Same-sex marriage does not threaten birth rates or child-rearing

By Carlos A. Ball
March 25, 2013

Several years ago the trial judge presiding over the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8 asked Charles J. Cooper, the lead lawyer defending the voter-approved measure, how the recognition of same-sex marriages affected heterosexual couples. Apparently caught by surprise, Cooper, a former assistant attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, candidly answered that he did not know.

Cooper will undoubtedly be better prepared to answer a version of the same question when he appears before the Supreme Court this week. The brief he filed with the court explains that the recognition of same-sex marriage disconnects marriage from procreation and that heterosexuals are less likely to procreate responsibly if gay couples are permitted to marry. The brief cites studies showing that nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended and that children do better when raised by married parents. According to the brief, the institution of marriage was created to address the biological reality that different-sex couples can procreate. In contrast, society does not have a similar interest in allowing same-sex couples to marry because their sexual intimacy does not lead to the creation of children.

There are several reasons why the Supreme Court should reject the effort to defend same-sex marriage bans based on how and when heterosexuals have babies. First, the historical record shows that marriage rates began dropping — and that cohabitation, divorce and out-of-wedlock birth rates began rising — long before Massachusetts in 2004 became the first state to recognize same-sex marriages.

The numbers tell the story. In 1970, unmarried cohabiting couples were raising 197,000 children under the age of 15. By 2000, that figure was up to 1,675,000, an astounding 750 percent increase. Furthermore, during those 30 years, the percentage of births that took place outside of marriage increased from 11 percent to 34 percent, while the number of single-parent households grew by 250 percent. At the same time, the marriage rate dropped by 22 percent and the divorce rate increased by 17 percent.

There are many reasons for these striking changes, including shifting social norms regarding the acceptability of cohabitation, divorce and single parenting. But the important point is that the changes would not have taken place had heterosexuals not decisively embraced greater personal choice and freedom in matters related to intimate and familial relationships. The push for same-sex marriage did not fray the link between marriage and procreation; heterosexuals did that all on their own.

The lack of a connection between same-sex relationships and how heterosexuals conduct their personal relationships is also evident in what has happened since some states began recognizing same-sex marriages. For example, although the rate at which Americans marry has been falling for decades, the drop in the national marriage rate since 2004 has been more than twice as large as the drop in the Massachusetts marriage rate. In contrast, the drop in the marriage rates in several of the states — such as Arkansas, Louisiana and Ohio — that in 2004 amended their constitutions to prohibit same-sex marriages has been several times greater than the national average.

It is also worth noting that the out-of-wedlock birth rates in same-sex-marriage states such as Connecticut, Iowa and Massachusetts are lower than the national average. In addition, in 2011, 4 out of the 10 states with the lowest divorce rates recognized same-sex marriages, with Iowa having the lowest divorce rate in the nation.

There is simply no evidence that allowing same-sex couples to marry affects heterosexual relationships. But let us suppose for a moment that the data showed that straight couples are more likely to have children within marriage if same-sex couples are prohibited from marrying. Even if this were true, it would still be morally problematic to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to marry based on that ground because doing so would disadvantage lesbians and gay men in order to advance the interests of heterosexuals. We do not have a tradition in this country of denying legal benefits to one group of individuals as a way of encouraging another group to act more responsibly. Penalizing same-sex couples in order to create appropriate procreative incentives for heterosexuals is simply unfair.

It is not just same-sex couples who are disadvantaged when they are denied access to the hundreds of rights and benefits that accompany marriage; their children are as well. It is improper for the government to harm some children — by denying them the social and legal support that comes with having married parents — in order to encourage some adults to have children within marriage. Even if the children of heterosexuals are better off when their parents marry, and even if heterosexuals are more likely to marry if lesbians and gay men are prohibited from doing so, that does not justify denying an entirely separate set of children the social and legal benefits that accompany marriage.

