Society has a vested interest in prohibiting behavior that endangers the health or safety of the community. Because of this, homosexual liaisons have historically been forbidden by law.
Homosexuals contend that their relationships are the equivalent of marriage between a man and woman. They demand that society dignify and approve of their partnerships by giving them legal status as 'marriages.' They further argue that homosexuals should be allowed to become foster parents or adopt children.
The best scientific evidence suggests that putting society's stamp of approval on homosexual partnerships would harm society in general and homosexuals in particular, the very individuals some contend would be helped.
A large body of scientific evidence suggests that homosexual marriage is a defective counterfeit of traditional marriage and that it poses a clear and present danger to the health of the community:
Traditional marriage improves the health of its participants, has the lowest rate of domestic violence, prolongs life, and is the best context in which to raise children.
Homosexual coupling undermines its participants' health, has the highest rate of domestic violence, shortens life, and is a poor environment in which to raise children.
The Facts About Homosexual Marriage
Fact #1: Homosexual marriages are short lived. When one examines homosexual behavior patterns, it becomes clear that the plea for legal homosexual marriage is less about marriage than the push for legitimacy. Most gays and lesbians are not in monogamous relationships, and in fact often live alone by preference.
*In a study (1) of 2,000 U.S. and European gays in the 1960s, researchers found that "living by oneself is probably the chief residential pattern for male homosexuals. It provides the freedom to pursue whatever style of homosexual life one chooses, whether it be furtive encounters in parks or immersion in the homosexual subculture. In addition, homosexual relationships are fragile enough to make this residential pattern common whether deliberate or not."
*A 1970 study in San Francisco (2) found that approximately 61% of gays and 37% of lesbians were living alone.
*In 1977, the Spada Report (3) noted that only 8% of the gays in its sample claimed to have a monogamous relationship with a live-in lover.
*The same year (4) over 5,000 gays and lesbians were asked: "Do you consider or have you considered yourself 'married' to another [homosexual]?" Only 40% of lesbians and 25% of gays said "yes." The authors noted that with "gay male couples, it is hard to even suggest that there are norms of behavior. [One] might expect to find a clear pattern of 'categories' emerging from the answers to the questions about lovers, boy friends, and relationships. In fact, no such pattern emerged."
*In the early 1980s, a large non-random sample
(5) of almost 8,000 heterosexual and homosexual couples responded to advertisements in alternative newspapers. The average number of years together was 9.8 for the married, 1.7, for cohabiting heterosexuals, 3.5 for the gay couples, and 2.2 for the lesbian couples.
Variety Over Monogamy
Although gay activists often argue that legalizing homosexual marriage would help make such relationships more permanent, the reality is that most gays desire variety in their sex partners, not the monogamy of traditional marriage.
*In 1987, only 23% of gays in London (6) reported sexual exclusivity "in the month before interview."
*In 1990, only 12% of gays in Toronto, Canada (7) said that they were in monogamous relationships.
*In 1991, in the midst of the AIDS crisis, Australian gays (8) were monitored to see whether they had changed their sexual habits. There was essentially no change in 5 years: 23% reported a monogamous relationship, 35% a non-monogamous relationship, and 29% only "casual sex." The authors reported that "there were almost as many men moving into monogamy as out of it, and out of casual-only partnerships as into them."
*In 1993, a study (9) of 428 gays in San Francisco found that only 14% reported just a single sexual partner in the previous year. The vast majority had multiple sex partners. In 1994, the largest national gay magazine'° reported that only 17% of its sample of 2,500 gays claimed to live together in a monogamous relationship.
Even gays who do have long-term partners do not play by the typical 'rules.' Only 69% of Dutch gays" with a marriage-type 'partner' actually lived together. The average number of "outside partners" per year of 'marriage' was 7.1 and increased from 2.5 in the first year of the relationship to 11 in the 6th year.
Why are homosexual marriages shorter and less committed than traditional marriages?
At any given time, less than a third of gays and approximately half of lesbians are living with a lover. Because the relationships are so short, the average homosexual can anticipate many, many 'divorces.'
At any instant, about 10% of gays live together in monogamous relationships. Their monogamy seldom lasts beyond a year. Perhaps half of lesbians live together in monogamous relationships. These typically dissolve in one to three years.
These same patterns appear in the scientific literature over the last 50 years, both long before and during the AIDS epidemic. This consistency suggests a reality associated with the practice of homosexuality, one unlikely to be affected by changes in marriage laws.
The Danish Experience
In Denmark, a form of homosexual marriage has been legal since 1989. Through 1995, less than 5% of Danish homosexuals had gotten married, and 28% of these marriages had already ended in divorce or death. (12)
The Danish experience provides no evidence that gay 'marriage' is beneficial. Men who married men were three times more apt to be widowers before the age of 55 than men who married women! Similarly, a woman who married a woman was three times more apt to be a widow than a woman who married a man.
