Sunday, October 26, 2008

Unintended Consequences

During the last week I have come across many Prop 8 opponents. Most of them have been very angry and have offered only two main arguments for why Prop 8 should be defeated. The first argument is that it somehow denies equal rights and is therefore discriminatory and unfair. The second argument is that allowing same gender marriage won't harm anyone. It is interesting to note that proponents of Prop 8 can provide a much longer list of reasons for preserving traditional marriage, such as:

1. It is better for children
2. It will preserve religious freedoms
3. It will maintain parental rights
4. It will protect our society from other definitional onslaughts on marriage, i.e. polyandry, polygamy, and other marital permutations.
5. It is what is best for individuals and our society
6. It still allows for same gender couples the legal benefits afforded a married couple.

But I digress-what I really wanted to focus on is a response to the idea that same gender marriage is somehow benign and will have no negative consequences for individuals or our society.

Consider the logic behind environmental impact reports. It was determined by environmentalists, and to some extent rightfully so, that before embarking on major building projects, studies should be done to assess the possible impact on the flora and fauna, traffic patterns, air quality, etc. of a community before giving an approval to proceed. These studies usually involved numerous different consultants, lots of time and large amounts of money. In other words every conceivable physical consequence was anticipated and weighed before any digging started. It is utterly appalling to me that we have embarked on the largest experiment in society without even a thought or acknowledgment at how changing the very core bedrock of family structure-marriage-could possible effect us. It might not effect the air but it will change more than just what it purports to change. The question is how profound and damaging the effects will be. Everything on our planet is interrelated.
Remember "No man is an island..." Let's consider other changes to marriage or the family and some of the unintended consequences. The 60's seemed to be a time of openness, of breaking down barriers about civil rights for blacks, women's rights, sexual freedoms. At first glance it may have seemed a productive period in our history. However, while there may have been some good that came out of the 60's that time period also laid the foundation for some of our greatest social ills in 2008. The "make love not war" slogan was the rallying cry of the sexual revolution. Rather than having boundaries about what was appropriate in sexual expression the rule of thumb became "if it feels good do it." What have been some of the societal impacts that we can report:
1. Unprecedented levels of sexually transmitted diseases have flowed from a lack of sexual boundaries. Who can forget the aids epidemic of the 80's and now the almost unbelievably high number of cases of chlamydia, herpes and even the development of new strains of STD's. Also, there has been a new outbreak of Aids in San Francisco which has gone largely unreported because it would harm the same gender marriage movement. Thanks to our popular culture STD"s are not just the bane of adults they have now filtered down to our young adults and youth. What often goes unreported is that STD's are the largest single contributor to infertility.
2. The obsession with sex in our media driven culture. Every single source of information be it television, radio, newspapers, the internet, movies, magazines has an article, program, or advertisement about sex. This has also helped fuel younger and younger children in engaging in sexual behavior before they are cognitively and morally ready to make such important decisions. An additional consequence has been the explosion of pornography in our culture which has frightening ramifications for an increase in sexual assaults, dehumanization of women a weakening of appropriate emotional bonds in relationships, an increase in depression and anxiety, and in illegal behavior. The newest and most rapidly growing addiction-sexual addictions.
3. The weakening of marriage by passing laws to make divorces easier to obtain. This is frighteningly similar to what I think will happen with same gender marriage. Which is that the needs of children get sacrificed on the feelings, needs and wants of adults. The notion of sacrifice is mocked and personal gratification is again put front and center. Freud felt that homosexuality was the ultimate expression of narcissism, and he was hardly conservative about sexual issues.
4. Very high rates of abortion, the majority of which are from irresponsible sexual behavior, not from women being raped or health problems endangering the mother.
5. Higher rates of infidelity and or premarital sexual behavior.
7. Higher percentages of people identifying as homosexual, especially in large urban areas that have significant same gender populations

There are many other consequences that came out of the sexual revolution and many of them influenced each other to create a downward spiral. These outcomes then create other consequences and the cycle of sexual obsession continues to escalate.

None of these consequences were anticipated or desired but they have occurred nonetheless. That is why some of us who have lived long enough to have experienced and studied these social trends have been very concerned about the potential outcomes of championing same gender marriage. Gay activists and others have been either naive or outright deceitful in pushing such a significant change with so little forethought.

There are indicators available for us to study-Massachusetts passed same gender marriage a few years ago, the Netherlands has had same gender marriage for an even longer period of time. We need to observe and take seriously the negative impacts that have occurred there. The concerns about parental rights, religious freedom, rights of doctors, effects on overall marital rates and outcomes for children are all based on real life experiences not on supposition.

I strongly urge you to proceed with caution before voting No on Prop 8 which in effect undermines a bastion of our societal structure.


Jen O. said...

You raise an excellent point (among others) with the environmental impact analogy. I'll be putting this in my "tool belt" when discussing Prop 8 w/ my friends and coworkers. Keep up the good work. - Thanks!

Amy O said...

I appreciate your reference to research conducted before major building projects. Why hasn't there been more caution taken before reconstructing our society??

La La said...

As usual, Julann, this is well said! Keep them coming!