Same-Sex "Marriage": Should America Allow "Gay Rights" Activists to Cross The Last Cultural Frontier?

Anton N. Marco

Copyright 1996-2006, Christian Leadership Ministries

 


Part V:
Presupposition 3

"Virtual Normality" and Same-Sex "Marriage"

If "sexual orientation" is not a valid "minority" classification, and gays are not "just like everyone else" in terms of relational stability we must explore the possibility that gay activists will not desire marriages "just like everyone else's," and that granting same-sex unions legal recognition may have much greater "ripple effects" than gay activists would have us believe.

Andrew Sullivan is the most prominent avowedly gay spokesperson claiming that the effects of same-sex "marriage" recognition won't be serious. In his Virtually Normal, {208} Sullivan assures us that:

  1. Same-sex "marriage" would certainly not be "a massive societal leap in the dark."
  2. Same-sex "marriage" would not radically alter the nature of marriage as society has known it; instead, marriage would bring "stability" to gays, "domesticate them" and bring them closer to society's mainstream.
  3. Churches, synagogues and other religious organizations would not be forced to enact or recognize same-sex civil "marriages."
  4. Granting same-sex "marriage" recognition would not exacerbate the tumultuous struggle over "gay rights"; it would actually defuse the conflict.

Sullivan's "points" demand responses.

Sullivan's Point 1: Same-sex "marriage" would be no "leap in the dark" for society.

From all the evidence we have reviewed so far, it should be clear that same-sex "marriage" surely would be "a massive societal leap in the dark." Social critics recognize same-sex "marriage's" potential, just for starters...

...to have enormous impact on the broad range of rights and benefits associated with marriage. These range from income tax and estate tax law, communal property ownership, inheritance and probate law, divorce and child custody regulations, and insurance benefits.{209}

...to unleash avalanches of gay activist lawsuits, against employers, landlords, school authorities, insurance companies, churches, governmental authorities and more which refuse to recognize same-sex "marriages."

...to force the rewriting of business employment policies, insurance actuarial tables and government regulations at every level of society. "Mega"-businesses may be able to afford to subsidize and create benefit structures for same-sex "marriages" and "domestic partnerships" (some large companies are already providing employee benefits for partners of gay employees{210}). But small businesses will not likely be able to survive with these kinds of added burdens.

...to coerce public and private schools to rewrite curricula to include materials strongly favoring "gay rights" and same-sex "marriage." As Mike Gabbard, who has led statewide opposition to same-sex "marriage" recognition in Hawaii, points out: "Compulsory education forces all children -- a truly captive audience -- to [be educated]. If same-sex `marriages' become legal, children would be taught in health ed, sex education, and marriage/family courses that so- called homosexual `marriage' is the equivalent of heterosexual marriage."{211}

...to, as numerous gay activists have predicted, begin "blowing the doors" off traditional marriage and family definitions and boundaries, to accommodate the vagaries of and legally protect any and all gay and lesbian "family" lifestyles.

California Attorney General Dan Lundgren observes:

If you have the legal determination that there cannot be a preferred status for heterosexual marriage, you open yourself up to all sorts of other [legal] attacks... We go all the way to the question of bigamy, we go to the question of marrying between cousins and so forth and so on once you eliminate this preferred status.{212}

U.S. Senator Don Nickles, testifying in favor of a federal bill defining marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, has said: "...[S]ince the word `marriage' appears in more than 800 sections of Federal statutes and regulations, and the word `spouse' appears more than 3,100 times, a redefinition of these terms could have enormous implications for Federal law."

In raising such issues, have opponents, as columnist Stephen Chapman says in an article supporting same-sex "marriage," "passed into outright hallucination"{213}? One wonders how much "gay theory" about marriage and relationships Chapman has read. Activist Paula Ettelbrick, currently policy director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, formerly legal director of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (formerly the Lambda Legal Defense Fund), is tactically "for" same-sex "marriage," but shares these caveats:

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....

As a lesbian, I am fundamentally different from non-lesbian women.... In arguing for the right to legal marriage, lesbians and gay men would be forced to claim that we are just like heterosexual couples, have the same goals and purposes, and vow to structure our lives similarly.... We must keep our eyes on the goals of providing true alternatives to marriage and of radically reordering society's view of reality.{214}

Both the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund are considered, not "fringe," but "mainstream" gay activist groups. Former Lambda Legal Defense Fund president Thomas Stoddard also expresses lukewarm support for same-sex "marriages":

I must confess at the outset that I am no fan of the "institution" of marriage as currently constructed and practiced.... Why give it such prominence? Why devote resources to such a distant goal? Because marriage is, I believe, the political issue that most fully tests the dedication of people who are not gay to full equality for gay people, and also the issue most likely to lead ultimately to a world free of discrimination against lesbians and gay men.{215}

The New American has reported:

In his 1990 book An End to Shame: Shaping Our Next Sexual Revolution... sociologist Ira Reiss describes... "a true sexual democracy [in which] all of us can achieve a much higher level of well-being -- an ability to satisfy one's sexual interests without guilt or anxiety...."

