Getting the Facts: Same-Sex Marriage

Society has a vested interest in prohibiting behavior that endangers the health or safety of the community. Because of this, homosexual liaisons have historically been forbidden by law. Homosexuals also do a poor job of raising healthy, well socialized children.

Homosexuals contend that their relationships are the equivalent of marriage between a man and woman. They demand that society dignify and approve of their partnerships by giving them legal status as ‘marriages.’ They further argue that homosexuals should be allowed to become foster-parents or adopt children.

The best scientific evidence suggests that putting society’s stamp of approval on homosexual partnerships would harm society in general and children in particular. A large body of scientific evidence suggests that homosexual marriage is a defective counterfeit of traditional marriage and that it poses a clear and present danger to the health of the community and children’s well-being.

Traditional marriage improves the health of its participants, has the lowest rate of domestic violence, prolongs life, and is the best context in which to raise children. Homosexual coupling undermines its participants’ health, has the highest rate of domestic violence, shortens life, and is a poor environment in which to raise children.


Fact #1: Homosexual Marriages Are Short Lived

When one examines homosexual behavior patterns, it becomes clear that the plea for legal homosexual marriage is less about marriage than the push for legitimacy. Most gays and lesbians are not in monogamous relationships, and in fact often live alone by preference.

  • In a study1 of 2,000 U.S. and European gays in the 1960s, researchers found that “living by oneself is probably the chief residential pattern for male homosexuals. It provides the freedom to pursue whatever style of homosexual life one chooses, whether it be furtive encounters in parks or immersion in the homosexual subculture. In addition, homosexual relationships are fragile enough to make this residential pattern common whether deliberate or not.”
  • A 1970 study in San Francisco2 found that approximately 61% of gays and 37% of lesbians were living alone.
  • In 1977, the Spada Report3 noted that only 8% of the gays in its sample claimed to have a monogamous relationship with a live-in lover.
  • The same year4 over 5,000 gays and lesbians were asked: “Do you consider or have you considered yourself ‘married’ to another [homosexual]?” Only 40% of lesbians and 25% of gays said “yes.” The authors noted that with “gay male couples, it is hard to even suggest that there are norms of behavior. [One] might expect to find a clear pattern of ‘categories’ emerging from the answers to the questions about lovers, boy friends, and relationships. In fact, no such pattern emerged.”
  • In the early 1980s, a large non-random sample5 of almost 8,000 heterosexual and homosexual couples responded to advertisements in alternative newspapers. The average number of years together was 9.8 for the married, 1.7 for cohabiting heterosexuals, 3.5 for the gay couples, and 2.2 for the lesbian couples.

Variety Over Monogamy

Although gay activists often argue that legalizing homosexual marriage would help make such relationships more permanent, the reality is that most gays desire variety in their sex partners, not the monogamy of traditional marriage.

  • In 1987, only 23% of gays in London6 reported sexual exclusivity “in the month before interview.”
  • In 1990, only 12% of gays in Toronto, Canada7 said that they were in monogamous relationships.
  • In 1991, in the midst of the AIDS crisis, Australian gays8 were monitored to see whether they had changed their sexual habits. There was essentially no change in 5 years: 23% reported a monogamous relationship, 35% a non-monogamous relationship, and 29% only “casual sex.” The authors reported that “there were almost as many men moving into monogamy as out of it, and out of casual-only partnerships as into them.” [emphasis added]
  • In 1993, a study9 of 428 gays in San Francisco found that only 14% reported just a single sexual partner in the previous year. The vast majority had multiple sex partners.
  • In 1994, the largest national gay magazine10 reported that only 17% of its sample of 2,500 gays claimed to live together in a monogamous relationship.
  • Even gays who do have long-term partners do not play by the typical ‘rules.’ Only 69% of Dutch gays11 with a marriage-type ‘partner’ actually lived together. The average number of “outside partners” per year of ‘marriage’ was 7.1 and increased from 2.5 in the first year of the relationship to 11 in the 6th year.

Why are homosexual marriages shorter and less committed than traditional marriages?

