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Tolerance vs. Love

Christianity, divorce, marriage, prejudice, sexuality No comments
Sarah Robinson, Intern
“Some say tolerance but we say love. That is a much higher standard. Love does not accept anything that is disruptive in a person’s life. We love them too much to leave them that way.”

So said Congressman James Lankford at the Values Voters Summit last week. However, little did the attendants of the Values Voters Summit realize that when we took our break for lunch that afternoon we would be face to face with living out this phrase from Congressman Lankford. Protestors lined the sidewalk chanting, “Homophobe,” amongst other untrue and judgmental names towards those attending the Summit. We were being deemed intolerant by these protestors.
Homophobe by definition is a person who fears or hates homosexuals and homosexuality. Personally, I do not hate homosexuals nor do I fear homosexuality. There are individuals in my family whom I love dearly that live this lifestyle. But that does not mean I condone or seek to advance their lifestyle choices. I love them enough to not tolerate things in their life that are disruptive to their well-being. The side effects of a homosexual lifestyle trouble me deeply and I do not want my loved ones to have to face the consequences. The CDC has discovered the average homosexual man has hundreds of sexual partners in his lifetime, and the number of STDs that are acquired due to promiscuity is troubling.
It does not bring me satisfaction to report these statistics, and it is not just about “ammunition” to use in a debate on the sanctity of marriage. It breaks my heart. My heart is broken for family members, friends, and fellow Americans who have opted for this lifestyle because of the risk that goes along with it. However, I am the one deemed as being intolerant because I will not morally comply with their choices. The motives for my stance on the issue of the sanctity of marriage are not hate, but rather love. Ultimately, I wish to live my life in such a way that homosexuals and heterosexuals alike would see radical love emanating from me that would ultimately point them to the love of God. I may be accused of being intolerant, but may I never be accused of being unloving. The two are not synonymous.
However, “what not to do” is only one side of this cultural discussion. The bigger, more important side focuses not on what to stay away from, but rather, what to embrace! Marriage is a beneficial good to all of society. For example, according to MARRI research, 52% of girls who grew up in an married-intact family had sex before the age of 18 compared to 79% of girls engaging in their first sexual encounter who grow up in a single parent home. The effects of divorce on children can also be detrimental. Also, according to MARRI research, 12% of adolescents had sexual intercourse at 14 years of age or younger who grew up in a married intact household compared to 25% of adolescents having their first sexual encounter at 14 years of age or younger who grew up in divorced-single parent households. I can’t help but wonder how much stronger we would be as a society if we were intolerant of divorce and stood for the sanctity of marriage. Strong marriages develop strong families which in turn produce a strong and thriving society.

Prejudice, or Unstable Partnerships? What Same-Sex Households Offer Children

cohabitation, marriage, prejudice, same-sex parenting studies No comments

Sharon Barrett, Intern

Mark Regnerus’s June 2012 New Family Structures Study (NFSS) came under fire as soon as it was published. Even after a private consultant confirmed Regnerus’s methodology was acceptable, critics continue to hurl accusations.  
One such accusation is aimed not so much at Regnerus as at the rest of us. Some critics argue the NFSS found negative outcomes among children raised by parents in same-sex relationships because social prejudice against these couples affects their children. If we allow gay couples to marry – so the argument runs – they will raise children with positive outcomes.
Here’s the problem: if a relationship is unstable, recognizing it with a civil or religious ceremony is not going to make it more stable.
The small, non-representative sample groups in previous same-sex parenting studies contained same-sex couples whose profile predicted child success: educated, relatively well-off, non-minority, and – most important –  a long-term monogamous couple. By contrast, the NFSS’s random sample of a broad population found that many same-sex households are among minorities and poor families, who are less likely to marry and more likely to divorce.
In fact, most households where a child has lived for some period of time with a parent and the parent’s same-sex partner were created after the breakup of a heterosexual relationship. Like heterosexual cohabiting households created in the aftermath of a divorce, extramarital affair, or previous relationship, such households are inherently unstable, as Peter Sprigg of FRC notes:
The fact that only two of over two hundred children [in the NFSS] with a parent who had a same-sex relationship lived with that parent and his or her partner from birth to age 18 shows how extraordinarily rare “stable gay relationships” really are.
Regnerus’s study, as even his critics acknowledge, pinpoints a crucial factor in child success: household stability. Now, even a heterosexual household can’t guarantee stability. So why should we continue to define marriage using the man-woman model?
Here’s one reason (among many). Man-woman marriage is built on a peculiar other-centeredness; it demands that two people who are polar opposites learn to live together. Paradoxically, this tension helps create stability. By nature, a same-sex relationship lacks this tension, which may explain why researchers in Sweden found male same-sex couples 35% more likely to divorce than heterosexual couples – and lesbian couples up to 200% more likely!
Instability, not prejudice, is to blame for the negative outcomes experienced by NFSS respondents. Unfortunately, the average same-sex household is unlikely to provide the stability children need – even when all other factors are equal.