The following is one of the most cogent arguements on this subject you will see voiced in our current society of hysteria.
The Case Against "Equality" Parts 1 & 2
by Frank Turek
Pascal said, “People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.” So-called marriage “equality” is attractive. Who could be against equality?
But what if the word “equality” is being misused? What if that kind of equality will have the unintended consequence of hurting children, individuals and the nation? And what if everyone already has true equality?
True equality does not conflate people and behavior. People are equal but their behaviors are not. When liberals claim that certain sexual behaviors are equal – or that all outcomes must be equalized—they are misusing an important word and advocating a society that will ultimately smash itself into an unforgiving wall called reality.
Conservatives realize that for any long-term happiness to be possible, we must adjust our desired behavior to fit the unchanging laws of nature. Liberals mistakenly think we can adjust the unchanging laws of nature to fit our desired behavior.
I don’t question the motivation of liberals—in fact their intentions are often noble. But the problem lies with their definition of “equality” and the results of their policies. On the issue of marriage they want to legally equate biologically different behaviors, which ultimately will hurt everyone, especially children.
Last March I was asked by our local NPR affiliate to debate an attorney who was against the marriage amendment here in North Carolina. The debate was held at a theater in downtown Charlotte that held about 600. Despite the amendment passing comfortably a couple of months later, it seemed like 598 people in the theater that night were against me. That shows you who listens to NPR. (I still thank my Mom and Dad for showing up!)
The organizers gave me only nine minutes to make my case before the format degenerated into the Jerry Springer show. The time constraints made it impossible to cover the topic adequately. But like word constraints in a column, they force you to hone your position. This column and tomorrow’s column contain what I said that night, with a few minor edits.
Good evening. I wish I could be arguing for same sex marriage here tonight. On the surface, it’s an attractive position. I have friends who believe same sex marriage will help make them happy. In addition, I would rather not be slurred as a “hater,” a “bigot” or “intolerant” for opposing what is becoming more fashionable in our culture today. I would rather not be fired for expressing my political beliefs about marriage in a book, as I have been. I would rather not argue against powerful slogans such as “equal rights,” “don’t put discrimination in the constitution,” and “I have a right to marry the one I love.”
But I do argue against them because those slogans and slurs are based on fallacies, not truth. And as Chesterton pointed out over 100 years ago, “Fallacies do not cease being fallacies when they become fashions.”
Why are they fallacies? I’ve written an entire book on this topic. But since I only have nine minutes, I can’t touch on everything. Nevertheless, I am hopeful our discussion tonight will help us all to realize that this debate over marriage should not be reduced to slogans, slurs and sound bites. In the spirit of inclusion, diversity and tolerance, I am hopeful that we will consider one another’s diverse arguments carefully and respectfully so we can generate more light than heat on this critically important issue.
Let’s be clear about what this issue is not about. It is not about whether people with homosexual attractions are equal citizens who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. All human beings should be treated with equal dignity and respect. But while all people are equal, all ideas and behaviors are not. I hope to evaluate the different ideas and behaviors we are each advocating tonight by being correct, not politically correct. I mean no offense.
Here is my thesis: Marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of civilized society and should be the only sexual relationship promoted by the government. That is the essence of the Marriage Protection Amendment, and its passage in no way violates anyone’s civil rights.
In order to see this, we need to ask, “For what primary purpose is the government involved in marriage at all?” It’s not because two people love one another or to make individuals “happy.” The main reason most governments promote the union of a man and woman exclusivelyis because only the committed union of a man and a woman perpetuates and stabilizes society. I’ll call this union “natural marriage” because of the natural biological compatibility of male and female bodies and to differentiate it from same-sex marriage.
Here are four ways naturalmarriage perpetuates and stabilizes society:
1. Natural Marriage procreates and provides the most stable, balanced and nurturing environment for children. While not every marriage results in children, the only marriages than can procreate are those between a man and a woman. And statistically, children and the country do best when kids are brought up in a biological two-parent home. Children from intact natural marriage homes are:
a. Seven times less likely to live in poverty
b. Six times less likely to commit suicide
c. Less than half as likely to commit crime
d. Less than half as likely to become pregnant out of wedlock
e. Develop better academically and socially
f. Are healthier physically and emotionally when they reach adulthood
This makes sense in light of the fact that men and women are different and parent differently—each sex brings unique abilities and role modeling that aids in child development. While single parents do amazing work, every child starts with and deserves a mother and a father. If you deny this, then which parent is dispensable?
2. Natural Marriage civilizes men and focuses them on productive pursuits such as procreating and caring for their family. Studies invariably show that marriage reduces crime. (How many married men do you know who roam neighborhoods in street gangs?) Civilization requires civilized men, and natural marriage does that well.
3. Natural Marriage protects women from being used and abandoned by uncommitted men. Women often postpone or give up their careers to have children, and Natural Marriage protects them and their children from deadbeat dads.
4. Natural Marriage lowers social costs to government and thus taxpayers. One major reason for our soaring deficit is the breakdown of the two-parent family. When the family breaks down, government expenditures swell to deal with increased crime and poverty. Increased taxation also slows the economy. That’s one reason why you cannot bifurcate the social and financial issues. They are inescapably connected.
In short, when our natural marriages are strong, our society is strong. When they are weak, our society is weak. That means all in our society—even those who never get married—benefit immensely from government promotion of natural marriage.
But doesn’t promoting natural marriage exclusively violate the rights of people who are attracted to the same sex? That’s what I’ll address in tomorrow’s column.
by Frank Turek
In yesterday’s column, I listed some of the benefits that natural marriage provides children and society. But some claim that promoting natural marriage exclusively violates the rights of people who are attracted to the same sex. That’s not true. The three P’s will help us see why.
