Last night, in the wake of the North Carolina vote and President Obama’s statement, Piers Morgan interviewed several people regarding the Gay Marriage issue.
I didn’t see the whole show, but I caught part of his discussion with Bill Donohue, an opponent of Gay Marriage and president of the Catholic League.
Two things he said struck me.
(1) He mentioned the court case of Patricia and Alan Muth, a brother and sister who claimed to be married and had children together. (The case was actually a very complicated case based on parental rights, child neglect, etc. A lower court convicted them based on a precedent from a case that involved sodomy, an appeals court overturned this, and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case)
Donohue asked Chad Griffin, a supporter of Gay Marriage, if he had a problem allowing marriage between a brother and a sister. If so, Donohue suggested, then Griffin also was guilty of discrimination. If Griffin said that he did not have a problem with this, the obvious implication would be that once we open the door to re-defining marriage there can be no end to where it all will lead. (The frequent conservative fear that any change will lead to the end of freedom, the end of morality, and the end of civilization).
Griffin simply avoided the issue, which I thought unfortunate. But perhaps he hadn’t thought this through before, or perhaps he had misgivings, I don’t know. Personally, my opinion is that incest can have clear detrimental effects on society from the genetic realities of in-breeding, and this makes it a far less obvious analogy than Mr. Donohue would suggest. What “damage to civilization” is caused by a loving gay couple making a marriage commitment?
(2) Donohue then made his main point, talking about his degree in sociology, and all the studies that demonstrate that a child raised by a mother and a father is the “gold standard” (as he put it) for raising children. Therefore, we mustn’t let gay people get married.
This argument, in my opinion, is utterly fatuous.
Studies have shown that children raised in families with the loving presence of both a mother and a father are more likely to be happy, well-adjusted, and to flourish, compared to children of broken homes following a divorce, or homes where a parent has died or simply left. I agree with this assessment, though I also know that many single parents do an excellent job and many children of divorce manage to overcome the difficulties and turn out just fine. Frankly, I don’t even know why a “study” would be necessary to recognize this obvious fact.
But to my knowledge there has never been a study which demonstrated that a child raised in an orphanage, in foster homes, as a ward of the state, is somehow better off than a child adopted by two adults who love each other and love the child. Donohue suggests that Gay parents are a huge problem, but he cites a very different kind of study, and that is disingenuous at best. Not every Gay couple adopts children, but those that do, in my opinion, are offering a magnificent service to society and civilization. If Mr. Donohue is genuinely concerned with the welfare of children, and not merely with promoting his narrow-mindedness, he should be able to show me the “study” that proves his point.
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