
�� Children from intact married homes have
lower rates of substance abuse.
�� Divorce increases rates of mental illness
and distress in children, including the risk
of suicide.
�� Boys and young men from intact married
homes are less likely to commit crimes.
�� Married women are less likely to
experience domestic violence than
cohabiting and dating women.
�� Children raised outside of intact marriages
are more likely to be victims of both
sexual and physical child abuse.
They conclude, "Marriage is more than a
private emotional relationship. It is also a
social good. Not every person can or should
marry. And not every child raised outside of
marriage is damaged as a result. But
communities where good-enough marriages
are common have better outcomes for
children, women, and men than do
communities suffering from high rates of
divorce, unmarried childbearing, and highconflict
or violent marriages."2

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 04:37:21 BDT
Tom M says:
Recent analyses by mainstream child
research organizations confirm this consensus
that family structure matters across ideological
and partisan lines. (Please note: the research
cited below does not explicitly compare
children in married intact families to children
raised by unisex couples, or children with a
single gay or lesbian parent. For research on
children in these novel family structures, see
Section II, below.) For example:
�� A Child Trends research brief summed up
the scholarly consensus: "Research clearly
demonstrates that family structure matters
for children, and the family structure that
helps the most is a family headed by twobiological
parents in a low-conflict
marriage. Children in single-parent
families, children born to unmarried
mothers, and children in stepfamilies or
cohabiting relationships face higher risks
of poor outcomes. . . . There is thus value
for children in promoting strong, stable
marriages between biological parents."3
�� An Urban Institute scholar concludes,
"Even among the poor, material hardships
were substantially lower among married
couple families with children than among
other families with children. . . . The
marriage impacts were quite huge,
generally higher than the effects of
education. The impacts [of marriage] were
particularly high among non-Hispanic
black families."4
�� A Centers for Disease Control report
notes, "Marriage is associated with a
variety of positive outcomes, and
dissolution of marriage is associated with
negative outcomes for men, women, and
their children."5
�� A Center for Law and Social Policy Brief
concludes, "Research indicates that, on
average, children who grow up in families
with both their biological parents in a lowconflict
marriage are better off in a
number of ways than children who grow
up in single-, step-, or cohabiting-parent
households."6
While scholars continue to disagree about
the size of the marital advantage and the
mechanisms by which it is conferred,7 the
weight of social science evidence strongly
supports the idea that family structure matters
and that the family structure that is most
protective of child well-being is the intact,
biological, married family.
II. THE SOCIAL SCIENCE OF GAY
PARENTING: A COMPETING BODY OF
EVIDENCE?
Most of the research on family structure,
however, does not directly compare children in
intact married homes with children raised from
birth by same-sex couples. Thus the powerful
new consensus on family structure is on a
collision course with a separate emerging
consensus from a related field: the social
science literature on sexual orientation and
parenting.
Judith Stacey summed up this new
challenge to the social science consensus on
family structure in testimony before the U.S.
Senate this way:
The research shows that what places
children at risk is not fatherlessness, but
the absence of economic and social
resources that a qualified second parent
can provide, whether male or female. . .
. Moreover, the research on children
raised by lesbian and gay parents
demonstrates that these children do as
well if not better than children raised by
heterosexual parents. Specifically, the
research demonstrates that children of
same-sex couples are as emotionally
healthy and socially adjusted and at
least as educationally and socially
successful as children raised by
heterosexual parents.8
Other researchers, including at least two
prominent professional associations, have
made similar claims.9 Advocates for same-sex
marriage often rely on these studies to assert
that scientific evidence shows that married
mothers and fathers hold no advantages for
children. As Mary Bonauto, counsel for the
plaintiffs in the Massachusetts marriage
litigation, wrote in the Summer 2003 edition
of Human Rights, "[C]hild-rearing experts in
the American Academy of Pediatrics, the