Reiss points out that extending the social privileges associated with marriage to homosexuals and unmarried couples would be a major step toward the establishment of that "sexual democracy":

We should develop some kind of religious and civic ceremony that will sanctify and recognize a non-marital love relationship between two gays, two lesbians, or two straights. The registration of domestic partners so they may claim legal rights of inheritance and health benefits is a step in this direction which some cities have taken. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation must join the list of forbidden discrimination like race, religion, and creed.

Unlike some... Reiss is refreshingly candid about the totalitarian nature of the reforms he recommends: "To build [sexual] pluralism we must firmly root out the narrow thinking about sex that exists in all of our basic institutions -- family, political, economic, religious and educational. We need to change our whole basic social institutional structure...."{216}

Activist Donna Minkowitz (quoted supra) says:

We [gay and lesbian activists] have been on the defensive too long. It's time to affirm that the Right is correct in some of its pronouncements about our movement. [Conservative syndicated columnist and Republican Presidential candidate] Pat Buchanan said there was a "cultural war" going on "for the soul of America" and that gay and lesbian rights were the principal battleground. He was right. Similarly, [homo]'phobes like [religious broadcaster] Pat Robertson are right when they say that we threaten the family, male domination, and the Calvinist ethic of work and grimness that has paralyzed most Americans' search for pleasure.

Indeed, instead of proclaiming our innocuousness, we ought to advertise our potential to change straight society in radical, beneficial ways. Het[erosexual]s have much to learn from us: first and foremost, the fact that pleasure is possible (and desirable) beyond the sanction of the state. Another fact gleaned from gay experience -- that gender is for all intents and purposes a fiction -- also has the potential to revolutionize straight lives.{217}

Writing in Out magazine, regular contributor Michelangelo Signorile (quoted supra) has described a strategy in which homosexuals "fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely... to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution.... The most subversive action lesbians and gays can undertake -- and one that would perhaps benefit all of society -- is to transform the notion of `family' entirely."{218}

Evidently, gay activist protests notwithstanding, an attack of clear insight struck "163 professors of law and jurisprudence [who] joined hands today [June 29, 1999] across racial cultural and religious lines to reaffirm their spport for the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman�. �We are united in the conviction,� [their] Declaration states, �that the legal definition of marriage, as the union of a man and a woman, should not be changed. Redefining marriage to include same-sex unions will introduce unprecedented moral, social and legal confusion into our communities. It will not advance the cause of freedom, equality, justice and muham rights. Rather, it will weaken marriage, and ultimately undermine these causes too.� Instead, the document declares, �Our domestic and international laws should preserve, protect and promote the institution of marriage" ("Reaffirm Marriage, Don�t Redefine It," press release, The Marriage Law Project, Washington, D.C.).

Sullivan's Point 2: Same-sex "marriage" would not radically alter the nature of marriage as society has known it; rather, marriage would bring "stability" to gays, "domesticate them" and bring them closer to society's mainstream.

Do gay activists truly want gays and lesbians to benefit from "the stability of marriage" -- or do they want to destabilize the very foundation of marriage in order to accommodate and/or legally protect their own oft-demonstrated relational instability?

As we have seen, not only married couples, but also cohabiting singles in the general population overwhelmingly practice fidelity during their committed relationships. Gays enjoy the same opportunity to be "domesticated" as general-population singles, yet they don't seem to be "domesticating" -- and don't, for the most part, seem to desire "domestication." In fact, gay promiscuity and its consequences are generally highest in cities that are most "gay friendly."{219}

Even "conservative" same-sex "marriage" apologist Andrew Sullivan "fudges" when it comes to the idea of pinning gays down to the same marriage relationship standards the general population abides by. Early in Virtually Normal, Sullivan says conservatives should welcome same-sex "marriage," because it would "harness one minority [?] group -- homosexuals -- and enlist them in a conservative [social] structure." But by his book's end Sullivan coyly hints heterosexuals might learn a lot from gay open-style "marriages":

At times among gay male relationships, the openness of the contract makes it more likely to survive than many heterosexual bonds. Some of this is unavailable to the male-female union: there is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman...

...I believe strongly that marriage should be made available to everyone, in a politics of strict public neutrality. But within this model, there is plenty of scope for cultural difference. There is something baleful about the attempt of some gay conservatives to educate homosexuals and lesbians to an uncritical acceptance of a stifling model of heterosexual normality. The truth is, homosexuals are not entirely normal; and to flatten their varied and complicated lives into a single, moralistic model is to miss what is essential and exhilarating about their otherness.

This need not mean, as some have historically claimed, that homosexuals have no stake in the sustenance of a society, but that their role is somewhat different... they may be able to press the limits of the culture or the business infrastructure, or the boundaries of intellectual life, in a way that heterosexuals by dint of a different type of calling, cannot.{220}

To date, no such "essential and exhilarating" allowances have been made for heterosexual marriages.

On the one hand, Sullivan and other gay activists imply that gays are promiscuous because they can't marry. On the other hand, they say, "Change the basis of marriage to suit the way we are. It's heterosexual society that needs changing, not us!"

They say, "We can't develop stable relationships because we can't marry." But to other audiences they say, "We don't want to form stable relationships, so change the definition of marriage so we don't have to live in sexually faithful relationships." Again, which gay activist � Sullivan or Sullivan � are we supposed to believe?

