Month Archives: March 2013

Guest Post: Media Distort Coverage In Favor Of Gay Marriage

by Katie Yoder

March 29, 2013

Below is a guest post from Newsbusters that provides a brief overview of the past week’s media coverage on marriage.

Media Distort Coverage In Favor Of Gay Marriage

From networks to news sites, reporters set liberal agenda.

By Katie Yoder

As thousands trekked across the country this week to protest at the Supreme Court while justices heard arguments on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), the media did the same by voicing their own opinions. From the networks to online news sites, so-called neutral journalists twisted coverage in support of gay marriage.

CBS led the network pack and focused a one-sided light on Tuesday evening reports, the night of the first Supreme Court arguments. CBS went personal March 26 as reporter John Blackstone, during “Evening News,” highlighted a story of lesbian couple Torri and Sunnie. The program showed at least 12 different video or photo clips of gay weddings and quoted two gay marriage advocates – with one traditional marriage supporter.

Tuesday morning wasn’t much better, with four voices advocating for gay marriage, and one counter. Wednesday’s “This Morning” devoted over three minutes to David Boies, an attorney who argued at the Supreme Court against Proposition 8 with no one to offer a counter argument during the segment.

ABC followed suit in the Tuesday evening reports without any counter argument as anchor Terry Moran quoted two separate people whose family members sued for gay marriage. As Moran put it, ““For the two gay couples at the heart of the case … this was their family’s moment.”

NBC reporter Kristen Dahlgren flooded her report with TV gay icons, from Ellen DeGeneres to “Modern Family.” She acknowledged the media’s power on the issue though: “Over the years, television has changed the conversation about American sexuality.” She continued to say, “what happens in Hollywood doesn’t stay there.” What she left out of her report was her own network’s pro-gay advocacy with the show “The New Normal.”

The one-sided coverage attracted even the attention of the liberal Huffington Post, which published a headline reading, “The Supreme Court May Be Divided On Gay Marriage, But The Media Isn’t.” In it, HuffPo media editor Jack Mirkinson noted major news outlets’ support of gay marriage and said, “Gay marriage is different. It is no longer all that controversial for many in the media.”

It wasn’t like another side to the story didn’t exist. Traditional marriage supporters made themselves hard to ignore March 26 by attending the National Organization for Marriage (NOM’s) March for Marriage. According to NOM’s Thomas Peters, 15,000 marchers attended as the networks stood silent even during the next day’s morning shows. The Washington Post decided to cover the event though – even if they did shrink 15,000 attendees into a ‘few dozen.’

When the media decided to cover traditional marriage supporters, reporters didn’t play nice. ABC’s Wednesday “Good Morning America” illustrated the tug-of-war on marriage’s definition as the “21st century social movement” of gay marriage versus the elderly “downright perplexed” justices.

CNN contributor and GOP strategist Ana Navarro sang a similar tune and proclaimed gay marriage opponents must “get into the 21st century.” While urging Republicans to push the hot issue into the background, she lectured opponents that “folks who are in denial about this that have to get out of the closet. They have to wave goodbye to the GEICO caveman and step out gingerly and carefully into the brave new world.”

But then, according to the media, gay marriage already won the hearts of Americans. Just look at the upcoming TIME magazine showcasing two different covers – one of a lesbian couple kissing, one of a gay couple kissing – while advertising an article by David von Drehle titled, “Gay Marriage Already Won: The Supreme Court hasn’t made up its mind – but America has.” TIME magazine’s Joe Klein, on March 26’s “Morning Joe,” commented on how rapidly the issue of gay marriage changed: “My God, I haven’t seen anything like it … To my kids, it’s just mystifying that anyone would be opposed to it.”

The Washington Post boasted a similar headline to TIME magazine that read “Political debate on same-sex marriage is over.” Writer Chris Cillizza explained, “[N]o matter how the high court rules later this year on California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, one thing is already clear: The political debate over gay marriage is over.”

Those who thought the gay marriage debate still exists were in for a brutal media bash. After citing GOP strategist Karl Rove on the possibility of a 2016 Republican presidential candidate who supports same-sex marriage, CNN’s Carol Costello asked Alliance Defense Fund’s Austin Nimocks, “Austin, you heard what Karl Rove just said. Are you on the wrong side of history?” CNN zeroed in on traditional marriage supporters as host Piers Morgan and openly gay anchor Don Lemon smashed opponents as “homophobic” and likened them to segregationists.

When asked about fair coverage by social conservative Peter LaBarbera, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer pulled race into the argument and bluntly replied, “You know what’s so funny about this? When we’re talking about racism, nobody ever says, ‘Do you think there’s fair coverage for racists?’ That’s my feeling about the matter.”

MSNBC personality Luke Russert unleashed his opinion on FRC’s Tony Perkins during Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” and asked, “What do you fear so much” about gay marriage? When Perkins replied that he didn’t fear anything, Russert challenged, “Then why are you opposed?” He later charged Perkins with equating homosexuality with polygamy, after Perkins stated that the basis of marriage requires more than merely loving someone.

