I waited to comment on Measure 74 that allows same-sex couples to marry in order to see late publicity by national opposition. Joseph Backholm, Chairman of Preserve Marriage of Washington and the Family Policy Institute of Washington, summarized the orchestrated arguments in a letter to the Seattle Times.
The arguments don’t measure up. Support Measure 74 in the interests of marriage, committed couples and children.
“Redefining marriage shifts marriage from being an institution that binds children to their parents to an arrangement focused on the personal desires of adults,” said Backholm.
No, the redefinition does not.
“Marriage is a civil contract between a male and a female, who are both at least 18 years old and other wise capable of marrying,” says the Voter’s Guide.
The proposed law allows adult males to marry adult males and adult females to marry adult females.
Opponents primary concern seems to be protecting children. That’s a valid concern.
“Marriage unites men and women to the children who result,” Backholm said.
Children are not resulting from marriage certificates, rather from heterosexual sex in and out of marriage.
Backholm and opponents insert children into the definition of marriage because they believe, and research supports, that children’s lives have better outcomes when raised in a committed heterosexual marriage compared to less fortunate outcomes from alternative family child-raising.
Children from marriages fractured after one of the parents discloses same-sex relationships show comparable unfortunate outcomes of children from fractured heterosexual marriages, according to a study published by Social Science Research in June 2012 by Dr. Mark Regnarus, from the National Family Structures Studies research organization.
He collected reports from 15,058 people aged 18-39 about parents who raised them. Only 248 of the 15,058, 1.7 percent, had one gay or lesbian parent.
“The New Family Structures Study is probably the best that we can hope for,” said Professor Paul Amato, from Penn State, who critiqued the study.
Research cannot currently answer whether stable gay or lesbian couples could raise children as well as heterosexual couples.
“I haven’t really evaluated how the adult children of stable-intact self-identified lesbians have fared. And I’m telling you that it cannot be feasibly accomplished,” said Regnarus.
Why not? Only three of the 15,058 people lived with two same-sex parents for more than four years.
Let’s let same-sex couples prove they can raise children as well as heterosexual couples in a committed marriage.
The other arguments against same-sex marriage are unconvincing.
“Parents stand to lose control over what their children are taught about marriage,” said Backholm.
My experience as a grandparent taught me that from a very early age I didn’t have total control over what my children learned in school or elsewhere about any topic including marriage. When good friends of our family during elementary and high school told Karen and me their college-age son had disclosed he was gay, we told our children. They all knew their good friend was gay long before we did. Those kind of experiences confirmed what I learned as an educator: children are learning from everyone, everywhere, every day.
Yes, education would have to explain genderless marriage, but education currently has to explain the fuzzy concept of same-sex parents in everything-but-marriage relationships. I’d rather explain genderless marriage.
“The bill offers no protections for individual rights,” said Backholm.
What do opponents mean by that? Washington’s everything-but-marriage law already protects gay individual rights and we’ve had no lawsuit under the law.
Opponents claim their rights are abolished. “In Boston and Washington DC., jurisdictions where marriage has been defined, religious groups like Catholic Charities … had to close their adoption programs,” said Backholm.
The Seattle Times identified that statement as a false story from 2005, yet it has appeared almost word for word across the nation in 2012 as it has for years.
“I’m shocked and amazed that so many years later, they are still making the false claim that Catholic Charities’s decision had anything to do with allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry,” said Peter Meade, chairman of the board of directors for Catholic Charities of Boston in 2005 when adoptions were halted.
“The Vatican ordered us to stop facilitating adoptions to qualified gay and lesbian households,” Meade said.
Catholic Charities had placed 13 children with gay and lesbian couples on the sole basis of ‘best interests of the children.’
Measure 74 is a civil law that graciously allows same-sex couples to unite in marriage and create more stable families for the betterment of children.