John Giangrasso Intro to Journalism
Prof. King 7/26/08
Gay Marriage: It’s in the Numbers
The statistics are alarming and speak for themselves. Half of all marriages end in divorce, 1.5 million women a year are assaulted by their current or former boyfriends, one in three children are born outside marriage, 9.68 million female single parent homes, three children a day die from child abuse and neglect and each year an estimated one million cases of suspected child abuse and neglect are substantiated. Seldom has the political manipulation of an issue been so great but as soon as the statistics behind family breakdown are raised in public, the ideological debate about the ideal family form ensues.
The three different views being debated in the churches on this issue are exploring new rites of church “blessings” for gay and lesbian couples commited to lifelong relationships, others want sacramental inclusion and most Christians still believe that the sacrament and theology of the church on marriage shouldn’t be altered. Both sides of the argument have succeeded in overstating the issue. Conservatives relating homosexual marriage to the end of Western Civilization is unfounded and some liberals say that resolving the issues of gay unions is morally equivalent to the issues of racism, apartheid, and the Holocaust. They blew it out of proportion.
So the question I want to know is whether the history of family dynamics and the statistics associated with them suggest that possibly the nuclear family is an unrealistic and unwarranted ideal form of union? Furthermore, what impact if any gay marriage can and will in the future have on the nuclear family dynamics which are already in bad shape? According to an editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune called Statistical Census Findings: Traditional Married Couples are Better Off by any Available Standard, “The latest census data show that the traditional family — a married couple and their children — constitute just a little less than one-fourth of all households. On the other hand, such families constituted just a little more than one-fourth of all families a decade ago. Any reports of the demise of the traditional family are greatly exaggerated.”
So what are the most common causes for marriages failing? A survey of experienced divorce lawyers who have been elected by their peers to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers broke it down for us. Poor communication, financial problems, a lack of commitment to the marriage, a dramatic change in priorities and infidelity topped the list. The other causes seen a lot but not as often were failed expectations or unmet needs, addictions and substance abuse, physical, sexual or emotional abuse and a lack of conflict resolution skills. The only thing I couldn’t seem to find on the list was the high amount of divorces due to the relentless pressure felt by families in the form of gay marriages or civil unions breaking them down externally.
In his editorial, “No New Gays” Bill Maher says, “nobody seems to find it abominable about Britney Spears tounging Madonna…or anything else on the third shelf of my “library”. No, in America when a man puts something in another man it had better be a bullet.” Although it’s hysterical it does point out the fact that gay and lesbian acts are already right out in the open in our culture in the form of movies, TV shows and even professional athletes. When Conservatives talk about the moral degeneration brought on by homosexual values and how much of an impact they are having they fail to bring up one thing. In recent years the personal computer and the internet have become a phenomenon that spread faster than anyone could have imagined. It has transformed many industries for good, in some cases making people rich beyond their wildest dreams but for the mass populace a replacement. Yet what is the most visited website on the internet: porn. So much for the moral degeneration, we’re already there.
I talked to Pattie Daly of Rockville Centre whose brother is a homosexual. I asked her what she felt about her own brother being involved in a gay marriage and she said, “I would be completely relieved. He would no longer be in my hair.” I had to laugh but then she said, “he would have someone, company he desperately needs. Some people are gay by their innate nature and they shouldn’t be scrutinized to have a family life because of who they are.” I asked her what her initial reaction was when she first found out her brother was gay and she said, “I wasn’t surprised. I don’t care that he’s gay I care that he’s cheap. I don’t care what his sexual preference.” Her son Dan was there and he said, “That two gay men should not be allowed to be parents because then the child will be ridicule and find it won’t relate as well to the majority who are heterosexual couples.” Even between a mother and son we see that this issue touches as at our core and most people will voice their opinions openly on this topic.
The states themselves will ultimately resolve the legal and civil issues through legislative proceedings. One thing is for sure. Politicians and anyone with a vested interest in seeing us divided as a nation will polarize this issue to further tear us apart as a community and highlight what makes us different to keep us from rising up against all the other social intolerances that are over looked by this silly issue.