Those who did rally for gay marriage became heroes. New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg showered favor upon Mary Bonauto, a lawyer for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAAD), and gushed, “Ms. Bonauto is too busy juggling legal briefs, homework and piano lessons to see herself as a woman making history.” During March 27 “World News,” Diane Sawyer praised an 83-year-old lesbian involved in the case against DoMA and explained, “Edith Windsor received a hero’s welcome when she emerged from the Supreme Court, saying it’s time to take a stand for marriage equality.”

That left one to ponder how DoMA ever passed the first place – but the media held the answer to that too. Former President Bill Clinton signed it due to sleep deprivation and pressure from his 1996 opponent Bob Dole, according to The New York Times’ Peter Baker.

On the bright side, gay marriage reportedly benefits the economy. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos cited an 8-year-old study Thursday and stated that legalizing gay marriage “could bring in up to $1 billion a year – so, a net benefit for the Treasury from gay marriage.” He explained, “if gay or lesbian couples are married and they have about equal income, they would actually pay more in taxes than if they were single.” CBS anchor Charlie Rose agreed, saying on Thursday’s “This Morning” that “if it’s [DOMA is] struck down, it may not be a financial windfall for same-sex couples. The case has centered on federal benefits. If they become eligible for the benefits, they would also have to pay higher taxes.”

It was scary enough when NBC’s Reporter Kristen Dahlgren admitted “what happens in Hollywood doesn’t stay there.” But a more frightening thought is to realize that what happens in the networks – on the news sites – doesn’t tend stay there either.

Procreation at 55? Don’t Laugh.

by Peter Sprigg

March 29, 2013

On March 26, the U. S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging California’s “Proposition 8”—the state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman that was adopted by voters in 2008.

Perhaps the roughest moment for Charles Cooper, the attorney representing the proponents of Proposition 8, was when Justice Elena Kagan challenged the argument that marriage exists to promote procreation by spinning a hypothetical question about a couple where the man and woman are both 55 years old, and thus unlikely to procreate.

The (mostly liberal) audience laughed—either unable or unwilling to understand Cooper’s answer, which was actually quite cogent. He began by noting, “It is very rare that both parties to the couple are infertile,” but Kagan cut him off with another question about the couple (rather than the individuals) involved.

Cooper again went on to explain:

Your Honor, society’s … interest in responsible procreation isn’t just with respect to the procreative capacities of the couple itself. The marital norm, which imposes the obligations of fidelity and monogamy, Your Honor, advance the interests in responsible procreation by making more likely that neither party, including the fertile party to that [marriage, will procreate outside the marital relationship].

Except the last part, in brackets, Cooper did not actually get to say, because he was again cut off.

Perhaps Cooper was wary of appearing sexist to Justice Kagan if he stated the truth more bluntly—55-year-old women are virtually always infertile, but 55-year-old men are not. As frustrating as it may be to some feminists, there are some sex differences which cannot be overcome. (Justice Antonin Scalia tried to save Cooper with a joke about Strom Thurmond, the late U.S. Senator who continued to father children well into his 70’s, but it seemed to go over the audience’s heads.)

Society’s interest in promoting “responsible procreation”—the term most commonly used in defending marriage as the union of a man and a woman—involves not just promoting procreation itself, and promoting it in a responsible context (i.e., where the mother and father who make a child are both committed to the child and to each other through marriage). “Responsible procreation” also implies an effort to discourage irresponsible procreation—a quite plausible example of which might be a 55-year-old man going around impregnating fertile women (presumably younger than himself) who are not his wife.

Advocates for redefining marriage really ought to listen more, and laugh and scoff less—especially when they are in the Supreme Court of the United States. Otherwise they make themselves, not their opponents, look ignorant.

FRC in the News: March 28, 2013

by Nicole Hudgens

March 28, 2013

It’s For the Kids

Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at FRC, wrote an article featured in U.S. News about how overturning Proposition 8 would be harmful to children and society. Sprigg states:

“In order to encourage, protect and regulate this most fundamental relationship of a mother, father and child, the state recognizes and supports marriage and defines it as the union of one man and one woman. Liberal activists are now asking the Supreme Court to unilaterally change this most basic definition of our most fundamental social institution. They would have us believe that the authors of our Constitution enshrined within it the right of a man to marry a man and a woman to marry a woman.”

Let Voters Decide on Marriage

Ken Klukowski, FRC’s Director, Center for Religious Liberty, discusses in his recent CNN article the details and impact of both recent Supreme Court cases, Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. Klukowski states:

Windsor would alter America’s system of federalism. Only the states determine who can get married. But the federal government is free to decide whom to confer federal benefits on — largely economic entitlements and federal issues such as immigration. Federalism is a two-way street. But if DOMA Section 3 is invalidated, the states will be able to dictate whom the recipients of federal benefits are. If Windsor is historic, Hollingsworth is earth-shattering. If the Supreme Court declares a constitutional right to marriage other than one-man, one-woman, then all traditional marriage laws in all 50 states will be invalid, and there will be a serious debate (already in a lower federal court) of whether polygamists also have a constitutional right to national recognition.”

