Same Sex Parenting: Can We Honestly Pursue Truth?

When discussing the possible effects on children of being raised by same-sex parents, I have told my students that the best evidence we have is that there are no negative effects. I also tell them that the best evidence we have is not very good. Thus they should remember the injunction of Karl Popper—in science everything is subject to revision and rejection.
The latest entrant to the discussion of same-sex parenting is Mark Regnerus from the University of Texas. Dr. Regnerus found that having at least one parent who (at any time) had a same-sex relationship is associated with an increased risk for negative outcomes. A firestorm of controversy has erupted. Charges of academic misconduct have been leveled. The charges were investigated by the University of Texas which concluded that misconduct had not occurred.
That is not to say there are no legitimate issues with the study. A person who was involved with funding the research was also involved in the peer-review process leading to publication. He should have declined to review the study due to a conflict of interest. However, there was no sleight of hand to hide methodological problems. Readers can identify strengths and weaknesses and make judgments themselves. Indeed it is promised that the data will be made publically available for others to analyze as they see fit. Regnerus is being more open than most researchers.
The most important issue with the paper is whether Regnerus’ comparisons are fair and appropriate. When choosing a group of children of heterosexual parents, many possible family structures could be used (e.g., step families, single parents). Regnerus chose to use children raised by both biological parents even though his data would have allowed for other groups to be used. This sets the bar high as, on average, children who were raised by both biological parents have the best outcomes. When comparing different family structures, feelings can easily be hurt. Truth seekers need to examine data honestly while acknowledging that not everyone in a category is average. Certainly many children from other family types turn out quite well.
What is the correct composition of the other group—children of same-sex parents? It is not a simple decision. For example, do we count children who were conceived by biological parents who divorced, after which one, or both, had a same-sex relationship? Regnerus’ comparison group was children for whom either parent had a same-sex relationship at any time. Thus, the comparison was between children raised in the family structure that (on average) fares best in virtually every study vs. children raised in several different situations. Given the comparison, the general findings are not surprising.
This was not the first study with less-than-optimal comparisons. Loren Marks from LSU has documented the flaws in studies which have found either no differences, or advantages, to same-sex parenting. For example, comparing children of upper-income lesbian couples and heterosexual single mothers is not a fair comparison. The Regnerus study is the latest in a long line of studies examining children of same-sex parents which used less than optimal comparisons. The Regnerus study does have a better approach to sampling from the population than many previous studies. It should be viewed as an imperfect addition to an important research and social conversation.
One of Marks’ conclusions in his review is that when new issues begin to be addressed by researchers, “it takes time, often several decades, before many of the central and most relevant questions can be adequately addressed.” It makes sense that children raised by new family structures would differ from those raised by two biological parents. These differences could be either meaningful or trivial. I believe that with time and additional study these differences and the nuances surrounding them will become clearer if the research community is free to honestly pursue the truth. It seems that many on both sides of the issue are not interested in honestly pursuing truth.
However, those of us who value traditional morality must always consider the real-life alternatives when evaluating future research. Suppose that there is increasing evidence that children raised by same-sex parents are at increased risk for some negative outcomes compared to an appropriate comparison group. What should moral traditionalists conclude if the choice was between some children being adopted by same-sex couples or being in the foster-care system? The scientific and moral issues are complex. They need to be addressed honestly without claims of scientific misconduct whenever a researcher reaches conclusions that some do not like. Similarly, imperfect studies should not be championed as the final word by people longing to justify their moral beliefs with science. How about an honest pursuit of truth?

Dr. Joseph Horton


Dr. Joseph J. Horton is professor of psychology at Grove City College and a researcher with The Center for Vision & Values.

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  • Dr. Horton, your first point is a strong one, but your discussion of the Regnerus study is biased and inaccurate.

    All that Regnerus’s study showed was that children from broken families have more problems than those from intact families. What we mean by “same-sex parenting” is two parents in a same-sex relationship raising a child together during the entire span of that child’s development (until 18). Regnerus’s sample included only two such families. That is not a significant sample, of course.

    Regnerus’s study was methodologically flawed because he compared children raised in intact homes headed by heterosexuals to children raised in broken homes where one of the parents had at sometime or other had a homosexual relationship.

