Dennis Shannon

Mr. Eddins,

I am writing in response to your February 5, 2015 editorial in the Auburn Villager on same sex marriage, in which you equated the supporters of Sanctity of Marriage Act with white supremacists who opposed the civil rights of African Americans. Support for the Sanctity of Marriage Act is not about “not liking” anyone or being against homosexuals, but about what we are for.  You presented a false dichotomy between support of same sex marriage on one hand, and being a hateful bigot on the other. People are free to cohabit with whomever they like, but marriage is another story. Marriage is not simply a piece of paper granting rights of association between two people.  Redefining marriage to include same sex associations will have wide-ranging adverse ramifications affecting the welfare of children, the rights of parents and our freedom to practice our religion under the constitution.  I strongly disagree with your view that same sex marriage will not have a profound impact on society as we know it.  Whether or not you and your readers agree or disagree with the arguments made below, I believe that they deserve to be heard and considered.

Here is why you are wrong.

1. Opposition to same sex marriage is about protecting the rights of children to a father and a mother.  The primary reason that the state has a vested interest in marriage, as I understand it, is that marriage is the social institution that provides the best environment to nourish, protect, socialize and educate children. Social scientists indicate that children who are raised by a father and mother that are married to each other have the best chance of success in life.  This is not to impugn single parents who do their best for their children.  In many cases, where a parent raises children alone, there is an uncle, aunt or grandparent of the opposite sex of the parent who can serve as a role model for the child if that parent does not remarry.  Some of the best data available on the children of homosexual parents indicate that outcomes for these children are much worse than for children of heterosexual parents on a wide range of measures including mental health, social and economic measures and risk of sexual abuse (Mark Regnerus, “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study.” Social Science Research 41 (2012) 752–770). A paper being published in the British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science by D. Paul Sullins, “Emotional Problems among Children with Same-sex Parents: Difference by Definition,” confirms these findings. Based upon a study of 207,007 children, including 512 with same-sex parents, from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, Sullins found that “emotional problems were over twice as prevalent …. for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents.”  “Joint biological parents were associated with the lowest rate of child emotional problems by a factor of 4 relative to same-sex parents.” Claims that children of same sex marriage are not worse off than children of heterosexual parents are based upon biased studies that were based upon interviews with self-selected informants.  Unless sampling is unbiased, a study is irreparably flawed. 

Sone of the most moving appeals against marriage came from four adult children of homosexual parents in testimony in an amicus brief in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals court regarding the Texas ban on same sex marriage (http://www.scribd.com/doc/240312276/B-N-Klein-Amicus-Brief, http://www.scribd.com/doc/251078014/Robert-Oscar-Lopez-Amicus-Brief#%23scribd, http://www.scribd.com/doc/240312274/Katy-Faust-Amicus-Briefs, http://www.scribd.com/doc/240313523/Dawn-Stefanowicz-Amicus-Brief).  These people felt that they had suffered seriously because of not having parents of both sexes and pleaded with the judge not to approve same sex marriage. One woman described children of homosexual couples as “nothing other than a piece of property, a past mistake or a political tool to be dressed up and taken out as a dog-and-pony show to impress…” One man spoke of the confusion that he felt growing up by the lack of an adult male role model and stated that “placing children in same sex couples’ homes is dangerous because they have no space or latitude to express negative feelings about losing a mom or a dad and, in fact, they have much fear if they do.” Another woman talked of being “exposed to sodomy, nudity, pornography, group sex and sadomasochism” and watched helplessly as her father propositioned a male school friend. These are the words of people who experienced same sex marriage households first hand as children. All of them noted the loss of not having the relationship with parents of both sexes.  

One may argue that these are just four people, but they also documented other cases, and when considered in conjunction with Dr. Regnerus’ and Dr. Sullins’ scientifically controlled studies, their warnings demand consideration. This is not to say that every parent in a same sex relationship will treat their child as described above, but it cannot be denied that their children would be denied the chance to live in a household where a father and mother love each other and the socialization that that experience entails.  If a same sex household is not an ideal environment to raise a child, what compelling reason is there for the state to sanction the union?

Children need a father and a mother, not two fathers or two mothers.  This is especially important for adoptions. If same sex marriage is legalized, children will be placed in homes that cannot provide what these children need. You state that you want to love all people. I agree with that sentiment. But true love does not include endorsing behavior that is destructive to self and others. Jesus did not condemn the prostitute, but he did ask that she “go and sin no more;” he did not say to her to go on being a prostitute. Jesus was and is in the process of transforming lives and showing us a better way. Opposition to same sex marriage is not about judging people or being hateful to anyone. It is simply stating that it is not a union that meets the conditions to warrant official sanction by the state. Let’s start with loving the most vulnerable, children who need loving homes with a father and a mother.  Anyone who cares about child welfare should not support same sex marriage.