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 04:44:05 BDT
Tom M says:
III. WEIGHING THE EVIDENCE
How should legal thinkers and decisionmakers
evaluate such competing claims about
family structure and child well-being both
allegedly grounded in social science evidence?
Numerous reviews of the literature on
sexual orientation and parenting have been
conducted.12 At least three such reviews have
pointed to the serious scientific limitations of
the social science literature on gay parenting.13
Perhaps the most thorough review was
prepared by Steven Nock, a sociologist at the
University of Virginia who was asked to
review several hundred studies as an expert
witness for the Attorney General of Canada.
Nock concluded:
Through this analysis I draw my
conclusions that 1) all of the articles I
reviewed contained at least one fatal
flaw of design or execution; and 2) not a
single one of those studies was
conducted according to general accepted
standards of scientific research.14
Design flaws researchers have found in
these studies include very basic limitations:
a. No nationally representative sample.
Even scholars enthusiastic about unisex
parenting, such as Stacey and Biblarz,
acknowledge that "there are no studies of
child development based on random,
representative samples of [same-sex
couple] families."15
b. Limited outcome measures. Many of the
outcomes measured by the research are
unrelated to standard measures of child
well-being used by family sociologists
(perhaps because most of the researchers
are developmental psychologists, not
sociologists).
c. Reliance on maternal reports. Many
studies rely on a mother's report of her
parenting skills and abilities, rather than
objective measures of child outcomes.
d. No long-term studies. All of the studies
conducted to date focus on static or shortterm
measures of child development. Few
or none follow children of unisex parents
to adulthood.
But perhaps the most serious
methodological critique of these studies, at
least with reference to the family structure
debate, is this:
The vast majority of these studies
compare single lesbian mothers to single
heterosexual mothers. As sociologist
Charlotte Patterson, a leading researcher on
gay and lesbian parenting, recently summed
up, "[M]ost studies have compared children in
divorced lesbian mother-headed families with
children in divorced heterosexual motherheaded
families."16
Most of the gay parenting literature thus
compares children in some fatherless families
to children in other fatherless family forms.
The results may be relevant for some legal
policy debates (such as custody disputes) but,
in our opinion, they are not designed to shed
light on family structure per se, and cannot
credibly be used to contradict the current
weight of social science: family structure
matters, and the family structure that is most
protective a child well-being is the intact,
married biological family.
Children do best when raised by a mother and a father.

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 05:01:21 BDT
Tom M says:
Dr. Jeffrey Satinover Testifies
Before Massachusetts Senate Committee
Studying Gay Marriage

On April 28, 2003, psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Satinover testified before the Massachusetts Senate Judicial Committee on various issues surrounding the subject homosexuality and the future of the family in America. Dr. Satinover is a member of NARTH's Scientific Advisory Committee.

Massachusetts is now debating the legalization homosexual marriages. If such marriages are legalized in that state, a legal challenge of traditional marriage is expected in the remaining 49 states.

Dr. Satinover, author of Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, urged the senators to carefully consider their actions. He observed:

"As you all know, most keenly, the question before you is not merely one of academic dispute; rather, upon the outcome of your deliberations will depend the foundational social structure, hence direction of the Commonwealth in future, and in significant measure, that of our Nation as well."
He continued:
"It is therefore most urgent that these deliberations be based not only on compassion, and justice, but on the factual truth as well. Indeed, unless resting upon truth, neither justice nor compassion can long endure against shifts in sentiment."
Dr. Satinover discussed the following claims of homosexual activists, and offered a rebuttal to each of them. The claims he challenged were--
That homosexuality has been repeatedly demonstrated to be--and is in fact--an innate, genetically-determined condition.
That homosexuality is an immutable state.
That the only disadvantages of homosexuality are those caused by social disapproval and discrimination.
That a society composed of same-sex couples raising children in family-like units will differ in no undesirable ways from a society composed of traditional family units.

Dr. Satinover's testimony is reprinted below.
Jeffrey Satinover, MD is a Board-Certified Psychiatrist. He holds degrees from MIT (S.B., Humanities and Science), Harvard (Ed.M., Clinical Psychology and Public Practice), the University of Texas (M.D.) and Yale (M.S., Physics.) He completed his residency in Psychiatry at Yale with a year as Fellow of The Yale Child Study Center. He holds a Diploma in Analytical Psychology from the C. G. Jung Institute of Zurich. Dr. Satinover has practiced psychotherapy and/or psychiatry since 1974. He is the author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals of psychology and of neuroscience, chapters and books, among them Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth.

April 28, 2003
Honorable Members, Citizens of Massachusetts:

The debate over homosexuality is one of the most contentious and divisive in which our society has ever engaged. On the face of it, one might wonder that so intensely personal and private a matter could achieve such public weight, but wonder aside, it has: In this legislation now under consideration by the State of Massachusetts, all the varying points of that debate come into sharp opposition.