Even gay activist-columnist Jonathan Rauch has recently spoken out against the sort of "new, open" marriage notions Sullivan seems to think would be grand developments in the evolution of heterosexual as welll as homosexual marriages. Writing in the Sept. 22 issue of the New Republic, Rauch commented:

"Society has a strong interest in binding people together into lasting couples. Marriage civilizes and settles men (especially younger men), provides relatively stable and secure homes for children, helps provide economic stability for both partners and ensures that everyone has somebody whose `job� is to look after him in times of crisis or incapacitation.

"To serve these functions, marriages must be durable. Thus, a casual acceptance of adultery, which can so easily lead to the dissolution of marriage, would be a problem � especially for women, who still enjoy less economic power than men, on average, and who are more likely to have trouble remarrying in middle age and beyond. And a committed adulterer is a missile with two (or more) warheads, capable of wrecking a whole series of homes. Even in families that remain intact, the knowledge that one parent is cheating on the other can be devastating to children who have had the bad luck to find out about it.

"Of course, a bit of adultery here and there is to be expected and can easily be borne. But if adultery becomes endemic, then the social consequences could be really dreadful � as with, for example, single parenthood, which is defensible in many particular cases but disastrous when it becomes a norm. So, from society�s point of view, adultery is worth worrying about" ("Live and Let Lie," emphasis added).

Which gay activist�s perspective ought to rule the way America views the institution of marriage? Rauch says "marriages must be durable.... [I]f adultery becomes endemic, then the social consequences could be really dreadful." Sullivan says gays shouldn't be pressed into the "stifling mold of heterosexual normality" (though the "straight" world has also experimented with "open marriages" -- with less-than-happy results). But if gays and their relationships aren't "entirely normal," why should either gays "sexual orientations" or their relationships be recognized as legal "minorities" or equals of "normal" heterosexual marriages?

In effect, Sullivan has just pulled the rug out from under his own argument: Do gay activists want to stretch marriage barriers to include all kinds of relationships and combinations of same that would not now be accepted under that "tent"? Evidently, the "ripple effects" of same-sex "marriage" will by no means be as gentle as Sullivan is purringly trying to make them seem!

If gay activists are not attempting to effect radical demolition and re-establishment of the basic foundations of marriage, just to accommodate themselves, why do they seem so unwilling to accept the same standards of sexual fidelity as heterosexuals? Might gay activists want new marriage definitions, not just so marriage can include them, but also so marriage can be re-ordered to include the vagaries of their lifestyles?

Ironically, Sullivan finds himself willing to apply the very kind of practical, lifestyle-pattern analysis considerations we have applied to gay unions to disqualify incest and near-kin sexual attraction as bases for marriage. Would he be willing to accept our analysis revealing the instability of homosexual lifestyle patterns in helping him evaluate "gayness" as a basis for marriage? Somehow, we doubt it.

Sullivan himself also admits that no two gay men or lesbians can be parents in the way heterosexual men and women can, so in what way would same-sex "marriages" and parenthoods be comparable to heterosexuals'?

Which leads us to one of the most serious issues we must consider in evaluating the prospect of same-sex "marriage": the effects of injections of massive "doses" of gay promiscuity and relational instability, not just into the institution of marriage itself, but into the existences and upbringings of children, whose lives will be most immediately impacted by what are likely to be the dysfunctional dynamics of same-sex "marriage."

Possible Effects of Same-Sex "Marriage" on Children

Despite Andrew Sullivan's (and others') warm assurances, it is likely that "cheating," divorce and remarriage rates would be extraordinarily high among the "gayly married." This likelihood alone looms as a potentially disastrous possibility for children of same-sex "marriage" households, especially since, according to mounting empirical evidence, two-parent, two-gender, intact, biological families are themselves one of society's best "predictors" of healthy child development:

Dr. Deborah Dawson of the National Center for Health Statistics found that children living with both biological parents did better in a number of well-being measures than their counterparts in any other family configuration. Those children living with mom and dad received professional help for behavior and psychological problems at half the rate of children not living with both biological parents. Other studies show the general health problems of children from broken homes increased by 20 to 30 percent, even when adjusting for demographic variables.{221}

On the other hand, children of divorce evidence many more psychological, academic and other forms of dysfunction than do children of intact, two-parent families:

Dr. Judith Wallerstein, one of the world's foremost authorities on the long-term effects of divorce, found that almost half the children in her study were "worried, underachieving, self-deprecating and sometimes angry young men and women" 10 years after their parent's divorce. Dr. Nicholas Zill, writing in the Journal of Family Psychology, agrees. He found that children of divorce showed "high levels of emotional distress, or problem behavior, (and were more likely) to have received psychological help."

...Researchers from Johns Hopkins and Princeton University found that growing up in a single-parent family had a negative effect on grade-point average, school attendance, and general indicators of educational attainment. Other studies show that children from low-income intact families outperform students from high-income single-parent homes. Children living in single-parent homes are nearly twice as likely to repeat a grade as those living with both parents.

What's more, researchers from the University of Illinois summarize that, "In general, the longer the time spent in a single-parent family, the greater the reduction in educational attainment."{222}

...Dr. James Egan, a child psychologist at Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., provocatively asserts, "A dead father is a more effective father than a missing father." This is the same conclusion reached by Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, who has studied the long-term effects of divorce on children.