The legal defense of Proposition 8 is built around the claim that it is constitutionally permissible to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying in order to promote responsible procreation among heterosexuals. It turns out, however, that the claim is historically unsound, factually unsupportable and morally indefensible.

PHOTO: Mark Smith (L), and Todd Manoli stand at the alter during their marriage ceremony at Shotgun Ceremonies, a Vegas-style wedding chapel in Seattle, Washington December 9, 2012. REUTERS/Cliff Despeaux

15 comments

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Your “statistics” notwithstanding, it is Obvious that if a couple does not reproduce (as nature intended) it will impact the birthrate.

In this case, that happens to be a good thing, since the earth is already overpopulated.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

What concerns me is not the affect of “same-sex” couples on marriage, but the fact it is another indication of how seriously this nation has drifted away from “normal” human behavior.

Regardless of what the medical profession has decided, homosexuality is NOT normal human behavior — given that “normal” behavior for ANY species includes a sex drive designed to reproduce itself — and homosexual behavior does not produce that effect.

It is a genetic abnormality.

Whether society as a whole decides to accept it or not is up to society, but we should not mistake it as a substitute for normal human behavior.

Even the pathetic “gay” drive to be accepted as “normal” is an indication that there is an abnormality.

It is not enough homosexuals want to be equally treated, but they keep “pushing the envelope” to force their behavior on society.

This is simply yet another push by a fringe group to force society as a whole to accept their behavior, and in fact punish anyone who speaks out against it.

THAT is wrong — as in Constitutionally wrong — for a minority group to use the US Constitution to obtain special rights that the general population does not have.

We have been down this road before with other minority groups and have lived to regret it as a nation.

The US Supreme Court is making a huge mistake in legitimizing this issue by hearing the case.

Nothing good can come from it because no matter what happens our rights in this supposedly free society will take another hit, all for the sake of more PC (politically correct) law enforcement.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@PseudoTurtle, what are you talking about? Please answer my questions, because I really want to know your reasoning and logic.

How is anyone going to be “punished” by giving gays equal rights under the law?

Why is it wrong for American citizens of a minority group to use the Constitution to secure equal rights? Please follow up with how marriage rights are “special” rights that you don’t have.

Which minority groups, having gained equal rights, have caused this nation to “live to regret it” and why? And what has made us “live to regret it”?

How will your rights “take a hit”?

I PROMISE you, Pseudo, nothing bad will happen when gays are granted equal rights. You won’t be forced to become a homosexual – trust me.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

Also, Pseudo, you wrote, “— given that “normal” behavior for ANY species includes a sex drive designed to reproduce itself —”

Just FYI, dolphins do it for fun, and apes masturbate. One could argue that the smarter the primate, the more likely they are to enjoy sex for its own sake. That just may make gays smarter than you.

Homosexuality has been part of the human existence since there was human existence. It isn’t new, it’s just different from you, and steps outside the dogma of the religion, which has lost its control over everyone, except for those who choose to believe. It is no longer in political or military power, and it no longer defines “right” and “good” and “normal”. You can always move to Afghanistan, where religion defines society, is in power, and the male is king.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

@ JL4 –

In your first comment, you asked me to explain my reasoning and logic:

————————————–

(1) How is anyone going to be “punished” by giving gays equal rights under the law?

The problem is that gays don’t want equal rights, but special rights under the law. They already have the same rights I have, so why should they need special rights that I cannot have?

This is a VERY slippery slope, since a few concessions now will lead to greater and greater demands later.

Basically, my point is that the US Constitution attempts, however badly, to give everyone equal rights. Any group that receives special rights that are passed into law, MUST diminish my rights.

“Rights” are a zero sum game.

Whenever speical rights are carved out for a group, it MUST be at the expense of the majority.

—————————————

(2) Why is it wrong for American citizens of a minority group to use the Constitution to secure equal rights? Please follow up with how marriage rights are “special” rights that you don’t have.