As you all know, most keenly, the question before you is not merely one of academic dispute; rather, upon the outcome of your deliberations will depend the foundational social structure, hence direction of the Commonwealth in future, and in significant measure, that of our Nation as well.

It is therefore most urgent that these deliberations be based not only on compassion, and justice, but on the factual truth as well. Indeed, unless resting upon truth, neither justice nor compassion can long endure against shifts in sentiment.

That as a society we strive no longer to condone - rather to condemn --cruelty toward people attracted to members of their own sex is an absolute requirement of both justice and humanity. But we would be short-sighted indeed were we to advance this, as any other, just cause based on fictions: Not only will the inevitable uncovering of those fictions, however delayed, provide an excuse for bigotry to reclaim its unearned place, it will engender beliefs, attitudes and policies that, by flying in the face of reality, will lead to an increase, rather than a decrease in the happiness all are entitled to pursue. Nature (and if you prefer, "Nature's God") cannot be fooled.

A number of claims have become central to the argument that the definition and privileged status of marriage ought be expanded to include couples of the same sex. These claims are:

That homosexuality has been repeatedly demonstrated to be, and is in fact, an innate, genetically-determined condition.

That homosexuality is an immutable state of an individual.

That the only disadvantages of homosexuality are those caused by social disapproval and discrimination.

That a society composed of same-sex couples raising children in family-like units will differ from a society composed of traditional family units in no undesirable ways.
None of these claims are even remotely true, however widely believed they may have become; the evidence of the kind that "everyone knows" simply does not exist; even a cursory examination of the actual sources behind these claims will reveal a very strong preponderance of evidence to precisely the contrary; the claims are simply fiction. I have below assembled a selection of statements from prominent researchers. A far wider and more comprehensive bibliography of scientific references is provided as an attachment. Most of the statements below have been selected according to three basic principles:
(1) They are the general conclusions of prominent scientists whose research is well-respected.

(2) The scientists cited have specifically identified themselves as "gay" or "lesbian" and/or as more generally sympathetic to "gay activist" political positions.

(3) Their research is precisely that widely cited and believed as providing evidence directly contrary to what they themselves found and acknowledge. (It is to the credit of a number of them that they have publicly acknowledged that their own evidence contradicts what they had believed and had hoped to confirm.)

CLAIMS vs. THE EVIDENCE

Claim 1. That homosexuality has been repeatedly demonstrated to be, and is in fact, an innate, genetically-determined condition.

Dean Hamer of the National Institutes of Health performed and published the research most widely cited as pointing to a "gay gene." Dr. Hamer testified in the Colorado Proposition 2 court case that he was "99.5% certain that homosexuality is genetic." He later came to the following conclusions:
"The pedigree failed to produce what we originally hoped to find: simple Mendelian inheritance. In fact, we never found a single family in which homosexuality was distributed in the obvious pattern that Mendel observed..."

Hamer's study was duplicated by Rice et al with research that was more robust. In this replication the genetic markers found by Hamer turned out to be of no statistical significance:
"It is unclear why our results are so discrepant from Hamer's original study. Because our study was larger than that of Hamer's et al, we certainly had adequate power to detect a genetic effect as large as reported in that study. Nonetheless, our data do not support the presence of a gene of large effect influencing sexual orientation..."
Simon LeVay, a neuroanatomist at The Salk Institute in San Diego, founded the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Education in San Francisco after researching and publishing the study of hypothalamic structures in men most widely-cited as confirming innate brain differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals, as he himself initially argued. He later acknowledged:
"It's important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain."
Furthermore:

"Since I looked at adult brains, we don't know if the differences I found were there at birth, or if they appeared later."

Also pertinent to the present debate is his observation that:

"...people who think that gays and lesbians are born that way are also more likely to support gay rights."

Dr. Mark Breedlove at the University of California at Berkeley, referring to his own research: "[My] findings give us proof for what we theoretically know to be the case - that sexual experience can alter the structure of the brain, just as genes can alter it. [I]t is possible that differences in sexual behavior cause (rather than are caused) by differences in the brain."