The Supreme Court Can’t Unilaterally Change the Definition of Marriage

FRC Senior Fellow, Chris Gacek’s article featured in U.S. News and World Report addresses the recent DOMA case and discusses the impacts of DOMA as a federal decision. Gacek states:

“The fact of the matter is that after the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) became law under President Clinton’s signature in 1996, a large majority of states affirmed the male-female definition. Many have done so by amending their state constitutions, and this all took place within the past 20 years.”


Marching for Marriage

by Robert Morrison

March 28, 2013

I’ve been going to pro-life marches since 1981, so I’m getting used to the drill. Still, this week’s March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. promised to be different in many ways. It was slated to coincide with the U.S. Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act and on California’s Proposition 8. The media says Prop 8 was designed to “ban” homosexuals from marrying. It was designed for no such thing. As was the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Prop 8 was designed to protect an institution that is under attack.

The media puts us in the anti position. That’s typical. We’re said to be anti-abortion when we say we are pro-life. We have this odd notion that the child in the womb should not be killed. If we came out against hanging, I guess the media would call us anti-gravity.

I arrived early on the Mall for the March, so I ducked into the great red Smithsonian Castle for a cup of coffee. It was only $3.47. I sat down at a table to savor this monumental brew when an attractive blonde lady asked if she might join me. She had to charge her cell phone. Sure, I replied, and asked if she might be here for the March for Marriage.

Oh, that,” she said, rather dismissively and told me she had come to Washington from California for a conference this week. Happily, our conversation did not descend into a nasty spat. “I don’t know what I think about that issue,” she said, “but I know what my son thinks. He’s a journalism major at San Francisco State. Wants to be a combat journalist.”

Then she mentioned she had not been to Washington in five years and wanted to know what was new. Instead of belaboring my case for marriage, I decided to take another tack, I told her about the new Lincoln Cottage and the new Mount Vernon Museum and Visitors Center. That led to a nice chat about George and Martha Washington. I told her of Mary Weiss, a historical interpreter at Mount Vernon. She does “Lady Washington” and offers the best understanding we are likely to have of that amazing woman. That amazing wife.

I confessed that I wish I had studied the relationship between George and Martha Washington more earlier. What an incredible partnership their marriage was. I spoke of how Lady Washington risked death visiting the army camp every winter. Valley Forge and other winter quarters had many diseases, including smallpox. George had survived the deadly disease as a teenager visiting Barbados, so he had an immunity. Did she?

Without being too obvious about it, I made the case that the United States might very well not exist were it not for the great marriage of George and Martha Washington. We had been for two centuries a monarchical people.

Independence was more than Declarations and more than battles, it was also a state of mind. And having George and Martha Washington to take the place of King George III and Queen Charlotte was essential to our making that critical break.

We parted, Mrs. California and I, on pleasant terms. And we avoided any combat for her son to report.

Onto the Mall. I saw many old friends from the March for Life. But I saw so many new friends. It was amazing to see how many black, Hispanic, and Asian folks had come out for this one.

State Sen. Ruben Diaz harangued the crowd estimated at 5-8,000. Sen. Diaz is from New York. He spoke in Spanish. He crowed: “I’m black. I’m Hispanic. I’m against abortion. I’m against this homosexual stuff. And I’m a Democrat.” He added that he wins by 89% in his state senatorial district.

FRC’s Cathy Ruse put her case for marriage in more positive terms. She argued for true marriage by emphasizing the protection of children. So did Heritage Foundation’s Jennifer Marshall. Jennifer cited the 11-year old girl who testified for marriage in St. Paul, Minnesota.

We watched on the jumbotron as this precocious pre-teenager described her love and her gratitude toward her mother and then her father. Pointedly, she asked the state lawmakers in the Capitol: “Which one do I not need?” She asked the suddenly close-mouthed solons again: “Which one do I not need?”

Right. They had no answer. Moving through the crowd, I encountered a group of people from a Korean-American Church in Flushing, Queens. Four hundred of these faithful Christians had ridden all night on a bus to attend this march. Four hundred!

The GOP bigwigs are forever wailing about “outreach.” Every time they lose an election—which they seem to do effortlessly—they conduct “autopsies” on themselves, in public. Don’t try this at home. The party suits assure us they want to be more inclusive.

My advice to them is simple: Try going to church some Sunday morning. You’ll find you don’t need outreach. You could try inreach. In my pew, we have blacks, Hispanics and Asians. We exchange the handshake of peace every week. But I don’t see them as ethnic groups. They’re my friends. They’re my fellow worshipers.

Those faithful folks from that church in Flushing probably haven’t seen an ad for a Republican since Reagan in 1984. Reagan embraced these good people. The GOP bigs ignore them.

That’s why we say pro-life and pro-marriage are bridge issues, not wedge issues. They are the way for conservatives to talk to minority Americans—soon to be the majority.

