Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shouldn't It Be About The Kids?

Marriage is about love.  However, it is also about children.  And it is about money.

Gay 'marriage" is undoubtedly about love.  It has little to do with children.  It has a lot to do with money.

In fact, my view is that gay "marriage" is principally about money.  Specifically, the money that flows through the hands of the federal government.  Spousal deductions and exemptions.  Social Security and Medicare benefits.  Joint tax returns, disability and survivor benefits.

I wrote about all of this earlier this year in my post, "Marriage and Money" in which I argued that were it not for all this government money in play, marriage would most likely remain in the realm of the religious roots where it began.  We simply would not be seeing the demands for gay marriage if this money was not involved.

Why has government gotten involved in the marriage business?  It has done so because it has proven to provide tangible benefits to the society.  As I pointed out in my earlier post...

It is an unrefuted fact, based on several thousand years of experience, that marriage is an essential foundational framework for a well-functioning and stable society.  To be self-sustaining a society needs to reproduce to sustain itself.  This is only possible with a man and a woman.  It is not necessary for a child borne of that union to be raised by these two parents.  Many children do not have this advantage. However, it also seems to be well-documented that children in a family unit that includes a biological mother and father united in marriage, a male and female, do much better than those in single-parent situations, in cohabitation arrangements or in situations with one biological parent and a step-parent.

Marriage has also been shown to individually benefit both men and women and, in turn, this conveys additional benefits to society.  There is more physical security and less violence against women in societies with high marriage rates.  Marriage also benefits men and society in corresponding ways.  Finally, there are significant economic benefits to couples and society as a whole as a result of marriage where both the division of labor and economies of scale result in the more efficient use of human and physical resources.

For all of these reasons it has made sense for societies and government to confer specific incentives and benefits to men and women who marry.  Does this mean that in every case that marriage produces these benefits?  No.  Some couples will not have children. Some unions undoubtedly should have never occurred. However, the broader social good has been well served by the marriage covenant by one man and one woman for thousands of years.

There is simply no evidence at this point in time that gay "marriage" provides similar benefits.  It is way too early to know.  Gay 'marriage" is too new.  Its benefits and advantages have not been time-tested over thousands of years.  Could it be beneficial?  It very well could be. Future evidence might show that same sex unions are vastly superior for children compared to a single parent or cohabitation arrangements.  I stated in my last post I was open to seeing that evidence but it would likely be years before the effects on gay marriage and children would be known.

Why am I bringing this up again? There is some new evidence. And rather than supporting the benefits of gay marriage, it comes down squarely on the side of thousands of years of human experience. There are significant benefits to a child being in a household with a man and woman who are married to each other. The same can't be said for same sex marriages.
onathan Last, one of my favorite writers (see my post on his recent book, "What To Expect When No One's Expecting") cites some interesting new research that shows that "Not All Marriages Are Created Equal" in an article in The Weekly Standard.

Last cites a new research study by Douglas Allen in the Review of Economics of the Household (how do I get a subscription to that?) on the educational outcomes for children raised by gay couples compared to single parents compared to heterosexual couples.

This was a study done in Canada (which has had same-sex government benefits since 1997 and it used the 2006 Canadian census to compare the effects on children between different parental structures (single father, single mother, heterosexual and gay couples). Since the study used census data it had the advantage of a large sample size that similar studies in the past did not have. Allen focused his study on high school education rates "to compare side by side the young-adult children of same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, as well as children growing up in single-parent homes and other households.

So what did Allen find? Three big effects:

* children of married opposite-sex families have a high graduation rate compared to the others;

* children of lesbian families have a very low graduation rate compared to the others;

* the other four types [common law, gay, single mother, single father] are similar to each other and lie in between the married/lesbian extremes

The real bottom line is this.

T]he children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples. And gender matters, too: girls are more apt to struggle than boys, with daughters of gay parents displaying dramatically lower graduation rates

This is only one study but it is worth noting that the finding indicates that gay unions produce vastly inferior results for the children in those households insofar as their education is concerned.  And that is a big factor in their future contribution to society.

Gay "marriage" proponents argue it is about "equal rights".

I am all for equal rights. I have no problem with domestic partner legislation on the subjects of transfer of property, hospital visitation rights and the like. However, when it goes beyond "rights" and moves into "benefits" it is a different issue. 

There simply is no "right" to government benefits or money. The government discriminates on this subject all the time. Look at the Internal Revenue Code. There is line after line where one person or corporation gets a benefit that someone else does not. Homeowners are favored over renters. Green energy gets benefits that carbon energy does not. The rationale is that there is a governmental or societal benefit in doing so. It is discriminatory to those that don't get the benefit but there is supposed to be a larger public purpose.

So if the proponents of gay "marriage" want to talk about rights, when does the question of the rights of children enter into the debate?  Are these rights to just be ignored?

When liberals push for new social programs it is always first and foremost "about the children".  

What about these children and gay marriage?  What about their rights?

I am open to more research and study on the subject.  However, until we see some firm evidence that gay marriage is actually contributing to society, it is way too premature to say it should be receiving equivalent benefits to traditional marriage.  There is absolutely no reason to do so based on the evidence.

After all, shouldn't it be about about the kids?  And the Allen study shows why we should be very cautious on conveying government benefits for gay "marriage".

Therefore, why would government sanction gay "marriages" today and provide equivalent incentives and benefits for something that is really nothing more than a social experiment at this point?  That makes no sense, especially for a government that is $17 trillion in debt and climbing every day.

If supporters of gay marriage want to talk about "rights" the subject should be changed to "the rights of children" and the Allen and other studies should be cited.  Our children and our tax dollars should not be sacrificed for an unproven social experiment.  Bring the data and facts to show that gay marriage is as beneficial to society as heterosexual marriage.

Sanctioning gay marriage should not be about the gay community feeling better about itself.  It should be about demonstrably showing that it provides similar benefits to children and society in general that traditional marriage has shown over time.

If anyone is honest about it, that should take at least 20-25 years to get reliable data since gay marriage is a relatively new concept.  Let's talk about gay marriage then when we have some facts. Anything less is potentially threatening our children as well as our fragile governmental budgets. That makes no sense.

My grandfather used to tell me to never buy a pig in a poke. When I first heard that advice I asked him what he meant.  "Don't buy something until you have seen it. A poke is a sack or bag.  There may not be a pig in that bag."  I understood the lesson quickly.  Why should we buy what the gay lobby is selling?  Let us see what is really going on in those households before we decide whether the benefits outweigh the cost.

A pig in a poke?

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