Partially answered above in (1).

Marriage is indeed a “special” right, typically granted by the state, sanctified by religion, and reserved for those who would like to raise a family, which is a natural function of humans.

Homosexuals want to have the same “special” rights that marriage gives — not some some separate but equal legal standing as marriage, which I would have no problem with — but without the normal human relationship of a heterosexual union, thus (in my eyes) denigrating marriage as an institution and weakening our society in the process.

THAT is an unwelcome usurpation of my rights under the law to have a heterosexual relationship.

Gay “marriage” makes a mockery of one of our most precious cultural customs. Thus, it is offensive to see them force their way into this quasi-marriage. And, yes, I do have the right (for the moment) to be offended by their behavior.

————————————-

(3) Which minority groups, having gained equal rights, have caused this nation to “live to regret it” and why? And what has made us “live to regret it”?

The classic example of a group that has received special rights are the Blacks, which has only served to increase conflict in society, and resulted in a dumbing down of our entire educational system as we waste precious resources to somehow make up for slavery that occurred in our past.

I expect the reverse discrimination road that the Blacks followed will also be attempted by Gays.

This is all so predictable. Once you give in to the demands of a special group, they will never end.

That is why I say we have done this before and lived to regret it.

—————————————

(4) How will your rights “take a hit”?

Partially answered above.

But I would like to quote from the EEOC regulations to show how ingrained this pro-gay bias has already become in this society.

=========================

Sex-Based Discrimination

Sex discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of that person’s sex.

Sex discrimination also can involve treating someone less favorably because of his or her connection with an organization or group that is generally associated with people of a certain sex.

Discrimination against an individual because that person is transgender is discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII. This is also known as gender identity discrimination. In addition, lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals may bring sex discrimination claims. These may include, for example, allegations of sexual harassment or other kinds of sex discrimination, such as adverse actions taken because of the person’s non-conformance with sex-stereotypes.
Sex Discrimination & Work Situations

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

=======================

Soon, if the gay movement wins in court, there will likely be gay quotas for hiring, just as there are for hiring blacks and other minorities.

This would include special rules for gay-owned companies for bidding on local, state and federal projects.

These are mere examples of a pervasive “inequality” built into our society, and ALL at the expense of taxpayers who have to fund special schools and pay for shoddy work done by those who demand “equal rights”.

You CANNOT have equal rights when some are treated “more equal” than others in our society.

That is a fact.

——————————————-

(5) I PROMISE you, Pseudo, nothing bad will happen when gays are granted equal rights. You won’t be forced to become a homosexual – trust me.

As I outlined above “bad” things are already happening to me because of the special treatment of gays, and with offical recognition by the Supreme Court it will probably become a lot worse.

History is on my side, not yours.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@ JL4 –

In reply to your second comment:

(1) Just FYI, dolphins do it for fun, and apes masturbate. One could argue that the smarter the primate, the more likely they are to enjoy sex for its own sake. That just may make gays smarter than you.

Are you arguing that gays and gay behavior is little better than animal behavior? Animals do a lot of things I don’t believe humans should engage in.

If one’s sexual activities contributed to intelligence, there would be fewer people in the world. It is a well known fact that when a person’s (or an animal’s) sex drive takes over, the urge to procreate makes humans/animals do incredibly stupid things.

Following your logic, I would say gays would be less intelligent, since homosexual behavior seems to totally dominate gays’ lives to exclusion of most everything else. That would argue strongly that homosexual behavior is far from normal, as I stated above.

—————————————–

Homosexuality has been part of the human existence since there was human existence. It isn’t new, it’s just different from you, and steps outside the dogma of the religion, which has lost its control over everyone, except for those who choose to believe. It is no longer in political or military power, and it no longer defines “right” and “good” and “normal”. You can always move to Afghanistan, where religion defines society, is in power, and the male is king.

