By Hannah Gibson
As humans, we all have a driving need to belong, to be loved, and to give love. This applies to all of us, straight or gay. For those who identify with the latter, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to feel attracted to somebody and be able to express that without judgment. Many of us, regardless of sexual orientation, want to get married. Many of us want to have and raise children. We are all entitled to the pursuit of happiness.
But what if our pursuit of happiness negatively affects others? Does that bear any weight?
Do we understand what marriage is and the consequences of redefining it? Who does it affect?
What is marriage?
Marriage is a status and a highly desired position to have in a relationship. It’s about giving and receiving love, but making it more committed. Compared to history, love has now become the main focus of marriage. Unfortunately, marriage problems such as no-fault divorce have occurred because we focus too much on self-fulfillment and love, sometimes ignoring the value of enduring commitment in difficult times.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian who was imprisoned for being actively against Nazism, wrote to his niece who was engaged to be married:
“Marriage is more than your love for each other. In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations… In your love you see only…your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed…as a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind.
Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal—it is a status, an office. Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man.”
A post of responsibility? A link in the chain? It sounds like more is at stake than just a gay or straight couple making a marriage commitment, or a couple getting divorced because they’ve lost that love.
What makes gay marriage different?
Just like puzzle pieces, our bodies were made to fit together—so to speak—as woman and man. Sex was made for two complementary opposites. Just as one can stimulate sexual pleasure within oneself through masturbation, one can stimulate sexual pleasure with another person regardless of gender. However, alone or with the same gender, one cannot unite as husband and wife and reach an underlying function of sex—to reproduce.
Having children is not the only purpose behind sex, especially for infertile couples, but it only occurs between a man and a woman. Some might argue that a same-sex couple can have kids. This is only possible in same-sex scenarios because of technology. However, it remains physically impossible for a gay couple to have a child together. In the petri dish, it still requires a sperm and an egg.
But we’re past that; same-sex couples often raise children.
Are there any negative effects of same-sex marriage?
The Family Research Council reports that there are problems that can occur (more were cited in the article), based on the effects of legalizing same-sex marriage in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada 10 years ahead of the United States:
- Fewer marital relationships would be sexually exclusive.
- Many gay men especially are open to having multiple sexual partners even in marriage. Children deserve parents that are faithful to each other.
- Children with single parents would increase and fewer children would be raised by a father and a mother.
- Some children in same-sex marriages come from a previous heterosexual marriage, or their same-sex parents are likely to divorce.
Consider the story of Janna Darnelle:
My husband of almost ten years told me that he was gay and that he wanted a divorce…
I tried to convince him to stay, to stick it out and fight to save our marriage. But my voice, my desires, my needs—and those of our two young children—no longer mattered to him.
My husband wanted primary custody of our children. His entire case can be summed up in one sentence: “I am gay, and I deserve my rights.” It worked: the judge gave him practically everything he wanted. My ex-husband and his partner went on to marry…
Commenters exclaimed at how beautiful this gay family was and congratulated [them] on the family that they “created.” But there is a significant person missing from those pictures: the mother and abandoned wife. That “gay family” could not exist without me.
There is not one gay family that exists in this world that was created naturally.
This is also true of same-sex couples who use assisted reproductive technologies such as surrogacy or sperm donation to have children. Such processes… purposefully deny children a relationship with one or both of their biological parents. Wholeness and balance cannot be found in such families, because some[one] is always missing.”
This study found that having same-sex parents cannot replicate the emotional benefits and stability of children being raised by two biological parents. This does not mean that gay parents cannot be good at raising children; it comes down to the biological need of having a mother and a father. This is about sex, not gender roles. Think of adopted kids, always searching for their identity and the biological parent they’ve never met. Experimenting with fatherlessness or “motherlessness” in a two-parent family is bound to have unforeseen negative consequences.
Thus, the new definition of marriage and equality results in a choice between the happiness and self-fulfillment of adults right now, or the happiness and emotional health of future adults. Do our rights matter more than our children’s?
What can you do?
- Start defending traditional marriage by signing this petition!
- Consider how your marital choices will affect future generations and those around us.
- Live your marriage “out loud.” Hold hands in public. Show your children and social media a healthy, desirable status to achieve.
- Be civil to those that live their lives differently. This is current legislation and these are real people.
About the author:
Hannah is a 22-year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada. She recently graduated in Marriage and Family at BYU-Idaho. She has taught free English and self-reliance lessons, performed free business consulting, and translated in Romania and Moldova for just under two years. She is now en cours for graduate school at Utah State University, pursuing family advocacy and family therapy.
Darnelle, J. (2014, September 22). Breaking the silence: redefining marriage hurts women like
me – and our children. The Witherspoon Institute. Retrieved from:
Nathanson, P., & Young, K. K. (2007). Redefining marriage or deconstructing society: A
canadian case study. Journal of Family Studies, 13(2), 133-78.
Sprigg, Peter (2011). The top ten harms of same-sex “marriage”. Washington, D.C.: Family
Sullins, D. P. (2015). Emotional problems among children with same-sex parents: Difference by
definition. British journal of education, society, and behavioural science, 7 (2): 99-120.
Rochester, NY: doi:10.2139/ssrn.2500537