Kiernan explains that "it is clear that losing a parent through death has a less adverse effect on children... than experiencing the breakdown of their parents' marriage.

"Children who lose a parent through death are not significantly more likely to (experience serious negative consequences) than their contemporaries who live with both natural parents."

This difference is because the deceased parent still maintains a moral and authoritative presence in the home. They are talked about in a positive manner, their pictures remain on the wall, and negative behavior by a child can be quickly corrected with "Would your father approve of that?" If the father has abandoned the family or was never identified, the answer to that question is "Who cares?" Or even worse: "Who?"{223}

Other studies demonstrate conclusively that children of divorce exhibit significantly higher rates of substance abuse, suicide (attempts and deaths) and antisocially aggressive behavior.

USA Today reported on a study by the National Institute for Healthcare Research that adults whose parents divorced when they were children face a one-third greater risk of dying earlier than adults whose parents remained married at least until they were age 21. Study author Dr. David Larson recognized that "there are very bad marriages and very good divorces." But he said the report may educate people so they'll be more careful in marrying or ending a marriage. Columnist Mona Charen has written:

As far as children's well-being goes, divorce is a calamity. According to "Father Facts," a publication of the National Fatherhood Initiative, children of divorce are much more likely to drop out of school, to engage in premarital sex and to become pregnant than children of intact families. The average income of women with children declines by 73 percent after divorce. The advantage of growing up with educated parents is obliterated by divorce.

Only 8.3 percent of children living with both parents exhibit significant emotional or behavioral problems, compared with 19.1 percent of those living with their mothers only and 23.6 percent of those living with their mothers and stepfathers....

All children of divorce suffer pain. Some of them visit pain on others. Seventy percent of children in state reform institutions grew up in single-parent or no-parent homes. As former Attorney General William Barr put it: "If you look at the one factor that most closely correlates with crime, it's not poverty, it's not unemployment, it's not education. It's the absence of the father in the family."{224}

The foregoing should not be misunderstood as an attempt to "blame the victims" of divorce or single parenthood; we simply state facts. But one can only imagine the effects on children of "marriages" where "the cheating ratio approaches 100% over time," as also the effects on children "over time" of second, third, fourth, or however many, "marriages," in light of the failure rates of such marriages (see previous comments on this score).

If these sad observations refer most accurately to gay male "monogamous" relationships, the prognosis with regard to children looks little better for lesbian "marriages." Andrew Sullivan, commenting on the observation that women tend to "civilize" men through marriage, says...

[F]or a wavering woman, a lesbian relationship might actually be socially preferable to a heterosexual relationship. If the issue is not mere domesticity, but the presence of women, why should two women not be better than one, for the sake of children's development and social stability?{225}

Sullivan may be ignorant about the relational instability of lesbian lifestyles. He might well consider the following "slices of lesbian life," especially as they relate to child-rearing:

Historically and currently, women are placed differently to men in relation to health, be it their own, their children's, their families'. There is no biological justification for the way women are placed socially as careers, but the gender-specific hold is nonetheless terrible and strong. The mixed feelings that batter women when they take care of other people's health needs, be they as basic as food preparation and cleanup, taking toddlers to the doctor, or caring for sick parents or brothers and sisters, are legion. Caring is often an expression of love and feelings of resoponsibility. But when caring is assumed to be a natural attribute and is expected, at the expense of the development of other human attributes, it can become a mighty burden.

Women, even lesbians, were raised to be caregivers in general and caregivers to men in particular. And even though lesbians have made a conscious choice to disown that heritage, we have nonethless incorporated many of its basic tenets. [quoting Jackie Winnow, "Lesbians' Evolving Health Care: Cancer and AIDS"]{226}

[M]y experience indicated that if a workshop [on lesbian health] appeared to have anything to do with HIV, lesbians would not attend. But if it was advertised to be about sex, they came in droves. The women at these workshops are hungry to talk about sex.{227}

In Lesbians at Midlife: The Creative Transition, one article, "Life as Improvisation," by Matile Rothschild, describes a bizarre scenario involving herself and her husband, a married couple who'd had children together, and both "come out" as gay and lesbian in their early 40s.{228}

Of the more than 100 lesbian mothers in a group Rothschild surveyed, "only three or four had the same lesbian partner during all of a child's teen years. Only one mother had the same lesbian partner from the time the child was very young until age 18."{229}

Several writers in Lesbians at Midlife, including Angela Bowen, have commented on the "brave new [lesbian] women" of the `70s, as she calls them, who set up "cruel," girl-children-only-acceptable parameters for lesbian mothers.

Suzanne Slater, author of The Lesbian Family Life Cycle, devotes an entire chapter to persistent "stressors" in lesbian couples' lives. She says numerous problems arise from lesbian "family" relationship attempts. What are some of these "stressors," and how will they affect children of these relationships?

In other words, the gay/lesbian community doesn't always support gay parents. What affect will this have on children?

