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Focus on commitment in gay marriage issue

Richard Friedman | Thursday, October 30, 2003

The debate about homosexual marriage is one that has been going on for years and one which will probably continue to be debated for many more. Even once the Supreme Court makes its inevitable ruling sometime in the future, the debate is not likely to end. Right now, what needs to be done is to be sure that people know the current research results and about research that is not from biased sources.One interesting thing about many arguments against homosexual marriage are their heavy usage of statements released from the Vatican. While recognizing the importance of these statements to Catholics, a large part of what this country was founded on was a separation of church and state. Obviously there is going to be a large overlap between morals expressed by the Church and the laws presented by our government, but at the same time we as a country cannot resort to making laws based on what one religion might say in regards to a certain issue. This is exactly the issue that the Supreme Court faced when it struck down sodomy laws earlier this year.Looking at other points, it can be seen that they are similarly flawed. To begin, the possibility of adoption all but destroys any argument that marriage is about raising children and helping build our future and therefore homosexuals are naturally excluded. Large numbers of children in the United States and overseas are waiting to be adopted by loving parents and to deny them this possibility based on old, faulty research is simply wrong.To say that good parenting requires two parents of opposite sexes would mean that we would also have to question and then deny single parent households the right to raise children. It would also be going against much of the current research that has repeatedly shown that if a child is able to establish secure attachments with his parents and is reared in a loving and supportive environment, he will develop in a normal and healthy manner, regardless of the sex of the people providing that warmth to him.I would also like to try to provide some insight into the research often presented from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuals. While on the surface NARTH may seem like a legitimate organization, further investigation shows that they describe themselves as “a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to affirming a complementary, male-female model of gender and sexuality.” Not exactly an unbiased source.More research reveals that in NARTH is a tiny organization that in 1997 had a board of six officers and few other advanced degree members. The American Psychological Association, however, has over 121,000 members and is considered to be the world’s leading organization on psychiatric issues. NARTH and other similar organizations have been leading the fight against homosexual marriages and adoption for the past few years while organizations such as the APA have been in favor of both.A final question is why the focus of much of the debate on homosexual marriage centers on sexual activity; not the love, legal benefits, medical decision powers or public and private expression of a long-term commitment to each other that marriage also provides. When I hear that a male and a female have gotten married those are the things about which I think – never is it immediately about how or if they are having sex and what the possible outcomes of that may be.Along these same lines comes the point raised about promiscuity amongst homosexuals. To fully understand the statistics they presented, we need to look at both sides and recognize that in the ’90s there was one divorce for every two marriages. That’s not exactly a great success rate for heterosexuals either, especially considering that that was with all the benefits of marriage and the losses attributed with legal divorce. “Gay unions” generally have none of these things, so it is not surprising they end much easier. It is also questionable what those studies considered a steady homosexual relationship as that is much harder to define without having the standard society-understood terms that heterosexuals enjoy.Overall, the case against legal gay marriage is built on rather shaky grounds. t goes against the idea of separation of church and state as well as itself trying to specifically target a group of citizens and deny them several rights allowed to others. The often repeated defenses for such a stance fall apart when recent, unbiased research is considered and when people realize that allowing two males to marry does not affect a male and a female marriage in any way. As long as there is love and commitment in both cases, both are following the same ideals and neither in any way harms the other.

Richard Friedman is a fifth-year senior. He can be contacted at rfriedma@nd.edu.The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.