A social conservative's admission--divorce worse than gay marriage

In an opinion piece on a Virginia legislator's proposed "Family Bill of Rights," Stephen Baskerville, President of the American Coalition of Fathers and Children summarizes many of the social conservative arguments against gay marriage. Yet, this piece also includes a startling admission by Mike McManus, co-founder with his wife Harriet of Marriage Savers--bold added in text below for emphasis:
. . . same-sex "marriage" is not only a threat to the marriage and the family. It may not even be the most serious. As Michael McManus of Marriage Savers points out, "Divorce is a far more grievous blow to marriage than today's challenge by gays."

Indeed, it is very likely same-sex "marriage" would not even be an issue were it not for the severe weakening of marriage that has already occurred due to divorce and out-of-wedlock births. "Commentators miss the point when they oppose homosexual marriage on the grounds that it would undermine traditional understandings of marriage," writes Bryce Christensen of Southern Utah University. "It is only because traditional understandings of marriage have already been severely undermined that homosexuals are now laying claim to it."
McManus (as you may recall) is a social conservative columnist who had a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services.I don't agree with what Chirstensen says, but note the context in which he places the opposition to gay marriage -- and the opening it provides for those who advocate expanding the definition of this ancient institution.

Because social conservatives see the "traditional understanding of marriage" as having been undermined, it behooves those who push gay marriage to point out how gay marriage could strengthen the institution. They would need to talk about values and mutual responsibility more than they talk about "rights." Jonathan Rauch does a great job of his in his excellent chapter "What is Marriage For?" in his otherwise uneven book, "Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America."

More important than the attitude this article reveals is McManus' admission which I bolded in the first paragraph of the quotation. Divorce is a greater threat to families, particularly children, than gay marriage. As we discuss gay marriage, let us take on the social conservatives on their own turf and remind them what McManus has acknowledged. Let us stand up for strong marriages and say we want marriage to foster lasting relationships. And that we understand how, while necessary in many cases, divorce is a greater threat to the institution than monogamous gay unions. And that more often than not, divorce harms the children of the dissolved marriage while lasting same-sex unions provide psychological and spiritual benefits for both partners.

And to better understand the social conservative case against gay marriage, read the whole article from which I quoted above.

Hat tip: Lgbt-politics listserv.

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