Some on the left know that liberals are phonies on this issue. David Weigel of Slate, writes:

In his memoir, Democratic consultant Bob Shrum remembers John Kerry fretting that the Massachusetts Supreme Court had forced Democrats to talk about gay marriage before they were ready to. “Why couldn’t they just wait a year?” he asked Shrum, mournfully. The second camp consists of people who really do oppose the idea of gay people getting married. Republicans argued that this second camp was tiny, and that liberals were hiding behind it. They were right!

When we see dozens of Democrats abandoning their previously held positions and a few Republicans also willing to betray the voters who put them in office, it would be easy to become cynical about everyone in politics.

But we have to stand firm and push back. Marriage is a blessing to families. Three-quarters of the teen rapists in our prisons are fatherless young men, so are two-thirds of the teen murderers. Even gay martyr Matthew Shepherd was killed by two fatherless young men. Marriage bashes no one. Marriage benefits everyone.

We know that the marriage issue helped re-elect George W. Bush in 2004. I attended his historic speech in Pittsburgh the day before that re-election. I heard him give a strong endorsement for the pro-life and pro-marriage positions. I say his speech that day was historic. Re-elected the next day, we never heard another word from President Bush on life or marriage.

The Republican consultants and their party power brokers welcomed our votes. They never thought they’d have to actually stand up for what they assured us they believed.

We are seeing a great sorting out. We saw that early in the country’s life, too. Thomas Paine wrote about the sunshine soldiers and the summer patriots who cut and run when there was fighting to do.

These are the times that try men’s souls. Women’s, too. But it’s for our children and our grandchildren that we stand fast. On earth, there’s no better cause.

Oral Arguments on DoMA at the Supreme Court Today

by Chris Gacek

March 28, 2013

There is a great deal of news today about the oral arguments at the Supreme Court regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  If you would like to read some good background information on DOMA, read the PDF of FRC’s 2010 pamphlet on the statute.  Learn why it was enacted, what it does, and why it is constitutional.  

The Social Conservative Review: March 28, 2013

by Krystle Gabele

March 28, 2013

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review.

Dear Friends,

Christianity teaches that all of us are born with a natural bent to do wrong and defy the God Who made us. “Indeed, I was guilty when I was born,” writes the Psalmist; “I was sinful when my mother conceived me” (51:5). It is the curse of the fall that renders us incapable of redeeming ourselves and makes us wholly reliant on salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Anglican theologian J.I. Packer explains it this way:

The phrase total depravity … signifies a corruption of our moral and spiritual nature that is total not in degree (for no one is as bad as he or she might be) but in extent. It declares that no part of us is untouched by sin … We cannot earn God’s favor, no matter what we do; unless grace saves us, we are lost.

Sounds pretty hopeless, except for a truth that can transform us: Through faith in Christ, God offers us new life and eternal hope. This Easter, may that hope be renewed as you consider a great, glorious fact: He is risen indeed!


Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. This week’s historic Supreme Court hearings on same-sex “marriage” have been covered carefully by FRC’s team of top legal and policy experts, some of whom were in the Court during oral arguments. Get their first-hand takes on what happened by going to FRC’s Website,

P.P.S. Download, at no cost, FRC’s new brochure on the battle for the Boy Scouts, and learn both what the stakes are and how you can help.

Educational Freedom and Reform

Legislation and Policy Proposals

College Debt

Government Reform


Health Care

Health care reform: Political and Legislative efforts

With the Supreme Court deciding on same-sex “marriage,” read FRC’s Peter Sprigg’s blog posts on Defining Marriage.

Human Life and Bioethics

Bioethics and Biotechnology

Euthanasia and End of Life Issues

Stem Cell Research
To read about the latest advances in ethical adult stem cell research, keep up with leading-edge reports from FRC’s Dr. David Prentice, click here.

Human Trafficking

Marriage and Family

Family Economics

Family Structure



Religion and Public Policy
Religious Liberty

Religion in America
Check out Dr. Kenyn Cureton’s feature on Watchmen Pastors called “The Lost Episodes,” featuring how religion has had an impact on our Founding Fathers.


International Economy and Family

Religious Persecution

The Courts
Constitutional Issues

Judicial Activism

Other News of Note

Book reviews

Where is the outrage? — Forty years after Roe, the problem of so-called “back alley” abortions has still not been resolved.

by Anna Higgins

March 27, 2013

Prior to Roe, our society was fed the line by pro abortion advocates that in order to rid ourselves of dangerous “back alley” abortion procedures, abortion must be legalized. Forty years later, the practice of abortion remains unsafe, unsanitary, and largely unregulated. What we no longer have, however, is the voice of abortion proponents crying out for safer procedures.

Now that abortion has been legalized, it seems these ardent pro-abortionists no longer have a real interest in seeing to it that abortions are performed in safe, regulated environments. In fact, it is the leaders of the pro-life movement who are standing up for women exposed to horrific conditions in abortion facilities. Abortion proponents, on the other hand, are coming out of the woodwork to oppose such safety measures.