At any given time, less than a third of gays and approximately half of lesbians are living with a lover. Because the relationships are so short, the average homosexual can anticipate many, many ‘divorces.’

At any instant, about 10% of gays live together in monogamous relationships. Their monogamy seldom lasts beyond a year. Perhaps half of lesbians live together in monogamous relationships. These typically dissolve in one to three years.
These same patterns appear in the scientific literature over the last 50 years — both long before and during the AIDS epidemic. This consistency suggests a reality associated with the practice of homosexuality, one unlikely to be affected by changes in marriage laws.

The Scandinavian experience

In Denmark, a form of homosexual marriage has been legal since 1989. Through 1995, less than 3% of Danish homosexuals had gotten married, and 28% of these marriages had already ended in divorce or death.12 The Danish experience provides no evidence that gay ‘marriage’ is beneficial. Men who married men were three times more apt to be widowers before the age of 55 than men who married women! Similarly, a woman who married a woman was three times more apt to be a widow than a woman who married a man.

Though only about 3% of gays get married in Norway and Sweden, gay marriages more frequently result in divorce. In these countries, divorce is about 50% more likely in male homosexuals, and 200% more likely in lesbians. Furthermore, reversing the usual excuse of ‘staying together for the sake of the kids,’ divorce was more common if children lived with the same-sex couple.13

Fact #2: Studies Show Homosexual ‘Marriage’ Is Hazardous To One’s Health

Across the world, numerous researchers have reported that ‘committed’ or ‘coupled’ homosexuals are more apt than ‘single’ gays to engage in highly risky and biologically unsanitary sexual practices. As a consequence of this activity, they increase their chances of getting AIDS and other sexually transmitted or blood-borne diseases.

  • In 1983, near the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, gays in San Francisco14 who claimed to be in “monogamous relationships” were compared to those who were not. Without exception, those in monogamous relationships more frequently reported that they had engaged in biologically unhealthful activity during the past year. As examples, 4.5% of the monogamous vs. 2.2% of the unpartnered had engaged in drinking urine, and 33.3% vs. 19.6% claimed to practice oral-anal sex.
  • In 1989, Italian researchers15 investigated 127 gays attending an AIDS clinic. Twelve percent of those without steady partners vs. 28% of those with steady partners were HIV+. The investigators remarked that “to our surprise, male prostitutes did not seem to be at increased risk, whereas homosexuals who reported a steady partner (i.e., the same man for the previous six months) carried the highest relative risk.”
  • During 1991-92, 677 gays in England16 were asked about “unprotected anal sex.” Those who had ‘regular’ partners reported sex lives which were “about three times as likely to involve unprotected anal sex than partnerships described as ‘casual/one-night stands.’” Sex with a regular partner “was far more important than awareness of HIV status in facilitating high-risk behaviour.”
  • A 1993 British sexual diary study17 of 385 gays reported that men in “monogamous” relationships practiced more anal intercourse and more anal-oral sex than those without a steady partner. It concluded that “gay men in a Closed relationship… exhibit… the highest risk of HIV transmission.”
  • In 1992, a sample18 of 2,593 gays from Tucson, AZ and Portland, OR reinforced the consistent finding that “gay men in primary relationships are significantly more likely than single men to have engaged in unprotected anal intercourse.”
  • Similarly, a 1993 sample19 of gays from Barcelona, Spain practiced riskier sex with their regular partners than with casual pick-ups.
  • Even a 1994 study20 of over 600 lesbians demonstrated that “the connection between monogamy and unprotected sex,… was very consistent across interviews. Protected sex was generally equated with casual encounters; unprotected sex was generally equated with trusting relationships. Not using latex barriers was seen as a step in the process of relational commitment. Choosing to have unprotected sex indicated deepening trust and intimacy as the relationship grew.”

Why is homosexual ‘marriage’ a health hazard?

While married people pledge and generally live up to their vows of sexual faithfulness, participants in both gay and lesbian ‘marriages’ offer each other something quite different. They see shared biological intimacy and sexual risk-taking as a hallmark of trust and commitment. Being exposed in this way to the bodily discharges of their partner increases the risk of disease, especially so if that partner was ‘married’ to someone else before or engaged in sex with others outside the relationship.