Prominent research teams Byne & Parsons, and Friedman & Downey, both concluded that there was no evidence to support a biologic theory, but rather that homosexuality could be best explained by an alternative model where "temperamental and personality traits interact with the familial and social milieu as the individual's sexuality emerges."

Richard Pillard, is the coauthor of the two major twin studies on homosexuality most often cited as providing family evidence for homosexuality being inherited. He noted to an interviewer that he, his brother, and his sister are all homosexual and that one of his daughters from a now-failed marriage is bisexual. He speculated that his father was also homosexual. The interviewer, Chandler Burr, comments re Pillard: "Many of the scientists who have been studying homosexuality are gay, as am I." The interview is part of a book Burr wrote that purports to demonstrate that virtually all reputable scientists consider homosexuality genetic.
This is certainly what Pillard both wanted and expected to confirm by his research: "These studies were designed to detect heritable variation, and if it was present, to counter the prevalent belief that sexual orientation is largely the product of family interactions and the social environment"
But that is not what he found. Rather, he concluded:

"Although male and female homosexuality appear to be at least somewhat heritable, environment must also be of considerable importance in their origins."

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 05:01:47 BDT
Tom M says:
Claim 2. That homosexuality is an immutable state of an individual.

The 1973 decision to delete homosexuality from the diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association has had a chilling effect on scientific objectivity with respect to homosexuality and on both public and professional attitudes concerning its permanence as an individual characteristic. The decision tended to confirm the sentiment that, since homosexuality has been voted out as a formal "disorder," it need not, cannot and should not be "treated", regardless of the principle that in a free society individuals should be free to pursue happiness each according to his own lights, consonant with the well-being of others.

But the American Psychiatric Association, like most other professional-practitioner associations, is not a scientific organization. It is a professional guild and as such, amenable to political influence in ways that science per se must not allow itself to be. Thus, the decision to de-list homosexuality was not made based on scientific evidence as is widely claimed. As Simon LeVay (cited above) acknowledges, "Gay activism was clearly the force that propelled the American Psychiatric Association to declassify homosexuality."

But of far greater import is the fact that whether it is deemed a "disorder" or not, it is undesirable to many, and susceptible to change. The evidence for this fact should not be obscured by the false assumption that homosexuality is either innate and unchangeable, or a "lifestyle choice" and changeable at will. It is neither: It is most often a deeply- embedded condition that develops over many years, beginning long before the development of moral and self-awareness, and is genuinely experienced by the individual as though it was never absent in one form or another. It is, in other words, similar to most human characteristics, and shares with them the typical possibilities for, and difficulties in, achieving sustained change.

A review of the research over many years demonstrates a consistent 30- 52% success rate in the treatment of unwanted homosexual attraction. Masters and Johnson reported a 65% success rate after a five-year follow-up. Other professionals report success rates ranging from 30% to 70%.

Dr. Lisa Diamond, a professor at the University of Utah, concludes that, "Sexual identity is far from fixed in women who aren't exclusively heterosexual."

Dr. Robert Spitzer, the prominent psychiatrist and researcher at Columbia University has been the chief architect of the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual and he was the chief decision-maker in the 1973 removal of homosexuality from the diagnostic manual. He considers himself a gay-affirmative psychiatrist, and a long time supporter of gay rights. He has long been convinced that homosexuality is neither a disorder nor changeable. Because of the increasingly heated debate over the latter point within the professional community, Spitzer decided to conduct his own study of the matter. He concluded:
"I'm convinced from the people I have interviewed, that for many of them, they have made substantial changes toward becoming heterosexual...I think that's news...I came to this study skeptical. I now claim that these changes can be sustained."
When he presented his results to the Gay and Lesbian committees of the APA, anticipating a scientific debate, he was shocked to be met with intense pressure to withhold his findings for political reasons. Dr. Spitzer has subsequently received considerable "hate mail" and complaints from his colleagues because of his research. Douglas C. Haldeman, Ph.D., an independent practitioner in Seattle, WA, is a prominent gay-affirmative theorist. He comments, "From the perspective of gay theorists and activists. . . the question of conversion therapy's efficacy, or lack thereof, is irrelevant. It has been seen as a social phenomenon, one that is driven by anti-gay prejudice in society..."