This month the notorious abortionist, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, is on trial for seven counts of first-degree murder as well as multiple counts of conspiracy, criminal solicitation and violation of a state law that forbids abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy, following a federal drug raid that revealed much more than prescription drug violations. The raids revealed “blood on the floors, parts of aborted children stored in jars… padlocked emergency exits and broken and inoperable emergency equipment,” (AUL, Defending Life, 2012). The murder charges stem from the death of one adult patient and the discovery that Gosnell had been delivering live babies and killing them by severing their spinal cords with scissors. One employee testified at trial that she, Gosnell, and other employees did in fact cut the spinal cords of a dozen babies. Perhaps the most chilling fact of all is that Gosnell’s clinic was left to operate completely uninspected by state health officials since 1993, despite numerous complaints.

Unfortunately, this scenario is far too common. Even states that impose abortion facility regulations rarely inspect or require complication reporting. For example, Maryland recently enacted new abortion clinic restrictions, under which Dr. LeRoy Carhart’s abortion facility, Germantown Reproductive Health Services, was licensed. Although it was issued a license under these more stringent regulations, the clinic was never actually inspected.

On the heels of this licensure, Carhart performed a late-term (33 week gestation) abortion on a 29 year-old woman who subsequently died of complications from the procedure. Because of such lenient inspection and reporting requirements around the nation, it is impossible to know how many facilities continue to operate under sub-standard, dangerous conditions. As we now know from experience, these dangerous and unsanitary clinics are likely to remain open until another preventable tragedy takes place.

If abortion activists are so concerned about women’s safety and health, it is time they support of common sense measures that require abortion facilities to meet the standards applied to other medical facilities. Abortion, like any other surgical procedure, poses many risks which are complicated by an unregulated environment. Abortion also presents complications that far exceed those of other procedures. As stated by the Supreme Court in Harris v. McRae, abortion is the only medical procedure that “involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.” For that reason, it is distinguishable from any other medical procedure, and can be held to high standards of regulation by states.

Currently, the Virginia Board of Health is considering regulations passed by the General Assembly requiring stricter standards for abortion facilities, including hospital construction standards. The Board is receiving public comment until March 29th, at which time they will vote on the new regulations. If you are a citizen of Virginia, consider acquainting yourself with these new standards and adding a comment in support of tougher regulations. You can post comments here.

The legalization of abortion has done nothing to improve the health of women. In fact, it has detrimentally affected women’s physical and mental well-being. As we work to end the evil that is abortion, we should be vigilant to enact common sense measures that limit the risks posed to women, children, and families by these unregulated clinics.

Lack of Data on Same-Sex Parenting Should Be a Major Caution to Supreme Court

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 27, 2013

The brilliant legal scholar Nelson Lund, who co-authored FRC’s amicus brief on the President’s health care plan with the director of our Center for Religious Liberty, Ken Klukowski, has written a landmark op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal on the lack of any sociological data on how same-sex marriage affects children. Professor Lund, who teaches at George Mason University’s School of Law and formerly was executive editor of the University of Chicago Law Review, notes that “There are no scientifically reliable studies at all, nor could there be, given the available data,” with respect to the affects of same-sex parenting. He concludes, “If the Supreme Court constitutionalizes a right to same-sex marriage … there will be no going back,” says Professor Lund. “The court cannot possibly know that it is safe to take this irrevocable step.” Read his compelling analysis here.

Defining Marriage—What Harm Would It Do to Redefine Marriage?

by Peter Sprigg

March 25, 2013

On March 26 and 27, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases challenging the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, they will consider the constitutionality of the definition as enshrined in the California state constitution by voters in that state when they adopted “Proposition 8” in 2008 (effectively reversing the decision of the California Supreme Court to impose same-sex “marriage” earlier that year). In Windsor v. United States, they will consider the constitutionality of the same definition of marriage being adopted for all purposes under federal law through the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In anticipation of those oral arguments, I am running a series of blog posts with questions and answers related to the issue. Today I look at what is perhaps at the crux of the debate—the question of what harm marriage redefinition would do.

Q—What harm would it do to the institution of marriage if we redefine it to include same-sex couples?

At the outset, it is worth noting that this question is often framed in a rather misleading way: “What harm would a same-sex couple getting married do to your opposite-sex marriage?” The issue, however, is not how any one couple’s marriage would affect any other specific couple’s marriage—the issue is how changing the definition of marriage under the law would change the social institution of marriage.

Giving unique privileges and a unique status to the only type of relationship that can ever result in the natural creation of another human being sends an important message to society. Contrary to the charges of those who would redefine marriage, that message has nothing to do with “sexual orientation” as such. It simply sends the message that relationships of a type which can result in natural reproduction are unique, and are uniquely valuable to society; and it further sends the message that children benefit uniquely from being raised by their own mother and father (as well as the message that a man and woman should take responsibility for children produced by their union).

If “marriage” is redefined to include same-sex couples, it will of course not abolish civil marriage as an institution, or prevent opposite-sex couples from marrying and having children. However, it will effectively negate—and indeed, reverse—the social message that privileging “marriage” over other relationships would send.