2. Sexual orientation is not an immutable trait that is fixed throughout life. There are former practicing homosexuals who later marry, conceive and rear children in a heterosexual marriage and we hear of others who make the opposite transition. Homosexuality is defined in terms of conduct not genetics and therefore homosexuals cannot be considered a class equivalent to blacks and other minorities. Skin color, facial and hair features can be associated with specific genes that are transferred from parent to child. Geneticists have mapped the entire human genome, but I have yet to hear about a gene causing someone to be “born gay.” How can we then allocate special rights for people based upon characteristics that are not fixed? Marriage is intended to be permanent, and that has particular implications for children. People are free to cohabit with whomever they like but the state has the responsibility to protect our most vulnerable and protect our constitutional freedoms, and these protections have to take priority over officially sanctioning relationships that do not meet those criteria.

As someone who moved to Alabama 23 years ago with an interracial family, I find it personally insulting to have my views in support of traditional marriage compared to those of people who would have oppressed my family. Had I moved to Auburn another 23 years earlier, my children would have been sent to inferior schools for children of a race different from my own and been denied the opportunities that they have today.  It is not the proponents of heterosexual marriage who use the tactics of thugs and bullies used by the opponents of desegregation.  The intimidation today is very real. Gay activists around the country have desecrated churches, trashed people’s yards, harassed and threatened people and attempted to destroy the livelihood of anyone who dares to voice an opinion that does not favor gay rights. We have seen CEOs and television anchors lose their jobs simply because they voiced support for traditional marriage, while bakers, photographers and people who rent venues for weddings are fined or forced out of business because they simply don’t want to participate in an event that violates their religiously held beliefs. So tell me, who is intolerant? It is not about refusing to serve a homosexual but being forced to actively participate in a ritual that they cannot support. As Christians, we believe that our race and gender are determined by God and therefore sacred, and marriage between a man and a woman is also sacred as stated explicitly by Jesus himself in Mark 10. What is sacred to us we cannot desacralize. Many people who share my views are afraid to speak publicly for fear of retribution, but I believe that it is our silence that has taken us to where we stand today.

3. I oppose government sanctioning of same sex marriage because it conflicts with the fundamental right of parents, together with their church or synagogue, to be the source of moral education of children, particularly as it relates to sexuality. In states that have adopted same sex marriage, such as Massachusetts and California, children as early as kindergarten and first grade are assigned books designed to indoctrinate students to accept same sex marriage as normal and morally acceptable. Parents in those states who do not share the views portrayed in these books are not allowed to exclude their children from receiving that indoctrination. This is a violation of parental rights; these states are assuming the role that rightfully belongs to the parents.

4.  I oppose same sex marriage because I am for the First Amendment of the Constitution, which gives me the right to practice my faith without interference from the state.  Anywhere same sex marriage is the law of the land, the first amendment right to freedom of religion becomes null and void. The perceived rights of homosexuals always seem to trump the rights of people of faith to carry out their lives in accordance with their beliefs.  Parents lose their rights to the moral education of their children, bakers must participate in same sex marriage by baking cakes for the “marriage” or be forced out of business (which recently happened in Washington State), professional photographers must film a ceremony that they do not approve of or face severe fines … it goes on and on. Religious speech is being restricted in the military and officers have been punished for not endorsing homosexuality.  In Canada and in Europe, pastors have been threatened with jail for “hate speech” for preaching on the Biblical view of sexuality and marriage. That can happen here as well if things continue on their current trend. 

Many of the forefathers of this nation – Puritans, Quakers, Baptists, Congregationalists, Catholics, Mennonites and Jews - came to this nation to escape persecution in Europe so that they could practice their faith as they saw fit.  If the Supreme Court makes same sex marriage the law of the land, we will have lost much of the freedom for which this country was founded. 

Although there are many things that could be improved in Alabama, I was never more proud of my adopted state than when we voted to protect the welfare of children, parental rights and our religious liberties by voting for the Sanctity of Marriage law. As did a majority of states in the Union, I might add. I applaud the Governor, the Attorney General and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for their efforts to defend our constitution from attack by activist judges. I want my children to be responsible for the moral education of my grandchildren, not the State or Federal Government. I want my children and grandchildren to not be coerced against their will to participate in activities that support lifestyle choices with which we don’t agree for moral reasons.  I want every child in need of adoption to have the chance of having a loving home with both a mother and a father.  For these reasons, I oppose the legalization of same sex marriage.

(2) comments

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Robert Oscar Lopez is your authority? Sounds like someone has some internalized homophobia to resolve!

Auburn Engineer 2011

Mr. Shannon is right that this debate really needs to be about the rights of children to a mother and father. They are not property.
It's so unfortunate that when Christians say "sanctity of marriage," people with same-sex attraction hear "You don't deserve to experience love." Christianity doesn't merely allow you to love freely, it commands it--but there are appropriate ways. If I try to experience sexual love with a stranger I met at the the bar, it doesn't matter if we're the same sex or opposite, it is the wrong way to go about it! As a man, I try to love every man or woman I meet, but not in a sexual way. Love whomever you please, but go about it according to God's plan, which is for your eternal happiness, even if you have to sacrifice some temporal pleasures along the way.

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