I was surfing the web tonight to see what's going on with the whole "gay marriage" thing that had people up in arms prior to June 17th. Conservatives and groups like National Organization for Marriage thought that it would breakdown the American Family, more so than it already was. Well we all know by now that the sky has not fallen and that the world and the US is still in the same state as it was prior to gay couples saying I Do last week. Gas prices are still high, people are still getting foreclosed on, unemployment rate is up, and people are still trying to make ends meet. Shouldn't concentration be placed on how we can fix the US economy...before we worry about what same-sex marriage will do (which is nothing) to the Nation?
I was reading an article on the web and the organization National Organization for Marriage was mentioned in it. They are one of the sponsors who collected signatures to put a ban on same-sex marriages on the California Ballot for November, which if passed will officially put a discriminatory clause into the California Constitution, officially putting certain groups of people, because of their sexual orientation, as not second class citizens and not worthy of equality. As I was scanning their site I went to a tab called "Get Informed" and then to a menu item called "Threat to Marriage." On this Web page they had talking points that people can print out and pass out as well a video of kids talking about mothers and fathers and talking about things like "Grandma, if Grandpa was a woman you can still marry him" with a voice over that says, "If you change the definition of marriage, our kids will be taught a new way of thinking." Well maybe we do need to teach our kids a new way of thinking and teaching them that families come in many different forms, not just nuclear family of the 1950s.
This whole thing just got me fired up and saddened me that some people think that the American Family is and should be only one way, and if it's not - then your family is doomed! I think it's irresponsible and ignorant to think that Americans should only have one model for a family unit, isn't America dubbed as the world's melting pot, thanks to our DIVERSE citizens and their cultural backgrounds. So I read their hand out, which comes in an English and Spanish version. All three versions start with specifics for Catholics, Protestants and the Jewish Faith, but all three have the following as the same, which they call the 7 scientific reasons (funny they use the word scientific, because most Christians do not even believe in the scientific notion of evolution...so why should they believe this?) by the way I have put my comments in red to each of their "7 Scientific Reasons":
- Marriage reduces the risk of poverty for children and communities. The majority of children whose parents don’t get or stay married, experience at least a year of poverty.
According to the US Census Bureau, currently there are 32.2 million people living in poverty...are you saying that most of these 32.2 million people in poverty in the US is from single parents or gay parents...you must be delusional. Please my parents have been married for 41 years and I know there was a time we lived in poverty where my parents scraped to make ends meet. I think most families regardless of marital status have experienced a level of poverty in the US. Additionally, I am sure that a many of the people you are trying to reach is also living below the poverty line and most likely married.
- Fatherless households increase crime. Boys whose parents divorced or never married, for example, are two to three times more likely to end up in jail as adults.
What kind of statement is this? I know many kids, boys included, who are products of divorced parents or came from single parent households and the majority of them are doing well and all have never been in jail. I know of kids and boys who come from parents who are married who have ended up in jail and have criminal backgrounds. Just recently a boy in Oxnard, CA who came from a non-divorce household - shot a kid in the head for being gay. So who should we be more worried about? Does it really matter if there is a mother and father, a single mother, a single father, a mother and mother or father and father, as long as the kids get unconditional love, guidance and support? Aren't our goals as parents to teach our kids right from wrong and to give them the best guidance we can so that they can make the right decisions as adults?
- Marriage protects children’s physical and mental health. Children whose parents get and stay married are healthier and also much less likely to suffer mental illness, including depression and teen suicide.
This is another idiotic comment, where do they get these "scientific reasons." I've met kids who have been born to married parents with physical problems or who have developed mental health issues because of the pressures from other kids. Additionally, I know kids who have suffered from anorexia and bulimia because their mothers constantly tell them they are too fat or not as pretty as their friends, and this is from straight married couples. Additionally, there are a lot of gay kids out there who are living with depression or who have committed suicide, because they don't think society will accept them or have parents who are supportive of them. Children whose parents get married and stay married are no healthier than those living with single parents or gay parents. I personally think kids from single parents and gay parents do better because they are more open minded to the greater society.
- Both men and women who marry live longer, healthier and happier lives. On virtually every measure of health and well-being, married people are better-off than otherwise similar singles, on average.