Fact #2: Studies show homosexual marriage is hazardous to one's health.
Across the world, numerous researchers have reported that 'committed' or 'coupled' homosexuals are more apt to engage in highly risky and biologically unsanitary sexual practices than are 'single' gays. As a consequence of this activity, they increase their chances of getting AIDS and other sexually transmitted or blood-borne diseases.
In 1983, near the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, gays in San Francisco (13) who claimed to be in "monogamous relationships" were compared to those who were not. Without exception, those in monogamous relationships more frequently reported that they had engaged in biologically unhealthful activity during the past year. As examples, 4.5% of the monogamous v. 2.2% of the unpartnered had engaged in drinking urine, and 33.3% v. 19.6% claimed to practice oral-anal sex.
*In a sample of London gays (6) in 1987, those infected with HIV were more apt to have regular partners than those not so infected. In 1989, Italian researchers (14) investigated 127 gays attending an AIDS clinic. Twelve percent of those without steady partners v. 28% of those with steady partners were HIV+. The investigators remarked that "to our surprise, male prostitutes did not seem to be at increased risk, whereas homosexuals who reported a steady partner (i.e., the same man for the previous six months) carried the highest relative risk."
*During 1991-92, 677 gays in England (15) were asked about "unprotected anal sex." Those who had 'regular' partners reported sex lives which were "about three times as likely to involve unprotected anal sex than partnerships described as 'casual/one-night stands."' Sex with a regular partner "was far more important than awareness of HIV status in facilitating high-risk behaviour."
*A 1993 British sexual diary study (16) of 385 gays reported that men in "monogamous" relationships practiced more anal intercourse and more anal-oral sex than those without a steady partner. It concluded that "gay men in a Closed relationship... exhibit... the highest risk of HIV transmission."
*In 1992, a sample (17) of 2,593 gays from Tucson, AZ and Portland, OR reinforced the consistent finding that "gay men in primary relationships are significantly more likely than single men to have engaged in unprotected anal intercourse."
*Similarly, a 1993 sample (18) of gays from Barcelona, Spain practiced riskier sex with their regular partners than with casual pick ups.
*Even a 1994 study (19) of over 600 lesbians demonstrated that "the connection between monogamy and unprotected sex,... was very consistent across interviews. Protected sex was generally equated with casual encounters; unprotected sex was generally equated with trusting relationships. Not using latex barriers was seen as a step in the process of relational commitment. Choosing to have unprotected sex indicated deepening trust and intimacy as the relationship grew."
Why is homosexual marriage a health hazard?
While married people pledge and generally live up to their vows of sexual faithfulness, participants in both gay and lesbian "marriages" offer each other something quite different. They see shared biological intimacy and sexual risk-taking as the hallmark of trust and commitment. Being exposed in this way to the bodily discharges of their partner increases the risk of disease, especially so if that partner was 'married' to someone else before or engaged in sex with others outside the relationship.
The evidence is strong that both gays and lesbians are more apt to take biological risks when having sex with a partner than when having casual sex. The evidence is also strong that gays disproportionately contract more disease, especially AIDS and the various forms of hepatitis, from sex with "partners" than they do from sex with strangers. There is also some evidence (20) that gays with partners are more apt to die of both AIDS and non-AIDS conditions than those without partners.
Like gays, 'married' lesbians are more apt to engage in biological intimacy and risk-taking. However, there is insufficient evidence to conclude whether disease or death rates are higher for partnered or unpartnered lesbians.
Fact #3: Homosexual marriage has the highest rate of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is a public health concern. Among heterosexuals, not only is it an obvious marker of a troubled marriage, but media attention and tax dollars to aid 'battered women' have both grown tremendously in recent years. What is not reported is the empirical evidence suggesting that homosexual couples have higher rates of domestic violence than do heterosexual couples, especially among lesbians.
In 1996, (21) Susan Holt, coordinator of the domestic violence unit of the Los Angeles Gay Lesbian Center, said that "domestic violence is the third largest health problem facing the gay and lesbian community today and trails only behind AIDS and substance abuse... in terms of sheer numbers and lethality."
The average rate of domestic violence in traditional marriage, established by a nationwide federal government survey (22) of 6,779 married couples in 1988, is apparently less than 5% per year. During their most recent year of marriage, 2.0% of husbands and 3.2% of wives said that they were hit, shoved or had things thrown at them. Unmarried, cohabiting heterosexuals report (23) higher rates of violence, a rate of about 20% to 25% per year.
When the same standard is applied to gay and lesbian relationships, the following evidence emerges:
*In 1987, (24) 48% of 43 lesbian, and 39% of 39 gay Georgia couples reported domestic violence.