    The University of Texas may have simply closed ranks around one of their professors, much as the Penn State closed ranks around Jerry Sandusky and the Catholic Church closed ranks around its pedophile priests. This is a common institutional problem.

    What is much more significant than UT’s verdict was a letter protesting the study, signed by over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s. The letter was addressed to Social Science Research, the journal that published the study. Their conclusion: “There are substantial concerns about the merits of this paper, and these concerns should have been identified through a thorough and rigorous peer review process.”

    The conflicts of interest surrounding this study were far more extensive than you suggest. You also neglected to mention that the journal’s own auditor, Mark Sherkat, said that the article should never have been published. In an e-mail to Scott Rose, he described it as “bulls–t.”

    Your final paragraph suggests that the claims of scientific misconduct that were made against the Regnerus study were ill-founded. The conflicts of interest have been thoroughly documented by Scott Rose of “The New Civil Rights Movement,” and they are facially incontestable.

    There is a much more serious problem with your set of assumptions. What if the scientific consensus, based on years of peer-reviewed research published in the best journals, showed that children raised by lesbians have better outcomes than those raised by mixed-sex parents? Would you be prepared to conclude that children should be left in the foster-care system if lesbian parents cannot be found for them? In fact, as you may be aware, not long ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics published the results of a longitudinal study of lesbian parenting. Guess what they found. Do you know?

  • heidi

    Having just gone through the pages you cite and more, the one thing that stands out with them as well as your post is that you are starting with the assumption that same-sex parenting is a good thing. The letter posted at the The New Civil Rights Movement, which is just trying to push its own point of view that same-sex relationships should be accepted, has parts that are very ideological, yet it tries to make it seem as if it is unbiased and scientific. There may be some real concerns with the study, but these are also red flags in regards to their intentions. Is it possible to find even people with a “Ph.D.” that are so bent on forcing society to accept same-sex relationships? Even 200 of them? Academia seems to consider itself as the director of society. They “know” what is best for people. Why? Because they had read and written books, etc. The bottom line is that the research is not going to make it right or wrong. Both sides would like that. Unfortunately, when someone presents work that goes against the prevailing view of the “social elite,” the first line of defense is to attack the person.
    I, for one, am really happy that our salvation does not depend on this world, but only on Jesus Christ.

  • Heidi, whenever I discuss this matter with Catholics, I always sense that they are very conflicted about the roles of faith and of science in this debate. On the one hand, there are those, like yourself, who distrust scientific studies and fall back on faith. But on the other hand, Catholics like Dr. Horton, the author of this article, appear to think that scientific studies are relevant. I’m not sure if faith trumps science for Dr. Horton, but it looks as though it does for you.

    If you are really interested in the Regnerus study, I think I can walk you through some of it, as I’ve followed it pretty closely. But I would probably feel a little cheated if I provided some incontrovertible evidence to you and then you told me that evidence doesn’t really matter to you after all.

  • Also, Heidi, I think you are correct in spotting Scott Rose’s bias, and I certainly have one myself, since I have a stake in the outcome of these debates. But having a bias doesn’t necessarily mean that one’s research and conclusions are either unfair or invalid. Dr. Horton clearly has a bias, but his first paragraph was, I think, very sound, and he did, after all, acknowledge that there were problems with the Regnerus study.

    Scott Rose definitely has an ax to grind, but he’s also a very thorough researcher and has done more investigative work on the Regnerus study than anyone I’m aware of. He has drilled “way down” into the details. So I try to read him critically, but I don’t wish to throw the baby out with the bathwater, either.

    I don’t think your distrust of academia is entirely warranted. The academic approach to understanding is not flawless, but it is about the best we’ve got, and it has lots of checks and balances, which religion, intuition, and “common sense” often do not.

    Finally, I don’t believe that academics are trying to “force” people to accept anything. Researchers who study same-sex marriage and parenting are providing a valuable service to us all, and I am very grateful for the work they do. Of course, their findings are always subject to scrutiny, as they should be.