Specifically, many childless lesbians argue that the desire to have children has replaced earlier implicit commitments for lesbians to be each others' families -- different from mainstream nuclear families, and marked by primary commitments and a shared long range future. These women express feeling suddenly more alone as their lesbian friends re-define their immediate families, more closely emulating heterosexual family life and replace the primacy of their previous friendship commitments.{233}

The lack of a relational and communal sense of unity in the world of gay lifestyles, together with the fact that most gay couples do unite (and often dissolve) solely on the basis of sexuality, seems to undercut one critically important basis for the successful committed relationships observed among heterosexual couples in Sex In America, and conducive to the relational stability vital to the emotional and psychological health of children: The fact that people who stay in committed sexual relationships tend to be people who have "connected" with other people like themselves. Again, this most vital foundation for successful child-rearing seems often to be missing from gay/lesbian relationships. As we have seen, gay "families we choose" appear more akin to intentional communes than to traditional families.

("Love alone makes a family" may be a popular slogan among gay activists. But if "love" alone makes a "family," then "unlove" alone may easily destroy a "family.")

Furthermore, in most cases, children and parents of gay so-called "chosen families" cannot benefit from the beginning-at-birth continuity that comes with involvement with biological, and extended, "blood" families. "Choosing families" consist of people who are encountering and disengaging from each other at various stages of their lives, intending to get along together as well as they can. Many psychological tensions in "blood," extended families are eased by the fact that many members have simply known each other nearly all their lives, and therefore have greater familiarity with personal "quirks," behavior patterns, etc.

One thing stands out in reading gay/lesbian discussions of "family": The gay world seems to be interested primarily in how children will affect gay "families" and not on how gay "families" will affect children.

In most "gay family" speculation, one finds not one word of concern about the psychological and/or spiritual health of the children, other than that children of "families we choose" might be more accepting of gays and gayness as a result of being part of same-sex "families," and might have greater opportunity to be gay if they so desire. (When one lesbian activist author does raise the question of how all this will affect the children of "families we choose," she never goes on to venture an answer.)

All in all, the notion of same-sex "families" seems like a formula for creating highly unstable adult relationships and pitiably dysfunctional children. The effects of a massive influx of such children on society as a whole might well prove catastrophic.

Must our society be required to make its children "sacrificial lambs" on the altar of gay activist "spousal" expediency and "family experimentation"? In still another remarkable self-admission, one former lesbian activist admits to sacrificing her children in just such a manner...

Cherie's story

Cherie and her lesbian lover, citizens of Auckland, New Zealand, appeared on TV's "60 Minutes" some years ago to argue the case for lesbian "domestic partnership" and parenthood by articifial insemination. By the time of their appearance on "60 Minutes," Cherie and her partner had had three artificially-inseminated children. For most of her lesbian life, Cherie considered herself a gay activist. Today, she has reversed her political stand and left the "lesbian life." In November, 1994, she told the world why.{234}

I used my kids to deceive the public and get gay rights. I thought only of my own needs and not of their futures. Although I love my kids, I have damaged them. Now lesbians have got what I fought for, and I wish I'd never done it.

I became a lesbian because I was so hungry for love from women. My mother was an alcoholic. She didn't have what it took to love me, so I never got it from her. And as a result, I looked for love in women all my life.

My father used to beat my mother, so that made me not want to be a women either. I used to get out of bed and go in and pull him off her. I thought she was weak for not standing up to him. You don't want to be a woman, because being a woman means being kicked around by a man. My father used to sexually abuse me as well, so I grew up anti-male and hated being a woman.

A lot of lesbians are like that: detached from their mothers, abused by fathers or brothers and abandoned by men. We always said we were not anti-male, but we were.

We get into lesbian relationships because we want to be loved. Then we want children. When I became a lesbian I remember the devastation, thinking, "I'll never be able to have kids because I'm lesbian." So I got into lesbianism, boots and all, to get us the rights to have children, to show everyone that we had the same rights as heterosexuals.

Cherie met her last lesbian lover when she was 19, "and our relationship was dysfunctional from day one. We fought and hit each other and blackmailed and abused each other emotionally." She thought having children would make things better. It didn't.

But in 1992, Cherie, her partner and their (by then) three children went on "60 Minutes," to state their case for lesbian "dual motherhood."

We deceived society. We said gays only had problems because society put them on to us. We came across well. We portrayed ourselves as the warm, loving, normal, alternative family, and we used these children to get the gay rights message across.

They [the children] were so cute; they talked about having two "mummies" who loved each other like a mother and father, and they had us cuddling the kids and reading to them at bedtime.

We talked about all the male support and role models we had for the [two] boys. But it was a load of bull -- we didn't. My boys had no masculine role models and no masculine identity. Lesbians don't have many male friends, certainly not ones they know well enough to take their kids places and role model for them.

Jonathan's 11 now, and he's angry. He knows he was conceived by artificial insemination and that I don't know his father, but he's always asking me, "What color eyes did my father have? What does he look like? What does he do?"

I can't tell him because I don't know. He's still in counseling -- all about his anger and his lack of a father. I see the hurt on the boys' faces daily -- especially when the father-son events come along, like school camps and father-son evenings.

I don't know whether I've pulled my kids out of the gay lifestyle early enough. I often hear the kids saying how neat it would be to have a Dad. They go straight to any man who will show interest in them. They're starved for male affection. Jenna [Cherie's daughter] is so hungry for male love I'm scared she'll be abused.

Gays have been sold a lie. I was never told in the lifestyle that I didn't have to be a lesbian. I thought I was born that way. It's not true. I used to talk about fire-bombing churches when I was a radical lesbian, but I became a Christian after I left the lifestyle. I think it saved my life.