Regarding change and the right to treatment, lesbian activist Camille Paglia states the following, in terms considerably sharper than most of us feel comfortable with:
"Is the gay identity so fragile that it cannot bear the thought that some people may not wish to be gay? Sexuality is highly fluid, and reversals are theoretically possible. However, habit is refractory, once the sensory pathways have been blazed and deepened by repetition - a phenomenon obvious in the struggle with obesity, smoking, alcoholism or drug addiction...helping gays to learn how to function heterosexually, if they wish, is a perfectly worthy aim."
Furthermore, just as locking onto a "choice versus genetic" dichotomy obscures reality, so, too, does locking onto "unchangeable versus therapeutic change." For it is also the case, well-documented but unobserved and unremarked upon, that the majority of "homosexuals" become "heterosexual" spontaneously, without therapy.

By way of introduction to the scientific evidence for this, it's worth citing Paglia again:

"We should be honest enough to consider whether homosexuality may not indeed be a pausing at the prepubescent stage where children anxiously band together by gender..."
The scientific evidence is as follows:
The most comprehensive, most recent and most accurate study of sexuality, the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS), was completed in 1994 by a large research team from the University of Chicago and funded by almost every large government agency and NGO with an interest in the AIDS epidemic. They studied every aspect of sexuality, but among their findings is the following, which I'm going to quote for you directly:

"7.1 [to as much as 9.1] percent of the men [we studied, more than 1,500] had at least one same-gender partner since puberty. ... [But] almost 4 percent of the men [we studied] had sex with another male before turning eighteen but not after. These men. . . constitute 42 percent of the total number of men who report ever having a same gender experience."
Let me put this in context: Roughly ten out of every 100 men have had sex with another man at some time - the origin of the 10% gay myth. Most of these will have identified themselves as gay before turning eighteen and will have acted on it. But by age 18, a full half of them no longer identify themselves as gay and will never again have a male sexual partner. And this is not a population of people selected because they went into therapy; it's just the general population. Furthermore, by age twenty-five, the percentage of gay identified men drops to 2.8%. This means that without any intervention whatsoever, three out of four boys who think they're gay at age l6 aren't by 25.

Claim 3. The only disadvantages of homosexuality are those caused by social disapproval and discrimination.

To mistakenly support three out of four gay identified men in their identification with homosexuality is not a benign mistake. Bailey (of the twin study) recently examined the question as to whether homosexuality is associated with a higher level of psychopathology. He concluded:

"Homosexuality represents a deviation from normal development and is associated with other such deviations that may lead to mental illness.. [ or, another possibility]... that increased psychopathology among homosexual people is a consequence of lifestyle differences associated with sexual orientation."
He specifically cited "behavioral risk factors associated with male homosexuality such as receptive anal sex and promiscuity." He noted that it would be a shame if "sociopolitical concerns prevented researchers from conscientious consideration of any reasonable hypothesis."
The specific concern in supporting young men in a gay identification is that innumerable studies from major centers around the US and elsewhere note that a twenty-year-old man who identified himself as gay carries 30% (or greater) risk of being HIV positive or dead of AIDS by age 30. A recent Canadian study published concluded that in urban centers gay male identification is associated with a life expectancy comparable to that in Canada in the 1870's.

Claim 4. A society composed of same-sex couples raising children in family-like units will differ from a society composed of traditional family units in no undesirable ways.

There has recently been an attempt to demonstrate that raising children in a same-sex household has no ill effect. These studies are few in number, none have ever looked at those areas where difficulties would be expected and one of the most repeatedly cited researchers was excoriated by the court for her testimony when she refused to turn over her research notes to the court even at the urging of the ACLU attorneys for whom she was testifying.

What is known, from decades of research on family structure, studying literally thousands of children, is that every departure from the traditional, stable, mother-father family has severe detrimental effects upon children; and these effects persist not only into adulthood but into the next generation as well.

In short, the central problem with mother-mother or father-father families is that they deliberately institute, and intend to keep in place indefinitely, a family structure known to be deficient in being obligatorily and permanently either fatherless or motherless.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 06:59:32 BDT
I haven't written my full reply to your OP yet, Tom. I wasn't going to get into that at whatever time of night it was.

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 08:34:46 BDT
M. Coleman says:
Surely marriage is between the bride and groom , and hence the terms " Man and wife " & " You may kiss the bride "
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