  • They can do study after study, flawed, not flawed, biased, unbiased. It does not change the truth of marriage between a man a woman. The truth of being created male and female and of having unique, complementary and distinct roles as mother and father.

  • Gabriela, no one is proposing to prevent straight couples from marrying and having children. But surely you would not want gays and lesbians to marry straight spouses? They should marry each other, don’t you think?

  • Adamantius1

    Science and research are advanced through peer-reviewed literature, not through petitions, civil rights organizations, or Internet chat forums. If you or Mr. Rose or anyone else wants to claim the Regnerus study was flawed, you can publish your own research or meta-analysis showing him wrong. That’s how science works. But just claiming a study is flawed or biased doesn’t make it so.

  • Adamantius1. What you have said of course cuts both ways. If it is presumptuous of me to claim the Regnerus study was flawed, it is also presumptuous for Dr. Horton to claim it is not.

    Lay-people like you and me are of course not qualified to speak authoritatively about these studies. That is why we search out expertise in the community of scientists who CAN speak authoritatively about them. So when I quote Darren Sherkat, I do so because he is a qualified expert, a member of the publishing journal’s editorial board, and the man appointed by the board to audit the study. I suppose Dr. Horton might be qualified to critique the study, but it doesn’t appear that he has examined it very closely.

    I don’t make these judgment calls on my own, and Scott Rose–also a non-expert like myself–doesn’t either. He quotes the experts. He and I are both simply acting as conduits for the judgment calls of qualified scientists.

    Having said all that, it doesn’t take a qualified subject matter expert to identify conflicts of interest. Here are eight “red flags” that I discovered and wrote up during almost a week of researching Regnerus’s study: (I’ll post these in chunks)

    Red Flag #1: Robert P. George commissioned Mark Regnerus to conduct the study, which was to determine whether gay or lesbian parenting had any adverse effects on children. Regnerus received $785,000, which he says came “in part” from the Witherspoon Institute’s Family, Marriage, and Democracy program and from the Bradley Foundation. Regnerus reveals neither the amounts contributed by these organizations nor the source of any additional funding.

    Red flag #2: Robert P. George (see Red Flag #1) is a senior fellow of the Witherspoon Institute and a board member of the Bradley Foundation. He is also founder of the National Organization for Marriage (this country’s largest advocacy group opposed to same-sex marriage), board member of the Family Research Council (certified as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), and author of the Manhattan Declaration, a theoconservative document advocating civil disobedient resistance to any legislation promoting same-sex marriage.


  • Admantius1: This is a continuation of my write-up on the Regnerus study. These points pertain to the charges of conflict of interest only. There is an additional set of red flags pertinent to the study’s methodology.
    Red flag #3: W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the Witherspoon program that provided funding for the Regnerus study, is among Mark Regnerus’s long-time personal friends and professional associates.

    Red flag #4: Wilcox is also on the editorial board of SSR, which published the Regnerus study.

    Red flag #5: SSR’s editorial board decided to publish the Regnerus study on a “rush schedule” (41 days from submission, compared to months for most publications). Why the rush? The most likely explanation is that the 2012 election season was ramping up and various state initiatives regarding same-sex marriage were to be on the ballots. An audit of the study supports this conclusion (see below).

    In prioritizing this study, the journal violated its own peer review policy and settled for peer reviewers who possessed no expertise in same-sex parenting or LGBT issues. Three of them were known to be antipathetic toward LGBT causes, including same-sex marriage. SSR’s own auditor (Professor Darren P. Sherket, an SSR editorial board member) admitted that there was “an unseemly rush to publication … that was justified based on the attention that these studies would generate. The published [peer-review] responses were milquetoast critiques by scholars with ties to Regnerus and/or the Witherspoon Institute.”

    Red flag #6: Bradford Wilcox, program director at the Witherspoon Institute, member of the journal’s editorial board, personal friend of Regnerus, and paid Regnerus study consultant, was one of the peer reviewers for the study. This was an egregious violation of the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) Code of Ethics.

    Red flag #7: According to Sherket, at least two of the peer reviewers had been paid consultants for the study design.