I'm finding acceptance and love in my church family, though a lot of them found it hard in the beginning -- mainly because I liked to shock them. Gays think Christians only want to bring the wrath of God down on them. It's not true.

It doesn't help a lesbian to give her children by artificial insemination. And it certainly doesn't help the kids. Nor does it help a lesbian to be told she can't be any different.

The militant gays don't like that message getting to the homosexual community because of the gay rights agenda. But gays can change. I am. What I most want to do in life now is to offer help and support to lesbians who choose to leave the lifestyle, because I love homosexual people. I know where they're coming from. And I know they're not really happy.

Sullivan's Point 3: Churches, synagogues and other religious organizations would not be forced to recognize same-sex civil "marriages."

Sullivan nimbly dodges the question of whether religious organizations will have to recognize or perform same-sex "marriages." Since all gay activists are asking for, Sullivan says, is the privilege of enjoying civil marriage, religious organizations would not be forced to recognize or perform same-sex "marriages." One senses Sullivan knows better. As public policy analyst Robert K. Knight explains:

Although the [Hawaii Commission on Sexual Orientation] majority report recommends that religious institutions not be forced to perform same-sex ceremonies, it offers no defense for the conscientious Christian, Jew or Muslim (or Hindu or atheist, for that matter) who will not legally recognize same-sex "marriage." Law carries the potential use of force against those who will not abide by it....

All institutions except specifically religious ones would be subjected to state enforcement [according to the Commission]. That would include [religious] bookstores, radio and TV stations, and other nondenominational businesses owned by religious people.{235}

In fact, shortly after the State of Hawaii passed S.B. No. 1181, its comprehensive "gay rights" legislation, Hawaii Attorney General Warren Price answered by letter an inquiry regarding the bill's effects on religious organizations' hiring practices as follows:

Non-sectarian employees of the church, church-sponsored activities or programs are not exempt. This would include janitors, gardners, teachers, etc.{236}

At present, Hawaii requires clergy to obtain a State license in order to perform marriages. The legal "machinery" is already in place to compel Hawaiian clergy to recognize and perform same-sex "marriages" or forfeit licensure.{237}

Gay activists have been known in the past to renege on promises not to disturb religious organizations. When Wisconsin's former governor, Lee Sherman Dreyfus, signed that State's "gay rights" bill into law, he was assured by gay activists that the bill would have no effect on religious institutions.

Shortly after Dreyfus left office, two self-allegedly "gay" men appeared at the 40-year-old Rawhide Boys' Ranch, a Christian home for troubled youths, demanding to be hired as counselors. When refused, the gay men took legal action. Evidence later surfaced indicating that not only was this action deliberate, it was planned by the Wisconsin Governor's Council on Lesbian and Gay Issues. A copy of minutes (obtained by this writer) of the October 19, 1985, meeting of the Council, under the heading "RAWHIDE" contains the following words:

Jim Thideman [one of eight Council members present] has asked some people to apply for a job [at Rawhide] and pursue filing a discrimination report with ERD [Equal Rights Division] upon refusal of employment, assuming it will be that clear cut. Kathleen Nichols [another Council member] reported that Char McLaughlan is acquainted with a lesbian with a son at Rawhide who has been refused family counseling sessions if accompanied by her lover. Follow-up is necessary to see if this woman would be willing to file a complaint.

According to sources at the Rawhide Ranch, heading off these conspiratorial actions has cost the home in excess of $30,000. Former governor Dreyfus later wrote the "gay rights" bill's promoters, expressing his sense of betrayal at "gay rights" activists' flagrant breach of promise.

Relief for Rawhide came only through passage of additional legislation that "exempted" religious institutions like it.

Dangers of So-Called "Religious Exceptions" in "Gay Rights" Laws

For several significant reasons, "religious exemptions" in "gay rights" or same-sex "marriage" legislation may only bring temporary relief to churches and religious organizations from enforcement of such measures.

Why are gay activists, so often vehemently opposed to "traditional-valued" religions, willing to grant "religious exceptions" in "gay rights" measures they author? Do such "religious exceptions" offer any lasting protections to churches, synagogues and/or so-called "parachurch ministries?" Religious "gay rights" opponents need to be wary of being lulled to sleep by "religious exceptions," for the following reasons:

  1. At best, "religious exceptions" allowing for religious organizations' impunity against enforcement of "gay rights" laws place these organizations in a disadvantageous position in terms of public opinion. Gay activists will continue to attack religious organizations as "the only American institutions allowed to �discriminate against gays�" or with other such epithets.
  2. So-called "parachurch" ministries almost never enjoy any real protection under "gay rights" bills with "religious exceptions." The customary "non-compliance" clause gay activists allow most often reads something like this: "Religious organizations need not employ persons not of their denominations." Many parachurch organizations are non-denominational and therefore completely unprotected.
  3. An activist might deliberately conceal his/her "sexual orientation," meet membership requirements in a denominational church, then suddenly openly claim to be gay and demand employment. Therefore, even as most "gay rights" law "religious exceptions" are phrased, denominational churches have no real protection from this kind of threat.
  4. Unbeknownst to many religious people in America, a "sword of Damocles" hangs over non-"gay rights"-favoring religious organizations, in the form of a U.S. Supreme Court decision still in force. In Bob Jones University vs. Simon, 1983, the High Court ruled that the beliefs and practices of any tax-exempt religious organization in America MUST BE "APPROVED BY [FEDERAL] PUBLIC POLICY" if the organization is to be allowed to retain its tax-exempt status.

