Jane Chastain is a Southern California-based broadcaster, author and political commentator. Despite her present emphasis on politics, Jane always will be remembered as the nation's first female TV sportscaster, spending 17 years on the sports beat. Jane blogs at JaneChastain.com. She is a pilot who lives on a private runway.More ↓Less ↑
The relevant question in the gay marriage debate largely goes unanswered: “How does gay marriage harm traditional marriage and children?”
It is frustrating to see so many pro-family advocates and the attorneys representing them in court completely drop the ball when the answer is relatively simple.
There are only two reasons to marry: 1) to make a vow before God and have the union recognized by the church; and 2) to have the union recognized by the government.
Since all major religions condemn homosexuality in the strongest terms, reason No. 1 is an attempt to “feel good” at best.
So, why does a couple seek to have their union recognized by the government? Conversely, why do so many heterosexual couples no longer bother?
It can be summed up in one word: “benefits.” There is an axiom in government: The more you reward something the more you get of it. The more you tax something, the less you get of it.
The government has long recognized that it costs money to raise good productive citizens. When the income tax was first established in 1913, it sought to put a “hedge of protection” around the traditional family to shield it from this burden. The personal exemption was established to do just that.
However, if everyone is allow inside the hedge, the hedge – for all practical purposes – no longer exists.
Unfortunately, this personal exemption was not indexed for inflation, so the hedge has all but disappeared. While, there are some benefits to marriage, most can be achieved by other legal means, and the ones that still exists don’t really amount to much.
Presently, the laws on marriage are a confused mess. There are now over 1,100 tax benefits, rights and, yes, burdens (known as the marriage penalty) linked to marriage. In 2004, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that if gay marriage were recognized, it would bring in another $1 billion a year over 10 years.
So why are so many gay couples trying to get into it? The perceived benefit is acceptance.
And why do so many heterosexual couples avoid marriage entirely? Benefits.
A young, single mother is most likely eligible for free medical care, free housing, free food under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more free food under the WIC program, free child care and free educational benefits. Her partner also may be eligible for some of these benefits. However, if they marry, most of these benefits go away.
This not only lessens the chance that children conceived outside of marriage will grow up in a stable home, it creates dependency and adds to our burdensome national debt.
Our whole system has been turned upside down and children are the biggest losers!
Children raised in intact marriages do better in school, are less likely to do drugs, go to jail, have out-of-wedlock births and thus be a drain on society.
So what about the children living in homosexual households? Despite all the rhetoric, they are few in number. However, most of these children were acquired by one or both partners who were in former heterosexual marriages or relationships.
To be sure, some homosexual couples adopt or conceived through artificial insemination. Although these children are brought into these homes as a result of careful planning, they are also likely to suffer negative outcomes.
A study by sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, published in Social Science Research, is the most exhaustive study to date on this subject. It completely overturned the conventional wisdom that there is no measurable difference between children growing up in intact households with a mother and a father and those raised in homosexual households.
Unlike previous narrow studies that focused on minor children who are still under the influence of their parents, the Regnerus study was done with adults. His study found that those adults who have a parent who is or has been in a same-sex relationship are subject to the same unfortunate outcomes as those raised in single-parent homes, but also are:
10 times more likely to have been “touched sexually” by a parent or adult caregiver;
4 times as likely to have been “physically forced” to have sex against their will;
more likely to have “attachment” problems;
4 times more likely to identify as something other than entirely heterosexual.
These things are much too important to be ignored in deference to political correctness!
The real question is this: Has traditional marriage outlived its usefulness? If the answer is “no,” then take away the disincentives that keep heterosexuals from marrying and rebuild that hedge!