*In 1988,(25) 70 lesbian and gay students participated in a study of conflict resolution in gay and lesbian relationships. Adjusted upward for reporting by only one partner in the couple (i.e., "only one side of the story"), an estimated 29% of gay and 56% of lesbian couples experienced violence in the past year.
*In 1989, (26) 284 lesbians were interviewed who were involved "in a committed, cohabitating lesbian relationship" during the last 6 months. Adjusted for reporting by just one partner, an estimated 43% of the relationships were violent in the past year.
*In 1990, (27) nearly half of 90 lesbian couples in Los Angeles reported domestic violence yearly. 21% of these women said that they were mothers. Interestingly, of those mothers who had children living with them, 11 lived in "violent" and 11 in "nonviolent" relationships. Thus, unlike traditional marriage where parents will often forego fighting to shield the children from hostility, there was no evidence from this investigation that the presence of youngsters reduced the rate of domestic violence.
Overall, the evidence is fairly compelling that homosexual domestic violence exceeds heterosexual domestic violence. The limited scientific literature suggests that physical domestic violence occurs every year among less than 5% of traditionally married couples, 20% to 25% of cohabiting heterosexuals, and approximately half of lesbian couples. The evidence is less certain for gays, but their rate appears to fall somewhere between that for unmarried, cohabiting heterosexuals and lesbians.
Fact #4: Homosexual domestic violence is a logger problem than gay bashing.
Gay activists and the media are quick to assert that discriminatory attitudes by 'straight' society lead directly to violence against homosexuals (i.e., 'gay bashing'). In fact, evidence suggests that homosexual domestic violence substantially exceeds, in frequency and lethality, any and all forms of 'gay bashing.' That is, the violence that homosexuals do to one another is much more significant than the violence that others do to homosexuals.
In 1995, a homosexual domestic violence consortium conducted a study (28) in six cities Chicago, Columbus, Minneapolis, New York, San Diego, and San Francisco where reports of anti-homosexual harassment or same sex domestic violence were tabulated.
The harassment incidents ranged from name calling (e.g., 'faggot,' 'queer') to actual physical harm or property damage. Homosexual domestic violence, on the other hand, referred only to incidents in which actual physical harm occurred or was seriously threatened (i.e., met the legal standard for domestic violence).
The results? Nationwide, (29) as well as in these cities, around half of anti-homosexual harassment reports in 1995 involved only slurs or insults, thus not rising to the level of actual or threatened physical violence.
In San Francisco, there were 347 calls about same-sex domestic violence and 324 calls about anti-homosexual harassment. In three of the five other cities there were also more calls reporting same-sex domestic violence than anti-homosexual harassment. The same ratio was reported for the study as a whole.
Given that half of the harassment reports did not rise to the level of violence, while domestic violence meant exactly that, if the data gathered by this consortium of homosexuals corresponds to the underlying reality, the physical threat to homosexuals from same-sex domestic violence is more than twice as great as the physical threat they experience from 'the outside.'
Rather than being a 'shelter against the storms of life,' as traditional marriage is sometimes characterized, being homosexually partnered actually increases the physical dangers associated with homosexuality.
Fact #5: Homosexuals make poor parents.
Fewer than 20 empirical studies have been done on homosexual parents. These studies have been small, biased, and generally fail to address many of the traditional concerns regarding homosexual parenting. However, the limited evidence they have generated supports what common sense would expect.
The largest study, (30) and the only one based on a random sample, estimated that less than half of a percent of Americans have had a homosexual parent. Those who did were more likely to:
1. report having had sex with a parent,
2. experience homosexuality as their first sexual encounter,
3. be sexually molested,
4. become homosexual or bisexual, and
5. report dissatisfaction with their childhood.
The various studies, (31) added together, suggest that the children of homosexuals are at least 3 times more apt to become homosexual than children raised by the traditionally married.
Further, there is reasonable evidence, both in the empirical literature and in dozens of court cases dealing with the issue, (32) that children of homosexuals are more apt to be sexually exposed to the homosexual lifestyle and/or molested.
Finally, substantial evidence (31) suggests that children of homosexuals are more apt to doubt their own sexuality, be embarrassed by their homosexual parent(s), and be teased and taunted by their peers.
What Can We Conclude?
Homosexual marriage is a bad idea, While traditional marriage delivers benefits to its participants as well as to society, gay marriage harms everyone it touches especially homosexuals themselves. Not only does it place homosexuals at increased risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, but it also subjects them to an increased threat of domestic violence and early death.
Homosexual marriage is nothing like traditional marriage. Homosexual unions are not built around lifetime commitments, nor are they good environments to raise children.