You are probably right that homosexual behavior has been part of human existence for a very long time, but simply because a particular behavior has been with us for a lengthy period doesn’t necessarily mean the behavior should be encouraged.

For example, people have been killing each other since our species began; however, I don’t think society should actively encourage more killing.

And killing is a “normal” human activity, however much we say we are a nonviolent species.

I agree that religion has lost its ability to control people, but I think that is a good thing, mainly since much of mankind’s violence is religious-based.

You are wrong that homosexuality “is no longer in political or military power, and it no longer defines “right” and “good” and “normal” because that is what we are arguing about today — the political or military power gay attitudes will bring, and it is now in the process of defining (for good or ill) what our society considers right, good and normal.

Sex has always been a part of human society and CANNOT be legislated in or out of society. THAT is what the Supreme Court is attempting to do — regulate human behavior at the most basic level — and they will fail just as the Supreme Court has failed in this area previously.

You take my comments too personally.

I have no animosity against gays/lesbians, but only judge them on their overt behavior and the negative impact they are having on society.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

Even Humpty-Dumpty can make an opinion, but for it to be taken seriously it needs to be sound-minded and logical. Your reasoning fails to resonate among fair-minded Americans and would definitely fail in courts.
How would you celebrate the upcoming Supreme Court’s affirmation of marriage equality in June, Turtle ?

Posted by Commenter12 | Report as abusive

You are an idiot if you say that gay marriage is not “normal”. It is completely normal and a bunch of the time it isn’t something we choose. I think if the couple is happy then that is all that matters. Yes, I know we all have different opinions on the topic. One thing that makes me mad is that religion is starting to be brought up into the picture. We all have different religions. Maybe your religion doesn’t support it. That doesn’t mean that the other religion hates it also. Also people say that gays will force their sexuality on others. Yes, some will, but it works the other way also. Heterosexuals also try to force their sexuality on others. It works both ways. I think that EVERYONE should be treated the same. I support gay marriage and I don’t care who knows. Some people have to accept that some people are different from others and that is completely normal.

Posted by AustinPuppyUSA | Report as abusive

I can only respond by saying that your expanded version of your original 2 posts says nothing more, except to detail your misguided and unsupportable perception of equality.

Let me clarify – no, I don’t mean that homosexual behavior is only “little better than animal behavior”. What I meant to convey is that gays have a better outlook on what it means to be human than you. Perhaps I was too subtle for you.

You take homosexual equality, and apparently ANY equality of minorities, as a threat to you personally and to this nation. You feel you would be better off without equal rights for others, and consider any legal, social and employment rights for others as “special” and therefore a threat to your standing. Your views are precisely why there is an EEOC. There has to be to prevent people like you from considering anyone who isn’t a white male to be undeserving of equality – perhaps a 3/5 citizen.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time today to respond to each and every one of your rebuttals, but let me leave you with this – history is not on your side. History has proven time and again that equal rights in this country prevail. They will again, and on this one and only point I do agree with you – you don’t have to like it.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

Frankly, I find the unabashedly pro-gay propaganda from Reuters disturbing. Clearly, they are more interested in social engineering than the truth.

I especially find Reuters statement that 63% of the American people favor same sex marriage. If that is true, why did California pass a law (by popular vote) to deny same sex marriages?

Reuters is not a news organization, but a liberal propaganda machine.

I offer this article from Europe as proof of my charge. THIS is what the American people should be doing. We are stupid beyond belief to allow gay marriage in this country, because it will open a Pandora’s Box that can never be shut.

——————————

From Der Spiegel, with 7 photos covering the demonstrations against gay marriage in Paris.

Protest in Paris: Anti-Gay Marriage Activists Clash with Police

An estimated 300,000 people took to the streets in the French capital to protest against the “marriage for everyone” draft law, passed last month by parliament with a wide majority led by President François Hollande’s Socialists and their allies. The demontrators hope to discourage the bill’s approval next month by the Senate, where the Socialists also lead.