According to Constitutional attorneys, this means that, under the guise of preventing religious "subsidies," the Federal government has the power to completely regulate religious belief and practice across America according to its own dictates. If "sexual orientation" becomes attached as a suspect classification to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- or some new Federal "gay-protective" legislation is passed or Presidential Executive Order is issued and not repealed or struck down in court -- "tolerance" of "gayness" will be the "public policy" of the entire nation.

"Religious" doctrines (i.e., "our church doesn't believe in mixing races" or other such) cannot be used as excuses to exclude suspect minority classes from participation in and employment by religious organizations. Therefore, any religious exceptions for churches or other religious organizations will eventually disintegrate under lower court and High Court scrutiny. Gay activists will say, "No other suspect minority classes in American society but gays are permitted to be `discriminated against' just because of who they are by religious organizations. Why should religious organizations be allowed to exclude this one suspect class? Isn't this `discrimination?' at its worst?" And the High Court may well agree with them. Result? At best, mere loss of tax exemption for "non-compliant" religious organizations. At worst even religious organizations willing to give up tax exemption may face threats of being "nuisance-suited" to financial decrepitude or bankruptcy by gay activists on "civil rights" grounds.

Much evidence suggests that gay activists generally maintain their "open-mindedness" and "tolerance" only until the "gay rights" bills they�ve been pushing for take effect. Then the same activists who cried for "open-mindedness toward" and "tolerance for" their agendas suddenly turned closed-minded and coercive toward anyone who opposes their aims. A church-related example: "Good News, an evangelical caucus in the United Methodist Church, reports that some pastors whose churches redirected apportionment funds as a protest of their bishops� support of homosexuality are allegedly being harassed by district superintendents. Some church leaders are protesting a �Statement of Conscience� signed by 15 liberal bishops at last year�s quadrennial general conference, grieving over the denomination�s vote to reaffirm traditional teachings on homosexuality (CT, June 17, 1996, p.8). Some district superintendents are �pistol-whipping� pastors of the churches and accusing them of disloyalty, says James Heidinger, president of Good News."

The city of San Francisco, one of the nation�s premier bastions of "gay rights" legislation, has, under pressure by gay activists, been issuing ultimatums to businesses, including airlines flying in and out of the city � even those flying in from out of State � to issue to all their employees "domestic partnership" benefits, or be excluded from doing business with the city. As of this writing (July 1999), the issue stands in federal District Court. (Sounds like the strongly "waging �gay rights tail� of San Francisco politics is trying to "wag" the entire "dog" of interstate commerce!)

Furthermore, recently introduced "gay rights" legislation in California would force all California schools, public and private, religious and non-religious (plus that state�s business community) to accept and quite possibly even "affirm" "gay rights" policies or play not sports or do no business with others who do so affirm. So it stretches our credulity to imagine that Andrew Sullivan doesn't perceive the potential for coercion religious organizations will face in these kinds of dilemmas. Same-sex civil "marriage" recognition might well precitate these dilemmas kinds of and others. Yet while Sullivan decries as "anti-liberal" the potential coercion of "gay rights" legislation, he insists same-sex "marriage" recognition will not have the same effects.

Whether Sullivan believes so or not, same-sex "marriage" recognition would indeed "legislate private tolerance" of "gay rights" by religious organizations, just as the acceptance of openly gay persons into America's military forces would "legislate tolerance" of "sexual orientation" in that environment. Both of these eventualities would have the effect of saying to all touched by them, "Either accept gay `marriages' or else � get out!"

Writing in the June/July 1998 issue of First Things, William J. Abraham has observed, in relation to debate within the United Methodist church over these issues: "Like all mainline Protestant denominations, United Methodism finds itself challenged on its traditional position on sexual morality by the emergence of the conscientious conviction that gay and lesbian relationships are a legitimate expression of God�s good and diverse creation....

"The theology driving the conscience of change is one that is deeply committed to inclusivism. In this theology gay and lesbian Christians have the same status earlier attributed to slaves and currently attributed to women, the status of those excluded [?] from the traditional church. The clear aim is to include this new minority within the church, but the effect is to drive out those opposed to legitimizing homosexuality....

"One prominent pastor... stated in a pastoral letter to his congregation that were the revisionists successful, those opposed to the ligitimation of homosexuality would be forced to make a painful decision: They could either remain within a church that would stand for an agenda they found incompatible with obedience to Christ, or they could leave the church" (cited in "Exclusive inclusion," The Washington Times, July 6, 1998, p. A2). Which leads us to Sullivan's fourth point...

Sullivan's Point 4: Granting same-sex "marriage" recognition would not exacerbate the tumultuous struggle over "gay rights"; it would actually DEFUSE the conflict.

Since same-sex "marriage" recognition would render "gay rights" legislation unnecessary, moves allowing gays to marry would also defuse the rancorous national "gay rights" debate, Sullivan insists.

