Newsweek Column: 'Same-sex Marriage is an American Value'

Time to hit the bunkers. The war over same-sex marriage – which never dies down to begin with – has another battle brewing. This time it's in California … again.

A suit has been filed in federal court against Proposition 8 (surprise, surprise), the brow-beaten state law that bans same-sex marriage. Co-leading the suit are David Boies and Theodore Olson. If that last name rings a conservative bell, it should.

Olson, a self-professed “lifelong Republican,” was a former Bush administration solicitor general. So it's not just the court case that's feeling the heat from pro-traditional advocates; Olson is running for high ground, too. Not surprisingly, Newsweek was kind enough to offer him a mountainous soapbox to preach to his “fellow conservatives” that suffer from “kneejerk hostility toward gay marriage.”

Of course, the liberal-leaning magazine did not require the super-lawyer to provide evidence for his position, nor did it provide a soapbox to the lawyers defending his suit (surprise, surprise).

In his article “The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage,” Olson simply couldn't fathom why his fellow, bumbling conservatives haven't welcomed gay marriage with open arms, since, in his mind, “same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize.”

“Marriage requires thinking beyond one's own needs,” he wrote. “It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.”

Apparently Mr. Olson hasn't done his homework. Or at least didn't want to share it with the class.

Gays do not, in fact, simply want to “share” in traditional marriage. They want to radically change it.

As far back as 1972, the National Coalition of Gay Organizations has demanded the "repeal of all legislative provisions that restrict the sex or number of persons entering into a marriage unit; and the extension of legal benefits to all persons who cohabit regardless of sex or numbers."

The idea of monogamy – the most basic component of heterosexual marriage – simply doesn't exist in the majority of homosexual relationships.

A 1997 study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that the average number of sexual partners for older homosexual men ranged between 101-500. And 10-15 percent of the men reported having had more than 1,000 sexual partners in their lifetime.

Even when homosexual partners consider themselves to be in a committed relationship similar to a marriage, their definition of “monogamous” wildly differs from that of a traditional marriage.

A 2003 Canadian study that interviewed homosexual men who had been in a committed relationship for over a year found that only 25 percent had been faithful to their partner. The study's author, Barry Adam, concluded that “gay culture allows men to explore different … forms of relationships besides the monogamy coveted by heterosexuals.”

And there appears to be no desire to change that behavior. In fact, looking at their literature, it would seem that the general homosexual community believes traditional marriage would benefit from adapting such a lifestyle.

Andrew Sullivan, a prominent proponent of gay marriage, wrote in his 1996 book “Virtually Normal” that in gay male relationships “there is more likely to be a great understanding of the need for extramarital outlets” and that such an honest, flexible, and equal relationship could “undoubtedly help strengthen and inform many heterosexual bonds.”

Similarly, Paula Ettelbrick, the former legal director of the gay-rights organization Lamda Legal Defense and Education Fund, wrote in 1993, “Being queer is more than setting up house, sleeping with a person of the same gender, and seeking state approval for doing so....Being queer means pushing the parameters of sex, sexuality, and family, and in the process transforming the very fabric of society.”

And that transformation doesn't just stop with the social acceptance of marital infidelity. It includes polygamy.  

In a widely cited 1996 Michigan Law Review article, University of Michigan law professor David Chambers wrote that he expects gay marriage will lead government to be “more receptive to [marital] units of three or more.”

Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, agreed in his 2003 article “Beyond Gay Marriage,” which was published in The Weekly Standard. He wrote that “the likeliest effects” of gay marriage will be a “slippery slope” to the legalization of polygamy and polyamory (group marriage).

“Marriage will be transformed,” he continued, “into a variety of relationship contracts, linking two, three or more individuals ... in every conceivable combination of male and female.”

“A scare scenario?” he asked. “Hardly. The bottom of this slope is visible from where we stand. Advocacy of legalized polygamy is growing. A network of grass-roots organizations seeking legal recognition for group marriage already exists. The cause of legalized group marriage is championed by a powerful faction of family law specialists. Influential legal bodies in both the United States and Canada have presented radical programs of marital reform. Some of these quasi-governmental proposals go so far as to suggest the abolition of marriage.”

Of course none of these points appear in Olson's article.

Strike one, Mr. Olson.

Instead, he wrote that extending marriage to homosexuals would permit them to participate in a “stable bond” and work together to “create a loving household.”

A loving household? Olson missed the stats on this one, too.

In 2000, Susan Turrell published a study in the Journal of Family Violence, which found that relationship violence was a common occurrence in homosexual relationships. Forty-four percent of gay men, in fact, reported being victims of violence in their relationship; 13 percent reported sexual abuse, and a whopping 83 percent reported emotional abuse.

The numbers were even worse for lesbians. Fifty-five percent of women reported physical violence; 14 percent reported sexual abuse, and 84 percent reported emotional abuse.

