Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Concerns Regarding Same Gender Marriage

I am writing this because I feel very strongly about an issue that I don’t think you are receiving accurate information about. It is fascinating and disturbing that people are so ready to accept information disseminated by the mainstream media, Hollywood or anyone else that is “famous”. Given their track record we should take whatever they report with a bag of salt (not just a grain). Proposition 8 has been at the receiving end of a lot of misinformation as has the whole issue of homosexuality. Let me respond to a number of frequently stated positions.

Myth 1. Gay marriage doesn’t affect anyone negatively. It is their business and we should let them marry.
RESPONSE: We are all interconnected, on a macro and a micro level. Why do you think governments do environmental impact reports? Why aren’t we considering a societal impact report. We do not live in isolation. There is longitudinal data out of Europe regarding the consequences of same gender “marriage”. And the results are not positive for a society-a decrease in the number of marriages overall, increase in out of wedlock births, etc. All societies need rules and boundaries. We should not be altering basic societal definitions that have existed for thousands of years and across many cultures. There must be profound physical, biological, psychological and social benefits in our present definition of marriage as one man and one woman for them to have endured the test of time. Change is not always for the better and just because people say something long enough and loud enough doesn’t mean it’s true. What is the primary purpose of marriage? It is to regulate, provide protection for and promote the rearing of children which is the back bone of civilization. There is a great deal of research supporting the idea that the ideal setting for raising children is to have a father and a mother. We should be seeking for the ideal not what feel is convenient or easy for us. Who is watching out for the children’s rights?

Myth 2. A gay lifestyle is the same as a heterosexual lifestyle.
RESPONSE: Male same gender couples are very promiscuous, typically of shorter duration., and are not likely to involve children. Lesbian couples tend to have higher rates of domestic abuse. Individuals living a same gender lifestyle have higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicidality than individuals living a heterosexual lifestyle. Also, married heterosexual men have a much longer lifespan. Natures’ strategy of pairing men and women together helps to bring a balance-an equilibrium which has a strengthening effect to both genders.

Myth 3. Demanding same gender marriage is about equal rights.
RESPONSE: Regardless of the “rights” that have been granted to gay individuals and couples, gay activists have continued pushing for more. Civil unions and domestic partnerships have the same exact legal right as married couples-no less and no more. If the court ruling on same gender marriage stands there will be other consequences. The “rights’ of religious organizations to preach about their beliefs regarding homosexuality will be denied. Ministers won’t have freedom of choice about marrying couples, doctors--see the suit in San Diego--will not be able to make treatment choices based on their religious beliefs, and therapists will no longer be able to treat individuals who want to overcome same gender feelings and behaviors. The “rights” of same gender individuals will supersede religious freedom. Same gender individuals have the right to engage in whatever thoughts, feelings and behaviors they want but they do not have the right to impose their beliefs on others anymore than I have the right to impose my religious beliefs on them

Myth 4-This is the greatest myth of all. If you are gay or lesbian you were born that way. RESPONSE: SHOW ME THE SCIENCE! At best there is a correlation between biology and same gender behavior-they have done gene studies, hormone studies, twin studies, hypothalamic studies, birth order studies, etc. and the science is inconclusive. The most likely explanation is that it is a complex interplay between environmental factors and biological factors. Each case is different, male and female homosexuality is very different. Gender identity issues are very different than same gender attraction. Other sexual variations such as transgender, and bisexual don’t even agree with each other on causation. We skipped the whole discussion about what homosexuality is and raced right to letting a small group of gay activists define things. All of the original studies upon which the “born that way” myth was based were done by gay men and about gay men. There have not been very many studies about female homosexuality. Sexuality is a human behavior not a condition like race. So this whole discussion of rights is inappropriate. You don’t get certain privileges just because you feel a certain way. By redefining marriage to include people based on their focus of sexual attraction and “love” you open up a huge Pandora’s box. Legally you then have to consider the “rights” of transgender and bisexual individuals. Polygamy and polyandry are fair game, and other boundaries begin to blur. Where do you stop? What has happened to other societies that have embraced and championed homosexual behavior?

Myth 5-People who support Proposition 8 hate gays and are intolerant bigots.
RESPONSE: Just because I disagree with someone about something doesn’t mean I hate them, wouldn’t hire them, wouldn’t socialize with them or would be hurtful, mean or violent towards them. Some of the people who I deeply love have chosen to live same gender lives. I treat them the same as anyone else. As a matter of fact I feel I am discriminated against more by those who live same gender lifestyles than vice versa. I don’t call names, deface their property, flip them off or slam the door in their face like has happened to me in the last few days as I have walked my neighborhood to inform people about his issue.

This country was established primarily to grant religious freedom--to worship who what or where we may. How ironic that a select group of very angry individuals is ready do overturn the very core unit of our society and nation -the nuclear family. Our greatest concern should be to protect the family unit as it is presently constituted and to continue our tradition of free speech and freedom of religion. We should not be bullied, harassed or controlled by judicial fiat. And any changes to basic structures in society should be carefully studied and weighed out over time.

I hesitated writing this letter for fear of how it would be perceived. And then it struck me that therein lies the problem. Why should I be afraid to talk about something with my friends, family and neighbors? How did this issue come to be of such importance in such a short period of time and as if it were something we should champion and embrace rather than be concerned about? Tolerance, equality, diversity, bigotry are all words that are being tossed around freely these days--and they may not have the same meaning that they used to. Maybe more appropriate goals would be love, patience, prudence, discipline, boundaries, moderation, sacrifice, and understanding. I believe that there are a variety of reasons why people have same gender attraction and that most of us experience our sexuality along a continuum. I believe that sexuality is something that definitely needs checks and balances for it to be productive for individuals and societies. I believe that people with same gender attraction have been treated poorly in the past and that they are deserving of the same love, respect and consideration as individuals who choose a heterosexual lifestyle. However, I believe it is a huge stretch to compare the gay movement with the civil rights movement. I don’t think people’s sexuality should be their primary defining characteristic. Gender and race are human conditions while same gender attraction is not. I believe that we have swung the pendulum way too far to the other extreme and that we need to return to center. Our society has become obsessed with sexual things, and excesses and I believe the gay movement is a misguided part of this obsession. The prevalence of homosexuality is estimated to be from 4-10%(higher in industrialized societies) How did virtue and morality become bad words? As a society we need to champion what is good for the society as a whole and not make exceptions the rule of law. All of us have things that we have had to learn to control and manage and this makes us stronger and better people. I highly encourage you to give consideration to some of these thoughts and to let the lessons of history and logic direct your reasoning.


Lynn said...

Very well written. Thank you for sharing. You're my hero.

Jen O. said...

Thank you for putting these facts together so concisely. I feel better equipped to answer the accusations that have come my way while defending Prop 8/Traditional Marriage. You're terrific!

Dana said...

Julann- This information is a fantastic read. Very well done. When my cousin came "out" many years ago, my aunt was devastated and she wrote to Church Headquarters. This was at a time when one of the Quorum of the Twelve responded to her desperate question of "why?" She received a letter from Elder Boyd K. Packer in which he stated that homosexuality is a challenge and temptation that is given to people on the earth. Because of free agency, that person can choose to remain chaste and follow Heavenly Father's plan, or they can fall into sexual desires being met with others that are same-sex attraced. Restraining sexual desires can be VERY hard, but what of faithful Saints that have never had the opportunity to marry and have sexual relations with their spouses? They have to learn to tame those desires like those who are divorced or have become a widow or widower. There is a lot more I'd like to say about the subject, but this is as long as a book already!
Again, well done. You're one smart lady!
Dana Stinson-Marone