July 7, 2004

The wisest man to walk the planet—someone who shaped Western civilization—explained marriage some 2,000 years ago. Maybe it’s worth knowing what he said.

 

“Have you not read,” Christ said, “that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’”

 

Here we have the short answer why marriage is always the union of a man and a woman and never the union of two men or two women. The Creator said so—and He makes the rules. He designed the different but complementary physical, emotional, and mental, characteristics of men and women that are the stuff of which marriages are made. Vive la difference!

 

For those with ears to hear, God and our nature shout the same message about marriage: “It’s a man and a woman for life.” But for those who dismiss God and nature (not recommended) here are a few more reasons why same-sex marriage is a cultural catastrophe in the making.

 

First, harm to children. Social science research strongly supports the common-sense observation that children do best when raised by their married mother and father. Twelve family scholars surveyed thousands of studies and reached the conclusion that “Marriage [traditional marriage] is an important social good associated with an impressively broad array of positive outcomes for children and adults alike.” Children raised by their married parents are less likely to experience child poverty, commit suicide, commit crimes, suffer physical or sexual child abuse, or to divorce later in life. 

 

So when Rosie O’Donnell’s then six-year-old son told her, “I want to have a daddy,” he was pleading not just for what he wants, but for what he needs. Rosie’s response, shared on ABC’s Primetime Thursday, is to tell her son, “If you were to have a daddy you wouldn’t have me as a mommy because I’m the kind of mommy who wants another mommy.” So much for putting children first.

 

Three decades into America’s epidemic of fatherlessness, we know that depriving children of fathers damages them and their future. Same-sex marriage will rob children of what they need most: the love and nurture of both a mother and a father.

 

Second, the decline and fall of marriage. Hoover Institution researcher Stanley Kurtz has documented how 10 years of same-sex marriage, or its functional equivalent, civil unions, in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden has led to far fewer marriages and rocketing illegitimacy. Kurtz reports that since legalization of same-sex marriage, 80 percent of firstborn children are born out of wedlock, and 60 percent of children born thereafter are born to unwed parents. That’s bad news for children since unmarried parents are much more likely to split up.

“Marriage in Scandinavia is in deep decline, with children shouldering the burden of rising rates of family dissolution,” writes Kurtz. “And the mainspring of the decline—an increasingly sharp separation between marriage and parenthood—can be linked to gay marriage.”

Third, polygamy and more. Once it is established that two men have the right to marry, it will be impossible to deny that same right to others. If marriage can be redefined as any two men or two women in love, what rational principle precludes extending that logic to polygamy—or any other combination of emotionally attached men, women, or children? If emotional attachment is the only standard by which we judge fitness to marry, then no sexual arrangement is off the table.

Family law theorists are pushing in this direction. Kurtz cites, among many examples, University of Michigan law professor David Chambers, who thinks homosexual marriage will help to soften society to other alternatives. “By ceasing to conceive of marriage as a partnership composed of one person of each sex,” Chambers wrote, “the state may become more receptive to units of three or more.” The ACLU, which has announced its support for removing laws against polygamy, will be glad to help.

Fourth, say good-bye to free speech. It’s speak now or be forced to forever hold your peace if same-sex marriage is legalized nationwide. That sounds extreme, but the push to stifle dissent is already evident in Canada, where homosexual marriage became legal last year. In April, the Canadian parliament passed a measure criminalizing “hate speech” against homosexuals. The law has a religious exemption, but that is little comfort since a Saskatchewan court has found the Bible to be hate literature. It upheld in 2003 a fine against a man who placed a newspaper ad with Bible verses on homosexuality. Also last year, Swedish authorities arrested a pastor for “hate speech against homosexuals” after he preached a sermon with biblical references to homosexuality.

Take your pick. The short answer or the long answer. God and nature or a panoply of bad outcomes that will follow the state’s stamp of approval on same-sex marriage. Forty years after the sexual revolution promised “free love” but brought divorce, illegitimacy, STDs, fatherlessness, and abortion, the last thing our nation needs is one more misguided social experiment.

That is why Congress must pass the Federal Marriage Amendment this year to protect marriage from activist courts eager to impose, against our will, a radical redefinition of marriage in America. The House and Senate must act now to protect what the Supreme Court once called the “sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization.”


D. James Kennedy, Ph.D., is Senior Minister of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and President of Coral Ridge Ministries. He is the coauthor with Jerry Newcombe of What’s Wrong With Same Sex Marriage?, available from Crossway Books in August.