The evidence is strong that both gays and lesbians are more apt to take biological risks when having sex with a partner than when having casual sex. The evidence is also strong that gays disproportionately contract more disease, especially AIDS and the various forms of hepatitis, from sex with ‘partners’ than they do from sex with strangers.

Like male homosexuals, ‘married’ lesbians are more apt to engage in biological intimacy and risk-taking. However, death and disease rates for unpartnered lesbians appear to be as high as among the partnered.

Fact #3: Homosexual ‘Marriage’ Has the Highest Rate of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a public health concern. Among heterosexuals, not only is it an obvious marker of a troubled marriage, but media attention and tax dollars to aid ‘battered women’ have both grown tremendously in recent years. What is not reported is the empirical evidence suggesting that homosexual couples have higher rates of domestic violence than do heterosexual couples.21

In 1996,22 Susan Holt, coordinator of the domestic violence unit of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, said that

“domestic violence is the third largest health problem facing the gay and lesbian community today and trails only behind AIDS and substance abuse… in terms of sheer numbers and lethality.”

The average rate of domestic violence in traditional marriage, established by a nationwide federal government survey23 of 6,779 married couples in 1988, is apparently less than 5% per year. During their most recent year of marriage, 2.0% of husbands and 3.2% of wives said that they were hit, shoved or had things thrown at them. Unmarried, cohabiting heterosexuals report24 higher rates of violence — a rate of about 20% to 25% per year.

When the same standard is applied to gay and lesbian relationships, the following evidence emerges:

  • In 1987 in Georgia,25 48% of 43 lesbian couples, and 39% of 39 gay couples reported domestic violence.
  • In 1988, 70 lesbian and gay students participated in a study26 of conflict resolution in gay and lesbian relationships. Adjusted upward because only one partner in the couple was reporting (i.e., the researchers got “only one side of the story”), an estimated 29% of gay and 56% of lesbian couples experienced violence in the past year.
  • In 1989, 284 lesbians were interviewed27 who were involved “in a committed, cohabitating lesbian relationship” during the last 6 months. Adjusted for reports by just one partner, an estimated 43% of the relationships were violent in the past year.
  • In 1990, nearly half of 90 lesbian couples in Los Angeles reported28 domestic violence yearly. 21% of these women said that they were mothers. Interestingly, of those mothers who had children living with them, 11 lived in “violent” and 11 in “nonviolent” relationships. Thus, unlike traditional marriage where parents will often forego fighting to shield the children from hostility, there was no evidence from this investigation that the presence of youngsters reduced the rate of domestic violence.

Overall, the evidence is fairly compelling that homosexual domestic violence exceeds heterosexual domestic violence. The limited scientific literature suggests that physical domestic violence occurs every year among less than 5% of traditionally married couples, 20% to 25% of cohabiting heterosexuals, and approximately half of lesbian couples. The evidence is less certain for gays, but their rate appears to fall somewhere between that for unmarried, cohabiting heterosexuals and lesbians.

Homosexual domestic violence is a bigger problem than ‘gay bashing’

Gay activists and the media are quick to assert that discriminatory attitudes by ‘straight’ society lead directly to violence against homosexuals (i.e., ‘gay bashing’). In fact, evidence suggests that homosexual domestic violence substantially exceeds — in frequency and lethality — any and all forms of ‘gay bashing.’ That is, the violence that homosexuals do to one another is much more significant than the violence that others do to homosexuals.

In 1995, a homosexual domestic violence consortium conducted a study29 in six cities — Chicago, Columbus, Minneapolis, New York, San Diego, and San Francisco — where reports of anti-homosexual harassment or same-sex domestic violence were tabulated.

The harassment incidents ranged from name calling (e.g., ‘faggot,’ ‘queer’) to actual physical harm or property damage. Homosexual domestic violence, on the other hand, referred only to incidents in which actual physical harm occurred or was seriously threatened (i.e., met the legal standard for domestic violence).