Instead of sending the message that potentially procreative relationships are uniquely valuable and that children being raised by their mother and father is uniquely valuable, the message to society will be the exact opposite. Since same-sex relationships, which are intrinsically infertile and can never result in natural procreation, would be treated as identical under the law to opposite-sex relationships which are the only type that can ever result in natural procreation, the explicit message to society would be that there is nothing uniquely valuable about the very reproduction of the human race. This would be a shocking denial of a reality that is literally fundamental to human existence.

By the same token, same-sex couples never provide a child with a home that includes the care of both their mother and father, and on the contrary deliberately and permanently deny a child such a home. Treating such couples—which are deliberately motherless or fatherless—in a way identical to couples that provide both a mother and father would send the message to society that there is nothing uniquely valuable about a child being raised by his or her own mother and father.

Sending these messages—officially denying, as a matter of public policy, the unique value and importance of reproduction, and of mothers and fathers—would inevitably have an impact on the behavior of people in society.

The following harms would be the predictable results (these are adapted and updated from my 2010 Family Research Council booklet, The Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex “Marriage):

  • Fewer children would be raised by a married mother and father.

The greatest tragedy resulting from the legalization of homosexual marriage would not be its effect on adults, but its effect on children. For the first time in history, society would be placing its highest stamp of official government approval on the deliberate creation of permanently motherless or fatherless households for children.

There simply cannot be any serious debate, based on the mass of scholarly literature available to us, about the ideal family form for children. It consists of a mother and father who are committed to one another in marriage. Children raised by their married mother and father experience lower rates of many social pathologies, including:

  • premarital childbearing;[i]
  • illicit drug use;[ii]
  • arrest;[iii]
  • health, emotional, or behavioral problems;[iv]
  • poverty;[v]
  • or school failure or expulsion.[vi]

These benefits are then passed on to future generations as well, because children raised by their married mother and father are themselves less likely to cohabit or to divorce as adults.[vii]

In a perfect world, every child would have that kind of household provided by his or her own loving and capable biological parents (and every husband and wife who wanted children would be able to conceive them together). Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world.

But the parent who says, “I’m gay” is telling his or her child that he or she has no intention of providing a parent of both sexes for that child. And a homosexual who “marries” someone of the same sex is declaring that this deprivation is to be permanent—and with the blessing of the state.

Homosexual activists argue that research on homosexual parenting has shown no differences among the children raised by homosexuals and those raised by heterosexuals. Even leading professional organizations such as the AmericanAcademyof Pediatrics, under the influence of homosexual activists, have issued policy statements making such claims.[viii]

A close examination of the actual research, however, shows that such claims are unsupportable. The truth is that most research on “homosexual parents” thus far has been marred by serious methodological problems.[ix] However, even pro-homosexual sociologists Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz report that the actual data from key studies show the “no differences” claim to be false.

Surveying the research (primarily regarding lesbians) in an American Sociological Review article in 2001, they found that:

  • Children of lesbians are less likely to conform to traditional gender norms.
  • Children of lesbians are more likely to engage in homosexual behavior.
  • Daughters of lesbians are “more sexually adventurous and less chaste.”
  • Lesbian “co-parent relationships” are more likely to break up than heterosexual marriages.[x]

The most comprehensive study of children raised by parents who had homosexual relationships, conducted by University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus and published in 2012, showed that such children suffered numerous disadvantages—relative to children raised in an “intact biological family,” but also in comparison to other family forms.[xi]

Critics of the Regnerus study questioned its relevance to the marriage debate, because some of the children of homosexual parents never lived with that parent and a partner, and almost none were raised by a same-sex couple from birth. (This illustrates, in part, how rare such “stable” same-sex households are in the real world). However, a 1996 study by an Australian sociologist compared children raised by heterosexual married couples, heterosexual cohabiting couples, and homosexual cohabiting couples. It found that the children of heterosexual married couples did the best, and children of homosexual couples the worst, in nine of the thirteen academic and social categories measured.[xii]

As scholar Stanley Kurtz says,

If, as in Norway, gay marriage were imposed here by a socially liberal cultural elite, it would likely speed us on the way toward the classic Nordic pattern of less frequent marriage, more frequent out-of-wedlock birth, and skyrocketing family dissolution. In the American context, this would be a disaster.[xiii]

  • More children would grow up fatherless.

This harm is closely related to the previous one, but worth noting separately. As more children grow up without a married mother and father, they will be deprived of the tangible and intangible benefits and security that come from that family structure. However, most of those who live with only one biological parent will live with their mothers. In the general population, 79% of single-parent households are headed by the mother, compared to only 10% which are headed by the father.[xiv] Among homosexual couples, as identified in the 2000 census, 34% of lesbian couples have children living at home, while only 22% of male couples were raising children.[xv] The encouragement of homosexual relationships that is intrinsic in legalization of same-sex “marriage” would thus result in an increase in the number of children who suffer a specific set of negative consequences that are clearly associated with fatherlessness.