    Red flag #8: Mark Regnerus violated the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics by recruiting Robert Oscar Lopez to write an essay—published on Witherspoon’s online publication Public Discourse-–drawing conclusions from the study. W. Bradford Wilcox is an editorial board member for that publication.

  • Greg B

    Two men (/two women) engaged in a sexual relationship is not marriage. This is:

  • @9463611ec67ecf165844cd82268cc9b8:disqus : Yes, I realize that that is the Catholic mantra, but in 10 countries and 6 states, it is not true. Merriam-Websters now has a two-part definition of marriage.

  • Greg B

    Frank, that’s so unsophisticated of you…In the 1800’s, the entire country endorsed slavery. So, the relevance of 6 states today endorsing gay unions (while more than 30 others have constitutional amendments banning the practice) would be what?

  • @9463611ec67ecf165844cd82268cc9b8:disqus I believe we were talking about definitions, not whether the thing defined is right or wrong. “Marriage” is in fact legally defined as a union between two consenting adults in much of Europe. France and the U.K. are poised to become the 11th and 12th countries to legalize same-sex marriage.

    The Civil War was not about the “definition” of slavery. It was about slavery itself.

    The relevance of six states endorsing gay unions is that only eight years ago, there were none.

  • Adam1

    It does indeed cut both ways, which is why I would NEVER use an article like this as data for a scholarly argument. I do respect Dr. Horton’s professional opinion, however, and that is all he is doing in this article–sharing his professional opinion, probably at the invitation of the publisher. As a professional researcher myself who has sat on editorial boards and published articles in peer-reviewed journals, I know firsthand the political struggles that can go on behind the scenes; and as I teach my own students, peer-reviewed research is not perfect, but it is the best we have. Most journals have an acceptance rate of 10% – 30%, which means that for every 100 articles submitted, 70 – 90 are rejected. Also, every article submitted is blindly reviewed by a minimum of two experts in the field, usually three or more. Again, this does not ensure perfection. But it does mean the research has withstood the most rigorous form of scrutiny available. Contrast this to opinions presented through self-organized conferences, pamphlets, web blogs, petitions, and chat forums, which undergo absolutely no peer-review at all. The acceptance rate is 100%. Talk is cheap, and everyone these days has an opinion. The problem with using data from these venues to rebut research is that they belie a double standard. They say, “We criticize your study because it has such-and-such problems,” while their own criticism remains immune from scrutiny because they have not subjected it to review by professional peers. It is presented, rather, to an audience that may not know the difference between a t-test and a one-way analysis of variance. It becomes very easy, then, to cherry pick data and create straw men. If the people you cite want to rebut the Regnerus study, they should do so according to the accepted protocol of scholarship. If your arguments against the Regnerus study have merit, publish them. See if your criticisms survive the peer-review process. If they do, then Dr. Regnerus himself might feel inclined to find flaws in your own article. If he can’t, then your ideas will prevail. That’s how scholarship works.

  • I agree with many of your points. However, once again, it doesn’t take a subject matter expert to spot conflicts of interest. The Regnerus article was not “blindly” reviewed, as you put it. According to Sherket, at least two of the peer reviewers had been paid consultants for the study design. One of them was Brad Wilcox, a program director at the Witherspoon Institute, which commissioned the study. The Wilcox-George connection is also a bright red flag. Remember that George was one of the authors of the Manhattan Declaration as well as the founder of the National Organization for Marriage. He is the one who commissioned the study.

    Aside from the conflicts of interest, the other matter is whether the public has any right to question the results of a study that appears so obviously flawed and politically tainted as this one. And I think that we do, and our complaints can be judged on their merits. It doesn’t take an expert in methodology to recognize that Regnerus’s conclusions are not justified by the data that he collected. Most any educated person can see that. Over two hundred M.D.s and Ph.D.s signed a letter to Social Science Review requesting that the article be retracted.

    And once again, I think you are ignoring the Sherkat factor. Sherkat, himself an SME, was appointed by the journal itself to audit the publication process. This was a part of the “accepted protocol” of which you speak. In an e-mail to Scott Rose, Sherkat echoes Rose’s question when he replies, “How did this study get through peer review? The peers are right-wing Christianists!”