The results? Nationwide,30 as well as in these cities, around half of anti-homosexual harassment reports in 1995 involved only slurs or insults, thus not rising to the level of actual or threatened physical violence. In San Francisco, there were 347 calls about same-sex domestic violence and 324 calls about anti-homo-sexual harassment. In three of the five other cities there were also more calls reporting same-sex domestic violence than anti-homosexual harassment. The same ratio was reported for the study as a whole.

Given that half of the harassment reports did not rise to the level of violence, while domestic violence meant exactly that, if the data gathered by this consortium of homosexuals corresponds to the underlying reality, the physical threat to homosexuals from same-sex domestic violence is at least twice as great as the physical threat they experience from ‘the outside.’

Rather than being a ‘shelter against the storms of life,’ as traditional marriage is sometimes characterized, being homosexually partnered actually increases the physical dangers associated with homosexuality.

Fact #4: Empirical Evidence Demonstrates That Homosexuals Make Poor Parents

Fewer than 40 comparative studies on the effects of homosexual parents have been published. Only one31 was based on a random sample, and another32 followed the children for 14 years. The rest were based on small samples of volunteers, and those usually with children under the age of 10. These studies seldom addressed traditional concerns — for instance, molestation, or recruitment by parents or their lovers. Nor did they tend to consider the effects on teenagers. Instead they were ‘snapshots’ of a particular moment in the lives of these children. Yet the empirical evidence supports what common sense would expect.

Molestation and incest

In the one random survey,31 28 (0.6%) of 4,600 children with non-homosexual parents reported sex with their parents or stepparents. By contrast, for children with homosexual parents, 3 of 6 sons reported sex with their father (2 of the 3 said they were homosexual as adults) and 2 of 11 daughters reported sex with a stepmother. In the only other relevant study,34 1 of 11 adult sons with homosexual fathers reported having been seduced by him.

A review of 78 appeals-court cases (through 1998) involving one homosexual and one heterosexual parent — contesting custody of 142 children — revealed 4 cases of molestation involving homosexual parents, but none involving the heterosexual parents. In another 154 custody cases involving heterosexuals used as a study control, one stepfather molested his stepdaughter.35 In one of the five clinical studies of children of homosexuals,36 a client complained that his lesbian mother had forced him to have his first sexual experience with a homosexual.

It is difficult to obtain facts regarding the nation’s foster children. Nevertheless, in 2003, responding to a Freedom of Information request, the state of Illinois reported that from 1997-2002, of 270 foster- or adoptive-parents who engaged in “substantiated” sexual abuse, 34% were homosexuals.37 An exhaustive review of the 50 largest-circulation newspapers and wire services from 1980 through 2003 found that 169 foster parents had sexually abused 351 foster children.38 Of these, 88% were men and 53% of these men practiced homosexuality.

The same study found that in 21 “group home” stories, the molestation was homosexual in 71%. Also, at least 334 of the 349+ victims in group homes were boys. Findings from both individual placements and group homes indicate a disproportionate homosexual footprint in the sexual molestation of foster children.

School and family life

Children with homosexual parents lead troubled lives. The only randomly drawn sample31 found 17 who reported a homosexual parent. These 17 were more likely to report sex with a parent, to engage in homosexuality for their first sexual encounter, to be sexually molested, to become homosexual, and to report dissatisfaction with their childhood.

The largest comprehensive comparative study was based upon teacher-reports as well as interviews with the students and their parents.40 58 elementary school children being raised by homosexual couples were closely matched (by age, sex, grade in school, and social class) with 58 children of cohabiting heterosexual parents, and 58 children of married parents. Children with married parents did best at math and language skills, second-best in social studies, were most active in sports, experienced the highest levels of parental involvement at school and at home (their parents also most closely monitored them at home), and had parents with the highest expectations for them.