Homosexual activists say that having both a mother and a father simply doesn’t matter—it’s having two loving parents that counts. But social science research simply does not support this claim. Dr. Kyle Pruett of YaleMedicalSchool, for example, has demonstrated in his book Fatherneed that fathers contribute to parenting in ways that mothers do not. Pruett declares, “From deep within their biological and psychological being, children need to connect to fathers … to live life whole.”[xvi]

Children—both sons and daughters—suffer without a father in their lives. The body of evidence supporting this conclusion is large and growing.[xvii] For example, research has shown that “youth incarceration risks in a national male cohort were elevated for adolescents in father-absent households,” even after controlling for other factors.[xviii] Among daughters, “father absence was strongly associated with elevated risk for early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy.”[xix] Even researchers supportive of homosexual parenting have had to admit that “children raised in fatherless families from infancy,” while closer to their mothers, “perceived themselves to be less cognitively and physically competent than their peers from father-present families.”[xx]

President Obama has also acknowledged the importance of fathers. In a speech during his 2008 campaign for President, he said this:

We know the statistics - that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”[xxi]

Some lesbian couples are deliberately creating new children in order to raise them fatherless from birth. It is quite striking to read, for example, the model “Donor Agreement” for sperm donors offered on the Human Rights Campaign website, and to see the lengths to which they will go to legally insure that the actual biological father of plays no role in the life of a lesbian mother’s child.[xxii] Yet a recent study of children conceived through sperm donation found, “Donor offspring are significantly more likely than those raised by their biological parents to struggle with serious, negative outcomes such as delinquency, substance abuse, and depression, even when controlling for socio-economic and other factors.” [xxiii] Remarkably, 38% of donor offspring born to lesbian couples in the study agreed that “it is wrong deliberately to conceive a fatherless child.”[xxiv]

  • Birth rates would fall.

One of the most fundamental tasks of any society is to reproduce itself. That is why virtually every human society up until the present day has given a privileged social status to male-female sexual relationships—the only type capable of resulting in natural procreation. This privileged social status is what we call “marriage.”

Extending the benefits and status of “marriage” to couples who are intrinsically incapable of natural procreation (i.e., two men or two women) would dramatically change the social meaning of the institution It would become impossible to argue that “marriage” is about encouraging the formation of life-long, potentially procreative (i.e., opposite-sex) relationships. The likely long-term result would be that fewer such relationships would be formed, fewer such couples would choose to procreate, and fewer babies would be born.

There is already evidence of at least a correlation between low birth rates and the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” At this writing [from March 2011 publication—update pending], five U.S. states granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As of 2007, four of those five states ranked within the bottom eight out of all fifty states in both birth rate (measured in relation to the total population) and fertility rate (measured in relation to the population of women of childbearing age).[xxv]

Even granting marriage-related benefits to same-sex couples is associated with low birth and fertility rates. As of March 2011 there were sixteen states which offered at least some recognition or benefits to same-sex relationships.[xxvi] Twelve of these sixteen states ranked in the bottom twenty states in birth rate, while eleven of them ranked in the bottom seventeen in fertility rate. Vermont, the first state in the U. S. to offer 100% of the rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples through passage of its “civil unions” law in 2000[xxvii], ranked dead last in both birth rate and fertility rate.[xxviii]

Similar data are available on the international level. In March 2011 there were ten countries which permitted same-sex “marriage.”[xxix] Six of these ten fell well within the bottom quarter in both birth rates and fertility rates among 223 countries and territories. All ten fell below the total world fertility rate, while only South Africa had a birth rate that was higher (barely) than the world rate.[xxx]

It could be argued that the widespread availability and use of artificial birth control, together with other social trends, has already weakened the perceived link between marriage and procreation and led to a decline in birth rates. These changes may have helped clear a path for same-sex “marriage,” rather than the reverse.[xxxi] Nevertheless, legalization of same-sex “marriage” would reinforce a declining emphasis on procreation as a key purpose of marriage—resulting in lower birth rates than if it had not been legalized.

Of course, there are some who are still locked in the alarmism of the 1960’s over warnings of over-population.[xxxii] However, in recent years it has become clear, particularly in the developed world, that declining birth rates now pose a much greater threat. Declining birth rates lead to an aging population, and demographers have warned of the consequences,

… from the potentially devastating effects on an unprepared welfare state to shortages of blood for transfusions. Pension provisions will be stretched to the limit. The traditional model of the working young paying for the retired old will not work if the latter group is twice the size of the former… . In addition, … healthcare costs will rise.[xxxiii]

The contribution of same-sex “marriage” to declining birth rates would clearly lead to significant harm for society.

[i] Kristin A. Moore, “Nonmarital School-Age Motherhood: Family, Individual, and School Characteristics,” Journal of Adolescent Research 13, October 1998: 433-457.

[ii] John P. Hoffman and Robert A. Johnson, “A National Portrait of Family Structure and Adolescent Drug Use,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 60, August 1998: 633-645.

[iii] Chris Coughlin and Samuel Vucinich, “Family Experience in Preadolescence and the Development of Male Delinquency,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 58, May 1996: 491-501.

[iv] Debra L. Blackwell, “Family structure and children’s health in the United States: Findings from the National Health Interview Survey, 2001–2007,” Vital and Health Statistics, Series 10, No. 246 (Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, December 2010). Online at:

[v] Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, America’s Children: Key Indicators of Well-Being 2001,Washington,D.C., p. 14.