Disagreement over the bill — a campaign promise by Hollande — is dividing French society. While many supported the measure when Hollande was elected, rising unemployment and the president’s failure to improve the economy have sparked resentment of the bill to grant same-sex couples equal marriage and adoption rights. Placards carried by protesters read: “We want a job, not gay marriage.”

Conservative activists, families, pensioners and priests came out to try and stop the law from being passed, many of them from outside the city. But the protest took a violent turn when police blocked a few hundred demonstrators from veering onto the city’s famous Champs-Elysées avenue toward the presidential palace. Demonstrators reportedly harassed officers and objects began flying through the air, prompting police to use tear gas and batons.

Participants reportedly fell to the ground, overcome by the tear gas. Prominent politician Christine Boutin, who heads the conservative Christian Democratic Party, was also reportedly injured. At least two arrests were made.

The landmark Champs-Élysées, a tourist magnet, had not been approved as a route for the protest. Interior Minister Manuel Valls said the demonstration “got out of hand” when organizers became overwhelmed by “extremist groups” taking part in the protest.

While police estimated that some 300,000 took part, protest organizers said that 1.4 million people were there.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/euro pe/anti-gay-marriage-activists-clash-wit h-paris-police-a-890752.html

—————————-

NONE of this is being reported by Reuters, mainly in an obvious effort to suppress US opinion against gay marriage.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

Whether the U.S. Supreme Court supports or denies the same-sex marriage vehicle, it is of no consequence to heterosexuals. The gay person will only abet or injure him or herself alone but will never reach the heterosexual lifestyle or continuation of the species. So any arguments for or against does not concern any heterosexual couple or person except insofar as it touches upon the benefits to be gained from our state and federal governments. This is really what the argument is going to center upon after the U.S. Supreme Court grants the right to marriage. Will the gay community realize enough income to justify their hand in the public till and not remove any dollar amounts that any heterosexual couple or person may derive from the public well?

Posted by opuntia | Report as abusive

@ JL4 –

There is an old saying, which is quite apt in these circumstances.

If you don’t want to hear the answer, don’t ask the question.

Obviously, you thought you could take a cheap shot at my expense, and never expected an answer.

I stand by what I said above that “I have no animosity against gays/lesbians, but only judge them on their overt behavior and the negative impact they are having on society.”

You are wrong about history being on your side. This country has a track record of civil rights violations that goes back to its beginnings.

It has swung between extremes, and is now at or near the end of a liberal phase where we cannot survive as a nation with “multiculturalism” as a societal concept.

Homosexuality is the predictable result of this drift towards multiculturalism.

NO society has EVER survived for any length of time with increasing multiculturalism as it basis.

That is a fact.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@PseudoTurtle, you sound like the Nazis. Hitler didn’t much like “multiculturalism” either.

If I hadn’t wanted answers I wouldn’t have asked them. I didn’t attempt to, not did I think I’d need to take “cheap shots” if you answered my questions, and I was right.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

Turning the issue on it’s head – why is the state allowed to give preferential treatment to heterosexual couples who marry? It cannot only be to encourage procreation, as elderly people beyond child-bearing age are allowed to marry. And marriage is not a necessary step in pregnancy, as borne out by the statistics. So, why does the state give married people tax breaks and spousal benefits? Obviously this is discriminatory to all unmarried individuals.

As to why some of you are so afraid of homosexuals… Mr Fake Turtle, why are you so perversely obsessed with what other people do in their bedrooms?

Posted by euroyank | Report as abusive

Nature, being NON-sentient, has zero ability to “intend” anything whatsoever. Reproduction included. That said, though, thanks to the many available reproductive methodologies other than coitus, gays have proven to be every bit as interested in having kids as straights, and are just as productive. Whether or not they’re married. Their becoming universally able to marry will probably have no affect upon this.

Posted by CraigChilton | Report as abusive