  • Greg B

    More important than definitions, I hope you would agree, are the objective realities behind them. A large group of us could get bored one day and decide to change the definition of “food” to include any object small enough to fit into one’s hand. The new definition itself would not change the simple fact that things like lightbulbs and crayons are still not edible…right?

    I wouldn’t call six states endorsing some new and arbitrary definition of marriage any sort of step forward…

  • @Greg: That is a pretty far-fetched analogy. Words’ definitions have been very fluid over time, but not to the point that we would start eating lightbulbs because the word was officially redefined as “a type of food.” As I said before, marriage has already been redefined without anyone suffering any ill-effects.

    A closer analogy, I believe, would be expanding the definition of “food” to include something that we don’t usually eat, for cultural reasons. The Japanese eat grasshoppers, and the Chinese eat dogs. You can now order deep-fried grasshoppers in a Seattle sushi bar.

  • Greg B

    “As I said before, marriage has already been redefined without anyone suffering any ill-effects.” Again, a terribly unsophisticated argument if, by it, you mean, “Not seeing any plague of locusts or the death of anybody’s first born in the states that have legalized it, so what’s the problem?”

  • @9463611ec67ecf165844cd82268cc9b8:disqus So what IS the problem? How has same-sex marriage affected married heterosexuals? The answer is that there have been no ill-effects, and which ones would you expect, anyway? The so-called “slippery-slope” that leads to marrying one’s kitchen appliances is nowhere in sight, and churches are not forced to perform SSM ceremonies.

    But consider the positives for gay and lesbian people who live in countries like Sweden. They can enter into marriage just like anyone else and blend easily into their spouses’ families. The state accords them the same rights, benefits, and responsibilities as other married couples. Monogamous marriage reduces promiscuity and high-risk sexual behavior, and it provides emotional and financial security to the partners. What’s not to like about that?

  • Adam1

    “It doesn’t take an expert in methodology to recognize that Regnerus’s
    conclusions are not justified by the data that he collected. Most any
    educated person can see that.” Wrong. It does. I won’t be able to convince you here, but it does.

    Moreover, you’re conveniently omitting
    important information that would alert anyone with an honest and level head to
    the witch hunt that has been launched against Regnerus. Six people reviewed the
    study, all of whom recommended publication. Granted, three had gone on record
    as having opposed same sex marriage, but three had not. (What if all six had been pro-gay marriage and the results were negative? Would it then be a respectable study? Exactly what I thought.) After the uproar began,
    James Wright, the editor, was advised to assign Darren Sherkat to audit the
    study. It would have been problematic enough because only one person did the
    audit. (Normally, that is a job for a committee.) Beyond that, however, Sherkat
    is a known gay rights activist whose dislike for conservative religion is
    common knowledge. Just read some of his research over the past decade. He even
    wrote an article claiming that the reason African-Americans largely oppose
    same-sex marriage is because of their ties to fundamentalist Christianity. (No
    conflict of interest there. Certainly not!) So, talk about red flags: (1)
    Regnerus publishes study critical of same-sex marriage that is unanimously
    recommended by peer reviewers; (2) gay rights activists launch a public outcry
    and claim scientific misconduct; (3) James Wright comes under fire and hires
    Darren Sherkat, an avowed liberal openly hostile to conservative values, to
    audit study; (4) Sherkat declares study bull$hit because of bias and conflict
    of interest; (5) University of Texas exonerates Regnerus from charges of scientific

    Although I have my own research to do and won’t be tuning in to hear
    the reply, I would advise readers of this site not to be duped by information
    that has been cherry picked and selectively presented for maximum spin. Go read
    the facts. Learn about the peer review process. Go to your local university
    library and read some of the disparaging literature Sherkat has published about
    conservative religion. (He refers to traditional Christians as “sectarinans,” for example, while not applying the label to liberal Christians.) Then make up your own mind as to whether there is a
    witch hunt going on here.

  • Just today, Scott Rose released some e-mail communications that he had with Dr. Andrew Perrin, a cultural and political sociologist at UNC, Chapel Hill. Dr. Perrin is a highly-respected member of the American Sociological Association. Here are his words:

    “I think the study is so thoroughly flawed, in particular with respect to its categorization of ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian,’ that no conclusions can be drawn with sufficient confidence to report, publicize, or use them.”