Sullivan here writes disingenuously, if anywhere in his book. Surely he knows that many States recognize "marital status" as a "protected" (though not suspect) classification. Protected classes also possess the ability to claim discrimination and sue others at taxpayers� expense � precisely the abilities gay activists have been seeking most to acquire through gaining suspect minority class recognition!

So long as gay activists can "claim discrimination" on some grounds, they can still use government and taxpayers' dollars to sue others and advance gay activist interests. In many States, "marital status" will serve as well as suspect minority status for that purpose.

Furthermore, if a Hawaii Supreme Court-style ruling that gender is a suspect class ever holds up in the highest courts, "married" gay activists will be able to claim discrimination on "gender" grounds wherever marital status is not a protected class.

In any event, same-sex "marriage" recognition will simply "grandfather" gay activists into a position where they can use government and taxpayers� money to sue resistors and opponents and advance their political and social interests, just as well as they might by wielding "gay rights" legislation. Thus the "gay rights" struggle will continue, though in a slightly different guise, every bit as fervently and rancorously as before.

Neither Sullivan's Four Points Nor Gay Activists' Three Presuppositions Withstand Scrutiny

If the three gay activist presuppositions we have examined cannot stand scrutiny, the rest of gay activists' apologia will not likely persuade, either.

We conclude that "sexual orientation" dooes not constitute a true suspect minority classification; gays are not "just like everyone else" in terms of relational lifestyle stability; and gay activists do not desire the same kinds of "marriages" as "everyone else"; therefore, the changes in marriage brought about by same-sex "marriage" recognition would have cataclysmic effects for society at large:

Same-sex "marriage" recognition would be a "massive societal leap" into a "darkness" of radical social experimentation, endless litigation and drastic business, economic and public policy reorganization. Same-sex "marriage" would radically alter the institution of marriage as we have known it; gaining "marriage" recognition would be highly unlikely to change gay/lesbian lifestyle patterns; and same-sex "marriage" recognition would likely result in devastating damage to children in the care of such same-sex unions.

Churches, synagogues and other religious institutions would likely come under eventual attack by gay activists intent on forcing them to recognize and perform same-sex "marriage" rites. To grant gay activists same-sex "marriage" recognition would perpetuate, and probably intensify, the "gay rights" controversy, on national and local levels.

Gay activists themselves are sharply divided on some of the most crucial issues surrounding same-sex "marriage": Whether homosexuality is innate and immutable; whether gays are truly an "oppressed class"; whether marriage would be an advantage or a threat to gay and lesbian relationships; and much more.

If gay activists themselves cannot make up their minds on these issues, they have scarcely laid a solid foundation for implementation of the major public policy decisions they are asking society-at-large to make -- strictly for their benefit.

With all this in mind, we will now briefly examine gay activists' four primary arguments in favor of same-sex "marriage recognition."

Endnotes

{208}Op. cit.

{209}Whitney Galbraith, "Merits of amendment prohibiting gay marriage debated," Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, January 1, 1996, p. B-5.

{210}For speculation as to why this may be so, see Appendix 2.

{211}As quoted in "Same-Sex Marriage," The New American, April 1, 1996, p. 5.

{212}"Congress considers bill to ban same-sex marriages," Colorado Christian News, June 1996, p. 7.

{213}"Why shouldn't gay couples be able to marry," Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, January 28, 1996, p. B-7.

{214}"Since When Is Marriage a Path to Liberation," essay in William B. Rubenstein, ed., Lesbians, Gay Men and the Law (New York: The New Press, 1993), pp. 401-405, emphasis added.

{215}Ibid. essay entitled "Why Gay People Should Seek the Right to Marry," pp. 398, 400, emphasis added.

{216}Op. cit., The New American, pp. 6, 7.

{217}Op. cit., Donna Minkowitz, "Recruit, Recruit, Recruit!"

{218}Quoted in "What's wrong with this picture," Citizen magazine, Vol. 10, No. 4, April 22, 1996, p. 3.

{219}Cf. The San Francisco Examiner, April 23, 1979; "CDC Hepatitis A among homosexual men -- United States, Canada and Australia," MMWR, 1992: 41: 155-164, 12.

{220}Op. cit., Sullivan, pp. 203, 204, emphasis added.

{221}Studies cited in "Twice as strong," The Christian American, March/April 1996, p. 28.

{222}Ibid.

{223}Ibid. p. 29.

{224}"Be glad for the undoing of no-faults," Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, February 15, 1996, p. B-5.

{225}Op. cit., Virtually Normal, p. 110.

{226}Op. cit., Lesbians Talk (Safer) Sex, p. 15, emphasis added.

{227}Ibid. p. 27.

{228}Op. cit.

{229}Ibid. p. 96.

{230}Op. cit., cf. pp. 92, 93.

{231}Ibid. p. 105.

{232}Ibid. pp. 114-115.

{233}Ibid. p. 117.

{234}"I was wrong about lesbian parental rights," The [Auckland, New Zealand] Evening Post, November 30, 1994, pp. 40-41.

{235}"Homosexual `Marriage,'" AFA Journal, April 1996, p. 15.

{236}A copy of this correspondence has come into the possession of this writer.

{237}Cf. Biblical Baptist Press, March-April 1996, p. 5.

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