That’s Debatable

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a debate discussing legalizing same gender marriage. Former Fargo Mayor and retired economics professor Jon Lindgren discussed the topic with Ryan T Anderson, co-author of “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” and is with “The Heritage Foundation.”

For a number of years, the argument has been made that a marriage between a man and a woman is a good thing that should not be tampered with. Allowing couples of the same gender to marry may cause problems in the future.

I’ve never agreed with that statement, yet I have ALWAYS understood it. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and “leave well enough alone” and other such time-worn phrases all support that if something is working as it is supposed to, let it continue to do so without change.

I really do get that.

Even if I do not agree that allowing came gender couples to marry would harm opposite gender marriages.

Ricky and I married nearly 8 years ago, and not one single opposite gender couple on our street has divorced because of it.

Anderson and his colleagues have a different take on this: marriage and families are broken, and only getting worse. As a way to slow this, we must not allow gay people to marry.

He’s partly right.

Statistically (I’m rounding numbers here) 50% of first, 60% of second and 75% of third marriages end in divorce. Today over 50% of children are born to single women.

When a child is born, 100% of the time the mother is in the room. What percentage of the time is the father there? (Anderson quote, very well stated)

I agree, same gender marriage seems to be in trouble. Studies have determined children fare better in two parent households rather than one. Studies of childen in same gender parent families are sketchy at best.

But making the prime tactic to shore up opposite gender marriages and families by denying marriage equality to all couples in committed relationships is like working to reduce the number of train derailments by decreasing the interstate highway speed limit.

It makes no sense.

It’s been 10 years since Massachusetts legalized same gender marriage. When I asked Mr Anderson what effect that has had on families in MA, he indicated it was too early to determine; that it would take a full generation to tell.

That may well be the case statistically, however I struggle to believe not one single person has been keeping an eye on MA to quickly sound the alarm at the harm gay marriage has caused. And that the reason there is no data is simply because there is not,  nor will there ever be any data.

A wise-crack I often make is: “If you want to protect marriage, make divorce illegal. There. Done.”

Today’s Gay Agenda: I’ve been asking the question for a decade, often offering a substantial financial reward, yet no one has ever been able to give me a single example of how my marriage has harmed theirs, their children or their family.

If you want to support opposite gender marriage and families, start working to support oposite gender couples and families, then work on affecting the real problems they face. I promise you, not one single couple struggling to stay together will say it’s Ricky and I that are causing their issues.


3 thoughts on “That’s Debatable”

  1. I don’t agree with the statements “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”” or “it has always been that way”. It might be OK to “stay the same”, but it also might be OK to change.
    There is no growth unless personal and societal norms are at least challenged and sometimes changed. Growth comes from change. Again, I’m not saying that all change is good, but just “staying the same” for the sake of staying the same is not good, either.

    The way to cut off growth possibilities is to say, “it has always been that way”.

    1. Well said Stephan. I am as guilty as anyone else going into these types of discussions with my mind already made up. Change isn’t always good, and it most certainly is not always bad. Jon’s argument was that marriage has changed through time based on what society determined it should be. (polygamy, divorce, etc) Arguing that it’s always been one man/one woman is false, so using that as the main reason for disallowing same gender marriage makes no sense.

  2. Couldn’t agree with you more, on everything you said! The whole “it’s been this way for so long” thing drives me nuts. It’s a statement of fact, not an explanation. I know where they’re coming from, but it doesn’t make the argument they think it makes.

    For me, the big thing is that, in fact, marriage HAS changed plenty over time. Heck, it used to be a property contract. It used to be limited to same-race couples. Evolving societal values changed how we view relationships and what a marriage signifies. It seems the more we learn about those who are “different,” the more we realize that we’re all pretty much the same.

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