And this wasn't even taking into account the personal harm homosexuals inflict on themselves with their lifestyle.

In 1997, researchers at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, Canada discovered something startling: the life expectancy for gay and bisexual men was 8 to 20 years less than heterosexual men.

“If the same pattern of mortality continues,” concluded the study, which was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, “we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday. Under the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban center are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871.”

And what were they dying from?

The Center for Disease Control & Prevention reported that same year that 52 percent of AIDS cases among 13 – 24-year-old males were among homosexuals; and, as far back as 1982, studies have found that the risk of anal cancer sky rockets by as much as 4,000 percent among those who engage in anal intercourse. Other potential sicknesses include chlamydia trachomatis, cryptosporidium, giardia lamblia, herpes simplex virus, human papilloma virus (HPV) or genital warts, isospora belli, microsporidia, gonorrhea, viral hepatitis types B & C and syphilis.

Strike two..

The super-lawyer also vehemently denied in his article the argument that “opening marriage to same-sex couples would dilute, diminish, and devalue [procreation].”

“Preventing lesbians and gays from marrying does not cause more heterosexuals to marry and conceive more children,” he wrote. “Likewise, allowing gays and lesbians to marry someone of the same sex will not discourage heterosexuals from marrying a person of the opposite sex. How, then, would allowing same-sex marriages reduce the number of children that heterosexual couples conceive?”

Olson, of course, didn't answer his own question. Let's try:

While the logistics of Olson's argument may be true – that same-sex marriage would not affect the number of children born – he did not consider the consequences of gay couples adopting children and the incalculable affect that has on children's mental and emotional well-being.

In 1997, Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, a psychiatrist and member of the Department of Politics at Princeton University, was called to be an expert witness against same-sex adoption in the Florida case Amer v. Johnson. Surprisingly, Satinover said in his testimony that “if two homosexuals, wanted to adopt a child, I would have no objection to it if one of them was a man and one of them was a woman.”


“What counts,” he explained, “is the willingness to put one's own desires in second place. It has nothing to do with homosexuality, per se, it's the fact that if two men or two women insist on adopting a child, they thereby prove by their insistence that they know nothing about the needs of the child and are so selfish and ignorant of what children need, that by their very insistence they prove themselves unfit to be parents.”

The “needs” of a child, Satinover added, includes having a mother and a father.

“In every area of life,” he said, “cognitive, emotional, social, developmental ... at every phase of the life cycle ... social evidence shows that there are measurable effects when children lack either a mother or a father. ... The evidence is overwhelming. Mountains of evidence, collected over decades, show that children need both mothers and fathers."

And why wouldn't it matter if the man and the woman were both homosexual? Henry Biller, who has authored several books on the subject, wrote that “differences between the mother and father can be very stimulating to the infant, even those that might appear quite superficial to the adult. Even if the father and mother behave in generally similar ways, they provide contrasting images for the infant.”

Sociologist David Popenoe deepened that explanation in his 1996 book “Life Without Father.”

“Through their play,” he wrote, “as well as in their other child-rearing activities, fathers tend to stress competition, challenge, initiative, risk taking, and independence. Mothers in their care-taking roles, in contrast, stress emotional security and personal safety….While mothers provide…important flexibility and sympathy in their discipline, fathers provide ultimate predictability and consistency. Both dimensions are critical for…efficient, balanced, and humane child-rearing.”

Numerous studies published in several scholarly works, including the American Sociological Review and Archives of Sexual Behavior, also found that “children raised by homosexuals were more dissatisfied with their own gender, had homosexual experiences more frequently, and suffered a greater rate of molestation by members of their families.”

And by the time those children have reached the teen years, homosexuality has a deep impact on their mental wellbeing. Youth who describe themselves as homosexuals, for example, are six times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers; four times more likely to suffer from depression; six times more likely to suffer from multiple disorders; four times more likely to exhibit conduct disorders; and three times more likely to suffer anxiety disorders.

Gay advocates, of course, blame the treatment of homophobes for these negative numbers, but the most extensive studies have been conducted in the Netherlands and New Zealand where homosexuality is widely accepted.

There are also many studies that claim gay parenting is no different than heterosexual parenting. According to Don Browning, however, a University of Chicago emeritus professor of ethics and social sciences, the studies were not rigorous nor were they on a large-scale. Stephen Nock, scholar of marriage at the University of Virginia, echoed that sentiment when he said that every study on gay parenting “contained at least one fatal flaw” and “not a single one was conducted according to generally accepted standards of scientific research.”

Olson didn't acknowledge much less attempt to discredit any of this information. Instead, he simply pointed his finger at his close-minded, bigoted conservative colleagues and declared that “there is no good reason why we should deny marriage to same-sex partners.”

Strike three, Mr. Olson.

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