[vi] Deborah A. Dawson, “Family Structure and Children’s Health and Well-Being: Data from the 1988 National Health Interview Survey on Child Health,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53, August 1991: 573-584.

[vii] Paul R. Amato and Alan Booth, A Generation at Risk: Growing Up in an Era of Family Upheaval, Cambridge,Massachusetts:HarvardUniversity Press, 1997, pp. 111-115.

[viii] Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, American Academy of Pediatrics, “Policy Statement: Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian,” Pediatrics Vol. 31, No. 4, April 2013, pp. 827-830 (Reaffirmed May 2009; online at:

[ix] Loren Marks, “Same-sex parenting and children’s outcomes: A closer examination of the American Psychological Association’s brief on lesbian and gay parenting,” Social Science Research Vol 41, Issue 4 (July 2012), pp. 735-751; online at:

[x] Judith Stacey and Timothy J. Biblarz, “(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter,” American Sociological Review 66 (2001), pp. 159-183.

[xi] Mark Regnerus, “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study,” Social Science Research Vol 41, Issue 4 (July 2012), pp. 752-770; online at:

[xii] Sotirios Sarantakos, “Children in three contexts: Family, education and social development,” Children Australia 21, No. 3 (1996): 23-31.

[xiii] Stanley Kurtz, “The End of Marriage in Scandinavia: The ‘conservative case’ for same-sex marriage collapses,” The Weekly Standard 9, No. 20 (February 2, 2004): 26-33.

[xiv] Rose M. Kreider, “Living Arrangements of Children: 2004,” Current Population Reports P70-114 (Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau), February 2008, Figure 1, p. 5.

[xv] Simmons and O’Connell, op. cit., Table 4, p. 9.

[xvi] Kyle D. Pruett, Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child (New York: The Free Press, 2000), p. 16.

[xvii] A good recent summary is Paul C. Vitz, The Importance of Fathers: Evidence and Theory from Social Science (Arlington,VA: Institute for the Psychological Sciences, June 2010); online at:

[xviii] Cynthia C. Harper and Sara S. McLanahan, “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration,” Journal of Research on Adolescence 14(3), 2004, p. 388.

[xix] Bruce J. Ellis, John E. Bates, Kenneth A. Dodge, David M. Fergusson, L. John Horwood, Gregory S. Pettit, Lianne Woodward, “Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy?” Child Development Vol. 74, Issue 3, May 2003; abstract online at:

[xx] Susan Golombok, Fiona Tasker, Clare Murray, “Children Raised in Fatherless Families from Infancy: Family Relationships and the Socioemotional Development of Children of Lesbian and Single Heterosexual Mothers,” Journal of Child Psychologyc and Psychiatry Vol. 38, Issue 7 (October 1997); abstract online at:

[xxi] “Obama’s Speech on Fatherhood,”June 15, 2008; online at:

[xxii] Human Rights Campaign, Donor Agreement; online at:

[xxiii] Elizabeth Marquardt, Norval D. Glenn, and Karen Clark, My Daddy’s Name is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived Through Sperm Donation (New York: Institute for American Values, 2010) p. 9.

[xxiv] Ibid., Table 2, p. 110.

[xxv] Joyce A. Martin, Brady E. Hamilton, Paul D. Sutton, Stephanie J. Ventura, T. J. Mathews, Sharon Kirmeyer, and Michelle J. K. Osterman, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, “Births: Final Data for 2007,” National Vital Statistics Reports Vol. 58, No. 24, August, 2010, Table 11. Rankings calculated by the author.

[xxvi] Human Rights Campaign, “Marriage Equality and Other Relationship Recognition Laws,” April 2, 2010; online at:

[xxvii] “An Act Relating to Civil Unions,” H. 847, adoptedApril 26, 2000. Online at:

[xxviii] Martin et al., op. cit.

[xxix] The Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Belgium, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, and Argentina. See Dan Fastenberg, “A Brief History of International Gay Marriage,” Time, July 22, 2010;,8599,2005678,00.html

[xxx] “Country Comparison: Birth Rate,” The World Factbook (Central Intelligence Agency); online at:; and “Country Comparison: Total Fertility Rate,” The World Factbook (Central Intelligence Agency); online at:

[xxxi] Note, for example, that in 2007, the last year for which final birth rate and fertility rate data are available, only one state (Massachusetts) had legalized same-sex “marriage.”

[xxxii] The most well-known representative being Paul R. Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (New York: Ballantine Books, 1968).

[xxxiii] Jonathan Grant and Stijn Hoorens, “Consequences of a Graying World,” The Christian Science Monitor, June 29, 2007; online at:; see also Jonathan Grant, Stijn Hoorens, Juja Sivadasan, Mirjam van het Loo, Julie DaVanzo, Lauren Hale, Shawna Gibson, William Butz, Low Fertility and Population Ageing: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Options (Santa Monica, Calif.: TheRAND Corporation, 2004).

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