Trying to boost his campaign to generate a voter rebellion against Democrats over the issue of marriage equality, Harry Jackson wrote in his column today that legalizing same-sex marriage would harm children.
Jackson asserts that gay couples who seek to become parents “put their own fleeting desires ahead of the God-given rights of their children,” whose children he says are more likely to be gay, depressed, unemployed or drug users.
Jackson cited the work of Walter Schumm of Kansas State University to back up his claims, but Schumm’s work has been roundly criticized and he is closely tied to anti-gay crackpot Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute.
Later, Jackson mentioned the notorious Mark Regnerus study as part of his warning against gay parenting. What Jackson fails to mention, however, is that even the journal that published his report recently admitted that it was severely flawed, noting that just two of the respondents actually “lived with a lesbian couple for their entire childhoods, and most did not live with lesbian or gay parents for long periods, if at all.”
The reason that legally defined marriage is important is because of children. It takes a mother and a father to conceive a child, and children have a God-given right to have a relationship with both their biological mother and their biological father. Children also have a God-given right to have both a male role model and a female role model in their homes. There are certainly times when tragedy takes a parent from a child, but what about the much more frequent times when adults put their own fleeting desires ahead of the God-given rights of their children? Desires change, as the breakups of both heterosexual and homosexual relationships testify.
As our nation continues to wrestle with the meaning and precise definition of marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered activists consistently dismiss the issue of children. Same-sex marriage advocates insist that children of homosexual couples have the same or better outcomes than children of heterosexual couples. Unfortunately for them these assertions are based more on philosophy than hard science. For example, a 2010 study by Dr. Walter Schumm of Kansas State University confirmed that adult children raised by homosexual couples are (unsurprisingly) two to five times as likely to identify themselves as homosexual as children of heterosexuals. But the nation is divided as to whether that is an important outcome or not.
More specifically, whenever the topic of children reared by gay parents is raised: the assertion is made that there are no special problems or disadvantages because of their parents’ choices of “partners.” But this image (if remotely true) represents a tiny, disproportionately wealthy fraction of the gay population. Most of the scientists who have researched the children of such families admit as much.
Common sense would remind us that the results of any particular study depends both on how one defines a household headed by an LGBT couple, and what factors one evaluates when looking at “outcomes.” Dr. Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, Austin, recently set out to hear the stories of the adults living in America today who were raised by parents in homosexual relationships. LGBT activists have fought vigorously to malign and suppress his findings. In short, he learned that, on 25 of 40 different outcomes evaluated, the children of women who’ve had same-sex relationships fare quite differently than those in stable, biologically-intact mom-and-pop families, displaying numbers more comparable to those from heterosexual stepfamilies and single parents.
This study included controls for age, race, gender, and the impact of being bullied as a youth, or the gay-friendliness of the state in which they live. Yet the respondents of same-sex parents were more apt to become unemployed, be less healthy and more depressed. They also were more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, have more male and female sex partners, experience more sexual victimization, and were more likely to reflect negatively on their childhood family life. Those raised by same-sex couples also were more likely to smoke marijuana and have trouble with the law.
At this point in our nation, no one is debating the right of consenting adults to do what they wish with each other in private. But redefining the ancient institution of marriage is an entirely different matter. This will set the stage for more and more children to grow up without a mother or a father, simply to placate the desire of adults. We must fight to preserve the traditional definition of marriage for the sake of these children.
Editor’s Note: Bishop Harry Jackson is a Beltsville, Md.-based pastor who is one of the leading voices in the black clergy against same-sex marriage equality which is currently on this November’s Maryland ballot.