    About Regnerus and Wilcox, he wrote,

    “They should state publicly that the study does not support the ‘gays are pedophiles’ conclusion.”

    When asked about the study’s finding that 23% of the young adult children of “lesbian mothers” had suffered childhood sexual victimization, he responded,

    “The fundamental flaws in data collection and interpretation are sufficiently grave as to make this finding very suspect.”

    About the conflicts of interest, he writes,

    “Regnerus’s claim that the funders were not involved in the study design is clearly not true given Wilcox’s status.”

    “The other important angle on this is that Wilcox’s “academic” work is not particularly well respected and is highly politicized, so it is not plausible that Regnerus engaged his services for primarily scholarly reasons. Regnerus certainly knew any advice he received from Wilcox would be heavily slanted toward the point of view Witherspoon routinely pursues.”

    More to follow.

  • @d6748af4eff7537cac506ae27729abce:disqus I still maintain that Regnerus’s methodology was so badly flawed that virtually any college-educated person who looks at the study can spot the problems immediately.

    Regnerus did not control the variables in his test group (children of gay and lesbian parents) and his comparison group (children of heterosexual parents).
    The alleged purpose of the study was to answer the question, “Do the children of gay and lesbian parents look comparable to those of their heterosexual counterparts?” Regnerus claims that his study proves a correlation between gay parenting and sub-standard child outcomes.
    Regnerus should have eliminated any factors that might cloud the issue. If his comparison group contained only children of continuously married heterosexual parents, his test group should have contained only children of continuously “partnered” same-sex couples.
    Instead, Regnerus selected children of continuously married parents for his comparison group, and children mainly from failed mixed-orientation marriages for his test group. This introduction of a third factor into the test group (but not into the comparison group) should have disqualified the study.
    Because of this asymmetry, the study can only be said to show that children raised in broken homes do less well that those raised in intact homes. But, of course, this is not Regnerus’s own stated conclusion.(more to follow)

  • @d6748af4eff7537cac506ae27729abce:disqus All respondents, who at the time of the study were adults between ages 18 and 39, were asked the following question:

    From when you were born until age 18 (or until you left home to be on your own), did either of your parents ever have a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex?

    If the answer was “yes,” the respondent was considered to have been the child of a gay or lesbian parent, whether or not the child had been raised by a same-sex couple. The “romantic relationship” of the question could have been nothing more than an infatuation or a one-night stand. A child of Larry Craig could have qualified as a respondent, though Craig was never part of a same-sex couple.

    In other words, the actual parenting of that child might have been done by an opposite-sex couple. Nevertheless, Regnerus places the child into the category of “children raised by gay or lesbian parents.”

    Tom Bartlett, writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, says, “In reality, only two respondents lived with a lesbian couple for their entire childhoods, and most did not live with lesbian or gay parents for long periods, if at all.”

    Of the 253 respondents in the test group, 42% reported living with a gay father and his partner for at least four months, but only two percent of those reported doing so for at least three years.

  • Greg B

    Frank, you seem to have an awfully naive view of love and sexuality. Let’s start with the fact that a square peg does not fit into a round hole. Or, in this case, more precisely, a peg does fit into another peg, nor does a hole fit into another hole. Are there alternate means of gratification available? Of course, there are. But that’s the point – Is sex a gift of one’s whole self to the other? A gift so powerful that it is literally capable of creating a brand new human life? Or is it a toy to be used in whatever way suits one’s fancy and whims? If the former, then the concept of same-sex marriage is self-negating. If the latter, then there is no value in the concept of marriage. And marriage does not, by the way, reduce promiscuity and high-risk sexual behavior. A conscious decision not to engage in these things does.

  • Colin

    The battle against gay marriage has been lost. The institution of marriage is broken and was long before the issue of gay marriage was topical. The quicker we accept the obvious the quicker we can work to reclaim marriage as God had planned it — An institution primarily for children and their welfare. But to do that we’ll have to rid ourselves of our present hypocrisy which accepts remarriage and the deliberate separation of children from one or both of their biological parents as if God would too.

