09 Oct Emotion vs. Truth
From the Desk of Laura Bunker:
Recently I was sitting in a state Legislative Committee Hearing, listening to the debate over whether or not to grant same-sex couples certain legal benefits, when a news reporter hurried into the room and sat in the empty seat beside me. He turned to the reporter sitting behind us, and loudly whispered, “What did I miss? Who’s got the most emotional story in here?”
I was shocked. I already knew that the media messages we hear do not always tell the whole story, but I was shocked at how quickly and unashamedly this reporter pounced on his prey: emotion. Emotion sells, emotion persuades, and “emotion wins.”
While family issues can be quite emotional, they are too important to base decisions on emotion alone. Truth is necessary to help citizens and government leaders make good decisions. Truth illuminates, truth steadies, and truth empowers.
Today’s alert offers valuable research that uncovers important truths about same-sex marriage and parenting. We gratefully acknowledge the author, UFI Board Member William C. Duncan, who originally published these research briefs for the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy.
Emotion Verses Truth
By Bill Duncan
Demand for Same-Sex Marriage: Data from the United States
“When a state redefines marriage to same-sex couples, how many of these couples are likely to take advantage of the new law? Asked a different way, what is the demand for same-sex marriage? Given the significant change same-sex marriage signals in marriage laws, it is fair to ask what proportion of the population will likely enter such a marriage.”
- “Very few same-sex couples choose to marry when same-sex marriage is an option. . . The percentage of married households consisting of same-sex couples would be .08 percent. The percentage of gay and lesbian people who marry would be 2 percent.”
- In study of Netherlands (where same-sex marriage has been in place for almost 13 years) just 20 percent of Dutch same-sex couples marry, as compared to 80 percent of heterosexual couples. These numbers mirror those in the United States.
Will Gay Marriage Protect Children?
“Despite expansive claims that same-sex marriage will help the children of same-sex marriage, little or no research has been conducted to test the hypothesis. Looking at extant data, this briefing paper calls into question the assumption. It demonstrates that there are very few same-sex married couples even where the law recognizes same-sex marriage, very few same-sex couples are raising children and the majority of these would be stepparent arrangements if the adults married, and an emerging literature suggests same-sex couples may not experience some of the benefits typically associated with marriage that would help children.”
- Of the 8 million adults in the United States, only 2.2% of men identify as gay and 1.1% of women identify as lesbian. Same-sex households with children make up only .3% of all households with children.
- Eighty percent of all children living in a same-sex household are the result of a prior heterosexual relationship. Thus for that 80% of children living in a same-sex households, they are being reared in a “step-parent” situation with all the attendant problems and negative outcomes associated with that type of parenting relationship.
- “A 2008 study asked ‘does the ability to call one’s relationship marriage make a difference?’ The authors found no difference in relationship quality, no difference in relationships with family or friends and no difference in experiences of discrimination among same-sex couples in these different types of unions.”
In addition, a new peer-reviewed study by Canadian professor Douglas Allen, confirms that “children of same-sex coupled households do not fare as well” as children of married, opposite-sex couples.
- “Children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples.”
- “Girls living in gay households are only 15 percent as likely to graduate compared to girls from opposite sex married homes.”
- This study is “a rigorous and thorough analysis of a massive, nationally-representative dataset from a country whose government has long affirmed same-sex couples and parenting. It is as close to an ideal test as we’ve seen yet.”
- Read more here.
Parenting by Same-sex Couples and Relationship Stability
Same-sex advocates insist that children living in same-sex household are going to be “just fine.” A recent study showing that that sentiment is mistaken met with intense scrutiny and controversy. Their attack of the study, and the fact that it revealed negative outcomes for children reared in a same-sex household, centered on data that they claim was only a reflection of unstable homes – not necessarily of how children will fair in a stable, same-sex household. William Duncan points to studies that show that “instability” is a defining characteristic of same-sex households, and that is a crucial factor that must be acknowledged in any discussion of the best environment in which to rear children.
- “Since all admit that household instability creates risk factors for children, the relative instability of same-sex relationships affecting children is an important finding.”
- “Heterosexual married women had been in their current relationship significantly longer than lesbians in both types of couples.” “Heterosexual married men had been in their current relationship significantly longer than gay men in both groups.”
- “Compared to married couples, the dissolution rates for male and female same-sex cohabiters were seven and five times higher, respectively.”
William C. Duncan is the director of the Marriage Law Foundation. He was previously acting director of the Marriage Law Project at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and executive director of the Marriage and Family Law Research Grant at J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, where he was also a visiting professor. He has published numerous articles on constitutional and family law issues in a variety of legal journals.