So how do you explain Del Martin and Phyllis Lyons, a lesbian couple who are both in their 80s and who have been together for 50 years. They sure lived a full long and healthy life and mostly happy, except for the discrimination they have lived through from people who discriminated against them. I know many straight married couples who live together because of convenience, not because of love, does not mean they are healthier or happier than my partner and I. I know many straight people who were married and who have died younger than some of their gay friends. I also know singles that are happily single including one who has never been married and is currently 90 years old. So this statement is a little misleading.
- Just living together is not the same as marriage. Married couples who cohabit first are thirty to fifty percent more likely to divorce. People who just live together do not get the same boost to health, welfare and happiness, on average, as spouses. Neither do their children. Children whose parents cohabit are at increased risk for domestic violence and child abuse and neglect. Children born to parents who were just living together are also three times more likely to experience their parents’ breakup by age 5.
This is a crazy statement. How many of your readers lived together before they were married? I know people who never lived together before they got married, who are divorced now. Boost in welfare...how many married couples are suffering and losing their homes because their income can no longer sustain their living? If marriage boosts welfare why are there so many Americans just trying to make it to their next paycheck to survive, pawning their wedding rings to buy gas, and going bankrupt? Boost in happiness - how many Americans are currently taking anti-depressant pills that are in a marriage? Boost in health...isn't America the most obese nation in the world? Children in increased risk for domestic violence, child abuse and neglect - how many kids have died because their married mothers or fathers were so consumed with their own needs that they have left kids in their cars, or did not notice that the kid fell into the family pool - isn't that neglect? How many kids are in the foster care system because of abuse, domestic violence and neglect from married households? Neglect, domestic violence and abuse come from the parents not focusing on their kids and only focused on their needs and wants. I know a lot more single parents and gay parents who do everything for their kids and let their own needs and wants subside just to provide for their children.
- Parents who don’t get or stay married put children’s education at risk. Children whose parents divorced or never married have lower grade point averages, are more likely to be held back a grade, and to drop out of school. They are also less likely to end up college graduates.
I know many kids from single parents and gay parents who have extremely high grade point averages and have graduated from some of the most prestigious colleges in the US. There are more kids that I run across, from married parents, who let their education subside so they can focus on starting their own family. How about the number of teens who become pregnant and become single mothers or fathers who come from married parents? What you should say is that kids from conservative, fundamentalist, close minded, married couples tend to be the bullies in school who ridicule those kids who are different from them.
- When marriages fail, ties between parents and children typically weaken too. Adult children whose parents divorced are only half as likely to have warm, close ties to both their mothers and their fathers. For example, in one large national survey, 65 percent of adult children of divorce reported they were not close to their fathers (compared to 29 percent of adults from intact marriages).
Well isn't that why people divorce in the first place because the relationship between the couples has weakened? I think why kids of divorce have weakened relationships with their dads or moms is because there are a lot of deadbeat parents who don't do anything to support their kids - how many single moms or dads out there have not received child support from their former spouses? I'm sure this weakens the ties with the kids, because the kids see that their parents could care less about them, emotionally, physically and financially.
Anyway, now that I have a headache from being sick (must be because of my married parents) and all this misinformation on the part of National Organization for Marriage I encourage all Californians to VOTE NO to this ballot measure in November. Don't put discrimination in the California Constitution. Gay marriage is not going to change the way you live, the only thing it changes is that it gives TWO CONSENTING ADULTS in love the opportunity to marry each other - for better or for worst. If what National Organization for Marriage says is true, that people who are married have better health and well-being, and that married people are better-off than otherwise similar singles, why shouldn't gays and lesbians have the opportunity to tap into those benefits as well? Why should happiness, well-being and good health only be limited to the straight community?
Raising kids is not about having a mother and father, it's about having PARENTS who give them unconditional love, support, and encouragement. It's about raising kids to be the best they can be, to open them up to the possibilities of the world and to teach them the acceptance of all human beings. Just because a kid has a mother and a father does not make them any happier, healthier, smarter, or better than those kids raised in single parent households, or who have gay parents. So these reasons for people to vote for the ban of gay marriage are just ignorant.
Ultimately isn't it all about love and the notion of Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness? Whatever happened to the thought that all humans were created equal? I believe that all humans have the right to happiness and that any person has the right to marry the ONE CONSENTING ADULT that they love. So let equality ring and stay informed.
Logo from National Organization for Marriage