This happens to be National Marriage Week. February 7th to 14th each year has become a “collaborative campaign to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture, which in turn helps curtail poverty and benefits children.” While many argue that their version of marriage cannot possibly affect others’ version of marriage, this is simply not true. We all live in a society and whether it is pleasant or not, we must as a society live with the choices of other people. The choice to marry profoundly affects society as does the choice to divorce or to redefine marriage and family.
In an article titled, “5 Reasons Marriage is Your Future,” Alliance Defending Freedom declares, “Whether you’re married or not – whether you have children or not- the marriages of those around you contribute to the society in which you live. They’re improving the economy and raising upstanding citizens. Since they’re healthier and happier, they’re great coworkers, bosses, and community members. Most importantly, they’re providing a safe, nurturing atmosphere while raising the next generation, and creating a better future for all of us.”
It behooves government to protect the marriages in which children will have the best chance of growing into contributing adults. This assures the best future for society. Decades of social research has shown that children from divorced and single parent homes do not fare as well as children from intact married couples. Yet the government has done little to discourage divorce or raising children in single parent homes. Society as a whole has become apathetic toward family structure. An “all choices are equal” or “whatever is in your heart is right” attitudes prevail regarding family. As a result, 40% of children are born to single mothers and the divorce rate sits around 50%. As marriages between a man and a woman have broken down, many want society to embrace a new form of marriage corruption and family definition—same sex marriage and same sex parenting. Will these help improve marriage and family life? Research suggests no.
A recent Canadian study, on new family structure suggests that homosexual relationships, including married homosexual relationships are not nearly as stable as heterosexual married relationships. One of the arguments used to promote gay marriage is that it will provide a stable home for children growing up with homosexual parents. This study clarifies marriage does not stabilize homosexual households in the same way that it does heterosexual households. From another study conducted by Mark Regnerus in 2012 we learn that:
“among the respondents who said their mother had a same-sex romantic relationship, 91% reported living with their mother while she was in the relationship, and fewer (57%) said they had lived with both their mother and her partner for at least four months at some point prior to age 18. An even smaller share (23%) said they had spent at least three years living in the same household with their mother’s romantic partner. This is to say that out of 2,988 respondents, only 40 children reported living with two lesbian women for three years or more, which is not a long time. Only 2 out of the 15,000 screened spent a span of 18 years with the same-sex relationship spent a span of 18 years with the same two mothers. Among those who said their father had had a same-sex relationship, 42% reported living with him while he was in the relationship, and only 24% reported living with him and his partner for at least four months. Only 1.1% of children whose father had a same-sex relationship spent at least three years together in the same household with both gay men.”
This strongly suggests that the parents’ same-sex relationships were often short-lived, a finding consistent with broader research on elevated levels of instability among same-sex romantic partners. For example, a recent study of same-sex couples in Great Britain found that gay and lesbian cohabiting couples are more likely to separate than heterosexual cohabitating couples. A 2006 study of same sex marriages in Norway and Sweden found that “divorce risk levels are considerably higher in same-sex marriages.” Such that Swedish lesbian couples are more than three times as likely to divorce as heterosexual couples, and Swedish gay couples are 1.35 times more likely to divorce. Out-spoken same sex marriage advocates and sociologists, Timothy Biblarz and Judith Stacey, acknowledge that “preliminary data hint that [lesbian] relationships may prove less durable.”
Although it would be helpful to compare the children of intact married heterosexual couples to the children of committed and intact gay or lesbian couples, this has been attempted, but is not feasible. There are not enough homosexual couples raising children that have stayed together long enough to make a serious comparison. The Canadian study, which draws from a large representative sample of the population, and despite using screening tactics designed to boost the number of respondents who reported having had a parent in a same-sex relationship, a very small segment reported to have been parented by the same two gay or lesbian parents for three years or more. This is an insufficient number to make reliable comparisons between the two groups.
Although there is much speculation today that there are large numbers of same-sex couples in the U.S. who are providing a stable, long-term parenting relationship for their children, no one has been able to come up with a sample size large enough to provide any serious data on the matter. The above-cited studies of different nations suggest that on average, same-sex couple relationships are more short-lived than those of opposite-sex couples. We must conclude that homosexual relationships are unstable.
The instability in family life alone from same sex households should be enough to conclude that children do better with a married mother and father. Governmental recognition of same sex couples will not benefit society any more than governmental recognition of heterosexual co-habitating couples has benefitted society. If we want to assure the brightest future for our children and grandchildren, we must recognize that all relationships are not created equal. Children need both their mother and their father and they need them to be happily married. So during this week of celebrating marriage and love do what it takes to forgive, love, serve, and strengthen your marriage. And then support laws and policies that promote the best life for children—marriage between a man and a woman.