Advocates of same-sex marriage argue that legalizing this form of matrimony is a matter of social justice. They claim that human rights are being denied to a select minority within our country. Both of these claims are true, but advocates of same-sex marriage have the wrong minority group in view.
Same Sex Marriage IS a matter of social justice and the protection of human rights, but the rights that must be protected are the rights of children, not the rights of those who want their same sex marriages to be legally recognized (and promoted) by the government.
From a Christian perspective, traditional marriage is a reflection of God’s design for the family. We recognize this design through simple observation. Families grow through sexual reproduction and this process is made possible because men and women are designed for one another. But even those who reject a Christian worldview on this topic are coming to realize that there is something special about the nature of male / female unions related to families and child rearing.
Children Flourish Best When Raised By Their Biological Parents
Study after study confirms this fact. While other forms of family (loving single parent families, adoptive families, blended families or homosexual families) are also capable of raising children well, statistics continue to demonstrate what we already know intuitively: kids do best (by every relevant form of measurement) when they are raised by the mother and father who conceived them. Most recently, the Child Trends 2002 Research Brief, the 2012 study of Mark Regnerus and the 2012 study of Loren Marks have confirmed what seems to be an intuitive reality. Kids will always do best (in every important area of development) when raised by their own two biological parents in a low conflict setting.
Children Are Less Likely to Go to Jail When Raised By Their Biological Parents
Studies have been conducted for years demonstrating that the rate of incarceration in young men is directly related to “lack of dad”. When boys are raised without the guidance of their biological fathers, they are far more likely to get into trouble and end up in jail. I saw this firsthand as a gang detail officer. The only common denominator for all of the gangsters I arrested over the course of two years was the fact that they all suffered from “lack of dad”. This presents an important reality for same sex lesbian families. Women simply cannot teach boys how to be men. While I realize this may sound harsh or judgmental, I have seen it repeatedly in my own work.
Children are Less Likely to Get Pregnant When Raised By Their Biological Parents
Girls also suffer when their biological fathers are not involved in their upbringing. Studies repeatedly find that girls are far more likely to get pregnant as teenagers when their biological fathers are not involved after the age of six. It appears that father’s play an important role in teaching young girls how they ought to be treated by the men in their lives. Once again, family units that don’t include a biological father will struggle to offer what only fathers can.
While we’ve focused on studies that feature the importance of fathers, the unique contributions of mother are, of course, no less important. Each parent offers something that the other cannot, and much of this is related to distinctive characteristics that are a part of each parent’s sexuality. Two men cannot offer the distinct love of a mother any more than two women can offer the distinct guidance of a father. Is that really so controversial?
Children Are Less Likely to Be Poor When Raised By Their Biological Parents
Recent studies have also demonstrated that long-term marriages provide children with the best opportunity to avoid a life of poverty. For the past two generations, the primary factor that has determined one’s level of poverty was whether or he or she was raised in a two parent, stable, unbroken marriage. When this truth is coupled with statistics related to the flourishing of children in two biological parent, low conflict families, the conclusions are obvious.
Traditional Marriage Is A Matter of Social Justice
It’s time for all of us to recognize that the case for traditional marriage is really the case for protecting the rights of an important minority group: children. It’s a matter of social justice. Even the United Nations recognizes that every child has the right (as much as is humanly possible) to be raised by his or her own biological parents. When we promote forms of marriage that are contrary to this human right, we deprive children of the best opportunity to thrive, avoid incarceration, teenage pregnancy and poverty.
Promoting for the Larger Group, While Permitting for the Smaller Group
Government prohibits, permits or promotes certain behaviors. The number of children being raised in our country vastly outnumbers the number of homosexuals who want their unions to be recognized as legal marriages. While government can certainly permit same sex relationships and respect everyone’s right to love whomever they want, government has a duty to promote those family relationships that protect the rights of children. We simply must choose between two worthy goals while honoring children who seldom have a voice in this matter.
To hear more about this issue, check out the latest PleaseConvinceMe Podcast.