Children of cohabiting heterosexuals were in-between, while children of homosexuals scored somewhat higher in social studies, lowest in math and language skills, were least popular (often socially isolated), most restrained and formal, experienced the lowest levels of parental involvement both at school and at home, did more household tasks, and were more frequently tutored. Their parents less frequently expressed high educational and career aspirations for them. In fact, teachers said children of homosexuals were ‘more confused’ about their gender.

Corroborating court cases

Through 1998,41 142 children with homosexual parents were involved in 78 custody disputes. According to the court records, parents who lied, engaged in criminal activity, or practiced homosexuality were more apt to be recorded as harming their children. Again according to the record, homosexual parents more frequently lied and/or engaged in criminal activity.

Parents or their associates were recorded as having exposed their children to “harm” in 70% of homosexuals, as opposed to only 5% of heterosexuals. “Harm” in this study included neglect, violence, seduction, and hypersexualization. Overall, homosexuals were held responsible for 97% of the 115 recorded harms to children.

Homosexual parents more likely to have homosexual children

In a 14-year study32 comparing 25 children of 18 lesbian mothers against 21 children of 16 single mothers, when asked what they thought their mother wanted them to become, 40% of the lesbians’ children but none of the children of divorced heterosexuals said that they believed their mother wanted them to be homosexual. Not surprisingly, 67% of the daughters and 57% of the sons of the lesbian mothers vs. 13% of the heterosexual mothers’ daughters and 20% of their sons said that they would consider homosexual relations. Also, 29% of the daughters of lesbians and 13% of their sons (but none of the children of single mothers) reported a homosexual relationship. In fact, two of the lesbians’ daughters said that when it came to sex, they primarily enjoyed homosexuality.

Adding together the various studies of children of homosexuals published through 1999, at least 19% of 115 daughters and 16% of 120 sons said that they themselves engaged in homosexuality; that is, 17% of 235 offspring. In the comparison groups that were employed in these studies, only 2% of 66 children of heterosexuals said they practiced homosexuality.43

Children of homosexual parents suffer embarrassment and isolation

When one researcher44 interviewed 39 adult children of gays, 56% “expressed some concern over the burden of keeping a part of their lives secret,” and 44% “stated that they had felt that their parent’s sexuality had placed special demands or constraints upon their friendships.” Children’s “positive responses” to a parent’s homosexuality declined as the child became an adolescent. The study noted that “[o]ver half of the sample reported having gone through a period when they feared the ostracism or ridicule of their peers.”

Gay parenting advocates like to respond that even if children raised by homosexuals experience greater social difficulty, it is only because homosexual marriage is not yet legal. If it were, the basis for the ridicule and ostracism would cease. While there is no doubt that legalizing gay marriage would place a ‘stamp of approval’ on homosexual relationships and their ‘families,’ the problems such children will face are unlikely to evaporate.

For one, the worst excesses of homosexual behavior — promiscuity, bizarre and dangerous sex acts, sexual disease transmission, alcohol and drug abuse — occur most frequently in those places where homosexuality is most tolerated and accepted, such as San Francisco or Key West, FL.45 Rather than practicing more responsible behavior in ‘non-discriminatory,’ tolerant environments, the reverse typically occurs. For another, many of the harms children experience at the hands of homosexual parents have very little to do with social isolation or rejection, especially when it comes to parental neglect, seduction, or violence.

Assessing the Facts: What Can We Conclude?

Homosexual marriage is a bad idea. While traditional marriage delivers benefits to its participants as well as to society, ‘gay marriage’ harms everyone it touches — especially children. Not only does it place homosexuals at increased risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, but it also subjects them to an increased threat of domestic violence.

Homosexual marriage is nothing like traditional marriage. Homosexual unions are not built around lifetime commitments, nor are they good environments in which to raise children. Those who support legalizing homosexual marriage include the same ‘compassionate’ people who championed the right of singles to become parents. We know the results of that campaign: a third of the nation’s children do not have a father. We also know that children without fathers much more often do poorly in school, get in trouble with the law, and become dysfunctional parents themselves.

It would be foolish to tamper with something as vital to personal and social health as traditional marriage in order the placate the same troubled souls that pushed for our current cultural mess.

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