Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton calls same-sex marriage a “really pernicious lie of Satan,” and claims that redefining marriage would be deadly to our society. He says that, “Every single culture throughout time has done marriage as a union between men and women, God has given it to us this way.”
He further invokes religious freedom as a reason against same-sex marriage, saying,
“The other thing is religious freedom, I mean we’re already seeing that on a vast, vast scale; the other side really in a pitiful way goes, ‘oh we’re not going to violate religious freedom, you’re not going to have to marry same-sex couples in your church,’ but it goes far beyond that. But it goes far beyond that. Doctors refusing to inseminate a lesbian couple because it violates his conscience, people like that have and will be hauled into court and prosecuted and persecuted because of their long-held and deeply felt convictions about what is right and what children need.”
There are two major problems with his argument. The first is the idea that marriage equality is detrimental to children, and therefore society. The evidence that is out there actually points against this. According to the American Psychological Association, research shows that there is little difference in the maternal instincts, and thus, the child-rearing abilities and tendencies, of lesbian women vs. straight women. In fact, the evidence shows that same-sex couples are more apt to split the duties of raising children pretty evenly, helping to create a healthier, more stable family life for their children and themselves.
The APA also says that there’s no evidence that being raised in a same-sex household throws a child’s sexual identity out of whack. While this has been one of the more common arguments against same-sex marriage, the actual research into the subject demonstrates that children’s sexual identities develop normally regardless of whether they’re being raised by a straight couple or a same-sex couple.
In short, they don’t see a difference between the development of children of straight couples and the development of children of same-sex couples.
The second problem is that of religion. One of the things Stanton mentions is that denying the gender differences between us is denying God’s imaging in each of us as two separate genders, and that we, as Christians, need to understand that.
We are not all Christians, we do not all believe in the Judeo-Christian God, we do not all believe in the existence of any deities at all. The United States of America, according to Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli and the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, is not a Christian nation. To disallow marriage equality on the basis of what’s in the Bible violates one of the core fundamentals that makes us who we are as a country.
There is a growing battle between religious groups who believe that being required, by law, to violate their consciences in favor of performing services for same-sex couples (marriage counseling, artificial insemination or adoption, or even allowing same-sex couples to celebrate their unions on grounds and in buildings owned by religious organizations), and same-sex couples, along with advocates for marriage equality. Religious groups are finding themselves embroiled in lawsuits when they deny certain things to same-sex couples that they would grant to straight couples.
Part of the problem with the religious argument is that much of it comes from the distress of the privileged. The word “privileged,” in this case does not mean “wealthy,” but rather it refers to those who, in the past, have been privileged to be the ones that most agreed with and listened to. Christians in this country are used to their thinking and their ideals being right, good and true, and in a changing society, where their thinking is now being openly challenged, they feel persecuted even though they aren’t. They aren’t seeing their rights be stripped from them as they would have us believe. They’re seeing an increasing push to bring their religion under the same restrictions that other religions in this country are subject to, though there are other religions that are opposed to same-sex marriage as well.
It’s one thing to be told, “We do not do this for anybody,” but quite another to be told, “We do not do this for you, though we do it for others.” As homosexuality is no more a choice than skin color, it does become a matter of civil rights, putting these cases under discrimination rather than religious freedom.
On the whole, despite Stanton’s and others’ of the religious persuasion’s assertions that marriage equality will be detrimental for society, there is no actual evidence that this is so. His arguments are religiously based, not based in reason or science. He’d have a point if there was real evidence to support his claims.