  • @9463611ec67ecf165844cd82268cc9b8:disqus You say I have a naive view of love and sexuality, but then your next sentence is about square pegs and round holes. Who is thinking like a teen-age boy?

    I hope you were not suggesting that the only measure of selfless love is the creation of new life. That would be insulting to the NYC fire fighters who went into the burning towers, to countless soldiers who have died for their buddies, and to every mother who has ever loved her child.

    Instead of telling me that I CAN’T feel a powerful love for my partner, why don’t you ask me if I DO?

    Instead of assuming that partners in same-sex marriages are nothing more than “toys” for each other, why don’t you get to know some same-sex couples? You may discover that they are not just assemblages of body parts and that they don’t look upon each other as “toys.”

    Your last claim is simply untrue. Marriage does reduce promiscuity.

    And finally, I don’t know where all these obsessions with sex are coming from. I hear them again and again on these sites. Bodies are reduced to sex organs, and people are reduced to objects (toys).

    But wait, I do know. Do you? It starts with a p and ends with a y.

  • Greg B

    Frank, 1) Sorry, I’m not following you. Are you claiming that square pegs DO fit into round holes and vice versa? 2) No, obviously, I was not saying that the only way to manifest true love for someone is to make a baby with them. 3) How anyone “feels” is never is absolute indicator of the reality about which they are feeling. There are some adults who have very strong romantic feelings about children. I could ask them how THEY “feel” and it wouldn’t matter. To act on those feelings would be terribly inappropriate. Same thing with homosexuality. Not all that glitters is gold. 4) To substantiate your claim that promiscuity is reduced by marriage, I suppose you’re going to need to offer an agreeable definition of promiscuity first. 5) Sorry, again, the “obsession with sex” comment is unintelligible at this point. Obviously sex is what distinguishes marriage from something like best friendship, or a parent-child bond, etc. So, I’m not following you.

  • Greg B

    Colin, while your point about needing to give marriage a “tune up” is certainly true, are you aware that more than 30 states currently have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage? And then there’s DOMA at the federal level, which I’m sure Mitt Romney’s Justice Department would defend, unlike Obama’s…

  • Colin

    Greg B, even if the push for gay marriage was successfully fought off, the fact remains that the institution of heterosexual marriage is broken. It requires more than just a “tune up”, it needs to be completely rebuilt, starting with an acknowledgement that marriage is primarily about protecting the rights of children to a loving relationship with both their biological parents. This raises numerous issues about what types of relationships the State should or should not be required to recognize. I would include gay relationships, “heterosexual remarriage”, and the marrying of older people as relationships that the State has no need to acknowledge as marriage.

    Those opposed to gay marriage often claim they are concerned about children born into such relationships. It’s an odd claim because anyone can use donor sperm/ova and/or surrogacy to produce children and none of that is dependent on any particular State definition of marriage. I wonder why those supporting a legal bar on gay marriage, devote none of their time pushing for a legal bar on the use of donor sperm/ova and surrogacy?

    If we accept that children have a right to know and have a loving relationship with both their biological parents how is it possible that as a society we allow people to use donor sperm/ova to produce children?

    It seems to me those actively opposed to gay marriage have put the cart before the horse. Yes gay marriage is a silly idea, although not as offensive or damaging as heterosexual remarriage. But a more important issue than gay marriage is the use of donor sperm/ova to produce children who will be deliberately prevented from knowing and having a loving relationship with one or both of his/her natural parents.

    I get the impression that many of those who oppose gay marriage don’t really do so because of concern for children, I think they just don’t like gays.

  • chaco

    I tend to over-simplify. [ I love Jesus’ “Boiling Down” ” understanding to coming from 2 Laws; “Love God(Truth) & Love neighbor as self”.] Can this all be boiled down to Consistency & Predictability in the life of a child ? If so, and if “Field Trials” are more telling than “What’s on paper (mere conjecture)”, I’ve heard of statistics, from countries that have recognized SSA marriages, that reveal far more dismal results in such arrangements as regards Consistency & predictability. Fidelity & length of committment scores are significantly lower among SSA couples.