The government has only three options in addressing human behavior. It can prohibit a behavior, it can permit a behavior or it can promote a behavior—the three P’s.
Our laws prohibit sexual relationships such as polygamy, incest and pedophilia. They permit homosexual relationships and non-marital heterosexual relationships. And due to the immense benefits the committed union of a man and a woman brings society, our laws promote marriage between a man and woman. (Notice any two people in our society are already permitted to commit themselves to one another until death do them part. Since they don’t need the government to do that, this debate is not about tolerance. Same-sex relationships are already tolerated.)
Here’s why promoting naturalmarriage exclusively does not deny anyone equal rights.
First, everyone has the same equal right to marry a qualified person of the opposite sex. That law treats every man and woman equally, but not every behavior they may desire equally. Same sex marriage and natural marriage are different behaviors with different outcomes, so the law rightfully treats them differently. One behavior perpetuates and stabilizes society, and the other doesn’t. Promoting one behavior does not deny rights to people who don’t engage in that behavior.
An analogy may help clarify this point. Like marriage, the government promotes police work by paying people to become police officers because police do much good for society. But if you can’t qualify to become a police officer, or if you choose another vocation, your rights are not being violated when the government pays other people to be police officers. All people, regardless of their vocation, experience the benefits of police, just like all people, regardless of their marriage status, experience the benefits of natural marriage.
Second, the law addresses behaviors, not persons. In other words, good laws treat all persons equally, but not necessarily what persons do equally. People may be born with certain sexual inclinations or acquire them later in life, but that’s irrelevant to what the law should be. Laws deal with actions, not attractions—with what people do, not what they feel like doing. That’s why the parallels to the civil rights struggles regarding race are fallacious. Skin color is not a behavior, but same sex relations and same-sex marriage are behaviors. You will find many former homosexuals but you will never find a former Black, Hispanic or Caucasian.
Third, everyone puts limits on marriage—if marriage had no definition it wouldn’t be anything. Even most same-sex marriage proponents want to define marriage in such a way so groups cannot marry and relatives cannot marry. Are those homosexual activists bigots when they advocate that marriage not include groups, relatives or other parties? Of course not! They are not violating anyone’s rights. Likewise, conservatives who advocate that marriage not include same-sex relationships are not violating anyone’s rights either. Defining marriage in accordance with the facts of nature is not bigotry—it’s biology.
Some will ignore those biological realities and object, “But men and women are the same so there’s no difference between homosexual and heterosexual relationships!”
If that were true, no one would be arguing for same-sex marriage. The very fact people demand same-sex marriage is precisely because they know men and women are drastically different. If men and women were the same, no one would be spending time and energy trying to get same-sex marriage approved. They would simply marry someone of the opposite sex—which according to them is the same as someone of the same sex—and be done with it.
But why not promote both natural marriage and same sex marriage?
Several reasons, but I can only briefly mention three.
First, same-sex marriage would make the institution of marriage genderless. There would not be two forms of marriage—natural and same-sex—but marriage legally and culturally would become a genderless institution about merely coupling. In Massachusetts it’s Partner A and Partner B. In other words, same-sex marriage divorces children from marriage. The law is a great teacher, and same-sex marriage teaches that marriage is about adult desires, not the needs of children. Marriage should be more about what children need than what adults want. If marriage isn’t about the needs of children, then what institution is about children and the next generation? So homosexuality really isn’t the issue here—making marriage genderless and childless is.
Second, since natural marriage and same-sex marriage are different behaviors with different outcomes they should not be equated legally. To see this, consider two questions.
Question 1: What would be the benefits to society if everyone lived faithfully in natural marriage? It would benefit everyone in society because it would result in a massive reduction in poverty, crime, child abuse, welfare, and government spending.
Question 2: What would be the benefits to society if everyone lived faithfully in same-sex marriage? It would be the end of society itself.
Now, I am not suggesting that a law would fully achieve either, but only to point out that natural and same-sex marriage should not be legally or culturally equated. The truth is homosexual and heterosexual relationships are not the same, can never be the same, and will never yield the same benefits to individuals or society. We hurt everyone, especially children, by pretending otherwise.
Finally, as jurisdictions with same-sex marriage show us, people lose their freedoms of speech, association, religion and even parenting due to the imposition of same-sex marriage. In Massachusetts, for example, parents now have no right to even know when their kids as young as kindergarten are being taught about homosexuality, much less opt out of it; business owners must now provide benefits to same-sex couples, and they can be fined for declining to provide services at homosexual weddings; Catholic charities were forced to close and leave Massachusetts and Washington D.C. because both governments mandated that all adoption agencies had to provide children to homosexuals. So much for freedom of religion! And in Canada, same-sex marriage has led to such a chilling restriction on speech, that my speech here today could get me fined or jailed if given there.
To sum up, the government already permits homosexual relationships, but promoting them by equating them with married heterosexual relationships ignores the facts of nature, the needs of children and the health of society. While people with different sexual attractions are equal, not all behaviors are equally beneficial. True equality treats equal behaviors equally. It doesn’t demand that different behaviors be treated the same.
If all of these observations make you mad, don’t blame me—I wish I could affirm same sex marriage—but I didn’t make up the facts of nature. Conservatives like myself are simply observing that society will be better off if we conserve policies that are consistent with what we know about the facts of nature and the importance of natural marriage to civilization.
In fact, if you are mad at me it means that in an important sense you agree with me. If you don’t like the behaviors and ideas I am advocating here, you are admitting that all behaviors and ideas are not equal—that some are closer to the real objective truth than others. The objective truth is that good political laws don’t ignore objective natural laws. We can’t change the facts of nature by passing laws. Good laws attempt to conform our desired behavior to reality; they do not attempt to conform reality to our desired behavior.